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The End of Science?





Dennise
In John Horgan's book, The End of Science, he argues that "the best and most exciting scientific discoveries are behind us" and asks the question: Have we reached the end of science?

There seems to be a nagging desire to consider such statements and questions. When one compares scientific discoveries made over the last hundred years and compares those to discoveries made in the last ... say the last 25 years, the comparison is pretty lopsided.

Even considering the tough difficulties and enormous funds needed today (e.g. super colliders) as we push for more scientific answers, I don't see much new stuff. Yes there is string theory, entanglement, parallel universes, n-dimensional theory, Higgs Bosuns etc etc etc. But those are theories. Where are the really big scientific discoveries and applications of those discoveries?

What are some thoughts? Do you think we are reaching the end of science.?
Klaw 2
Hmmm I disagree

we have made some pretty intersesting discoveries, the guy who wrote it should come out of his cave and buy a pc with internet connection...

Some new inventions/discoveries:
graphene

every year we make better robots/prostetics wich are more and more like the real thing...

higs-boson

Genome Sequencing for Fetuses

the mars rover is cruising around mars now...

we have been discovering many exoplanets unfortunatly the satelite broke down a while back i dont know if they can fix it or will fix it...
Bikerman
Sounds like Horgan is not a lover of pure phyics or maths..
I think it is a prtty dumb assertion. We can be pretty sure that Einstein's model is partial at best and that Relativity 'breaks' - indicating that it is, at best, incomplete and possibly a simplistic model masking a wider reality. The latter ism I think, what we should expect if we go by history
GR doesn't fit with QM . GR breaks at small scales just as QM is the mode, of choice.
Now, it is possible that Universer actually hss teo 'modes' of operation requiring two incompatible explanations or models but U don't know many scientists who would buy ubti that notion.
That would mean that the greatest EVER theory is still waiting to be uncovered 0 a theory which combines the two current greatest theories - QM and GR. This new theory cannot be trivial because trivial models have long since been considered and found wanting. That is not to say that there isn't an ultlimate 'theory' which IS more trivial then current models - but I don't think so, and I don't think it is likely to within an order of magnitude which most of us would accept as a probability of effective 0 - impossible,
So theory is harder over history - GR is much less intuitive snd harder to manipulate and use than Newtonian models which were the first properly scientific models.

So the future holds discoveries greater than any yes, but they will be models for which common sense offers no traction, which rely on mathematics heavily and which can only be accurately stated and understood in mathematical language.
Many people think this is a shame and that science has taken a wrong turn. They machine that complexity/difficulty is related to accuracy/reliability. They arrogantly assume that models which they fail to grasp are airy-fairy and likely to be wrong, useless or both.
Horrors sound like he might be falling in that misconception - though that is little more than a guess,
It seems to be that the universe is not explicable in language developed to hunt game on savannah. It isn't obvious to a system of senors and computation/recording which inly operate in a miniscule window of reality available to its crude sensors .a brain and sensory system which only works on a tint window of reality which is available to its sensors.
For example, the range of electromagnetism goes from waves too small to be measurable (and note, I mean cannot be measured, not that we cannot currently measure them - ie it is not actually POSSIBLE to measure, given ANY technology), up to waves miles, or even thousands or millions of miles in length. Each frequency has its own particular characteristics. Of this range the human brain-sensors system can detect frequencies between 1 and 20 angstroms with some degree of precision, frequencies up to 50 angstroms in a much less accurate indirect way and nothing much else. That is A fraction of the spectrum which can be modelled by imagining the width thickness of a sheet of paper where the whole thing is a pile of paper 30 miles high.
Bikerman
Sounds like Horgan is not a lover of pure phyics or maths..
I think it is a prtty dumb assertion. We can be pretty sure that Einstein's model is partial at best and that Relativity 'breaks' - indicating that it is, at best, incomplete and possibly a simplistic model masking a wider reality. The latter ism I think, what we should expect if we go by history
GR doesn't fit with QM . GR breaks at small scales just as QM is the mode, of choice.
Now, it is possible that Universer actually hss teo 'modes' of operation requiring two incompatible explanations or models but U don't know many scientists who would buy ubti that notion.
That would mean that the greatest EVER theory is still waiting to be uncovered 0 a theory which combines the two current greatest theories - QM and GR. This new theory cannot be trivial because trivial models have long since been considered and found wanting. That is not to say that there isn't an ultlimate 'theory' which IS more trivial then current models - but I don't think so, and I don't think it is likely to within an order of magnitude which most of us would accept as a probability of effective 0 - impossible,
So theory is harder over history - GR is much less intuitive snd harder to manipulate and use than Newtonian models which were the first properly scientific models.

So the future holds discoveries greater than any yes, but they will be models for which common sense offers no traction, which rely on mathematics heavily and which can only be accurately stated and understood in mathematical language.
Many people think this is a shame and that science has taken a wrong turn. They machine that complexity/difficulty is related to accuracy/reliability. They arrogantly assume that models which they fail to grasp are airy-fairy and likely to be wrong, useless or both.
Horrors sound like he might be falling in that misconception - though that is little more than a guess,
It seems to be that the universe is not explicable in language developed to hunt game on savannah. It isn't obvious to a system of senors and computation/recording which inly operate in a miniscule window of reality available to its crude sensors .a brain and sensory system which only works on a tint window of reality which is available to its sensors.
asnani04
I think the best is yet to arrive. We have made many discoveries and inventions, but that does not mean that the best is behind us. There's a lot more to be done and a lot is being done currently, in the laboratories around the world be competent scientists, engineers and philosophers.
Pippo90
Actually, the current situation at least in physics, as you also hinted, is very similar to the beginning of the 19th century. Even at that time there were people who were sure that physics had reached its boundaries, and that everything known at the time was almost everything there was to know. Even a famous physicist of the time (whose name I don't remember Sad ) said something similar to Horgan's quote.

From what was discovered a few years later, we know that reality proved to be a bit more complex. Wink
duytam28
By 2060, human population is predicted to rise to 9.5 billion and rising demand for meat from rapidly developing nations like China and India is expected to double. Though calculations of the environmental impact of Dr Post’s lab-grown meat have yet to be published, early indications suggest that cultured meat could reduce the need for land and water by as much as 90% and overall energy use by up to 70%.
Bikerman
Count me as an extreme skeptic, I am a carnivore but the product doesn't tempt me in the slightest and there is no other reason - taste/habbit - for wanting it. It would be much better all round to stop eating animals and eat what we currently give to them. Trying to produce an analogue of the animals seems to me to be a questionable enterprise based on hope and goodwill rather than analysis and reasoning.
Dennise
If I recall correctly, that lab 'franken-burger' was produced at a cost exceeding $300,000!
GuidanceReader
I don't think that humans could ever reach the limitations of science. There is too much still not explained.
amagard
Like most have said already I would strongly disagree with Horgan's statement as well.
Every month I get my dose science update thru a German science magazine called "bild der wissenschaft", and I am always amazed about the many discoveries and inventions made each month, especially in the area of physics and astronomy, but also medicine, biology, and even computer technology, new ways to gain, store and transport energy, and also new discoveries made below our feet ( archaeology ).
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