What is this thing called science?

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What is this thing called science?

Postby nose » Sun May 06, 2007 3:30 am

Yes, its the title of a book, and one of my favourite arguments.

On the topic, Larry Laudan is my homeboy - maybe i can upload some pdfs - if there's space here? and its legal?

either way, google his name and "people vs arkansas" and you'll probably find some golden material.

"What is science?" is quite a difficult question to answer, so we should start with some simpler ones.

"What makes one thing more 'science' than another?"

I belive something to be more 'science' simply if its better at explaining a particular phenomenon than its competitors.

ok, so i'm kinda rushed atm. sue me.
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Postby adman » Wed May 09, 2007 11:08 am

Im going to sort out an article type section soon so pdfs etc can be uploaded there when its done.
As far as 'what is science' goes, I see science as being the pursuit of knowledge by theoretical and practical examination of data. Philosophy is the pursuit of knowledge by sitting around thinking and religion is the vain hope that some higher power has all the knowledge and uses it only for good.
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Postby nose » Wed May 16, 2007 12:49 am

However my friend, if science were only the "pursuit of knowledge by theoretical and practical examination of data" you would find that many widely renowned sciences are not necessarily science, and many widely renowned not-sciences can be.

Take for example astrology. I know its an example beaten to death in this argument, but i'll think a little more in depth for another example later. Astrology does have a theory - we all know it, roughly, and that is that events here on earth are affected, caused or can be predicted by the movements of celestial bodies. Thats vague, but there are very precise techniques to "calculate" these predictions. There's the theory. Truth be told also, many experiments that test this/these theory/ies have been conducted.

So by those criteria alone, astrology isn't a science - what's worse, is that those criteria don't care that the astrological theory FAILED all those tests, or that all those experiments are BETTER EXPLAINED by other fields, such as psychology (we won't say whether psychology is a science or not, but it is better than astrology).

Now take for instance, keeping with the stars, astronomy. Astronomy is widely regarded as a science and people would be hard pressed to reject it now. Astronomy has theory, very well, but it cannot conduct any repeatable experiments. Astronomers can make observations sure, but they could be special cases, and in some circumstances once in a life time oppurtunities - how can we then go verify the results in our backyard shed lab?

Not to mention, did anyone actually test the "conservation of energy" - a law that physicists hold so highly?

So by these criteria astronomy and in part physics are not sciences, i would commit hari kuri if that were true, but it isn't. So why is astronomy a science if it can't perform repeatable experiments? Because it's the best we've got - gimme a better space-theory than astronomy and i'll use that instead.
your friendly neighbourhood nose
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Postby Ceb » Fri Jul 27, 2007 5:57 pm

Science is solely dependent on the senses and belief that those senses are valid.

For example, science would see an apple and declare, "That apple is red." He would verify that the apple is red by observing how light reflects off the pigments in the skin of the apple and returns the color that is interpretted by our eyes and defined by our minds as red.

This is where belief comes into play. We know from fundamental psychology that the mind adjusts perception for expectation. So if you were reading quickly you may not notice that threee has three E's in it because your mind corrects the error based on your expectation. Or you could walk by the same street sign every day for months never noticing that there was an obvious typo on the sign.

This leads to the question, "How then can I know my perceptions are true if my senses are fallible?" Simple, faith. You believe in your senses because that's all you have to go on. If your senses are fallible, which they are, you have two options: belief or doubt.

Philosophers doubt, while scientists believe. Why? Because a scientist has quality assurance, he has another person to verify his findings. But to continue with the fallibility of the senses, it requires belief that the person you are speaking with is not a figment of your imagination, it requires trust that the person's senses are valid and trustworthy, and it requires trust that the person is being truthful about his observations.

If science is hinged on belief, how is believing in science any different than believing in a religion?
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Postby Vastar » Sat Jul 28, 2007 8:36 pm

*fires up the carousel*

Science is the study of the appearance of reality. It attempts to make determinations based upon that appearance. The purpose of those determinations is an enhancement of our ability to interact with our environment.

[quote="Ceb"]If science is hinged on belief, how is believing in science any different than believing in a religion?[/quote]

Scientific knowledge only requires a consistent appearance. If a possible inconsistency is found, Science is willing to consider and examine it. "A religion" is fairly broad but a religion that would be unwilling to doubt any aspect of itself, 100%, would require a faith that science does not.

(Anyone know why my quote didn't work? :smile: )
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Postby fonis » Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:41 pm

use caps for QUOTE

that faith in consistency throughout the world is the faith of science. that's why science is nothing more than a specific religion, however entirely seperate from other religions. no other religion is like it. It's evolution makes it unique and therefore sometimes makes it possible to ignore it's basis on faith, but it exists.

I follow Science, believe in Consistency, and pledge myself to Self-Examination and Debate. The Son, the Father, and the , uh, Twin Cousins.
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Postby 12312312 » Tue Jul 31, 2007 6:37 pm

science is a thinking form. analysing before making comment and so on. even magic is science for that perspective.

the hard question is "what is technology?"
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Postby aceofspades » Wed Nov 28, 2007 9:33 pm

[quote="12312312"]the hard question is "what is technology?"[/quote]

Why exactly is that a hard question?
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Postby Nimbusnut » Fri Feb 29, 2008 10:43 pm

I think that this is a very good question. Science and the quest for knowledge in it's purist definition is one thing, but it's used in many cases to validate particular agendas: Drawing a conclusion and then finding or manipulating data to support the conclusion.. Hey didn't we all work backwards from time to time in physics class?

The examples of astronomy and astrology work well in this discussion, as would quantum theory, or any other branch of the tree that uses models that can be used to predict events or describe how things work even though in actuality the processes or structures may not be exactly or even close to the actual thing (I ran out of 5 dollar words). Another branch of "science" that is wide open for interpretation is wildlife biology.

Hey, I get the impression that one or more of you are in to astronomy. I have an 8" Newtonian and am curious about getting a few filters. My eyepieces are 1.25". Does anyone have any experience with Orion products? I'm looking at a catalog thinking I should pick up a Hydrogen-Beta Nebula filter, or their Oxygen-III Nebula filter. Any ideas?
Thank you
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Postby bluefire427 » Sat Mar 01, 2008 3:16 am

aceofspades wrote:
12312312 wrote:the hard question is "what is technology?"


Why exactly is that a hard question?


ooh. double quote...
Anyway, technology is commonly regarded as the devices we use (ie: TVs, Cell Phones, etc) but the the actual STUDY of er... the uh... the real question is what are we studying when we see technology. ology is a suffix meaning the study of. what is the "techn" from?

also,
vastar wrote:Scientific knowledge only requires a consistent appearance. If a possible inconsistency is found, Science is willing to consider and examine it. "A religion" is fairly broad but a religion that would be unwilling to doubt any aspect of itself, 100%, would require a faith that science does not.


Couldn't science also be considered a religion anyway? Science is a fairly broad subject. Furthermore, any subject would require faith enough to trust it. For science, you're trusting your own psychological stability to logically deduce a problem and come up with a solution. Even the smallest act requires faith. Reaching for your keyboard to type a witty and well thought out response to this post , you have faith that you will be able to type at all. You have faith that when you click post, it'll get posted. You have faith that your computer has the processor power to handle a word processor.

Everyone is a lot more dependent on faith than they realize.
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Postby Dateeno » Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:14 am

I think a religion is having faith in something also, however science is more theoretical approach, science required proof and evidence to state a fact. where as religion is purely based on faith and hope.
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Postby leegao » Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:55 am

Dateeno wrote:I think a religion is having faith in something also, however science is more theoretical approach, science required proof and evidence to state a fact. where as religion is purely based on faith and hope.


That actually depends on a clearcut definition of "Religion" as a few such as scientology are based on empiricism also, of course, what you said does hold in the long run.

Also, directed at Ceb, I believe that science is more materialistic than idealistic. I mean, I guess since science is based on empiricism which is itself something found to be important by the platonians. Yet if we do only take materialism into account then we have to disprove the already established mechanical model of the universe.

I guess all in all no one can really get to a clear definitive answer of what Science really is.
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Postby bluefire427 » Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:14 pm

but the point of science is to know and understand.
if it can't even understand itself, how can it understand anything else?

so, there must be some scientist somewhere that understands what science is or else EVERYTHING that science says is bunk
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Postby leegao » Thu Mar 27, 2008 5:08 am

illogical argument

If we take the premise that the point of science to understand, then the conclusion is that we can understand science because science is to understand or to know.

If we take on the premise that we can't understand science then the conclusion would simply be we don't know what the point of science is.
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Postby bluefire427 » Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:02 pm

leegao wrote:illogical argument


The very essence of arguments is that they are illogical.

leegao wrote:If we take on the premise that we can't understand science then the conclusion would simply be we don't know what the point of science is.


you can "not understand" something and know what the point of it is. One can know the point of a cd and not understand how it works.
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