Instrumental Confidence

Curviture Mananifold_watermark
Curviture Mananifold

The 21 Century has produced advancements in the various fields of science principally because measurement apparati has permitted supposedly greater clarity.  While there is little doubt that these instruments are revealing flat out incorrect data, dependence on them has to be held to the general precision that instruments were constructed with. The very specimens under scrutiny are ironically the same elemental composition that instruments themselves are constructed with.  Molecules scoping out molecules. The field of chemistry informs us that molecules are composed of atoms, which all have mass.  Mass, we know, is associated with gravitation forces. While more mass creates a greater gravitational field, it nevertheless begs the question.  How can we make predictions with accuracy at atomic or subatomic levels? These kinds of microscope observations must be held to the same raw scrutiny as the experiments they are providing supposed evidence for. Furthermore, mathematics has been called the “language of science”.

In times past, empirical evidence was valid because it was, in fact, empirical. Today, when observations are to large, to small, to old, or yet to take place, mathematical functions and algorithms are used to make predictions. While math widely utilized based on it’s inherently linear and logical conclusions, formulas and functions are pushing math to reach out predicatively to places math was designed to go. Math innately was one person’s observation of the way things work numerically. We can make certain assessments based on man-made systems as though they are fact. While the fields of science would define the use of the highly-prestigious word “fact” as a vary-carefully assigned, it does happen. Thomas Kuhn, in his book “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” acknowledged that what we knew as facts in prior centuries doesn’t mean that more precise data won’t become known that will critique, supplement, or flat out deny older claims or “facts”.

Aristotle made claims about the cosmos which were later found incorrect, but what is often misunderstood is that he wasn’t doing science: he made no empirical observations that would be tested or repeated. Today, more scrutiny in placed on supposed observations. But when instruments are used and even claimed as the sole source of evidence retrieval, we have to consider the Neil Armstrong scenario: Are the experimenters cheating? Are the microscopes, telescopes, tachometers, or Geiger’s configured properly? Is the incentive for tenure, grants or prestige not a factor to make calls to have such experiments repeated under fudged instrumental configurations?

All I am saying is a lot of confidence is placed in man-made systems today. Computers, which malfunction, get hacked, or lack human-predictability leave room for error. Microscopes offer numerous configurability options, lenses, and lighting variations. Neural imaging psychological case studies monitor individuals’ brains with the premise that those people are responding regardless of the wonky apparati protruding from their head and forcing potentially-awkward resting positions. Are the systems getting in the way of results. Does it remain empirical science if mass and matter are no longer the subjects of our observations? If it’s subjects are not subject to the rules of the traditional scientific method, is it wrong to blur the lines in order to postulate a “prediction”?

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