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Pabitra Mukhopadhyay

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Truths and Facts. Does Science prove anything?

There is a great deal of interest of us in examining claims of ‘truths’ and ‘facts’. In such examination there is a noticeable stress on scientifically proven facts which can be taken as fundamentally true. This is possibly because mathematics is the language of Science and we make mistake thinking mathematical proofs to be reflecting the essence of scientifically proven facts.

Does science necessarily prove anything? The way mathematics proves a proposition?

It is surprising that such a basic debate cannot be laid to rest and a conclusion arrived at even after 1934 book by Karl Popper: The Logic of Scientific Discovery.

Alan Moghissi, Matthew Amin and Connor McNulty of Institute for Regulatory Science, Alexandria, Va wrote to the editor of Science (the magazine) disagreeing with Peter Gleick and 250 members of the (US) National Academy of Sciences writing to the editor of Science : All citizens should understand some basic scientific facts. There is always some uncertainty associated with scientific conclusions; science never absolutely proves anything.

http://www.nars.org/Voice_of_Science_Articles/Does%20Sciences%20Ever%20Absolutely%20Prove%20Anything.pdf

Is there an absolutely proven scientific fact?

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    May 12 2013: Sorry Pabitra, I couldn't help reading your comment (to Keith Wessman) where you cited "Silliness is around because people are silly".
    I found I had two problems with this statement, one is that it was a tautology. (E.G "Goodness is around because people are good".)
    My second problem, was I felt if you looked up something called the "Fundamental attribution error" it could give you a different perspective, and was wondering you thought "silliness" and "intelligence" were at all correlated. Or whether you thought non-silly people could do "silly things".
    Regards,
    Bernard.
    P.S : Sorry to get a bit off-topic! :D
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      May 13 2013: Bernard, that was nothing that I think. That statement is what Keith seems to propose! What I am looking for here is why so many people think science has got it all wrong when it comes to some profound discoveries. I am also looking for why some people think science is so infallible that its almost like a divine oracle. And I am looking for the reasons of such thinking with a hunch that popular understanding is very different from the real ways how science works.
      Non-scientists seem to be either more sure about scientific findings than scientists themselves or simply deny what science reveals. I think society will benefit if we take a more rational stand about science.
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        May 14 2013: Because some people hold beliefs, which would create too much "dissonance" to admit their wrong.
        For instance if I had always believed that the moon was made out of cheese, and then somebody told me I was being "silly". Would I trust them? Or my intuition, which had served me well in the past?
        "We have not evolved to understand Quantum physics" - Lawrence Krauss.
        Then there are the people who think the scientific method can (or at least attempt) every single question, and that philosophy will be in decline. Like how Sam Harris believes that the sceinfitiific method can now even answer questions of "morality".
        Whether it can : I don't know. :)
        Or there may just be the simple explanation :
        People don't understand what "science" is. :P
        Hoped this helped!

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