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Offline pantodragon

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Do science and philosophy have a future?
« on: 07/02/2013 15:56:44 »



From where I’m standing the answer is, “Maybe,” but not as things are now.  If things go on the way they are I predict that science and philosophy will enter an ice-age. i.e. people will go cold on them, and the subjects themselves will become sterile and unproductive.

In the first place, science is building up a huge backlog of unfulfilled promises.  Where is the cure for cancer?  What’s going to happen when antibiotics fail?  Why are so many diseases that we thought we had got rid of, returning?  Why have computers not made life easier?  Why are we having to cut back on fuel consumption, turn down down our radiators, restrict our use of all sorts of resources?

If you stand outside the sciences, stand well back and refuse to ‘take sides’, then you can see science as just another belief system.  Then, like almost every other belief system science, too, has its ‘creation myths’ and its holy books and its ‘saints/prophets/holy men’ and a system of ethics that it imposes on its adherents.

If you do that then the ‘creation myth’ of science is the story of the Big Bang and the evolution of the universe right down to the ‘creation’, by evolution, of the first people.  The interesting bit as far as this post is concerned is the evolution of the universe, and, in particular, its predicted fate.

Creation myths are unique to their religions because they are talking about the people who created or adopt those religions.

Take e.g. the ‘flood’ which occurs in the Old Testament and therefore in the mythologies of Judaism and Christianity (and Islam?).  One of the problems with the Judaic religions is the belief that God can see every thought and every feeling.  One is ‘naked before God’ (something that Adam and Eve discovered and it lost them the Garden of Eden!)  If a person comes from a different culture or belief system and converts to one of the Judaic religions then they pretty soon come up against this feeling of being exposed.   For example, there is going to be a day when a person gets fed up and the thought flashes into their head, “I hate this b----y God!” – oops, but God hears and sees all – he heard that thought!  Suddenly you become VERY aware of how NAKED you are before God, and it is fearful.  You don’t want to have any more of those ‘bad’ thoughts – but, oh dear, you’re plunging into a psychological phenomenon that you can’t control, and the more you try to control it the worse it gets; the  more you ‘fear’ those ‘bad’ thoughts the more they pop into your head, and the WORSE they get!  Everything just escalates: the number of thoughts, the emotionalism and the awfulness of the content of the thoughts, and if there are any thoughts that you feel you would REALLY rather not think about God then those are the ones that will fill your head – after a while the things you will be thinking about God will make “I hate this b----y God!” seem like a complement by comparison!  This becomes an emotional trauma and that is what the ‘flood’ is.

(An aside: I said you cannot control these thoughts and feelings, but you can.  The problem is actually the emotions.  It is emotions that hang onto things, whether it’s nightmares, voices-in-the-head, hallucinations, out-of-control thoughts,  phobias, whatever.  Calm down and the problem will go away, and the way to calm down is to meditate.  Zen Buddhist meditation is good, where you let the thoughts and feeling come, acknowledge them, and then let them go.  If it’s a really bad problem then it could take years of calming down to completely cure it, but it WILL work, and all the time things will be improving and you will be able to see it happening.)

Anyway, back to the creation myth of science: the Big Bang and the evolution of the universe.

The universe is expanding, according to science, and its final fate depends on the amount of matter it contains: if the universe contains too much matter, then it will expand to a certain point then it will stop, turn around, and begin to contract.  It will then all end in a huge implosion (-- with the possibility of another Big Bang and a new universe.)  If the universe contains too little matter then it will go on expanding and it will get colder and colder until, basically, the whole universe freezes up and dies.  If there is just the right amount of matter then the universe will hit a balance point where it will not longer go on expanding, but will not contract; it will reach a stable size and stay that way for all eternity.  (This is, of course, why ‘dark matter’ is so very interesting: current best estimates put the universe in the ‘too small’ category which means it will implode; dark matter, however, may save the day by bringing the total content up to the balance point.)

If one interprets this myth it says this: ideas in science start like a Big Bang, a unique event with a subsequent flurry of activity among scientists that creates a ‘new universe’.

For example, when Newton’s Laws were discovered/invented that was a Big Bang that opened up the whole universe of classical physics – physicist were able to use those laws to give a mathematical description of a whole new conception of the universe and to make predictions and provide explanations and so on.  Basically there was a flurry of activity that resulted in the collection of text books that describe the universe according to classical physics.

Maxwell’s Equations were another Big Bang.

Quantum Theory was, of course, another; and General Relativity.

(Another aside, being an account of the genesis of quantum theory: the birth of quantum theory as described in the text books goes like this: classical theory was having problems accounting for the photoelectric effect and Max Plank and Einstein provided the solution by introducing the idea of radiation travelling in ‘packets’, quanta, rather than as waves.  The quantisation of radiation was taken up first by Schrödinger who, apart from having a famous cat, took things half way with his Wave Mechanics, then by Dirac and others who went the full hog and produced Quantum Theory.  The trouble is this is all rather too neat and, as far as I have been able to understand, misrepresents what actually happened.  In fact there had been a lot of stuff done by other, now forgotten, physicists, which had been accumulating until there was enough to generate a complete new theory.  People like Einstein, Dirac, and all the others were widely read, knew their subjects inside out and had accumulated in their minds all the relevant stuff, until – Bang, it all came together in the birth of a new idea.  Another image for this sort of thing is the ‘birth’ of a star: material accumulates in a cloud of gas, a nebula, until there is enough that gravity begins to pull it all together.  It will still go on accumulating mass, drawing in more material, until it reaches a certain gravitational mass and then, boomph, it collapses into a dense ball and ‘switches’ on i.e. start to shine like the sun.  So, Einstein et al were in the ‘fortunate’ position to come along when enough material had accumulated to form a ‘new star’, a new theory of physics, and their ‘genius’ lay in absorbing all the right material.)


To return to the ‘Big Bangs’ of classical physics, quantum theory and so on: each of these created a ‘new’ universe and gave employment to physicists as they explored and described it and sussed out its possibilities and developed them.

The question is this: does quantum theory contain enough material to implode and lead to another Big Bang?  Or Quantum Theory and General Relativity combined?

I have to admit that I have always seen the TOE (theory of everything = tying up Gravity with all the other forces, like electromagnetism, strong and weak nuclear etc = uniting quantum theory with general relativity.) as a sort of death sentence for physics – I mean, once you’ve got a Theory of Everything, where do you go from there?  It seems rather like a ‘Job Done’.  But as I write this I see that the TOE could be another Big Bang that, on the contrary, could give physics a new lease of life.

--and here we have multiple universes: each new Big Bang in physics leads to a new universe: the universe according to quantum theory, the universe according to classical physics etc.  One might speculate how one can, IF one can, move between these universes.  One can certainly get from quantum theory to classical theory (quantum theory reduces to classical theory in the limit of large size, i.e. when you move from dealing with atoms to dealing with billiard balls or planets.), but I do not think one can go the other way, from classical to quantum theory – this could give meaning to the phenomenon of the Black Hole.

On the other hand, there are some people of whom one says, “Nothing escapes him.”  If this was the likes of Dirac, Bohr, Einstein, then the Black Hole (which is a gravitational phenomenon from which nothing can escape, not even light.) might be a metaphor that describes how their minds work – all the stuff they read going in and swirling down the Black Holes of their minds until enough has gone down to generate a Big Bang, i.e. a new theory.  That would imply that the other ends of Black Holes would be the seeds of new universes – that is a very neat thought.  It leads to a nice image of how universes form and where. 

Anyway, the fate of physics depends on the amount of material quantum theory has managed to accumulate, or quantum theory and General Relativity between them.

My feeling is that it is insufficient.

To put this in more mundane terms, you need ‘material’ to be creative with.  Every artist and writer knows the horror of the ‘blank’, white page.  On the other hand, if you do what Tolkein did, i.e. you take as your starting material all the mythologies of the Norse and Germanic cultures, along with the likes of the Ring of the Nibelung, which has already worked the same material, and the imagination takes off and end up creating, in considerable detail, a whole new world with a history and mythology and with many cultures and languages etc.

So, to me, physics does not seem to provide enough.  When I look at where physics has gone over the last half century or more, well, it seems to be more or less at a stand-still, to be honest.  The theoreticians beaver away and every once in a VERY long while come up with a new idea, like ‘strings’, which never seems to go anywhere much.  And the experimentalists beaver away looking for the fundamental constituents of matter trying to reach ever higher energies and shorter time intervals, and once in a VERY long while they detect a new particle, which does not seem to me to actually be going anywhere.

In fact, High Energy physics seems to me to have gotten into a sort of Mandelbrot set situation.  Whenever they find a set of seemingly fundamental particles, they just go to higher energies and shorter time intervals and find that these fundamental particles actually break down into another set of even smaller, shorter lived particles.  So, you have at one time a nice array of particles which fall into a nice neat pattern, and you think, “that’s it”, then you take a closer look, which in terms of physics means going to higher energies and shorter time intervals, and low and behold, each particle turns into patterns and arrays of new, smaller, shorter lived particles. (It’s not EXACTLY a Mandelbrot set, but something similar.)

When you sit outside of all this and look in, you are tempted to believe that this could go on forever.  There IS no end; there ARE no fundamental constituents of matter.

And at this point I suddenly think I am spotting an ‘old friend’ putting in an appearance again: it is the conflict that goes back to the time of the Ancient Greeks: is the universe made of indivisible particles, or is it continuous and endlessly divisible?

In Ancient Greeks times it was a conflict, but in modern times the conflict has been resolved by creating a synthesis of the two ideas i.e. by having a universe that is BOTH particulate and continuous.  So, in Classical Physics the particulate universe manifested as Newtonian physics, while the continuum manifested as Maxwell’s Equations which describe electromagnetic radiation as a wave.

In Quantum Theory, the synthesis is even closer: it manifests in wave/particle duality i.e. in the idea that both energy and matter take the form of particles, quanta, which can behave as waves or as particles, depending on circumstances.  This also raises the interesting notion that nature ‘responds to the question you ask it’, which means that if you ask a question about particles (i.e. design an experiment to measure some attribute of particles) then nature will tell you about particles, and if you ask a question about waves, then nature will tell you about waves.  Thus particles, say electrons, will behave like particles if you design an experiment to test for particles, but will behave like waves if you design an experiment to test for waves.

So, what I am seeing now is this: fundamental particles are indivisible particles within one level of energy, one level of the Mandelbrot set, but there IS NO smallest particle, no fundamental constituent of matter so that you will be able to go on endlessly looking for smaller and smaller particles and you will find them – always supposing you can build the equipment necessary to create and detect them.



 

Offline RD

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Re: Do science and philosophy have a future?
« Reply #1 on: 07/02/2013 16:41:49 »
In your criticism of science above you use the term “ice age”, a phenomenon only known via scientific discovery in geology, and in part made explicable by astronomy.

So if it wasn’t for science you’d have to come up with a analogy other than “ice age" to bash science, ( and another means of communicating your anti-science views other than the computer in front of you ). 

... Why are so many diseases that we thought we had got rid of, returning?

Evolution : random mutant bacteria/viruses occur who are not susceptible to current treatment.
As the treatments are man-made then I suppose, by default,  it's evolutution by artificial selection , rather than evolutution by natural selection which creates so-called "superbugs".


Why are we having to cut back on fuel consumption, turn down down our radiators

In-part fear of nuclear power created by anti-science advocates, despite it being less hazardous to people than fossil fuel ...
Quote
The anti-nuclear movement ...  has been criticized for overstating the negative effects of nuclear power and understating the environmental costs of non-nuclear sources that can be prevented through nuclear energy
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiscience#Political_antiscience
« Last Edit: 07/02/2013 16:45:32 by RD »
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: Do science and philosophy have a future?
« Reply #2 on: 07/02/2013 23:38:12 »
Isn't it about power and money? :)
Every time something change something else have to give way to it. Most often outdated beliefs and value systems. although we have some ideal ethical ideas defined, as democracy for example, our reality as individuals seems defined from power, politics and money. And as we have a system in where money defines your worth to society, and please don't start arguing about that one :) with no question asked about ethics etc, there is no guarantee for those 'forces' being able to adapt to new situations, as global warming. Instead they will slow the necessary actions down, as far as possible to adapt their power bases to 'new energies' etc, and argue for the ones already established.

One should never confuse money with intelligence.
 

Offline CPT ArkAngel

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Re: Do science and philosophy have a future?
« Reply #3 on: 08/02/2013 01:02:55 »
Unfortunately, money can't buy intelligence.

The fact is that the leaders are rarely on top for this matter, but they have the 'rights' to change your life without asking your permission.

Truth and intelligence is just not important unless there is some profits to get out of it.

We need to change many wrong paradigms that plague our systems and our lives.
« Last Edit: 08/02/2013 02:37:46 by CPT ArkAngel »
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Do science and philosophy have a future?
« Reply #4 on: 08/02/2013 07:48:30 »
When considering the past, present, and future of science, keep in mind that you are typing this message on a computer, rather than having it transcribed and distributed by a group of monks working by candlelight.  In the past, the lifetime achievement of a monk might be transcribing one copy of one book.

Also, consider your flush toilet, hot shower, electric lights, all were created with a combination of science and engineering. 

The future?
No idea.
But, I would imagine that the world will be declared Polio-Free in the next couple of decades. 

There will continue to be a battle between bugs and drugs.  But, I certainly wouldn't want to go back a century to a period prior to antibiotics, and vaccines.  Nor would I wish to experience surgery without anesthetics which failed far more frequently than it succeeded. 

Perhaps you could think of the 20th and 21st century as the centuries of hubris, symbolized by the sinking of a little boat in 1912.  A period of time when man has thought that we could build anything, do anything.  But, periodically getting reminders that the unsinkable just sunk.

Will cancer be "cured" in the near future?  Probably not.  But, the survival rate is slowly increasing as therapies are improved.  However, an aging population and slowly increasing lifespans will continue to put a larger portion of the population at risk. 

One could probably cure cancer with eugenics, but nobody is willing to take that step.  It is hard enough to convince people not to smoke due to the risk of cancer, emphysema, and other diseases caused by smoking.

There may be a point where many of the major scientific discoveries have already been found.  So, the telescope has been discovered, the microscope, electricity, electromagnets, etc.  Yet, it is also a time where we have unprecedented tools for scientific exploration. 

Merely 400 years ago, the first 4 of Jupiter's moons were discovered by Galileo Galilei.  Now we have the Hubble telescope, 2 pioneer deep space probes, 2 voyager deep space probes, and several robots roaming around on the surface of Mars.  The information we can get from these devices is unprecedented in history.  Whether or not astronomy will make a real impact on humanity, other than wetting our curiosity, only time will tell.  One branch of astronomy is predicting and preventing a catastrophic asteroid collision with Earth.  It may or may not be successful.  We may or may not need it for another 65 million years.  However, even astronomy could have a huge impact on our future (or prevent one).  Not to mention, of course, that many of the rockets sent to space control everything from basic communication to weather forecasts.

Basic science often leads to discovers far beyond the original concepts being considered.

Who'd have thunk that a basic semiconductor, not a good conductor, not a good insulator, but a semiconductor would have been vital for everything in life from getting your dishes clean in the evening to talking to your mother-in-law (at a safe distance).
« Last Edit: 08/02/2013 07:51:19 by CliffordK »
 

lean bean

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Re: Do science and philosophy have a future?
« Reply #5 on: 10/02/2013 18:22:51 »
In the first place, science is building up a huge backlog of unfulfilled promises.  Where is the cure for cancer? 
Where else are you looking, if not science?

Quote
What’s going to happen when antibiotics fail? 
What do you suggest we do now? Have you a lead on a new direction?

Quote
Why are so many diseases that we thought we had got rid of, returning? 
At all times we are only human, doing the best we can at the time.
What do you suggest?
 
Quote
Why have computers not made life easier? 
I don’t get this?
 Do you suggest back to paper, pen and abacus?
For one thing, computers number crunch very fast and because of that they are very handy in designing, technology. Things which would take years in calculating manually are answered quickly, so you have medical scanners today and not still to come.
Have a look around your house and see what electronic device hasn’t got a chip in it, micro-chips are designed by computer. So that's planes, ships and all chip using things.

Quote
Why are we having to cut back on fuel consumption,
Because science wasn’t good enough in the ‘stone age’, and so since then we have used wood, coal and gas. And we use science to reach the limited amounts of these on the planet.  People may think we are storing-up trouble if we use nuclear, but how would we know about fission and fusion power if it wasn’t for science? 
And by using science and computers we get to design better wind turbines, solar cells and reactors.


 
Quote
If you do that then the ‘creation myth’ of science is the story of the Big Bang
Can you give a link to where any scientist says the big bang theoryis fact ? It’s an idea with good logical foundation. Like all ideas it can change with the findings of new observations and experiment. Science evolves.

Quote
I mean, once you’ve got a Theory of Everything, where do you go from there?  It seems rather like a ‘Job Done’.  But as I write this I see that the TOE could be another Big Bang that, on the contrary, could give physics a new lease of life.
That’s right, science is open-ended and rides on a bumpy road.
It may be your personal idea that science should be an instant knight in shining armour or an instant seventh cavalry to the rescue, but in the real world it’s all we logically got.
 

Offline pantodragon

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Re: Do science and philosophy have a future?
« Reply #6 on: 11/02/2013 15:33:17 »
1)  In your criticism of science above you use the term “ice age”, a phenomenon only known via scientific discovery in geology, and in part made explicable by astronomy.

2)  So if it wasn’t for science you’d have to come up with a analogy other than “ice age" to bash science, ( and another means of communicating your anti-science views other than the computer in front of you ). 


3)  Evolution : random mutant bacteria/viruses occur who are not susceptible to current treatment.
As the treatments are man-made then I suppose, by default,  it's evolutution by artificial selection , rather than evolutution by natural selection which creates so-called "superbugs".

 
4)  In-part fear of nuclear power created by anti-science advocates, despite it being less hazardous to people than fossil fuel ...
Quote
The anti-nuclear movement ...  has been criticized for overstating the negative effects of nuclear power and understating the environmental costs of non-nuclear sources that can be prevented through nuclear energy
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiscience#Political_antiscience

1)  Yes, without science I would probably talk of it ‘being always winter, but never Christmas’, or would have referred to arctic conditions, or more poetically to Niflheim, the land of the Frost Giants, the land of Norse mythology that existed before the gods were born, and before humans were created.

2)  ….oh, don’t get me started on the iniquities of computers and how they are degrading all our lives…. no, I will not be drawn into that argument………..  I will just say this: go and find out about life around the end of the 19th century – I think you will find it surprising how busy people were, how much entertainment they had (most of which has been lost today), and how communicative they were, and once you have done that you might find yourself questioning whether or not we have lost more than we have gained.

3)  Yes, I know scientists can explain away the failings of science, but that is not the point.  The point is that people will eventually get fed up with disappointment, unfulfilled promises and will not want to hear the excuses dreamt up to account for the latest failure.

4)  The anti-nuclear movement ... has been criticized for understating the negative effects of nuclear power and overstating the environmental costs of non-nuclear sources that can be prevented through nuclear energy
Ref: Pantopedia, by Pantodragon.  Chapter: Proscience, Political-proscience.  (2009)

Do you have any relevant personal experience, or are you relying entirely on the authority of wikipedia and its bed-fellows?  If you return the question to pantodragon you will get an answer in the affirmative; pantodragon does have some relevant personal experience to provide back up to any claims made.
 

Offline pantodragon

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Re: Do science and philosophy have a future?
« Reply #7 on: 11/02/2013 15:34:53 »
Isn't it about power and money? :)
Every time something change something else have to give way to it. Most often outdated beliefs and value systems. although we have some ideal ethical ideas defined, as democracy for example, our reality as individuals seems defined from power, politics and money. And as we have a system in where money defines your worth to society, and please don't start arguing about that one :) with no question asked about ethics etc, there is no guarantee for those 'forces' being able to adapt to new situations, as global warming. Instead they will slow the necessary actions down, as far as possible to adapt their power bases to 'new energies' etc, and argue for the ones already established.

One should never confuse money with intelligence.

“Every time something change something else have to give way to it”   This is only true in a competitive society, and that is one of the things that impoverishes societies that are compeititive.  The question then is: do people have to be competitive, and to that, I say NO.  In a cooperative society everything new just adds to what we have already, and so society becomes richer and richer i.e. intellectually richer, richer in things to do and in entertainments and so on.

But, yes, I agree with your opening statement: it IS about power, and it is power that leads to competition.  Give up this addiction to power and people would find themselves WANTING to be cooperative, in fact, becoming NATURALLY cooperative.
 

Offline pantodragon

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Re: Do science and philosophy have a future?
« Reply #8 on: 11/02/2013 15:40:16 »
1)  When considering the past, present, and future of science, keep in mind that you are typing this message on a computer, rather than having it transcribed and distributed by a group of monks working by candlelight.  In the past, the lifetime achievement of a monk might be transcribing one copy of one book.

2)  Also, consider your flush toilet, hot shower, electric lights, all were created with a combination of science and engineering. 

3)  The future?
No idea.
But, I would imagine that the world will be declared Polio-Free in the next couple of decades. 

There will continue to be a battle between bugs and drugs.  But, I certainly wouldn't want to go back a century to a period prior to antibiotics, and vaccines.  Nor would I wish to experience surgery without anesthetics which failed far more frequently than it succeeded. 


4)  There may be a point where many of the major scientific discoveries have already been found.  So, the telescope has been discovered, the microscope, electricity, electromagnets, etc.  Yet, it is also a time where we have unprecedented tools for scientific exploration. 

5)  Merely 400 years ago, the first 4 of Jupiter's moons were discovered by Galileo Galilei.  Now we have the Hubble telescope, 2 pioneer deep space probes, 2 voyager deep space probes, and several robots roaming around on the surface of Mars.  The information we can get from these devices is unprecedented in history.  Whether or not astronomy will make a real impact on humanity, other than wetting our curiosity, only time will tell.  One branch of astronomy is predicting and preventing a catastrophic asteroid collision with Earth.  It may or may not be successful.  We may or may not need it for another 65 million years.  However, even astronomy could have a huge impact on our future (or prevent one).  Not to mention, of course, that many of the rockets sent to space control everything from basic communication to weather forecasts.


6)  Who'd have thunk that a basic semiconductor, not a good conductor, not a good insulator, but a semiconductor would have been vital for everything in life from getting your dishes clean in the evening to talking to your mother-in-law (at a safe distance).

1) Actually, you are talking to someone who frequently hand-writes her books – I’m not talking about publication, but about FUN.  As to the monks – what is the equivalent today?  A person who spends their life at the end of a telephone in a call-centre cold-calling people who are rude to them because they don’t want to know?  In my local library the other day, I overheard one of the staff comment to the other that she thought she would be going bald soon -- because she was pulling her hair out so much with the computers!  And, oh lord, how much more satisfying it is to be able to talk to people face-to-face.

2)  In the first place, one of the really big problems with the modern world is that it is VERY HIGH MAINTENANCE.  For myself, I have cut out a number of the modern “conveniences” simply to cut down on maintenance.

Also, you are talking here about a world that breeds anxiety and insecurity and really stresses people out.  I remember seeing an architect on TV doing a show in which he showed us around his own home.  One of his design features that he was very proud of was a glass staircase: there was no banister, and you could see through the stairs so that you could get vertigo.  The architect did not suffer from vertigo, but, nevertheless, he did say that he got a little frisson of discomfort whenever he used those stairs. 

I describe this because it is so typical of the world we have made for ourselves.  It is a world that has lost sight of what is human.  It is about design, well, actually, about fame and fortune, not about comfort or functionalism.

The GREAT advantage that ‘primitive’ lifestyles have over modern life is that it is safe and comfortable and easy – that is, in that when something goes wrong you can mend it yourself, and in that things are designed to be practical and comfortable, and in that if you need something you can make it for yourself.  You know your world and you know how to handle it. 

People are lost in the modern world.  They know very little about it, are using machines that are nothing more than magical black boxes, can’t mend anything when it goes wrong – it’s a world of fear and anxiety and dependency.

PS: I have just read a science book in which it is stated that the invention of the sewing machine in the 1850s enabled people to make their own clothes at home --  oh, pe-lease!!!

3) To quote from BLADERUNNER: “the candle that burns half as long burns twice as brightly.”  It should be about QUALITY of life, but medicine is really all about QUANTITY of life.  I think that all this tampering with the bodies own defense mechanisms is coming back to haunt us!!

4)  You are talking as though we NEED those discoveries, as though we can take it for granted that they are a good thing.  That is questionable.

We could start from the point of view that, if we needed it, nature would have given it to us.  So, if we really needed microscopes, then nature would have evolved a natural sense that could magnify what we see.  That would be far more satisfactory, much better: when man wants to fly he invents a plane; when nature wants to fly she invents a bird – there is no competition.  A bird is just so much more sophisticated than a plane.

But the important point is this: if we do not need these things, then we may well be doing ourselves considerable harm by coming to rely on them.  It’s like, if you take to a wheel chair to get about, then your legs will wither.  So, if you come to rely on invented instruments to deal with the world, the cost may be that your natural faculties will wither.  Also, if one assumes that we have all we need to deal with the world, then, taking that as one’s starting point in trying to understand the nature of existence, you arrive at a whole different perspective on life, and if that is the right perspective, then science is taking us down a seriously wrong path. (And that, incidentally, may well have more than a little to do with why there is so much disease and suffering in the world.  And if that is the case, then what has been caused by science is not likely to be cured by MORE science.)


5)   When we had a severe winter recently it had no sooner settled in than I was inundated with pamphlets from insurance companies scaring me with stories of how much it would cost me if my pipes burst.  This is nothing more than a sales technique.  It is designed to scare me into shelling out money for insurance.  That is what asteroid collision warnings are about.

6)  Well, who invented the semi-conductor?  I bet HE thought that semiconductors could be vital to everything in life, and then I bet he went about ensuring that semiconductors DID become vital to everything in life – rather like Bill Gates et al are now going about ensuring that computers are going to be vital to everything in life in the very near future.  That’s competition for you.
 

Offline pantodragon

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Re: Do science and philosophy have a future?
« Reply #9 on: 11/02/2013 15:47:46 »

Where else are you looking, if not science?


The fact that you cannot think of anything other than science is because we live in a competitive world and science will tolerate alternatives; where it sees alternatives, it goes for the kill.  But there are alternatives.  Essentially, that's the basis for all my posts.   
 

lean bean

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Re: Do science and philosophy have a future?
« Reply #10 on: 11/02/2013 19:55:48 »
Well, who invented the semi-conductor?  I bet HE thought that semiconductors could be vital to everything in life, and then I bet he went about ensuring that semiconductors DID become vital to everything in life – rather like Bill Gates et al are now going about ensuring that computers are going to be vital to everything in life in the very near future.  That’s competition for you.
Wow…And that’s a conspiracy theory if I ever heard one.
Why the capitalised HE, got a bone to pick?

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The fact that you cannot think of anything other than science is because we live in a competitive world and science will tolerate alternatives; where it sees alternatives, it goes for the kill.  But there are alternatives.
Don’t leave us dangling, what are your alternatives to computers, since you seem to suggest they are a waste of time…
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Why have computers not made life easier?

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I will just say this: go and find out about life around the end of the 19th century – I think you will find it surprising how busy people were, how much ertainment they had (most of which has been lost today), and how communicative they were, and once you have done that you might find yourself questioning whether or not we have lost more than we have gained.

Busy is the operative word there… especially the working conditions for the poor in their short lives. But, you would have us believe all that horror was compensated for by having a lot more entertainment. Some party planner you would make.
« Last Edit: 11/02/2013 19:59:40 by lean bean »
 

Offline JP

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Re: Do science and philosophy have a future?
« Reply #11 on: 12/02/2013 13:25:28 »
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The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Do science and philosophy have a future?
« Reply #11 on: 12/02/2013 13:25:28 »

 

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