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(Scientific American)   Are there some questions whose answers are by their nature simply unknowable? This is not a question from a dorm room in 1979 where side three of "Waiting for Columbus" is on   ( blogs.scientificamerican.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, mathematics, The Great Unknown, Atom, unsolved problem, colleague Andrew Wiles, great text book, Physics, great unsolved problem  
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1795 clicks; posted to Geek » on 16 Apr 2017 at 1:49 AM (31 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2017-04-15 09:29:54 PM  
If you make a Little Feat reference subby you need to make it pay off.
 
2017-04-15 09:33:17 PM  

Wanebo: If you make a Little Feat reference subby you need to make it pay off.


I think subby is a Dixie Chicken
 
2017-04-15 09:34:36 PM  

MaudlinMutantMollusk: Wanebo: If you make a Little Feat reference subby you need to make it pay off.

I think subby is a Dixie Chicken


At least that was on side 3.

Side 4 had a more appropriate cur about bogarting.
 
2017-04-15 09:43:31 PM  
No
 
2017-04-15 11:05:24 PM  
Subby, creating a /device that could take me back to a dorm room in 1979 with Waiting For Columbus playing, and the appropriate supply of a few tasty treats is the answer to every question.

/  It would be all that I dream
//  If you got a Dixie Chicken, I'm Willin'
/// but I'm stuck doing the old folk's boogie.
 
2017-04-16 12:35:33 AM  
img.fark.netView Full Size

This might have some answers.
 
2017-04-16 02:15:09 AM  
This tends towards a topic from the other night, in which we discussed True Random.

I suspect that there are many things that are inherently indiscoverable. Could they be "known?" I suppose, for some definition of, "known." We'll never know, for example, what lies beyond our universe and we'll never really know what was here before it.

One thing that's important to remember is that science is a philosophy. There are many philosophies, science is but one. There are many questions that science is simply unable to answer - including ethical questions.
 
2017-04-16 02:15:18 AM  
The Riemann Hypothesis.
encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.comView Full Size

        RIEMANN HYPOTHESIS!!!!!
 
2017-04-16 02:20:12 AM  
Contra the author, I'm not particularly bothered by known unknowns.  Gödel, Turing, and Tarski each say there are certain things you can't do in mathematics.  Okay, deal with it and move on.  What's really maddening, though, is the possibility of unknown unknowns--that is, theorems whose truth can't be proven and whose unprovability can't be proven.  So you go chasing something like P=NP or the Riemann hypothesis, not knowing that it can't be done.

Not that that should deter us from trying.  How much scientific progress was made by people trying to do the impossible?
 
2017-04-16 02:21:39 AM  

Olympic Trolling Judge: How much scientific progress was made by people trying to do the impossible?


Probably very little. If they thought it was impossible, they probably wouldn't have tried.
 
2017-04-16 03:55:12 AM  
Here's the author giving a talk at the Royal Institution on this very subject

What We Cannot Know - with Marcus du Sautoy
Youtube reeU09R4TIA
 
2017-04-16 04:11:23 AM  
Mathematicians make a lot of noise about how prime numbers are not understood and mysterious and shiat, but that's not really true:

take Sn to be the set {n, 2n, 3n, 4n...}

primes = ℕ1 \ (∪k=1, infinSk)

Oh, look, I just completely defined the set of all prime numbers with no trouble (admittedly, not with maximum efficiency, but whatever).  The fact that it doesn't resolve into a meaningless little arithmetic expression and actually takes some calculation if you want to resolve actual numbers in it doesn't mean we "don't understand it", it just means that mathematicians have some weird definitions of "understood" that have more to do with aesthetics than any practical meaning of the word.
 
2017-04-16 04:55:10 AM  

UnspokenVoice: Olympic Trolling Judge: How much scientific progress was made by people trying to do the impossible?

Probably very little. If they thought it was impossible, they probably wouldn't have tried.


They might not have known it was impossible from the outset. Or ever.
 
2017-04-16 05:20:00 AM  

DerAppie: UnspokenVoice: Olympic Trolling Judge: How much scientific progress was made by people trying to do the impossible?

Probably very little. If they thought it was impossible, they probably wouldn't have tried.

They might not have known it was impossible from the outset. Or ever.


Absolutely, though I suspect it has been very little. Most results aren't giant breakthroughs, but are small incremental advances and done by standing on the shoulders of the giants who came before them.

There are some discoveries made by happenstance, and observations that were made inadvertently. Though, I wonder where we'd draw the line between science and invention/engineering, for this.
 
2017-04-16 05:42:03 AM  

Wanebo: If you make a Little Feat reference subby you need to make it pay off.


At least it's a double album, so somebody can fold out the cover and sort the weed from the seeds.
 
2017-04-16 05:44:48 AM  
I was hoping for a list of things that are posited as knowable and a list of things posited as unknowable. There's not much to discuss in the the article.

Personally, I think that there are unknowables, but we don't know what is unknowable and what is simply unknown. If we had a complete picture of the sum total of the knowable, science and mathematics would basically be done. But there will always be that question of "And is there another layer to the onion? If so, how do we detect it, or its effects on things we can detect?"

Once the giant meteor comes to wipe us out, we will know what the set of the knowable is.
 
2017-04-16 05:58:31 AM  

UnspokenVoice: Absolutely, though I suspect it has been very little. Most results aren't giant breakthroughs, but are small incremental advances and done by standing on the shoulders of the giants who came before them.


It might be relatively "very little" but it would still be a shiatton of stuff that was invented/discovered because some scientist needed a new tool in their quest to something that couldn't be done. A lot of the basics of chemistry were codified by people trying to become immortal or trying to create gold from lead by way of what amounts to magic.
 
2017-04-16 06:01:46 AM  

BolloxReader: I was hoping for a list of things that are posited as knowable and a list of things posited as unknowable. There's not much to discuss in the the article.

Personally, I think that there are unknowables, but we don't know what is unknowable and what is simply unknown. If we had a complete picture of the sum total of the knowable, science and mathematics would basically be done. But there will always be that question of "And is there another layer to the onion? If so, how do we detect it, or its effects on things we can detect?"

Once the giant meteor comes to wipe us out, we will know what the set of the knowable is.


If scientists knew everything, they'd stop doing science. ;-)

Anyhow, you might like to read Kurt Gödel and the Foundations of Mathematics: Horizons of Truth. It's a pretty good read.
 
2017-04-16 06:04:26 AM  

DerAppie: It might be relatively "very little" but it would still be a shiatton of stuff that was invented/discovered because some scientist needed a new tool in their quest to something that couldn't be done. A lot of the basics of chemistry were codified by people trying to become immortal or trying to create gold from lead by way of what amounts to magic.


Absolutely, but the premise was that they did it *believing it was impossible.*

Right or wrong, alchemy was pretty much rooted in them thinking it was possible. People don't really tend to try to do the impossible. They do try to do the unlikely, however. Still, they tend to do things they think are possible.
 
2017-04-16 06:43:57 AM  

Wanebo: If you make a Little Feat reference subby you need to make it pay off.


might this help

Little Feat - Rainbow Theatre London 1977
Youtube eXsFZjfNCDY
 
2017-04-16 07:37:03 AM  

Jim_Callahan: Mathematicians make a lot of noise about how prime numbers are not understood and mysterious and shiat, but that's not really true I don't really understand what they are saying, so I'm going to make a facile claim that would make me smarter than every mathematician, living or dead, since Riemann


FTFY.

This is the kind of comment that keeps me coming back to the internet. It's like a conversation that goes:

Every mathematician alive: "The definition of prime numbers is so simple, yet there are profoundly deep and significant things about their behavior that are not understood"
Random Internet Guy: "Well, duh, you obviously don't know what "understood" means"
 
2017-04-16 08:07:12 AM  
There are known knowns, known unknowns, unknown knowns, and unknown unknowns. There might be other categories but I don't know what they are.
 
2017-04-16 08:33:01 AM  
F*CK....

Since I first saw this hit the Geek tab, and first started trying to digest some of the finer points of TFA, I've literally spent 5 hours on WIKI, attempting to educate myself on these subjects (hey, I'm a curious guy, I partake in cannabinoids, and I love knowledge). I'm only about as far as non-trivial-zeroes before I needed a new vape-hit of AK47.

Maybe I should move back to Blueberry. Does anyone have a strain that works well for them when they attempt to take on new subjects via wiki?
 
2017-04-16 09:00:20 AM  

uttertosh: F*CK....

Since I first saw this hit the Geek tab, and first started trying to digest some of the finer points of TFA, I've literally spent 5 hours on WIKI, attempting to educate myself on these subjects (hey, I'm a curious guy, I partake in cannabinoids, and I love knowledge). I'm only about as far as non-trivial-zeroes before I needed a new vape-hit of AK47.

Maybe I should move back to Blueberry. Does anyone have a strain that works well for them when they attempt to take on new subjects via wiki?


Doctor, Northern Lights, and Alien. They've been my go-to, since harvest.

You may wish to check here:
Link

I confess, I haven't even read the article. I have "gotten a kick" from a couple of posts in the thread, however.
 
2017-04-16 09:01:17 AM  

UnspokenVoice: DerAppie: It might be relatively "very little" but it would still be a shiatton of stuff that was invented/discovered because some scientist needed a new tool in their quest to something that couldn't be done. A lot of the basics of chemistry were codified by people trying to become immortal or trying to create gold from lead by way of what amounts to magic.

Absolutely, but the premise was that they did it *believing it was impossible.*

Right or wrong, alchemy was pretty much rooted in them thinking it was possible. People don't really tend to try to do the impossible. They do try to do the unlikely, however. Still, they tend to do things they think are possible.


That is a difference in interpretation of the premise. I don't see it as saying people knew it was impossible, just that they tried things that things were impossible.
 
2017-04-16 09:03:40 AM  
What do women want?
 
2017-04-16 09:11:15 AM  

DerAppie: That is a difference in interpretation of the premise. I don't see it as saying people knew it was impossible, just that they tried things that things were impossible.


That makes it more of a question, doesn't it? For example, you could say we're questing for a unified theory (which may be impossible) but advancing the art significantly.

I took it as meaning they were knowingly attempting to do the impossible. I kinda like your reading of it better. It poses a whole different question, at least in my head.
 
2017-04-16 09:11:58 AM  
It's kind of amazing how much further you can get if you tag a paradox or contradiction as a jumping-off point rather than infinitely explosive. It's also handy to consider it a posteriori, contingent, and empirical rather than a priori, absolute, and rational.
 
2017-04-16 09:17:00 AM  

UnspokenVoice: BolloxReader: I was hoping for a list of things that are posited as knowable and a list of things posited as unknowable. There's not much to discuss in the the article.

Personally, I think that there are unknowables, but we don't know what is unknowable and what is simply unknown. If we had a complete picture of the sum total of the knowable, science and mathematics would basically be done. But there will always be that question of "And is there another layer to the onion? If so, how do we detect it, or its effects on things we can detect?"

Once the giant meteor comes to wipe us out, we will know what the set of the knowable is.

If scientists knew everything, they'd stop doing science. ;-)

Anyhow, you might like to read Kurt Gödel and the Foundations of Mathematics: Horizons of Truth. It's a pretty good read.


Not really. They have mortgages and stuff to pay for just like the rest of us. They'd just get out a hockey stick and bend a little data around and POOF there's suddenly more sciencing to be done.
 
2017-04-16 09:26:59 AM  

Benjimin_Dover: Not really. They have mortgages and stuff to pay for just like the rest of us. They'd just get out a hockey stick and bend a little data around and POOF there's suddenly more sciencing to be done.


That seems unlikely but it's not really possible to prove a negative in this matter. Who's gonna pay them if they already know everything? Part of science is openness, you can replicate and observe to verify.
 
2017-04-16 09:55:00 AM  
What's a "side?"
 
2017-04-16 10:00:04 AM  
"What's going on in Trump's head?"

There, empirical proof that the answers to some questions are inherently unknowable.
 
2017-04-16 10:46:06 AM  

FightDirector: "What's going on in Trump's head?"

There, empirical proof that the answers to some questions are inherently unknowable.


At some point in the future we figure out how to read thoughts (I think this will eventually happen if we don't kill ourselves first) and then figure out time travel (don't know about this one).

There's the path to an answer.
 
2017-04-16 10:48:23 AM  
Are there some questions whose answers are by their nature simply unknowable?
My answer/response: Subby, why did you change the blog's original question, making it less geekish and then not put it in the Discussion tab?

Are there questions in science and mathematics that by their very nature are unanswerable?

\ With typo: Are there are questions in science and mathematics that by their very nature are unanswerable?
 
2017-04-16 11:25:55 AM  
As unknowable as all the submissions I tried to post to Fark.
 
2017-04-16 11:42:32 AM  
For instance, why do hot dogs come in packages of ten, but hot dog buns only come in packages of just eight?
 
2017-04-16 12:04:16 PM  

MechaPyx: For instance, why do hot dogs come in packages of ten, but hot dog buns only come in packages of just eight?


Thats easy

The bakers want you to buy more buns
 
2017-04-16 12:31:05 PM  

UnspokenVoice: ne thing that's important to remember is that science is a philosophy.


No it isn't.
 
2017-04-16 12:41:58 PM  

12349876: FightDirector: "What's going on in Trump's head?"

There, empirical proof that the answers to some questions are inherently unknowable.

At some point in the future we figure out how to read thoughts (I think this will eventually happen if we don't kill ourselves first) and then figure out time travel (don't know about this one).

There's the path to an answer.


It's like measuring the exact position of an electron.  By the time you've measured what he's thinking, his positions have changed.
 
2017-04-16 12:42:01 PM  
Well, that was an embarrassing waste of time. If the question was "is this man out of his depth?" I think the answer is clear. Being a whiz at math does not correlate to any kind of ability elsewhere, and it shows.

"Information moves at the speed of light"? Bloody hell.
 
2017-04-16 01:04:50 PM  
Actually, now that I think of it, there is one thing that is unknowable

Can Jesus nuke a burrito so hot that he himself cannot eat it?

/The only joke I could think of while high was a Simpson episode about weed
 
2017-04-16 01:57:25 PM  

UnspokenVoice: uttertosh: F*CK....

Since I first saw this hit the Geek tab, and first started trying to digest some of the finer points of TFA, I've literally spent 5 hours on WIKI, attempting to educate myself on these subjects (hey, I'm a curious guy, I partake in cannabinoids, and I love knowledge). I'm only about as far as non-trivial-zeroes before I needed a new vape-hit of AK47.

Maybe I should move back to Blueberry. Does anyone have a strain that works well for them when they attempt to take on new subjects via wiki?

Doctor, Northern Lights, and Alien. They've been my go-to, since harvest.

You may wish to check here:
Link

I confess, I haven't even read the article. I have "gotten a kick" from a couple of posts in the thread, however.


Thanks!

/NL is actually my go-to for deep sleep. Like, half a gram sends me for 12 hours kip.
//will look up the other two as I'm looking for seeds right now, geting a kick, etc.
 
2017-04-16 02:11:16 PM  

Daddy's Big Pink Man-Squirrel: Well, that was an embarrassing waste of time. If the question was "is this man out of his depth?" I think the answer is clear. Being a whiz at math does not correlate to any kind of ability elsewhere, and it shows.

"Information moves at the speed of light"? Bloody hell.


Unless the information is gossip, then it move faster than the speed of dark.
 
2017-04-16 02:30:02 PM  
I would imagine there are. I would also imagine there are some questions that will never be asked because if a 'thing' itself is unknowable then questions that would be natural to ask about said 'thing' will never form.
 
2017-04-16 03:23:44 PM  
Did my thesis on the riemann hypothesis. I suspect this is provable, although there are things in mathematics neither true or false: take either side as an axiom and you will have a consistent system without a paradox.

Don't get me started with shiite like "if pi has a million zeros in a row...". Homey don't play that...
 
2017-04-16 03:44:27 PM  
how many times are you going to ask this ??
 
2017-04-16 04:09:12 PM  

Daddy's Big Pink Man-Squirrel: UnspokenVoice: ne thing that's important to remember is that science is a philosophy.

No it isn't.


I am kinda disappointed, right now. Yes, yes it is. You can trust me on this, or you can use Wikipedia and I'm sure they have an article about Philosophy of Science.

Err... You can trust me on this. Really. However, I encourage you to look. There's a reason we call the Plato a philosopher.

Philosophy is the very core of science. Hell, I'll get you a link:

Link
 
2017-04-16 05:43:32 PM  

UnspokenVoice: Daddy's Big Pink Man-Squirrel: UnspokenVoice: ne thing that's important to remember is that science is a philosophy.
No it isn't.
I am kinda disappointed, right now. ...Philosophy is the very core of science. Hell, I'll get you a link:
Link


A massive ball of iron and nickel surrounded by a few thousand kilometers of molten metal is at the core of the Earth. That doesn't make the Earth a massive ball of iron and nickel surrounded by a few thousand kilometers of molten metal.

Doofus said, as quoted above, that science is a philosophy. I said, quite accurately, that it was not.
 
2017-04-16 05:55:30 PM  

Daddy's Big Pink Man-Squirrel: UnspokenVoice: Daddy's Big Pink Man-Squirrel: UnspokenVoice: ne thing that's important to remember is that science is a philosophy.
No it isn't.
I am kinda disappointed, right now. ...Philosophy is the very core of science. Hell, I'll get you a link:
Link

A massive ball of iron and nickel surrounded by a few thousand kilometers of molten metal is at the core of the Earth. That doesn't make the Earth a massive ball of iron and nickel surrounded by a few thousand kilometers of molten metal.

Doofus said, as quoted above, that science is a philosophy. I said, quite accurately, that it was not.


I'd suggest you see the article at the provided link. I'm not actually sure you know what science is, at this point.

I'm gonna try to help.

Using your example, science is not what the planet is made from. Science is the process used to determine what the planet is made of.

That's what science is. It's a philosophical view about how to answer questions. There's a reason that the highest order of mathematics is called Philosophy of Mathematics.

I have provided a citation, now I'm going to express that I'm an authority on this subject. No, this is not a logical fallacy. I have a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics and am a retired scientist.

I'm quite willing to help. I really am. I'm kinda disturbed by the level of science education. Science is not reality. Science is how we learn about reality. I'd really, really recommend clicking the link. It will help you understand.
 
2017-04-16 06:09:17 PM  

Jim_Callahan: Mathematicians make a lot of noise about how prime numbers are not understood and mysterious and shiat, but that's not really true:

take Sn to be the set {n, 2n, 3n, 4n...}

primes = ℕ1 \ (∪k=1, infinSk)

Oh, look, I just completely defined the set of all prime numbers with no trouble (admittedly, not with maximum efficiency, but whatever).  The fact that it doesn't resolve into a meaningless little arithmetic expression and actually takes some calculation if you want to resolve actual numbers in it doesn't mean we "don't understand it", it just means that mathematicians have some weird definitions of "understood" that have more to do with aesthetics than any practical meaning of the word.


Did you tell someone "hold my beer" before typing this whargarrbl?

yuthinasia: Did my thesis on the riemann hypothesis. I suspect this is provable, although there are things in mathematics neither true or false: take either side as an axiom and you will have a consistent system without a paradox.

Don't get me started with shiite like "if pi has a million zeros in a row...". Homey don't play that...


Well at least we know that decimal expansion of pi has an even distribution of all ten digits, so that's something.
 
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