Previous in Forum: Paging Dr. Inkjet   Next in Forum: Discovery getting closer to launch
Close
Close
Close
8 comments
The Feature Creep

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1055

The one thing everyone should learn

04/07/2005 8:47 AM

The Guardian newspaper of London had an interesting article where they asked 250 scientists "what is the one thing everyone should learn about science?"

Most of the scientists said it was something in their field. I guess you have to think that your work is the most important aspect of reality. I was surprised that many of them went back to the Greeks to get their lessons. Personally I think that the most important lesson about science is the fact that all learning stems from observation. Everything in the universe can be learned just by being aware of the world around you.

__________________
"The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet." -William Gibson
Register to Reply
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Anonymous Poster
#1

That the unexpected is often more important...

04/07/2005 8:54 AM

...than seeing what you expect. When you understand that unexpected results are not necessarily failures, but are calls to action to retest and find out if your thesis was simply wrong or have you stumbled into the great unknown. I guess in a way I'm agreeing that observation is the key, but with an additional level, be it testing or synthesis.

Register to Reply
The Feature Creep

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1055
#3
In reply to #1

Re:That the unexpected is often more important...

04/07/2005 10:18 AM

There is a great quote (I forget who said it) about discovery.
"The greatest discoveries in the world are not heralded with "Eureka!!!", but rather "That's funny...."

__________________
"The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet." -William Gibson
Register to Reply
The Engineer
Engineering Fields - Engineering Physics - Physics... United States - Member - NY Popular Science - Genetics - Organic Chemistry... Popular Science - Cosmology - New Member Ingeniería en Español - Nuevo Miembro - New Member

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Albany, New York
Posts: 5170
Good Answers: 129
#2

That's a great question

04/07/2005 9:11 AM

And there's no one right answer. I guess the most important thing science has taught me is to know what I don't know, in other words, distinguish assumption from fact.

Register to Reply
The Architect
Engineering Fields - Software Engineering - S/W Architect Popular Science - Evolution - Fascinating! Fans of Old Computers - TRS-80 - A fine computer United States - US - Statue of Liberty - NY

Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: GlobalSpec, Troy NY
Posts: 393
Good Answers: 5
#4

I really liked this one

04/08/2005 8:53 AM

"Susan Blackmore Science writer and broadcaster, and visiting lecturer at the University of the West of England in Bristol

Frighteningly, most people do not understand Darwin's great insight. What people miss is the sheer inevitability of the creative process. Once you see it —copy, vary, select; copy, vary, select —you see that design by natural selection simply has to happen. This is not like Isaac Newton's laws, or quantum physics, or any of the other great theories in science, where one can ask "why is this so?" It simply has to be the case. Then, the scary implications follow. If everyone understood evolution, then the tyranny of religious memes would be weakened, and we little humans might find a better way to live in this pointless universe."

-- because even in a "pointless universe", being nice to people makes you feel good

__________________
Mark Gaulin
Register to Reply
The Engineer
Engineering Fields - Engineering Physics - Physics... United States - Member - NY Popular Science - Genetics - Organic Chemistry... Popular Science - Cosmology - New Member Ingeniería en Español - Nuevo Miembro - New Member

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Albany, New York
Posts: 5170
Good Answers: 129
#5
In reply to #4

Re:I really liked this one

04/08/2005 10:11 AM

I agree about evolution being an important fact. What I fear is the extrapolation made that evolution "weakens the tyranny of religious memes"(memes-great word, had to look it up). There was a movement in the early 20th century called "Social Darwinism" which in many of it's forms, justified might and oppression through biological superiority. Roughly speaking, the argument was, as human beings evolve, some become superior of others. One could characterize this as "tyranny of evolutionists mimes". Of course social darwinism took only half the facts in order to make an argument that supported the status quo. I think Evolving is an unfortunate name for the process as well, since I think it implies, or has come to imply, a superiority of the latest species when in fact the newest species is simply better suited for the current environment. So I guess what I'm trying to say is evolution is great for the knowledge of our world it provides us with, but for me fails to prove or disprove anything outside of the facts of the theory itself. What's more I feel it can be just as tyrannical as religon when given the opportunity.

Register to Reply
The Architect
Engineering Fields - Software Engineering - S/W Architect Popular Science - Evolution - Fascinating! Fans of Old Computers - TRS-80 - A fine computer United States - US - Statue of Liberty - NY

Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: GlobalSpec, Troy NY
Posts: 393
Good Answers: 5
#6
In reply to #5

Re:I really liked this one

04/08/2005 10:50 AM

Oppression and hurt in the name of biological superiority or regilous superiority are both bad; I don't recommend either.

For me, the wonder of the universe, viewed partly through a scientific lens (which includes evolution), is amazing and good. It doesn't require humans to have a special place in it or to hold any particular beliefs. When the sun rises, it warms everything and everyone equally (and the warming differences due to atmospheric conditions and surface reflectivity are part of the wonder too).

Humans desire to put all of this wonder (and also pain) into some kind of context, and religion has been filling this need for a long time. I prefer rationalism as my base; it just fits me better. That still leaves room for more traditional spirituality... I'm as human as the next guy and those roots run deep. It's just that I suspect there is an evolutionary explaination for the attraction. What works for me may not work for others, and your mileage may vary.

__________________
Mark Gaulin
Register to Reply
The Engineer
Engineering Fields - Engineering Physics - Physics... United States - Member - NY Popular Science - Genetics - Organic Chemistry... Popular Science - Cosmology - New Member Ingeniería en Español - Nuevo Miembro - New Member

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Albany, New York
Posts: 5170
Good Answers: 129
#7
In reply to #6

Re:I really liked this one

04/08/2005 11:23 AM

I mostly agree and well said. For me that feeling of wonder I feel when I learn something new in science takes me back to when I was a child and everything was new and exciting. This is a need that science fills for me. I don't feel that belief in science and religon is a conflict. Nor do I feel that by accepting religon I neglect rationalism. What could be more rational then accepting I am limited and there are things I cannot know for sure and must take on faith. I respect the beliefs atheists and agnostics but I fear when they label worldviews outside of their own as irrational.

Register to Reply
The Architect
Engineering Fields - Software Engineering - S/W Architect Popular Science - Evolution - Fascinating! Fans of Old Computers - TRS-80 - A fine computer United States - US - Statue of Liberty - NY

Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: GlobalSpec, Troy NY
Posts: 393
Good Answers: 5
#8
In reply to #7

Re:I really liked this one

04/08/2005 12:07 PM

I don't like lots of things people say and do in the world. I'm learning to get used to it.

__________________
Mark Gaulin
Register to Reply
Register to Reply 8 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

Anonymous Poster (1); Bayes (3); BRodda (1); mgaulin (3)

Previous in Forum: Paging Dr. Inkjet   Next in Forum: Discovery getting closer to launch

Advertisement