View Full Version : What is the Ultimate goal of Science?

2009-Feb-02, 08:30 PM

2009-Feb-03, 01:59 AM
The goal of science is to explain natural phenomena with natural answers that are consistent with the data.

I'm not sure if anything is irreducible. That term has a lot of bad vibes from the creationist crowd. Science finds answers to specific questions and in doing to might open up 2 more questions. For example many lay people think that we know a lot about gravity when in actuality we don't. Sure we have a formula that works well at the local scale but we don't know the why and now we may be looking at the fact that the formula, while great at the scale we most often deal with is great the description of gravity may be much more complex

So the goal of science is to provide the best natural explanation for natural phenomena given the data we have at the time and to revise or replace the explanation when a more data is collected or better a better explanation is found.

2009-Feb-03, 02:52 AM
I even made a little flash animation with music to help you contemplate the question!! :boohoo:: http://rockyreasoner.com

I went in and I didn't want to come out. Very relaxing, but I forgot what I was contemplating.

Oh yeah...
What do we think is the Ultimate goal of Science?

The ultimate goal of science is to answer the questions, why and how, when and where and so on and so on....

PS. Welcome to Baut. :)

2009-Feb-04, 12:10 AM
I personally don't believe so unless you like the answer 'Because it is".

From what we know know of quantum mechanics it is impossible to know anything with absolute certainty.

There are some questions that we might never know. There is nothing in nature that says we have to have access to all the information and rules of the universe. For example lets take string theory. Very mathematically elegant but one of the problems with it is that we might never be able to test many of its conjectures because some things about string theory would be out of reach of our investigations. And this is just talking about the physical world. Even it we find a way to probe other parallel universes does this mean we will be able to answer why they all exist? I think the meta physical questions either are unanswerable. If we get answers to them then they really aren't metaphysical.

Say we some how find out that we are really only a simulation running on some type of computer, a project of some high school student like individual of some species that we couldn't imagine. What good is it? We could find out all the answers to our universe by examining the code but what does it say about us and would we really want to know. That student would be a god to us without being a god. Someday we might find ourselves in the same position. In order to answer more and more complex questions we might build more and more complex computer models and in the process create a simulation in which "beings" search for the answers of their universe.

Honestly, to me, the pursuit of knowledge is enough. I have no delusions that I'll live for ever or see the answers to every question be answered. When I die others after me will wonder about many of the things I wonder about. It would be a sad day in my eyes when we know everything. Some people would think it would be perfect. To each their own. I'd rather be that student that created a simulation and not only to learn about our universe but to even ask questions about their universe. Being all knowing wouldn't be fun for me.

2009-Feb-05, 06:46 AM
Science doesn't have a goal, people have goals. Some people use scientific methods to understand the world and universe they live in, others put on an aura of science as a form of braggadocio. Probably other people do another thing still.

2009-Feb-06, 01:07 AM
I think science strives to be infallible, and does a good job, thanks to the scientific method and peer review, but since scientists are only human like the rest of us, it sometimes fall short.

2009-Feb-06, 01:43 AM
Science is definitely not infallible. By its very nature it science looks for errors in what it already says. If people think that scientists think that scientists take Einstein's equation for gravity

Rab - 1/2 Rgab = -8πGTab

as gospel then they don't know scientists. There is a big difference from regarding something as highly reliable and being infallible. Religions tend to make the claim that something is infallible. Science might say something is a Fact or Law or, even higher, a Theory but none of these things would be said to be infallible as they are always open to being altered or discarded if a better answer comes along.

Science is a way of looking at the world but people often push this further then it should go, even science.

For example science can say a lot about human fetal development but can't make moral decisions. Say a woman is pregnant. Science might be able to tell her that if she takes her pregnancy to full term she will most likely die in child birth. Science might be able to tell her that the closer she takes her pregnancy to full term the more likely her baby will be able to survive even if she doesn't. Science can not tell her what the most moral choice is of the following
A) Terminate the pregnancy.
B) Continue pregnancy to some point and remove the baby before full term.
C) Continue the pregnancy to full term.

These questions are in completely different domains. Moral questions tend to be in the domain of "religion" but I like to think of Moral questions as just that Moral. Religion might dictate your answer if you are religious. Science should be able to assist you in your answer if applicable but you don't have to be religious to make moral decisions. I can tell you as a agnostic father that if I had to choose between my life and my son's that I would pick my son's because I believe that would be the better moral decision for me.

2009-Feb-15, 07:58 PM
I do not believe that science has a real goal. I believe that science is a process, a search for knowledge that will never stop. We constantly find as we get answers, we get more questions...and I have no problem with that.

The ever-so-Dr. Pamela Gay said once, "There's lots of mystery in the universe, and every new piece of information we find gives us a little bit more understanding, and just makes the picture we're trying to paint a little bit bigger and requires a lot more paint. It's a wonderful miraculous universe, miraculous is a bad word... It's a wonderful marvelous universe filled with science that we're still trying to understand, and because we don't understand it people mistake it for magic. As scientists it's our job to describe the magic, and give it equations, and give it math, and give it graphs, and give it computer models, and basically be able to beat things into a bloody pulp of understanding."

But I do not believe we can ever be done and reach that mythological place that the guru's talk about where all questions are answers and all knowledge exist. First of all, it sounds like something that is reserved for the afterlife and second, I have seen no evidence of an end to our inquiry.

Of course, by the rules of science, if you can provide evidence that science will reach an end and the goal of answering all the questions can be found, then I will change my mind. But I feel quiet comfortable with this hypothesis, currently.

I feel it is important, when funding pure scientific research (for example), that we not worry about goals so much. Certainly, you do have to put your good where it can do the most, and fund paths of inquiry that more promising, but still a bit spending on the longshot is not too bad.

I am glad *I* do not have to make these decisions.

But pure science research need not be goal-reoriented. And it would be sad if that was a requirement for public funding.

Explore and see what we find!