DailyDirt: Science With (And Without) Verification

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

The scientific method has undoubtedly advanced the growth of knowledge, but with the enormous amount of data that can be collected now, it can be difficult to turn all that information into reliable and understandable facts. On the other hand, science is also pushing the boundaries of what can possibly be measured — but can we still call it science if we’re proposing unknowable multiverses and spatial dimensions that can never be explored? Almost anyone can publish their crazy ideas — and sometimes those sketchy papers submitted to arxiv.org lead to successful work proving an infinite number of twin primes. Do the crackpots outnumber the “real” scientists? Does it matter?

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Comments on “DailyDirt: Science With (And Without) Verification”

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Bri (profile) says:

Getting into the realm of philosophy

“They assert we’re in a “post-empirical” period for understanding fundamental physics.”

And that is where we astronomical observationalists laugh at them because their “advanced models”, while getting quite a bit right, fail so horribly in other respects to describe what is seen and it just gets waved away.

However, I did go to a talk at this years American Astronomical Society meeting by Max Tegmark, a leader in the multiverse theories, and he explained several things we CAN observe to at least rule out some of the multiverse theories. There are some proposed observations that, if observed, would narrow it down to one kind of multiverse. I wish for the life of my I could remember what kind of observations he was talking about, but I only work in nearby galaxies so it wasn’t something I would add too.

In the end, unless we figure out SOMETHING to observe, the theories are a bit meaningless because they just play with ideas and don’t effect the rest of the science. They turn into really mathematical philosophers. Still, string theory would be so cool if it turns out to be correct.

musterion (profile) says:

Let's be more exact in our use of scientific terminology

One post here points out:”Simply stating a hypothesis without any corroborating data gleaned from experimentation is just speculation.”

And the article: ” Some theorists argue that their theories to explain the universe may not be verifiable by observations”

The post has it correct. The article should have said:” Some theorists argue that their hypotheses to explain the universe may not be verifiable by observations”

The word theory, unfortunately, does not have a single meaning. On one hand there is the usage of a proven scientific body of facts like “Number Theory” This is not to say that the body of facts explains every thing. Then there is the meaning equivalent in many respect to the word “philosophy” examples: “Marxist Theory”. So, the theory of multiverses or dark matter or dark energy are hypotheses that attempt to explain observations or failings of a current theory. These maybe consistent with our current understanding, but are unproven. Unfortunately, some of these hypotheses must be agrees to, or you will not be able to get any funding for your research, try to get funding for work that attempts to disprove “string Theory”.

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