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Is the end nigh for science?

Regis Nicoll provides an interesting roundup of issues on which some scientists, often in the public eye, are beginning to wonder:

In a rare, unguarded moment, physicist Lawrence Krauss confided, “I worry whether we’ve come to the limits of empirical science.”

It’s not clear, actually, whether unguarded moments in Larry Krauss’s life are all that rare. See this story, for example.

But in this case, he is not alone.

Betraying their lingering angst about the future of science, physicists at a recent conference identified a number of other unsolved mysteries they suggest are keeping them up at nights, including:

What are dark energy and dark matter?

In 1929 Edwin Hubble discovered redshifts in the light emissions from stars, indicating that the universe was not static, but expanding. Nearly seventy years later, light spectra measurements of supernovae indicated that the universe is not only expanding, but also accelerating! Mystified by this unknown cosmic power source, physicists dubbed it “dark energy.” Subsequent measurements revealed that dark energy accounts for 70 percent of all the stuff in the universe.

What’s more, gravitational anomalies observed in stellar objects indicated a sizeable source of invisible (“dark”) matter affecting their movements. When “dark matter” is added to dark energy, it turns out that dark stuff makes up 95 percent of the cosmos. But what it is, no one knows; the answer remains elusive. For that reason, a number of leading physicists, including Krauss, have called it the biggest mystery in physics. More.

Is it possible that physicists have made as many breakthroughs as possible within current assumptions, and another Einstein is needed? Another Max Planck?

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7 Responses to Is the end nigh for science?

  1. A more likely possibility is that most of their basic assumptions are wrong. This is the point where Thomas Kuhn comes in and kicks the paradigm in the rear end, really hard.

    As for me, I’ll be watching the whole thing unravel with a bag of cheetos in one hand, a beer in the other and a grin on my face. :-D

  2. Is the end nigh for science?
    That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard? Where do you guys come up with this crap?

  3. I’d like to think the end is nigh for ad hoc speculation masquerading as science (dark energy, dark matter, multiverses, darwinian evolution, and etc.) but frankly I’m not overly optimistic that it will come to an end in my lifetime.

  4. I agree with Johnp! The end is not near for real science. We have lots to learn.

    Biomimetics is booming. New discoveries are made every week.

    We still have no idea about how parts of the cell work. New discoveries are constantly being made.

    When it comes to evolution though, whether it is cosmic evolution, geological evolution, biological evolution, or chemical evolution(OoL), there may come a day when these types of historical science reach the end of their rope.

    There really is no way to know if what we think we “know” about these subjects is accurate or not. Often times you hear scientists say “We NOW know that….”

    Do they really “know” it? Of course not.

    It is just the current supported consensus view that remains in vogue only until a new finding overthrows it?

    It is simply their best guess based on currently accepted interpretations of scientists – which in and of themselves cannot be proven.

    When we deal with history, normally we are not able to use the scientific method to examine it. That is why it is not real true science. These “sciences” deal with areas of interest in science, but the evolution of the moon for instance, is not observable, testable, or repeatable. Computer simulations depend on a lot of assumptions and the values assigned to the program we use to come up with an answer.

    How can these values be known, tested, or trusted? If they are unknowable, how can we really trust the results of the program? This is NOT science. It is scientific speculation. Someone once described these evolutionary just so stories as fairy tales for grown-ups.

  5. tjguy, science qua engineering, yes, fertile round, but qua theoretical physics and a new paradigm, has not bornagan77 posted to the effect that it has now been proved that QM is the ultimate physical paradigm, as far as the quantum world is concerned?

  6. In quest for the origin of Universe we have discovered a wonderful, mysterious world of QM where particles are waves when observed and are back to being particles when not observed, we have quantum entanglement stretching across distances, we have the wonderful world of Quarks and their mysterious ways of creating heavier particles when changing from one flavor to another. Its like when Biology discovered microscopic world. There is a vast world to be discovered and understood. This is a beginning of another journey – not the end.

  7. Oddly I have been thinking about this but coming from a diffeent angle.
    I don’t think anything has been done in discovery and invention as to what can be done. SCIENCE has yet to take off. Science fiction writers are more likely right in their possibilities of what can be.
    I think they think the Einstein equation discovery has closed the books on the essence of the universe.
    Yet if it evolved it could only be the most primitive machine in the universe. Biology is the most complicated. For Christians its the spiritual world that is most complicated.
    If science can’t find and locate heaven then its useless in any investigative abilities. Its missing the whole thing.

    I think just a very basic earthy foundation has been found, and thus it was found because it was not that difficult and so a few thinkers in the old days did it, but its nothing compared to the home.
    If God created the universe like a school project in a box then maybe man can figure it out and has on basic points in certain areas.
    Yet the box is still part of a bigger home and very trivial to the glory of its construction.
    Gravity and light things are not the hight of discovery as they teach us.
    Newton and Einstein really just discovered things already here and its overrated for its importance or difficulty.
    fix our bodies Mr and Mrs science. What have you been doing??

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