View Full Version : Fastest route to Maths & Science Catchup


ruby.149.42
07-02-14, 11:35 PM
Really interested on some feedback on this one from anyone that can help please.

My school career ended when I was kicked out shortly before my 15th birthday due to the usual litany of "crimes" in a smart but undiagnosed kid with ADHD. At the time I was academically ranked in the lowest percentile, deeply depressed and ashamed, result being that I hadn't listened to a word said in class for a very long time. Long story short, I am missing yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaarrs of basic education .. probably not uncommon amongst our folk?

I had the lucky fortune to have someone take me under their wing in my late teens and convince me I was actually bright and ended up going to uni and getting a business / computing degree in my 20s and psych degree in my 30s. Both were gained through the "brute force" method of rote learning and studying probably 10 times as hard as anyone else (have since repeatedly read this is pretty common for our folk). One of my big passions in psych is neuro however I had to "brute force" again, literally hours and hours and HOURS of rote learning stuff because I didn't have the basic underpinnings in chemistry and biology. So i.e., I would be at the point where I would be explaining g protein's activating enzymes etc .. without knowing what was really going on underneath it all.

I'm now 43, was only diagnosed about 18 months ago with ADHD, and it's finally time to go back and gain this knowledge (sigh - if only we could upload the data). I'm starting a PhD next year (ADHD / Mindfulness / Neuro / Biofeedback - still broad and culling) and I really want to get a decent handle on this stuff before I get started. For the last almost 12 months I've been reading solidly in the associated literature and there's still so much of it I can't quickly engage with . I'm also really interested in the genetic / epigenetic world but can only get so far because I'm missing so much basic knowledge. It's too big an area for me to master by "brute" force - while that method may "work" at undergrad level, it's simply regurgitative (my word) learning, rather than productive if you know what I mean. I've hit my ceiling without getting some of the basics .. but which?

So what I'm seeking is some sort of fast track method to get up to speed as quickly as possible. Each time I ask someone who's in a science related field they respond with a lot of "just's" e.g., "just do an organic chemistry unit" but then I go and look up organic chemistry and it will have pre-reqs of e.g., BIO101 / CHEM101 and then they both have pre-reqs of all sorts of maths which I didn't do.

A couple of months ago I started an online maths course here in Australia and spend a short time each day on this and am about to graduate from 6th grade LOL. High school maths next .. but how much of it do I need? I'm a sole parent and time is something I can't afford to waste.

Does anyone know of any sort of info hierarchy of maths and science and how they all fit together?

What's the wisest way to approach this?

Coursera have some intro courses in science but I can't untangle my way through all the different subtypes because I don't know what many of them are.

Thanks for any advice on this.
Ruby

FreePrometheus
07-03-14, 12:09 AM
Hi Ruby,

Can you please tell me what kind of mathematics you need?

A short hierarchy from the top of my head:

Basic skills:

High School Maths

Slightly more advanced (and probably a prerequisite for the topics below)

Pre calc
Calculus
Linear Algebra

More advanced:

Probability, Statistics, Differential Equations, Discrete Mathematics

Abi
07-03-14, 01:24 AM
You need Algebra and Trigonometry at High School Level, because you will use these in Calculus and Statistics later on.

You can safely skip all Euclidean Geometry beyond the basic primary school stuff.

At college level, you will need two semesters worth of Calculus, and a single course in Probability and Statistics. You will also need elementary** linear algebra and elementary** differential equations. You can safely skip discrete maths.

Texts I reccomend:

1. Precalculus Math by Sobel and Lerner <-- This book has all the HS Algebra and Trig you need as well as Elem. Matrix Algebra and Probability. You should study this entire book.

2. Calculus by Stewart <-- You should study Chapters 1 - 7 pn univariate calculus, chapters 9 and 17 on elem. differential equations and the first few subsections of chapters 14 and 15 on multivariate calculus.

3. Managerial Statistics by Keller - Intended for Commerce students but a good book as it doesn't go into the unnecessary theoretical waffle that those intended for Scientists do. The first 14 chapters should be adequate.

Hope this helps

Adduce
07-03-14, 06:36 AM
Previous posts have given the order of pre-requisite maths accurately.

I think this is a good all round lecture series (about 40 lectures) on youtube which covers college algebra well (seems to cover mathematics from high school level up to starting calculus) and is in a different format than the usual 'lecturer in front of a blackboard' type which you may find helpful. Don't get disheartened if you are not quite up to this level yet as it just means that you may have to backtrack and do some earlier mathematics.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Amt_-uB9QQ&list=PLDE28CF08BD313B2A

If you get through this then there is also a lecture series 'Calculus I' by same lecturer.

The secret I think to studying maths is you learn by doing. It is hard to learn maths just by reading about it. Also, always be in the process of revising earlier concepts as you learn harder and harder maths. This may be helped by taking good notes.

I also recommend that you are aware of other forms of study skills like visual mnemonics, mind-maps, cornell notetaking etc. as some of these methods may be useful and they tend to rely less on rote learning.

Finally, I have recommended on my previous posts a book called 'Moonwalking with Einstein' by Josh Foer which gives I think an interesting account of memory and memory skills which rely less on rote learning. I mention this because rote learning doesn't always necessarily lead to good comprehension and since you have a background in Psychology then there is a chance that you may find the subject interesting.

Hope this helps...

ruby.149.42
07-03-14, 09:30 PM
Hi everyone,

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond!

Can you please tell me what kind of mathematics you need?


Hey that's my question :)! I suppose the answer is, that I need the maths that will enable me to do the science I need to do. It's the science I need, not the maths per se, but my understanding is that you need maths to do science .. so the question is really, which science do I need (and what maths pre-reqs do I need for that)?

You need Algebra and Trigonometry at High School Level, because you will use these in Calculus and Statistics later on.


Thanks Abi. My maths has not travelled in a straight line to date. In 4 years of psych study I have had to take 4 years of stats and psychometrics and I got through it all by recording the lectures, grounding away nights and weekends at the uni maths learning centre plus got a tutor. So I can "do" stats to a fairly high level .. but never really understood what was going on underneath it all.

I also had to do a fair bit of economics, simple accounting in my business degree, plus simple algebra in computer programming and I worked as a book-keeper for years so I'm numerate (but only with calculator or spreadsheet) .. just missing lots of the core knowledge I believe I will need for science.

So calculus I think we need for chemistry? Is that right? I have zero. But luckily I at least recognise those words "univariate" and "multivariate" from stats so hopefully I will recognise something!

What about differential equations? Which science are they used in?

If you get through this then there is also a lecture series 'Calculus I' by same lecturer. The secret I think to studying maths is you learn by doing. It is hard to learn maths just by reading about it. Also, always be in the process of revising earlier concepts as you learn harder and harder maths. This may be helped by taking good notes.

Thanks adduce - this looks like a great free resource! Totally agree in the "just doing it" with maths, and the online maths program I've been working with so far is all about just doing it. Just doing it 50,000 times over is how I got myself through those years of stats.

I also recommend that you are aware of other forms of study skills like visual mnemonics, mind-maps, cornell notetaking etc. as some of these methods may be useful and they tend to rely less on rote learning.

So when I say "rote learning" that included using tons of verbal mnemmonics and also would cover the walls of my flat with butchers paper and big colourful drawings and stickers and whatever as visual learning aids. But then I would rote learn all of those over and over again. Maybe it's just different definitions?

Finally, I have recommended on my previous posts a book called 'Moonwalking with Einstein' by Josh Foer which gives I think an interesting account of memory and memory skills which rely less on rote learning. I mention this because rote learning doesn't always necessarily lead to good comprehension and since you have a background in Psychology then there is a chance that you may find the subject interesting.

I couldn't agree more about rote learning not being an ideal way to go and no help for comprehension. The material I conceputally understood, but just found difficult to memorise, I found the rote learning helpful. With the stats, psychometrics and most of the psych philosophy, which I never really understood, rote learning was my only option. I read and read and read until my eyes bled. I would try and summarise stuff over and over and over again but it just wouldn't stick. If I did the calculations over and over and over again, eventually they would stick. Well, they would stick long enough to get me through the exam, but not much longer. I still don't know why that is .. I'm pretty sure it's do with very flakey working memory because stats lectures always worked exactly the same way in terms of my comprehension i.e., I'd understand the first 5 or 10 mins and then when the lecturer moved onto the 2nd or 3rd step, I would just get completely lost because I couldn't remember the first point. Every single time :(. Same reason I can't watch complicated movies - can't remember the first bits which help explain the later bits. I thought this was pretty common problem in ADHD but we've got a ton of super smart scientists and mathematicians kicking around this forum who clearly do not have this problem!

I'm curious how that whole stats learning process (and maths at school) would have unfolded had I had access to ADHD meds at the time. I use them now and haven't found that the primary school level online maths I'm doing particularly easy. For some reason it just doesn't gel for me and I don't understand why - I have a very high IQ, but just some sort of maths blindness. My absolute hope is that once I go back and get all the mathematical basics that suddenly my eyes will open and it will all become clear. So many times people would try patiently to explain but it just would not sink in and I would keep getting lost. If anyone has any advice on this I would love to hear it because in some ways it makes me very sad that I just don't seem to be able to grasp numbers at the deepest level. I often hear people talking about the "beauty" and "elegance" of mathematical form but it just seems completely elusive (and horrific) to me at this point in time. I'm currently taking motivation from Shinzen Young having a fairly similar story with maths and I'm secretly convinced he's ADHD, in the most awe inspiring way!

Anyway, given at this stage it's the science I need to learn, it doesn't even really matter if I can only rote learn the maths, as long as it enables me to do the sciences. Question is which sciences?

So one example of a present learning challenge, is wanting to be able to understand papers coming out on how meditation can lead to changes in gene expression and regulation of inflammatory responses.

What do I need to really understand these topics? I can rote learn the points and understand it loosely but I don't deeply comprehend. Which of the sciences do I need to understand what's going on beneath this?

Presumably I need to have biology (which?) and chemistry (which?) .. physics? And which maths to learn the bio and chemistry (and possibly physics)? I'm sure I read somewhere that the higher sciences are built on some sort of vertical model like the old computing OSI model? But I also know you wouldn't need all? Again I'm really time poor so need to find the most efficient way through this.

Sorry this is such a ramble but it's hard to explain what you don't know, when you don't really know what you don't know .. :)

Ruby

bitemark
07-03-14, 10:07 PM
Hi Ruby - have you looked at Khan Academy online? Free and very good...

https://www.khanacademy.org/

Abi
07-04-14, 01:14 AM
Life Sciences aren't my forte but I have seen Differential Equations arise in a Biology text I was reading.

I suggest you familiarise yourself with the basics of this topic, so when you encounter them later they will be familiar. You can then study more advanced techniques as needed.

TygerSan and Namazu will know exactly which areas of Mathematics are most important for you.

As far as Physics is concerned you want to take some sort of succint course in "Physics for Life Sciences" or some such. You don't need to go into the subject in depth.

You'll need a fair amount of Chemistry and the Cellular (as opposed to Environmental) aspects of Biology and Biochemistry. There's no real shortcuts there.

Adduce
07-04-14, 05:11 AM
Thanks for replying to my post:)

Regarding which maths you need, a good grounding in basic maths is probably what I would recommend for all future scientific courses.
Although it sounds obvious, a good working knowledge of algebra, geometry and trigonometry are the most important for all later work that involves calculus, which is the bedrock of science courses (although there are a lot of non-calculus based science courses).

This basic maths will be the best springboard for any science course. It is obvious that there is a large difference between the level of maths you will need for different courses but what most higher level university courses build on are earlier concepts which hopefully would have been mastered earlier.

Regarding the science courses, again depends which areas of science and which level. Again, say if you took a science course that referred to differential equations, these would require some past knowledge of calculus, and if you don't have any then although conceptually you may still be able to get something from the course, the actual work given to you will take much longer because the pre requisite work had not been mastered.

Also, can see what you mean by rote learning. The reason why I mentioned alternative methods of study is that the amount of repetition you said it takes you to master the processes of maths and science may be taking up time spent on conceptual understanding.

The problems you mentioned on learning in university sound very similar to mine. You obviously have tenacity which is something that has worked very well for you so well done.

Okay. Regarding the book I recommended here is a video and a paper by an educational psychologist and I hope may be of some relevance regarding working memory/study skills.

http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCUQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fpsych.cf.ac.uk%2Fdocs%2Fdedpsy_to pup%2FWorking%2520Memory%2520Training%2520draft%25 20v5.doc&ei=9my2U8zKDMKtPLmrgNgJ&usg=AFQjCNENE7din12L9ocwc7NBB9-sy_uKig&bvm=bv.70138588,d.ZGU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-E9MMTciBo

Also, there are some good revision/study guides/workbooks designed for high school students up to university age in most subjects. Although they are written for a young audience, they are generally written to get students through the exams so are very good for cutting out all the unnecessary info. I liked the revision guides by CGP when I started studying again.

Hope some of this info is useful.

MADD As A Hatte
07-04-14, 09:03 AM
Hi there

I did exactly what you're talking about, 12 months ago. I had to get up to speed in a real hurry, for maths and biology. Initially I did a uni (college) course on iTunes U . You watch the videos in your own time, it's free. Dr Fern Sisser was the lecturer. Fantastic, but it took hours and hours, over weeks.

I did a prep yeear in 2013, to prepare for starting uni this year. I chose Sociology, and Intermediate Maths in the prep year. I did calc and trig and maths in high school, but 35 years later I couldn't even remember what a bloody quadratic equation was!! I was recommended two brilliant sites: Khan Academy, and Quizlet. Free, short learning modules.

Sal Khan is a education evangelist! He's world reknowned for online education. He's all over TedEx.

After my prep year in 2013, I started a uni degree this year - Biology and psych subjects. Khan Academy saved my ****. It's a really enjoyable way to learn, and there's no shame in having to repeat the lessons until you're getting 100% in the quizzes.

Quizlet is also brilliant in a completely different way.

I'm now pulling HDs. I can highly recommend these two particular sites.

All the best.

ruby.149.42
07-09-14, 10:21 PM
Thanks for replying to my post:)

Regarding which maths you need, a good grounding in basic maths is probably what I would recommend for all future scientific courses.
Although it sounds obvious, a good working knowledge of algebra, geometry and trigonometry are the most important for all later work that involves calculus, which is the bedrock of science courses (although there are a lot of non-calculus based science courses).

This basic maths will be the best springboard for any science course. It is obvious that there is a large difference between the level of maths you will need for different courses but what most higher level university courses build on are earlier concepts which hopefully would have been mastered earlier.

Regarding the science courses, again depends which areas of science and which level. Again, say if you took a science course that referred to differential equations, these would require some past knowledge of calculus, and if you don't have any then although conceptually you may still be able to get something from the course, the actual work given to you will take much longer because the pre requisite work had not been mastered.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-E9MMTciBo



Thanks! Just finished watching the video - excellent and highly recommend. I'd seen the Memory Palace idea on a TV show once and will try it out.

Very interesting point that these metacognitive techniques were around 2,500 years ago but are not taught very much these days.

ruby.149.42
07-09-14, 10:23 PM
Hi there

I did exactly what you're talking about, 12 months ago. I had to get up to speed in a real hurry, for maths and biology. Initially I did a uni (college) course on iTunes U . You watch the videos in your own time, it's free. Dr Fern Sisser was the lecturer. Fantastic, but it took hours and hours, over weeks.

I did a prep yeear in 2013, to prepare for starting uni this year. I chose Sociology, and Intermediate Maths in the prep year. I did calc and trig and maths in high school, but 35 years later I couldn't even remember what a bloody quadratic equation was!! I was recommended two brilliant sites: Khan Academy, and Quizlet. Free, short learning modules.

Sal Khan is a education evangelist! He's world reknowned for online education. He's all over TedEx.

After my prep year in 2013, I started a uni degree this year - Biology and psych subjects. Khan Academy saved my ****. It's a really enjoyable way to learn, and there's no shame in having to repeat the lessons until you're getting 100% in the quizzes.

Quizlet is also brilliant in a completely different way.

I'm now pulling HDs. I can highly recommend these two particular sites.

All the best.

Sounds fantastic! Will check out Khan and Quizlet - thanks so much :).

SB_UK
07-10-14, 03:21 AM
Does anyone know of any sort of info hierarchy of maths and science and how they all fit together?

Excellent question.

I lost faith in maths when I failed to agree with the mathematical axioms - you know like the existence of 0 and infinity and the way they're handled.

I think that physics helps to define a pattern which extends into science.

Note that maths is secondary to mind arises from brain
- and that brain arises through evolutionary progression which develops brain

ie

physics -> chemistry -> brain -> mind -> maths -> words (psychology)

People want maths to be be fundamental - I think that there's a progression defined by physics (eg evolution of subatomic particles) which defines an organizational principle which defines the way the mind works defines how the mind shapes mathematics.

Here's a simple example - imagine a pond - there's no way of affecting all of the pond by throwing a stone in.
Maths tries to partition parts of the pond and analyse sections without considering the whole
- there is no (in reality) way of modelling any system without modelling all systems.

So - this idea makes maths incomplete - but is maths useless ?

It's useful (engineering maths) as (I guess) approximation - but - there's something of a problem which my mind feels when it considers maths as a useful approximation ie

there is no such thing as a circle in reality

- because my mind wants maths to be a means of eliminating approximation.

-*-

Maths then - as best I can see it - as a means of creating an entirely false but consistent model reality ie we can create a virtual circle and make it roll on a computer screen ... ... and it'll behave as we define it should
- but in reality we can not develop a true circle and roll it on a friction-less surface.

-*-

So - as somebody who has started a few maths degrees and a few science degrees - I'm dissatisfied with both maths and science as approximations ie most likely eg engineering maths sufficient ... ... but no more.

Much prefer computer logic or the field of logic to others - it makes more sense - at least to me. The remarkable diversity we obtain from a single logic gate in a computer - the generation of a consistent worldview (the program) as opposed to a seemingly confusing and divergent reality (mathematical models can extend infinitely).

I'm trying to make the idea that maths consists of numbers and words.
Numbers can diverge (ie infinite numbers/models involving models).
Tying words together can lead to convergence (words weed other words out as unnecessary).

It's often said in maths that publications require no references to other's work - as if mathematics can generate research publication which isn't tied into the larger body of understanding ie divergence. Also recently heard that the current Head of Cern (Sir someone or other) mention that theoretical maths/physics were areas where it's possible to very easily find an area which one can satisfy oneself - but almost impossible to find an area which satisfies others
- once again the idea of divergence.

-*-

The point I'm trying to make is that logic (if the structure is consistent) prunes divergence.
With deliberate reference to the mind as being as structure which we're attempting to converge on a model of understanding as opposed to all individuals with divergent and non-consistent world views with all other people.

2 strands to maths then - confusing divergence vs satisfying convergence ?

-*-

So that's a whistle stop tour through how I see maths, physics, computing, language, philosophy, psychology and medicine
ie in combination.

-which isn't how they're taught

To be honest maths is my only concern - I describe it as the only subject that I'm both phenomenally interested and absolutely disinterested in.

It's interesting that certain famous medical research journals have used the idea - that if your research requires maths/statistics - then we're not interested in it.

The ability to lie through maths / statistics
- whether because nobody understands the conditions of application of your technique, or intentional subterfuge (deliberately missing out a confounding variable) or simply not generating a model through lack of knowledge which is representative.

I struggle with the merits of maths and wonder whether we should keep maths simple in the real world (engineering maths) and/or to keep it consistent in the virtual world ie to somehow prevent maths from extending itself into areas where it becomes false.

SB_UK
07-10-14, 03:33 AM
So perhaps the best way to understand maths and science is to work out what question you want answering ?

I find it's really hard learning information which I'm not interested in knowing.

In theory - maths should be the easiest subject to teach - but it turns into the hardest
- the question is - why is that ?
And is it hard or boring ?

If I look around me (a school) - people seem to like maths (school level) for its simplicity ie there's only 1 answer (not true in english/history)
- and because there's kudos in mathematical ability and a guaranteed job with mathematical capacity.

But none of that should be a concern - by that I mean - that the attraction to maths isn't as one would think.

Last maths tutor I spoke to explained that her addiction to maths resulted in marriage breakdown.

That's a really interesting idea - and may feed into the idea of warring belief systems ie divergent belief systems existing out of consistency with group - with no chance of convergence.

Once again - this line of convergent and divergent ie systems and molecular thinking comes to mind.
The goal isn't knowledge (potentially infinite) but understanding (not infinite).

Adduce
07-10-14, 05:33 AM
Thanks! Just finished watching the video - excellent and highly recommend. I'd seen the Memory Palace idea on a TV show once and will try it out.

Very interesting point that these metacognitive techniques were around 2,500 years ago but are not taught very much these days.


Some other videos here that you may also find interesting. Hope I'm not going too far off topic!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tiea5ftMZVA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1QQ3LdFz18

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7f6XZK7557w

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EUIuW6eCHE

And some revision tips for students.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationadvice/9855799/The-real-test-of-learning-Not-forgetting.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationadvice/9839678/Spider-diagrams-how-and-why-they-work.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationadvice/9826494/Revision-techniques-How-to-learn-boring-facts.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationadvice/9900341/Revision-techniques-how-to-build-a-memory-palace.html

TygerSan
07-10-14, 11:28 AM
I'm a bit unusual in that I never actually took a true math course in university. I got through univariate calculus in high school (college/university level class) and tested out of the math requirements for uni.

That said, if you're going into a biological science course these days, the math is going to be more intense than it has been in the past (due to the massive amounts of data mining/statistical techniques used these days).

For basic Chemistry, you'll definitely need college algebra. Balancing chemical reactions is all basic algebra (really wish that someone had told me that when I was doing it; would've simplified my approach greatly), and kinetics/concentrations/etc is *all* algebra and related concepts. If you go beyond basic chemistry, you'll definitely touch on some calculus-related topics as well.

For the stats stuff, honestly, there's sort of two schools of thought regarding stats. It's sort of like the difference between a theoretical physicist and one who actually does experiments in the real world. The theoretical ideal, and how each test is applied in practice are often quite different, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a biologist/scientist who actually understands and can tell you all the ins and outs of the stats they use on a day-to-day basis. So, if you have a global understanding of what a test does, and how it's applied (and what problems you're likely to encounter when using it), you're honestly a bit better off than if you understand the nitty-gritty mathematics but have a hard time understanding how to apply it to real-world problems.

SB_UK
07-10-14, 12:55 PM
We might see 1 tree over there - but it's not a thing - it's a composite with constantly changing components - each of which is fielding motion ... ...
it's not satisfying to ask what 1 + 1 means in the real world -
there's only 1 construct of phenomenological reality fielding phenomenological constructs comprising differing levels of evolution ie from Planck length standing wave matrix to collective structure of human mind (wisdom).

- and we can't add distinct entities (because there are none) together to get a set - all that remains is the one unit of phenomenological reality in physics - no matter how maths wants 1 + 1 to equal 2.

Now combination is possible in physics (see Feynmann diagram) - but it's an evolutionary progression which we observe generating a new particle by virtue of emergence ... ... ie in physics addition leads to a new construct ie

1 something or other + 1 something or other = 1 higher something or other + 1 something or other.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1f/Feynmann_Diagram_Gluon_Radiation.svg/279px-Feynmann_Diagram_Gluon_Radiation.svg.png
In this Feynman diagram, an electron and a positron annihilate, producing a photon (represented by the blue sine wave) that becomes a quark–antiquark pair, after which the antiquark radiates a gluon (represented by the green helix).

So - that's addition.

Here's addition at the other end of the physics spectrum:
http://burro.astr.cwru.edu/NAS/NAS_GAL2.gif

The combination of 2 galaxies yields something new (emergent).

-*-

You know there's a problem when you can't agree that 1+1=2, that 1/0=infinity ... ... these're axioms and I don't like them.

Abi
07-10-14, 01:05 PM
SB the poor girl wants advice on what mathematical tools she needs for her future studies and you give her all of this :lol:

SB_UK
07-10-14, 01:07 PM
So the triumph of maths and science ?

Let's see what questions we actually have ?

How do we generate nuclear fusion ?
Don't bother use the sun's nuclear fusion energy

How do we colonise the planets ?
Don't bother - look after this planet

How do we make superfast local computers ?
Don't bother - use dumb local terminals connected by superfast wireless connection (5g!) to server rooms.

How do we cure disease ?
DON'T GET ME STARTED !!!

You see - we know how to do everything we want - we're just, for the most part, asking the wrong questions.

You can't generate a perfect legal system - but you can generate a perfect society which does not need a legal system.

All we need to do is discard money/exclusive ownership and work for personal reward within social (all of species) wellbeing context.

Abi
07-10-14, 01:10 PM
Nevermind

SB_UK
07-10-14, 01:17 PM
SB the poor girl wants advice on what mathematical tools she needs for her future studies and you give her all of this :lol:

We kinda' hope that maths/physics will open the door to enlightenment and they can do - but just as easily - it can lead us in the complete opposite direction.

From that lovely 'Symphony of Sound' music video - Feynmann describes the enlightened state as in effect seeing past the veil of superficial material existence:
http://alden-tan.com/wp-content/uploads/large-matrix-blu-ray7.jpg
which is physics.

The Planck length standing wave matrix.

We really need to nail the question ie what is it we want to gain from math/science - before we stand a chance of feeling satisfaction from learning.

And it may be easier just to ask people the question and to sit back and enjoy seeing the overwhelming confusion presented by so called experts in the field - attempting to answer your (or so you thought) simple questions.

SB_UK
07-10-14, 01:24 PM
Nevermind

nirvana
[an eternal fundamental substrate]
forever

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiMbdtMcNsc

ruby.149.42
07-10-14, 09:23 PM
I was recommended two brilliant sites: Khan Academy, and Quizlet. Free, short learning modules.

Sal Khan is a education evangelist! He's world reknowned for online education. He's all over TedEx.
Khan Academy saved my ****. It's a really enjoyable way to learn, and there's no shame in having to repeat the lessons until you're getting 100% in the quizzes.


MADD As A Hatte - Khan Adademy (https://www.khanacademy.org) is AWESOME!!!! Far out it is just brilliant. So brilliant I reckon we should put it as a sticky up the top because there must be so many older ADHDers like myself who crashed out of school before being diagnosed. What a fantastic site. I've now ditched the paid Oz one I was using and it's Kahn 100%. Not only is it free, but it has also given me loads of tests to work out where I'm at and what I need which will save hours of time.

Bless your cotton little socks for that one :):):):)

ruby.149.42
07-10-14, 09:46 PM
Excellent question.

I lost faith in maths when I failed to agree with the mathematical axioms - you know like the existence of 0 and infinity and the way they're handled.


Nope, I don't know. Not a CLUE what you're talking about :). I love your philosophising in the philosophy section but here, you've just lost me. (D'ya know SB I was kind of hoping you might see this thread as I thought you might have a simple answer ... :))

So perhaps the best way to understand maths and science is to work out what question you want answering ?

I find it's really hard learning information which I'm not interested in knowing.

See the OP. I'm not actually interested in learning maths (well, I might be, Khan institute is making it reasonably interesting), instead, I'm doing it so I can understand some of the sciences because undiagnosed ADHD as a kid meant I having massive gaping holes in my maths / sci knowledge.

I don't have a specific question I want answered, there are several branches of science I want to explore. Example I've used above is evolution, epigenetics, gene expression etc. I tried to take a Coursera course on epigenetics and was lost and had to stop in first week. It said I needed chemistry (I have zero), and then chemistry I need maths (which maths?). I need biology - do I need biology before chemistry or other way around? Do I need physics? And what maths is needed in each? This is what I mean by a hierarchical order.

Now combination is possible in physics (see Feynmann diagram) - but it's an evolutionary progression which we observe generating a new particle by virtue of emergence ... ... ie in physics addition leads to a new construct ..


:eek::confused::scratch::confused::eyebrow::( SB - you are talking to a girl who was kicked out at school in bottom percentile of maths and chemistry at 14.


1 something or other + 1 something or other = 1 higher something or other + 1 something or other.

NOW you are talking my language! :lol:

SB the poor girl wants advice on what mathematical tools she needs for her future studies and you give her all of this :lol:

:giggle:

We kinda' hope that maths/physics will open the door to enlightenment and they can do - but just as easily - it can lead us in the complete opposite direction.

From that lovely 'Symphony of Sound' music video - Feynmann describes the enlightened state as in effect seeing past the veil of superficial material existence:
http://alden-tan.com/wp-content/uploads/large-matrix-blu-ray7.jpg
which is physics.

The Planck length standing wave matrix.

We really need to nail the question ie what is it we want to gain from math/science - before we stand a chance of feeling satisfaction from learning.

And it may be easier just to ask people the question and to sit back and enjoy seeing the overwhelming confusion presented by so called experts in the field - attempting to answer your (or so you thought) simple questions.


I've seen past the veil of material existence, we've had this conversation before over on the Sci/Phil board. I'm not trying to reach any sort of "E" with maths and science! I just want to be able to read and better digest natural and brain sciences which underly exactly WHY WE WANT TO DITCH THE MATERIAL WORLD - you funny thing!

ruby.149.42
07-10-14, 09:52 PM
I'm a bit unusual in that I never actually took a true math course in university. I got through univariate calculus in high school (college/university level class) and tested out of the math requirements for uni.

That said, if you're going into a biological science course these days, the math is going to be more intense than it has been in the past (due to the massive amounts of data mining/statistical techniques used these days).

For basic Chemistry, you'll definitely need college algebra. Balancing chemical reactions is all basic algebra (really wish that someone had told me that when I was doing it; would've simplified my approach greatly), and kinetics/concentrations/etc is *all* algebra and related concepts. If you go beyond basic chemistry, you'll definitely touch on some calculus-related topics as well.

For the stats stuff, honestly, there's sort of two schools of thought regarding stats. It's sort of like the difference between a theoretical physicist and one who actually does experiments in the real world. The theoretical ideal, and how each test is applied in practice are often quite different, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a biologist/scientist who actually understands and can tell you all the ins and outs of the stats they use on a day-to-day basis. So, if you have a global understanding of what a test does, and how it's applied (and what problems you're likely to encounter when using it), you're honestly a bit better off than if you understand the nitty-gritty mathematics but have a hard time understanding how to apply it to real-world problems.

Thanks Tyger, this is great and really heartening to hear. So with stats for sure I have a global understanding of how it all works and which tests to apply etc.

That being said, :scratch: I repeatedly read how people can use stats to come up with any old BS as long as you have enough power and that we should really only be interested in effect sizes etc. I understand effect sizes but never really got how mass numbers can be used to prove anything (or other types of scullduggery (sp?) that I believe can be used in stats). I would much prefer having that kind of deeper understanding because I think really only when you have it can you properly critique the scientific literature. e.g., if I read a journal article, I can look at the stats and know what they've done, but I wouldn't be able to pick it up and say that it was nonsense because it was the wrong type of stats or whatever other tricks can be pulled. Kind of critical information with the amount of papers being published these days.

ruby.149.42
07-10-14, 09:59 PM
nirvana
[an eternal fundamental substrate]
forever

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiMbdtMcNsc

Thanks for the blast from the past. Saw those guys at the Reading Festival in 1991 .. far out it seems like yesterday!

.. and I think I may have achieved the big "E" on that day :)

SB_UK
07-11-14, 03:40 AM
which underly exactly WHY WE WANT TO DITCH THE MATERIAL WORLD - you funny thing!


Not ditch though my comments come out that way - just put the material world in its place as secondary conxequence to another domain.

Why ? Because materialism in all its guises is a state of mind which leads to a bad place.

Don't worry about maths/chemistry in molecular biology - I know loadsa' people who specifically chose a mol biol degree because it did not include maths/chemistry.

SB_UK
07-11-14, 03:49 AM
Thanks for the blast from the past. Saw those guys at the Reading Festival in 1991 .. far out it seems like yesterday!

.. and I think I may have achieved the big "E" on that day :)

ooo I was at Glastonbury just before - and the band I went to see played Glastonbury again 25 years later !! a few days ago.

And the question 'where is my mind ?' continues to evade general consensus.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/errnc8/acts/amxwrz#p021v069

Now that's a question which we Maths & Science NEED TO Catchupreally need to answer.

Too much time spent thinking and not about how we think.

But why analyse the purpose of thinking ?
The answer to that question 'd reveal what it's worth thinking about, and what the pitfalls of thinking are.

Referencing the comments above (in this thread I think) about no such thing as mindedness only social mindednesswhat it's worth thinking about, the Uni maths tutor whose life was destroyed by an addiction to maths what the pitfalls of thinking are ... ...

-*-

A summary of science would just be a mechanism of recruiting evidence towards making statements which are to some level of probability true.

So for instance the Higgs Boson people have been using the idea:
"If you’re keen on the statistics behind this discovery, you’ll notice that many news articles cite the fact that the scientists are certain of their results at the 5-sigma level, or a 99.9999% level of confidence."
http://blog.minitab.com/blog/statistics-and-quality-data-analysis/understanding-confidence-in-the-god-particle

So - that's empirical science which is balanced on probability.

But there's another cleaner type of science which ... ... ... I'm searching google for empirical science/statistics versus logical inference ... ... ...

Let's find a reference which expresses this idea properly:
Some logical systems do not have all four properties. As an example, Kurt Gödel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_G%C3%B6del)'s incompleteness theorems (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del%27s_incompleteness_theorems) show that sufficiently complex formal systems of arithmetic cannot be consistent and complete;<sup id="cite_ref-Hamilton_9-1" class="reference">[9] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logic#cite_note-Hamilton-9)</sup> however, first-order predicate logics not extended by specific axioms to be arithmetic formal systems with equality can be complete and consistent.<sup id="cite_ref-Introduction_to_Mathematical_Logic_15-0" class="reference">[15] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logic#cite_note-Introduction_to_Mathematical_Logic-15)</sup>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logic

OK - now in really simple words what am I trying to get at.

Statistics/Empirical science offers 'probably' true but logical systems can offer 'absolutely' true.

SB_UK
07-11-14, 04:23 AM
NAND GATE
http://bp2.blogger.com/_goB1JZ5Vg0Y/R4cvsI9VG0I/AAAAAAAAACI/MmifvX3hfVA/s320/gateNAND.JPG

ie The solution is FALSE or TRUE.

There's no doubt.

I prefer that type of science because I'm never too sure whether the statistical interpretation of data is valid ie statistical methods are generated around idealized conditions and then backing these idealized protocols into data generated in messy reality where all things (events) are connected - would appear to be an approximation
- an approximation too far ?
Often end up feeling a sense of failure at the analysis of data under disbelief at the statistical approach used.

So everybody's using it - so what ?

-*-

If we take these 2 methods of maths and science though - the goal is to get somewhere.

All that I'm suggesting is that the goal in life is to be happy.

And that the proper application of science/maths can shape the mind (globally logically consistent with all of species wellbeing) ie at wisdom into state morality in which the individual is happy through losing material world attachment.

IE the point of maths/science is for the individual to attain a style of mind which we may define as wise.

Not to be able to to triple differentiate trigonometric functions under water in Mandarin Chinese.
"Trigonometric functions are functions of an angle"
- there is no such thing as a straight line in the physical world (which is pixelated) - only in the virtual world of mind
- placing the calculus of trigonometry as confined to the virtual arena ie a model ... ...

Now back up to the post several above:
physics -> chemistry -> biology (brain) -> mind -> maths (model) -> english/psychology/philosophy (logic (a form of maths)) -> art (pattern recognition (a form of maths also)) but the artist needs no mathematical training

English - when we speak we try (logic) to make sense
Psychology - the mind attempts to be a globally logically consistent structure with all of phenomenological reality's wellbeing with the express interest of 'survival' (happy) of the species
Philosophy - absolutely intertwined with logic - mathematical logic as a major component of philosophy

Physics and Maths live in different spaces.

SB_UK
07-11-14, 05:39 AM
religion -> 'Big Bang' -> history -> physics -> chemistry -> geography -> geology (cf stromatolite) -> biology [origins of competition] -> sociology [global social structure formation] -> emergence of mind [social mindedness] -> maths [model] [completion of model = wisdom signalling a shift away from competition into collaboration] -> engineering [tools] -> natural language/psychology/philosophy -> computer science -> art [quality] where we can use the CERN term collabotetion as long as the goal is seen for all people to become better ie no losers.

Covers all courses here:
http://www.study.cam.ac.uk/undergraduate/courses/

IE we need to cover ALL subjects simultaneously (not just maths/science) with the one statement that there will be no place for a human legal system ie law and there will be no place for economics as long as it embraces money.

Law and Economics supporting money are formalizations of a form of material world competition which are not consistent with a completed (wise) mind.
True competition occurs at the level of art (quality) where we strive to become personally better, because it's personally satisfying - and because - just as we've described Nirvana and Black Francis - it's satisfying to onlookers also.

Note Kurt Cobain and Black Francis are/were clearly victims of chronic disease - which we have the medical knowhow now to prevent.

SB_UK
07-11-14, 06:03 AM
Cobain once said that "Smells Like Teen Spirit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smells_Like_Teen_Spirit)" was his attempt to "rip off the Pixies".Too funny!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Francis

Full circle.

https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTTI7Ycmd45_vpaZQljAWZkzFLA2qUUG Afc1jTTMpSijXP2bein94ruGfQ

How do we study maths and science without simultaneously incorporating Nirvana and The Pixies ?
:-)

There's just 1 [evolutionary] thread [see Einstein's evolutionary 'spooky action at a distance'] - everything is on topic.

[I'm bound to get penalty points for that comment]

ruby.149.42
07-11-14, 06:10 AM
Don't worry about maths/chemistry in molecular biology - I know loadsa' people who specifically chose a mol biol degree because it did not include maths/chemistry.

So does this mean that I need to study molecular biology? This is what I'm ultimately trying to figure out.

ruby.149.42
07-11-14, 06:35 AM
Much of these posts I again don't really understand but this:

And that the proper application of science/maths can shape the mind (globally logically consistent with all of species wellbeing) ie at wisdom into state morality in which the individual is happy through losing material world attachment.

IE the point of maths/science is for the individual to attain a style of mind which we may define as wise.

I ditched my material world attachment some time ago and we've talked before in other threads about this and move from hedonic to eudaimonic happiness and focus on species wellbeing. But for me this had bu66er all to do with my maths/science knowledge because I have pretty much zero! This "wisdom" came from surviving 40 odd years trying to push sh*t uphill aka undiagnosed ADHD, and then discovering meditation 2 weeks after getting diagnosed. And suddenly 2 buckets were removed from my head and all became clear (2 orthogonal rotations of consciousness in JKZ-speak). Besides which, there are plenty of others on that path who didn't get there through maths and science.

Most of the reason I now want this maths/science is so I can use it to help spread the word (in a round about way).. but it certainly wasn't what got me there in the first place.

.. plus if it takes a full Cambridge UG maths/sci experience to get to the same place .. why bother and why not just get on a cushion and figure it out that way? Far less hassle. Maybe we should just ditch uni entirely and get 17/18 year olds to spend a year in retreat and be done with it.

Maybe we funny apes just got a little too clever for our own good.

Fuzzy12
07-11-14, 06:55 AM
If we take these 2 methods of maths and science though - the goal is to get somewhere.

All that I'm suggesting is that the goal in life is to be happy.

And that the proper application of science/maths can shape the mind (globally logically consistent with all of species wellbeing) ie at wisdom into state morality in which the individual is happy through losing material world attachment.

IE the point of maths/science is for the individual to attain a style of mind which we may define as wise.


I am not sure I'm understanding you correctly (and I suspect that I'm not) but if I am, I think this is quite a dangerous path to take.

I believe, that the goal of science is knowledge and understanding of ourselves, the world around us and beyond. I think that in itself is a valuable end goal but of course the applications of science are endless and have assisted humans in countless ways. Some of these applications might not have been entirely beneficial but that's an unfortunate side effect that arises from human nature rather than science itself.

Maths (as I see it) is just a tool to understand and study science, everything in and around us.

Happiness and wisdom are extremely subjective. One man's happiness is another's idea of hell. An example of this is that the ideal world you present doesn't sound to me like a place where I'd want to live (assuming that I understand you correctly).

If you only pursue scientific topics that are inline with one person's or a group's concept of wisdom and happiness then you are limiting the pursuit of happiness and understanding of everyone outside this group. More importantly, if you place limitations on science, how would you know what you are missing? How do you know what you don't know?

One of the big advantages of the scientific method is that there is a constant process of re-evaluation and corrections (which I believe is what sets it apart from other belief systems). Science never claims to hold the absolute truth (even if some scientists would like to make you believe they do) but it only reflects the understanding and state of knowledge at that particular time with an unlimited scope for change. If you place limitations on science you turn it into a religion, a narrow, tightly bounded set of "truths" and stagnant beliefs. It might grow but only in one direction and even that growth is limited. You cannot understand the road that you have chosen unless you place it in the context of what is around that road, unless you are really aware of and understand the alternatives.

I think, we've seen plenty of examples in history, where groups of humans have tried to limit science, control its scope and suppress its growth and it has never resulted in an increase of happiness or well being except maybe for a chosen few.

(Huge apologies if I've misunderstood you.)

Abi
07-11-14, 07:03 AM
:goodpost:

SB_UK
07-11-14, 07:05 AM
I believe, that the goal of science is knowledge and understanding of ourselves, the world around us and beyond.

Exactly.

But what's the motivation for recruitment of 'knowledge and understanding of ourselves' ?

Prior to the emergence of mind - the other 13.7999 billion years of Universal history did not need to understand the mechanisms at play giving rise to reality.

So the question is why do we care ?

There's a reason - and that reason is that when we understand our place in reality - we actually get to see we belong, relax and are happy.

The problem with human beings is that we present ourselves at war with one another, with reality with animals etc - there's this urge to fight

- but the point I'm trying to get at - is that a rational understanding of reality places us into context, dismantles this feeling of not belonging and allows us to settle into synchrony with reality as opposed to trying to defeat it.

Understanding through science as the basis to true happiness.
Though as Ruby has just mentioned - there are other routes.

Science is an easy route as long as scientists learn how to talk simply.

I'm trying to describe science as the tool of mind (subservient to mind) in constructing itself.

The point isn't the science - the point is mind - referencing the nature of ALL higher degrees as being philosophy Degrees.

Fuzzy12
07-11-14, 07:12 AM
R
I had the lucky fortune to have someone take me under their wing in my late teens and convince me I was actually bright and ended up going to uni and getting a business / computing degree in my 20s and psych degree in my 30s. Both were gained through the "brute force" method of [FONT=Calibri]rote learning and studying probably 10 times as hard as anyone else (have since repeatedly read this is pretty common for our folk). One of my big passions in psych is neuro however I had to "brute force" again, literally hours and hours and HOURS of rote learning stuff because I didn't have the basic underpinnings in chemistry and biology. So i.e., I would be at the point where I would be explaining g protein's activating enzymes etc .. without knowing what was really going on underneath it all.

I'm now 43, was only diagnosed about 18 months ago with ADHD, and it's finally time to go back and gain this knowledge (sigh - if only we could upload the data). I'm starting a PhD next year (ADHD / Mindfulness / Neuro / Biofeedback - still broad and culling) and I really want to get a decent handle on this stuff before I get started. For the last almost 12 months I've been reading solidly in the associated literature and there's still so much of it I can't quickly engage with . I'm also really interested in the genetic / epigenetic world but can only get so far because I'm missing so much basic knowledge. It's too big an area for me to master by "brute" force - while that method may "work" at undergrad level, it's simply regurgitative (my word) learning, rather than productive if you know what I mean. I've hit my ceiling without getting some of the basics .. but which?

So what I'm seeking is some sort of fast track method to get up to speed as quickly as possible. Each time I ask someone who's in a science related field they respond with a lot of "just's" e.g., "just do an organic chemistry unit" but then I go and look up organic chemistry and it will have pre-reqs of e.g., BIO101 / CHEM101 and then they both have pre-reqs of all sorts of maths which I didn't do.



My slightly less tangential reply to the OP:

I'd approach this with a top-down method since if you don't know what background knowledge you need to know, it will be pretty tough (and time-consuming) to acquire the pre-requisite knowledge that you actually need for your field. It's ok to go off on tangents..if they are of interest and if you have the time. Also, you don't have to know everything before you start your PhD. A PhD is an opportunity to learn as much as contribute with your own piece of research.

Do you know anything more about your PhD project than the keywords you mentioned? Try reading up everything you can about your specific topic and every time you come across something new or something you don't understand, read up on that. If you don't understand that, then again dig further. Scientific publications are a great way to start because they always include a literature review and a list of relevant references.

Are you joining an existing project? In that case, make sure you read and fully understand the research proposal and all the material cited in it. I'd also ask your future supervisor (if you already have one) what they recommend for you to read.

Science is too broad a subject for you to get focussed and relevant answers from people in "science related fields". If you know, which department you are joining look up the people who work in areas closest to what you are intending to do and ask them for recommendations.

SB_UK
07-11-14, 07:14 AM
You see if the point in life was to have children and to grow vegetables and animals to eat
- then we wouldn't need academic enquiry.

We can do all of the above and have been able to do all of the above for thousands of years now.

Instead human beings have pursued how we came to be - where we came from - with a vigour ... ...

Why ?

If we were just material world creatures all we should have done is make more babies and more food to eat.

But we're not.

And so if we're not - and we're something else which can be intuited through scientific enquiry into existence

- then what are we ?

All that we are - is an evolutionary thrust towards understanding context towards transcending material world desire ie a species making a collective effort towards understanding context so we can leave material world desire alone and enter the limitless world of quality as raison d'etre.

IE an enlightening species undergoing enlightenment towards living a life with meaning supporting the transition referenced in the term moksha (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moksha).

Freedom from material existence (incarceration) (<- a consequence of incomplete mind) before physical death.

DistractedLemur
07-11-14, 07:47 AM
Another vote here for Khan Academy (http://www.khanacademy.org). The interactive maths course on there is excellent, it's like a computer game, and is actually pretty addictive!
You can browse through the videos etc. without signing up, but do sign up for a free account which gives a whole other dimension to the maths course and tracks your progress etc.

Coursera (http://www.coursera.org) and edX.org (http://www.edx.org) are both really worth looking at, there are some excellent courses on both.

SB_UK
07-11-14, 07:59 AM
More simply

quote=;1663551
All that we are - is an evolutionary thrust towards understanding context towards
transcending material world desire <- divorcing from the attraction towards competition/fighting
The problem with human beings is that we present ourselves at war with one another, with reality with animals etc - there's this urge to fight

- but the point I'm trying to get at - is that a rational understanding of reality places us into context, dismantles this feeling of not belonging and allows us to settle into synchrony with reality as opposed to trying to defeat it.No aliens are going to come half way across the Universe to kill usie a species making a collective effort towards understanding context so we can leave material world desire alone and enter the
limitless world of quality <- the informational reward system (cf muscial chills) ie getting our kicks from resources which aren't limited
as raison d'etre.<- reward system ie a behaviour which is motivational at the neurochemical level operating human function by recruitment of happy nts eg dopamine/serotonin etc
[/quote]

It's clear that the transition of attraction towards limiting to attraction towards limitless behaviours is going to be compatible with survival of the species - ie we all can't eat at McDonalds but we all can enjoy Nirvana.

(whichever context whether upon the informational transfer or spiritual synchrony abstraction layers of existence)

The term nirvana (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana) is more common in Buddhismhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moksha

Fuzzy12
07-11-14, 08:10 AM
Exactly.

But what's the motivation for recruitment of 'knowledge and understanding of ourselves' ?

Prior to the emergence of mind - the other 13.7999 billion years of Universal history did not need to understand the mechanisms at play giving rise to reality.

So the question is why do we care ?

I don't think, there is a universal, absolute, fundamental need for knowledge or understanding, but then I think there isn't a universal need for anything really and that includes happiness. Needs can only be understood in context, whose need and what for?

Prior to the emergence of mind - the other 13.7999 billion years of Universal history did not need to understand the mechanisms at play giving rise to reality for what? What did they not need it for?

It's true that the universe has survived and it will probably survive even without human's understanding or interference (maybe even better so). I guess, it can be argued that some species who have become extinct now might have survived with more (a lot more!!!) knowledge and control (which can only come from knowledge) over their environment but what would would have been the need for that? The truth is that we don't know what the meaning or purpose of anything is. Is there a need for survival? Is there a need for anyone or anything to endure? Without knowing that you don't know what you need to achieve it or if there is anything to achieve at all.

Why do we care? It's a good question and I'm not sure I've got a good answer, definitely not one that holds true for everyone. I can think of several plausible answers of why humans have always pursued science.

Evolution obviously favours those with an instinct to survive so I think humans have innately got a strong instinct to survive and I guess that is what drove the initial pursuit of science: technology that assists and prolongs our survival.

Another natural instinct is to minimise pain and discomfort so humans have sought technologies that make our lives more comfortable.

Another natural instinct is to avoid or eliminate fear, or in particular fear of death, fear of non existence and so humans have sought explanations for what comes after death, what is life, etc. and I think that has driven a lot of the searches for knowledge. And each answer leads to more questions, shows us more areas that we don't understand or that we didn't even know existed and so the search for knowledge and understanding endlessly continues.

For me mostly, I guess, I care, because it's more interesting than anything else. It's more interesting than happiness ( though I'm not saying that the two are mutually exclusive). I really don't know what I'm supposed to do or why and this seems as valuable a time pass as anything else. Besides, I believe, it's the only way to have a chance at least to ever know why we were are here or if there is a purpose or significance to anything. I doubt we'll ever find an answer to that or that there is an answer but unless you look for it, you'll never know.


There's a reason - and that reason is that when we understand our place in reality - we actually get to see we belong, relax and are happy.

Yup, I agree and maybe that really is the main motivation.

The problem with human beings is that we present ourselves at war with one another, with reality with animals etc - there's this urge to fight

Again, I agree except that I don't think that it's a uniquely human problem. Other animals and even in a way plants do the same. Everyone wants to survive and unfortunately, we have evolved in a way that means that survival at times depends on fighting others. How would a lion survive without killing?

In fact, humans are in the unique position to actually be able to strive to survive while preserving as much as possible of everything and everyone else. Maybe it's possible. I really don't know and without knowledge we will never know.

- but the point I'm trying to get at - is that a rational understanding of reality places us into context, dismantles this feeling of not belonging and allows us to settle into synchrony with reality as opposed to trying to defeat it.

I'm not sure what context you are talking about or what reality. Do we really understand reality? Is there anything like reality?

Understanding through science as the basis to true happiness.

I'm not sure what true happiness is ..as opposed to merely happiness. Will science lead to happiness? Again, I don't know. I doubt it but without science we are unlikely to ever know.

Science is an easy route as long as scientists learn how to talk simply.

Ideally yes, but "simply" is very subjective and it's actually quite difficult to be able to talk or describe anything in simple terms.

I'm trying to describe science as the tool of mind (subservient to mind) in constructing itself.

What do you mean by "in constructing itself?

The point isn't the science - the point is mind - referencing the nature of ALL higher degrees as being philosophy Degrees.

The point of what? I think I agree though. I tend to think of philosophy as a way of thinking. No, not a way of thinking but "thinking" itself. Philosophising is thinking and it does include all branches of education. Isn't that why higher research degrees (as opposed to taught degrees) are called PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)?

It seems to me that we pretty much agree except that I don't see why certain fields of scientific areas are less valuable or should be limited in any way. And I'm not sure that "happiness" is a universal aim.

Fuzzy12
07-11-14, 08:19 AM
You see if the point in life was to have children and to grow vegetables and animals to eat
- then we wouldn't need academic enquiry.

Yes, you would because you would want your children to have a higher chance of survival and you would want to enquire about methods to grow more vegetables and get more meat.

We can do all of the above and have been able to do all of the above for thousands of years now.

Aided by science? Science doesn't have to happen in universities!!!

Abi
07-11-14, 08:22 AM
Animals are not vegan and vegetables are not ketogenic SB :)

MADD As A Hatte
07-12-14, 03:36 AM
MADD As A Hatte - Khan Adademy (https://www.khanacademy.org) is AWESOME!!!! Far out it is just brilliant. So brilliant I reckon we should put it as a sticky up the top because there must be so many older ADHDers like myself who crashed out of school before being diagnosed. What a fantastic site. I've now ditched the paid Oz one I was using and it's Kahn 100%. Not only is it free, but it has also given me loads of tests to work out where I'm at and what I need which will save hours of time.

Bless your cotton little socks for that one :):):):)

That was exactly my reaction to KhanAcademy. Shagadelic!
:giggle:

ruby.149.42
07-13-14, 11:07 PM
My slightly less tangential reply to the OP:

I'd approach this with a top-down method since if you don't know what background knowledge you need to know, it will be pretty tough (and time-consuming) to acquire the pre-requisite knowledge that you actually need for your field. It's ok to go off on tangents..if they are of interest and if you have the time. Also, you don't have to know everything before you start your PhD. A PhD is an opportunity to learn as much as contribute with your own piece of research.

Do you know anything more about your PhD project than the keywords you mentioned? Try reading up everything you can about your specific topic and every time you come across something new or something you don't understand, read up on that. If you don't understand that, then again dig further. Scientific publications are a great way to start because they always include a literature review and a list of relevant references.

Are you joining an existing project? In that case, make sure you read and fully understand the research proposal and all the material cited in it. I'd also ask your future supervisor (if you already have one) what they recommend for you to read.

Science is too broad a subject for you to get focussed and relevant answers from people in "science related fields". If you know, which department you are joining look up the people who work in areas closest to what you are intending to do and ask them for recommendations.

Yes I have a supervisor and dept but this is my project. The thing is at this point in time I'm almost doing a high-level survey of the field and trying to figure out how a lot of different pieces fit together. But I'm missing some basics which I've been fine with from a top-down viewpoint for earlier levels but I don't feel are enough now. So for example, papers talking about gene expression, neuroscience etc which I can scan and get the gist, but I want to be able to properly scrutinise. Same point I was making in my TygerSan post. I don't doubt I could blag my way through a PhD together on my current level of knowledge .. just to get the PhD, but this is not why I'm doing it .. I really want to be able to critically evaluate and get full meaning of a ton of science which at the moment I can only get gist (of some - some, not at all!).

So as before, I got HD's in all my neuro topics and can blab away about sodium channels but I have no idea what even an ion is. Not really. Same with genetics, I can quote you stuff on methylation .. but I don't know what methylation is or double helixes etc. At this point in time I feel like a bit of a fraud .. like I'm a walking-talking example of the Turing Test.

ruby.149.42
07-13-14, 11:17 PM
I'm not sure what true happiness is ..as opposed to merely happiness. Will science lead to happiness? Again, I don't know. I doubt it but without science we are unlikely to ever know.



True happiness = eudaimonia
Merely happiness = hedonia

Non-scientific pathway to eudaimonia = cushion time.
Scientific pathway to eudaimonia = ?? As the scientific luddite in this thread I don't know but SB seems to believe so .. one day I may understand why but not a clue at this point!

Divide and Conquer: How the Essence of Mindfulness Parallels the Nuts and Bolts of Science (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XCWP4pODbs)

Haven't watched this yet but big fan of our Shinzen so will try to watch tonight.

Just posted this (http://shinzenyoung.blogspot.com.au/2012_04_01_archive.html)on another thread but I reckon the key to widescale waking up and eudaimonic happiness is going to be a merging of the 2.

MADD As A Hatte
07-13-14, 11:29 PM
Ruby, hey chick - I've just sent you a Private Message. You'll find it if you click on "User CP", In the blue bar across the top of the ADDForum screen.
Cheers
MADD

Fuzzy12
07-14-14, 07:54 AM
Yes I have a supervisor and dept but this is my project. The thing is at this point in time I'm almost doing a high-level survey of the field and trying to figure out how a lot of different pieces fit together. But I'm missing some basics which I've been fine with from a top-down viewpoint for earlier levels but I don't feel are enough now. So for example, papers talking about gene expression, neuroscience etc which I can scan and get the gist, but I want to be able to properly scrutinise. Same point I was making in my TygerSan post. I don't doubt I could blag my way through a PhD together on my current level of knowledge .. just to get the PhD, but this is not why I'm doing it .. I really want to be able to critically evaluate and get full meaning of a ton of science which at the moment I can only get gist (of some - some, not at all!).

So as before, I got HD's in all my neuro topics and can blab away about sodium channels but I have no idea what even an ion is. Not really. Same with genetics, I can quote you stuff on methylation .. but I don't know what methylation is or double helixes etc. At this point in time I feel like a bit of a fraud .. like I'm a walking-talking example of the Turing Test.

I wouldn't recommend blagging your way through your PhD. I know many people do that and it's entirely possible but I'm glad that you've decided to do a PhD because you are actually interested in your chosen topic.

What I meant was, look up everything you don't understand and yes, that includes things like "ions" and "methylation".

I just meant that you don't need to start with a complete understanding and knowledge of everything that might be related to your topic. Most PhD students spend most of their first year just studying the literature and background knowledge. Doing a PhD (or any research) is as much about learning as it is about coming up with novel work.

There's tons I need to look up and learn every time I start a new research project and reading and learning continues throughout the course of the project.