14
   

The problems with science

 
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Feb, 2019 08:23 pm
@BillRM,
The Wright had enough sense to learn the concepts of lift and drag as coined by George Cayley in 1852 ND they learned th nascent sciences behind manned gliders.
Langley,you remember, successfully flew two of his steam powered "Aerodromes" in 1899 . He was foulled up by not understanding the concepts involved in "scaling" (subjects we require engineering students to master by applying physics of similitude modelling).

Langley had achieved unmanned motorized flight before the Wrights, but the WRights did achieve Manned Motorized flight.(their first flights were nothing more than short glides).






Many people can ask the big questions,(even philosophers) but I doubt that philosophers will provide the big answers.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Feb, 2019 08:26 pm
@farmerman,
I am a professional engineer. I need to know math. I need to understand science. I work a lot with Gauss and Fourier. I do not need to understand anything about philosophy to do the engineering part of my job. (Yes, ethics are philosophy and important blah blah, but I have already explained the separation).

Engineering and science go hand and hand... and an engineer without a firm grasp of the science surrounding her field is pretty much useless.

farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Feb, 2019 08:41 pm
@maxdancona,
I always have engineers design our applied gizmos.

I usd to be a chemist before I became a rock knocker. I have a number of patents on titanium formulations and enrgetics using triple bonds. I dont think philosophers think like we do.
AS I said before, Im sure they could ask some big questions, but not provide big answers.
Im in applied sciences but my resaerch days involved providing answers by modelling of earth processes. Usually we had teams wherein everybody understood the bases and where we wanted to be and the disciplines we represented. W would **** up constantly, but that too was pqrt o the process of science. Many folks dont know or appreciate that we dont do forensics (say) in a 60 minute segment.
I remember working one whole year trying to extract tantalum from a scintered ore by crystallizing a new compound. I got really close and it didnt work. SO I picked up what I learned and made a modification and 6 months later, made the damn thing work.


0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Tue 12 Feb, 2019 10:22 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
Aristotle is a villain to physicists. His ideas about science kept us back for centuries.

That's little more than a cliché, but it is a philosophical cliché. So thanks for proving my point that scientist do philosophy, even when they are not aware about it... :-) Naive positivists such as yourself are like Molière's bourgeois gentilhomme, who spoke in prose without being aware of it.
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Tue 12 Feb, 2019 10:38 pm
What a bunch of headless positivists out there... And you wonder why less and less Americans believe in and adhere to science? No wonder, if that's the level of discourse from scientists in the US. The shallowness of thinking, the contempt for history and logic, the hubris is palpable...

Good luck with such a fake philosophy.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Feb, 2019 11:35 pm
@Olivier5,
Now now, dont make me go look up "headless positivism" . You guys are as neological as some arts juries. (I dont know whether to laugh or feel offended).


Quote:
the contempt for history and logic, the hubris is palpable...
Really got you angry eh ? Why not focus your efforts to find out why internet debate has gotten so blindly and ferociously tribal.


Whenever you get on your red eyed high horse theres no further desire for me to continue talking.





fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Feb, 2019 01:06 am
I draw correspondents attention to the OP which implied that 'science' ultimately rested on 'belief in axioms'.
That point is most certainly a philosophical issue, which fuels a 'realism - antirealism' debate. But that debate is dismissed as futile by philosophers who call themselves 'pragmatists' who argue that science is about 'what works' for humanity; and that philosophy has nothing authoritative to contribute to epistemology.
So in terms of epistemology, Feynman would be 'correct' in his statement from the pragmatists pov. But there still remains the ethical (philosophical) issue about 'what works', which Feynman himself wrestled with when contributing to the Manhatten Project.
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  0  
Reply Wed 13 Feb, 2019 01:31 am
@farmerman,
Hey, Famerman of "water dissiociates in space" fame... :-)

One of the reasons behind message board ferocity may a lack of ethics in these debates. E.g. posters spewing obvious idiocies and fake news, and getting away with it.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Feb, 2019 05:55 am
@Olivier5,
I let that discussion for exactly the reaon Im leaving this one. You seem to know so much and are willing to put others down to exhault yourself. You were speaking about all the chemistry courses you took. I didnt play a hemist on tv, I was one.
The discussion was that set brought up the dissociation of water on the Martian urface an you started (based upon some love affair you have with certain pople) to preach about no dissociation in space. I think I went as far as I thought youd unerstand because I want gonna discuss Casimir and Casimir- effects that make dissociation and Hydrogen fuel a reality on MArs

WHY??
Casimir effect dictates water dissociation at 10-^^2-4 mm/Hg in a zeolite bed. Mars is fulla zeolite beds because of old volcanoes. In a vacuum with an anergy gradient pprovided by the vacuum and in a sunlight temp of around 150 C, we would have a generator for H2 fuel.

I believe we were talking aboutMars. Its a self generating field and the vacuum of which you were so righteous sounding can be porovided by just bagging atmosphere or taking the zeolites to the first level of a high terrain that can be set up to face the sun several hours a day.

I think we wwre in the level of "what could we do on Mars for various things we need". Set said that water dissociates (nd ionizes) in the l vacuum. I agreed with him but didnt feel particularly enthusiastic about continuing on. If you wish to discuss this ,PM me. because getting into a Franka Pizza , 6 page cluster **** aint my style.


I also remembera certain assertion by you about Neanderthal genes going out of the genome. (I decided to not pepper you with paleogenetics stuff from Max Planck Inst.
Leave me alone and just go on your way if you dont wanna be less pompous sounding . I dont engage in cluster fucks beyond maybe 4 or 5 posts in rebuttal. I wasnt always that way, Its a learned thing. Be a grownup and if you agree to disagree, fine. Anyway Most P chem is quite boring and loaded with dead ends. Same thing with conversations about **** that maybe only 20 people world wide work on.
Olivier5
 
  0  
Reply Wed 13 Feb, 2019 08:13 am
@farmerman,
Whatever.
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Feb, 2019 12:27 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

In order for it to be a scientific question, it has to be defined in a way that is measurable mathematically... so that it can be used to make predictions. If you can't test your answers by making predictions then it isn't science.



Wow, so many biologists just lost their science cred. Imagine asking how Mitochondrial DNA might prove maternal ancestry but not have a mathematically predictable equation to prove it. So much for science!
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Wed 13 Feb, 2019 01:00 pm
Quote:
Natural philosophy

Natural philosophy or philosophy of nature (from Latin philosophia naturalis) was the philosophical study of nature and the physical universe that was dominant before the development of modern science. It is considered to be the precursor of natural science.

From the ancient world, starting with Aristotle, to the 19th century, natural philosophy was the common term for the practice of studying nature. It was in the 19th century that the concept of "science" received its modern shape with new titles emerging such as "biology" and "biologist", "physics" and "physicist" among other technical fields and titles; institutions and communities were founded, and unprecedented applications to and interactions with other aspects of society and culture occurred.[1]

Isaac Newton's book Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687), whose title translates to "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy", reflects the then-current use of the words "natural philosophy", akin to "systematic study of nature". Even in the 19th century, a treatise by Lord Kelvin and Peter Guthrie Tait, which helped define much of modern physics, was titled Treatise on Natural Philosophy (1867).


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_philosophy
Olivier5
 
  0  
Reply Wed 13 Feb, 2019 01:12 pm
@Olivier5,
So science was born out of philosophy. And like a child who wants to affirm her independence, she has ever since tried to take a distance from her mother, including sometimes by being grossly unfair or even insulting to her.

This said, since the birth of modern science in the 19th century, philosophy herself has evolved and taken a distance with facts and logic, sometimes straying very far into nonsense, e.g. Hegel, Heidegger or Derrida, so that could also explain some scientists' disdain.

I recommend reading Karl Popper, if one wants to appreciate how philosophy of science can be useful to scientists. Particularly “An argument for indeterminism”, perhaps his most brilliant book on the subject of science.
livinglava
 
  0  
Reply Wed 13 Feb, 2019 03:51 pm
@Olivier5,
Olivier5 wrote:

So science was born out of philosophy. And like a child who wants to affirm her independence, she has ever since tried to take a distance from her mother, including sometimes by being grossly unfair or even insulting to her.

This said, since the birth of modern science in the 19th century, philosophy herself has evolved and taken a distance with facts and logic, sometimes straying very far into nonsense, e.g. Hegel, Heidegger or Derrida, so that could also explain some scientists' disdain.

I recommend reading Karl Popper, if one wants to appreciate how philosophy of science can be useful to scientists. Particularly “An argument for indeterminism”, perhaps his most brilliant book on the subject of science.

When you take discursive categories and reify them using metaphors like this one, you are only cementing the notion that discourses themselves are systems of collective control for the philosophical foundations of the knowledge produced within the discourse. In reality, there doesn't have to be any internal cohesion within any scientific discipline. Anyone can learn to understand some science and think independently about the topics covered by it. E.g. you may learn that there are different types of rock and then go out rock-hunting and classify the rocks you find according to whether they're sedimentary or igneous or metamorphic. By applying scientific knowledge like this, even in basic, informal ways; you are practicing the same kind of naturalism and natural philosophy that gave rise to science. You may not ever get a job at a research university with the work you do, but ultimately science is science. It's just some scientists are more oriented toward status and professional achievement than others. It takes all kinds.
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Feb, 2019 03:58 pm
@livinglava,
Hey, it was only a metaphor...
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Feb, 2019 04:24 pm
@McGentrix,
Quote:
Imagine asking how Mitochondrial DNA might prove maternal ancestry but not have a mathematically predictable equation to prove it. So
Actually the cause and effect of y and mitochondrial DNa and their contributions were discovered via statistical inference.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Feb, 2019 04:34 pm
Heres a bit about the origin o the title "scientist" by a scholar in the history of Science. This was a segment in an NPR "SCience Friday "program


Quote:
Today we discuss the words used in science , the history, the story of how a scientific word came to be. And what better place to start off our series of Science Diction with the word scientist. How did the word scientist come to be?

Joining us now to talk more about that is my guest Howard Markel. He's professor of the history of medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He's also director of the Center for the History of Medicine there. And he joins us from WUOM out there in Ann Arbor. Welcome back to SCIENCE FRIDAY.

Dr. HOWARD MARKEL (University of Michigan): Well, thanks for having me, Ira.

FLATOW: The history of the word scientist. Scientist is not that old a word, is it?

Dr. MARKEL: No. I was really amazed. It's only about 176 years old, to be precise. It came around in 1834. And a Cambridge University historian and philosopher of science named William (technical difficulties) coined it.

FLATOW: William, again? We missed that name.

Dr. MARKEL: William Whewell. It's spelled W-H-E-W-E-L-L. And he (technical difficulties) science, and it was an early point in science, at least experimental science, when a lot of the game rules were actually being developed. So he was really quite an umpire and was consulting with people like Darwin and Faraday and a lot of other prominent scientists that we idolize today.

FLATOW: Mm-hmm. And so how did they get around to using that word?

Dr. MARKEL: Well, no one really knew what to call a scientist. There was all these different names like cultivators of science and...

FLATOW: Wasn't there a natural philosopher used?

Dr. MARKEL: Natural philosopher, yes. And so he thought - you know, there's a lot of consilience. In other words, he came up with a lot of jumping together of all fields of science. And we ought to come up with a word that refers to all of them. And so he was actually writing in 1834. He came up with (technical difficulties) terms. The first he considered was savant, or men of learning. But he dismissed that for both being presumptuous and French. He was British, as you recall. He also considered the German term naturforscher, which is really naturalist. But he worried that some might make fun of that term, calling it nature-poker or nature-peeper. And as you just mentioned, natural philosopher was dismissed because it was simply too wide and too lofty a term.

But eventually he came up with, by analogy with artist, that they might (technical difficulties) word scientist. But he had a few qualms about that because it was close to a few other words that were not held in high regard. The first was economist. That may still be true to this day. And the other was atheist, which was a real problematic term back in those days. But he came back to it, nevertheless and he said, you know, I think this is a word, a cultivator of science in general ought to be called a scientist.

And a review of his work in Blackwell's magazine later on that year, in 1840, described it even better. They said Leonardo da Vinci was mentally a seeker after truth. He was a scientist. Well, Correggio, who as you may recall like to play with lightness and (technical difficulties) so the size of body parts, was an asserter of truth. He was an artist.

FLATOW: Hmm. How did he get to be friends with all those famous people, Faraday, Darwin?

Dr. MARKEL: Well, he was the master of Trinity College at Cambridge, so he had a very good position. He was also a fairly good scientist in his own right. He was a mineralogist. He wrote about geology. He wrote about oceanic tides, mathematics. So he was around.

And he was actually writing a book that became very well known, "The Philosophy of the Inductive Science," at this time, where he was trying to set up - how do you come up with a hypothesis? How do you prove it? Should it be universal? And you know, this all seems, you know, so basic to us today. But (technical difficulties) back in 1830s, 1840s, when real science, as we understand it, was just being laid out.

FLATOW: 1-800-989-8255 is our number, if you'd like to talk with Howard Markel about the origin of the word scientist.

Howard, how do you come up with this stuff?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Dr. MARKEL: Well, I'm afraid to tell you because it's so easy. You may not ask me to come back. We want to look up a word, any word in English language. The best place to start is the Oxford English Dictionary because it not only gives you definitions of the word, but it tells you every point in English history where it first appeared.

FLATOW: Yeah.

Dr. MARKEL: (Technical difficulties) look it up. But that's the fun of it because you never know what you're going to find, and it's always something good, and you find all these connections. And so finding out about that scientist was a relatively new word led to Whewell's works and then it led to me finding about who his friends were and so on. I even learned that he died, unfortunately, falling off a horse at the age of 71. But it's really just - you know, you start with that Oxford English Dictionary and you're off to the races. And so, you know, it's so much fun looking up things. So I hope the listeners want to do that as well.

FLATOW: You know, it seems like there was sort of an evolution. The first words that you mentioned were - ended in ER, nature-poker, nature-peeper, natural philosopher. And now it seems like you take the words and you put an ist, scientist, naturalist, you know, biologist.

Dr. MARKEL: Yeah - biologist, geologist.

FLATOW: Yeah. They just decide, well, we're going to go with that kind of ending. We'll take the same things - the discipline that these people do, put an ist on it instead.

Dr. MARKEL: Well, what's really neat is that it all comes from the word artist. And you know, often there's great art in great science, just as there often is great science in great art. I think it's a really neat coming together (technical difficulties)...

glitterbag
 
  2  
Reply Thu 14 Feb, 2019 02:53 am
@farmerman,
Do you ever get the notion that some people only read as far as it takes to acertain they are actually brilliant? Kind of like reading your horoscope in the paper to plan the day.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Feb, 2019 03:51 am
@glitterbag,
I dont believe that evreybody does that because, as Ive found in my own BS, I often am guilty of just repeating versions of some of my course work.
I do believe that none of us embrace our ignorance enough, thats one of the reasons I love debating ID .

On A2k, I can really only think of about 3 folks who were convinced of their utter "Brilliance" and others ignorance and so far theyve been out of here for a year or more.
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Thu 14 Feb, 2019 11:18 pm
Science is a method, combining a belief in the value of observation (aka empiricism) with a belief in the value of human reason, logic and mathematics (aka rationalism), and assuming that human reason can make sense of observations.

Of course science is also a practice, an occupation, a job. And you can do it without being aware of science's philosophical foundations. Just do the experiment and note the results, mechanically. But what you are doing then, is still justified by the value of human observations. That why they pay ypu to do the experiment and record observations: because there is value in that.

Therefore, science involves values. These are promoted through education, training, but also an ethic of science, e.g. don't misrepresent or fake observations, don't plagiarise other scientists, and don't mirepresent what other scientists are saying. These 'commendments' are there because they are useful in the pursuit of truth. Without them, confusion would arise rather than clarity, like with the climate change denial business, where people are paid to lie in order to confuse both scientists and the public. Unethical = ineffective in the pursuit of truth.

So when farmerman misrepresent his and my past positions and disagreements, he is being unethitical and unscientific. And as a result he is confusing everybody and undermining the pursuit of truth.
 

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