Thursday, January 12, 2017

Why Science Cannot Explain Reality

Reality and Science

Most people, of course, believe that there is a reality. Do you want to know what that reality is? Scientific evidence says what it is, but in my just finished chapter on the Scientific View of Reality, the bottom line is that Science doesn’t really know. To see how Science doesn’t know, let’s just look at one concept over the years — gravity.

Aristotle’s worldview was predominant for almost 2000 years — the earth was the center of the universe and things tended to fall toward the center of the universe. Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler, however, showed that the earth wasn’t even the center of our solar system, much less the universe.

Next came Newton’s law of universal gravitation which stated matter attracts matter in the force proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. This is still what most of us believe about gravity today although that view has been obsolete since Einstein came up with General Relativity.

General Relativity says that gravity is essentially warped spacetime so any massive object generates a gravitational field by warping the geometry of the surrounding spacetime. Einstein generated his theory about 100 years ago but scientists are now changing their theories about things as fast as every 25 years.

Modern physicists are trying to generate a theory of everything by reconciling the four forces of nature. These theories are all over the place and are constantly changing but the latest idea about gravity is that it’s a particle called a graviton.

If you’d like to know more about how science cannot explain reality, then listen to The Great Courses course entitled “Science Wars: What Scientists Know and How They Know It” by Professor Steven L. Goldman. He has the same conclusion that science probably can never know reality but then of course, tries to justify what they do know.

The bottom line is that science progresses by first making some assumptions that seem logical and that seem to describe the real world. Then someone develops a theory that seems to explain and predict what is known and observed. Someone comes along later, however, and shows that the basic assumptions behind the current theory are no longer valid and they need to be replaced. Someone else then comes up with new assumptions and a new theory and if it predicts well, then the new assumptions/theory becomes the new standard for reality — until it too is replaced eventually.

Neteller here:

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