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Author Topic:   Does science ask and answer "why" questions?
Straggler
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Posts: 9916
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
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Message 31 of 353 (647207)
01-08-2012 4:07 PM


Why oh Why
In reply to Message 229

You seem to be accepting of the (frankly indisputable) fact that science does ask 'why' questions whilst suggesting that it shouldn't. Why shouldn't science ask why questions?

X writes:

Cue scene of an obnoxiously snarky kid endlessly asking "Why?"...

Well why do humans (whether they be "obnoxiously snarky kids" or otherwise) have a tendency to relentlessly ask such questions? Is it because they have a psychological proclivity to seek human-like intent and purpose? This is a 'why' question and one that science is the best method of investigating. No?

X writes:

However, TO ME, the phrase that makes the far less sense is the Why one, not the How one.

But surely it depends on the question being asked?

How do people ask 'why' questions? Why do people ask 'why' questions?

The first is a matter of linguistics. The second is a matter of psychology. The two are very different questions. But both are best answered by science. Right?

'Why' is not just prevalent in science. I would suggest it is absolutely frikkin fundamental to the whole endevour.


  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 9916
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 33 of 353 (647210)
01-08-2012 4:25 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by bluegenes
01-07-2012 10:59 AM


Currently NOT
Hello

Science indisputably does ask 'why' questions. Anyone who disputes this simply needs to scan the peer reviewed scientific literature for such questions (and corresponding 'because' answers) before admitting that they are wrong. It really is that simple (to coin a phrase).

A mildly tangential question is - Should science ask 'why' questions? In other words - Should the question 'why' be restricted to purposeful intent rather than cover reason and cause as well?

I don't see any reason for science to insist on such a restriction. Certainly science doesn't currently restrict itself in this sense.

AbE - It is also worth saying that science does indeed cover purposeful intent. Why do humans exhibit the behaviour that they are observed to do is a scientific question.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


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 Message 1 by bluegenes, posted 01-07-2012 10:59 AM bluegenes has responded

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Straggler
Member
Posts: 9916
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 35 of 353 (647213)
01-08-2012 4:49 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by RAZD
01-07-2012 10:42 PM


Re: who what when where why how
RAZD writes:

The proper use of "why" is to answer questions of purpose.

Who says so?

The fact is that scientific peer reviewed literature is full of 'why' questions pertaining to cause and reason rather than purpose. Furthermore scientific peer reviewed literature is full of conclusions phrased in the form of 'because' answers.

So who exactly is it that is asserting that this is 'improper'.....?

You and Dawn Bertot and who else?


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Straggler
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Posts: 9916
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 39 of 353 (647222)
01-08-2012 5:57 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by jar
01-08-2012 5:48 PM


Why Science?
Why is science a superior method of investigating reality?

Discuss.

Can science answer that question?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by jar, posted 01-08-2012 5:48 PM jar has responded

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 Message 40 by jar, posted 01-08-2012 5:59 PM Straggler has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 9916
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 41 of 353 (647224)
01-08-2012 6:02 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by jar
01-08-2012 5:59 PM


Re: Why Science?
Straggler writes:

Why is science a superior method of investigating reality?

jar writes:

It is a good tool to answer some questions related to the mechanics and engineering of reality.

What do you mean by the "mechanics and engineering of reality"....?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 40 by jar, posted 01-08-2012 5:59 PM jar has responded

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 Message 42 by jar, posted 01-08-2012 6:09 PM Straggler has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 9916
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 43 of 353 (647227)
01-08-2012 6:16 PM
Reply to: Message 42 by jar
01-08-2012 6:09 PM


Re: Why Science?
jar writes:

Science can tell us why chairs hold us off the floor but not where to sit; how our brain functions but not what to think.

OK. I am almost convinced. So (if not science) what is it that does tell us "where to sit" or "what to think"....?

What area of investigation do such questions belong to if not science? And how does this relate to the scientificness (or otherwise) of 'why' questions posed in this thread?


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 Message 42 by jar, posted 01-08-2012 6:09 PM jar has responded

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Straggler
Member
Posts: 9916
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 45 of 353 (647240)
01-08-2012 7:13 PM
Reply to: Message 44 by jar
01-08-2012 7:06 PM


Nuances.
jar writes:

Only personal opinion can tell us where to sit or what to think although certain tools such as theology and philosophy can help us determine what questions are important to ask.

So why do we hold the personal opinios that we do?

Is this not a scientific question?

[qs=jar]The problem is that the term "why" has so many possible nuances that I think this thread is pretty much doomed from the gitgo.


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 Message 44 by jar, posted 01-08-2012 7:06 PM jar has responded

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Straggler
Member
Posts: 9916
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 46 of 353 (647241)
01-08-2012 7:15 PM
Reply to: Message 44 by jar
01-08-2012 7:06 PM


Nuances.
jar writes:

Only personal opinion can tell us where to sit or what to think although certain tools such as theology and philosophy can help us determine what questions are important to ask.

So why do we hold the personal opinions that we do?

Is this not a scientific question?

jar writes:

The problem is that the term "why" has so many possible nuances that I think this thread is pretty much doomed from the gitgo.

Aside from the theistic/deistic proclivity to assert that 'why' is somehow scientifically unanswerable I am not sure what you are referring to?

I mean a 'Last Thursdayist' would presumably deny the validity of science asking 'when' and a solipsist would presumably deny the ability of science to ask 'who'..... How is the sometime theistic/deistic denial of 'why' ultimately any different to these two examples?


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Straggler
Member
Posts: 9916
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 48 of 353 (647244)
01-08-2012 7:17 PM
Reply to: Message 47 by jar
01-08-2012 7:15 PM


Re: Nuances.
jar writes:

No it is not a science problem.

So you assert.

But if it is observed why is it not best investigated and answered by the methods of science?


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 Message 47 by jar, posted 01-08-2012 7:15 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 49 by jar, posted 01-08-2012 7:30 PM Straggler has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 9916
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 58 of 353 (647314)
01-09-2012 8:45 AM
Reply to: Message 49 by jar
01-08-2012 7:30 PM


Re: Nuances.
jar writes:

What is observed?

You are.

jar writes:

How can science observe why I think something?

Isn't that what psychology is all about?

Furthermore - In principle (even if we lack the technology currently) the detailed workings of your brain can be observed to see exactly why you think something.

jar writes:

Why I like a blue sky is personal to me and the moment.

Are you suggesting that such thoughts and preferences are causeless?

If they are not causeless then science is the best means of investigating the cause (i.e. the 'why') is it not?


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 Message 49 by jar, posted 01-08-2012 7:30 PM jar has responded

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Straggler
Member
Posts: 9916
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 60 of 353 (647325)
01-09-2012 9:40 AM
Reply to: Message 59 by jar
01-09-2012 8:47 AM


Re: Nuances.
jar writes:

That is still just the mechanics.

What is the non-mechanical aspect of this? What exactly is it that you are alluding to that I am missing here?

jar writes:

Why I like a blue sky is personal to me and the moment.

OK. But are you suggesting that this personal preference is causeless? Or are you suggesting that there is a reason or cause for this personal preference that cannot be investigated scientifically?

I am very unclear as to exactly what it is you are getting at here.


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 Message 59 by jar, posted 01-09-2012 8:47 AM jar has responded

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 Message 62 by jar, posted 01-09-2012 9:46 AM Straggler has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 9916
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 68 of 353 (647335)
01-09-2012 10:18 AM
Reply to: Message 62 by jar
01-09-2012 9:46 AM


Re: Nuances.
jar writes:

I'm suggesting that the causes are not the preference.

OK. But why does that preclude science from investigating why it is you hold that preference?

jar writes:

Why I like a blue sky is personal to me and the moment.

OK. But are you suggesting that this personal preference is causeless? Or are you suggesting that there is a reason or cause for this personal preference that cannot be investigated scientifically?


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 Message 62 by jar, posted 01-09-2012 9:46 AM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 74 by jar, posted 01-09-2012 11:18 AM Straggler has responded
 Message 75 by Catholic Scientist, posted 01-09-2012 11:32 AM Straggler has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 9916
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 80 of 353 (647374)
01-09-2012 12:56 PM
Reply to: Message 74 by jar
01-09-2012 11:18 AM


Re: Nuances.
Science can study any reason or cause that is physical. Right?

So if science is unable to study the cause of your preferences (i.e. why it is that you hold the preferences that you do) then your preferences must have either a non-physical cause or no cause at all.

Can you elaborate as to what you think the basis of your preferences actually is (rather than what it isn’t) and explain why it is that science cannot study this?


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 Message 74 by jar, posted 01-09-2012 11:18 AM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 85 by jar, posted 01-09-2012 3:57 PM Straggler has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 9916
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 81 of 353 (647375)
01-09-2012 12:57 PM
Reply to: Message 75 by Catholic Scientist
01-09-2012 11:32 AM


42
If you just want an answer to “Why are we here?” then the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy provides an answer to the meaning of life the universe and everything (it’s 42 to the uninitiated). Does that suffice? Will any old answer do as long as there is one? Is the answer “god” superior to the answer 42?
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 Message 75 by Catholic Scientist, posted 01-09-2012 11:32 AM Catholic Scientist has acknowledged this reply

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 9916
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 117 of 353 (647525)
01-10-2012 7:26 AM
Reply to: Message 85 by jar
01-09-2012 3:57 PM


Dualism.......?
jar writes:

Right, but love, preference, ideals are not physical.

All of the evidence indicates that they are. On what basis do you make the claim that these things are not physical?

jar writes:

And the cause is of course irrelevant to the preference.

The physical cause of your preferences and ideals is very relevant to them. If we were to selectively lobotomise you or ply you with various mind altering drugs your ideals and preferences would doubtless be significantly effected.

jar writes:

I don't think the ideals have causes.

If something is causeless then it is just random isn't it? Do you think preferences just occur randomly? Or are you suggesting that preferences and ideals are uncaused but somehow non-random?

Frankly you seem to be on the verge of taking dualism to new heights.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 85 by jar, posted 01-09-2012 3:57 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 120 by jar, posted 01-10-2012 8:31 AM Straggler has responded

  
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