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Thread: Science: its definition(s) and ethics

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    Default Science: its definition(s) and ethics

    This is a continuation of tangent started at post #14 of this thread.
    "By concealing your desires, you may trick people into being cruel about the wrong thing." --Steven Aylett, Fain the Sorcerer
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    Default Re: Science: its definition(s) and ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by salmoned View Post
    I guess when you use the term 'applied science,' you mean engineering.
    Thank you for your patience with my imprecise choice of words. I chose Applied Science simply because I had once heard the term Applied Mathematics (as opposed to Pure Mathematics).


    As well, engineering is very often a product of art more than science.
    On a tangent, would you say art plays a role in the initial formation of a scientific hypothesis?


    Quote Originally Posted by salmoned View Post
    Science is a realm of ideas only
    Would you say the work of scientists is free from ethical concerns, that they merely generate knowledge whose use / misuse is out of their hands?


    Quote Originally Posted by acousticlady View Post
    Hallelujah on all counts! FWIW, music, painting and sculpture are considered applied science - at least in my world. Engineering is not.
    I can kinda see how Engineering is removed from Science. An engineer may learn a lot of scientific theories in school, but rarely do they use them in their work.

    Concerning whether music is applied science or not, do musicians need to be fluent in mathematics (the writing and manipulation of mathematical formulas) in order for music to be applied science?
    "By concealing your desires, you may trick people into being cruel about the wrong thing." --Steven Aylett, Fain the Sorcerer
    "You gotta get me to the tall corn." --David Mamet, Spartan
    "
    Amateurs talk technology, professionals talk conditions." --(unknown)

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    Default Re: Science: its definition(s) and ethics

    First, thank you for starting this thread. This is one that is truly up my alley. Keep in mind that my responses are from the physics end of science. There is a huge difference between the way a physicist thinks and the way a biologist thinks. True, we both follow the "scientific method", but that is where the similarities end.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyopicJoe View Post
    Thank you for your patience with my imprecise choice of words. I chose Applied Science simply because I had once heard the term Applied Mathematics (as opposed to Pure Mathematics).
    This is a term that is often thrown around to mean different things. Technically, my undergraduate degree is in "Applied Physics". But my actual concentration was in quantum theory. I think the applied part came in with advanced electronics - but again, that was more theoretical than practical.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyopicJoe View Post
    On a tangent, would you say art plays a role in the initial formation of a scientific hypothesis?
    What a cool question! Hard to answer, but a cool question. In some ways yes, in some ways no. How's that for an answer For me, the art world and the science world mesh. I don't really separate them. The courses I teach reflect that. The work I do reflects that. But I am not a researcher (in the sense of how most people think of scientist) either. I create "works of art" based on ideas in physics.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyopicJoe View Post
    Would you say the work of scientists is free from ethical concerns, that they merely generate knowledge whose use / misuse is out of their hands?
    Absolutely NOT!!! Ethics is a huge concern among scientists. We all base our lives on ethics. As students, it is drummed into our heads that if we don't have ethics, we have nothing. The misuse has historically been that of the politicians pushing the engineers. From as far back as Archimedes, who, being very proud of the machines he invented to make life easier for the people, found that his ideas were stolen and used to make war machines, to Heisenberg, Einstein and Oppenheimer - who all were vocal pacifists. Some, such as Oppenheimer, did eventually give in and work on creating "bad" applications - but this was more of a result of the political climate than of personal beliefs. Einstein, for example, refused to work for any country in an effort to harm anyone.

    Any idea can be used for good or for evil.


    Quote Originally Posted by MyopicJoe View Post
    I can kinda see how Engineering is removed from Science. An engineer may learn a lot of scientific theories in school, but rarely do they use them in their work.
    Engineers are different animals. I did my graduate work at a primarily engineering school. We were the geeks of the school - our little theoretical physics group. We were completely separate from the engineers. By the way, to get an engineering degree, you only need to have 2-3 semesters of physics. Compare that to the minimum of 10 semesters of physics to get a degree in physics (not including the math courses).

    Quote Originally Posted by MyopicJoe View Post
    Concerning whether music is applied science or not, do musicians need to be fluent in mathematics (the writing and manipulation of mathematical formulas) in order for music to be applied science?
    It depends on what aspect of music you are into. If you want to be a musician in an orchestra - then no. You don't even have to know how to add. If you are into music synthesis (using already made programs), then you need a deeper insight into the math - mostly in interpreting graphical analysis. If you want to create synthesis (i.e., creating a program like GarageBand) then you definitely need math.

    That being said, I find that of all the types of students who take intro physics, the musicians are the most qualified. There is something about studying music that opens the mind to studying physics. The biologists and pre-med students are the worst.

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    Default Re: Science: its definition(s) and ethics

    Great discussion.

    Anthropology is the study of humans as they are; applied anthropology would amount to the manipulation of cultures, which is now abhorred, but was once concerned civilizing*!
    Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Taken!
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    Spreading the virus of ALOHA.
    Oh Chu. If only you could have seen what I've seen, with your eyes.

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    Default Re: Science: its definition(s) and ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by acousticlady View Post
    In some ways yes, in some ways no. How's that for an answer
    Sounds like a honest, qualified answer :_D


    There is something about studying music that opens the mind to studying physics.
    I saw a documentary where they performed MRI scans of a "human calculator" as he answered complex math questions. They found brain activity in the areas related to motor control (physical movement). Talk to any engineer whose tried to develop a walking robot and they'll tell you how computationally intensive it is. Anyways, this guy says he's not conscious of his problem solving; he just feels the answers.


    Engineers are different animals. I did my graduate work at a primarily engineering school. We were the geeks of the school - our little theoretical physics group. We were completely separate from the engineers.
    You were the uber-geek :_) Not only do engineers barely use theories and equations in their work, they usually don't develop them either. One of the few was Claude Shannon and his information theory. From a physicist's point of view, would information theory be considered science? I don't even know if that question makes sense.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kaonohi View Post
    applied anthropology
    Hahaha. What a wonderful example of dry humor...though I'm sure some people used it in a dreadfully serious manner.
    Last edited by helen; February 23rd, 2011 at 10:19 PM. Reason: fixing the quote tag
    "By concealing your desires, you may trick people into being cruel about the wrong thing." --Steven Aylett, Fain the Sorcerer
    "You gotta get me to the tall corn." --David Mamet, Spartan
    "
    Amateurs talk technology, professionals talk conditions." --(unknown)

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    Default Re: Science: its definition(s) and ethics

    I started my summer course today on the history of physics and the impacts of societies on the development of science. As part of the introduction, I used a lecture written by Richard Feynman in 1958 or so. This was a lecture given to the public called "The Value of Science". Very interesting reading for those inclined.

    http://alexpetrov.com/memes/sci/value.html

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    Default Re: Science: its definition(s) and ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by acousticlady View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by MyopicJoe
    Would you say the work of scientists is free from ethical concerns, that they merely generate knowledge whose use / misuse is out of their hands?
    Absolutely NOT!!! Ethics is a huge concern among scientists.
    It may well be that scientists choose to concern themselves with ethics, because they're wonderful people, but the more interesting question is whether there is any intrinsic connection between science and ethics. Can you be a great scientist and at the same time a monster? I don't see any intrinsic connection between science and ethics, so I'd say yes.
    Greg

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    Unhappy Re: Science: its definition(s) and ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaonoihi
    Re: "Anthropology is the study of humans as they are; applied anthropology would amount to the manipulation of cultures, which is now abhorred, but was once concerned civilizing*! "
    Quote Originally Posted by MyopicJoe View Post
    Hahaha. What a wonderful example of dry humor...though I'm sure some people used it in a dreadfully serious manner.
    I'm getting soft. Indeed - I blew it big time, quoting from internal dialogue. App. Anthro. has turned out to be just regular politics; abhorred by some, accepted by some, and we are the subjects of study. Guess I was snowed.

    Joe, thanks. Yes, it is used in a dreadfully serious manner daily, from Hitler to Teabags to Patriots.

    Change the beliefs and you change the culture. I was thinking (Hawaiian style) missionaries, and wasn't up-to-date with politics.

    Left Side = Right Side
    Right Side = Suicide*
    *(From an old Connecticut Interstate Highway sign on I-95, saying, in effect: "Do not pass on the right." I wonder how this relates to our current political turmoil?)
    Little did we know in those golden days of the early 60's what Left and Right would mean in the future, how liberal and conservative would change our world.

    And how we would be manipulated by "Applied Anthropolitics."

    Jimmy Morrison may have been right: "This is the End."
    Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Taken!
    ~ ~
    Kaʻonohiʻulaʻokahōkūmiomioʻehiku
    Spreading the virus of ALOHA.
    Oh Chu. If only you could have seen what I've seen, with your eyes.

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