Saturday, August 27, 2005

Understanding how Science works

Its not true that science bases everything on facts. The definitions of these very words like theory, experiment, fact etc are not properly understood, and hence leads to confusion.

Firstly the world we live can be divided into two parts:

1. physical

2. abstract

All the real world objects with which experiments are done belong to this.

The other is the abstract, that which does not really exist as a concrete thing, but exists in mind and intellect. For example the language. The language is not a concrete object, but each represents a real entity (it will more accurate to say that "human mind identifies each abstract entity with a real entity" instead of saying "each abstract thing represents a real thing)

Stuff like mathematics, theories etc come under this. There does not exist any concrete mass called 'one'. They all exist only in the mind. But they are identified with the real object of the physical world. For example two may not be real, but "two apples" is real.

If you remember the school maths, we used to study "axioms", which are usually explained as stuff which does not have proof, but are accepted as they are, and the later mathematics is developed on these. What is really is meant by this is the act of linking an abstract entity with a real entity; linking an abstract activity with a real activity.

Thus as Gurri said you may not have real 1+1=2, but you have a physical entity which is represented in the abstract world as '1', as '+' etc.

What essentially you are doing here is developing an equivalent of the physical world in the abstract world.

When one says he proposed a theory, he usually means that he has tried to represent a physical phenomenon in the form of some equations etc, which essentially belong to abstract world. Thus theorizing in other words means replicating a physical phenomenon in the mind. As all this happens fast in the mind, and we usually attach only the end things in the memory, we confuse theory with the real objects itself.

Now what is an experiment or verification of a theory. It is just to know how accurate is the replica we created in the mind. Thus we compare the "results of the abstract world" (which become predictions of the real world) and the results of the real world.

There is a peculiar habit of the human mind: it gives something a name and thinks it is answered. For example the answer for the question "how is universe created?" will mostly be "by Big bang", as though by naming it, everything gets answered. Yea but why does it happen? It is also seen in psychology. Freud while trying to explain why ppl commit suicide, says it is coz of Suicide instinct in the living beings. yea fine it is called suicide instinct, but why is there.... silence. This naming is not done consciously by us, but it still happens.

Of course what ever be the manner in which it works it never the less works. But there is one important point that we should infer from this is that a ‘proved theory’ does not represent a physical fact, but a correct replication and identification by the mind of the physical phenomenon. It then follows that while we only focusing our attention on the system, we are neglecting and not considering into account the most important component of the whole ‘experiment’ – our own mind.

For most ordinary purposes things still work no matter how it works, just the same manner a comp for works for us, no matter we understand how exactly is the principle involved in it. But it then makes science less of science and more of engineering.

Luckily the modern science tries to include most of these considerations into account in relativity etc. Actually Heisenberg proved that nothing can be ‘proved’, and uncertainty always will remain in the study. (logical contradiction?? I don’t know; I have elaborated my views on this here)

In this context it also will not be correct to say “it anyhow works”, coz primary identifications does not work every time. If something does not work with additions, we may try and introduce laplace equation. If even this doesn’t work something else. Everytime we are making trial and error about what is the correct identification of that particular physical phenomenon in the abstract world, and once it is does we say “ah math works”. Maths did not work there, we invented new extensions of it, until they worked.

What is the conclusion of this: it then means that science is not a study of ‘facts’, but the effort of the human mind to understand and thus conquer external nature. If science is the effort to conquer external nature, religion is the effort to conquer nature. The only difference is that in science, the mind is the instrument, and a physical thing the object of study. But in religion, the mind is both the instrument and object of study. Thus thinking, study of self is not wrong, rather must. Thinking about self is different from putting self first. Putting self on top of everything, everytime will cause problems.


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