Scientific Models are not Reality

I’ve been studying electronics lately – you know volts, amps and all that – and it reminded me of something I heard a few years ago, but never fully realized: Scientific models are not necessarily reality.

What do I mean by that?

When we first started to learn about electricity, scientists thought electricity flowed from positive to negative. This is called Conventional Current. All of our equations and gizmos and gadgets on this model. And it works just as we predict it to! The conventional current model has a powerful ability to predict outcomes, which is one of the greatest hallmarks of Science.

But there’s a problem: Its not correct!

In reality, electricity flows from negative to positive. This is called Electron Flow.

Just because a model is useful at predicting an outcome does not mean it is necessarily correct. The same can be said about any branch of science. Ultimately, we have only been able to determine that certain causes are correlated with certain outcomes, we used them to construct models to describe reality, but ultimately we do not know reality.

Predictability does not imply truth.


About Nahraf
Providing interesting insight into the world of Economics, Theology, Computer Science and Social phenomena.

2 Responses to Scientific Models are not Reality

  1. Daniel says:

    As long as the right outcome or behavior is produced, you can believe anything you want about reality. That’s exactly the philosophy behind naturalism coupled with evolution. And it’s why naturalistic scientists don’t have a good foundation for the near absolute trust they put in their reason. For instance, if the presence of a lion in your living room leads you to believe that it’s time to run a marathon, it doesn’t matter whether your belief that you ave to run a marathon is correct… as long as it produces behavior that helps you survive. Christianity gives the answer to why the scientist can trust his reason and why his ever expanding search into reality is met with intelligibility. An intelligent creator is behind it all.

    • Nahraf says:

      While I do believe in God, I wasn’t really suggesting or denying God here. I was merely saying that scientific models are only our best guess of how reality is. They are only we created, they are not necessarily reality.

      On another note, I’m reading the same book and its speaking about diodes. Its frustrating, because I have to keep changing re-writing my notes to reflect electron-flow instead of conventional flow.

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