In another thread, @ Reg posts:
What is the best tool we have to get answers? Science is. Science does not care for the truth. It does not seek to assert that an idea is right. It first tries to destroy it. If it cannot be destroyed then it can be considered to be worthy of further consideration...
One of my struggles with much of what gets written here is that there are so many mythological views of science, many of which like @Reg's are anthropomorphic in their language.
Not only is Science the way of knowing, Science is a bearded, lab-coated deity of sorts.
Now I've probably spoiled things by that introduction, but I am really curious... What do folks really think of science here? What is it, how does it work in your point of view?
If you like, consider the following questions:
1. After scientists have developed a theory (e.g., atomic theory, kinetic molecular theory, cell theory), does the theory ever change? If you believe that scientific theories do not change, explain why and defend your answer with examples. If you believe that theories do change: (a) Explain why. (b) Explain why we bother to teach and learn scientific theories. Defend your answer with examples.
2. Science textbooks often represent the atom as a central nucleus composed of positively charged particles (protons) and neutral particles (neutrons) with negatively charged particles (electrons) orbiting the nucleus. How certain are scientists about the structure of the atom? What specific evidence do you think scientists used to determine the structure of the atom?
3. Is there a difference between a scientific theory and a scientific law? Give an example to illustrate your answer.
4. How are science and art similar? How are they different?
5. Scientists perform experiments/investigations when trying to solve problems. Other than in the stage of planning and design, do scientists use their creativity and imagination in the process of performing these experiments/investigations? Please explain your answer and provide appropriate examples.
6. In the recent past, astronomers differed greatly in their predictions of the ultimate fate of the universe. Some astronomers believed that the universe is expanding while others believed that it is shrinking, still others believed that the universe is in a static state without any expansion or shrinkage. How were these different conclusions possible if the astronomers were all looking at the same experiments and data?
I was thinking similarly, but in fact I can no longer visualise electrons as particles, except perhaps in an instant of time when it is interacting directly with another particle. During any other instant in time, it is just wave function or field that surrounds the nucleus, like a fog surrounding a ship.
In fact a "fog" of multiple electrons can appear as particles only during interactions with wave entities that the atom is immersed within, or colliding with. "Particles" in the nucleus might behave similarly, but with different characteristics.
This is also the only way I can visualize entangled electrons, as if they're riding some larger wave that's expanding out from an origin defined when the entangled particles separated. How else could entangled perticles remain so? The questions now are, 1) what is the nature of the wave that they share and 2) is it the same kind of wave that divides across splits in a double slit experiment.
Regardless of my personal visualizations, the point is that science will likely learn over time which visualizations and models best fit the realities that any scientist will eventually be able to reproduce and share. And then we can continue the same quest into even deeper questions, unlimited by previous dogma.
One of the problems of the subatomic level is that we really have little choice other than to use terms metaphorically. Is an electron round and a tiny sphere or is it a sphere-shaped fog with a nucleus in the middle? Is the nucleus a bunch or particles looking like a small bunch of grapes? Well, it can't literally "look" like anything we know, because all the things we know are large enough to allow us to see them because they bounce photons off their surface in the direction of our eyes. Does a nucleus even have anything we'd call a "surface."
It's very difficult to talk about things on that level without referring to things we understand on the level we know of everyday life.