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NatureGround >> The Myths of Science


5/1/07 2:31 PM
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Rastus
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Edited: 01-May-07
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jbc, "A wholesale extension of existing theories or expectations to incorporate a field which we do not yet have the capacity to understand (or experiment with) is something different. If you want to call that 'faith', then that's fine with me." Are you referring to string theory here? "The delineation may be personal and arbitrary. If you want to consider the acceptance of things, which in my opinion can be 'proven' to exist like atoms, as faith, then perhaps we differ on that count." "Atoms" is a word, and they exist only in our minds. What is observed is a very significant overlap between what this model predicts under certain conditions and what is experimentally verified. The difference sounds trivial, but it is not. For instance, what do you mean by "atom"? The term used to mean an indivisible unit, which it most certainly is not. Are you meaning a collection of neutrons, protons and electrons? Well, what about the quarks that compose the nuclear entities? Are you considering the electrons as filling orbitals? Do you see what I mean? "Atom" is just a word that evokes a comic-strip notion. It is NOT reality - what we bump into in the night.
5/1/07 2:32 PM
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Rastus
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kneeuppercut, "So you don't believe that things such as photons or gluons or neutrinos exist?" I think my response above should answer your question.
5/1/07 2:33 PM
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Rastus
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NWS, "W & Z bosons." Thanks. I was too lazy to look it up. "Intuition is a result of habit. Practice." That is true as well just as "common sense" is the result of experience, not intrinsic a-priori knowledge.
5/1/07 2:43 PM
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Entreri
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Edited: 01-May-07
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Scientific theories can be tested and refuted. Science evolves. Religion is dogma. Why=God. It is good for children or people with simple minds. With dogmatic belief in religion, human knowledge and minds would evolve very little. Example: Taliban and Afghanistan.
5/1/07 2:55 PM
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Rastus
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"Scientific theories can be tested and refuted." Really? You don't know much about String Theory, do you?
5/1/07 2:58 PM
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Entreri
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Edited: 01-May-07
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My son, I will refer you to the portal of god: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_theory Read and learn.
5/1/07 3:08 PM
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hekster
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Edited: 01-May-07
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String Theory is a Theory in name only. It is funny to see Rastus make the sort of argument that I having been making against his threads for yrs. Buddhism must be affecting your brain. ;)
5/1/07 3:36 PM
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jbc
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Rastus: I see where you're trying to go with the definition of 'atom', and I can see your point to a certain extent. The thing is, our current inability to define the behaviour (or existence) of subatomic particles does not invalidate the understanding of the chemical behaviour of atoms and molecules. Regardless of subject (or concept), there will always be something more to learn. You could push the analogous argument on any subject, and will invariably reach a point where our understanding is limited. Still, in the lab, I have an amine reacting with an organic acid under conditions which I expect an amide to form. These functional groups (comprised of atoms) behave in certain predictable ways, and, for this experiment, that's as far as the understanding needs to go. I'm not trying to be contrarian. At the same time, I don't buy the notion that our inability to explain everything means that we can explain nothing.
5/1/07 4:09 PM
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Rastus
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"It is funny to see Rastus make the sort of argument that I having been making against his threads for yrs." You will never defeat me in any thread, Hekster, no matter how far back in time, no matter how far into the vistas of illimitable futures your mind can see, no matter how hard you try. In every one, EVERY ONE...I will own you. As far as you saying this "back then", and my disputing the point, I have but three letters: el oh and el
5/1/07 4:10 PM
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Rastus
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"String Theory is a Theory in name only." Surprisingly, you are correct here. There is no coherent string theory. It's a class of hypotheses able to be fine tuned to fit your universe of choice.
5/1/07 4:18 PM
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Rastus
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Rastus: "The thing is, our current inability to define the behaviour (or existence) of subatomic particles does not invalidate the understanding of the chemical behaviour of atoms and molecules." I don't wish to imply that I'm invalidating science. Let me put it succinctly: Science has no opinion on "the truth", as the term is colloquially understood. Science is, above all, pragmatic. e.g. Suppose, for the sake of argument, ID is actually true! Science would still have no use for it because there's nothing to do with the hypothesis. Science is the "let's pretend the universe is like this and see where that gets us" crowd, and rightfully so. If I find a more useful heuristic, I'll let you know! "Regardless of subject (or concept), there will always be something more to learn. You could push the analogous argument on any subject, and will invariably reach a point where our understanding is limited." That's not what the TOE enthusiasts will tell you! But I agree with your statement. "As the circle of light increases, so does the circumference of darkness around it" as the good professor Einstein put it. "Still, in the lab, I have an amine reacting with an organic acid under conditions which I expect an amide to form. These functional groups (comprised of atoms) behave in certain predictable ways, and, for this experiment, that's as far as the understanding needs to go." Absolutely, just as in physics we didn't need more than Newton to put a man on the moon. The model used was sufficient. "I'm not trying to be contrarian. At the same time, I don't buy the notion that our inability to explain everything means that we can explain nothing. " But what is really explained? Perhaps the strongest statement could be "under these conditions, you will find that x behaves as if y were true."
5/1/07 4:18 PM
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Rastus
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A little understanding of the point would suit you...Hidan-san.
5/1/07 4:46 PM
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Rastus
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That's a good point, thirdleg. He's one of the groveling worshipers and resorts to hysterical parody, rather than rational discourse.
5/1/07 4:53 PM
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Fraser
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"Thirdleg raises a good point. The average person does have to take what scientists say on faith. That faith, however, is a more reasonable faith than assuming claims of the supernatural are true from the 'church authorities'." This is what I have been trying to figure out how to express all morning. Having faith in the claims of science requires a quantitatively AND qualitatively different faith than believing in the claims of religion.
5/1/07 5:29 PM
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Fraser
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1) The claims of the scientific community are based on observed natural phenomena and testable experiments, while those of the church can be based on (and often require) untestable and unobservable concepts. 2) The claims of the scientific community can be verified by experimentation. This may not be practical in all areas for the layperson, but it is theoretically possible at the least for any proponent of science to personally verify the conclusions of any established scientific claim. Religious claims are not limited this way. 3) The claims of the scientific community are subject to peer review and confirmation through experimentation. Religious claims need not and often can not be verified this way. Basically, there is a difference between having faith that scientists aren't lying or incompetent when they claim that a phenomenon based on observed and verified experimentation exists, and having faith that the church isn't lying or incompetent when it claims that a phenomenon without any empirical evidence whatsoever, and that hasn't been or CAN NOT be verified, exists.
5/1/07 5:46 PM
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Rastus
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Well written, Fraser. Also, in general the claims of scientists are rigorously attempted to be proven false by knowledgeable people in that field via peer review and competitive interests. The claims of religionists are rigorously rationalized and often blindly supported by their community. It's considered bad manners and unseemly to challenge a man's faith within the religious community, whereas it's considered sloppy and unprofessional not to challenge any scientific claim. The result of that type of scrutiny is, with science, a solid body of data. So often with "faith matters", we get a hodgepodge of unreliable, untestable, contradictory personal views unfit for rational inquiry. Exceptions may occur, but not many.
5/1/07 5:51 PM
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Alabama Man
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Rastus, I am with you. IMO, string theory killed theoretical physics. Also LIGO is sucking up all the funding for General Relativity research. Guys who do fundamental research in GR and who have PhDs from Cal Tech are working in bum fuck Alabama because there is no money for theory. I felt sort of cheated because I got into math/physics thinking that if I understood a lot of difficult ideas, I would better understand the world and "uncover truth," etc. Later (like 2 years ago), I came to the conclusion that we are just discovering clever tricks to manipulate nature. Then I switched to math--it's worse IMO. A giant circle jerk. So now I am getting a second masters and am going to be done with all of it.
5/1/07 5:54 PM
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Fraser
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Simplified version: The claims of the church and the claims of science are qualitatively different. Therefore the kind of faith required to believe in the claims of the two groups is also qualitatively different.
5/1/07 5:56 PM
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Rastus
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I think it's the process that produces the qualitative differences, Fraser, not the claims. The realities of the process mean that certain claims will seldom be attempted. an exception is ID, which was shot down because the process renders ID useless.
5/1/07 6:08 PM
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Fraser
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That's true. I was just trying to use an encompassing word for the beliefs that they require from adherents.
5/1/07 6:10 PM
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Jonwell
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Told ya, nerd riot.
5/1/07 6:52 PM
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Fraser
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"Fraser, you're responding to an argument that I'm not making. Go back and read the thread." Ugh, the whole thing? Can't you just explain it to me? It seems to me that you are saying that laypeople who don't personally know scientific concepts to be true use faith to support their views. Is that right? I am saying that the faith they use to support their views is different from religious faith, because the former is faith in testable and verified ideas- while the latter is faith in ideas that are untestable and unverifiable. Even though the layperson did not personally test or verify these ideas, their faith in the veracity of scientific ideas is more rational than belief in religious ideas because scientific ideas are at least testable, and there is plenty of reason to have faith that they have been verified.
5/1/07 7:03 PM
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Fraser
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"How does the lay person know? Remember, the key fact is that they don't!" Few laypeople, especially those that ever express any opinion on the subject, are so ignorant that they are completely unfamiliar with science and have never performed any kind of experiment themselves. Their support for scientific concepts may be faith-based, but it has to be tempered with some kind of actual empirical experience with how science exists as an ideal, and how it is practiced. You can't compare faith in the fact that science is based on real experiments with faith in the existence of God. A more fair comparison would be comparing faith in the fact that science is based on real experiments with the faith that all the other Christians aren't secretly Muslims, and they are just tricking you.
5/1/07 7:31 PM
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Lofland
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ttt
5/1/07 8:25 PM
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Fraser
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"It's seems that when people start talking about faith in a religious sense they try to find the worst examples possible, set them as typical of all adherents, and argue against them as they were standard." If by "silly" you mean totally empirically untestable, how about the existence of God? That's a pretty standard belief of mainstream theistic religions. "But when it comes to scientific faith, which can be every bit as silly, misguided, and even potentially harmful, we're expected to view everything calling itself science as if it were part of some infallible, omnicompetent life force created in a perfect vacuum outside of the realm of problems constant in human affairs." No, I don't think anyone on this thread is saying that. "It's a practical "worst" of one thing vs a nonsense, reified, conceptual "best" of another. Bad science is still science the same way that bad religion is still considered religion." And therefore science and religion are equated in your mind? Too bad your premises are irrational strawmen. I don't know if you are presenting an argument or just ranting, but either way what you are saying is illogical and unsubstantiated.

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