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    View Poll Results: *READ POST BEFORE ANSWERING* Is the universe separated into groups? Or is it all on a spectrum?

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    • Yes, everything in the universe is distinct and is categorized by nature.

      0 0%
    • No, everything in the universe is fundamentally the same and is not categorized by nature. Categorization is an idea created by humanity, not a fundamental part of the universe itself.

      1 20.00%
    • Both, everything in the universe is distinct, but fundamentally the same thing. Whether it is categorized or not is impossible to determine.

      2 40.00%
    • Neither, the universe is so vast, and humanity's knowledge so limited, there is most certainly another solution in which is too complex for humanity to comprehend that is the true answer to this question.

      2 40.00%
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    • 1 Post By PhantasmDragon

    Thread: Where does the boundary lie? (Scientific Side)

    1. #1
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      Question Where does the boundary lie? (Scientific Side)

      Okay, so originally this was going to be one huge post in the Philosophy sub-forum. However, the more and more I started typing it, I realized I was using much more science-based justifications than originally planned, to lead up the philosophical side of the post. So, I decided to split it into two parts on two different sub-forums. This will be the "Science Side" of my question and I will post later the "Philosophical Side" on the Philosophy sub-forum. Take in consideration, that there still will be science-based questions on the Philosophical Side, in order to keep that side from running dry. However, those science-based questions and logic will be based on questions which transcend normal science and could also fall into spirituality and morality. Here on the Scientific Side, everything will be based on the physical world.

      Throughout the entirety of mankind's existence, human's have been defining millions upon millions abstract concepts in order to explain reality. This act of defining, categorized as "Science", involves placing all things which exist into these boundaries of what is and what isn't. However, I have come to put into question the very fabric of this age-old concept of defining reality. Is all of Science truly an existing fundamental part of the universe? Or is most of it just a concept created from the minds of humanity in order fuel humanity's desire of being in control? Is there actually a boundary which separates one from another? At what point is something this, but not that? The answer may surprise you.

      What is a human? Think about for a second. What makes a human a human? According to science, what makes a human a human is the ability to interbreed with other humans and produce fertile offspring. It's what separates two species, the ability to interbreed. Alright, fair enough. How about this question? When did the first human appear? At what point was a human not a Homo Erectus? Think about it. The answer is... never. You are as different from your parents as they were from their parents and their parents and their parents and their parents and so on. But if you follow your lineage back far enough, your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great...grandparent was not human. But their children were still as different as you from your parents. At no single point was Homo Erectus's child a human. This would break the scientific law which states the children of any species have to be the same as their parent's species. However, there was a point in time in which Homo Erectus and humans had similar enough DNA to interbreed. Does that make Homo Erectus human? But this law applies to Homo Erectus's ancestors too and their ancestors and their ancestors and their ancestors and so on. Heck, at one point, in the many greats of your grandparents, your ancestor wasn't even a mammal. He was a lizard of the species Hylonomus whose ancestor was a fish of the species Tiktaalik. But then again, this fish was the ancestor of all land animals. Does that mean Hylonomus and Tiktaalik are also human? Or are all land animals Tiktaaliks? I mean Tiktaaliks always had Tiktaalik offspring, but somehow we can trace our heritage back to a Tiktaalik. Are you confused yet? If so, watch this video. This person explains everything much better than I can.

      And yet we can still take it farther and say there is no boundary between living and non-living. What is life? We are living aren't we? This is because we are made of cells right? However, if we go any farther than that, everything is non-living. How can we be living if everything we made of is not? Well, according to science, to be living, one must be able to reproduce and contain genetic information. What about viruses though? They contain genetic information and have the will to reproduce, but they can't do on their own. Also, they don't do anything until put in the right circumstances to reproduce like a non-living object. Are they living or not? No matter which side you are on, one thing is certain. Something seemingly clear as living and non-living can be hard to tell.
      Now let's take it one step further. All matter is fundamentally the same thing including you and that rock. You and that rock are both made of elements. These elements, though may be different. Are still made of the same thing. They are made of electrons, protons, and neutrons. According to this, you are technically made of the stuff as that rock.
      Even still, we can still take it farther. We can state matter, waves, and energy as also fundamentally the same thing. We can prove this using the Mass-Energy Equivalence equation developed by Einstein, Plank's Equation, and The Planck-Einstein relation. Energy = mass * the speed of light^2. Since matter and energy are convertible, they must be made of the same thing. Same goes for Energy = frequency * Planck's constant. Since waves and energy are convertible, they also must be made of the same thing. We can now finalize this with The Planck-Einstein relation. All we have to do substitute Energy with Einstein and Planck's equations and we get mass * the speed of light^2 = frequency * Plank's constant proving matter and waves are also made of the same thing.
      Now that I've pretty much stated that all things in the universe are practically the same thing, you'd think we'd be done with this topic now, but we're not. There is one more step we can take. Is there is an actual distinguish between things and nothing? I know it sounds crazy, but maybe there isn't. You see, all things are made of particles. Let's just stick with matter to make it simpler. So, what makes up matter? Protons, neutrons, and electrons. What makes up protons and neutrons? Quarks. Up, Down, Strange, Charm, Top, Bottom. Alright, what makes up them? String? Alright, what makes up string? Just something? Alright, what makes up that something? You see where I'm getting at now? This will end in either two scenarios. One, is particles of infinitely small volume and space. Or two, the particles will be made of nothing at one point. Either way, we still equal nothing. What was that? What makes the first scenario nothing you ask? Well, I'll explain using math. What is 1/3 as a decimal? 0.33333333333... Alright, what is 2/3 as a decimal? 0.6666666666... It's 0.33333333333... and 0.333333333333... combined right? With that logic, 3/3, is equal to 0.99999999999999... Yet in math, 0.999999999999... is equal to 1. The reason why mathematicians say this is because the decimal expansion 0.99999999999... actually represents the infinite sum 9/10 + 9/100 + 9/1000 + 9/10000 + 9/100000 + 9/1000000... which is summed as an geometric equation with the goal of getting 1 just like how 1's infinite sum would be 1 + 0/10 + 0/100 + 0/1000... with also the ultimate goal of getting 1. How does this apply to the first scenario? Well, the first scenario is pretty much the reverse of 3/3. If we put the scenario in a expression describing the infinitely small base of matter, it would be a infinite difference. This infinite difference would look like this: 1 - 9/10 - 9/100 - 9/1000 - 9/10000 - 9/100000 - 9/1000000... This infinite difference, instead of having the ultimate goal of getting 1 as in 0.99999999999..., would have the ultimate goal of getting 0, therefore confirming the the first scenario as equal to nothing. The two scenarios listed earlier can be applied to any particle, so don't think it is restricted to matter. Anyways, this would explain why, in beta decay, a neutron can continuously convert between proton and neutron by releasing electrons and neutrinos to become a proton and release anti-electrons and neutrinos to become a neutron again without ever running out. Even though, the neutron is releasing something, it is also releasing nothing. This also allows for everything to have an origin, without violating principles which state everything can only be converted, not created as everything could have been converted from nothing. I guess we can say nothing is just everything in its true neutral state which would explain why whenever matter is created, anti-matter is created also and why they annihilate each other whenever they come back into contact with each other. It is to ensure that the nothing which is everything is still nothing.

      So, what do you guys think? Is there truly a boundary which divides everything into distinct groups? Or is everything the same thing, just on different parts of a massive spectrum?
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    2. #2
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      You might be interested in the writings and legacy of Thomas Kuhn. Here is a snippet from the article summary that relates to the topic:

      [T]he notion of scientific truth, at any given moment, cannot be established solely by objective criteria but is defined by a consensus of a scientific community.... Thus, our comprehension of science can never rely wholly upon "objectivity" alone. Science must account for subjective perspectives as well, since all objective conclusions are ultimately founded upon the subjective conditioning/worldview of its researchers and participants.
      In the cases you explored, I think it's largely a matter of definitions and assumptions. For example, in the quandary of "who was the first human" the paradox arises because of the assumption that an organism can only belong to one species. But the criteria that was offered for membership in a species (that they can interbreed and produce fertile offspring) is more inclusive than that. The first organism to meet that criteria as human would likely have been categorized as some other species (say, chimpanzee, but I'm just guessing). Using the criteria alone, that organism should have belonged to two or more species. And with that methodology, you can easily exit the paradox. But, as a matter of convention, taxonomy doesn't work that way. Scientists choose to classify each organism as being of only one species. Black-and-white is easier to model, even when reality contains many shades of gray. And if the classification becomes problematic in particular cases, they split or merge or reorganize things until it fits the model. Or they change the criteria to be more flexible. For example, the criteria offered is only applicable for sexual species, not asexual once. More generally, scientists start with a rigorous premise, but then fudge it when things becomes complicated, so that the system remains practical overall. For taxonomy, the system holds up well enough when you take a broader timescale of whole populations over millennia and eons rather than getting too particular on single individuals. (WARNING: cynicism ahead) In the end, the discipline of science is a business, mostly for profit, but also for a few other things like making more powerful military weapons and brainwashing people into obedience. So relaxing the scientific rigor is fine if the ends justify/reimburse the means (end cynicism).

      So, I think you already get all that. I am not contradicting anything you said, just offering some analysis that gets at the heart of the issue. I think we agree, surely, that most of the boundaries (aka definitions, assumptions) are drawn by science as a matter of practically, expediency, and convention. And we can bear the reality that, when you look closely at the boundaries, they tend to get fuzzy. It is along the boundaries that exceptions to the rule start to arise. When the number of exceptions grows so large as to be unmanageable, then revolutionary ideas take place. And that bring us back to Thomas Kuhn and the terms he coined: paradigm shift and revolutionary science.

      But let me zoom back out to the premise of the topic. You wanted to talk science but I think your first instinct was correct, that it is a philosophical inquiry. Science lacks the tools to be objective about itself. It has biases. It is biased toward consistency and brevity. It attempts to draw the boundaries so that they conform to those desires. When the boundaries become too fuzzy, they are redrawn. So we can be skeptical about how well science's boundaries match those of reality, if those exist at all. I'm rather certain than the current quark model of quantum particles will eventually be replaced my another one that splits things even further. Same for taxonomy, psychology, economy, and the rest of it. Why? Because scientists always want a simpler model. When observations inevitably don't fit the model, they create a new one that promises to explain things in a more concise way. But is it more true? I don't think science can determine that. Science is based on observation and observation is a human, relative, subjective activity.
      I am sure about illusion. I am not so sure about reality.

    3. #3
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      I wouldn't say everything in the universe is 'fundamentally the same' but clearly all the category of stuff humans make, is just human made. If we meet some alien life some where in the universe it is possible they can define things in a totally different way than we do. We just group things in ways that makes it easier for us to understand it.

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