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Author Topic: Alchemy vs Sciences  (Read 12738 times)
jetio4


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« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2011, 13:59:02 »

(By the way, you used the word "astrology" on your post, which has a completely different meaning and is not science.)
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...to say, NASA and other space programs aren't a waste of time and money, but the governments need to spend less on both.
Well, dismissing astronomy based on the fact that everything might just be mirages can be used to dismiss every other field of science, because in the very end, there is always reliance on our own senses. To say that all astronomy that is done regarding objects beyond our galaxy is somehow invalid sounds very arbitrary to me and I would guess neither of us know enough on the subject to be able to dismiss their methods as invalid.
I suppose. On the other hand, what DO we know about the universe, compared to Earth? We know very limited in both, but I personally think that we've gotten more progress researching Earth itself. We need to focus on just one of them, and as study on Earth would def. finish before study on the universe would, we should focus on that.
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« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2011, 16:34:49 »

(By the way, you used the word "astrology" on your post, which has a completely different meaning and is not science.)
Fixed
You fixed it to "astromony". :P

...to say, NASA and other space programs aren't a waste of time and money, but the governments need to spend less on both.
Well, dismissing astronomy based on the fact that everything might just be mirages can be used to dismiss every other field of science, because in the very end, there is always reliance on our own senses. To say that all astronomy that is done regarding objects beyond our galaxy is somehow invalid sounds very arbitrary to me and I would guess neither of us know enough on the subject to be able to dismiss their methods as invalid.
I suppose. On the other hand, what DO we know about the universe, compared to Earth? We know very limited in both, but I personally think that we've gotten more progress researching Earth itself. We need to focus on just one of them, and as study on Earth would def. finish before study on the universe would, we should focus on that.
It's not like we can separate both entirely. Exploring and understanding the universe is often a way to understand our own planet. For example, studying black holes is one of the ways in which we can study many things about the fundamental laws, since the conditions are so extreme. Not to mention monitoring asteroids for potential collision courses with the Earth. Miss Paula, our physicist of service could surely provide a lot more examples. In the end, though, and in my opinion most importantly, we can't just dismiss a branch of knowledge just because there are other priorities or problems to solve. Knowledge is, to me, an end in itself, and often, solutions to our worse problems lie in the most unexpected of places.
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Miss Paula


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« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2011, 18:55:00 »

Quote from: Ponto
Miss Paula, our physicist of service
I downgraded to "media technician" or something like that a while ago. ;)
To still add my voice to this interesting discussion: In my eyes it doesn't even matter that much if "we know very little about the universe beyond our earth" or if it's necessary to know more about it compared to learning more about what's close at hand. That sounds almost like an argument against the specialisation of science. "What DO we know about viruses compared to the locations of human organs?"
I'm not sure I'm conveying my point very well... X)
Just like --physicists and astronomers and marine biologists etc all have their own valid reasons to continue research. Just because one field or way of observing it might be easier to fathom for non-members of that scientific field than another doesn't mean it has more justification. Also saying "we should focus" doesn't really make sense, since it's not like resources are being withheld from research for completely other fields than the one you say we shouldn't focus on. I think. Also I doubt astronomers are very useful at marine biology. ;)

oh yeah, and I split this discussion off, obviously.
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« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2011, 21:05:56 »

This discussion confuses me...

I might as well add my point of view about what I think you guys are discussing;
I never ever say that something is impossible* , because nothing in the universe is certain. Neither science nor religion nor anything else ever can say that something is either 100% right or 100% wrong, as there will always things that they don't know, or failed to consider. Take this example: it is entirely possible that tommorow, when walking down the street, you will find a bag of diamonds just lying in the pavement. While the chances of this happening are really really slim, there are still sequences of actions or circumstances that, however unlikely they are to occur, are entirely possible. Because of this, it means that you can never say with certainty that anything is right or wrong.

This means that it is entirely possible, even if the odds are tiny, that there is a bunch of dudes somewhere that have/will discover(ed) how to turn stuff into gold. and if this is true, the last thing I want to do is make them angry.

*unless it actually is a logical impossibility, like division by zero.

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« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2011, 21:11:35 »

*unless it actually is a logical impossibility, like division by zero.



I have this calculator, and in the right circumstances, it can divide by zero. WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW?
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« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2011, 21:56:58 »

well, this discussion is not directly about that certain things are impossible or at least deemed impossible by some and not by others, but about if science has more ultimate truth and worth above story-believing. and if people who ignore science should be judged. Simplifiedly said. kind of?

Also, it's not just mathematical things that are definitely falsifiable. When fundamental physical laws prevent a low-worth metal from turning to a nobler one, you cannot go and say "it could be possible, although it may not be likely". Since physics can rule out the existance of circumstances where it could happen, it's not unlikely, but actually very well impossible to occur.

argh, longwinded sentences! I should practice the science of expressing and explaining my opinion and view concisely. :huh:
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« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2011, 00:26:27 »

But you see, even the laws of physics are not necessarily correct. There might be some completely obscure law of physics that allows such a thing to occur, that we have yet to discover. I'm not saying it's true, in fact, it is probably not, but it would certainly not be the first time that something has happened that was previously been thought to be impossible.

Plus, I'm pretty sure that turning a low-grade metal into gold is not prohibited by the laws of physics anyway. Just get some extra protons and neutrons, and find some way of sticking them together, and you have gold. Although you now have to worry about it being extremely radioactive because you couldn't find any spare electrons.

Well meh, I'm fine with other opinions anyway, so I don't really know what the point of this post was.

Now, for cake and sleep.
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« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2011, 17:30:08 »

I'm quite sure it's possible to make gold out of iron, assuming you aren't afraid of lethal doses of nuclear radiation!
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pfrangip


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« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2013, 22:39:23 »

I'll just drop this here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthesis_of_noble_metals#Gold

And say, good answers, Nifflas. I would also like to know more about how the game is representative of Christer Böke.
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« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2013, 15:04:29 »

The issue about alchemy vs science should also be of one's attitude towards approaching either subject.

If one approaches alchemy with the intent of becoming rich by buying lead in bulk and then somehow transmute them into gold, they are wasting their time. If alchemists could do this, they would have done it by now. It would be mundane process by now, or would so if it somehow appeared.

However, if one approaches alchemy out of curiosity, and/or because they find the spirituality interesting and engaging, then that's their choice to follow and investigate this spirituality. That is their choice, arguably their human right, to believe these things and live their life with these beliefs. As long as they are not harming others, not making claims that can be proven to be false or forcing others to their beliefs, then they have the right to do this.

If one wants to do alchemy to learn how our ancestors thought and believed the world around them, that is a historical interest and may have historical value. If one does it to be a member of an "alchemy club", that has as much value as any arbitrarily-made social club.

As for science...
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But you see, even the laws of physics are not necessarily correct.

Because no scientific theory is meant to be 100%, absolutely correct. Scientific theories are meant to describe something's behavior to a limited extent. If you want to describe behavior outside the limits of the previous theory, you need either a different theory or one that includes the previous one.

For example, Newton-level physics describe how gravity works, but not why gravity works (to explain why gravity works would require approach, one that tries to brake down the nature of matter). As long as we are interested in describing something in context how something's gravity effects things, Newton-level physics will work. However, if we go to phenomenon that either either too small (the behavior of atoms at a sub-atomic level) or too large (the behavior of light), we need to change or expand the theory to accommodate those behaviors.

Great theories explained things that were not understood at the time. Quantum theory explained the photoelectric effect and made predictions that were tested and turned out to be true (many computer chips and components of those components are based on quantum theory). The same idea is true of Einstein's relativity, because it predicted that a clock's energy state influence it's speed. We know that prediction worked because GPSs work.

No scientists in their right mind goes out trying to prove something absolutely, irrevocably right or wrong. They set out what is reasonably right, what can be falsified, what can be measured. What modern science does is trying to be the least wrong it can be.

We do not know absolutely that the galaxies we see are real places. But we can detect light-emitting things within them, which Spectroscopy reveals to be be suns. We use spectroscopy in a wide manner to detect how matter and objects show photonic radiation, frequently with things here on Earth. All our observations reveal that all these glowing objects are stars that are like our sun. We have no reason to believe that these objects do not have mass, do not have a have gravity, that these objects are less real than the objects close to Earth, etc.

And that sort of brings an edge to a discussion in the idea of "science vs alchemy".
That alchemists discovered many chemical compounds and phenomenons does not excuse that their theory does not work, there does not seem to be a powder that can turn lead into gold by heating. Matter seems to be conserved in all chemical reactions (and only change in nuclear reactions), rather than to spontaneously come or go away in a transmutation. Earth, water and air appear to be composed of various elements that can be seperated or recombined at will. Fire does not appear to be an element, fire is merely a chemical process (plasma does not count).

In other words, if one wants to explore how the universe works as best one can do, modern science offers far more than alchemy. The products of modern science, made and predicted by modern scientific theories, are all around us: electronics, medicine, motorization, etc. The products of an industrialization comes hand-in-hand with modern scientific work. It is merely that to an outside observer to the processes that they appear unrelated, because closer examination shows that they are merely indirect. Like the GPS example before, the evidence and predictions of modern scientific theories are abundant. They are, because they were built that way even before their inception.

That is my view anyway.

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I also HATE how one of the most famous alchemists ever, Nicholas Flamel, has been put off as "just another Harry Potter character".

Why? Alchemists already know the true(er) meaning of the person behind that name, they already know how he is a great alchemist because alchemists would study his works. Alchemists already value him.

 To non-alchemists, his name is mostly meaningless anyway, just another historical footnote that is transcended into a fictional world. And the thing is, it's just that his name was dropped: the person himself didn't show up in the books, or if they did, they did not do so in a significant matter (at least, I can't remember him appearing in the book). So it's not like Rowling made a caricature out of him.
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