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Misused terms which drive scientists nuts

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  • Misused terms which drive scientists nuts

    There's a great little web article about the top ten scientific terms that are generally misused by the general public.

    The words "Theory" and "Proof" are particular apropos the CreEvo and YE/Deep Time discussions.

    Here's the linky plus the excerpts on "Proof" and "Theory".

    http://io9.com/10-scientific-ideas-t...top-1591309822

    Originally posted by from above URL
    I would say that "proof" is the most widely misunderstood concept in all of science. It has a technical definition (a logical demonstration that certain conclusions follow from certain assumptions) that is strongly at odds with how it is used in casual conversation, which is closer to simply "strong evidence for something." There is a mismatch between how scientists talk and what people hear because scientists tend to have the stronger definition in mind. And by that definition, science never proves anything! So when we are asked "What is your proof that we evolved from other species?" or "Can you really prove that climate change is caused by human activity?" we tend to hem and haw rather than simply saying "Of course we can." The fact that science never really proves anything, but simply creates more and more reliable and comprehensive theories of the world that nevertheless are always subject to update and improvement, is one of the key aspects of why science is so successful.
    Originally posted by ibid
    Members of the general public (along with people with an ideological axe to grind) hear the word "theory" and equate it with "idea" or "supposition." We know better. Scientific theories are entire systems of testable ideas which are potentially refutable either by the evidence at hand or an experiment that somebody could perform. The best theories (in which I include special relativity, quantum mechanics, and evolution) have withstood a hundred years or more of challenges, either from people who want to prove themselves smarter than Einstein, or from people who don't like metaphysical challenges to their world view. Finally, theories are malleable, but not infinitely so. Theories can be found to be incomplete or wrong in some particular detail without the entire edifice being torn down. Evolution has, itself, adapted a lot over the years, but not so much that it wouldn't still be recognize it. The problem with the phrase "just a theory," is that it implies a real scientific theory is a small thing, and it isn't.

  • #2
    IIRC someone around here started a thread about what "theory" means in science

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
      IIRC someone around here started a thread about what "theory" means in science
      1) The link gives a really simple explanation of laypersons' misunderstandings.

      2) Repetition is an effective pedagogical tool.

      3) Imitation is the highest form of flattery.



      K54

      Comment


      • #4
        A really really snippet relevant to kind of garbage Jorge or Jack Chick spews is this:

        Originally posted by from OP link
        Finally, theories are malleable, but not infinitely so. Theories can be found to be incomplete or wrong in some particular detail without the entire edifice being torn down.
        K54

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by klaus54 View Post
          A really really snippet relevant to kind of garbage Jorge or Jack Chick spews is this:



          K54
          Seriously, there was absolutely no reason for you to even mention his name, except to try to bait him into responding to you. Can you at least ask yourself for what puropse you posted that?
          That's what
          - She

          Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
          - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

          I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
          Stephen R. Donaldson

          Comment


          • #6
            Who's to say that many scientists are not nuts to begin with?
            "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
              Who's to say that many scientists are not nuts to begin with?
              Sciency Fact: rogue tech employs nearly a quarter of all known mad scientists.

              I'm always still in trouble again

              "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
              "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Bill the Cat View Post
                Seriously, there was absolutely no reason for you to even mention his name, except to try to bait him into responding to you. Can you at least ask yourself for what puropse you posted that?
                Yes, to get him to respond. He's virtually the only YEC poster on NatSci. And he appears to misunderstand or twist the meanings of some these concepts either through ignorance or planned deception -- ESPECIALLY the malleability of science vis-a-vis his absolutely lead-pipe certain Genesis reading.

                Ok, even without the named Unnamed One, this topic is exceedingly apropos the science/pseudoscience issue that we TRY to discuss here.

                K54

                P.S. This is what I mean re: the malleability of science:

                bible-vs-evolution.jpg
                Last edited by klaus54; 06-18-2014, 03:08 PM. Reason: p.s. + highlighting

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by klaus54 View Post
                  Yes, to get him to respond.
                  Send him a PM inviting him to participate.

                  I'm always still in trouble again

                  "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                  "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Threads that are just about flaming or baiting another member will be tossed in the padded room.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bill the Cat View Post
                      Seriously, there was absolutely no reason for you to even mention his name, except to try to bait him into responding to you. Can you at least ask yourself for what puropse you posted that?
                      Yup, and then I get unfair-minded folk like Sparko blasting at me
                      when I fire back or do some cage-rattling of my own. Oh well ...

                      Hehehe check out what he got for his "baiting" ...

                      Jorge

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by klaus54 View Post
                        A really really snippet relevant to kind of garbage Jorge or Jack Chick spews is this:

                        K54
                        You've been putting some glue on Darwin's underwear and then sniffing deeply, haven't you.

                        Jorge

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jorge View Post
                          You've been putting some glue on Darwin's underwear and then sniffing deeply, haven't you.

                          Jorge
                          You are not helping things Jorge.
                          That's what
                          - She

                          Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
                          - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

                          I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
                          Stephen R. Donaldson

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bill the Cat View Post
                            You are not helping things Jorge.
                            He never does. He acts just like the people who pick on him.

                            The only reason I even care at this point is to keep Nat Sci from just becoming one huge bar fight.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                              He never does. He acts just like the people who pick on him.

                              The only reason I even care at this point is to keep Nat Sci from just becoming one huge bar fight.
                              Same here.
                              That's what
                              - She

                              Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
                              - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

                              I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
                              Stephen R. Donaldson

                              Comment

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