Senate What are the greatest mysteries in science?

Discussion in 'Community' started by Ghost, May 8, 2009.

  1. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I prefer the demotivational poster for that:
    http://verydemotivational.memebase.com/2011/10/07/demotivational-posters-the-average-person/
  2. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Kawphy,

    * On your lesson of what science is, and that consensus doesn't mean true knowledge but it just a better path to it... yes, I get all that. The problem is getting people to agree that what you think is true is, in fact, true.

    * I was asking for a definition of consciousness.

    * How do you think Language and Social Behavior led to consciousness? Yes, I understand they're some of the reasons why humanity evolved from a gatherer-based society (like most animals) to a civilization-based society. But aren't most non-human animals also considered conscious to you? Or at least the apes, whales, dolphins, dogs, parrots, etc.?

    * What is the origin of humanity, how did humans evolve into conscious beings? You went into a history of the Big Bang and Evolution. Which I already know, but I appreciate the effort and detailed description you gave. I was simply asking, and I could have worded it better: from an anthropological sense, how do we get this advanced? Which you kind of answered in the previous point, with Language and Social Behavior.

    * On your take that we bonded together because we're vulnerable... aren't all organisms vulnerable? Don't all organisms share those concerns you listed? We could have not become as social as we are, like so many other animals, and just be a smaller and insignificant species (or extinct). Imagine what a single spider does. Now imagine how great for spiders it would be if they began to work together, in a colony, like ants or bees. But they don't, for some reason. We did, for some reason. Why? (This is more about anthropology than consciousness, but I find it interesting, and I see you do too). Is it because we had more developed brains, and could see the benefits of working together clearer?
    If so, why do we have bigger and more complex brains in the first, before language? It can't be simply navigating the trees and evading threats, or there would be Squirrel-People all around us. It can't simply be eating meat and hunting, predators are (in general) smarter than herbivores and use strategy (especially in packs, like lions and wolves), but there are lone-predators too (like tigers, and I think bears) and neither Wolves/Lions or Tigers/Bears have become as intelligent as humans or founded civilizations. It can't be simply because we're bipedals with free hands (and opposable thumbs), or else every Ape would be just as smart as humans I don't believe Evolution has a destination, every organism alive today is just as evolved as humans, but why do some bond together and some don't? Why did Humans become so smart in the first place, even before language?

    * A separate but related question to a couple points above (I'm just writing comments at I read... which is, so far, easier than it forebodingly looked! :p )... Why do you think Language is necessary to have mental distinctions between Self, Others, and Environment?

    * And yes, I'm getting all the references to the Internet so far. ;) I, too, believe it's revolutionary and the first part to come of a better world (as did the printing press, written language, spoken language). If we don't screw everything up.

    * I, too, value critical thinking and questioning authority. I'm also aware of the problems of not fully understanding each other, and limited resources. And I'm aware of the Hegelian dialectic, Maslow's Hierarchy, nanotechnology, etc. I'm big into resolving the conflicts between religions, and between religion and science. I think we have a lot of similar interests. I especially understand the importance of Scarcity to most of our problems (and how the Internet may be the first example of Post-Scarcity in a particular sector). But I think you're starting to go to a broader topic than just consciousness here...

    * I'll get to the idented part of your post next, need to take a break. But honestly, while this is interesting, it's not really answered my questions on consciousness so far. That may be because I didn't formulate my questions specifically enough, I hardly know where to b
  3. WormieSaber Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2000
    star 5
    This is my exact point in many posts of the past in this forum in the debate against evolution. Why are humans so greatly evolved to the point to where we can create technology, fly to the moon and land on the moon (walk on the moon), and even destroy the entire planet if we so wanted to but there is not ONE - no other living creature on Earth that is this capable? Are we just lucky? Was this all just chance in the evolutionary scheme of things? How many languages do human beings speak? And so, an Evolutionist would say, "Well animals speak too how can you say they don't speak!". They do? Yes they bark, they will lick your face every morning, jump up the air for a bone and wag their tail. And an ape can be taught by human beings how to shake someone's hand and give them a high-five. All the effort that evolutionists put into teaching apes to be humans and prove they are as good as humans just doesn't cut it. So that means, the ONLY extraordinarily advanced species on Earth has to teach another creature (the APES) to be human-like. And just because we may have resemblence to apes in some manner does not mean we are apes, and we clearly are not. This doesn't convince me of the huge hole this leaves in Evolution. Why do human beings basically have full control over the Earth and it's destiny? As a Christain I can argue, well the Bible says that God gave human beings dominion over the Earth and so can't you see? But I will leave religion out of the equation entirely because Evolutionists require proof but still have to teach the apes to be like humans to prove evolution; evolution doesn't have an answer for the extraordinary evolution of the average human being. And then, it doesn't have an answer for how something came from nothing. They will argue, yes nothing can come from nothing - but what is nothing and where did this nothing that nothing comes from come from? That means nothing really is something, if nothing can come from nothing. Logic will tell you there has to be a source. If nothing came from nothing, then why don't we just continue to have nothing rather than a planet we intelligently call Earth which is, coincidently, the only planet within light years (assuming we ever find another planet as coincidently unique as planet Earth) - yes Earth, the only planet in our solar system with life under every nut and cranny; it so easily found on Earth! But Scientists still cannot find even ONE microbe on any planet in our solar system. Back to Darth Ghost's question "how do we get this advanced?" Well, the evolutionary answer is: survival of the species most fit. So us humans really...I mean REALLY must have had a HUGE need to survive for all of this extraordinary advancement. And it is extraordinary.
  4. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    First, technology is simply tools. Humans aren't the only species that can make and use tools. Not only do primates make tools, but this has also been observed in a non-primate species, the New Caledonian Crow. So technology isn't exclusively humans. And if we want to use excessively narrow achievements to mark greatly evolved, then I'd ask you why aren't women as intelligent as men, and why is it that men are the only ones evolved enough to fly to, land, and walk on the moon? Ignoring that that isn't useful for survival. And finally, I don't know who told you that, but humans don't have the ability to destroy the earth. We've got the ability to destabilize the environment, but that's a far cry from destroying the planet.

    Chance? Yup. We just got the furthest. One of the speculated examples was one of the dinosaurs that went extinct with the rest of the dinosaurs. It had developed a fairly large brain. The Troodon was likely as smart as basic mammals, and that's a step up and in the right direction.

    I'm going to hope you realise that dogs are not the only animal in existence. We observe the characteristics of language in numerous species. Bengal finches have grammatical structures to their calls. In New Zealand, a fish called the Gunard has been recorded making sounds that appear to be communication. Prairie Dogs communicate to warn of predators, and the communications are different depending on the predator. Some bees use physical moves to tell other bees where to find good areas to forage. Killer whales appear to have dialects, where different pods use different groups of sounds. This is all on top of primates, which do show the ability to communicate on a basic level. So a myriad of species have developed communication methods, which is exactly what you'd expect if it's a developed skill. You'd expect many to do it somewhat, but advanced development to be less common.

    How are we clearly not? An ape is any tailless primate. We are primates. Unless you've got a tail, you're an ape.

    Well, first of all, we don't have full control. Second, that has nothing
  5. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Kawphy, I'm responding to part 2 of your very long post now. Your description of the different philosophies regarding the mind is interesting, but not really what I was talking about or asking for, or the knowledge you were claiming to have when you said that consciousness is not a big mystery and that all the information is already out there. I'm not sure when/if you'll come back and read my two responses, but you see, I did eventually respond! ;) I was expecting more on the neuroscience side, and a little on the psychology side, but you only gave this: "There are experiments you must be familiar with to fully understand how we 'think.' Milgram's experiment, the Stanford Prison experiment, the Diffusion of Responsibility, the Asch Conformity Experiments, Festinger's Boring Task experiment on Cognitive Dissonance. You should familiarize yourself with the list of Cognitive Dissonance Coping Mechanisms. Humans are remarkably predicable, human thought has been reverse-engineered. If nothing else, start out by looking up Festinger's experiment, then compare it to Dennett's 'Multiple Drafts Model.' It'll explain a LOT about the nature of man (and consciousness, and how we influence and are influenced by our social environment)."



    Anyways, I'm hoping 2012 will be a good year for physics and medicine!

    If the Higgs boson is found within the next 12 months (or whenever), what's the next step?

    ~Designing a Graviton theory, or Loop Quantum Gravity theory, or other possible explanations of Gravity/Spacetime that can be tested?
    ~Trying to develop a testable theory that unifies the ElectroWeak force and the Strong Nuclear force?
    ~Solving why the universe is mostly matter, not Anti-matter?
    ~Adapting the standard model to better explain the quirks of Neutrinos?
    ~Trying to better understand Dark Matter, or Dark Energy? (I hate that they have such similar names, despite appearing to be near opposites)
    ~Explaining other cosmological questions, like: singularities (black holes, big bang), inflation, entropy, possible other dimensions, possible other universes, what caused the big bang and was there anything before, and the ultimate fate of the universe
    ~something else?
  6. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    This thread can be used for any breaking science/technology developments, like the one in the temporary boards, so we can have it all together in one place.
  7. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
  8. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    Greatest mystery of Science: that in spite of wide-spread education and scientific principles, the majority of humans on the planet still choose to believe a variation on the Invisible Man Who Lives In the Clouds with his Mystic 10 Sacred Rules mythology. That utterly destroys my ability to believe that humanity is actually intelligent or capable of reason.
  9. TheShinyLightsaber Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 1
    Add water structure to the list, because we still don't know.

    Yet it is all around us. Fascinating.
  10. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    What exactly about water structure?
  11. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 1999
    star 7
    Do you mean why water has the unusual properties it does?
  12. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Scientists have designed a crystal that would have zero entropy, and survive the heat death of the universe... but could it actually be built?

    http://www.livescience.com/23419-eternal-clock-space-time-crystal.html

    [IMG]

  13. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Did scientists finally have a breakthrough on understanding Dark Matter?


    The U.S. government is also starting a research project to "map the human brain" in 10 years.


    Interesting times ahead, especially now with the Higgs boson finally discovered (and its exact properties expected to be published soon).

    What are the biggest mysteries in science, and what kind of advances can we expect within the next 25 years?

    We've made great progress in the study of life, we're making great progress in the study of the universe (physics on both the smallest and grandest scales), and we're finally going to begin to focus on study of the mind.

    Still, I'm reminded of this quote from one of my favorite computer games:
  14. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    "My paper is going to be minor and of little consequence." - No one, ever.

    I mean, yes, it'd be cool if it were some huge dark matter breakthrough, and given who's saying it it's quite likely, but I'm not quite sure why their evidence for it being a big deal is the guy who submitted the paper.
    Last edited by Ramza, Feb 18, 2013
  15. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    Boson with some properties that are expected by theory from the Higgs.
  16. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6

    I see my "bat signal" succeeded in only 10 minutes this time, just waiting on @Lowbacca_1977... :p Disappointed no one commented on my Alpha Centauri reference though. [face_not_talking]

    But seriously, and getting back to the main underlying topic of this thread, what do you guys think are the greatest remaining mysteries in science, and what do you expect to happen over the next 25 years?
  17. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    Let's see. I'll post stuff related to particle physics:

    1) How are the strong interaction and electroweak interaction going to be combined (GUT).
    2) How will gravity be quantized? What experiments and how high a root-s will we need to detect gravitons?
    3) Is there a next generation of the standard model? Quarks with higher mass than the top and bottom?
    4) Are quarks and leptons really fundamental? At the current energies we have access to today, quarks and leptons act indivisible. But, the energies available to people over 100 years ago suggested atoms were indivisible, and we now know they're clearly not.
    5) Are there more interactions?
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  18. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    My list has gotten really dull now that I'm semi-specialized, I'm afraid.
    1. The Yang-Mills existence and mass gap problem (Basically, does 4D QFT actually work?)
    2. The singular cardinals hypothesis (Is it possible for the generalized continuum hypothesis to fail for a really well-behaved cardinal?)
    3. Just how much math can we accomplish without Choice? Is ZFC really the best we can do?

      And of course, perennial fan favorites:
    4. Can QM and GR be reconciled?
    5. Is there a GUT?
    6. Is there a TOE?
    7. Why? :p
    Last edited by Ramza, Feb 18, 2013
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  19. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    Ghost, now you see why I stayed out of theoretical mathematics.
    Summer Dreamer likes this.
  20. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6

    That's easy, the answer is "Why not?". Or so the urban legend about the guy who got 100% on his Philosophy exam for giving that answer goes.
  21. epic Ex Mod / RSA

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 1999
    star 7
    the chances that the conditions of the universe (the "fine tuned" strength of the various forces, gravity, etc) are such to create matter seem too unlikely. this is something within our universe and so must broadly fall under a question for scienc, however this possibly infers some kind of multiverse theory, which by its very nature is never testable and thus outside of the realms of science. i don't know if this is something that science will ever be able to explain.
  22. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Care to explain the first 3 questions? :p

    While the universe may be fine-tuned for terrestrial lifeforms to be able to exist, how do we know that life wouldn't have found a way even if the laws of physics were different? It wouldn't be like life that exists on Earth now, but do you know what I'm saying?
  23. Zapdos Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 7, 2013
    star 5
    Wormholes. I want to travel in time!
  24. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    Sure, I'll take a stab at it once my various obligations for the day are out of the way - one and three I should be able to explain pretty nicely in layman's terms. Two is... going to be interesting.
    Last edited by Ramza, Feb 19, 2013
  25. epic Ex Mod / RSA

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 1999
    star 7
    i was under the impression that if certain forces were tweaked slightly it would mean the inexistence of matter completely, or at least sufficient matter such as stars, which presumably are needed to create any kind of life (even life dissimilar to our own).
    Last edited by epic, Feb 19, 2013