Is There Anything Known To Be Real That Science Cannot Explain...At All?

I’m curious to see what comes up in answer to this question. I’m not talking about ghosts or UFO’s or anything like that. I’m talking about objects (earthly or celestial) or phenomena that we have a name for, can observe, but simply cannot understand nor explain how it works, why it’s here or why it does what it does.

So is there something obvious that I’m overlooking? Or is there not anything?

By “cannot”, do you mean something that science hasn’t yet explained, or something that in principle cannot be explained by science?

The universe?

Gravity was the first thing that comes to my mind. We know what it does and how to measure it, but not why or how it works.

Either I suppose.

Well…we do have a pretty decent rudimentary understanding of how it operates, don’t we? The roles stars and planets play, how fast its moving away from us…the types of gases stars burn…how long stars tend to “live”, the age of the Universe…

We don’t know why? I thought it was understood to be a function of mass?

Actual science-ignorance-inspired question: I realize this is a fine distinction, but do we actually know how to measure gravity, or do we only know how to measure it’s effects?

I always only ever hear about 9.8 m/s[sup]2[/sup], but that seems to me to be more a measure of the effect gravity has on things rather than an actual measure of gravity itself.

To the OP: based on something in another thread, I think schizophrenia fits the requirements of the OP.

The accelerating universe is one, I believe. I read an explanation that compared it to throwing a ball up in the air and instead of it losing speed and coming down, seeing it just keep gaining speed and going up and up.

What the heck dark matter is.

A few subatomic observations I’ll let someone more knowledgable explain.

If it’s the second, I’d doubt that it’s real.

A short list, and I might be wrong about some of these:
[li]We don’t know what gravity is. We know how it works out to so many decimal places, but we don’t know how it arises from fundamental particle interactions. Compare this to, say, electricity and light, which we know a lot more about thanks to quantum field theories such as quantum electrodynamics.[/li][li]We don’t know where matter gets mass. Again, we know how mass works, but we don’t know how it comes about; this is what the search for the Higgs boson is about.[/li][li]We have a pretty solid idea that the Big Bang happened, but we don’t know what was going on at the exact instant it did. (This may be stretching the OP’s point a bit.)[/li][/ul]Add to that the minor mysteries, like where the Japanese language came from and why some people act like that (for various definitions of ‘some people’ and ‘like that’), and you can conclude that there are still mysteries left in the world.

You need to distinguish between “solid explanations” and “weak explanations”. There are some things that have multiple, competing explanations, and others where many if not most scientists are not very happy with the only likely explanation.

“Dark Matter” and “Dark Energy” are examples of such. The existence of these is proposed to explain the observed behavior of the Universe, and Astronomers and Cosmologists are looking to find these things, but at present the words are mere place-holders. Other scientists are trying to come up with alternative explanations that don’t require these things we haven’t been able to observe.

There are lots of animal behaviour we can’t explain. Here’s a Cracked list, just to have something to provide when saying this, but of course the list could be longer and perhaps more solid.

Absolutely every single thing that scientists work on is unexplained, or at least not explained to their complete satisfaction. That’s why they’re working on it.

As far as big categories of phenomena about which we are clueless, it probably depends on where you draw the line. Why does distance exist? Why do numbers work?

Tides. You can’t explain that!


F***in’ magnets, how do they work!

Somehow, some way, I just KNEW when I started this thread that this reply would be generated. Awesome!

ETA: although science cannot explain how I knew.


On the other hand, you could just as well say that we can work out electromagnetism to so many decimal places, but we don’t know how it arises from the geometry of spacetime. I don’t know of any reason why particle interactions should be considered a superior sort of explanation to geometrical configurations.

And I really wouldn’t put dark matter in the same category as dark energy, either. Dark matter is actually fairly straightforward: There are some fundamental particles we’ve detected directly, and it’s not too big a stretch to suppose that there are also some we haven’t. Even though we’ve never detected them directly, though, there’s no reason to suppose the rules they follow are any different than for the familiar particles. With dark energy, by contrast, we’re pretty close to clueless.

I know! I know! Kim Kardasian.

Since we’re in the thread already and you mentioned it, what exactly* is* dark energy and why do they call it “dark”?

The placebo effect?

The mechanism behind hypnotism?