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    Re: Science
    From: Alexandre Eremenko
    Date: 2005 Aug 29, 16:13 -0500

    Dear Brooke,
    I am ready to discuss these matters with anybody,
    but I think we should go off the list.
    
    > The currently believed theory may or may not be the truth.
    
    There are (and there always were, since science exists) proven theories in
    science. They are true. Of course, any theory is only an approximation
    to reality, it cannot be otherwise, but well-established theories
    tell us the truth.
    (To someone who says the Law of Universal gravitation is wrong,
    I propose to jump from the window of my office; no one tried so far).
    
    > For example for some time scientists
    > also believed that the Earth was flat.
    
    I don't think so. Can you name one such scientist?
    The time you are taking about was the time of decline,
    collapse of science. No educated person in Ellinistic or
    Roman times thought the Earth was flat.
    But then, unfortunately, science and education collapsed
    for more than a millenium.
    
    > For a long time Newtonian mechanics was believed to describe motion of
    > everything.
    
    "Everyhting" is not a word from the vocabulary of science.
    What Newton's mechanics describes was known to Newton,
    and to his followers and it is still true,
    and all engineers still use it, and will use as long as this profession
    exists.
    
    True, some scientists were from time to time engaged in philosophy
    (Newton too)
    and in their philosophical writing they speculated about "everything".
    
    > Currently we have a number of different theories to
    > describe different types of things like electromagnetic waves, gravity,
    
    Yes. And these theories are scientifically tested. And thus they
    tell us the truth, and always will.
    
    > but there are a number of proposed "Unified" theories being looked
    > into where a single theory may be able to describe many things.
    
    Yes. So what? There are always things unknown (not covered by
    established scientific theories yet). There are theories on the stage of
    development, there are hypotheses,
    and there are theories well established and tested.
    
    New theories DO NOT REPLACE the old established ones
    (this is a common misunderstanding), they only COMPLEMENT them.
    
    Established and tested theories remain. They are taught and applied.
    Like Archimedes statics, Newton's dynamics, Electromagnetism,
    Thermodynamics,
    Quantum mechanics and Quantum electrodynamics.
    
    We KNOW that Quantum mechanics is true. Because the scanners
    in a supermarket and millions of other devices
    designed on the base of
    this knowledge work as expected.
    
    You were taught Archimedes law in school in EXACTLY the
    same form as stated by Archimedes more than 2000 years ago.
    If you doubt it you can test it yourself. And you propose to
    call this a "system of beliefs"? Like religion?
    
    No other "system of beliefs" gives us this sort of
    certain knowledge.
    
    Alex.
    
    
    

       
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