TED Conversations

Graihagh Jackson

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Will science ever tell us everything there is to know?

Every day on the news, you read of break throughs, discoveries and new findings in science. But I wonder whether one day mankind will ever be able to know everything there is to know - why the universe (or indeed multiverse) exists; why laws themselves exist; and so forth.

As science moves onwards and upwards, are there any barriers that could stop us in having a theory of everything?


Closing Statement from Graihagh Jackson

I think some of the really central points made here is that to be able to know everything, means we have to be able to measure everything. Will we ever be able to measure everything? It seems unlikely. Besides, how would we ever know we knew everything? Absolute truth is unattainable and at any rate, the nature of human curiousity will inevitably mean we will continue to search for 'truths.' It seems that the majority post and comments on this debate was no - science won't tell us everything we need to know.

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    Jan 21 2014: The key of science is suspicion, and suspicions brings curiosity. Suspicions will exist forever, and it will move people forward to discover things that are attractive in the moment.

    And,as Decartes said so, while you are thinking you are existing (Cogito ergo sum)-while you are thinking, you are suspicious, curious, and ready to find out something new. So while the man kind exists, we will have theory for everything.

    You can see it in the early theories of what is the fire, thunder, all the natural phenomena that was unexplainable, all of them were explained someway by people.
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      Jan 22 2014: Interesting point about how in the history of science we have explained things away - we still do - dark energy and dark matter which make up 80% of the universe and we know next to nothign about them. But surely if people will always be supicious and therefore curious, we will never have a theory of everything - constantly challenging what we 'know'.
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        Jan 22 2014: Theory is the theory because it represents one of possible meanings for phenomenon. The difference between those theories is level of your knowledge about it. ( compare ancient theories of universe and modern theories, that are formed on the different level of knowledge). That's why there is a plenty of theories about universe, but neither of them are surely proved . And, as you said so,it's challenging, but on that challenging, scientists find out a lot of irrefutable science facts.
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          Feb 3 2014: I'm not sure you could say that any facts are refuteable. Science will never be able to prove anything to be true, only falsified, until a new piece of data eventually shows it to be wrong. Some might even go as far to argue that the 'truth' depends on who you are. i.e. A religious person may say God exists and that's a fact, but an atheist may say God does not exist and that's a fact...

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