View Full Version : Skepticism in science?
2004-Feb-28, 01:23 AM
does anyone know what does skepticism do in science?
2004-Feb-28, 01:49 AM
Gives VanderL the chance to promote Electric Universe Theory :lol:
2004-Feb-28, 05:29 AM
Skepticism is part of the scientific method. Any scientist worth his/her degree will have a healthy dose of skepticism. For example, you could tell me that the earth is really a huge spaceship, and the engine is at it's core. Being the skeptical person that I am, I would do my best to poke holes in your theory, conduct experiments to determine whether this is true or false, and if for some reason, your hypothesis stands up to the most battering tests I can give it, then and ONLY then would I say that your hypothesis holds some bit of merit. That still doesn't mean I'll believe it though :P
2004-Feb-28, 05:40 AM
I could not have put it better myself devilmech, Often skepticism is equated with closed-mindedness and bigotry etc...but I do not believe that this is the case, on the contrary, it seems to me that it is open mindedness, just as long as the door is not completely slammed on a theory without any tests or research being conducted.
2004-Feb-28, 06:26 AM
At low temperatures, particles tend to move to their lowest energy states. As you increase the temperature, particles move into higher and higher energy states. As the temperature becomes infinite, the number of particles in the lower energy states and the higher energy states becomes equal. In some situations, it is possible to create a system in which there are more particles in the higher energy states than in the lower ones. This situation can be described with a negative temperature. A negative temperature is not colder than absolute zero, but rather it is hotter than infinite temperature.
The thermal condition has baselined, and all molecular motion has stopped.
Negative temperature is skepticism in Quantum Physics, and conjecture, no matter what kind of condensates they come up with.
2004-Feb-28, 06:37 AM
To clarify what I was saying before - I believe skepticism to be a healthy and justified - 'prove it'
2004-Feb-28, 03:42 PM
but rather it is hotter than infinite temperature.
Can this be ought but semantic confuscation.
2004-Feb-28, 04:34 PM
And Duane, "promote" is not quite right, "question" would be closer. Where else than on the net in a forum like this, is it possible to ask questions on the Electric model or any other new theory? Otherwise I would have to wait for science to sort things out, and only long after the paradigm shift would I hear about this fine new theory that would explain everything much better. I'd rather be knee-deep in arguments about it right now. Btw do you know of any new theories threatening the current models?
2004-Feb-28, 08:15 PM
Electric model -_- the nwest one I know it's the theory of Earth's Electric field, which scientist assume that the Electric field can grow large, large enough to absorb thunderbolt...
2004-Feb-28, 08:49 PM
do you know of any new theories threatening the current models?
You don't even have to look outside the current models! Quantum theory (which posits the "graviton" particle to explain gravity) threatens relativity theory (which describes gravity as a geometrical warping of "spacetime")... I've got no idea how string theories are meant to bridge this gap!?
2004-Feb-29, 10:58 PM
Thanks VanderL, I agree, question would be closer.
There are many theories that bring into question our current understandings. Just off the top of my head, and in no particular order, string theory, dark energy, dark matter, quantum mechanics, planet formation, evolution, all have competing theories. I believe that is why scepticism is so vitally important in science.
2004-Feb-29, 11:21 PM
If everyone believed what they were told, and didn't question anything we would still be living in caves.
2004-Mar-01, 06:31 AM
That is precisely how i feel Matthew! I mean I think the last time when society 'toed the line' with established theories was known as the Dark Ages....
2004-Mar-01, 09:47 PM
True, but my understanding is that dark matter is not really a competing theory, it is a (strained imo) solution to the missing mass problem. Maybe we should make a list and try to find out what observations or experiments would be needed to answer some of the big questions?
2004-Mar-02, 06:00 AM
Skepticism is a necessary balance to conjecture.
Edward De Bono wrote a great series of books on what he called Top Hat Thinking. His idea was that we should not just put on our 'thinking caps" but we must realize the varieties in which thinking caps come. One is the brain-storm kind of thinking cap where we might think of all sorts of outlandish things off the top of our heads. The next hat uncritically tries to make all these ideas work. The last hat is a sort of skeptical hat that picks everything apart. The middle uncritical step might seem redundant, but in practice you are likely to generate completely new ideas that are inspired by the crazy ones that a premature critical analysis might throw out.
My point is this, skepticism and analysis are important to the scientific process, but they are the last step. As Einstein said, Imagination really is more important than knowlege, to this I would add that imagination is at least as important as skepticism. You won't get anywhere without both.
While I'm on the subject, logic limits us to what we already know. If you are lost in a large wooded area bounded on all sides by highways, logic says if you just keep walking straight in any direction whatsoever, you'll soon be out of the woods. What will really happen is you are going to walk in circles because one of your legs is a little stronger than the other one. Its the same way with problem solving. Our strengths, that is all the things we think we know doom us to engage in circular thinking. We need something to disrupt our circular thinking.
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