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  #41  
Old 9th November 2015, 07:50 PM
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Goldenmane Goldenmane is offline
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Default Re: The 'Hows' and 'Whys' of Science.

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The answer probably has something to do with quarks.
No. Electrons aren't composite.

The simple fact is that this is precisely the form of question that models like M-Theory were devised to answer. The standard model takes the values of the fundamental particles as input. It has no answer to the question 'what are the mechanisms behind the mass charge and spin of the electron'.

These are still all questions of mechanism, though, which are how questions, even if they need a bit of recasting to follow the rules of syntax. To take the best example if an objection I've encountered, the one given above by Spearthrower concerning iodine (good shout, by the way), it simply needs recasting as 'how does iodine deficiency affect humans'. It isn't always immediately obvious how to cast such a question to get to the nub of the matter but, once you do, it will still be a how question.

Good catch. Shows what happens when one gets lazy and flippant.
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  #42  
Old 9th November 2015, 08:31 PM
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Default Re: The 'Hows' and 'Whys' of Science.

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Good catch. Shows what happens when one gets lazy and flippant.
Mechanism is the icing on the cake of science, not the cake. Get used to expecting all cakes have icing, and you run the risk of not appreciating a cake without icing.
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  #43  
Old 9th November 2015, 10:12 PM
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Default Re: The 'Hows' and 'Whys' of Science.

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Good catch. Shows what happens when one gets lazy and flippant.
Mechanism is the icing on the cake of science, not the cake. Get used to expecting all cakes have icing, and you run the risk of not appreciating a cake without icing.
Is that a sexual innuendo thing? Are you coming on to me?

I'm sorry, I've been a long time without cake.
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  #44  
Old 10th November 2015, 02:06 AM
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Default Re: The 'Hows' and 'Whys' of Science.

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Is that a sexual innuendo thing? Are you coming on to me?

I'm sorry, I've been a long time without cake.
Well, GM, if you came to any dinner parties you were invited to, you could have the cake. Which reminds, me, I didn't show you around my place. Donna and Grant and Louise etc have all mocked my efforts at agriculture, but you haven't. But the mango tree and tomatoes are going well, despite my attempts to murder autotrophs by forgetful neglect!

No, I am just saying this. What is the scientific process?
We start of with a descriptive model yes, and from that we make falsifiable predictions, which we then test. If all is OK, we accept the model and it becomes theory.

So model > predictions > test > accept.

But let's look at the descriptive model more closely. Part of the description may be a mechanism or mechanisms. But what if there is no known mechanism? Does that make the above process pseudo-science? I think not.
Besides, the posited mechanisms may also change. Lamarck was an evolutionist, but his model was thought to be wrong. The Darwin came along with natural selection as the mechanism of adaptive , and now we have natural selection [and its special cases, such as sexual selection and social selection], drift, migration, etc.. Then came genetics as the actual mechanism of inheritance, which was modified by epigenetics. And no doubt we may find more nuances to add to the basics.

So lets play with the process a bit to reflect reality.

Description + black box > prediction[s] > test > theory [assuming all goes well, or you modify or toss the model and iterate].

The black box is the icing. Nice to have, but is it really necessary? The mechanism[s] may not be known, or if "known", may be incorrect. That is OK, because science is not truth anyway, just a useful system of organizing natural phenomena into coherent patterns that make useful and accurate predictions.

Having no mechanism, or getting the mechanism wrong does not invalidate the basic science. Gravity does not change. It was there before Newton, present when Newtonian mechanics was in vogue, and survived Einstein and no doubt beyond.
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  #45  
Old 10th November 2015, 02:08 AM
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Default Re: The 'Hows' and 'Whys' of Science.

It all goes to show that the OP thing is pithy but not meaningful. Its just a language game without actual substance. Science answers questions of all types but will fail when a question is provided that can not be answered by anyone, ever. How does it feel to be an electron?
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  #46  
Old 10th November 2015, 02:10 AM
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Default Re: The 'Hows' and 'Whys' of Science.

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It all goes to show that the OP thing is pithy but not meaningful. Its just a language game without actual substance. Science answers questions of all types but will fail when a question is provided that can not be answered by anyone, ever. How does it feel to be an electron?
Electrifying I would imagine!
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