我眼中的科学(What I think science is)

之前在某个QQ群里,因为讨论到召灵的话题,有一个唯物主义者跳出来说,要我们给出灵体存在的证据。

Recently,in a QQ group,some members were discussing the invocation of spirits, and a materialist asked them to prove spirit creatures exist.

首先,我个人认为这个人并不懂科学,因为他居然说量子理论只是猜想……他认为科学就是实验和观察;而神秘学则研究观测到的、科学不理解的现象。

First of all, I don’t think he has enough scientific literacy, for he said the quantum theory is merely presumption.

他最核心的思想是,存在即可以观测,而当时召灵的魔法师则认为物理手段不能观测到灵体。

His core idea is that everything that exists can be observed. But magicians (or sorcerers?) who have experienced invocation don’t think that we can observe spirit by physical means.

魔法师们的依据在于,魔法的世界观本身就相信宇宙里有非物质层面、非物质存在,灵体就是非物质的,所以物质手段不能观测到。

According to a magisician, there is unphysical phase of unphysical being, and spirits are unphysical by their nature, therefore they are not able to be physically seen.

我觉得这个观点不足取,非物质存在依然可以找到方法观测,只是可能需要间接的方法,或需要技术进步到什么程度后才能做到。我反对魔法师们说的,召灵因为是心理层面的体验所以无法观察。心理层面的东西也是有方法测量的。我可是读心理学专业的,我毕业论文就是测量被试对宗教的潜意识的好恶。

I don’t agree with that. I believe it’s possible to find a way observe unphysical things, even though we may need an indirect method, or have to wait for the technology to to develop further. I oppose magicians’ belief that invocation is a psychic experience, so it can’t be measured. I’m a bachelor of psychology, and my graduation thesis is about measuring how participants unconsciously like or dislike religions.

但是,并非只有实验证实、实际观察到了的东西,才能算科学。单纯做实验本身只不过是归纳出符合现状的规律,而科学是演绎推理出普遍规律。每一次重复进行实验,我们得到的结果仅仅是:在当前实验条件下,这个现象会否出现。

However, not only those facts that can be proved by lab experiments and physically observed should count as scientific. In fact, to do experiments just recreates regular patterns that can be observed in the present. But scientists should deduce a universal law. Every time we do an experiment, what we learn is merely that a certain result will manifest itself under certain conditions.

观察到某种现象,收集一定的事实,然后归纳出一套假说进行解释,这只是科学的前身,或者说是一半的科学。进一步地,如果归纳出多套假说,就还要考虑谁的解释力更强,有没有跟其他相关理论矛盾的地方,等等。

We observe some phenomenon and gather facts in order to induce a new theory to explain the phenomenon. Observation is just a precursor of science, or a part of science. Furthermore, if observations lead to more than one potential explanation, one should consider which one has more explanatory power, which one contradicts other relevant theories, etc.

而如果是科学家的话,接着他们还要根据这套假说给出几份预言,预言的内容要很具体,“如果……,那么……”,这样才可以做实验分辨出这套假说是否成立。我预测了“如果A,那么B”,要是实验发现实际上是“如果A,那么C”,这样我的预言就是错误的,假说就有问题。

If one is a scientist, he/she must make some predictions according to the presumption. Predictions must be specific, in the format of: “If… then…”, so that one could design an experiment to identify whether prediction, also the presumption, is correct or not. If I predicted that “If A, then B” but the result was “If A, then C” , my prediction would be wrong and my presumption might be faulty.

这个过程中,重点并不在实验,在于给出什么预言。预言给得好,实验可以有各种方法做。比如说相对论最出名的预言,预测水星进动。不可能有人去控制变量让水星处在不同重力场里运行,但结果依然可以证明相对论的正确性。

In the process, it’s not the experiment but the prediction that is important. A good prediction can be identify in many ways. For example, the most famous prediction of the relativity theory is about the orbit of Mercury.NO ONE can control the value of Mercury’s gravitational field. But it still proves the relativity theory.

科学不科学,重点在于实验能否检验假说的预言,而不在于是否控制变量可重复。如果我每天睡前尝试做不同的事,然后记录下睡眠情况,假设我对自己睡前的变量控制得很好,然后我总结出自己的睡眠规律,甚至我找到很多人做这样的实验,每个人都控制得很好,我总结出适合这些人的睡眠规律。但是这规律我仍然不能保证它是正确的,因为它仍然是归纳推理,企图通过有限的观察推导出无限的普遍的结论。只有当这个规律经过提炼升华,形成一套能够给出预言的假说,然后预言经由实验证实了,这个规律才能得到保证。

Whether something is scientific or not depends on if its prediction can be proved by experiments, instead of whether I have controlled the variables and repeated it. If I try to do different things before sleeping, suppose I control the variables of these things well, and then I do my regular patterns of sleeping. And even if I repeat the experiment with many people and induce a law of sleeping which is appropriate for us all, I shouldn’t confirm it because it was produced from limited samples and is therefore not able to derive a universal law. Only after upgrading to a predictive presumption and being proved by experiments could it be confirmed.

另一方面,当一个科学理论已经被确立,已经有一些证据支持该理论,尽管它可能还有一些预言未被证实(比如量子理论),然后某一天,有科学家做出了与理论不符的实验结果,科学家会怎么想?

On the other hand, a theory may be proven by a number of testimonies, but it would still be somewhat unconfirmed. If,someday, a scientist were to gain a result that opposes that theory, what would he/she think?

他们会首先考虑实验是不是做错了!

They would consider whether or not the experiment had gone wrong first!

即便他们继续重复实验,发现更多更多不同的结果,他们也不可能完全推翻这个理论。理论可以不断发展、改变、打补丁。就像相对论并未推翻牛顿力学,基因生物学也未推翻达尔文进化论,它们都是自己前辈的进步发展。

Even though they might repeat it and gain even more contradictory results, they would not overturn the theory. A theory can be developed, changed, patched. Just like the relativity theory never overturned Newtonian mechanics, and the discovery of the genome never overturned the Darwinian theory, they are developments of their predecessors.

我知道要给科学下一个定义是极难的,无数科学哲学家在这个问题上奉献自己的一生,然后给出了许多定义,然后被科学家默默地以实际行动推翻……所以我不敢说我能定义科学。但至少,在我看来,实验和观察,只能算是科学的一部分,绝不是科学本身。

I know that it’s extremely difficult to define what science is. So many philosophers of science are devoted to this issue. They try to make a definition, but scientists always can do something to go beyond it…Therefore, I can’t give a definition of science. But at least, in my opinion, experiments and observation are only a part of science, not what science actually is.

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