The development of knowledge

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by ProCop, Oct 26, 2002.

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  1. ProCop Valued Senior Member

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    Lately I have been worried abour the following idea: since the begining of the history (old Greeks and other "old"civilisations) people were encreasing their knowledge of the world. Then (in the old times) they knew much less then we do now but with the development of mankind and science I have now the feeling that not only the amount of wat they knew (in the relation to what they needed to know to be able to understand (and sustain) their existence) has been encreasing but the amount of what they did not know was encreasing in the same tempo. (Simlpy rephrased the amount of what we know is encreasing in the same meassure as the amount of we do not know). If this is true, (if this is really true) has the development of knowledge (and science) sense?
     
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  3. chroot Crackpot killer Registered Senior Member

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    Let me guess -- you're high?

    - Warren
     
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  5. m0rl0ck Consume! Conform! Obey! Registered Senior Member

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    The way Einstien expressed this idea is (and this is a paraphrase, I dont remember the exact quote) "as the circle of light increases so does the perimeter of darkness".
    In an infinite universe the more you know, the more there is left to know. Of course we are talking about empirical knowledge here.
    The really interesting thing about this idea is that the perimeter of darkness is where hypotheses formation necessarily takes place, between the known and the unknown.
    Consider also that in any given situation there are an infinite number of possible hypotheses available for testing. It isnt possible to test an infinite number of hypotheses. Which hypothesis are tested are determined by the training, culture and individual predjudices of the scientists who test them. What this means is that every bit of empirical knowledge has to pass through several subjective filters before its expermentially verified.
    So to a large degree we are making the universe up as we go

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  7. Clockwood You Forgot Poland Registered Senior Member

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    He is still making more sense than hemmingway.
     
  8. ProCop Valued Senior Member

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    Re: m0rl0ck

    Fantastic: So we can say: the more we know about the universe the less we know about the universe. Science is (basically) a kamikaze mission.

    (Did Einstein elaborate on this? (I have searched the web but found nothing))
     
  9. SoLiDUS OMGWTFBBQ Registered Senior Member

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    Exponentiality at it's best: once you have an answer to a
    question, you usually have more questions. Once you get the
    next answers, more questions... ad infinitum. It never ends

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    Hope it makes sense; I haven't slept in 24 hours...

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  10. m0rl0ck Consume! Conform! Obey! Registered Senior Member

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    I wouldnt say its a kamakaze mission. Its just that everything is so interrelated, every new piece of knowledge touches so many other pieces, some of which may not yet be in the light. No doubt there is some overarching meta principle of interrealtions that might allow us to address the universe as just THAT, we just havent discovered it yet

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    How about just thinking about it in the interim as just bringing a little more of the universe to conciousness?

    As far as the qoute here is what I found:

    http://www.google.com/search?q="as the circle of light increases"

    Its attributed to pasteur on one of the results.

    I first heard this in a science class film in I think junior high, a long time ago

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  11. ProCop Valued Senior Member

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    It may be that some massive development of knowledge (eg. such as Greek Enlightenment) is followed by a period of distrust of "knowledge" and people then turn to mysticism (the Greek Enlightenment was followed by the centuries of Dark Ages). It may be that that the Old Greeks (unknowingly) caused the the darkness of the following period because they had enlarged not only the knowledge of the mankind but also the "unknowledge".
    I see no other reason why the Greek Enlightenment didn't continue - why should such a great era of knowledge end such as it did.
     
  12. Clockwood You Forgot Poland Registered Senior Member

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    The problem is all people are born essentially ignorant. Each generation has more it needs to be taught to understand history and technology.

    For example: World history is constantly growing and It is a must children must know it. To understand tech you need an ever increasing amount of background information.

    Causes problems due to our short life-span.
     
  13. ProCop Valued Senior Member

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    It may be that there are two levels of knowledge: knowledge and "metaknowledge".

    The statement of Einstein would apply only to the first level. (The more you know the Universe the less you know the Universe).

    On the second level "metaknowledge" (a note to Chroot: not related to met(h)anol this time) does not comply to the first level (the more the less) This metaknowledge would presuppose the existence of some leading principles of the structures of the Universe, (a theory of "all"?) the knowledge of which would enable us to understand the whole before knowing the details.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2002
  14. Clockwood You Forgot Poland Registered Senior Member

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    Remember: The default setting for humans is total ignorance. Humans will eventually get to the point we wont be able to live long enough to master a scientific field. THis means scientific advancement will be hobbled.
     
  15. ProCop Valued Senior Member

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    Re:Clockwood

    I think you have a point. Maybe you wil find this interesting: (takes about twenty minutes to watch..)

    <a href=http://www.kubrick2001.com/>www.kubrick2001.com</a>
     
  16. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think that we will ever reach a point where it's impossible to make advancements. We'll just continue to get more and more specialized. Look at chemistry; a few hundred years ago virtually all chemists knew the same things and worked to solve the same sorts of problems. Now chemistry is so specialized that an organic chemist knows very little about the work of a physical chemist, and vice versa. We'll probably just continue down this road.
     
  17. Clockwood You Forgot Poland Registered Senior Member

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    Re: Nasor

    Impossible? That will take a LONG time to come up. We wont even be identifyable as humans by then.

    Unbearably slow on the other hand may come up in the next thousand years. At that time we would be advancing only by accident.

    If the human lifespan is lengthened or we can get uploadable memories this problem will be bypassed though.
     
  18. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    Another possibility is increased computer aid in research. As it is, organic chemists are using computer programs written by computational chemists to aid them in their research. The organic chemists don't really understand the principles that allow the programs to work, and the computational chemists don't really understand what the organic chemists need to programs for.

    Who know...maybe soon we'll be able to just let the computers do the research for us.
     
  19. ProCop Valued Senior Member

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    It may be that the capacity of the brain wil be encreasing as the time goes on. Up till now the man was pretty adjustable. (It could be interesting to see if the IQ is encreasing as the brain is more and more challenged (in general population)). As the man has developed from the ape to his present form, why shouldn't this proces go on? From today's man into the future man. I am affraid, Clockwood, that your vision is too static...
     
  20. Delvinity Registered Member

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    Haha...no, I dont see this as a problem. The human brain has incredible potential; even moreso than we already know. We dont a lot about it as it is - there are still unknowns.
     
  21. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    Also, as we come to understand more we'll be able to throw out more and more of our old ideas that were wrong.
     
  22. ProCop Valued Senior Member

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    Quote is from my own entry at the "Is altering time impossible?" thread at this forum:

    " This theory was ever tested in GB and Australia the result was (if I remember that correctly) that if the rats of some specified sort learn to handle a maze (to get to their food) in Australia, then GB rats (of the same sort) learn to handle the maze one third faster.
     
  23. Clockwood You Forgot Poland Registered Senior Member

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    After it is expleined to you the first time any idiot can understand and make a pulley or a lever or a wheel. It is subconsiously knownby everyone anyway.

    Not many people REALLY know how an internal combustion engine works, even though they drive a car. They might have a vague idea about expanding gasses and pistons but they couldnt build one if their life depended on it.

    It is like that nowadays. To understand one piece of information you must unterstand many more precedeing pieces. Soon enough it takes your entire life to learn how to make a light speed engine.
     
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