Scientific Quandary- or Logical Devil's Advocate

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ruveyn
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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.


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06 Jan 2009, 9:21 am

ruveyn wrote:
Unpleasant but not horrifying.

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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



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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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ruveyn
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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.

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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.

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