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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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    B Ross

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    May 17 2013: Here are two scientifically proven facts. Accurate approximation and common sense are the only tools we have to solve complex problems. The purpose of taking something as fundamentally true is to eliminate steps each time a problem is addressed.
    • May 17 2013: Bobby I think your last statement has intriguing implications. But I question the phrase "accurate approximation". Something can be accurate or it can be approximate, but it can't be both. It's an oxymoron.
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        B Ross

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        May 17 2013: Thanks for the reply. I respectfully disagree. In fact, the meanings of the two words are not mutually exclusive. I used the work "accurate" to modify the word "approximation". Incidentally, the idea I sought to express is likely apparent. Even if I made a poor choice in combining those two words, which I didn't, they would serve as an accurate approximation of the idea I intended to assert.
        • Gord G 50+

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          May 18 2013: There is definitely room for interpretation regarding the combination of words. At best, language is an approximation of our thoughts. ;-)

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