Author Topic: Can science solve/explain everything?  (Read 5815 times)

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Offline Kobuk

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Can science solve/explain everything?
« on: July 28, 2011, 05:54:33 pm »
Just as the thread title says: Do you believe science can explain/solve everything in the universe, on Earth, etc. Or are there some things which defy explanation and will never be solved?
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Offline Kay Alett

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2011, 06:03:23 pm »
our current science cannot explain everything, but this is the point of science really. To always have new mysteries to uncover. Perfection is the doom of science, a good scientist seeks answers, but does not seek to explain everything in the universe, if you explain everything then what is left?
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Offline Hayaikawa

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2011, 06:23:36 pm »
Science has the ability, when practiced correctly, to eventually explain away all the mysteries of the universe, everything runs on laws and these laws can be found and studied and there effects witnessed with the right apparatus.

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Offline Foxpup

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2011, 07:23:49 pm »
Science has the ability, when practiced correctly, to eventually explain away all the mysteries of the universe, everything runs on laws and these laws can be found and studied and there effects witnessed with the right apparatus.
Seconded.
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Offline Drake Blackpaw

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2011, 08:57:14 pm »
There are some things science will never be able to explain for the simple reason that science answers the question how, but not why.  So science may indeed figure out exactly how the universe was formed, the full inner workings of the human body and many of the other mysteries that we study today, but it won't be able to explain why there is a universe, or why any of us are here.

Why I'm not a religious/spiritual person, religion, spirituality and philosophy are where you need to turn if you want they why about something explained.

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2011, 09:02:49 pm »
Science has the ability, when practiced correctly, to eventually explain away all the mysteries of the universe, everything runs on laws and these laws can be found and studied and there effects witnessed with the right apparatus.
Seconded.
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Offline Mylo

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2011, 09:53:14 pm »
Technically, the process of science could explain everything in the universe because everything can (in some way) be tested. 

The problem is, there are tests that humans are not capable of performing...realistically speaking, the science that we are capable of conducting is not adequate to explain everything we can observe.  It will most likely never be adequate enough to explain everything.   

Offline Foxpup

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2011, 10:21:03 pm »
There are some things science will never be able to explain for the simple reason that science answers the question how, but not why.  So science may indeed figure out exactly how the universe was formed, the full inner workings of the human body and many of the other mysteries that we study today, but it won't be able to explain why there is a universe, or why any of us are here.

Why I'm not a religious/spiritual person, religion, spirituality and philosophy are where you need to turn if you want they why about something explained.

I guess it depends on what you mean by `explain'. Personally, I've always considered "I dunno" to be a better explanation than "the Invisible Pink Unicorn did it", but whatever.
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Offline Kay Alett

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2011, 10:47:30 pm »
There are some things science will never be able to explain for the simple reason that science answers the question how, but not why.  So science may indeed figure out exactly how the universe was formed, the full inner workings of the human body and many of the other mysteries that we study today, but it won't be able to explain why there is a universe, or why any of us are here.

Why I'm not a religious/spiritual person, religion, spirituality and philosophy are where you need to turn if you want they why about something explained.

I guess it depends on what you mean by `explain'. Personally, I've always considered "I dunno" to be a better explanation than "the Invisible Pink Unicorn did it", but whatever.
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Offline Avan

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2011, 11:19:20 pm »
Well, science itself doesn't actually solve or explain anything in and of itself - the purpose of the scientific method is to produce statistically sound data upon which an analysis may be performed and a conclusion drawn. The scientist is the one who does the explaning with the aid of logic/reason.

At the end of the day its logic that is what solves and explains everything, if properly applied (fallacious logic isn't going to get where it should be getting, for the reasons it should be getting there). And I do theorize that it can eventually explain away everything, provided enough valid and accurate data. Many things can be deduced from logic alone, such as many of the base logical laws and much of mathematics. (ie, the reflexive property of equality)

My current perception of existence is based upon logical deductions, for example.

And yes, "I don't know" is better than "the IPU did it". Why? One is true and one is not.
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Offline Foxpup

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2011, 11:50:44 pm »
And yes, "I don't know" is better than "the IPU did it". Why? One is true and one is not.
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Seriously though, convincing people of what is true and what is not, when they neither understand nor want to understand the scientific method, is problematic to say the least. Will science ever have an answer to that? :D
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Offline Avan

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2011, 01:34:30 am »
Actually... there is enough data that you could form some (at least loose) theories regarding the manner - psychologically speaking, its a very interesting subject! :D (There is experimental evidence for a causative relationship between a lack of feeling of control over one's life and superstitious belief)
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Offline Narei Mooncatt

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2011, 02:06:39 am »
I'm surprised that no one simply answered "42" yet. :D

Personally I think Science will eventually help solve most mysteries. But maybe not all of them. What happens after death or if there is a higher being than us like a god may not ever be able to be explained scientifically. Sure, one could say we cease to exist and that's it. *POOF* Just like turning off the T.V. with no more sense of being. Even though I lean that way, is there any way to prove it or at least provide any hypothosis? I'm not trying to make a religious arguement, other than to say I don't think science would be able to ever answer a lot of questions about faith and the afterlife. It would be like trying to prove a negative.

Then again, the idea of a religious scientist (a scientist that studies religion that is) does strike me as amusing. :P
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Offline Foxpup

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2011, 02:41:20 am »
What happens after death or if there is a higher being than us like a god may not ever be able to be explained scientifically. Sure, one could say we cease to exist and that's it. *POOF* Just like turning off the T.V. with no more sense of being. Even though I lean that way, is there any way to prove it or at least provide any hypothosis?
Actually, there is. Through the miracle of neurology we know that your consciousness, self-awareness, memories, personality, and basically everything that makes you "you", is entirely a function of your brain activity. When that brain activity ceases and the brain itself turns into a puddle of putrefying protoplasm, well, I think it's safe to say that that pretty much does it as far as your continued existence is concerned. (For a more thorough treatment on this topic, see Ebon Musings: A Ghost in the Machine)
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Offline Hayaikawa

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2011, 03:39:07 pm »
What happens after death or if there is a higher being than us like a god may not ever be able to be explained scientifically. Sure, one could say we cease to exist and that's it. *POOF* Just like turning off the T.V. with no more sense of being. Even though I lean that way, is there any way to prove it or at least provide any hypothosis?
Actually, there is. Through the miracle of neurology we know that your consciousness, self-awareness, memories, personality, and basically everything that makes you "you", is entirely a function of your brain activity. When that brain activity ceases and the brain itself turns into a puddle of putrefying protoplasm, well, I think it's safe to say that that pretty much does it as far as your continued existence is concerned. (For a more thorough treatment on this topic, see Ebon Musings: A Ghost in the Machine)

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Offline caninesrock

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2011, 06:50:06 pm »
No.

There any many things science can't explain:

1. what's inside of a blackhole
2. what kind of creatures are at the very bottom of the ocean(since it's impossible for scientists to go that far under the water)
3.why people claim having sightings of extinct animals(even people who've never heard of these animals before,but scientist realize from the description that it sounds alot like the extinct animal) but somehow scientists still can't prove these animals aren't really extinct.
4. what UFOs are.
5. Is there life in other galaxies besides are own?
6. near death experiences
7.ghosts/hauntings
8. preminitions of the future
9. deja vu
10.how mediums know stuff about dead people they never knew then they were alive that no one tells them about.
11. why some people get deadly diseases if the disease wasn't caused by any action of their own(i.e. like when kids get cancer for example)
12. why animals sometimes become friends with other species of animal,especially when they're natural enemies, like the snake that became friends with a rat that it was given to eat.
13. Out of Body Experiences in which people can accurately describe what's happening in a room their body wasn't physically in at the time.
14. pastlife memories in which people can give accurate details about a person or place they've never heard of before or never been to before




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Offline Yip

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2011, 08:53:16 pm »
There any many things science can't explain:

{list of stuff}
Just because science hasn't found the answer doesn't mean that it never will. Some of the things you listed are simply not explained yet. And for many others they actually have been explained, it's just there are a lot of people out their that don't accept the answers. ( Here's a hint: claims made about most of this stuff are completely unverified. )

Offline Hayaikawa

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2011, 10:31:15 pm »
No.

There any many things science can't explain:

1. what's inside of a blackhole: not yet, but we have alot of good guesses
2. what kind of creatures are at the very bottom of the ocean(since it's impossible for scientists to go that far under the water) we working on it and we will
3.why people claim having sightings of extinct animals(even people who've never heard of these animals before,but scientist realize from the description that it sounds alot like the extinct animal) but somehow scientists still can't prove these animals aren't really extinct. there have been cases when a near exticnt animal is kept "partially" sectret as to help the species recover, since endangered species are woth a ton of money to poachers. plus, lots of species look like other species.
4. what UFOs are. UNIDENTIFIED flying object, as soon as we know, its no longer a UFO by its very defanition, and this has happened many many times
5. Is there life in other galaxies besides are own? one. the likely hood of there being life outside our own galexy is extreamly likely to the point of defanite. two, our ability to see that far and measure to the degree needed to find outher life at that range is extreamly miniscule, just wait and we will get there.
6. near death experiences there are countless explinations for such things, the brain goes crazy when it is dieing giving out all kinda wierd signals, etc etc
7.ghosts/hauntings again many many many of these are easily explainable, but shut down by people wishing they are true.
8. preminitions of the future people get things wrong FAR more often that right, but people only latch on to the correct premanitions, since for one it makes a good story.
9. deja vu another easily explanable phenomenon with the brain, im no neuroscience so im not gonna go into any great detail about this kinda thing,
10.how mediums know stuff about dead people they never knew then they were alive that no one tells them about.they are lieing to make money, its done all the time, plus there are many ways to give "cold" readings that are remarkably close to fact, you can find them online, its simple psycology
11. why some people get deadly diseases if the disease wasn't caused by any action of their own(i.e. like when kids get cancer for example) genetics can be a nightmare, genes mixing together to make the odds high to get cancer or other diseases, amongst countless other reasons
12. why animals sometimes become friends with other species of animal,especially when they're natural enemies, like the snake that became friends with a rat that it was given to eat. animals in captivity aquire very odd traits and behaviors at times, its nothing that radical as to be made into that big a deal
13. Out of Body Experiences in which people can accurately describe what's happening in a room their body wasn't physically in at the time. many of these cases they arnt that exact and can be easily done with out that much prior knowledge, or cases where people have "recorded" information even while the mind isnt working at its fullest, like conversations heard by the ears and the information later accessed when the person awakes.
14. pastlife memories in which people can give accurate details about a person or place they've never heard of before or never been to beforeagain, people can easily lie about such things, to make themselves feel important or special in the eyes of others.


i could go on for hours about all of the things you said, and im by no means an expert on any of those subjects, simple a person willing to listen to all the answers and theories, not just the paranormal ones. many of which are wrong and easily proven so.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2011, 10:33:02 pm by Hayaikawa »

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Offline McMajik

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2011, 06:00:41 am »
Yup. Not yet, but that's the whole point of it.

Offline Chiscringle

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #19 on: September 11, 2011, 03:46:36 pm »
I don't believe it can.  The old thought experiment of the calculating demon (it's a very old thought experiment posited by Laplace in 1814) has since been discredited by the Uncertainty Principle and entropics.  Everything, assuming the term means all the knowable things in the universe, cannot be computed by something within that universe.  A part of a system like that cannot view the whole.  The current estimate is anything that takes more than 10^(120) bits to express cannot be computed within the span of our universe's time to date.  Therefore it is currently believed to be epistemologically impossible for us who occupy the system to know everything that's occurring within it.  If there is a further development that let's us beat those barriers, like calculating things outside of classical spacetime or some other bit of physics wizardry, then yes, it can.
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Offline Yip

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #20 on: September 11, 2011, 04:17:58 pm »
Everything, assuming the term means all the knowable things in the universe, cannot be computed by something within that universe.  A part of a system like that cannot view the whole.  
If by "everything" you include such things as what I ate for breakfast last tuesday, then I'd agree. Most knowledge and potential knowledge will fade into history forever lost in the sea of all that is knowable.  However, we don't need to come anywhere close to that level of knowledge about the universe in order to be able to understand whatever we need to know. For example, if it became relevant what I had for breakfast last tuesday, it may be possible to preform tests to discover that.

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2011, 06:58:08 pm »
I agree that science answers the questions of "How" and not of "Why".

As to if science can solve/explain everything I believe that out in the dark waters of knowledge there is a line we cannot cross.

But I also think we're still playing cards in the bottom of the boat, and we have a loooong way to go.
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Offline Yip

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2011, 12:32:08 am »
I agree that science answers the questions of "How" and not of "Why".
Phrased that way, it sounds too much like "non-overlapping magisteria", which I find to be complete nonsense. Given any testable claim, you can examine it with science regardless of if it's phrased "how", "why", "what", "when", "who" or "where".  However, if you mean something more along the lines of "science can tell you what is true but doesn't tell you what to do with that truth" then I might agree.

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2011, 01:56:29 am »
I agree that science answers the questions of "How" and not of "Why".
Phrased that way, it sounds too much like "non-overlapping magisteria", which I find to be complete nonsense. Given any testable claim, you can examine it with science regardless of if it's phrased "how", "why", "what", "when", "who" or "where".  However, if you mean something more along the lines of "science can tell you what is true but doesn't tell you what to do with that truth" then I might agree.

I think Varg may have meant to say something along the lines of what Drake Blackpaw said near the beginning of the thread (if this isn't the case, Varg, please clarify what you meant to say)

There are some things science will never be able to explain for the simple reason that science answers the question how, but not why.  So science may indeed figure out exactly how the universe was formed, the full inner workings of the human body and many of the other mysteries that we study today, but it won't be able to explain why there is a universe, or why any of us are here.


Questions involving the word "why" tend to fall under a philosophical line of thought, and also tend to have subjective answers and to not be testable.  Such questions are, for all intents and purposes, not answerable under the paradigm of science, but the purpose of science isn't to manufacture answers to such questions in the first place.  There is a "line" of sorts, but it isn't completely hard cut.

Consider, for example, the question "Is it wrong to kill?".  This is a philosophical question, and thus isn't really answerable by science.  However, there are similar questions that *are* answerable by science and/or reasoning.  For instance, an answer to a question like "To what degree and in what ways can a society permit the killing of other individuals and still remain socially and politically stable?" can be sought using thought experiments, historical evidence, and assumptions derived from sociology.  Similarly, the question "Under what moral systems is it considered wrong to kill, and how absolute is each moral system on this position?" can be answered by analyzing homicide under different moral theories (I'm bending the definition of "science" a bit here), and the question "To what degree and for what reasons does society consider killing to be wrong?" can be answered by psychology/sociology using a survey.  All of these questions that are answerable by science procure valuable information, but none of them directly answer the first posed question.

An answer to this question, if an answer to this specific question is deemed required, can be derived from a more philosophical paradigm (for this case, a moral paradigm such as Utilitarianism or Hedonism could produce a relevant answer).  Religion, in this particular case and in several others, is capable of producing some answer as well, but unlike the methods of science, almost any (if not every) answer to the question is bound to be subjective, and therefore not universal.

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Offline Yip

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Re: Can science solve/explain everything?
« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2011, 02:35:24 am »
Consider, for example, the question "Is it wrong to kill?".  This is a philosophical question, and thus isn't really answerable by science. 
The problem is that that's a subjective question. One could come up with a definition of "kill" suitable for science. But how would one define "wrong"? That's largely subjective. And the big strength of science is that it works to weed out the subjective because subjective stuff by it's very nature cannot tell you whether something is objectively true. If you can form a scientifically suitable definition of "wrong", in other words, a way to be able to objectively determine whether something is "wrong" or not, then you most certainly could apply science to the question of "is it wrong to kill".

For example, if by "wrong", you mean harmful to society, science could be used to test that. Of course, "harmful to society" would still need to be more specifically defined. But you probably get the idea.