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  1. #11
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    I think Arthur C Clarke had it right when he said "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"

    For many people, science and the products of science are happily in the realms of magic. Especially in a world that has on-off buttons (cars, tv's, phones) that are disconnected from the underlying technology mechanisms. It is magic, and we dont have to know or care how it works.

  2. #12
    Senior Member gloomy-optimist's Avatar
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    I agree with the idea that science can be learned by the general public if they have a desire to learn it.
    Especially if we are considering what defines science, as opposed to what science encompasses. Someone can understand almost easily what the definition of science is, and what it means to do scientific research; actually understanding all the little details and theories and branches takes a lot more work.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by gloomy-optimist View Post
    I agree with the idea that science can be learned by the general public if they have a desire to learn it.
    Especially if we are considering what defines science, as opposed to what science encompasses. Someone can understand almost easily what the definition of science is, and what it means to do scientific research; actually understanding all the little details and theories and branches takes a lot more work.
    Sorry, I have to ask an epistemology/philosophy-type question here. What is the "definition of science" i.e. "What is science?" Philosophers of science have been arguing about that forever, and if even they can't agree on what constitutes "science", how can the laymen/scientists agree?

    Also, on topic, "modern science" is a term that no one seems concerned with but jumps out at me. I agree that people could learn about Newton's theory of gravitation, Einstein's general theory of relativity etc. But are these scientific theories considered "modern"? What is "modern"? Cutting-edge? New? Controversial?

    That's why I said that this topic is far too wide, makes too many assumptions, doesn't define its premises clearly (because each individual premise can be a separate, debatable topic) and therefore can have no reasonably justifiable conclusion.

  4. #14
    resonance entropie's Avatar
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    Counter-Question: Can general public understand woman ?
    [URL]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEBvftJUwDw&t=0s[/URL]

  5. #15
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonsequitur View Post
    Sorry, I have to ask an epistemology/philosophy-type question here. What is the "definition of science" i.e. "What is science?" Philosophers of science have been arguing about that forever, and if even they can't agree on what constitutes "science", how can the laymen/scientists agree?

    Also, on topic, "modern science" is a term that no one seems concerned with but jumps out at me. I agree that people could learn about Newton's theory of gravitation, Einstein's general theory of relativity etc. But are these scientific theories considered "modern"? What is "modern"? Cutting-edge? New? Controversial?

    That's why I said that this topic is far too wide, makes too many assumptions, doesn't define its premises clearly (because each individual premise can be a separate, debatable topic) and therefore can have no reasonably justifiable conclusion.
    The underlying basis of all science is to prove theories empirically via falsification. It doesn't matter which area of science you're dealing with, they all originate there.

    The public can start by learning the basic principles behind all sciences... In particular the scientific method. That goes a long way in understanding whether people are spewing pseudoscience or whether the research is actually valid. You don't need to know the details, you can learn to pick up gist.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    The underlying basis of all science is to prove theories empirically via falsification. It doesn't matter which area of science you're dealing with, they all originate there.

    The public can start by learning the basic principles behind all sciences... In particular the scientific method. That goes a long way in understanding whether people are spewing pseudoscience or whether the research is actually valid. You don't need to know the details, you can learn to pick up gist.
    Wrong. If you're going to talk about falsification, you have to realise that theories can't be "proven" empirically. They can only be falsified. i.e. A theory can never be "right", it can only be of the property "has not have been proven wrong". And if you say that something "falsifiable" is scientific and something that is "unfalsifiable" is pseudoscience (Karl Popper's definition), you are excluding String theory from "science", because it is unfalsifiable. Similarly evolution from biology, and many, many other things that have been accepted as "scientific truth".

    Also, Karl Popper (and the other falsificationists) asserted that ad hoc modifications are a property of psuedoscience. He says that you should throw out completely old theories that have been "falsified" by data. But again, that's not true of the nature of science, which does not "progress" in a linear fashion. There is a whole branch of philosophy of science that delves into the nature of research, research ethics and its links to science... and there is, again, no common consensus.

    It is a lot more complicated than you think... Which is why I think it's silly to teach people that science is "this concept of falsification", and think that they have a "true understanding" of what's going on. It's like telling lies to children all over again.

  7. #17
    Senior Member gloomy-optimist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonsequitur View Post
    Wrong. If you're going to talk about falsification, you have to realise that theories can't be "proven" empirically. They can only be falsified. i.e. A theory can never be "right", it can only be of the property "has not have been proven wrong". And if you say that something "falsifiable" is scientific and something that is "unfalsifiable" is pseudoscience (Karl Popper's definition), you are excluding String theory from "science", because it is unfalsifiable. Similarly evolution from biology, and many, many other things that have been accepted as "scientific truth".

    Also, Karl Popper (and the other falsificationists) asserted that ad hoc modifications are a property of psuedoscience. He says that you should throw out completely old theories that have been "falsified" by data. But again, that's not true of the nature of science, which does not "progress" in a linear fashion. There is a whole branch of philosophy of science that delves into the nature of research, research ethics and its links to science... and there is, again, no common consensus.

    It is a lot more complicated than you think... Which is why I think it's silly to teach people that science is "this concept of falsification", and think that they have a "true understanding" of what's going on. It's like telling lies to children all over again.
    The purpose of the scientific method is not to prove or disprove anything; it is to strengthen the evidence of whether something is more accurate or not. And that is what they teach.

    The full-blown understanding of science is not understood by most people because most people really don't care to spend the time to learn it. It's a sad truth, but it's that not the less. Science is quite handy when learning why something happens the way it does, and in many contexts people use it and understand it. For instance, cooking involves chemistry, constructing uses physics, etc. They can use that; it's useful, and they learn it.
    But for most people in their busy lifestyles, understanding the nature of research, etc. is really not important to daily life and intensely time consuming. In other words, to many people it's not useful; in fact, it can definitely get in the way of current priorities.

    So philosophy behind science is needed and it's very interesting to many people, but we cannot expect the general public to be driven by it. It's not to say they're too stupid or too ignorant or too incompetent; it's just that they have other interests. No one should be put at fault for that.

  8. #18
    Senior Member NoahFence's Avatar
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    People keep switching the meaning of "Science" between "the scientific method" and "the results of scientific research" so fast it's making my head spin. Luckily my cyborg body has a 360 degree rotation coupling at the neck.

    Also, let he who is without sin cast the first stone. All of you are currently using the Internet. Do any of you have any clue what it actually is, how it works, who controls it, etc, or is it just PFM (Pure Fucking Magic)?

    For the record, I'm a network engineer, I'm intimately familiar with both the technology and the application of it, I put bread on my table by knowing about it and how to work with it, but a huge chunk of it is still PFM to me.
    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." - Galileo

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by gloomy-optimist View Post
    The purpose of the scientific method is not to prove or disprove anything; it is to strengthen the evidence of whether something is more accurate or not. And that is what they teach.

    The full-blown understanding of science is not understood by most people because most people really don't care to spend the time to learn it. It's a sad truth, but it's that not the less. Science is quite handy when learning why something happens the way it does, and in many contexts people use it and understand it. For instance, cooking involves chemistry, constructing uses physics, etc. They can use that; it's useful, and they learn it.
    But for most people in their busy lifestyles, understanding the nature of research, etc. is really not important to daily life and intensely time consuming. In other words, to many people it's not useful; in fact, it can definitely get in the way of current priorities.

    So philosophy behind science is needed and it's very interesting to many people, but we cannot expect the general public to be driven by it. It's not to say they're too stupid or too ignorant or too incompetent; it's just that they have other interests. No one should be put at fault for that.
    What I have been saying all along is that there is no "purpose" or "direction" or even a defined "scientific method". It is a common misconception, taught to oversimplify matters and establish faith (called "lies to children") in theory that may or may not be supported by empirically collected data. And whether something is "accurate" or not completely depends on context. That is again, what I've been saying all along.

    Is is "true" understanding if you don't know the context? Do the people advocating that others "learn about science" actually know the context of the thinking that they're advocating? Or are people advocating that others learn scientific dogma?

    I personally find it terribly condescending, all of this "people who could bother to learn would actually understand science" talk. That is what I'm arguing against. If the professionals don't know basic concepts out of their field, and if the philosophers can't agree on what is "science", how can we even talk about "understanding" and "science" in such general terms? It's based on nothing but personal impressions of science and prejudices.

    So when the OP wrote "Can somebody who is not a scientist have the right picture about the science?"

    It fired me up. When others insinuated that it is possible to "understand science", we just need to "be interested" and "learn" about it, it fired me up even more. I personally believe that anyone who thinks that he/she "understands" the purpose of the giant behemoth and amalgamation of international corporatations and government that is "science" is mistaken.

  10. #20
    Senior Member gloomy-optimist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonsequitur View Post
    What I have been saying all along is that there is no "purpose" or "direction" or even a defined "scientific method". It is a common misconception, taught to oversimplify matters and establish faith (called "lies to children") in theory that may or may not be supported by empirically collected data. And whether something is "accurate" or not completely depends on context. That is again, what I've been saying all along.

    Is is "true" understanding if you don't know the context? Do the people advocating that others "learn about science" actually know the context of the thinking that they're advocating? Or are people advocating that others learn scientific dogma?

    I personally find it terribly condescending, all of this "people who could bother to learn would actually understand science" talk. That is what I'm arguing against. If the professionals don't know basic concepts out of their field, and if the philosophers can't agree on what is "science", how can we even talk about "understanding" and "science" in such general terms? It's based on nothing but personal impressions of science and prejudices.

    So when the OP wrote "Can somebody who is not a scientist have the right picture about the science?"

    It fired me up. When others insinuated that it is possible to "understand science", we just need to "be interested" and "learn" about it, it fired me up even more. I personally believe that anyone who thinks that he/she "understands" the purpose of the giant behemoth and amalgamation of international corporatations and government that is "science" is mistaken.
    I don't think you're backing up any of your propositions. There is definitely a defined scientific method; the scientific community is surprisingly organized. It would be hard for scientists to use each others data without a method behind it.

    I'm not sure what you mean when you imply that no one actually knows what science is. And I definitely don't believe that science is just a "lie to children" especially considering the advancements the scientific community has made. Lies means we're teaching a false principle; if you known how much we have learned or discovered or utilized, then you'll see that that is not true. No matter what it is, you can't really say it is a "lie."
    And scientists definitely do understand concepts outside of their own field of specialization; maybe not so indepth that they could tell you the reasoning behind all manners of topics going on in that field, but there is not a scientist with a diploma out there that has not had training in quite a few fields. They just specialize in one field.

    Post some examples of philosophers that can't agree what science is, please.

    And the OP post "Can the general public understand the position of modern science." Don't warp the topic to your own devices.

    I respect your passion behind your argument, but I can't see the basis to it. I don't know how you're getting your information or whether or not you're actually educated on the subject.
    Please back up your arguments with some examples, sources, etc. Being "fired up" alone isn't too convincing.

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