Scientific Quandary- or Logical Devil's Advocate

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Shiggily
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06 Jan 2009, 3:15 am

starvingartist wrote:
so now you are making qualifying judgments that math is somehow, what, more valid, more 'true' than biology? just curious as to what you mean by 'better' and 'more rigorous'. i have a feeling biologists may be slightly miffed by that comment.


I switched to a major in math with a concentration in Biology. It is better for me, not necessarily in general. It allows me to be in a situation where my constant questions and challenges and need for proof is not met with irritability as I only take a few biology classes and mostly math classes. Essentially it gets me out of the hair of the biologists and allows me to pose the same questions to mathematicians who don't seem to mind, and actually encourage it.



Shiggily
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06 Jan 2009, 3:20 am

starvingartist wrote:
Shiggily wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
Shiggily wrote:

"No human investigation can be called real science if it can not be demonstrated mathematically."
"Whoever despises the high wisdom of mathematics nourishes himself on delusion and will never still the sophistic sciences whose only product is an eternal uproar."
Da Vinci


Our most successful science physics (and its variants) is not derivable a priori from axiomatic principles. It is gotten by way of induction and abduction (see C. S. Peirce for more on that). Science grows out of experiences and is empirically based. Mathematics is a tool of physics, not its basis.

Da Vinci lived during a time when Aristotelian and Platonic philosophy were dominant, which is why he held to the principle you stated.

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bwahahahahahahahhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa


alright then, here's a question for you......which is more relevant as a basis for physics, mathematics or the human imagination, the ability to abstract and induce? if you ask me, the latter is more important because it is where we begin to understand the universe around us. math is simply the language we translate that understanding into.


it was just the concept that math is a tool of physics and not its basis. it is the language. without math physics wouldn't be the science it is, and without physics math wouldn't have the applications it has. They are closely intertwined. But I would only think math in general is more relevant because it existed before and has areas largely outside of physics. But that is not the answer specifically for the question you posted. The answer to your question is neither. They are too dependent on each other to be separated or considered more important or more relevant.



Shiggily
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06 Jan 2009, 3:21 am

starvingartist wrote:
Shiggily wrote:
pandd wrote:
Shiggily, very well, you've never claimed evolution was unproven, not fact, or anything like it. You never mistakenly defined evolution as referring to the origins or life, or if you did, all those silly biologists who think it refers to the origin of species are wrong (and also very dishonest). The theory of evolution changes every time someone publishes any paper about it or which refers to it. Mathematics is not entirely extrapolation based on non-provable inferred axioms. Biology is a cesspool of dishonesty, and you yourself would never be dishonest in any academic discussion (for instance by trying to pretend you were not mistaken about the what is and is not included in the theory of evolution).

Also it is highly unusual for academics to be honest (or at least those teaching biology), starvingartist, myself, and....well just about everyone else I know must just be lucky and your isolated anecdotal claims of constant dishonesty of educators involved in teaching biology and/or evolution to you is more typical of what everyone should expect (yet oddly fails to encounter). :roll:


useless. go. I will get what I want from someone who can do more than argue uselessly or bend over and sarcastically give up.

I get it. you are an atheist evolutionist who thinks everyone who questions you is a secret closet creationist out to destroy your precious little world and ruin science and threaten everything you hold dear. And the creationists think I am a crazy left wing pro-evolutionist who will burn in hell for questioning their ideals.

And both sides jump down your throat every time to ask for proof or point out inaccuracies or question concepts or definitions... because heaven forbid anyone would ever question something held so dogmatically.

because there is no way on Earth that anyone could actually be curious or search for the truth or request a little honesty.

Fine. I will email people who 1. disagree with me and 2. Can actually discuss things calmly and unemotionally and ... un-dogmatically. Because apparently starting a thread asking questions and expecting decent answers is a poor strategy.


so all of us who have responded to the original question in the original post have jumped down your throat and failed to provide you with any "truth" or "a little honesty"? well at least now you know in advance that you will not find the sort of discourse you are looking for in this forum, for it seems that none of us can figure out exactly what kind of discourse you are looking for, and therefore cannot provide. we tried rational and intelligent. i guess that's not enough.


no, not you. or Orwell, or Gromit, or most of the people in the thread. The post was just for him.



Shiggily
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06 Jan 2009, 3:24 am

starvingartist wrote:
twoshots wrote:
Math being "better" is subjective. However, math is the gold standard for rigor. The issue of truth is prickly, but in terms of its conclusions properly done math is 100% "correct". This kind of certainty is a priori unattainable in the sciences. Likewise however is that physics too has much more stringent requirements in terms of precision etc; biology is not without reason considered among the softer of the hard sciences.

well i am certainly the first to admit that math is not my forte so my opinions are based on supposition mostly, and i don't try to present them as anything other than that.

i will say one thing in defense of biology as a 'soft' science, though...

i believe biology will be much less of a 'soft' science when we attain the ability to create the tools and imagine the ideas necessary to translate that 'life language', whatever it may resemble--basically, when we can measure and quantify all of the factors that are life, since that seems to be the only way human beings can understand anything.


ehhh I don't really think of it as that much of a 'soft' science. its just still developing (and at a rather fast rate), and there are some kinks that need to be worked out.



Shiggily
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06 Jan 2009, 3:26 am

twoshots wrote:
Well, I mean, just to point out straightway, mathematical biology is a burgeoning field (I would say most the applied work my professors do tends to be what could be classified as math biology). Math isn't just the language of physics, it's pretty much the language of anything precise.


I did a class in mathematical biology... incredibly amazing new field. And very very addictive.



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06 Jan 2009, 3:31 am

Magnus wrote:
A pure mathematician definitely is not as biased as a biologist who form ideas on theories for the most part. Math is sound.
I think Shiggily demonstrated that the emotional response from "scientists" is personal because they have a belief system that they cling too and any questions which challenge their mode is scary to them because they would have to reevaluate everything.

It's like if you poke one hole in their "reality" their whole bubble world explodes. :lol:


ehhh... science is a balancing act so in some circumstances your last sentence is a possibility. Just look at some of the major scientific discoveries. They shifted the whole world around and in some cases the entire basic assumptions of science had to be re-examined. And that's kind of scary stuff for a scientist.

I mean, there was a mathematician William Shanks, who died thinking he had contributed greatly to mathematics by spending his entire life calculating pi to 707 digits (only to be debunked 60 years later because he had made an error in the 528th place (and every digit afterward)). To think that everything you have worked for could be wrong is the most earth shattering and horrifying thing to a scientist or mathematician



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06 Jan 2009, 7:37 am

Shiggily wrote:
Magnus wrote:
To think that everything you have worked for could be wrong is the most earth shattering and horrifying thing to a scientist or mathematician


Unpleasant but not horrifying. Every working scientist knows from the git-go that there is no absolute proof for any scientific theory and even the best theory (i.e. best to date) can be refuted by some new factual discovery tomorrow. Also the possibility of human error is always present. That is why scientists submit their findings and hypotheses to peer review. The difference between science and religion is that there is no bullet proof guarantee that the best founded theory will not someday be refuted by facts not yet known or by the revelation of error.

Isaac Newton's theory of gravitation has been refuted by the anomalous precession of the orbits of planets. This was discovered in the middle of the 19th century and a replacement theory provided by Albert Einstein (The General Theory of Relativity) completed the process of refutation by correctly predicting what Newton's theory incorrectly predicted. The disproof of Newtonian gravitation had to wait for the development of highly accurate telescopes which were developed during the 19th century.


ruveyn



Shiggily
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06 Jan 2009, 9:21 am

ruveyn wrote:
Unpleasant but not horrifying.

ruveyn


depends on the person.


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Legato
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06 Jan 2009, 11:38 am

I can disprove the existence of supernatural things right now.

Anything that we could possibly recognize as existing must, by definition, be a part of the physical realm that we are a part of - otherwise the senses we use to determine existence or non-existence could not be used. Simply because one wishes to identify a phenomena as "mental" or "spiritual" or "psychic" does not, in any way, remove it from the physical realm of reality. As intangible and removed from reality as our dreams are, they are still nothing but electrical impulses being interpreted within the brain, and therefore physically exist. So-called supernatural phenomena would be no different.

Ergo, anything that exists must be within the physical realm, and therefore must be natural - because nothing that exists could be supernatural.

Therefore nothing supernatural can possibly exist. However, psychic powers and interdimensional hyperbeings could possibly exist, they would simply be a part of the physical realm, our realm, the only one that actually exists. :D



Shiggily
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07 Jan 2009, 3:51 am

Legato wrote:
I can disprove the existence of supernatural things right now.

Anything that we could possibly recognize as existing must, by definition, be a part of the physical realm that we are a part of - otherwise the senses we use to determine existence or non-existence could not be used. Simply because one wishes to identify a phenomena as "mental" or "spiritual" or "psychic" does not, in any way, remove it from the physical realm of reality. As intangible and removed from reality as our dreams are, they are still nothing but electrical impulses being interpreted within the brain, and therefore physically exist. So-called supernatural phenomena would be no different.

Ergo, anything that exists must be within the physical realm, and therefore must be natural - because nothing that exists could be supernatural.

Therefore nothing supernatural can possibly exist. However, psychic powers and interdimensional hyperbeings could possibly exist, they would simply be a part of the physical realm, our realm, the only one that actually exists. :D


you assume that something cannot exist outside of the physical realm?

I would disagree.

We have no knowledge of anything outside of the physical realm, to determine if it anything could exist.

For all we know our "existence" is nothing more than a glorified computer simulation with atoms and math/physical laws taking the place of binary code and coding. In that case reality is nothing more that interpretations of the brain and we do not "exist" in the sense that we would define it.

that and technically senses are fallible and could not necessarily be used. Or you would be forced to believe in fairies, aliens and God because other people claimed to have experienced him with their senses. Though it is believed that it is hallucinations. Hallucinations makes the reliability of the senses invalid.


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07 Jan 2009, 3:55 am

ruveyn wrote:
Unpleasant but not horrifying.

Tell that to an Aspie who is very rigid and struggles with accepting change. The idea that everything you thought you know could be completely wrong is devastating.


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07 Jan 2009, 2:51 pm

Orwell wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
Unpleasant but not horrifying.

Tell that to an Aspie who is very rigid and struggles with accepting change. The idea that everything you thought you know could be completely wrong is devastating.


Every professional scientist I know realizes that all theories are provisional. Naturally, a scientist would prefer to be correct, but the history of science is littered with busted theories ---

phlogiston, caloric, vital essence, luminiferous aether, absolute space, absolute time, Lamarck Inheritence & ON AND ON.

ruveyn



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07 Jan 2009, 3:06 pm

ruveyn wrote:
Every professional scientist I know realizes that all theories are provisional. Naturally, a scientist would prefer to be correct, but the history of science is littered with busted theories ---

phlogiston, caloric, vital essence, luminiferous aether, absolute space, absolute time, Lamarck Inheritence & ON AND ON.

ruveyn

Knowing that all knowledge is tenuous does little to allay the pain of having one's worldview shattered.


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08 Jan 2009, 2:29 am

Shiggily wrote:
Explain to me the argument that you can prove or disprove the existence of a supernatural being using methods that rely on natural law and the uniformity of nature.

Based on the definition of supernatural: "not existing in nature or subject to explanation according to natural laws", "Attributed to a power that seems to violate or go beyond natural forces", and "occurrence in violation of the known laws of nature"


I share your skepticism; this is something that has always puzzled me about both religious people who try to use science to prove their beliefs and atheists who try to use science to disprove them. Religion and science deal with fundamentally different things; it seems to me that it would be impossible for one to have some sort of bearing on the other.

Legato wrote:
Anything that we could possibly recognize as existing must, by definition, be a part of the physical realm that we are a part of


I'm not sure I understand this argument. Isn't existence just being? Why does it matter whether we sense something or not? I can see how that could (arguably) affect its relevance, but not its actual existence.


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10 Jan 2009, 10:22 am

Orwell wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
Every professional scientist I know realizes that all theories are provisional. Naturally, a scientist would prefer to be correct, but the history of science is littered with busted theories ---

phlogiston, caloric, vital essence, luminiferous aether, absolute space, absolute time, Lamarck Inheritence & ON AND ON.

ruveyn

Knowing that all knowledge is tenuous does little to allay the pain of having one's worldview shattered.


One should have his world view shattered once a year. It builds character.

ruveyn