Originally Posted By: Revlgking
GD, I find the following very interesting:
"Conservative estimates indicate that there are 18 basic physical laws in the universe":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_laws_in_science

That is a good link. Note that Kepler's laws, even though they were discovered before Newton's, are derivative of same. Newton's laws broadened and explained Kepler's laws.

Originally Posted By: Revlgking

Even then, in quantum physics there is talk of the "law of uncertainty"
Quote:
Quantum Mechanics

* Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle - Uncertainty in position multiplied by uncertainty in momentum is equal to or greater than Dirac's constant divided by 2.

\Delta x \Delta p \ge \frac{\hbar}{2}



I'm quite familiar with HUP. There are two ways of viewing this: as a fundamental limit on what we can know AND as an expression of intrinsic indeterminism in the universe (i.e. the Copenhagen Interpretation). I don't follow how this is relevant to our discussion, but there's some interesting stuff you should know.

Scientists once believed that if we could know the fundamental principles of the universe and it's state at any given time, called t0, then we could compute the next states. A number of developments crushed this idea:
1) Relativity destroyed the IMPLICIT assumption of simultaneity and a Euclidean universe.
2) QM showed that we could NEVER describe a state of even a single particle with high precision, because measuring the momentum would screw up the position calculation (and vice versa).
3) Gdel's incompleteness theorem proved that even if we could know the know the initial states, there are in any mathematical (logical) system at least powerful enough to represent basic arithmetic, there are true statements that cannot be proven to be true!
4) Cantor proved that there are infinities larger than the set of integers. Infinities bigger than, well ... infinity? Yes!
5) Experimental psychology (as separate from the rest of psychology, the vast amount of which is pretend science) has shown that experimenters bring biases into an experiment - and sometimes we need "double blind" experiments.

In the last 200 years, science has undergone a staggering amount of introspection, self-awareness, self-criticism, revision, and rejuvenation - unlike the stagnant, authoritative and yet puerile ramblings of the pseudosciences and philosophers, science has progressed, even though much of the progress is understanding its own limitations.