Expanding Universe, Infinity, and The Philosophy of Science

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maplebayou1
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Re: Expanding Universe, Infinity, and The Philosophy of Scie

Post by maplebayou1 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:01 pm

Then I would say you and I have a very different view of the history of scientific development. The whole of science in my view has proceeded from philosophy, which has provided the framework for which such questions have been asked, many of which became scientific questions with the advent of empiricism. Any theorizing is philosophy until it proposes an empirical test. Mathematics is derived from philosophy, from basic questions about the boundaries within which any coherent system of abstraction can operate, and epistemological questions of what is knowable. Godel's incompleteness theorem is the culmination of a journey beginning with the philosopher Zeno. Is the incompleteness theorem a waste of time because it doesn't involve "data input"? I don't think so.

I do not suggest that philosophy should be an end unto itself. If competing philosophical notions are equally compatible with available data, I agree that no progress can be made in actually resolving them. I am saying that the exploration of boundaries within the universe of abstraction is quite productive and we may find that many of these boundaries will ultimately be elucidated by empiricism involving the so-called "physical" universe.

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Re: Expanding Universe, Infinity, and The Philosophy of Scie

Post by maplebayou1 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:24 pm

If you define the question "Is information made of the same stuff as energy?" as physics rather than ontology, then very little would seem to be ontology. If ontology consists only of the question, "Does anything exist in any sense?" then indeed I think this branch of philosophy leads pretty quickly to an intellectual impasse. That is hardly a fair characterization of the field. If this is a physics question then surely questions like "Is matter composed of information?" or "Are abstractions made of different stuff than matter?" are physics questions. The latter is a classic philosophical question. If we go that route I think we will find very little left over for philosophy. Then the point that philosophy is unproductive becomes quite trivial since philosophy consists of very few questions.

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Re: Expanding Universe, Infinity, and The Philosophy of Scie

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:31 pm

maplebayou1 wrote:Then I would say you and I have a very different view of the history of scientific development. The whole of science in my view has proceeded from philosophy, which has provided the framework for which such questions have been asked, many of which became scientific questions with the advent of empiricism.
I would agree completely with the first half of that statement: science itself is fundamentally defined by philosophy. Where we part ways is the belief that philosophy in any way dictates the progression of knowledge via scientific methods. I think it has little or no role in that. The method is the product of philosophical reasoning; the results are not.
Chris

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Céline Richard
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Re: Expanding Universe, Infinity, and The Philosophy of Scie

Post by Céline Richard » Fri Dec 10, 2010 4:08 pm

Chris Peterson wrote: Like logic (which is, of course, a branch of mathematics) it is useful for connecting A to B, a component of critical thinking.
I think logic comes from Mathematics, although it can be used in Philosophy, to develop critical thinking. I even have had a logic teacher, in philosophy, Denis Bonnay, who is also a mathematician: http://lumiere.ens.fr/~dbonnay/
Chris Peterson wrote: I see no evidence that anything in the Universe necessarily has some underlying mechanism, as opposed to simply being.
I have a little question in Astrobiology :)
I mention astrobiology now, because I would like to try to explain why IMO the principle causality is required in the construction of biology, although paradoxically, there is no evidence the Universe respects this principle.
In astrobiology, if I ask “why is there life on Earth?”, it seems to me we seek an explanation, not just a prediction, because to predict what has already happened (life on Earth) is easy. The fact to “simply being” seems to me to require some understanding more, to know what has happened on Earth. For example, the crash of a meteorite might have brought molecules of life, on Earth; it is any other cause

In my opinion, today’s science requires the causality principle, to connect scientific facts (using logics), in order to provide a better understanding of the Universe, maybe not as a whole (expanding Universe), but for example in Astrobiology (when we seek which are the conditions in favor of the development of life elsewhere, in the Universe, we tend to discover the Universe).

In astrobiology, I can ask “why is there life on Earth?”. Is it both a scientific and philosophical question? What is the difference between a philosophical question and a scientific question ? As for me, a scientific question is not linked to ethics, politics, or any other human “science”. As for you?

Have a very nice day,

Céline
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Re: Expanding Universe, Infinity, and The Philosophy of Scie

Post by Chris Peterson » Fri Dec 10, 2010 5:32 pm

Céline Richard wrote:I have a little question in Astrobiology :)
I mention astrobiology now, because I would like to try to explain why IMO the principle causality is required in the construction of biology, although paradoxically, there is no evidence the Universe respects this principle.
In astrobiology, if I ask “why is there life on Earth?”, it seems to me we seek an explanation, not just a prediction, because to predict what has already happened (life on Earth) is easy. The fact to “simply being” seems to me to require some understanding more, to know what has happened on Earth. For example, the crash of a meteorite might have brought molecules of life, on Earth; it is any other cause
Sure... all science seeks explanations. That's what a theory is. One test of a theory is how effectively it makes predictions. I don't think astrobiology is different from any other science in this respect.
In astrobiology, I can ask “why is there life on Earth?”. Is it both a scientific and philosophical question? What is the difference between a philosophical question and a scientific question ?
The scientific question is more rigorous: what is really being asked is can we develop a theory that explains how life on Earth came to exist? The philosophical question isn't a single question at all, but one which is predicated on a set of definitions that must have been previously established. Different philosophical viewpoints will interpret the question very differently.
As for me, a scientific question is not linked to ethics, politics, or any other human “science”. As for you?
I would generally agree with that (which isn't to say that ethics and politics don't influence scientists, and therefore influence the questions they ask, and perhaps even the answers they arrive at).
Chris

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Re: Expanding Universe, Infinity, and The Philosophy of Scie

Post by Céline Richard » Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:11 pm

Chris Peterson wrote: The scientific question is more rigorous: what is really being asked is can we develop a theory that explains how life on Earth came to exist?
Do you think it would be possible? I mean, do you think we could develop such a theory one day?
The philosophical question isn't a single question at all, but one which is predicated on a set of definitions that must have been previously established. Different philosophical viewpoints will interpret the question very differently.

Yes, it might be important to set a definition for "life", and to give a meaning to the word "why", in the framework of one philosophical viewpoint, before answering.
Me: As for me, a scientific question is not linked to ethics, politics, or any other human “science”. As for you?
Chris: I would generally agree with that (which isn't to say that ethics and politics don't influence scientists, and therefore influence the questions they ask, and perhaps even the answers they arrive at).
A scientific question is not supposed to be linked to ethics, politics... I think it is better expressed like that. Your remark is very interesting. Actually, maybe what something is supposed to be appears less important than what it is, in practice. I mean we have to take into account what happen to science, the way it is furthered in practice.
However, I hardly understand how scientific questions and answers could be influenced by ethics and politics… as longer as they remain in the field of science. Indeed, in my opinion, scientific truth is supposed to be universal, because neutral, objective. Do you have examples of scientific questions and answers, influenced by ethics and politics?

Céline :)
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Re: Expanding Universe, Infinity, and The Philosophy of Scie

Post by Chris Peterson » Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:36 pm

Céline Richard wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote: The scientific question is more rigorous: what is really being asked is can we develop a theory that explains how life on Earth came to exist?
Do you think it would be possible? I mean, do you think we could develop such a theory one day?
Valid theories exist now. Abiogenesis is a hot area of scientific research, and theories such as the formation of self-replicating molecules on clay substrates, the formation of cell membrane chemistry by natural processes, and others have been around for a while. These are ideas that can be tested in the lab and supported (or otherwise) by field observations.

Of course, life developed in the past, and that process can never be observed directly. But that is the case for much of what we hold true in the Universe. We can never know what happened with 100% certainty (as we can never know anything with 100% certainty), but we can understand the process well enough to have extremely little doubt.
Me: As for me, a scientific question is not linked to ethics, politics, or any other human “science”. As for you?
Chris: I would generally agree with that (which isn't to say that ethics and politics don't influence scientists, and therefore influence the questions they ask, and perhaps even the answers they arrive at).

A scientific question is not supposed to be linked to ethics, politics... I think it is better expressed like that. Your remark is very interesting. Actually, maybe what something is supposed to be appears less important than what it is, in practice. I mean we have to take into account what happen to science, the way it is furthered in practice.
However, I hardly understand how scientific questions and answers could be influenced by ethics and politics… as longer as they remain in the field of science. Indeed, in my opinion, scientific truth is supposed to be universal, because neutral, objective. Do you have examples of scientific questions and answers, influenced by ethics and politics?
A scientific question, or a scientific result, is not likely to be influenced by ethics (unless it isn't truly scientific to begin with). But the choice of which questions to ask, or the choice of interpretation of answers when there are more than one, are clearly subject to human bias.
Chris

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Céline Richard
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Re: Expanding Universe, Infinity, and The Philosophy of Scie

Post by Céline Richard » Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:50 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:Valid theories exist now. Abiogenesis is a hot area of scientific research, and theories such as the formation of self-replicating molecules on clay substrates, the formation of cell membrane chemistry by natural processes, and others have been around for a while. These are ideas that can be tested in the lab and supported (or otherwise) by field observations.

Of course, life developed in the past, and that process can never be observed directly. But that is the case for much of what we hold true in the Universe. We can never know what happened with 100% certainty (as we can never know anything with 100% certainty), but we can understand the process well enough to have extremely little doubt.
Thank you for all your explanations :)
A scientific question, or a scientific result, is not likely to be influenced by ethics (unless it isn't truly scientific to begin with). But the choice of which questions to ask, or the choice of interpretation of answers when there are more than one, are clearly subject to human bias.
I understand this better, yes... Thank you again!!
Have a very nice day,

Céline
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Re: Expanding Universe, Infinity, and The Philosophy of Scie

Post by rstevenson » Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:33 am

Céline Richard wrote:... In astrobiology, I can ask “why is there life on Earth?”. Is it both a scientific and philosophical question? What is the difference between a philosophical question and a scientific question ?
Any question which starts with "Why" is automatically not a scientific question. That is the essential (to me) difference between science and philosophy, and why I quickly lose patience with philosophical discussion. "Why" always implies a being who had a reason, and I don't believe in such beings, so to me such a question is completely free of meaning -- therefore all such discussions are fruitless and pointless.

"How", on the other hand, is a very interesting question.

Rob

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Re: Expanding Universe, Infinity, and The Philosophy of Scie

Post by Céline Richard » Sat Dec 11, 2010 1:11 am

rstevenson wrote:
Céline Richard wrote:... In astrobiology, I can ask “why is there life on Earth?”. Is it both a scientific and philosophical question? What is the difference between a philosophical question and a scientific question ?
Any question which starts with "Why" is automatically not a scientific question. That is the essential (to me) difference between science and philosophy, and why I quickly lose patience with philosophical discussion. "Why" always implies a being who had a reason, and I don't believe in such beings, so to me such a question is completely free of meaning -- therefore all such discussions are fruitless and pointless.
"How", on the other hand, is a very interesting question.
Rob
I think, indeed, astrobiologists seek to answer to "how is there life on Earth?".
I wrote "why", maybe because, in my opinion, the principle causality is important, in science (through logics, in math). It doesn't mean to my mind a being had a reason, but that it is hard to think without it. That's why :wink: i wouldn't say "Why" is "automatically" not a scientific question: because "why", the principle causality, is necesary in math.
But I assume indeed, asking "how" is a better way to express myself on this purpose.
Thank you for your help :)

Céline
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Re: Expanding Universe, Infinity, and The Philosophy of Scie

Post by Albert Einstein » Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:34 pm

On regarding you asking on what is the Universe expanding in relation to what?...

Think that there are, probably, multiple Universes, an infinite amount if you will. So it might expand relating to other neighboring Universes. As think that our Universe might just be like a droplet of water in an Ocean. But there again, what is that "Ocean" in. Humanity needs to start focusing on these type of questions, not on stupid wars and governments and so on.


Best Regards,
The Universe.

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Re: Expanding Universe, Infinity, and The Philosophy of Scie

Post by Céline Richard » Wed Dec 22, 2010 9:37 pm

Albert Einstein wrote:Think that there are, probably, multiple Universes, an infinite amount if you will. So it might expand relating to other neighboring Universes. As think that our Universe might just be like a droplet of water in an Ocean. But there again, what is that "Ocean" in. Humanity needs to start focusing on these type of questions, not on stupid wars and governments and so on.

Best Regards
The Universe
Thank you a lot M. The Universe :lol:

Your comment is very interesting. Do you know if the existence of multiple universes is dependent on quantum physics?

I remember Carl Sagan also wrote about the Earth as if it was the "shore of the cosmic ocean". Your image of the ocean for the Universe is so beautiful :)

Céline
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