What are the questions science cannot answer?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Mind Over Matter, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. Skeptical Registered Senior Member


    There is still a problem here with understanding.

    You ask who determines the evidence. There are organisations that are concerned with determining what is good and what is bad evidence. For example : most western countries have a skeptics organisation. These are top heavy with good scientific brains, and are very concerned with evidence. I belong to one. They provide good literature and good guides to what constitutes good evidence.

    In addition, of course, good science is one of your best guides. For example : the issue of identity parades which I referred to earlier is written up in the scientific literature. I would recommend to everyone interested in science that they subscribe to, and read at least one scientific publication that delivers up to date scientific research results.

    A nice one, easy to read, which is reliable with its data, and free of charge is http://www.sciencedaily.com/

    You use the term 'philosophical science.' This is pretty much an oxymoron. Science and philosophy are two quite different things, though it is possible to talk of the philosophy of science. There is no such thing as philosophical science, and most good scientists would do their best to demonstrate that philosophical issues are kept at a distance from their serious scientific work.

    Science is about empiricism. That is : about evidence gained from objectively carried out real world experiments and observations. While scientists often speculate, a good scientist knows that the speculation is not science. Only if a speculation can be verified by empirical testing does it enter the realm of good science.

    Speculation is not good evidence. Subjective experience is not good evidence.

    You ask me to be more tolerant of people. It is not people I am intolerant of. It is idiotic ideas. Yes, I am most intolerant about those, and so should all participants in this, or any other, science forum. If someone (and I am not talking about you) presents ideas that are based on bulldust, I will state most clearly that it is bulldust. Science gives us the clear cut guide to what is acceptable, and what is garbage.

    There are, of course, some people who will not respond to good data and good argument. I learned that decades ago. However, if good data and good argument is expressed on these forums, there will always be some people who will respond to them properly.
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  3. dhcracker Registered Senior Member

    Thats what I meant its a philosophy of science, it says your scientific panels 300 years ago were inquisition boards. That yes people of science were also religious the majority back then and thought by burning a witch you saved her soul, it was a logical act of mercy in those days.

    And so your panel of likeminded people get to decide on the evidence.. all scientists... hhmmm yes that seems really fair to the average joe I'm sure. Why not make a panel of equal numbers of people from all walks of life and have them hash it out.. that would be a more complete and fair view. Scientists are quick to jump on theoritical solutions to solve problems that can't be tested and hold it up as rock solid. Well that sounds just as crazy as any type of belief to the average joe, you are placing faith in numbers and measurements.

    I say there is something wrong with your definition of reality, your definition requires you to believe somehow your view of things is more righteous and worth enforcing over others. Let me take a panel or preachers and decide what evidence is... you don't get it and refuse to even attempt to look through another prism.

    Nobody is any better than anyone else, being wrong doesn't make you irrelevant to society. And scientific arrogance is probably the biggest reason we aren't already walking on mars or investing huge sums of money.

    What you fail to understand is from that crackpots point of view, you are the one not responding to good data and reason. Until people can at least fake the respect needed to gain a persons attention and respect back, then they may as well let the crackpots speak and not even respond at all.. let someone more able to not offend and insult take the challenge up.

    However if after you have been tolerant respectful and addressed the idea and explained why you think its mistaken you get the cold shoulder and insulted.. then you have rights to say its bull. However until then saying that is an insult to the person just as much.

    You shouldn't just tell that guy hes full of it, you should tel him why its wrong and give the guy a chance to digest and communicate without being put on the defensive.

    Once I posted a question about modified gravity and I was almost burned at the stake, I eventually persisted to get my answers. If you don't care to be respectul and try to educate somebody, then that person just thinks your a bigot and hes right since nobody is posting any information and is just calling names.

    Most times in here you are telling kids they are full of it, now how is a child going to react to that! You'll make that poor kid hate phd carrying scientists lol.
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  5. dhcracker Registered Senior Member

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  7. dhcracker Registered Senior Member

    Let me give you an example of how a prism can affect science real quick. Now this is just my opinion but it may be pretty accurate.

    I see lots of new theories coming up that deal with our universe, see our universe has so many laws and constants and fine tuned structures that if any one of them was any different we wouldn't be here. So there seems to be a grand design to our universe, most scientists are athiests so they mostly don't like this as it is. So much more research goes into theories that involve multiple dimensions, multiple universes, things that give random chance more priority than a singular universe structure theory would get.. far more acceptance is given to these theories just based on the fact of a faith in math and odds.

    So any theory that gives the possibility that the laws of our universe were actually put in place by some kind of creator doesn't get as much attention. A notion that maybe we are an experiment or we are here from a design is shot down even though neither theory has no empirical evidence to back it up.
  8. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

    To dhc

    Hopefully when I get into a discussion, I am at least reasonably polite. I try to avoid insulting people. However, I have no qualms about insulting wrong ideas.

    Some of the things you have said sound very much like your understanding of science leaves a little to be desired. Maybe that is just me failing to understand your point, but ...

    Take the following suggestion of yours.
    Why not make a panel of equal numbers of people from all walks of life and have them hash it out.. that would be a more complete and fair view.

    That is not science. Science is not democratic. Science has nothing to do with consensus. Science has nothing to do with sorting through opinions.

    Instead, science is to do with data. Data collected from real world experiment and observation. Ideas must be tested using real world experiment or observation, and disproved if possible. Only those ideas that survive this process become scientific theories.

    It does not matter a damn what people think. It does not matter if one person comes up with a solid and sound idea, and a million scientists tell him this idea is wrong. If the idea is the best model of reality, it will survive and the million scientists then have to back down.

    Please get rid of your feeling that opinions count in science. They do not, and it does not matter how many people share an opinion. In science, it is only ideas and opinions that survive rigorous empirical testing that are acceptable.

    Sometimes this means that a scientific pioneer has to suffer a degree of ridicule. This happened to Wegener with his theory of continental drift. However, when more data came in (from oceanographic research), he was proven correct, and his detractors had to back down.

    This is what science is about. Opinion, debate, consensus, majority view and all the rest are nothing. Solid data is everything, and wins.

    There is a school of philosophy called neomodernism, which claims that science is just another school of thought, and its conclusions are no more valid than any other school of thought. Let me say, with utter, total, overwhelming emphasis, that neomodernism is a load of crap, worse than almost any superstition. The only conclusions that matter are those that come from solid data. And this data is obtained from rigorous testing.

    Yes, there are scientific disciplines that are not based on that rigorous testing. Examples include superstring theory, inflation cosmology etc. However, any scientist working in those fields who is worth his salt will openly admit that his field is speculative, and could well be totally wrong.

    New ideas in science are worth as much as the relevent data derived from rigorous testing. If such data is not available, then it does not matter how many people love those ideas. They are not good science. (A new idea in science is called a hypothesis - a theory in science is something much more solid. It is important not to get hypothesis and theory mixed up.)
  9. IamJoseph Banned Banned

    Chew your cud - science comes from the hebrew bible.

    It is approproate to let this thread's posters to decide if you should be banned. Your silly description "As usual, Joseph is pretending to be an expert on a topic about which he knows virtually nothing: science. " - appears a stretch if not outright bogus - it does appear I am in good company from the links below. At the very least, it makes your claim unsubstantiated, haughty, delusional and indicative of an inherent problem. Anyone can see this subject has been debated since Hellenistic times, going on to the dark and middle ages, then to modern times with scholars and scientists weighing in. Ruminate on your words - then bite hard on my silver bullet!

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  10. dhcracker Registered Senior Member

    Well you are missing the point and its probably my fault. I didn't mean a panel of preachers to make science facts up. I meant a panel to interpret scientific evidence and apply it towards their own view of the cosmos. You don't have to be a scientist to use some sort of logic and try to determine why we are here or how we got here. A scientist can lay out every single fact for his model of where we come from, and a layman will go down the list and be agast and stumble for lack of understanding or else possilbly the leaps of logic or faith or however you want to put it that the model is the correct answer and the only correct answer.

    For example.. lets say we are using multiverse theory. A scientist looks at multiverse theory and says since there are an infinite number of universes that can exist seperate from ours, then its likely that eventually a universe like ours will spawn and be perfect to support life without the need of a grand design.. thus implicate a designer.

    Now a theist might look at the same evidence and do this..

    If there are an infinite number of universes then its also likely there are universes more perfect than ours to support intelligent life, then you get to super intelligent life.. it would also likely exist. When you open that up, what is super intelligence capable of? For instance we have computers that simulate the universe pretty good at our current level.. its possible a super intelligence might be able to either simulate a universe and life or actually make a universe and life... Thus we are back where we started.. are we possibly in such a simulation??

    See what i mean? You have to make a leap of faith to say there are multiverses, so its just as logical to follow the logic above and come up with some pretty powerful implications.

    I don't want religious people running scienctific theory and models, however I do want us to respect each others opinion and realize it doesn't really matter how we got here it only matters what we do while we are here and how we treat each other.
  11. AlexG Like nailing Jello to a tree Valued Senior Member

    So what kind of 'logic' would you apply to quantum indeterminancy? Especially if you don't understand what it is or how it works.

    We've already seen too many times, that logic does not accurately predict what the universe does and how it does it.
  12. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

    To dhc

    That is a better and sounder post than the previous one. However, it still needs a little clarification.

    I am not sure that the idea of a panel means much. In reality, panels of experts are already at work. Most scientific research these days is done by teams, rather than brilliant individuals, though the team may be led by such a person.

    Drawing conclusions, though, in science, does not come from brain storming. It comes from data, and the application of stringent mathematical logic to that data. In reality, if research leads to a specific conclusion, then that conclusion is inevitable as long as competent scientists are doing the work.

    Certainly a panel from "all walks of life" would be worse than useless. Laypeople without the necessary education and highly honed mental skills are more likely to derive unfortunate conclusions. A panel of genuine experts might be able to contribute something.

    In science, there are no 'leaps of faith'. There is speculation, and the formation of hypotheses. But these are not believed, or even considered as reasonable probabilities until rigorous testing is done, and the idea passes repeated testing.

    I should also like to comment on your reference to multiverse. This is currently a speculative idea. It is, to me, a very attractive idea, and several lines of speculation lead to it. However, it is not something to which clear cut data points. So any competent scientist would admit that it is only a possibility - a speculation. Until better data is gathered, we cannot say if it is a reality. No good scientist will 'believe' this idea without a lot more data.
  13. dhcracker Registered Senior Member

    So when I speculate that the grand laws of our universe imply a creator... you will call it a leap of faith.

    Thats not cool, your multiverse speculation requires just as much a leap of faith as implying a creator.

    The panel is just a way to say people getting together and reaching a consensus or some kind of understanding. I was using it as an analogy to an individual and really its no different, only now the perceptions of all have a say.

    My biggest problem with some scientists is how they deal with theism, they are arrogant and disrespectful. They would take an average joe, and pretty much call them an idiot simply because he knows he doesn't have time to make him understand the complexities of his concept, and he knows because he can't explain it to averge Joe in a way he will understand it without taking up months of his life.. he expects Joe to simply believe him. Now I don't know about you but a cranky old guy or an omnipetent intelligence... hmmmmm. No wonder eh?

    Oh and on multiverse its pretty cool however I like infiniverse better, as in black holes don't lose information because they spawn a new spacetime or mini bang.. thus our universe is from a black hole in another universe.. and that one etc etc... However that implies the same exact rules will hold from one to another I think because one comes from the other.. you still have the grand design problem. Unless you want to do multi-infiniverses lol.

    Those cosmologies are addicting
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
  14. IamJoseph Banned Banned


    You are 100% correct, and underated. MV has no scientific basis whatsoever - the notion also violates the finite factor of the universe.

    A universe must have a universe maker is 100% scientific with no scientific alternatives applying.

    MV is an escapist, very desperate back door around an enormous glitch in ToE, which foundation lies in an ultimately unscientific causeless effect. The science inlcines with a universe maker [sound premise], while the human emotive factor is hampered and exploited of the requirement of proof. But this proof factor is equalized and negated - there is no disproof either. The sound premise thus prevails.

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  15. pjdude1219 screw watergate i want to know about zaragate Valued Senior Member

    and in return I give the rabbit digestive system
  16. dhcracker Registered Senior Member

    Again I want to clarify I am myself agnostic. I see science backing up both speculations, and I see nothing wrong with speculating about grand design on equal terms with multiverse.


    Sorry I missed over your post, I would say an avg joe that doesn't understand any concept will have to use some type of speculation or faith to make up for it. And I want to point out there is no expert on every science, so everyone has to take a little faith period. Just as there is no expert in every science so really everyone will have to take a little faith in what they are reading.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
  17. AlexG Like nailing Jello to a tree Valued Senior Member

    Too bad the ban ran out.
  18. dhcracker Registered Senior Member

    Wait a minute, if I am correct then both are on equal footing as valid scientific speculation. However you view one, you should also view the other. There is also no data to prove a designer exists directly, same way as there is no data to prove there could be multiple or infinite universes.

    I appreciate your support I just want you to realize what I'm trying to accomplish is a level of mutual respect, and I can understand if one side holds up their speculation that the other side will hold theirs up. Only problem is you guys have different perceptions which make one or the other more fit for you to accept.

    So to me both opinions are valid and fine, intelligent design or random math through multiverse. If you chose multiverse then I respect that, I just wish that kind of tolerance was rampant in society.

    However the more we address this, the more we talk to each other, the more tolerant and understanding of differing views we will become wether we admit it or not. Its social evolution in action.
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Unless my eyes are fading with age, the hippopotamus--an artiodactyl (cloven-hoofed mammal) that does not chew its cud--is not mentioned anywhere in the material you quoted.

    You have not responded to the peer review of your assertion, and instead have pressed your argument forward as though it has been defended. This is a textbook case of intellectual dishonesty, the worst form of trolling on a website devoted to science and scholarship.
    Don't worry, the next one will be permanent. Cleaning up after Joseph is more work than a staff of volunteers can handle, and we're getting fed up with it.
  20. synthesizer-patel Sweep the leg Johnny! Valued Senior Member

    Cite 7 peer reviewed papers from the last 10 years that support this or retract the statement.
  21. synthesizer-patel Sweep the leg Johnny! Valued Senior Member


    its ok matey, you can say shit if you want to - even fuck if you like

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  22. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

    To dhc and Joseph.

    On multiverse ideas. You need not continue to push this as an example of science gone wrong, or a science 'leap of faith'. It is not.

    Multiverse ideas represent scientific speculation. As I thought I made very clear, no good scientist actually 'believes' this idea. They may work with it, looking for a way to test it. But until a proper empirical test is done, the idea is just an idea, and not taken seriously by good science.

    Joe, this idea has absolutely nothing to do with evolution. Thus, it is wrong to call anything in cosmology a weakness in the theory of evolution. It is a bit like those who claim that the fact we do not know how life began as a weakness in evolutionary ideas. Knowledge gaps in cosmology and the beginning of life do not represent a weakness in the theory of evolution, any more than the inability to kick a soccer ball stops someone being a chess champion.

    The idea that the universe was made by a creator deity is one hypothesis that can be stood up alongside all the other hypotheses for the origin of the universe. The evidence pretty much makes it almost certain that the beginning involved a Big Bang. Did a creator cause the Big Bang? We do not know. Until better evidence is gained, we have to accept that there are many possibilities.

    For all we know, the Big Bang was the start up sequence for a computer simulation. Or collision of branes. Or something else. A creator is not necessary, but is a valid hypothesis, as long as you accept that hypothesis is all it is. If you try to assert that this hypothesis is somehow 'proven', you will not be taken seriously on this forum.
  23. quantumdarkness19 Registered Member

    What’s at Earth’s Core?

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    What happens to information in a black hole?

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    Why don’t we understand turbulence?

    Is the universe actually made of information?

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    Can mathematicians prove the Riemann hypothesis?

    Why do we die when we do?

    What causes gravity?

    Why can’t we regrow body parts?

    Why do we still have big questions?

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