Science

Ziggy Stardust

Absolutely Sane
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At the end of a show on the discoveries that led to the theory of the Big Bang, the narator closed with this remark:

"This is our theory of everything. This is our explenation of what has happened and our predictions of what will happen. It's a work in progress and there will be additions and alterations in the years to come. It's a story which is being written right now. Lets see how it ends shall we?".

Which I thought is a nice way to summarize science. Especially because it doesn't claim to have absolute understanding and knowledge.

What do you think? What does science mean to you?
 
Indeed, science should not replace religion in that it sets up rigid laws, enforced by a priesthood of scientists.

We should instead always forge ahead, and keep updating our ideas. History has shown us that sometimes the
definitive answer is not the first one we discover. Only open minds can thwart unthinking theocratic tyranny...

...
 
narrator said:
This is our theory of everything. This is our explenation of what has happened and our predictions of what will happen. It's a work in progress and there will be additions and alterations in the years to come. It's a story which is being written right now. Lets see how it ends shall we?

The problem with this quote is that it will only end if humanity is ever wiped out.
 
The problem with this quote is that it will only end if humanity is ever wiped out.
Well, there is a possibility that humans will figure out everything there is to figure out. That would be a sad day, so lets hope that never happens. We do need the drive to want to know how the story ends.
 
Well, there is a possibility that humans will figure out everything there is to figure out. That would be a sad day, so lets hope that never happens. We do need the drive to want to know how the story ends.

I don't think it's possible to figure out everything there is to figure out.

Didn't Godel's theorems hint at this?
 
I don't think it's possible to figure out everything there is to figure out.

Didn't Godel's theorems hint at this?
*googles Godel's theorems*

Quite complicated to grasp in the short time I have available right now, will check it out more in depth later. But it doesn't matter that much. As long as the drive is there.

I hope Godel is right though.
 
I don't think it's possible to figure out everything there is to figure out.

Didn't Godel's theorems hint at this?

No, Gödel's theorem says that there are true things that can't be figured out. Not that there would be things that can be figured out, but can not be figured out ;)
 
Think of science as an expanding sphere, inside of the sphere is everything we understand, and outside of the sphere is everything we don't understand. Early on the sphere is small and the surface area touching things we dont understand is also small... so we think we know a lot, but as our knowledge increases... that surface area touching things we dont understan also increases... making that saying, "the more you learn, the less you know" very true.
 
Didn't Godel's theorems hint at this?

No, not really. First, Godel's theorem is logic, not science. IIRC, Godel just proves that any formal logic system sophisticated enough to deal with arithmetic will be necessarily incomplete. That is, certain true statements within that system will be unprovable by that system. Second of all, and more importantly, it (and other famous examples of the limits of knowledge like the QM stuff) only sets the limits of knowledge. So, if we figure out everything that can be figured out, then we still might not know some QM stuff, but only because it is un-figure-out-able.

I do agree, however, that we will never know everything that there is to know, nor would we ever want to. And we probably can't. The combinatorial explosion involved in explaining large enough scale phenomena to sufficient accuracy, even if that stuff is in principle knowable, makes it unknowable for all practical purposes.
 
Considering the fact that there's still some unsolved problems in classical mechanics, the theory of everything, e.g. a theory which explains all of the forces of the universe, will not actually be able to explain everything. I always found the name silly.
 
I believe it's possible to know everything that is knowable. I don't think anyone has (can?) prove that that's impossible.
 
I believe it's possible to know everything that is knowable.

I don't just believe it, I believe it is necessarily the case, entailed in the definition of "knowable".
 
At the end of a show on the discoveries that led to the theory of the Big Bang, the narator closed with this remark:

"This is our theory of everything. This is our explenation of what has happened and our predictions of what will happen. It's a work in progress and there will be additions and alterations in the years to come. It's a story which is being written right now. Lets see how it ends shall we?".

Which I thought is a nice way to summarize science. Especially because it doesn't claim to have absolute understanding and knowledge.

What do you think? What does science mean to you?

In Ancient Greece Philosophers were seen as a sort of scientists as well. They had their theories about the creation/formation of the world as well. Some of these theories are still influencing modern scientists, some of these theories now seem of course quite ridiculous.
 
The whole Godel thing is kinda silly, really. It doesn't say that we can't understand the rules that govern everything or that we can't come up with a really kickass picture of the big bang or anything. What it or some other mathy thing (I don't understand what the hell Godel was talking about) says is we can't know what every particle is doing at all times, which is a lot different then not being able to have a complete narrative of the universe at a human understandable scale (something that would fit in a few volumes of books, for example) or a complete understanding of the laws at the small scale.
 
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