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Can we really believe anything about science?

  1. greeneyedblondie profile image79
    greeneyedblondieposted 15 months ago

    Try not to get too mad! This is something to think about, no need to spew hate speech at anyone that reads this. Please keep that in mind.

    Most science is just the explaination of stuff we already know, like the newton's three laws. There are other scientific explanations that try to make sense of the world using evidence. One of the biggest (and probably the most controversial ones that comes to mind) is evolution.

    I had one science teacher explain to me, that when science finds "new" evidence of something else that disproves a theory, the theory is abandoned. To me, this means if someone ever find the 100% complete and total proof on how the universe and everything was created that disproves the theory of evolution, no one would talk about evolution anymore. All that energy, all that work, all the effort for over a century trying to prove it would be a complete waste.

    Not following me? Think about the atom. Over the last several hundred years there have been several different ways scientists absoulutly knew what the atom looked like. Even since the year 2000 or so a scientist came up with what we now "know" it looks like. Dozens of thoughts are like this. Like they said in the movie Men in Black (the first one), "A thousand years ago everybody knew as a fact, that the earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, they knew it was flat."

    Think about the medicine they were inflicting on people 50 years ago, 100 years ago, 300 years ago. We "knew" what worked and what didn't. We laugh at people back in history. Even just a few decades ago we can laugh at "what little we knew" about the human body, medicine, space, the earth, everything. 50, 100, and 300 years from now we'll be laughing at how little we knew in 2015.

    So, since everything about science is always changing, so we believe it at all?

    1. Live to Learn profile image81
      Live to Learnposted 15 months ago in reply to this

      We believe it in order to test it and, if correct, build on it. If incorrect we are that much closer to finding out an answer which is correct.

      Unfortunately, too many people aren't willing to test and discover. They accept what they are told and will cling to that until they are told something else. Those who have told them what to believe gain some enjoyment from the fact that everyone believes them to have had an answer and they will work diligently against new ideas and change.

    2. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 15 months ago in reply to this

      There are always several choices as to what should be believed:
      That which has the best evidence supporting it.
      That which we want to believe, whether true or not is irrelevant.
      That which has been believed in the past, with or without supporting evidence.

      We all make our own choice.  In your example of evolution, we can believe what our research and learning tells us or we can believe words passed down verbally for many generations ending up in a book known to have multiple, egregious errors.  The choice is ours to make.

  2. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
    Kathryn L Hillposted 15 months ago

    This is an interesting observation G. E. Blond.

    I find that humans are very prone to act oh so authoritative in general.

    For one example: teachers. They are prone to seem extremely authoritative.
    They will never admit that they are actually winging it. Every single minute they must excel at a skill called "thinking on your feet..." all the while acting as though they really truly KNOW it ALL! 
    Yay teachers. Where would we be if it wasn't for their ability to SEEM authoritative/confident despite their deepest insecurities and doubts regarding oh so many facets of what they are teaching and doing?
    Most teachers of, course, are the last to admit this. If they do admit it, I would be very surprised. This attitude of over-the-top authority is so prevalent and we are so used to it, it is hard for most to fathom what you are even talking about.
    Scientists will never say: " We are not one hundred percent sure …" or  "Of course, there is no way to actually verify our theories in reality …" or some such disclaimer.

    I agree, they really need to admit to the truth of the matter at the end of their lengthy and incredible explanations. I also appreciate knowing who came up with the theories, formulas, suppositions and why. The history of scientific discovery, original research and thought, science books usually leave out. I love the HISTORY and thought behind all scientific discoveries as much as the discoveries themselves.

    1. greeneyedblondie profile image79
      greeneyedblondieposted 15 months ago in reply to this

      I like what you're saying. It's true I think for pretty much every adult. Everyone is just trying to figure life out yet they never mention that to children, so 17-21 year old end up in shock when they realize adults don't know anything.

      With teachers, I had the same thoughts for years. I'm now going to a small high school. At first the teachers were all the same as the ones in large high schools but we recently had 75% all new teachers fresh out of college, and they are openly and ready to admit things they don't know. It feels great, like they're human, not all knowing beings.

  3. psycheskinner profile image81
    psycheskinnerposted 15 months ago

    I am not entirely sure of the argument here.  If, for example, you get cancer you can't just wait until there is a perfect cure for cancer in a thousand years or so.  You look at the various treatments and their outcomes as best we have measured them, and how they are effected by the exact type and stage of cancer, your age, race etc.  Then you pick the one that, according to the best evidence we have, is most likely to save your life.  That is science, not perfect but better than just giving up or doing stuff randomly..

    1. mrpopo profile image86
      mrpopoposted 15 months ago in reply to this

      If "most" science is stuff we already know, is "some" of science stuff we don't know? Don't quite understand this statement.

      As far as I know all scientific inquiries utilize (or attempt to utilize) evidence-based reasoning, including Newton's 3 Laws. Otherwise they are unlikely to have good predictive ability or to be testable, making them poor scientific explanations.

      Sure. What would such evidence look like?

      That's how science works. An argument can be made that science is not in the business of proving theories, it is in the business of trying to falsify theories. The best theories are the ones able to accurately explain, test and predict phenomena consistently. Calling it a complete waste when you disprove a theory is kind of silly as this is the whole point of the scientific method. I've heard it called a natural selection of scientific theory - only the fittest theories survive.

      If it takes centuries to disprove a theory or find flaws in it, it's probable the theory was actually pretty good under most testing conditions. For instance, though obsolete, Newtonian physics is a decent approximation of relativistic physics at low speeds relative to light.

      Are you sure they claimed to know "absolutely" what the atom looked like? I was always under the impression that for the most part they implicitly understood and practiced the Socratic principle of "I know one thing: that I know nothing." For example:

      "I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I'm not absolutely sure about anything."
      - Richard Feynman

      If they had absolute knowledge about a scientific theory, what would be the point of testing the theory?

      "In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.
      - Karl Popper

      Can you give me an example of a scientist who claimed to have absolute truth or knowledge?

      I think this raises an interesting point about scientific application and how we can utilize it morally. But a few examples would be necessary to begin this discussion.

      1. greeneyedblondie profile image79
        greeneyedblondieposted 15 months ago in reply to this

        "Are you sure they claimed to know "absolutely" what the atom looked like?"
        Scientists might not say so, but science teachers sure like to point it out. They say, "This is what an atom looks like," not "Scientists conclude this may be what an atom looks like." Maybe it's the way we teach things that's the problem...a good thinking topic, right?

  4. janesix profile image73
    janesixposted 15 months ago

    We believe in the scientific method. We take as a model those theories which have the best evidence, and change our models as new evidence is presented.

    There are those of course who believe in specific theories like dogma, and those who believe anything scientists say, without evaluating the evidence for themselves.

  5. quicksand profile image85
    quicksandposted 15 months ago

    The brilliance of Newton caused some amazing discoveries and these will never undergo any changes. All of them have been proven beyond any shade of doubt and so will remain unchanged forever. As for the atom, its basic behavior under different conditions and its structure and composition have yet to be totally uncovered. Via the recent Hadron Collider experiments performed in Cern, they have made heavy inroads into discovering more of nature's secrets.

    On a different track the theories of evolution are assumptions made by examining the uniformity in the changes in the patterns of bone and skull structures. Here it is amazing how they were able to figure the periods of time associated with their finds. In this field too there could be newer discoveries that could change the present existing beliefs.