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The Importance Of Science!

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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on April 18, 2001 15:43:50 UTC

Harv,

Ignoring, for the moment, the fact that "science" is not a very well defined word, I would say that the issues discussed by scientists should be thoroughly understood by the philosopher otherwise it is clear that he stands in danger of speaking of things he does not understand.

The accumulated knowledge of mankind is not static. If one is going to discuss the underlying issues currently held as "meta-physics" it seems to me that all aspects of physics (particularly mathematics) needs to be well understood.

As I have said before, I regard mathematics to be the study of self-consistent systems. The mathematicians are concerned with very little beyond what can be deduced from their axioms. Being a very irrelevant field, there is very little controversy as to what the meanings of their symbols and their constructs are.

If a mathematician says A implies B you can put a very high confidence on the fact that the statement is true (considering that you stay within his definitions of A and B).

Would you put your trust in the conclusions of a philosopher who could not *comprehend* the idea that numbers exist above 3? That is, someone who's idea of quantity consisted of one two and many.

The only difference between him and someone who does not understand higher math is a difference in amount of knowledge, not a difference in quality of knowledge. You need to know!

Scientists are very interested in "knowing" but are actually not particularly interested in "understanding" at all. I have had a very respected scientist (who will remain unnamed) tell me in so many words "science is not concerned with truth; truth is an issue of interest only to philosophers". And he did not use the word philosopher in a complementary manner. Alex's attitude is very common in the scientific field.

I have always been overwhelmingly interested in understanding and you cannot understand what you do not know!

Have fun -- Dick

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