Saturday, 23 January 2016

The Scientific Revolution was a Failure!

There are a lot of whack jobs out there at the moment attacking scientific theories. The worst of the bunch are the "Flat Earthers". Yes.... there are lots and lots of people ferociously propagating the flat earth theory. This wouldn't be so bad if they were putting forward an alternative theory to the spherical globe, but instead they mostly just quote the bible. How can the earth be a globe when the bible says it isn't?

The original idea behind the scientific revolution was that the universe was a machine and that for a scientific theory to be correct you must be able to mechanically replicate it. Thus explaining fundamental functions of the universe as being like a machine, being ‘contact’ driven. Like a clock for example, the cogs and gears touch each other and it is the contact driven movement of the clock that makes it work. Scientists were interested in finding substances and points of contact.

If people want to pick on science they should read history. Science failed utterly and has never explained the true cause of any phenomena. Scientists were never able to mechanically reproduce any phenomena.  Reality is not contact driven, things work at a distance and science cannot explain why this is so. 

Modern science has mainly become data collection and analysis of that data. Not what science set out to be at all. The scientific revolution failed and Newton and his contemporaries recognized this fact.

They recognized that they could not explain even one cause of any phenomena in nature. This is still true. We do not know any cause of any natural phenomena. We can log effects of a suggested force but we cannot describe fully and with 100% certainty the true causes of substances or forces, gravity being the most obvious example. We have many theories about what gravity is, but we cannot pin point its moving parts, its substance or its underlying force.

People go on about spooky action in quantum mechanics, but what they don't realize is that spooky action is true for every phenomenon. We have no clue what drives anything. We can watch things and log data, but we can't explain the fundamental causes of anything. Things get either too small, too big or too weird for us to be able to ‘see’ what is happening.

Newton suggested that we should settle for speculative theory. He saw that whilst theory may not be complete certainty it would be worthwhile because it would bring useful information to us. This opened the door for any kind of theory, the problem is that scientists started to believe their own theories and dogmatically began to oppose other theories, giving the impression that they do understand fundamental causes.

The strength of science lies in being able to replicate an experiment. If you have a theory you run an experiment, if it works and you can replicate it again and again then it becomes useful and to a certain extent true.

If tomorrow someone came up with an experiment that proved that the earth is flat then we would have to accept that reality. Don't hold your breath on that one though!

The process is something along the lines of looking at the universe, stating a hypothesis, setting up an experiment, logging the data, validating or changing the hypothesis, replicating the experiment. This ‘scientific’ process can lead to vast technological understanding in all the fields of science, but it doesn’t explain causes.

The discrepancy was also stated back with Descartes when he was trying to posit a theory of mind; when he saw that there was no way to explain how a thought, or will, could move a body. How, through thinking or willing, can humans move their bodies? He also saw that language, imagination and creativity are all separated from material substantial contact driven causes.

We haven’t moved on at all since Descartes’ or Newton’s time in the respect of clearly understanding how things work. Some say that this might be something to do with humans, maybe we have a limit to our understanding, our brains can’t seem to go beyond a certain point of inquiry. Science sometimes gives the impression that we can know everything. The truth is more like science is proving that we will never know anything.

We don’t even know how we can talk the way we do and we can’t think of an experiment that might give us a clue!

Now there are two points to this:- firstly the reason science is so amazing is that in spite of the fact that we seemingly will never really know the causes of anything, we keep thinking about reality and asking why. We keep formulating experiments and logging data. And by doing this we uncover layer after layer of useful information that can make our lives more comfortable. So the first point is that science is amazing and probably our best, most useful, most exciting and most fruitful endeavor. 

The second point however is that people, mainly scientists, get confused about what science is, what it knows and what it can know. For example if I make the statement: “when no one is looking the universe doesn’t exist” Most scientists will scoff with haughty arrogance. However they have no reason, no knowledge, no proofs and no authority to do so. If they were real scientists they would humbly admit that they can’t think of an experiment to prove or disprove the statement. Or they would go away and think of an experiment.

For some reason some scientists believe that as scientists they know everything, or at least know a very great deal and can therefore decide on the functions, forces and energies of the universe, when in fact they know next to nothing about these things.

Aristotle on what real science would be: "We suppose ourselves to possess unqualified scientific knowledge of a thing, as opposed to knowing it in the accidental way in which the sophist knows, when we think that we know the cause on which the fact depends, as the cause of that fact and of no other, and, further, that the fact could not be other than it is….The proper object of unqualified scientific knowledge is something which cannot be other than it is."

Newton:- "It is inconceivable that inanimate Matter should, without the Mediation of something else, which is not material, operate upon, and affect other matter without mutual Contact…That Gravity should be innate, inherent and essential to Matter, so that one body may act upon another at a distance thro' a Vacuum, without the Mediation of any thing else, by and through which their Action and Force may be conveyed from one to another, is to me so great an Absurdity that I believe no Man who has in philosophical Matters a competent Faculty of thinking can ever fall into it. Gravity must be caused by an Agent acting constantly according to certain laws; but whether this Agent be material or immaterial, I have left to the Consideration of my readers."

Galileo: "It always seems to me extreme rashness on the part of some when they want to make human abilities the measure of what nature can do. On the contrary, there is not a single effect in nature, even the least that exists, such that the most ingenious theorists can arrive at a complete understanding of it. This vain presumption of understanding everything can have no other basis than never understanding anything. For anyone who had experienced just once the perfect understanding of one single thing, and had truly tasted how knowledge is accomplished, would recognize that of the infinity of other truths he understands nothing."

Hulme:- “Boyle was a great partizan of the mechanical philosophy: a theory, which, by discovering some of the secrets of nature, and allowing us to imagine the rest, is so agreeable to the natural vanity and curiosity of men…While Newton seemed to draw off the veil from some of the mysteries of nature, he shewed at the same time the imperfections of the mechanical philosophy; and thereby restored her ultimate secrets to that obscurity, in which they ever did and ever will remain”

Locke expanding on the 'contact' problem with relation to the mind body problem:- "We are so far from knowing what figure, size, or motion of parts produce a yellow Colour, a sweet Taste, or a sharp Sound, that we can by no means conceive how any size, figure, or motion of any Particles, can possibly produce in us the Idea of any Colour, Taste, or Sound whatsoever; there is no conceivable connexion betwixt the one and the other."

Pascal:- "For, after all, what is man in nature? A nothing in comparison with the infinite, an absolute in comparison with nothing, a central point between nothing and all. Infinitely far from understanding these extremes, the end of things and their beginning are hopelessly hidden from him in an impenetrable secret. He is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness from which he came, and the infinite in which he is engulfed. What else then will he perceive but some appearance of the middle of things, in an eternal despair of knowing either their principle of their purpose? All things emerge from nothing and are borne onwards to infinity. Who can follow this marvelous process? The Author of these wonders understands them. None but he can."

Descartes:- "Just as a blacksmith cannot forge a sword without first having tools, we cannot grasp truth without a method for attaining it. The method is a set of tools for learning, not a trick for leaping to complicated conclusions. Anyone who masters the method will either be able to come to the truth or be able to demonstrate that what he wants to know is beyond the grasp of human knowledge."

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