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This sentence:
"If it interacts with our experimental apparatus in a reasonably consistent fashion"

positively cancels the rest of the paragaph. My supposition precisely mentioned the technical means available, besides our being inside the system we are trying to understand.


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon Jun 1st, 2009 at 02:31:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If it does not interact with our experimental apparatus in a reasonably consistent fashion, how do you distinguish it from an invisible pink unicorn?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 1st, 2009 at 08:43:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was just wondering which exactly apparatus you have in mind: the present day one, or the one of Newton's time.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Tue Jun 2nd, 2009 at 03:13:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Doesn't matter insofar as the epistemological point is concerned: If the best, most precise experimental apparatus available cannot detect the effect in any reliable way, then it is very hard to distinguish from invisible pink unicorns. If you can come up with a physically plausible detection scheme, then you've bought yourself a little bit of time. But making vague appeals to what might or might not be discovered in the grim darkness of the far future... well, that's just unproductive.

Science advances one equation at a time; speculation about the nature of major scientific discoveries made decades or centuries from now is something best left to SciFi writers.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jun 2nd, 2009 at 05:36:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll rather focus on the filled-half-glass of your post.
At least we have agreed that the scientifical methodology, in its skeptical and experiment-driven (I'd call it minimalist) approach, is far from comprehensive, and we can't exclude it entering the realm of metaphysics at some point, when a majority of the scientific community will open raise their eyes from pure materialism.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 10:20:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For certain values of "comprehensive."

Science describes the world as it appears to everyone who bothers looking. That is its great virtue, and what makes it such a powerful tool.

Of necessity, however, it means that science cannot answer - and will indeed never be able to answer - questions that have different answers depending on your subjective taste, your unique life experience or your particular cultural baggage. If you move into that, you are leaving the realm of science and entering into the realm of metaphysics, taste, ideology, theology, ethics, political economy or any of a host of other diciplines.

(Most of) these disciplines are both interesting and relevant. But they are not science.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 04:12:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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