On the Continuity and Discontinuity of Science

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short essay on the continuity and discontinuity of science, answering certain problems.

Submitted: January 13, 2013

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Submitted: January 13, 2013




Objects and phenomena, observed by science, are not static objects. They are dynamic objects moving under a dynamic law of gravity, inertia and motion, the energy surrounding these objects are then in equilibrium or so they appear. These phenomena exhibit a behaviour described mathematically by the scientist. The observational data of sub-atomic particles under a particle collider are reduced to mathematical equations demonstrating their movement, qualities and statistical quantity. The effort of the scientist therefore is to describe faithfully various phenomena like these under a scientific paradigm. Without such a present paradigm, the scientist works with a tabula rasa on the object of observation. The lack of a present paradigm is not detrimental to the research of the scientist rather the paradigm is his present literature concerning the matter at hand.

In the study of sub-atomic particles specifically quantum mechanics, the view that the movement of energy occurs in a receptacle called an ether (or aether) are still accepted by various scientists from Aristotle to James Maxwell, Albert Michelson and Edward Morley who even tried to justify its existence even though the experiments of Michelson and Morley went contradictory to the ether theory. No one knows how sub-atomic energy flow moves and in that manner, scientists still find new discoveries in dynamics even though an ether theory is presupposed. Observations on these particles correspond on new data gathered from experiments. The subjects of experimentation are objects in time. Without observing them or even naively observing them in sensual perception void of a controlled environment, these objects would behave as they are according to their nature. The flower will still bloom at a certain time of the year and the planets will still move on their orbit even without a scientist observing them.

The scientist believing that nature exhibits a mathematical behaviour, determined and predictable, will start to control the subject, dissecting it to its minute parts, to demonstrate its nature both microscopically and macroscopically. To make sense of certain differences in the orbits of planets, Ptolemy, observing that the planets move around the earth, saw perigees and apogees in the revolution of the planets. He then observed through the earth’s latitude and longitude, described these planetary phenomena in orbits and epicycles—when an orbit swerves into a movement greater than its own. This hypothesis was derived from a geocentric paradigm observing the heavenly bodies as orbiting around the earth. Justified in length by Ptolemy offering detailed observations of the planet and the anomalies herein; his astronomical paradigm dominated classical astronomy until Copernicus. Ptolemy’s astronomical observations still demonstrated star positions and defined constellations which are still observed today (although not from a geocentric paradigm). Nevertheless, it took a Copernicus and a Galileo to topple this paradigm and replace it with another. But, discoveries within a present paradigm would stretch the limits of the present paradigm. Priestley’s experiments on the Phlogiston stretched the Phlogiston theory to the limits until Lavoisier’s experiments concluded oxygen instead of Phlogiston.

Truth in this manner is the truth of observation. Conceptions and theories about truth can change and are discontinuous; but the truth itself, the nature of the subjects observed by science continuously exists. The human intervention and description of these subjects are fallible and do exhibit a discontinuous manner for that reason, it depends on consensus.

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