Category: Philosophy of Science

How quantum mechanics poses problems with reality

How quantum mechanics poses problems with reality

How quantum mechanics poses problems with reality

11/09/16

“What are some of the most counter-intuitive aspects of quantum mechanics?”

 

At the turn of the 20th century, physicists began discovering that the Newtonian mode of the universe was inadequate. In classical mechanics, one is able to predict the entire motion of an object using only a simple set of equations, giving the universe a deterministic structure. However, this simplicity collapses as one enters the quantum scale. Instead, every time objects collide with one another, only a probability of possible trajectories can be given by a mathematical tool known as a wave function. Since this phenomena is so strange, physicists are divided into two discrete worldviews regarding the properties of the wave function; instrumentalists believe that the wave function is only a conceptualization invented by humans, and that there is no absolute way of knowing reality, while naturalists believe that the wave function is in fact a property of nature itself. Whatever it is, a most intriguing aspect of this facet of nature is that all of these semi-random chaotic quantum processes will eventually coalesce to emerge into the materialist universe that we can observe and experience. So everytime you think that everything is dull and boring, just think about the myriad of secluded wondries going on in the smaller scale!

Karl Popper’s theory of falsification

Karl Popper’s theory of falsification

Karl Popper’s theory of falsification

11/03/16

“How can we tell if a theory is scientific?”

 

In the world, you probably hear the word “theory” tossed around alot. And in many cases, these proposed “theories” masquerade themselves as scientific when in reality they are nothing more than mere confabulations. So how can we discern what is and is not a true scientific theory?

Well, thanks to the work of the great philosopher of science Karl Popper, we have a tool known as falsification to assist us. The primal idea behind this idea states that a theory can only be scientific if you can falsify it. In plain terms, this means that if you are unable to construct a tenants or experiment that could disprove one of the tenants of a theory, then the theory is not scientifically valid. To illustrate, let’s take a scientific theory (Einstein’s theory of relativity) and a non-scientific one (Freudian repression) and compare them. Einstein makes a very specific claim that massive objects will cause light to noticeably bend around them. If we were to construct an experiment that would show that this phenomena does not occur under the prescribed conditions, then you would effectively be able to disprove Einstein! However, innumerable experiments have been carried out and none have succeeded in destroying Einstein, therefore showing that Einstein’s theory holds empirical rigor. In contrast, it is impossible to set up an experiment to show that Freud’s theory of repression has any factual strength, therefore becoming unusable. With this tool, we can clean all of the grime of misconceptualization that pollute the machinery of our critical thinking ability. So to summarize, when it comes to scientific theories, if you can’t reject it than you can’t accept it.

Why science is not about truth

Why science is not about truth

Why science is not about truth

10/27/16

“What exactly is science about?”

Although this might sound completely iconoclastic, I would say that the worst thing a you could learn from a science class is that everything you have learned is true. This type of thinking is completely contradictory to the soul of what science is. Before we go on any further, we need to have a basis for what science is. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Science is defined as “any system of knowledge that is concerned with the physical world and its phenomena and that entails unbiased observations and systematic experimentation.” To break it down, science is about building a network of knowledge about the natural world using empirical observation and testing. And that word observation is what science is truly about. We do not know what processes go on in the universe, we simply know what we perceive them to be. We can’t state these processes as fact, but we can state what we have observed

“So Science is not about truth, shouldn’t that mean that I don’t have to take everything it says seriously? I mean, I might as well believe in fairy tales or engage in climate change denial or spout that vaccines cause Autism “

No!! If you think this then you still are not getting the point. Even though we can not state these results as a matter of fact we still need to respect what it says. This probably sounds very confusing at first, how can something be not true yet we can’t just forsake it? Well, ll, let’s think about it. Fundamentally, science is a framework of organized knowledge.  In fact, in the German language, the world for science translates to “Wissenschaft” or “knowledge-build”. And in order to build upon this knowledge for a particular subject, a new theory must pass through rigorous empirical validation, meaning that it’s central components have gone through numerous trials to sort out it’s accuracy. And once it is confirmed for accuracy, it can officially be considered apart of the canon. And if later results show that a theory proves to be inaccurate or incomplete, then it must be updated as so. And this is what differentiates science from other forms of obtaining knowledge. With science, your entire argument must be based on hard, solid evidence. It can’t just be on what “feels good”.

To sum it up Science is not a collection of “truths” but is an empirical and inductive method of building a rigorous framework of knowledge, and is something that must be respected.