Is science better or getting better?
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05-06-2013, 06:17 AM
RE: Is science better or getting better?
(05-06-2013 04:06 AM)I and I Wrote:  
(04-06-2013 10:54 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I am not sure I understand your question.

I would say it was common knowledge, and even blatantly obvious that the use of the scientific method in research, and invention over the last few hundred years, has culminated in the wondrous technology and massive success of today.

Take for example some of the most revolutionary ideas that came about due to research and invention, such as the telephone, or the internet.

The method has proved successful again and again, and we all reap the rewards.

Yes but whether or not the telephone has made our lives better or not is a subjective judgement call. Even science in medicine has only stopped certain diseases but not that many, and medication gets into the water system. The diseases that medicine has cured has allowed more old people to be around longer, not a bad thing however now the economies are having to spend more on health care. Many now say that vaccines can be adapted to by viruses so eventually there will be a measles virus that isn't affected by a measles virus near as often as it is now. Our bodies also Change due to too much antibiotics from meds. Are we better off in the long run with or without medicine advancements is purely a personal judgement call.

You are confusing some issues here.

There is no evidence, nor any mechanism, whereby viruses adapt to vaccines. You seem to be conflating vaccines and antivirals/antibiotics.

Our bodies are not changed by antibiotics. Are you confusing these with hormones? Hormones and chemicals with hormonal effects getting into the water supply is a problem.

Also, medicine has not just created more 'old people', the positive effect on infant and child mortality is stunning.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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05-06-2013, 10:57 AM
RE: Is science better or getting better?
(05-06-2013 04:06 AM)I and I Wrote:  
(04-06-2013 10:54 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I am not sure I understand your question.

I would say it was common knowledge, and even blatantly obvious that the use of the scientific method in research, and invention over the last few hundred years, has culminated in the wondrous technology and massive success of today.

Take for example some of the most revolutionary ideas that came about due to research and invention, such as the telephone, or the internet.

The method has proved successful again and again, and we all reap the rewards.

Yes but whether or not the telephone has made our lives better or not is a subjective judgement call. Even science in medicine has only stopped certain diseases but not that many, and medication gets into the water system. The diseases that medicine has cured has allowed more old people to be around longer, not a bad thing however now the economies are having to spend more on health care. Many now say that vaccines can be adapted to by viruses so eventually there will be a measles virus that isn't affected by a measles virus near as often as it is now. Our bodies also Change due to too much antibiotics from meds. Are we better off in the long run with or without medicine advancements is purely a personal judgement call.

I still don't see your point at all.

I would be fascinated to know if you or I would have ever been born at all, without the scientific advances that have kept our bloodlines intact for the last hundred years. How many mothers would have died in childbirth? Perhaps even our own?

That said, why would you even argue such a meaningless point anyway? So what if technology comes with problems and difficulties, as well as many wonders? None of us can turn back the clock and decide we no longer want any of it. Sorry. Too late.

I am glad that those individuals responsible for all the things I have available to me now, did not share your views when they labored to invent them.

"Violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children: organized religion ought to have a great deal on its conscience." -Christopher Hitchens
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05-06-2013, 01:55 PM
RE: Is science better or getting better?
(04-06-2013 06:27 PM)Luminon Wrote:  Science has a problem. It produces theories divorced from their original meaning.

The Greek word "teoria" originally did not mean theory as we understand it today, a predictive explanation of a body of facts, or something like that.

Teoria was a daily practice of contemplation about values and uses. What are things used for and if that's a good thing. Greeks associated teoria with "praxis", the practice of daily life. They believed it is impossible to have good praxis without having good teoria.

From this modern point of view, it does not matter whether scientific theory is used for healing people, or for killing and torturing. Science does not make a judgement on values. It does not contemplate that kind of things.

The fact that science works differently to how pre-scientific people imagined it would is of no significance. The Greeks you quote in this argument from authority here were not expert in accurately modelling the real world and refining those models over time to support engineering processes. They gave us much, but we had to move past what they gave us.

(04-06-2013 06:27 PM)Luminon Wrote:  The problem is, if scientists do not do that, someone else does. The society undergoes a process of modernization, it diversifies, broadens and splits and even people get more distant. Just like the universe, society has its own Big Bang. As people and institutions get more distant, they have to maintain contact through some kind of medium. Usually this medium is money. But the greater separation, the greater role money play, until the money take over. They start using all institutions and people to perpetuate themselves.

This is why science is also exposed to this corrupting influence, just like politics, business and culture (religion, etc). Money connect and money corrupt. For any given area of life, you can tell what money do there. You know the lobbyists. You know weapons trade, prosperity gospel, political movie propaganda, cronyism, advertisement, and the good old corporate capitalism. Yet so far I have not heard from anyone how is a corruption called in science. Obviously, scientific institutions can not tell a lie. It is very difficult to imagine even hypothetically how a corruption might look in this spotless white area.

Please don't take it as an attack on science and propagation of woo, but a very valid political question. Science can not lie about facts of natural world, these are under peer review. So how does it look?
Maybe the answer is, science is a sellout. A whore of market forces. A scientist will have a problem working even on the most philantropic projects, if there is little or no funding. A scientist will develop weapons to kill or manipulate innocent people, weapons that will be bought for taxpayer money and shipped to Iraq to provide an outlet for unemployed American youth and drying out Texas wells. I have heard an opinion that scientists who create problems instead of solving them are not "real scientists". An emotional argument, I know, but a compelling one.
So now we get back to the interesting question: Not is science the most effective method for increasing human capability. It clearly is. No question... but is increasing human capability a "good" thing. For all our failings I would argue that the very question we are here and able to ask this question is a compelling case that yes, it is a good thing. Perhaps not an ultimate good. Perhaps not an infinite good, but at least a finite good.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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