SCI-ART LAB

Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication

People say science cannot solve all the problems and doesn't answer all the questions human minds pose. True! But think about this: This universe started with a Big Bang ( according to one theory - which is not yet proved!) some 14 Billion years ago. But science is just a few hundred years old. It is still in its infancy. It has to learn a lot, study a lot, think a lot, experiment a lot and then only it can come up with all the answers we are seeking right now. How can you expect a child to solve all the problems of his ancestors? And answer the questions posed by his great, great, great, great grand fathers? Is it appropriate to even expect such a thing? I don't think so. We should be amazed at how we have been able to get so far in understanding the things in this universe despite our inadequacies! Science is doing its best with the limited resources it has to both answer the questions and solve the problems. As the time goes by, I am pretty sure, it will succeed more and more. Please have patience!

Another way to put it: It is not science that cannot explain things, but us. Science is merely a tool and is as good or as bad as the one who wields it.

Like one physicist puts it ... As humans we have with mathematics the power to reason about things we can't fit in our brains. With 1200 cubic centimeter of brain we can reason about the universe, which is obviously much larger. The mystery is natural, the model is our power. 

Everything has a natural explanation, it's just that we are still yet to understand a great many things.

Just because we can't explain it now, doesn't mean magic or supernatural become  better alternatives.

                                                                      ********

One science writer says:  Trial and error is the way all technology progresses most of the time.

Even when we apply the learnings of science to technology, we still go through a process of translation of the scientific information to technological processes that involves trial and error. Just because something is "science" does not make it correct.

One of the basic characteristics of science is that we often replace established theories with new ones because we find that the old theories are wrong, or at least inadequately close to "truth". In effect, scientific knowledge is a collection of the most-plausible half-truths. It can never be unchallengeable, absolute, truth. ( That is what i wrote in my article ' science and spirituality' and he is using my own argument after reading it!).

However it is what people who identify as scientific believe.It is their belief that will motivate them to act, not the correctness - or otherwise - of their belief.

If we want more people to identify with a scientific way of thinking - to be more "scientifically literate" - it behoves us to be a little less self-righteous about the "truth" we claim to represent. There are many kinds of truth.

And my reply to him:

You seem to argue that scientific knowledge is not that necessary for the technology to develop. Just trail and error method would do!

The trail and error method of a layman is different from the knowledge based one with regard to high tech. In the former case you might try your entire life time or several life times but still wouldn't be able to send a mission to mars! Although Mars missions are only half successful till now, science knowledge based ones consume less time, energy and more successful. Earlier when scientific knowledge was not prolific, people took centuries to develop even small technologies with trial and error methods. Now you hear about at least a few in each week!

We trust that science can help people and the societies we live in in a better way than most of the baseless beliefs. Without it, you would still be living in a forest, hunting and subjecting yourself to merciless calamities and get killed at an young age because of diseases. The fact that we have come far, progressed and we are living up to 80-90 years of age is itself proof that science has a beneficial effect on the world. Science is still in an infant stage when compared to human existence. It has to grow a lot to make it more 'truthful'. If you see an infant and say human beings are 'short, immature and unintelligent', well, it will be very very far from truth!

An update:

We can see or measure something scientifically, if there is a chance of  finding it out. But according to some physicists, we might have lost that chance! How? Watch this video:

 

Copyright 2012 Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa.
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Replies to This Discussion

http://www.omaha.com/article/20130702/NEWS/707029917/1694
Hansen: Artist enlists science to answer nagging question — who am I?

535

http://www.quora.com/Life/Modern-humans-are-estimated-to-be-about-2...**
Modern humans are estimated to be about 200,000 years old, but it seems that 99% of technological progress has occurred in the last 10,000 years. What were we doing before that ?

A true soldier of science! 

Our perception of reality is provided "through a glass darkly". Our senses are essentially very narrow band filters combined with extensive selection mechanisms. As a result we must design instruments that allow us to "see" things that fall outside of our biological sensory apparatus. It is generally argued that most, if not all, measurement devices are classical mechanisms and using them to observe quantum mechanical phenomena requires considerable and judicial interpretation. As Feynman said science is a process for examining evidence and, hopefully, assigning some useful meaning to it. Doing this with non-classical events requires that we observe non-classical phenomena with classical devices and strategies. Given this we should not be surprised that the results are difficult to understand. (On Quantum mechanics and its mystery)

Any body who wants to criticize science and scientists should first learn fully about the subject and then only go ahead with the criticism. He or she should also have a fair knowledge about science culture. There are certain rules on how you can go about in conducting scientific research which most of the scientists follow. There are peer reviews to see and supervise whether the procedures followed by scientists in their work are correct or not and whether the results are obtained in the right way or not. Anybody can repeat scientists' experiments and find out whether he or she can reproduce the same results. In a way scientific research and results have to withstand the tests of time.

I have seen people criticizing science without knowing any thing about the work and with prejudice just to support their beliefs both religious and personal. Science doesn't accept anything that is not rational and scientists don't accept criticism done with half knowledge. You can get away with anything rubbish with regard to art but you cannot follow the same rules for science. Science criticism should be based on facts and truth. You cannot use the same yardstick for both. As the saying goes everyone is entitled to have his or her opinions (applies to Art) but not to his or her facts (applies to Science).

Some artists say the ability of art to communicate messages in a visceral, powerful manner that scientists, thus far, have unable to achieve. Scientists, according to him, have a tendency to underplay their predictions and data findings. “If a scientist were to overstate ... that person will acquire a reputation as someone who over-reads data and exaggerates interpretation ... and this casts a doubt on anything and everything they say”. On the other hand, artists can be more hyperbolic without the having to put their reputations at risk. Artists can use the authority of scientific pictorialism to walk a fine line between fact and fiction. Art can almost get away with pushing the envelope more than science. Undoubtedly Scientists would be more cautious while doing their work!

Agreed some scientists are influenced by certain things like politics, pressure by the industry and also personal problems. But these types are rare and there are checks and balances to overcome these type of influences. I don't accept the view that experts don't think about the broader context. They do and do it in a scientific way. I will give a few examples here: In science, nothing is a waste. People -laymen would be an appropriate word here - say space science is waste. "What will you do by going to a moon? What is the use of finding that moon is a barren land?" It is just ignorance to think space science is a waste. The technology used in space science is being used now in medical field too to save money and lives! And this is a fact.

In fact, our former president, who is a scientist at Defence Research and Development Organization, Mr. APJ Abdul Kalam , collaborated with Care foundation doctors and developed a cost-effective stent using space technology. He also helped Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences doctors in developing low-weight ortho calipers - prosthetic legs for polio-effected patients and amputees - using space age materials.

It is also being used to improve infrastructure and technologies used in industries. Are we not using satellites for communications and educational purposes? So according to scientists space science is not a waste.

Some people may wonder about the benefits of finding Higgs Boson and work in Particle Physics spending billions of bucks. In fact Indian President Ms. Pratibha Patil while visiting CERN asked the scientists the same question.

My reply would be: Modern physics has led to tremendous leaps in technology, which have changed our lives. The entire electronics industry - the cell phone, the computer, the television were the products of scientific research in modern day physical laboratories. The World Wide Web was created at CERN! Accelerator science has led to many improvements in medical imaging which saves lives! Without modern physics, Google, Microsoft, Intel, Apple, Facebook, iPad, iPhone wouldn't have been born at all! There would be no silicon valley!

A glimpse of the Higgs Boson proves intellectual capabilities of Human Mind! We can understand the basic working of the universe and build hugely complicated machines that can stimulate fundamental physical processes. Is it a waste? Definitely not! And isn't it an occasion to celebrate?

Here you can find other examples on how science in one field can be useful in other areas of human lives:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/basic-space/2011/11/27/why-the-...

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/basic-space/2012/01/09/how-brai...

Science is knowledge. It can be used one way or the other and nothing in science is ever going to be a waste. When Edison was asked what he had achieved by failing 999 times and only succeeding the 1000th time, he replied: I realized how you cannot make a bulb in 999ways. That is the spirit of science. Can a common man understand it?

Moreover, people say science cannot solve all the problems and doesn't answer all the questions human minds pose. True! But think about this: This universe started with a Big Bang some 14 Billion years ago. But science is just a few hundred years old. It is still in its infancy. It has to learn a lot, study a lot, think a lot, experiment a lot and then only it can come up with all the answers we are seeking right now. How can you expect a child to solve all the problems of his ancestors? And answer the questions posed by his great, great, great, great grand fathers? Is it appropriate to even expect such a thing? I don't think so. We should be amazed at how we have been able to get so far in understanding the things in this universe despite our inadequacies! Science is doing its best with the limited resources it has to both answer the questions and solve the problems. As the time goes by, I am pretty sure, it will succeed more and more.

If you want to criticize science go ahead and do it. If it is true, science has no other go but to accept it (that is the beauty of science!). However, if scientists don't think it has any stuff in it, you have to blame only yourself. Good luck to you!

( Taken from 'critics corner' group on this network - "The parameters for judging science and art are different" )

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