Science, humanity's greatest discovery
An advance in science can start with an observation, for example it was noticed that the precession of Mercury’s elliptical orbit could not be explained by Newton's law of gravitation but Einstein could explain it with his Theory of General Relativity. Or an advance in science can start with an idea, for example, that the Earth might move around the Sun rather than the Sun moving around the Earth.
To engage in science is to follow the evidence wherever the evidence takes one.It is science that informed us that the Earth is just a speck in the Universe and that the Universe is amenable to reason. It is science that allowed us to learn that all matter is composed of some 90 or so elements, and that energy and matter are different forms of the same stuff. It is science that showed us the complexity of life, how living things are related to each other and how present living species came about.
Technology is applied science. The combination of science and technology has allowed our civilisation to get to where it is at present. Science and technology have been used for both good and bad, they are amoral; we need ethics, moral philosophy, to tell us how we should live.
I need to stress that science and technology are tools, they cannot be blamed for any misuse of them any more than a hammer could be blamed for someone using it to break a window.
Contact: David K. Clarke – ©
Science has not only allowed the discovery of the elements that make up the solar system, but it has uncovered where they came from and how they formed.
I ask the reader to, just for a minute, ponder on what an amazing achievement this is.
Image source Science Blog from the SDSS; Origin of the Elements in the Solar System
I could go on attempting to list all the things that science has allowed us to discover. I could not possibly do justice to the attempt. I will make do with just a few more points:
It is science that permitted us to understand how we came to evolve from single celled organisms over several billion years, it is science that allowed us to discover the varied causes of disease, it is science that showed us that the Earth is about four and a half billion years old and the Universe about 13 billion years old, it is science that showed us that we are damaging our world by dumping greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and cutting down our forests.
The only reliable way that mankind has ever found to understand the world is through science. Religion has provided fairy stories in an attempt to explain the world; science uses observation and reason to search for truth.
It is remarkable how many of the milestones in the development of human society are connected with a scientific, questioning, free-thinking state of mind.
The deepest roots of science are in philosophy, which, like science, is based on reason, doubt and searching.
In doing so he reinforced a step away from the established Church's (erroneous and delusional) teachings - that the planets revolve around the Earth. This step was taken by Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei. Copernicus suggested that the Earth and other planets orbited around the Sun, Galileo produced evidence supporting that theory, but the Church forced him to deny what he believed to be true.
The third law, expressed simply, is that the squares of the orbital periods of the planets (the length of their years) are directly proportional to the cubes of their distances from the Sun.
Putting this another way, p2 = a3. Where 'p' is the length of the planet's orbital period expressed in Earth years and 'a' is the planet's distance from the Sun expressed in units of the Earth's distance from the Sun (Astronomical Units, AU). This equation is very simple and elegant, as is Einstein's E=mc2.
The table shows the figures for all of the planets and Pluto. The last column shows the accuracy of the figures, if they were perfect all the figures in the last column would be exactly one. Of course the figures I've entered are not exact (they have a limited number of decimal places) and squaring and cubing increases the inaccuracy.
For the Earth both p and a equal one and both 12 and 13 also equal 1.
What science has taught us about the Sun is an example of the application of E = mc2.
"... our Sun converts 600 million tons of hydrogen into 596 million tons of helium every second. The missing 4 million tons of matter are converted to energy, according to Einstein's equation E=mc2. This amount of energy is so large that the Sun gives off 40,000 watts of light from every square inch of its surface."The above was extracted from Professor Dorneman's pages on the Mercer County Community College site. It accords with my recollection of the figures.
According to the book Larousse Astronomy, 1981 edition (I know, it's old; I'm old too) the total energy output of the Sun is 383 billion billion Megawatts. It is likely to continue to do this for the next five billion years or so.
Where did all this knowledge come from? Devine revelation? No, no knowledge at all has come to humanity from Devine revelation. It has come to us from free thought unbridled by delusions and from the application of the scientific method.
Don't waste your advantagesThe human brain is a remarkable instrument; the only thing in the Universe that we know of that is capable of understanding how the Universe works. Science is a remarkable tool; the only tool we know of that is capable of allowing us to understand how the Universe works.
We all use our brains, but if we use tools other than science to try to understand how the world works we can make egregious errors. Don't waste your amazing brain by ignoring science or disbelieving what it is telling us.
Divining: another delusion
Milestones in the development of human society
Rationality: not a strong trait in humans
Religion and other delusions
Science, religion and delusion
Terrorism and coal
Why accept climate science
Wind energy opposition
Wind power opposition and climate science denial
Wind turbines save lives