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Caleb Jones

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What are the limits of science? When does science become useless for answering our questions? When do other fields become necessary?

As I watched Sean Carroll speak in this talk, I found it amazing that the stated purpose of this talk is to find WHAT made the universe like it is, and he didn't even once think to mention a creator, even though he states quite emphatically that the universe "was not chosen randomly" and that "something made it that way." If "something made it," then that something is by definition a "creator," commonly called "God."

Even more amazing was that while he would not open up the possibility of a God, he does propose some sort of "universal chicken" that brings forth universes. It may be a metaphor, but the metaphor is telling. He thinks bringing up a Cosmic Chicken that creates universes is more appropriate in a scientific talk than mentioning a God.

The problem here is that he is having a scientific discussion about a subject that ceases to be science and becomes only speculation. Because the proper sphere of science is exhausted, his scientific talk about things that can't be seen, tested, or measured (like other universes) tends to be nonsense. It is much better to have a religious or philosophical debate at this point and only bring in science when it has something useful to add.

Now, speculation isn't bad, it just needs to be done in the right manner. Speculation in science is called "making a hypothesis," but that hypothesis must be tested if it is to remain "science." Speculation and argumentation as a field has traditionally been called "the dialectic."

I believe Sean Carroll should have dropped the field of science and jumped to the dialectic. By only sticking to science, he cheapens his points. He should move to better disciplines like religion or philosophy to address his questions and add science when it becomes relevant.

It seems like he is either afraid or unaware that science, theology, and philosophy have the ability to coexist.

So, did Sean Carroll go too far in his speculation? I think he did. Say what you think.

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    May 23 2011: How much I would like to say that the greatest outcomes in my life have been the result of the application of scientific method, a great strategy, or that they have been amazingly planned and executed, etc.... How much I would like to say that I am the real owner of my life...

    The truth is that the greatest outcomes have simply occurred... I love Systems Thinking because it says (among many other things) that everything is a combination of chance, choice and certainty; everything depends on everything else; good things can lead to bad things and viceversa, etc.

    I can plan a diet, a day at work, a project; I can design, plan, execute and control a workout; I can make an experiment of many many things (I call them superficial things)... but strangely I cannot explain (for example) how I met the right person in the most appropiate time... How I was able to make a decision that resulted in the best when it was against all logic (and viceversa).....

    More work doesn't always mean more money... More money doesn't really mean happiness or fulfillment... Happiness doesn't mean a truly healthy body...

    This is a very strange world!!!!

    ... My best wishes for all of you!!
  • Jun 4 2011: The hardest questions in life cannot be answered by science. However, we still want answers, so there are many made-up answers for the hardest questions.

    There's a problem though. If we accept that made-up answers are better than science for the hard questions, then we are tempted to believe that made-up answers are better than science for the easy questions also.
  • Jun 4 2011: The hardest questions in life cannot be answered by science. Many people demand answers anyway. As a result there are made-up answers to the hardest questions. OK, fair enough.

    There's a problem though. If we accept that made-up answers are better than science for the hard questions, then we are tempted to believe that made-up answers are better than science for the easy questions also.
  • May 30 2011: "What are the limits of science?

    The limits of science are 3, even 4: (1) The limits of perception of the observer (not questioning what is not perceived); (2) The limited intelligence behind the hypothesis (asking the wrong questions); (3) The fact that scientific experimentation destroys the subject before the results are ever obtained (keeping truth forever elusive); and (4) The arrogance of an eternal conclusion to a finite study (therefore endlessly building upon unfinished work).

    "When does science become useless for answering our questions?"

    When it removes the wonder of questioning (questioning the wonder of an egg and concluding it is just a protein sack created by a wondrous chicken, then questioning the wondrous chicken and concluding it is just a featherbag of chemicals created by wondrous DNA, then questioning the wondrous DNA and concluding it is just a blotch of dioxyribonucleic acid created by... Following this fatal logic, shall we not forever explain away the reason for the question - wonder - all the while staring God in the face?)

    "When do other fields become necessary?"

    When preparing to die (if so fortunately afforded the lengthy opportunity) and leave the limits of science.
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      May 31 2011: Hi Antonio,

      You're right. Science does have limits. But those limits are mostly brought about by our own limits; the scientific method works just as well as people let it work. Or as well as we can observe. That's why Newtons Universal Theory is still correct, within the limits of his ability to observe the world. Newtons Gravity is subsumed into Relativity, being fully in agreement up until that limit.

      The cutting edge of science is always pushing the limits, asking question about things that haven't been seen, ideas that can't yet be tested. Science questions what is not perceived all the time. Relativity did just that, with many years passing before validating observations and experiments were made.

      The limits of our mental abilities does limit how much we can know at any given time, but it is not limiting enough to prevent progress. We can consistently increase our knowledge and understanding of the natural world. We do this by understanding that at any time, any theory, any deeply held belief, can be proven wrong. Science accepts that it will never attain perfect knowledge. There is no eternal conclusion. Studies are finite; the question is eternal.

      Understanding that being wrong is ok, indeed even exciting, allows science to use mistakes and false hypothesis to come closer to the truth. An idea without data is not worth much. An idea that cannot be tested isn't worth much either. So a scientist will form a hypothesis that can be tested, and runs the test, knowing full well that they may be dead wrong about their assumptions. But by analyzing the data, by understanding what did happen during the test, the scientist can formulate a more accurate hypothesis to be tested next.

      A scientist is excited by good data, a scientist is devoted to uncovering the truth. And the scientist finds great beauty in the truth, in the world as it is. To a scientist, reality is the most wondrous thing possible.

      http://xkcd.com/877/
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    May 18 2011: The strength of science is limited to the observable. God is not observable. Do not expect science to answer questions of the existence of God.
  • May 18 2011: At the risk of simply parroting a very, very old and, at times, overused argument:

    You are referring to a God of the gaps - i.e., whenever science does not have an answer to a question, well then gosh, it must be God. 500 years ago, we didn't know what "outer space" was, so we thought that above the earth was Heaven. Until Darwin came along, we thought that God made all the animals as is. Until some astrophysicists came along, we thought God created the Earth as is, and that it wasn't formed from cosmic dust under the effects of a gravitational field.

    It is absolutely true that science does not have an answer to "what made the universe start in a low entropy configuration?" But it is just as ridiculous to assume it was a God as it is to assume it is a Cosmic Chicken. Rather than be content with "Oh, God likes us to have low entropy," Carroll lampoons this idea by suggesting a chicken, indicating that more research and more thought is needed for us to answer this question.

    I really feel terrible just quoting old arguments almost verbatim, but what is one to do when people keep asking the same thing in the first place?
    • May 18 2011: Steve,

      I am not referring to a God of the gaps. I'm saying that Sean Carroll is engaged in a debate on the nature of God, but he refuses to use the word "God," because he hems himself into a purely scientific way of thinking. The fact that Sean Carroll states that something MADE the universe how it is shows that he is talking about a creator. The wants to know what this creator is like. That is a theological discussion, not a scientific one.

      Religious thought throughout the ages does not say "Oh, we don't know, so we'll ascribe it to God." Religion claims that God himself tells us about God. Religious people believe religious things because of the authority of the person who told them, not because of empirical evidence or any lack of empirical evidence.

      This belief based on authority may not be to your liking, but it's the reason you believe that the earth travels around the sun, that atoms are made of protons, neutrons, and electrons, and that the average distance between the earth and the moon is 238,857 miles. Neither You nor I ever collected any data on these things, we just believed those who told us because we believe them (quite accurately) to be trustworthy.

      Now, if you don't believe religious arguments, then fine. It doesn't hurt my feelings if you don't think religious people to have a trustworthy source. However, it is rather annoying when religion talks about reliable and trustworthy accounts about past events, and others try to turn it into an argument about present-day verifiable empirical data. These are two different methods of gaining information. The argument disintegrates into nonsense.
      • May 19 2011: Point of interest: it's not that just religious people are untrustworthy; it's that ALL people are untrustworthy. However, accepting the idea that atoms are made of protons, the earth revolves around the sun, etc. are not the same as accepting merely a word of authority. Data on these sorts of things are published. If that isn't good enough, befriend a graduate student and ask him to show you an electron microscope. You can see for yourself. (I work in micro/nano electronics so I actually have collected data on such things). However, the premise of science is that if you wanted, you could measure it yourself by following the procedures outlined in a multitude of peer-reviewed journals. You don't have to take it from an authority figure. This is different than religion, where your priest (or pope, whomever) claims to know the word of god, and you have to trust him. There is no way that you can independently verify that god has spoken to him, just as he cannot verify that god speaks to anyone else.

        More to your point, that Carroll was asking a theological question and failed to mention God: I agree that he may have used words which allude to some sort of creator. Words along the lines of "something must have put the universe into this low entropy state." You have taken that "something" (aka cosmic chicken) and personified it to mean some sort of intelligent being - be it god or chicken. I think the real question being asked here is "what physical or natural law exists that permits the universe to behave this way?" Science cannot answer this question at the moment, but it's not to hard to imagine that, in the future, we WILL be able to, thereby rendering any theological discussion about it now as moot.
        • May 19 2011: Steve,

          You say a strange thing. You say that ALL people are untrustworthy. Then you say that scientific data is more trustworthy, because it is peer-reviewed by people, who I assume fall into the category of "ALL people." If all people are untrustworthy, why should peer reviewed stuff reach a new level of trustworthiness?

          I agree with you that scientific discovery is an excellent way to get information, what I don't agree is that it is some sort of higher level of gaining knowledge. The way you categorize religion is strange. There are ways you can verify whether or not God has spoken, but it's going to be done through reason and argumentation, traditionally called dialectic. This is just another way to gain information. What I am against is treating science as the only or a somehow superior form of knowing all information.

          Science is the way you understand scientific things. Science is only a superior form of knowledge for scientific things. Carroll is not talking about scientific things. Carroll is talking about philosophical and theological things. He is using the the wrong tool.

          Carroll is not using words that ALLUDE to some sort of creator. His words necessitate that there is a creator. He said something MADE the universe like it is. He did not say that something CAUSED the universe to be like it is. That is by definition a CREATOR. He is asking what the nature of the creator is (is it a natural law? is it a force? is it energy? does it choose?). That is, by definition, a theological discussion.

          You are correct in stating that science cannot answer questions like these at the moment. That's because it is not a scientific discussion. I do not agree that if science has insight into it in the future, the theological discussion will be moot. Science and theology can coexist. Two branches of knowledge don't have knock-down drag-out fights. They harmonize. However, right now, this is PURELY a philosophical or theological discussion, not scientific.
      • May 19 2011: All people are untrustworthy, as individuals. You can make unsubstantiated claims to your personal benefit if no one is around to check you. What I am getting at with the system of peer review (which is far from perfect) is that individuals who try to "cheat" are eventually found out because of the way the system is set up. It is designed to have mechanisms that work to prevent, uncover, and eliminate cheaters.

        This is contrary to the design of most hierarchies in establishments of religion; authority figures are only approved by higher authority figures, whom the public have less and less ability to access and check as the ranks go up. The system is not designed to prevent dishonesty. The way it is set up does not remove incentive to cheat, and people respond to incentive.

        The difference is in the checks and balances available to the average person. In reading scientific literature, the user knows that the findings of a paper are (a) backed up by independent and separately funded research, often from competing companies (b) testable by anyone who can afford the equipment (not always expensive, depending on what you're testing), (c) used by scientists and engineers the world over to predict future behavior; and the accuracy of these predictions are the measure of a good scientific theory.

        A religious hierarchy's claims are (a) NOT backed up by independently funded and often competing institutions (they often contradict: "Mormons are Gods people!" "No, it's Catholics!" "Clearly Jews!"). (b) Not testable by the average churchgoer; they must take the claims on faith, and (c) Not a good way to predict the behavior of *any* systems in an accurate, verifiable way.
        • May 19 2011: You have remarkable faith in the system of peer-reviewed journals. Can you show me a peer-reviewed study that proves the efficacy of peer-reviewed studies?

          You also show a remarkable ignorance of the way religions work. Most religions do not claim to be coexistent with each other. Your point of showing inconsistencies between religions does not prove all religion to be nonsense, it show you to be totally ignorant of religious philosophies, of theology, and of the process of logical argumentation in general. I can't respond to nonsense of this depth. Maybe I could, but i just don't see it as worth my time.
      • May 19 2011: Point is, eventually science will answer his question. I ask, what is the point of answering the question with a theological tool if science will eventually find the correct answer? The theological answer will be unable to improve the human condition; it won't lead to lifesaving medical breakthroughs, it won't give us some new farming technique to feed people who are starving, it won't give us the secret of light-speed travel.

        If a theological answer is found, all it will do is give a few people some abstract feeling of comfort until science tells them the real answer and there is some other unknown that makes them uncomfortable. That feeling of comfort will only encourage them to stop looking for the right answer, and then we will never get those marvelous inventions that actually do make life a little bit better.
        • May 19 2011: "Point is, eventually science will answer his question."

          Here is an example of just throwing something out there with no basis whatsoever and treating it as truth. How on earth do you know that science will answer his question? You have no good reason to have this kind of faith in the inevitability of growing knowledge. You're just spouting nonsense.

          You are blind to your own hypocrisy. You say that religions deal in unsubstantiated claims, yet you say things like this and expect everyone to just accept it. You're a fool, and you don't even realize it. This is what I meant where earlier I said that if you try to use science as the basis of philosophy, then it makes for half-rate philosophy. Your blind philosophical adherence to the never-ending expansion of science has led to your half-rate philosophy.
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        May 20 2011: Hi Caleb,

        Just because Sean says that something created the universe does not mean a deity is required to create the universe. Cosmic creation may be an entirely natural event, like the creation of carbon or uranium. The question of how our universe formed is quite amenable to the scientific method, just not in our present circumstances. As you noted, we can't make testable predictions. But a deity is not a required explanation, and thus the question is not inherently religious or philosophical.

        Science is a method, not a body of knowledge. Science is the pursuit of the truth of what happened and how things work. All things that exist are under the purview of science.
        • May 20 2011: Daniel,

          Thanks for explaining it that way, but I have to disagree for the following reasons:

          First if "something" created the universe, then that something IS a deity by definition. Now, we're nowhere close to any SPECIFIC deity like the Christian God, but being the creator is the most basic definition of what God is. We can argue all day about what that God is like, but if there is something that created the universe, that something is God.

          Next, I don't believe that creation may be an entirely natural event. I hold the universe to be both the material of the universe and the natural laws of the universe that we observe, document, and explain in science. When the universe is created, those laws are created. You can' have those laws (a natural event) create themselves. It would be like a book writing itself, or giving birth to yourself. It just doesn't make sense.

          I agree that science is a method, but I believe that the knowledge gained is scientific knowledge. However, I do believe that scientific knowledge, once gained, goes into the pool of all knowledge. I don't believe that knowledge gained from different spheres competes with one another. I believe different fields give us different types of knowledge, all of which can be reliable, but I don't think all knowledge is gained under the purview of science. There are too many things like art, morality, theology, literature, beauty, and pure logic that science doesn't touch.
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        May 20 2011: Thank you Caleb for the reasoned response.

        I see where you're coming from I think. Because one of the common characteristics of deities is that they created the world, than whatever created the universe must be a deity. However, Gods are willful, volitional entities (most commonly currently), above and beyond nature. Alternatively, and increasingly frequent the further back you go, it wasn't a god per se so much as the epitome of an aspect of nature (the night wind, nyads and dryads, etc). In the latter case, the application of that belief is subject to independent verification. Most animist or gaialogical beliefs assume the 'gods' are a part of nature, as natural as water or air, and thus can be verified or refuted scientifically.

        If instead the belief is in a willful god or set of gods, who intentionally created the world, than theories about the creation of the cosmos do not necessitate a deity. Stars create matter constantly, creating progressively heavier elements. The process is wholly natural and mostly explicable. We have strong evidence of a wholly natural and increasingly well understood history of the universe. We have strong evidence of natural causes for life. In none of these things is a deity required, so why assume a deity is required for the creation of the cosmos? If these scientists and mathematicians are right about 'branes and extra dimensions and such, then it is possible that one day their theories might be put to the test. Thus there is an alternative, natural science based hypothesis for the creation of the universe that does not require a deity. It may one day turn out to be a false hypothesis, but for now we can pursue scientific explanations for the formation of the cosmos.
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      May 19 2011: Steve

      Science is a voice of authority at least to the majority of the non-scientist who cannot test or understand the findings that led to scientific conclusions published on journals, yet have to believe them - we can assume that these findings are false because we do not understand them. On the other hand religion is based on authority to those who cannot figure out things for themselves.

      The point is “we are all indoctrinated" to believe one thing or the other. . the real question is what do you believe?
      • May 19 2011: In my above post(s) I basically outline that the critical difference (and it is a big, big difference) is that science does not have to be a voice of authority. If you had doubts, you could learn a thing or two and go test something, and get the same results. The option is always there.

        Religious beliefs, however, are not subject to such rigor. You cannot verify that your priest is a man of god, whether you are another priest or whether you are an atheist.

        There have long been many different religions, each claiming something different. Each with a leader that claims to be the one who talks to god. The catholics have their pope, the muslims their imams, heck even the westboro baptists think Fred Phelps has a hotline direct to god. They all claim to be right, but nobody's figured which one it is yet, since theres no way of testing. Except waiting til you die. But then you can't tell anyone.

        In the arena of science, however, theories that are wrong, whether intentional or not, are eventually found out because they do not make accurate predictions. Accurate predictions are what allow people to improve the world around them. Say a company tried to make a gizmo under the false idea that protons carry negative charge and electrons carry positive - well, their gizmo wouldn't work at all, the company would go bankrupt, and somebody there would think "hey, this theory must be wrong, I'll write a paper about it." And so the incorrect theory is eliminated.

        For example, some religious people say that on Saturday the rapture is coming. Well, they can't prove it and I can't disprove it. Scientific theory says it isn't. What are companies basing their decisions on? What they think is the more accurate predictor. We'll see on Saturday.
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          May 20 2011: You said "some religious people say that . " what you are doing is point to the human element of a persuasion - i think Christianity - and make a story based on the inconsistencies of human presentation of religion.

          Christianity is not about what your leader or pastor said - its a personal thing. The pastor could be wrong and those who always hold on the pastor do not understand it either.

          I believe in science and i am also a christian - i think they have different questions to answer.
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        May 20 2011: Hi Ehis,

        You are absolutely right in saying that by not being able to test or understand scientific findings gives you the option to assume those findings are false. This option arises because you are not in a position to independently verify those findings, and thus must trust. However, that does not mean assuming the science is false is the correct choice.

        It is true that non-scientists must place their trust in scientists. And they have good reason to do so. Imagine two scientists who absolutely hate each other. Just can't stand one another. The first one puts out a study making some outrageous claim. So of course the opponent dives in and tries best to disprove the first ones claims. And if the opponent can't, than the opponent agrees with the first one.

        How often do you see two bitter enemies agree with each other, validate the others work? Almost never. But it's not uncommon in science. That's why you can trust scientists - They are passionately dedicated to knowing and spreading knowledge of the truth, and they have devised a method of attaining that knowledge which excels at eliminating error, untruth, and deception. They will even agree with their rival, if they know there rival speaks the truth.

        But a person shouldn't be put in a position where they have to trust someones word. Not in this context, at least. The only solution is to create a greater understanding of science in the general topic, or, to put it another way, scientists need to do a better job of explaining science to the average person.
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          May 20 2011: Hi Daniel,

          So what do you think about the globalwarming debate? the last time i checked there are huge concensus on both sides of the debate.
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        May 20 2011: You're right, there is a near unanimous consensus among climatologists. But take a look at how broad a consensus that really is: A UN and World Meteorological Organization sponsored scientific body which reviews, validates, and performs research submitted by thousands of scientists spread across the globe. All of their studies and work is peer reviewed, with all the information available to anyone who wants it. How can you not place trust in such a large and diverse group of people, especially when they reach such a strong consensus?

        It's as though all your friends tell you that they just saw an elephant walk past the window, which you doubt, and then your neighbor calls asking if you'd seen the elephant. Though you personally have no experience of the elephant, you also have no reason to disbelieve in the reality of that elephant. It is safe to assume that the general consensus of a large and diverse group of knowledgeable people is correct. Those who would know best believe that what they're saying is true, and they'd be the ones to know best.
  • May 18 2011: "The problem here is that he is having a scientific discussion about a subject that ceases to be science and becomes only speculation. Because the proper sphere of science is exhausted, his scientific talk about things that can't be seen, tested, or measured (like other universes) tends to be nonsense."

    So did Einstein.

    The difference is Sean wants to find the evidence for his ideas. Religions and philosophy do not.
    • May 18 2011: Addison,

      Sean wants to find EMPIRICAL evidence for what made the universe, something he can perceive and measure, and he currently has none. That's not a bad thing, it's just an honest admission that he makes in his talk. But despite him having no empirical evidence, he still has ideas. The most evident idea to me was his refusal to acknowledge any sort of God, going so far as to bring up some sort of "universal chicken that brings forth universes" before he would even use the more appropriate term of "God" or "creator." That's a pretty strong idea, based on assumptions, not evidence.

      You're a little right and a lot wrong in your last statement. Religions and philosophy DO want evidence for their ideas, but religions and philosophy do not see empirical evidence as the ONLY way to gain knowledge. They do see it as valuable, though. For instance, Christianity takes the empirical (see, hear, and feel) claim that Jesus is not dead but alive as crucial to their belief, going so far as to say that if that claim was DISPROVED, then the whole Christianity game is bunk (see 1 Corinthians 15:14 as an example). But there are other ways of gaining knowledge, other "proofs." For instance, now that Jesus is no longer around, we don't have empirical evidence, we take the evidence of reliable witnesses. That's not scientific or empirical, but it's still a reliable way to gain information.
      • May 18 2011: That is not a reliable way to gain information. How do you know the witnesses were reliable? The only way to tell is if they have a history of telling other reliable tales that were (empirically) proven to be true. This in itself is a form of empirical evidence, though not of the most reliable type.

        Explain to me what kind of "proof" does not include countable, measurable, indepentently verifiable data, and how you can know it to be true.

        In every other facet of life, everywhere you go, whenever there has been an opportunity to replace eyewitness accounts with scientific measurement, that opportunity has been taken. We used to not have much in the way of forensics for criminal cases, and relied only on people swearing on the holy Bible. But witnesses can be paid, or threatened, to a degree higher than that to which they hold the Bible. So when criminal forensics were introduced, the justice system adopted it. That's because empirical evidence has been shown to be much more efficient at actually getting to the truth. But for some reason, despite improvements in other areas, when it comes to religion, well, empirical evidence isn't the be-all end-all.
        • May 18 2011: Steve,

          I'm sure you know that the earth moves around the sun. However, I doubt you have collected any countable, measurable, independently verifiable data to prove it to be the case. I bet the data you could report off the top of your head would be just as useful to Ptolemy as it would be to Kepler.

          However, you still KNOW it. How? Well, you trust the people who told you. That may sound like a bad way to get information, but it's really how you know most of the stuff you know. You probably haven't grabbed the third rail of a subway, but you still KNOW it's a bad idea. Even if you're looking at the research of someone else's scientific experiment, you must decide if you trust that they are giving you accurate information.

          Even in your courtroom example, no one says "Oh, gosh. He's a scientist. We did believe these eye-witnesses over here, but he's a scientist. He trumps all." No. With every person in a courtroom, and with every case, you must decide who to believe and who not to believe. Sure you can lie with your hand on the Bible, but you can also lie in peer-reviewed journals. There's no magically pure field of knowledge.

          There are other things that you just KNOW. For instance. People KNOW that it is wrong to harm other people. Even if no one explicitly taught it to them, they know it. They might come up with excuses that would allow them to hurt another person when they want, but the existence of their excuses proves they KNOW it to be wrong, and they're just trying to get around it. How do they know it? Well, this is an example of the morality that is ingrained into the nature of human beings. That's why it has traditionally been called "Natural Law." That's another way to know things without countable, measurable data.

          And I'd need an example of your religion critique for me to respond to it. I don't know what you're talking about.
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    May 18 2011: Science is a continuum so it's limitless.
    The question that is unasnwered today by science , will be answered tomot hats the way Science came through and will be going through..........
    Art, literature, social sciences, history , philosophy etc .... definitely are necessary for the application of science for greater well being humankind and nature.
    • May 18 2011: "Science is a continuum, so it's limitless." That's a very interesting statement. Can you prove it using science? Can you show me an experiment that proves this to be so? Have we observed it to be limitless? If not, it seems that science is not limitless. The fact that science is expanding (as evidenced by you calling it a continuum) proves that it DOES have a limit.

      This seems to be a belief you have and at which you did not arrive through science. You just believe it. Why do you believe it?

      I do not believe science is limitless. Science is the way to understand scientific things. Science deals with what we can perceive and with what IS. There are other ways to understand things. Science does not tell us what SHOULD be. That's morality. Science does not tell us what is beautiful. Science cannot tell us about things outside our universe. Things outside our universe cannot be perceived, and that's why Sean Carroll's cosmological scientific pursuit is so fruitless.

      Science has limits.
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        May 18 2011: Hi Caleb
        Did I say there is no need of other subjects?

        Rather in the last sentence of my earlier post I said the opposite.

        Well in strict sense I agree science may have limit as it will not continue once all species which can think scietifically perish as there will be no species left to continue it.

        But no doubt it's a continuum, the simple example once to send a winning message of Battle of Marathon someone had to run hard and die, now accross the globe both of us communicating with each other with a click..... who knows what will be next ?

        Today what is limit of science tomorrow it's not , that's the way it progressed so far...............
        • May 18 2011: I think I misunderstood your last comment. I thought you said that art, literature, philosophy, etc, are all the application of science. You actually said they are necessary FOR the application of science. Point taken.
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        May 18 2011: Caleb: [Science has limits.] Agreed. I find it funny that "critical thinking" is put on a pedestal by modern society, but as a whole we're never-ever allowed to apply the same to science itself. It's something of an intellectual taboo to even suggest the limits of science.

        In his Ten Myths of Science, William McComas points out what we're taught about science in public schools doesn't match what scientists actually do in the real world.

        In Against Method, Paul Feyerabend has a laundry list of limitations to science. Philosophers of science shape the concept as much as public schoolteachers. Where does falsifiability come from? A philosopher, not a scientist.

        What's more, is that this philosopher, Karl Popper, was a critic of current popular beliefs and helped coin the pejorative term "scientism." Scientism is the (naive) idea that natural science is the most authoritative worldview or aspect of human education, and that it is superior to all other interpretations of life.

        The only problem here is that science is actually birthed and governed by philosophy. For example, what is main ingredient of empirical evidence? Empiricism, of course. The funniest part is that there are many-many people who think this philosophy is the only evidence there is. . .for anything!

        Take math for example, it's neither empirical in the evidential sense, nor is it falsifiable! But it's the lifeblood of all theory and experimentation! Can you falsify the 1st principles that math is founded upon? No, of course not.

        It's time to ask those who embrace the dogma of scientism, "Where is your science now?" Once you realize that even logic itself is math-based, Dorothy already had herself a really good peek behind the curtain.

        Thanks for your time Caleb, as well as your courage to point out the emperor has no clothes.
      • May 18 2011: We also don't have evidence that it has a limit. When we can't know either way what's the answer?


        "I don't know"
        • May 18 2011: Of course we have evidence that science has a limit. You don't have empirical scientific evidence of it, but empirical evidence is not the only kind of evidence.

          For example: Science can't tell you what is right or wrong. That's called morality. Science might tell you that something will cause death, but science can't tell you what is worth dying for. Science has many limits.

          Science is the way you study scientific things. If you try to use science as the basis of morality, theology, literature, art, or philosophy, then it makes for half-rate morality, theology, literature, art, and philosophy.
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      May 18 2011: Salim............Dream on !!!!!!!
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        May 18 2011: Hi Helen
        Yes I do dream , I love to dream.......

        I am not a scientist (but would be happy if I could) but all scientists are dreamer (it does not mean poets, philosophers, artist & so on don't dream) as they dream for new solution and findings, so they work relentlessly and once many of those dreams come true !!