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What is science?
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Dr. Brown Offline
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Post: #1
What is science?

Many people have a misunderstanding of science. They think that it's just mixing up stuff to explode, or a bunch of confusing equations. The plight is made worse by school, where "science" is just a memorization of facts and a dull set of labs.

Science is an incredibly powerful tool with one main purpose: to understand reality. Prior to mainstream science (ancient Greece) people used to use philosophy to understand how the world worked. In fact, science was called natural philosophy because, like philosophy, it aimed to rationally explore reality.

Religion also attempted to explain reality, but in a rather unintelligent way. Religion works where one famous person, usually a "prophet" claims a bunch of things. Other religions simply have customs passed down from elders.

Now philosophy, from the old days, tried to use obvious facts and a whole lot of logic to explain why things worked. Unfortunately, philosophy tends to be quite inaccurate. For example, in explaining the solar system, people believed that heavenly bodies must be "perfect" and therefore travel in circles.

Science, on the other hand, mainly concerns itself with gathering facts. After enough facts are gathered, with sufficient accuracy and precision, scientists attempt to formulate theories that explain these facts. Theories are explanations that can apply to a wide variety of observations. Laws are usually mathematical and simple relationships that hold remarkably true for various observations. Note that theory here is not the colloquial definition for theory: a speculative explanation.

Science ultimately trumps philosophy because unlike philosophy, science relies on concrete and observable things. Science can be proven wrong. Furthermore, science accepts its own limitations: if something cannot have a reasonable explanation, it remains an unknown. Over time, more and more unknowns have been receiving explanations.

Good science relies on facts to create theories rather than theories to create facts. Ultimately, numerous explanations lie in strict contradiction to facts. These contradictions are called pseudoscience because they try to maintain an appearance of being scientific while really being unsupported by data. Astrology, much of popular psychology, much of alternative medicine (don't get me started on homeopathy), the presence of spirits, the soul, and the like remain pseudoscience.
03-27-2014 06:35 AM
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Ky Offline
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Post: #2
What is science?

It's funny how modern "science" is done in total disregard of the scientific method. Our understanding of the universe is supposed to be tentative, liable to change as new information arises; when we treat theories as facts, we do the opposite of this.

However, I am greatly interested in the world of theory and conjecture; for this purpose, I use philosophy and religion and believe that it has nothing to do with science, because it doesn't begin from fact.

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03-27-2014 07:56 AM
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Dr. Brown Offline
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What is science?

Theory in the colloquial sense? I don't see the point really of doing that. It's mental masturbation, largely useless if one wants to find reality. Too inaccurate, too likely to be wrong. It crowds one's thinking process with junk.

I think that it's at-least reasonably obvious that if a god exists, he isn't personally vested in us. At best, we would be some sort of simulated experiment.

Modern "science" isn't in disregard of the scientific method. Although some papers may be biased, they maintain the scientific method.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. If some fact contradicts the bulk of extremely useful and predictive scientific theory, it must be viewed as suspect. For example, a neutrino at one time was detected to have gone faster than the speed of light. This would have completely invalidated special relativity which states that no particle can go faster than the speed of light. After receiving widespread news media coverage with skeptical scientists, the truth was revealed. It turned out that there was an error in the detection method.

Many people believe in the "Soul" and "ESP." If such concepts were to exist, they'd invalidate a bulk of existing scientific theory. Even though a few tentative experiments show some existence of ESP, they should be regarded as suspect. It is far more likely that these small studies were fake or used bad methods rather than all of science being wrong.

And of course, a nice double blind study would most likely invalidate them, as eventually happens for many things with successful small pilot studies, such as homeopathy.
03-27-2014 08:32 AM
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brainiac3397 Offline
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Post: #4
RE: What is science?

(03-27-2014 06:35 AM)Dr. Brown Wrote:  Religion also attempted to explain reality, but in a rather unintelligent way. Religion works where one famous person, usually a "prophet" claims a bunch of things. Other religions simply have customs passed down from elders.

Science is infallible. Man is fallible. Man dedicated to science does not make man infallible.

We need to stop bashing religion and philosophy till we become omnipotent. Then you may bash away. Otherwise, just cause we know the basics on a cosmic scale doesn't suddenly make us gods of the universe(a typical human response)

Learning to draw stick figures doesn't make you a great artist. Humans tend to learn to draw basic figures, and claim the reputation of the future discoveries before we ever even make it there.

The entire concept behind a theory is that it isn't solid. Hence being called a "theory". It's better than a hypothesis, but it's just "a more provable guess". Thus the lack of substantial "facts" signifies that we aren't as supreme as we like to think of ourselves. The lack of competition seems to leave us in some sort of monopoly where we can only compare our advances to either our past, or the other species we live with.

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(06-14-2013 08:02 AM)Potato Wrote:  watch the fuq out, we've got an "intellectual" over here.

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03-27-2014 09:01 AM
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Dr. Brown Offline
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Post: #5
What is science?

Even if science is fallible, philosophy and religion is far more so.

Science is moving towards explaining more and more things more and more accurately. We don't need omnipotence to notice patterns.

We aren't gods of the universe, but we understand things.

One must have a certain level of confidence for certain things. Airplanes are built based upon scientific laws. No one says "don't build airplanes, we aren't entirely sure, everyone may die." We trust our science and planes stay aloft (most of the time).
03-27-2014 09:10 AM
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mundelow Offline
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Post: #6
RE: What is science?

(03-27-2014 06:35 AM)Dr. Brown Wrote:  Religion also attempted to explain reality, but in a rather unintelligent way. Religion works where one famous person, usually a "prophet" claims a bunch of things. Other religions simply have customs passed down from elders.

That is the most stupid summary of religion I have read in a good while. If you were the spokesperson of science I would probably hate it. <3
03-27-2014 09:20 AM
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brainiac3397 Offline
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What is science?

But what we can not say is "Religion is wrong because science is less wrong".

Just because science is moving towards explaining things doesn't mean we're there yet. Thus the whole "Science will explain everything" does not equal "Religion is wrong". You're basically telling me "We know we're right because we'll probably be right in the future"...aka saying what religion tends to say.

Humans don't really change. We have a tendency to behave the same way regardless of ideal and belief.

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(06-14-2013 08:02 AM)Potato Wrote:  watch the fuq out, we've got an "intellectual" over here.

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03-27-2014 09:21 AM
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mundelow Offline
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What is science?

Science and religion are both used to oppress, and both can be used to liberate.
03-27-2014 09:24 AM
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Dr. Brown Offline
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Post: #9
What is science?

Quote:But what we can not say is "Religion is wrong because science is less wrong".

Just because science is moving towards explaining things doesn't mean we're there yet. Thus the whole "Science will explain everything" does not equal "Religion is wrong". You're basically telling me "We know we're right because we'll probably be right in the future"...aka saying what religion tends to say.

Humans don't really change. We have a tendency to behave the same way regardless of ideal and belief.

No. What matters is the method you use to explain your observations. Science attempts to find the most rational explanations that applies best to a variety of observations by actively collecting data. Philosophy passively collects data (usually the small data from typical human experience) and tries to apply a "rational" and "beautiful" explanation. But philosophy overestimates itself.

Science is restricted to what is known. That's why science has and always will have gaps. We understand that our brain is made of atoms, but we do not understand exactly how our neurons work and code thought. We have the basic ideas but we admit that we lack precision.

Science almost always moves in the positive direction because there's a certain level of confidence something needs to be science. Philosophy, on the other hand, has no bounds of accuracy or inaccuracy.

Quote:That is the most stupid summary of religion I have read in a good while. If you were the spokesperson of science I would probably hate it. <3

Judaism: Teachings passed on through elders in the form of the Torah/Old Testament
Christianity: What Jesus and many of his contemporaries said in a book
Islam: What the prophet Mohammed said accepted to be true in the form of the Q'uran
Buddhism: What Buddha said passed on to his contemporaries
Hinduism: A large bulk of texts and mythology passed on orally through Indian tradition

My definition works quite well, thank you very much.
03-27-2014 09:57 AM
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brainiac3397 Offline
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RE: What is science?

And science is what a few humans tell many to believe.

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(06-14-2013 08:02 AM)Potato Wrote:  watch the fuq out, we've got an "intellectual" over here.

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03-27-2014 10:11 AM
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Dr. Brown Offline
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Post: #11
What is science?

Quote:And science is what a few humans tell many to believe.

????????

What? Science forms through a greater community, not an individual. Many aspects of science require complicated mathematics and intense study to understand, which is why they may be difficult to comprehend from a Layman's point of view. Good luck understanding theoretical physics without linear algebra or multivariable calculus.

However, a layman can easily understand why science is true at a basic level using basic evidence and reasoning.

For example: Why do you think the Earth is round?

Let's see if you can figure out this basic question based on evidence (without looking it up!).

Follow up question: How would you calculate the size of the Earth?
03-27-2014 11:01 AM
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Dr. Brown Offline
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Post: #12
What is science?

The reason that religion is so popular is that it's simple and therefore appeals to people unable to grasp the technicalities of scientific knowledge. I've had to slave through years of study just to have a cursorily accurate picture of the human body, based on science.

Religion is far simpler and appeals to the mind. It's far easier to say that God put us on Earth for some purpose than to say that we exist due to reactions between carbon molecules following molecular orbital theory based on the wave-function.

The wave function is key to understanding why two atoms react and where electrons are.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave_function

You could understand it, but only if you put the time into the intense study. It's far easier to say that atoms react because God made them that way.

Religion explains almost nothing. Science almost always forms a consensus because the basis of discussion is always the most rational explanation that predicts the most phenomena.

That's why science always moves towards more and more accurate models. You can begin with classical Newtonian mechanics, which works extremely well to describe most everyday motion. However, when dealing with very small things, Quantum-Mechanics best describes observations. When dealing with very large things or very fast things, relativity (general and special, respectively) help describe what happens.

There's a great essay by Stephen Hawking on science
http://authors.library.caltech.edu/20414...Sci_Am.pdf
03-27-2014 11:06 AM
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no Offline
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Post: #13
RE: What is science?

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OK, here's the thing. People do not want to see themselves as just piles of atoms.
Nor do I, even if I'm not a person in the eyes of so many. I'm probably the most "spiritual atheist" anyone will ever encounter.
Yes, I believe in souls and all that. And if that makes me "mentally inferior" then so be it.
But I also do believe in science, to a large degree. And I agree religion is often stupid. (Especially the hate-mongering "christians" so painfully common where I live.)
But you know what? Religion also gives some people hope and a reason to live. And that's something that saying "the sun will blow up one day" doesn't do.

Hello, traveler.

This is an ancient account I have not used in a long time. My views have changed much in the intervening months and years.

Nonetheless, I refuse to clean it up. Pretending that I've held my current views since the beginning of time is what we in the industry call a lie. Asking people to do so contributes to moralistic self-loathing. "See, those people have nothing damning! I do! I'm truly vile!"

Because you can never be a good person with a single blemish on the moral record, I thought that simply entertaining some thoughts made me irredeemable. Though I don't care for his writing style, William Faulkner presents a good counterexample. He went from being a typical Southern racist to supporting the civil rights movement. These days we'd yell at him for that, probably.

People are allowed to change their views.

Nevertheless, this period of my life has informed some of how I am today. In good ways and bad ways. To purge it would be to do a disservice to history. Perhaps it will not make anyone sympathetic, but it may help someone understand.

If, after reading all this, you still decide to use the post above as evidence that I am evil today, ask yourself if you have never disagreed with the moral code you now follow. In all likelihood you did, at some point. If some questions are verboten, and the answer is "how dare you ask that," don't expect your ideological opponents to ever change their minds.
03-27-2014 11:32 AM
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brainiac3397 Offline
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Post: #14
What is science?

But it doesn't change the fact that scientists are human, and humans who think they're uber-good at something generally become arrogant. Then they become no different than the people they oppose(in this case, religions).

It's not science I have an issue with. It's the various scientists who end up arrogant in their beliefs that they become as narrow-minded as the "unintelligent" religions.

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(06-14-2013 08:02 AM)Potato Wrote:  watch the fuq out, we've got an "intellectual" over here.

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03-27-2014 11:36 AM
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Dr. Brown Offline
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Post: #15
What is science?

Hardcore Buddhists may be atheists but they're quite spiritual.

I admit that it's quite difficult to find meaning in life when there really is no meaning. However, I think it's worse to delude yourself into thinking something because it makes you feel better– I can't really explain why. I just have an innate dislike for believing in false things.

I think that a person has to decide what they want out of life for themselves. I'm happy learning, talking, and thinking for the little bit of time I have. Even though all of my memories will disappear, I still enjoy myself and the work I do. I enjoy helping people out when they have medical problems and seeing how satisfied they are once they've been cured.

I enjoy going to poor areas around where I am and providing free medical treatment to anyone who asks.

I don't feel the need to delude myself to do what I do. As a human, I have an instinctive (from both my environment and genetics) drive to do what I do. I don't need some book or some nice-sounding philosophy as a reason to exist. I exist because I do and I make the most of it.

There's no need to delude oneself to get something out of life. Yes, it may all be meaningless atoms and molecules reacting, but it's not meaningless to you as an individual with the marvelous configuration of atoms that's actually capable of experiencing life.
03-27-2014 11:38 AM
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Dr. Brown Offline
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Post: #16
What is science?

Quote:But it doesn't change the fact that scientists are human, and humans who think they're uber-good at something generally become arrogant. Then they become no different than the people they oppose(in this case, religions).

It's not science I have an issue with. It's the various scientists who end up arrogant in their beliefs that they become as narrow-minded as the "unintelligent" religions.

There's a difference between being narrow-minded and trying to rationally sort out truths from delusion. One must try to evaluate all evidence and pick the best idea objectively. It's something dogmatic humans have difficulty doing. But with the scientific worldview, where everything is challenged, we've come closer and closer to approximating reality.
03-27-2014 11:40 AM
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brainiac3397 Offline
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Post: #17
What is science?

"scientific worldview"

When we push aside the rose colored glasses, a group of scientists are nothing more than either circle-jerkers or arrogant children(in behavior) trying to prove they're smarter than the next guy.

How many scientists are actually "kind" people? How many don't try to steal your research to pass off as their own? try to prove their theories to be better like some religious sect trying to prove they're right? how many feel the utmost despite when you question their ideas?

Rationally sorting out truths from delusion is an illusion. Rationality isn't science. Be it religion created by man, or science explained by man, truths can be found rationally. It's only ever a delusion when it becomes a competition, a game, a battle between the one's who come up with the "rationales".

Realistically speaking, scientists either screwed or got screwed. Today, the only truth in science is whether it's true your idea will make money. Nobody gives a crap about your hippy ideas to change the world. They'll just smle and pat you on the back while keeping you from developing, then they'll steal your idea and profit of it and boast their reputation.

Regardless of religion, philosophy or science, there will be no "good" or "right" as long as people continue to behave as they do. Religion was used to profit and control. Science will now be used to profit and control. Just because they have different definitions doesn't make any side right.

Mankind will have to stop leashing themselves to ideologies and recognize their full capabilities. Otherwise it's just the same thing over with a different name.

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(06-14-2013 08:02 AM)Potato Wrote:  watch the fuq out, we've got an "intellectual" over here.

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03-27-2014 11:50 AM
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Post: #18
What is science?

Science is the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence.
06-03-2015 05:40 PM
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brainiac3397 Offline
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RE: What is science?

(06-03-2015 05:40 PM)Money morkel Wrote:  Science is the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence.

When evidence because harder of find, vaguer, less visible and difficult to record stuff is based more on a hypothesis than any legit evidence.

There's a decent amount of science based on hard evidence, but there's a lot science revolving around "Don't know how or why, but it does when we do this"

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(06-14-2013 08:02 AM)Potato Wrote:  watch the fuq out, we've got an "intellectual" over here.

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06-04-2015 09:15 AM
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Emily Stephan Offline
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What is science?

Science is a systematic and logical approach to discovering how things in the universe work. It is also the body of knowledge accumulated through the discoveries about all the things in the universe.
12-02-2015 05:53 PM
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