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understanding and using correct terminology

post #1 of 334
Thread Starter 
A major issue that keeps popping up again and again is that of people attempting to either solidify or invalidate an argument through the use of incorrect terminology. We've all seen this happen in politics (mission accomplished springs to mind there) but where we see it the most these days is with regard to evolution. UC Berkeley has gotten itself into a little bit of hot water for pointing this out on their web site and is currently being sued. So ridiculous.

Anyway, here's a choice quote from the site:

Quote:
Believe or accept
Do you believe in evolution? is a question often asked of biology teachers by their puzzled students. The answer is, No, I accept the fact that the Earth is very old and life has changed over billions of years because that is what the evidence tells us. Science is not about beliefit is about making inferences based on evidence.

http://evolution.berkeley.edu
http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosit...minology.shtml

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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post #2 of 334
I believe you may have a point there.
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We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
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post #3 of 334
Someone missed the part where the right wing has blatantly adopted postmodern interrogations of truth and fact.
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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post #4 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by midwinter
Someone missed the part where the right wing has blatantly adopted postmodern interrogations of truth and fact.

Well, not so much "interrogate" as "stuff into a trunk and dump the body off of the Jersey Turnpike".
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post #5 of 334
This was my point in the recent 'liberal v conservative' thread: one individual complained that the definition of 'liberal' in the dictionary contained 'loaded terms,' implying bias in the dictionary definition of the word.

The dictionary was wrong, you see.

The fact that science and definitions are being railled against, redefined to fit a political system is very, very frightening. It *IS* serious. It's the thin end of the wedge.
meh
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meh
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post #6 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by BR
A major issue that keeps popping up again and again is that of people attempting to either solidify or invalidate an argument through the use of incorrect terminology. We've all seen this happen in politics (mission accomplished springs to mind there) but where we see it the most these days is with regard to evolution. UC Berkeley has gotten itself into a little bit of hot water for pointing this out on their web site and is currently being sued. So ridiculous.

Anyway, here's a choice quote from the site:



http://evolution.berkeley.edu
http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosit...minology.shtml

The choice quote shows part of the problem. There are multiple definitions for the word fact. One is something demonstrated to have existed and another is something believed to be true or real. When you answer a question about belief using a word that has as part of its definition that it is something you believe to be true or real, then you get into problems.



A better phrasing for their own wordsmithing would be the following...

Quote:
No, I accept the evidence that the Earth is very old and life has changed over billions of years because that is what the evidence tells us. Science is not about beliefit is about making inferences based on evidence.

Let's look at the phrase when taking out the word fact and substituting the second definition.

Quote:
Believe or accept
Do you believe in evolution? is a question often asked of biology teachers by their puzzled students. The answer is, No, I accept the belief to be true or real that the Earth is very old and life has changed over billions of years because that is what the evidence tells us. Science is not about beliefit is about making inferences based on evidence.

The word evidence relates to forming a conclusion or something that is an outward sign. They shouldn't attempt to dismiss people for confusing say legal versus scientific definitions of words and then make the same mistakes themselves.

I think they should work on their own site a bit more.

Nick

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #7 of 334
I know that I have told this story many many times but:

When Knud Rasmussen was travelling with some eskimoes in canoes by the coast of Greenland and they were singing. At one point they were sailing under a large iceberg and they lowered their singing. Knud asked why they did that and they told him that they didn´t want to wake up the iceberg because then it would get mad at them and let itself fall down on the boats.

This is fact based knowledge, not because they believe in it. From the outside religion and science are not different on the "fact" and "believe" categories. Only when looking from the inside of one of the two fields is there a difference. Thats why ID and Creationism will loose the battle. They accept to play inside the field of science and with its rules (formulating hypotesis, tests etc.). The home team will always win.
"I reject your reality and substitute it with my own" - President Bush
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"I reject your reality and substitute it with my own" - President Bush
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post #8 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by Anders
The home team will always win.

Go, Team! (I got my glasses back!)
We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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post #9 of 334
In Part Three of his analysis of the debate between ID and Evolution, Scott Adams makes a very good point of what is at the heart of belief, inference, 'scientific fact', etc.
Quote:
Imagine that lightning suddenly carves into the side of the Washington Monument the words I am God. I created you. Darwin was a nut. And lets say there are hundreds of witnesses who all have video cameras and capture it from multiple angles.
Now imagine that the same phenomenon repeats every day for a month, each time on a different monument. Scientists study the phenomena and conclude that humans probably didnt cause it, but beyond that, there are no further scientific clues about how lighting could seem so directed.
If I crafted my thought experiment right, no one would have any idea how to devise a test that would confirm or exclude the possibility that God really did it. Hypothetically, being omnipotent and all, he would be capable of leaving no clues, other than signing his name. Therefore, any speculation as to the cause is not science.
Heres the question: Should teachers be allowed to tell science students about the lightning messages?

Smart guy.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #10 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
Go, Team! (I got my glasses back!)

Yes and now you must partake of Hassan's beer hat.

Nick

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #11 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by midwinter
Someone missed the part where the right wing has blatantly adopted postmodern interrogations of truth and fact.

As I have said elsewhere before, the death knell of anything philosophical theory is when it becomes part and parcel of the everyday mundane political discourse.

Good bye postmodernism! Hello, .
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"In a republic, voters may vote for the leaders they want, but they get the leaders they deserve."
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post #12 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
In Part Three of his analysis of the debate between ID and Evolution, Scott Adams makes a very good point of what is at the heart of belief, inference, 'scientific fact', etc.

Smart guy.

Smart enough to give me a new sig.

8)
Nick

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #13 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by trumptman
Smart enough to give me a new sig.

8)
Nick

Yeah. I liked that one too.

The guy (Scott Adams) is funny and seems to be right on the mark about how this "discussion" usually happens.
post #14 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
Yeah. I liked that one too.

The guy (Scott Adams) is funny and seems to be right on the mark about how this "discussion" usually happens.

This bit from the comments was quite funny and interesting as well.

Quote:
Let us consider the most common law of physics which is gravitational attraction. From Newton to Einstein, we have learned how the movement and dynamics of material objects are functioning, to a level that has allowed us to send men on the moon and to place satellites on orbit, which is quite amazing. Nevertheless, we dont yet have a clue on the true nature of gravitational attraction:

Q.: Why do objects fall on earth?

A.: Because they are attracted by the mass of earth

Q.: But why does the mass of earth attract them?

A.: (takes an AK47 and shots the questioner)

In other words, we can reach a very high level of knowledge about HOW things happen (or happened, or are going to happen) but in the mean time we have absolutely no idea of WHY they happen and, likely, we will never have. Tough to hear!

Nick

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #15 of 334
Quote:
Written by Scott Adams, then posted by dmz:
Heres the question: Should teachers be allowed to tell science students about the lightning messages?

If one takes all of the premises of the hypothetical situation into account as being true, sure, teach about the messages.

The moment ID proponents come close to anything as stunningly strange, spectacular, and difficult to explain as these hypothetical lightning messages, do let me know. In the meantime (and I say this not yet having read the rest of Part III myself) I certainly don't see from what was quoted above that Adams is making a good case for treating ID-as-it-stands-now as anything more than pseudoscience and a political tool for wedging religion into public school science classes.
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Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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Peter came out and gave us medals
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post #16 of 334
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by trumptman
The choice quote shows part of the problem. There are multiple definitions for the word fact. One is something demonstrated to have existed and another is something believed to be true or real. When you answer a question about belief using a word that has as part of its definition that it is something you believe to be true or real, then you get into problems.



A better phrasing for their own wordsmithing would be the following...



Let's look at the phrase when taking out the word fact and substituting the second definition.



The word evidence relates to forming a conclusion or something that is an outward sign. They shouldn't attempt to dismiss people for confusing say legal versus scientific definitions of words and then make the same mistakes themselves.

I think they should work on their own site a bit more.

Nick

Right but in a thread discussing using and understanding correct terminology obtusely using the incorrect terminology in an attempt to prove a point seems a little....hilarious?

Let's try this with another word. There are multiple definitions for the word theory. One is something tested and modified for decades or centuries and another refers to hunches or guesses. The problem only occurs when you use the incorrect definition that does not fit with the subject at hand.

This is why a fellow soccer teammate isn't called racist when nobody brought the pennies and suggested we play whites versus colors (clearly he's referring to shirts). Nobody seriously thought to intentionally use the wrong definition (only in jest).

It doesn't seem all that profound to me to make a point using incorrect terminology in a thread about incorrect terminology.

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
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post #17 of 334
I don't get this thread. Someone explain it to me please.
post #18 of 334
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by trumptman
Q.: But why does the mass of earth attract them?

A.: (takes an AK47 and shots the questioner)

My professor seemed to answer that question just fine. Centuries of research have demonstrated that massive bodies attract each other. The theory of relativity that describes several nuances of gravitation continues to have its predictions tested and confirmed. As to why the laws of the universe are the laws of the universe, aside from because we observe it to be so we have no answer at this time.

I see nothing difficult about that question at all.

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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post #19 of 334
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
I don't get this thread. Someone explain it to me please.

Any subject matter has its associated terminology. Incorrectly using alternative definitions that do not have anything to do with the subject matter in an attempt to prove or disprove something about the subject matter is intentionally misleading and in my opinion rather dirty.

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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post #20 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
I don't get this thread. Someone explain it to me please.

thread: n., Fine cord of a fibrous material, such as cotton or flax, made of two or more filaments twisted together and used in needlework and the weaving of cloth.
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Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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post #21 of 334
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
thread: n., Fine cord of a fibrous material, such as cotton or flax, made of two or more filaments twisted together and used in needlework and the weaving of cloth.

Ahah! That proves that AppleInsider is a pawn of the Indonesian child labor industry!

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
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post #22 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
thread: n., Fine cord of a fibrous material, such as cotton or flax, made of two or more filaments twisted together and used in needlework and the weaving of cloth.

Well that makes more sense to me than BR's explanation.
post #23 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by BR
Right but in a thread discussing using and understanding correct terminology obtusely using the incorrect terminology in an attempt to prove a point seems a little....hilarious?

I'm not using the incorrect terminology.

First and foremost I don't want to turn this into an evolution debate. My wordsmithing did not attempt to disprove evolution or argue evolution is not true.

The first definition relates to something that is shown to have existed. Anyone who makes a claim against evolution is going to correctly note that fossils prove certain animals and plants existed, but do not show the actual process of evolution. The evolution between the forms is an inference. Since they do not desire to infer that, they infer some other process and say that you are using the second definition.

The point is that no matter whether you support or do not support evolution, using the word fact allows it to be opened up to what you either infer or what you believe.

Using the word evidence shifts it to something outside of a belief or judgement. Accepting evidence isn't calling someone a liar nor does it allow them to get into discussing if you are one.

Nick

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #24 of 334
Well hell, if I can do "thought experiments" that take no mind of reality then it's easy to show any system of thought is incomplete.

All the Christians in America wake up tomorrow morning with the good news branded on their hearts: they're wrong, Buddha is the man. Fevered prayer yields the same result. Christianity has no way of "knowing" if this is the ranting of a false God, one of Satan's tricks, or a test.

Therefore, Christianity fails some obscure test I just made up, score one for my side.

What's that, it doesn't work that way? Correct. There is no trick to creating "paradox" if you commingle made up random stuff with the workings of a particular system of thought. You can make it look like you are saying something coherent by using the "if......then" structure, but if the terms are from entirely different systems you get gibberish for your result. Hence the topic of the thread.

"If 2+2=5, then a cardboard box is the president of the United States. Therefore, democracy doesn't work".
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post #25 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by addabox
"If 2+2=5, then a cardboard box is the president of the United States. Therefore, democracy doesn't work".

I'm a roll of duct tape, and I vote.
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post #26 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by trumptman
I'm not using the incorrect terminology.

First and foremost I don't want to turn this into an evolution debate. My wordsmithing did not attempt to disprove evolution or argue evolution is not true.

The first definition relates to something that is shown to have existed. Anyone who makes a claim against evolution is going to correctly note that fossils prove certain animals and plants existed, but do not show the actual process of evolution. The evolution between the forms is an inference. Since they do not desire to infer that, they infer some other process and say that you are using the second definition.

The point is that no matter whether you support or do not support evolution, using the word fact allows it to be opened up to what you either infer or what you believe.

Using the word evidence shifts it to something outside of a belief or judgement. Accepting evidence isn't calling someone a liar nor does it allow them to get into discussing if you are one.

Nick

Uh huh. And I am obliged to "infer" that stars are formed by the slow accretion of interstellar matter, so it is perfectly valid to also "infer" that they are made out of turtles, since neither us have recourse to direct evidence.

This kind of abuse of a word like "infer", and what it means when used in the context of the scientific method as opposed to being pressed into service to mean something like "speculate randomly" is precisely what this thread is about.
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post #27 of 334
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by trumptman
I'm not using the incorrect terminology.

First and foremost I don't want to turn this into an evolution debate. My wordsmithing did not attempt to disprove evolution or argue evolution is not true.

The first definition relates to something that is shown to have existed. Anyone who makes a claim against evolution is going to correctly note that fossils prove certain animals and plants existed, but do not show the actual process of evolution. The evolution between the forms is an inference. Since they do not desire to infer that, they infer some other process and say that you are using the second definition.

The point is that no matter whether you support or do not support evolution, using the word fact allows it to be opened up to what you either infer or what you believe.

Using the word evidence shifts it to something outside of a belief or judgement. Accepting evidence isn't calling someone a liar nor does it allow them to get into discussing if you are one.

Nick

I won't disagree that using the word evidence makes it a more airtight argument but using the wrong definition of fact to disprove something in a thread talking about not using incorrect definitions (related to the specific subject at hand).

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
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post #28 of 334
Quote:
In other words, we can reach a very high level of knowledge about HOW things happen (or happened, or are going to happen) but in the mean time we have absolutely no idea of WHY they happen and, likely, we will never have. Tough to hear!

Another bit of category confusion, apparently intended to show that science can never provide a complete description of the world.

That may yet prove to be true, but to imagine that "don't have a good underlying theory of gravity, might never" makes that case is silly.
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post #29 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by BR
My professor seemed to answer that question just fine. Centuries of research have demonstrated that massive bodies attract each other. The theory of relativity that describes several nuances of gravitation continues to have its predictions tested and confirmed. As to why the laws of the universe are the laws of the universe, aside from because we observe it to be so we have no answer at this time.

I see nothing difficult about that question at all.

You see nothing difficult about the question because you simply dismissed it. It would be akin to someone stating that it is "because God did it" and telling you to go away.

Now the point that DMZ brought up via the Adam's blog is whether the science teacher would be allowed to tell the students about the lightening strikes. In the current scientific climate, the answer would be no.

There was a recent case where intelligent design was not attempted to be taught and evolution not taught or even taught in conjunction. Rather the school board wanted a sticker in the book basically noting that evolution was a theory. This was ruled against as an endorsement of religion.

The conclusion from that case and from the initial language I wordsmithed up from your link is that asking WHY when science cannot answer the WHY is an endorsement of religion. That was the point with fact. If you infer this and they infer that, you basically have to shut down the ability to infer by other parties because if they disagree with you, then we are on to the second definition.

The case as reported on by CNN

There actually has been a naturalistic explanation put forward for the nature of gravitational constants and so many other items that "just happen to be that way" within our universe. It is the multiverse theory.

One of the criticisms of that theory and also relating back to the actual first point of this thread is the philsophy of science and the wording that is used when explaining science should always carry the concept of falsifiability within them. Evolution is science not just because it can be proven true, but also because it is open to being proven false.

For whatever reason, human nature, the subject being to intimate because it deals with our origins, being closely associated with naturalism, you name it, many folks no longer care to label evolution as having falsifiability. This has become a synonym for "putting God in the classroom" or some code for a religious attack. Good science dictates that evolution is a great theory because everyone is trying to prove it wrong and have not done so yet. When you declare that questioning evolution or attempting to prove it wrong are not permissable, you are opening yourself up to bad science and the same type of thinking that is practiced by the claimed theocrats.

Nick

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #30 of 334
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by trumptman
You see nothing difficult about the question because you simply dismissed it. It would be akin to someone stating that it is "because God did it" and telling you to go away.

I disagree. It is an important question but one that has little chance to be answered in any meaningful way any time soon. In my response I admit that it is an unknown and can't be answered as such. Saying "God did it" isn't claiming it to be unknown and is providing an answer.

How is saying no answer exists telling you to go away? Is that not that honesty and integrity that people demand?

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
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post #31 of 334
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by trumptman
There was a recent case where intelligent design was not attempted to be taught and evolution not taught or even taught in conjunction. Rather the school board wanted a sticker in the book basically noting that evolution was a theory. This was ruled against as an endorsement of religion.

Well, gee, what's the common person who doesn't know the scientific definition of theory going to think? Again this goes to the basis of this whole thread! Fine, you want a dumbass sticker? Have your sticker but also include on the sticker in equally large print the associated scientific definition.

Come on, I know you are a smart guy. The people who want that sticker are clearly counting on people misusing the word theory as a "hunch" or "guess." Can't you at least admit that, all other things aside?

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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post #32 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by addabox
Uh huh. And I am obliged to "infer" that stars are formed by the slow accretion of interstellar matter, so it is perfectly valid to also "infer" that they are made out of turtles, since neither us have recourse to direct evidence.

This kind of abuse of a word like "infer", and what it means when used in the context of the scientific method as opposed to being pressed into service to mean something like "speculate randomly" is precisely what this thread is about.

The problem is that on cosmological issues and also many times with evolution, there is no scientific method that can be applied. You are moving beyond the realm of the observable.

Nick

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #33 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by trumptman
The first definition relates to something that is shown to have existed. Anyone who makes a claim against evolution is going to correctly note that fossils prove certain animals and plants existed, but do not show the actual process of evolution. The evolution between the forms is an inference.

When one watches a movie, one "only" sees what happens every 1/24 sec. (or 1/30 or 1/25 on video). Special effects, film editing, and deliberate tampering aside, one "infers" that there is a continuity of motion between the frames. If you see Bob standing in New York in frame 01:03:23 of a film, and he's still standing in New York in frame 01:04:00, one can draw a damn strong inference that Bob was in New York the whole time in between the two frames and that he didn't pop into Boston or Paris for a few milliseconds in between.

For all practical uses of the word "fact", there are some inferences strong enough to warrant being called facts.

Since this thread revolves around precise and correct use of terminology, there are at least two senses of the word "evolution" to consider. One is purely historical, and has nothing to do with the "how" of what happens between fossils in the fossil record. That meaning of evolution covers the basic time line of life on this planet, running over a course of billions of years, showing many species to have come and gone, showing changes over time with much of that change being gradual shifts in the forms of living creatures, with many species appearing in the fossil record looking like variations upon previously existing species.

The evidence for this historical sense of the word evolution is strong enough to be worthy of the term "fact".
Quote:
Since they do not desire to infer that, they infer some other process and say that you are using the second definition.

Imperfect though it may be at times, science has a track record as being the best method we humans have found to factor what one desires to infer out of the equation.
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post #34 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by trumptman
The problem is that on cosmological issues and also many times with evolution, there is no scientific method that can be applied. You are moving beyond the realm of the observable.

Nick

I don't think that's true. shetline I'm sure would have a word to say about this, but you come up with your theory about the motion of the planets, for example, and then you make observations and see if your theory is consistent with your observations. Same with evolution.
post #35 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by BR
I disagree. It is an important question but one that has little chance to be answered in any meaningful way any time soon. In my response I admit that it is an unknown and can't be answered as such. Saying "God did it" isn't claiming it to be unknown and is providing an answer.

How is saying no answer exists telling you to go away? Is that not that honesty and integrity that people demand?

Because the reality is that there is an answer and it just isn't known yet.

There is a big difference between saying an answer exists but is not yet known and saying that there is no answer. The latter is again, akin to saying "God made it so and that is all you need to know."

The second part is that in many of these matters we are going to move beyond observable and into realms where science might have to share dominion with other fields. For science to dismiss those fields claiming they aren't using the rules of science when science itself has to leave them behind as well is just not acceptable.

Nick

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #36 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by BR
Well, gee, what's the common person who doesn't know the scientific definition of theory going to think? Again this goes to the basis of this whole thread! Fine, you want a dumbass sticker? Have your sticker but also include on the sticker in equally large print the associated scientific definition.

Come on, I know you are a smart guy. The people who want that sticker are clearly counting on people misusing the word theory as a "hunch" or "guess." Can't you at least admit that, all other things aside?

I don't know what the common person is going to think about the "dumbass sticker." I would hope that the 180+ days of science education that year would improve their understanding of the matter.

Thank you for knowing I am a smart guy and you are probably right about the intentions of the folks behind the sticker. However we can't stop making factual statements just because don't like the way they are said or intent of the people making them. I'm not going to stop calling myself a man or my wife a woman simply because some parties who use those words might think she belongs in the kitchen or that I am a potential rapist. Screw the intent.

Nick

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #37 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by trumptman
Screw the intent.

In the case of the evolution disclaimer stickers, however, the intent behind the stickers is the ONLY reason for the stickers to exist.

It is a purely factual and true statement that all students make mistakes. Would you support a teacher singling out individual students and making only those students wear a sticker or badge that says, "This student makes mistakes"? How about, "You can't trust what this student says"?
We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
Reply
We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
Reply
post #38 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by trumptman
The problem is that on cosmological issues and also many times with evolution, there is no scientific method that can be applied. You are moving beyond the realm of the observable.

Nick

Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
I don't think that's true. shetline I'm sure would have a word to say about this, but you come up with your theory about the motion of the planets, for example, and then you make observations and see if your theory is consistent with your observations. Same with evolution.

Science moves "beyond the realm of the observable" all the time. Sometimes theory runs ahead of our power to observe and test, sometimes we are obliged to use indirect evidence to build a picture of how the universe works. There are many instances of theory being subsequently confirmed by more refined methods of testing.

At any rate, the way science "infers" within the context of an internally consistent model for how things work should never be confused with "science can't nail it down 100% so it is equally valid to offer up pretty much anything", which is the heart of the terminology confusion.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #39 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
When one watches a movie, one "only" sees what happens every 1/24 sec. (or 1/30 or 1/25 on video). Special effects, film editing, and deliberate tampering aside, one "infers" that there is a continuity of motion between the frames. If you see Bob standing in New York in frame 01:03:23 of a film, and he's still standing in New York in frame 01:04:00, one can draw a damn strong inference that Bob was in New York the whole time in between the two frames and that he didn't pop into Boston or Paris for a few milliseconds in between.

I think the parties we are discussing would claim that until you can swing the camera around you don't know if you are looking at New York or a set pretending to be New York. When asking if they can control or move the camera, sciencist are saying "fuck you" this is our camera.

Quote:
For all practical uses of the word "fact", there are some inferences strong enough to warrant being called facts.

In matters that are predictable you probably have a point. However the power of evolution to explain has not moved to the point of predictability yet. There are many large discussions within evolution involving matters that have not been settled.

Quote:
Since this thread revolves around precise and correct use of terminology, there are at least two senses of the word "evolution" to consider. One is purely historical, and has nothing to do with the "how" of what happens between fossils in the fossil record. That meaning of evolution covers the basic time line of life on this planet, running over a course of billions of years, showing many species to have come and gone, showing changes over time with much of that change being gradual shifts in the forms of living creatures, with many species appearing in the fossil record looking like variations upon previously existing species.

The evidence for this historical sense of the word evolution is strong enough to be worthy of the term "fact".

Ah, but now we are moving into what I have discussed in other responses. We are talking about areas where science has to share dominion. You are not talking about scientific fact in this matter. You are talking about historical fact and they are very different. I can factually prove that a man named George Washington existed. I don't have to devise a test with a predictable result that can be replicated in a lab to "prove" George Washington is not a theory.

Now the other matters regarding George Washington, was he a good man, did he lie frequently, etc. Those "facts" move to the second definition I brought up. I can claim it factual that George Washington was a good man for helping found this nation. Other will claim I've got my facts wrong on that matter because no good man would keep other men as slaves, etc. We are in the realm of the observable and historical but also of beliefs in something being true as well.

We do have a fossil record. But the record has not given us an ability to create a predictive theory of evolution that we can empirically test. You are taking historical and using it to substitute for scientific. I've not tried to argue evolution is wrong for this. I've simply stated that they should insure they are not mixing up their own language on those matters. Using historical fact to claim something is a predictive scientific fact is exactly the sort of muddying that should be guarded against.

Quote:
Imperfect though it may be at times, science has a track record as being the best method we humans have found to factor what one desires to infer out of the equation.

Desires are not predictive. Science is sought when you want a result that is predictive and can be duplicated, tested and reviewed. Saying something is beyond questioning moves it out of the realm of science. It is moving it into the realm of desire to see the world and our origins in a certain manner. Evolution does not need protection. Good science will always stand on its own.

Nick

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #40 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
I don't think that's true. shetline I'm sure would have a word to say about this, but you come up with your theory about the motion of the planets, for example, and then you make observations and see if your theory is consistent with your observations. Same with evolution.

Evolution is not predictive in that manner. If it were then people wouldn't feel the need to protect it. Instead they would let the modern man turn on his flashlight and let the shayman pray for his god to send down lightening to make a fire.

Nick

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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