“Fathers” and “Sons” of theories in science

Discussions on the philosophical foundations, assumptions, and implications of science, including the natural sciences.

“Fathers” and “Sons” of theories in science

Postby Vladimir Matveev on September 23rd, 2017, 7:24 am 

“Fathers” and “sons” of theories in cell physiology: the membrane theory (multimedia article, 20 min):
https://youtu.be/V4rauBfjh1s

Full text: http://www.bioparadigma.spb.ru/files/Ma ... 'sons'.pdf

Abstract.
The last 50 years in the history of life sciences are remarkable for a new important feature that looks as a great threat for their future. A profound specialization dominating in quickly developing fields of science causes a crisis of the scientific method. The essence of the method is a unity of two elements, the experimental data and the theory that explains them. To us, "fathers" of science, classically, were the creators of new ideas and theories. They were the true experts of their own theories. It is only they who have the right to say: "I am the theory". In other words, they were carriers of theories, of the theoretical knowledge. The fathers provided the necessary logical integrity to their theories since theories in biology have still to be based on strict mathematical proofs. It is not true for sons. As a result of massive specialization, modern experts operate in very confined close spaces. They formulate particular rules far from the level of theory. The main theories of science are known to them only at the textbook level. Nowadays, nobody can say: "I am the theory". With whom, then is it possible to discuss today on a broader theoretical level? How can a classical theory - for example, the membrane one - be changed or even disproved under these conditions? How can the "sons" with their narrow education catch sight of membrane theory defects? As a result, "global" theories have few critics and control. Due to specialization, we have lost the ability to work at the experimental level of biology within the correct or appropriate theoretical context. The scientific method in its classic form is now being rapidly eroded. A good case can be made for "Membrane Theory", to which we will largely refer throughout this article.
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Re: “Fathers” and “Sons” of theories in science

Postby mitchellmckain on September 23rd, 2017, 2:03 pm 

I have also noticed this erosion of the link between theoretical science and experimental science. I don't know if I agree about the "father" idea, but specialization certainly is making things difficult. Perhaps theoretical science has gone a bit too far out on speculative limbs and people have forgotten the difference between what is founded on observational evidence and what is only speculation. Thus instead of unifying theoretical framework we have a chaos of conflicting assertions. It gets much much worse if political agendas are involved in the issues.

However... I wouldn't be too alarmist about this. Challenges like this are always coming along and we usually find ways of dealing with them in order to make progress.

Hmmm... the driving force of science is not on the helpful side of this. This is the constant need for research topics for PHD candidates and professors publishing papers. This is the creative/variation aspect of this evolutionary aspect of science. It is the selective aspect of the process which needs beefing up a little perhaps. And this is a bit difficult in this era of free internet exchange of ideas where everyone can easily find justification for believing whatever they want. I mean... there is some selection going on simply with regards to what directions provides new avenues for research. It is the theory-observation connection which is becoming weak here. Perhaps the evaluation of observational support needs to be recognized as being just as valuable as wild new theoretical ideas.
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Re: “Fathers” and “Sons” of theories in science

Postby Vladimir Matveev on September 23rd, 2017, 11:22 pm 

One day I talked with a professor at Nanking University (China). He complained that his students/graduate students are not able to write a term paper/article. They are unable to give the text a logical integrity. I suggested that this decline in logical thinking is a consequence of the widespread use of SMS (mobile). If a student wrote for his life so many SMS, how many alphabetical characters in the British Encyclopedia, he forever lost the ability to write a logical text length of 5-10 sentences. For the professor, this assumption was unexpected, but he quickly agreed with me. This is called "clip thinking" or "patchwork" thinking. Unfortunately, specialization begins at the university. If a student is taught several years of just recycling the waste, then it castrates his intellect for life. The combination of clip thinking with special education leads us to the clipocalypse of science: clip thinking student, clip thinking professor, clip thinking scientist, clip thinking Nobel Prize Winner, clip thinking president.
About clip thinking: https://jyx.jyu.fi/dspace/bitstream/han ... sequence=1
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Re: “Fathers” and “Sons” of theories in science

Postby mitchellmckain on October 26th, 2017, 4:56 pm 

First, I must admit, I am even more skeptical of this "clip thinking" idea than I was of the "fathers and sons" idea.

However, I will make the following observation...

I am beginning to think that there will always be a "niche" in the spectrum of human thought for those who have little interest in honest inquiry but simply go with what they choose to believe, simply seeing all evidence which contradict their beliefs as unintelligible/nonsensical to them. Religion has always played a big role in this but there have also always been other players in such things as astrology, superstitions (including ghosts, etc...), alternative medicine, and even mythology (beliefs in fairies, big foot,...). It now seems to me that modern entertainment is taking up some of the slack with belief in UFOs, psychic powers, and the possibility of ftl travel.
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Re: “Fathers” and “Sons” of theories in science

Postby bangstrom on October 26th, 2017, 8:49 pm 

Vladimir Matveev » September 23rd, 2017, 10:22 pm wrote:One day I talked with a professor at Nanking University (China). He complained that his students/graduate students are not able to write a term paper/article. They are unable to give the text a logical integrity. I suggested that this decline in logical thinking is a consequence of the widespread use of SMS (mobile). If a student wrote for his life so many SMS, how many alphabetical characters in the British Encyclopedia, he forever lost the ability to write a logical text length of 5-10 sentences.

I am curious to know how the Chinese text on their mobile phones. There are computer software systems, such as Big 5, that make it easy to write in characters with just a keypad. Phonetic Chinese is hard to read and write with the Roman alphabet so I hope they aren’t using phonetic writing for phones.

Character writing and phonetic writing are processed in different parts of the brain and there is speculation that using one system or the other can affect one’s thinking. There was once an experiment in Pennsylvania USA to teach dyslectic children to write in simple Chinese characters. Dyslexia is not a barrier to learning character writing but they found that learning Chinese characters did not make it easier to learn to read with an alphabet.
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