Science doesn't give us reality

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by amansour, Aug 2, 2016.

  1. amansour Registered Member

    I am not a native English speaker so probably I will make grammatical mistakes, I am sorry for that .

    I think that it is very probable that there is :

    some signals in the universe that we cannot detect with our five senses and all sensors and machines that humanity created, And maybe there is a sixth sense or a seventh that some aliens have !!
    I think although if we suppose that our minds are perfect and able to analyze all information received, they will never give us good explanations because we didn’t give them all necessary signals via our senses.

    some others forces than the four discovered by science that are maybe not applied to masses and charges but something else or maybe it is impossible for us with our capacities to realize their effect on things .

    My question is why we are not modest about our knowledge? Why we teach our children that science is perfect? I think that Science is not reality, it concern humans only, those beings that have five senses a mind and a memory, it is a way for humans to analyze the universe that encounter him, and maybe is meaningful only for him.
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  3. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

    Scientists are modest about the powers and nature of science. No one teaches that science is perfect. Science builds models of reality that are tested and then refined. And it's not limited to our personal senses, but any sensing device that is possible to create.
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    We are.
    We don't.
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  7. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    But who is claiming to begin with that science gives, that it is a source of intuitions? Science by its very nature is already deep into conceptual operations, and would accordingly output descriptive / explanatory accounts of "whatever" rather than directly revealing a reality minus the prolonged symbolic efforts of reasoning and systemic practice.

    Arguably the only items that are "given" in an immediate, non-inferential way are the raw sensations of an infant not yet sullied by memory and intellect. Once the young child has acquired enough past experiences and conceptions from the surrounding culture, s/he begins to interpret the formerly meaningless qualitative properties as objects, activities, and an outer environment. But even untrained sensations as a "given" is questionable if later in the game we attribute those intuitions to falling out of brain processes. As well as potentially positing that infants are born with some very basic prejudicial templates (a priori knowledge) for understanding / interpreting things right off the bat.

    - - - - - - - - -

    Wilfrid Sellars: I presume that no philosopher who has attacked the philosophical idea of givenness or, to use the Hegelian term, immediacy has intended to deny that there is a difference between inferring that something is the case and, for example, seeing it to be the case. If the term "given" referred merely to what is observed as being observed, or, perhaps, to a proper subset of the things we are said to determine by observation, the existence of "data" would be as noncontroversial as the existence of philosophical perplexities. But, of course, this just is not so. The phrase "the given" as a piece of professional -- epistemological -- shoptalk carries a substantial theoretical commitment, and one can deny that there are "data" or that anything is, in this sense, "given" without flying in the face of reason.

    Many things have been said to be "given": sense contents, material objects, universals, propositions, real connections, first principles, even givenness itself. And there is, indeed, a certain way of construing the situations which philosophers analyze in these terms which can be said to be the framework of givenness. This framework has been a common feature of most of the major systems of philosophy, including, to use a Kantian turn of phrase, both "dogmatic rationalism" and "skeptical empiricism". It has, indeed, been so pervasive that few, if any, philosophers have been altogether free of it; certainly not Kant, and, I would argue, not even Hegel, that great foe of "immediacy".

    Often what is attacked under its name are only specific varieties of "given." Intuited first principles and synthetic necessary connections were the first to come under attack. And many who today attack "the whole idea of givenness" -- and they are an increasing number -- are really only attacking sense data. For they transfer to other items, say physical objects or relations of appearing, the characteristic features of the "given." If, however, I begin my argument with an attack on sense-datum theories, it is only as a first step in a general critique of the entire framework of givenness....
    --Empiricism and Philosophy of Mind
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2016
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  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Why do you think this is very probable? Do you have some kind of evidence suggesting this is very probably the case?

    I agree with you.

    What would the "something else" be? Can you be more specific about what your extra forces are supposed to do?

    I'm not sure who "we" is. I know lots of people who are modest about their knowledge.

    Is this the same "we" who is not modest about knowledge?

    What is science supposed to be perfect at, according to "we"?

    Do you mean that science is not the whole of reality? "We" is wrong if "we" thinks that science is everything. But that seems obvious to me.
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  9. amansour Registered Member

    i think yes, Sientists are more modest because they faced the reality of science, but i know allot of people belivethat science has explained all mystries of life and universe, when they have seen the progresse that science has done (some educated persons) .
    in my university there is some professors that never have said in all the year words like (i dont know, it is probable, maybe, this theory has no strong evidence yet ...), they use just perfect words and sentences, so i spoke from my own background, maby it is not the case of you.
    i agree
    so it is limited to sensing devices that are possible to create
  10. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

    The efficacy of science has been shown over and over. You are using it's products right now when you use a computer. What mysteries do you think science cannot address?
    Lots of stupid teachers out there.
    It's limited to anything which can be observed in any way. If it can't be observed, what are you talking about?
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  11. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    To be clear, we can do good work on things we can't observe with our senses.
    For example: we cannot observe gravity; all we can do is observe its effect on things (such as mass and light).
    This kind of indirect observation opens up the universe to us.
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  12. timojin Valued Senior Member

    And the Universe is subject to interpretation from the point of your position . I like your first two lines .
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  13. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    You are doing very well. As long as what you write is comprehensible, I'm happy.

    I'm inclined to agree.

    I think that it's very possible that there are facts about reality that we don't currently know, and might never know, because we don't have sensory access to those facts or perhaps the cognitive ability to understand them. In other words, I think that reality almost certainly exceeds our current understanding, and possibly our ability to ever understand.

    I think that science is the sum of our cognitive models of the reality around us (given some methodological and logical constraints). Those models are probably going to be imperfect and incomplete by their very nature.

    That's why I'm rather skeptical about so-called 'theories of everything'. We don't even know what 'everything' encompasses, let alone whether our current mathematical physics is really the last word on it.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016
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  14. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    “Now, my own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose. I have read and heard many attempts at a systematic account of it, from materialism and theosophy to the Christian system or that of Kant, and I have always felt that they were much too simple. I suspect that there are more things in heaven and earth that are dreamed of, or can be dreamed of, in any philosophy. That is the reason why I have no philosophy myself, and must be my excuse for dreaming.”
    J.B.S. Haldane, Possible Worlds

    I've supposed a pretty queer universe on my own. One that consists of multilevels of lifeforms existing on all sorts of invisible planes. But according to the great biologist, I'm not even close. The universe is queerer than we CAN supposed. Don't be surprised by anything. It only gets more and more interesting, even after death.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2016
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  15. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

    While obviously not "simple", at the end of the day I think we will be able to accurately model what reality is composed of - and possibly infer about other universes (if they exist). If not us, then our AI will. Or so I would imagine. The pace at which we've unlocked the chemical properties of material is astounding - not even a blink in a blink in a blink of an eye. And the atoms too. Now their compositions are being unraveled at blinding speed.

    What I do wonder about, is if we are able to understand consciousness. Maybe we can. Or maybe we cannot. What is a dream, a taste, pain - these may be the more difficult questions.
  16. Ivan Seeking Registered Senior Member

    We don't know that. We may be developing models that are in fact the essence of reality but we can never know if that's true.
  17. quantum_wave Contemplating the "as yet" unknown Valued Senior Member

    I think most intelligent beings are living learning machines with a survival instinct. We are able to observe with our senses, gain and accumulate knowledge about the world and the universe around us, and we are much more. We have conscious minds of our own, potential for wild imaginations, we each have different backgrounds and levels of understanding, and any one of us can come up with new approaches to understanding, and maybe new ideas. Each meaningful contribution can reach around the world and hold true far into the future, but generally we are small players with vast resources that we may never put to use. I think compulsion, and love of learning can be drivers to personal discovery, but in the scientific community, it is rigor, credentials, and the scientific method that govern who stands out.

    We might all strive to learn on our own if we want to understand, and we all can teach others who are interested in learning what we might have come to know. But there should be no dogma in science, unless it is the tentativeness of science; nothing is final. That shouldn't be discouraging.
  18. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Sure, our models might be bang on. The point is, it's essentially immaterial to how we proceed to build them.

    The OP does seem to feel a preponderance of 'truth' being laid down.

    But no one seriously thinks we have the 'right' universal model - to the point that it does not impede the progress of science. The OP can dispense with any impression of 'truth'.
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  19. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Bingo!!! Well said!!! Particularly the first paragraph.
    The models science constructs, based on observation and experiments, are valid as long as they keep predicting correctly as per those observations and experiments, and as long as they align with the same observations and experiments. The philosophical thingy about is it real is of no great concern or relevance.......We may never know the true "reality" of the Universe/spacetime and/or gravity, by the same token any model that does hit upon this "reality" then all well and good.
    The Newtonian model is correct within its parameters.
    GR is correct within its parameters.
    So to is the BB.
    The singularities that mark the parameters of the BB and GR, may just be pushed back further rather than revealing any underlying true reality...if it exists at all.
  20. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    What worries me is that's how the pronouncements of "scientists" are often being presented to laypeople, as if they were divine revelation.

    I'm going to argue with that one.

    As I understand the word in its scientific context, 'truth' means 'correspondence with reality'. That's always going to be the goal of science in my opinion, to produce statements about the world that correspond to how how the world really is and to how it behaves. Science aims at expanding knowledge and I tentatively define 'knowledge' to mean 'justified true belief'. So truth is indispensible. No truth, no knowledge.

    I think that instead of throwing out the concept of truth entirely, we should adopt a fallibilistic concept of truth where our assertions of truth are thought of as probabilistic and never taken to be absolutely certain. There's generally going to be a possibility, however small we believe it is, that we are wrong.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2016
  21. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    You and I have argued this before, I think.

    I suspect you, Dave and I all strongly agree about the fallibility of science. It is just that Dave and I, having science backgrounds, instinctively fight shy of using the word "truth" in the context of science, precisely because it seems to convey absoluteness and infallibility. I am sure you are quite right though, in the sense that any scientist must, I think, believe in the existence of an objective reality to be modelled and thus there there is a real "truth" to be sought.

    As I may have said before, my concept of the relationship between science and physical reality is that science makes models that asymptotically approach reality (or truth if you prefer) and thus never seem quite to get there. At any rate, since we can never tell if we have got there, science will always suspect there may be more to find out and thus that we should never assume we have got there.
  22. mtf Banned Banned

    Because in some ways, there is no difference between science and religion.
    I can go to a church, or a temple, or a New Age gathering, to a philosophical symposium, take a university course -- and in one sense, all these avenues are the same: at all of them, I am supposed to listen, unquestioningly believe what I am told, be quiet, and give them money.

    So far, every scientist I have talked to has had the exact same superioristic, authoritarian attitude of a religious person.

    Wrong about what?
    As long as we're talking about atoms and galaxies, there's no problem.

    Once we start talking about how this or that scientific theory should inform people's actions, and the negative social consequences if they don't comply, this is another matter.

    Take for example the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes. There is a standard approach. Yet studies show that it is not effective and that it makes the disease progressively worse. But doctors insist on prescribing it. When people refuse the treatment, they can find themselves in trouble -- not necessarily health-wise, but with the medical establishment. A patient is not supposed to have a mind of his own, he is supposed to be obedient to the medical establishment, even if this means that his health worsens due to the treatment he receives.

    See Jason Fung's analyses here:
  23. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Science isn't a "reality" -- it's a systematic enterprise of exploration, investigation / study, theorizing, and (arguably) invention. The key thing is to not only cease our trivial attaching of the "R-word" to items like that, but more importantly to stop deferring "reality" to some non-immediate archetype that only prolonged plans of reason or inferential processes claim (traditionally) to be able to access.

    The perception-exhibited environment one is experiencing right now doesn't have to be a less actual or illusionary copy of some "ultimate reality". A speeding truck that's bearing down on a person is going to be effective in terms of the consequences regardless of how that object is interpreted by that individual's senses / understanding at the human scale or how science interprets the situation at either a microscopic or macrocosmic scale.

    But that's not to dismiss there being a source for the immediate, everyday reality which does not fall out of extended reflective thought or intellectual activity. But you don't have to classify that source as yet another "reality", some original and potentially different version of the familiar one of outer experience / the senses.

    No more than you would call the brain the "true reality" of a dream (as if the latter is trying to represent the brain rather than just being caused by it). Or call a computer or the applicable software program the "true reality" of a game's virtual world (as if the latter is trying to represent the computer rather than being caused by it). Neither the brain nor a computer would be a bloody "reality" in those instances; they're simply the provenances of the worlds which are manifested in the dream, game, etc.

    It's just a hand-me-down metaphysical assumption of cultural preference that our consciousness of a world is an inferior attempt to represent a truer world (yet another darn repetition or redundancy of "reality").
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2016
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