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Old 03-04-2015, 03:14 PM
Location: Here
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A philosophical question relating to the meaning of science... A friend of mine says there is such a thing as "fixed science", meaning there are certain known things that are above scientific scrutiny. My response was that science is all about discovery and there is nothing that is absolutely "fixed" in science. So, the question came up; in science, is 2+2=4 above questioning?
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Old 03-04-2015, 03:55 PM
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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Nope. The issues are modeling, semantics, consistency, incorrect use of shorthand and a few others.

I have 2 scientists and 2 hungry lions. Will that = 4 scientists, 4 lions, or 2 satiated lions?

I have two oxygen molecules in one space, another two in another. If I put them together will I get 4 oxygen or 2 O2 molecules?

I have two half-circles ( (
If I add another two half circles, but pointing in the opposite direction ))
and put them so the end points are touching 0 0
Then I either have NO half circles (only circles) or I have an infinity of half circles (by cutting them in half a multitude of ways, which was not possible while they were half circles.)

All representational systems are models of one sort or another. As models are not equal to what is being modeled, there will be inconsistencies, semantics, incorrect use of shorthand and a few others. Most science is "good enuff" science anyway. Look at the varying results obtained in high school science labs and the infallibility and exactitude of everyday science looks pretty scruffy. We get more and more accurate with skill and technology, but when atoms have electron clouds with only probability and not any true granularity, lots of stuff is possible.
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Old 03-04-2015, 09:43 PM
Location: (six-cent-dix-sept)
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science isn't designed to be some magic wand that will answer all our questions.

the scientific-method is a discipline to teach us how to be logical, methodical problem solvers.
the methods involved include creating a hypothesis, doing initial research, expanding to a testable thesis, staging an experiment with controlled variables, analysing results and drawing conclusions.

it used to be common knowledge that the world was flat. then all the planets revolved around the earth. then we discovered we weren't the only solar system. then we discovered other galaxies... maybe next we will discover other universes where 2 + 2 does not = 4 ?

Last edited by stanley-88888888; 03-04-2015 at 09:53 PM..
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Old 03-05-2015, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by GalileoSmith View Post
in science, is 2+2=4 above questioning?

2+2=4 is math, not science. Might seem a trivial difference, but is true in all spaces.

And is science, some things just are. We might not know them, and our understanding may change as we learn more, but they are, independent of what philosophy we might use to avoid them. And that is what science is about -- discovering and understanding what is.
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