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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.


Is there an absolutely proven scientific fact?


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    May 14 2013: If we want to ask if Science can prove anything we should talk about what a proof actually is.

    Lets talk about truth first.

    Truth results from a thought construct of definitions, before i can argue wether something is true or not ill have to define terms or circumstances under which an observation is true. As such truth results from a number of rules which we as humans defined inorder to be able to communicate information.
    If i define light of the wavelength of 680nm as being blue. And i then measure light of said wavelength and say this light is blue its perfectly true (even though light of this wavelength was previously (before i defined it as being blue) defined as being infrared) as such there can only be truth within a set of prepositions and truth is not an absolute its in itself a concept created by us which roots so deep in our beliefes that we came to expect some kind of cosmic truth (or lets call it natural truth).

    What we defined as being a proof (let me citate wiki): "A proof is sufficient evidence or an argument for the truth of a proposition."

    If measure the wavelength the data which results from measuring is my proof however it needs to fullfill the requirements of what we defined as true.
    In the mathematical sense we defined the set of rules as such there can be a definite proof. In natural science however
    nature steps in and here it gets ugly. We dont know the rules of nature infact we only know the results and they are always true.
    For example we observe an apple falling off a tree this happening is in some sense the expression of truth (sorry to get a bit philosophical) as the apple wouldnt fall off the tree if the rules of nature didnt allow for it.
    As a consequence we cant observe the "not truth" of nature as such there is no "not truth" so whats the use of the concept of truth when talking about nature anyways? -none id say.
    • May 14 2013: Truth as facts is identical with the state of reality or real happenings. Jump off a cliff and analyse that event. If the derivation of that process by man's intellectual abilities is exact EVERY time it becomes a proof. If the derivation of that process is axiomatic (the way cause and effect works in proportional terms) then it is correct for it is not dependent on man inserting data to complete it. Human thinking has evolved through experience and hence is not axiomatic. Take the concept of velocity so called velocity of light. Its an aberation. In a substantial field of something there can be no velocity like a car travreling on a road. Its transmigration of pressure from an interactive state that is not balanced. Hence the oscillatory rate of that pressure transmigration in the case of light is an AXIOMATIC value . NO ONE CAN CHANGE IT . See http://www.kapillavastu.com/index.html and explore the most accurate and factual theory ever created by a man named Kapilla 33000 years back as Sankhya. He left nothing to be discovered by so called modern man
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      May 14 2013: Interesting explanation.
      An important task of epistemology, closely related to defining and explaining truth, is to develop criteria of truth which allow us to reliably and consistently distinguish true from false claims. By your explanation, I am wondering if it will be false to say a light of 681 nm wavelength as blue.
      It gets very confusing because empiricists will define truth one way while existentialists will define it another way. Some say truth corresponds with reality while some say it doesn't.
      From what you describe as truth and proof, it appears science is not a fit candidate to base a belief system on.
      What is your take on that?
      • May 14 2013: Great analysis. Pabitra. Language is not a dependable medium to convey facts in reality. its fuzzy, inexact, illogical structure and context ridden. Number counts AS a RATIO are real, verifiable, precise, not time bound and extrapolation is logical and so axiomatic, which means it facilitates agreement without facetious arguments etc. Even animals are aware of numerical values for a dog will search for the sixth pup that does not return while 5 have. Truth in the sense of Universal accountability is one of balance . Unbalance changes the factual situation every instant whereas a balanced state maintains the same value over a period of time so it is accounted for . If it persists for all times it becomes a fact. Humans or all living entities do not have the continuity of existence to confirm facts as a part of their experience. Hence the only dependable parameter that has validiity by human consent are axioms for they cannot be disproved. Therefor deriving every cause and effect cycle of change in nature based on axioms gives it permanent acceptability. It becomes divine in human emotional terms. Science is a logic that pursues the cause and effect cycle in reality to its end. But Physics is unable because of a mathematical lacuna . Its the hierarchy disease in calculus. Two events occurring at the same instant has a zero time interval and any ratio based on that gives infinity. But that is not TRUE at all in reality. On the surface of the Earth ALL events are simultaneous at a particular moment in reality. The current mathematics cannot trace the cause and effect cycle of all the humans at that instant. But the law of self similarity in a connected medium (space) can do so. This is done as the swabhava or self similar principle. Blue is human classification (error ridden) but in nature it is 3/8th ratio of an interactive cycle.
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          May 15 2013: If by science we are attempting to understand the nature of reality and if science is partially succeeding in finding and formalizing it - there is one tacit assumption in that. Reality is one of a kind - it is invariant. If we take it that truth corresponds to reality, we are then talking about 'the' truth, not merely truths. This is one experiential paradox because reality is clearly relative.

          The axiomatic number counts of Samkhya, which you propose to be giving an axiomatic verifiability of absolute precision is impressive but not free from the paradox I see. In fact the more precise it gets the more it runs the risk of failing to be a true description of reality. I think that is true for any axiomatic system of study including mathematics.

          I may be wrong, but nature does not seem to exist in any precision to me. It does not conform with the perfect and it appears that nature allows possibilities of right, wrong and any superposed states between the two whenever we define one aspect of it.

          A decimal number system is one of many imaginable and it is not the simplest even. Why binary system, for example, cannot be argued in a similar fashion.

          I know of Samkhya just not in sufficient details so my questions may sound shallow :)

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