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Migeru,

  • Are you trying to make the case for science that will one day have the means to answer any question that may arise?
No, because some questions have no meaning or no answer.

For instance, under Newtonian physics there was a concept of "absolute velocity". When Maxwell's equations were found to predict the speed of light, it was assumed this could be used to answer the question "what is the absolute velocity of the Earth in space?". The Michelson-Morley experiment failed to show any absolute speed. Under Einsteinian physics the question "what is the absolute velocity of something?" is a meaningless question. It's not that science cannot provide an experimental answer to the question, it is that the question is meaningless. Quantum mechanics also provides a number of examples of meaningless questions

  • This is not yet the case. The picture isn't complete, and you cannot prove that it will ever be.
I am, in fact, quite confident that it will never be. On the other hand, I am also quite confident that we know enough about physics to explain every ordinary phenomenon, in principle.
  • Valentin believes there's more there which he cannot prove, either, though there's some evidence - for more, not the complete picture.
He's not very explicit as to what, exactly, there is "more". Thus I am not quite sure how it would be possible to prove or disprove thar this "more" actually is there. If he's referring to "hidden variable theories", there is no known experiment that is inconsistent with the "standard interpretation" of quantum mechanics. So, "hidden variables" are either incorrect or experimentally indistringuishable from "standard quantum mechanics". Moreover, although "hidden variables" have their origins in a philosophical "naïve realism" (naïve here being a technical term and not one of abuse), hidden variable theories compatible with experiment must be nonlocal, contextual and not counterfactually definite. This means they are nothing that any reasonable layperson would call "intuitive", and since hidden variable theories are mathematically more contrived than standard quantum mechanics and are not any more "intuitive", I choose to stand by standard quantum mechanics. Well, I am partial to the Everett "relative state" interpretation (I consider "many worlds" a misnomer) but that is still only an interpretation of the standard mathematical apparatus.
  • Science explores the odds and ends of our existence. So does philosophy. So does Buddhist contemplative science, to cite but one prominent example. The findings of Buddhist scholars cannot be proved with the same methods that you apply to prove your point. Does this make these findings irrelevant?
Did I say they are irrelevant?
  • Maybe 'materialistic science' will make discoveries that have been found long ago in other disciplines. Maybe not. If they do, are these discoveries only given scientific relevance once they'll be proved through the methods you solely acknowledge?
Clearly they can only be given "scientific relevance" by scientific methods.
  • You will not be able to find a consensus because, again, one is talking apples, the other oranges.
I'm talking quantum physics because quantum physics was being talked about.
So, maybe it is better that each tries to explore the other's view, if interested, and come back in a few diaries' time.

I admit that this is not exactly a balanced approach since Valentin doesn't appear to be a contemplative scientist but knows your side.
This would be different if you were debating each from his own and differing discipline alone.

I don't know what you mean by this last part.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 06:26:02 AM EST
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