Curiosity Never Satisfied

Some will never be satisfied with the explanation they receive.

By the very nature of language, by the very nature of our approach to problems, it is always appropriate to ask again “But why is that so?”

That is the scientific approach.

However, if you are a particular type of religious person you stop asking why, when God is the answer to your question.

  4 comments for “Curiosity Never Satisfied

  1. Robert Hamill
    June 16, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Aaron,
    Your proposed scientific answers in your second paragraph aren’t scientific. They are philosophical or theological – things are what they are because they occurred.
    In paragraph 5, you are in the right area. The scientific approach is measure, test against hypothesis, and draw conclusion. But you oversimplify when you casually state ‘we either agree on … or not’. They are a multiplicity of theories underscoring the laws of physics, thermodynamics, etc. They themselves reside on a substrate of more fundamental premises. Often scientists differ on interpretations – the measurements being the ultimate decider.
    Let me come back to your interesting last paragraph about ‘why’ in the scientific approach is counterproductive and yet in the theological goes right to the heart of the matter. Can you elaborate more on your thoughts there?

  2. Aaron Hartson
    June 14, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Two interesting questions. First to answer them, then explain I think. This runs the risk of being a little bit of a ramble.

    Why/How are their masses what they are and why/how were they at their initial positions could both be answered in one of two ways. They have the mass that they have because as their formation was completed, it was the mass that they ended up having. Regarding initial position, one could argue that there was no initial position other than that finite moment when a planet/sun ceases being a bunch of matter floating in space close to other matter, and became a planet/sun.

    The other way would be, that’s the way God made it.

    If we apply the test “But why is that so?” to each of the scenarios, we will quickly depart the topic/questions we set out to answer.

    For the first example, too answer the questions we would be building off the laws of physics, thermodynamics, magnetism, etc. etc., and they are things we either agree on and understand together or not. Dissecting each of those with “But why is that so?” would not address the questions posed, and would be more of an examination of science in general, instead of working towards an answer to the mass and initial location questions.

    Regarding God, God makes things the way God chooses to make them. Again, dissecting God with “But why is that so?” doesn’t address questions posed, and is more an examination of God, and theology/religion.

    In my opinion, asking “But why is that so?” when looking at the scientific approach to the question, real questions being asked, is counterproductive, and is done far too often. Asking “But why is that so?” when looking that the theological approach to the question, gets right to heart of the theology being used to answer the question, and could ultimately result in answering the very questions that was posed to start with. It’s something that may well be worth exploring and examining carefully, but, is far too often not done.

  3. Robert Hamill
    June 12, 2011 at 3:01 am

    Aaron, you’re making me think hard.

    Consider a scientific question – why is the Earth at its precise distance from the Sun? It’s a function of
    the Earth’s mass, the Sun’s mass, and their initial positions. Why are their masses what they are?
    Why were they at their initial positions?

    Please note, mathematics which is not really a science. It is an tool used to model an idealized reality.
    Proofs, for instance, are deductive rather than inductive like scientific discoveries.

    I used the question prompter ‘Why’, but you and others might prefer ‘How’, avoiding the teleological overtones of ‘why’.

  4. Aaron Hartson
    June 11, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    I’m not sure I agree that asking the question “But why is that so?” is appropriate in science, unless one is simply being contrary for the purpose of being contrary. There has to be some common ground and agreement when approaching a problem scientifically. Consider the following issue we both set out to solve – –

    3 + 3 = x

    Solve for x

    We both need to agree on a number system, how to count withing that number system, the meaning of the operators in the equation, the definition of the term “equation”, on and on. Once a conclusion for x is reached, if one asks why it is so, we quickly return to the previously agreed upon terms and such.

    This may be simplified, however I think it could apply to the majority of scientific processes.

    All that being said, I think that many people stop asking questions too soon when it comes to religion.

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