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Why the dishonesty related to science?


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Initial post: Apr 9, 2011 11:52:50 AM PDT
John Smith says:
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Posted on Apr 9, 2011 3:39:30 PM PDT
I am not sure the claims you are making about science are even remotely true. Just because one person responds to you in a specific way does not give you license to make a hasty generalization across an entire field. Though the response you seem to have gotten might be related to comments like this:

"It is the "or not" that I believe hinders progress with such theories as evolution and big bang from being tested in any real sense as is true of other areas of the sciences. Neither big bang, nor evolution theories have any real substantive contribution to knowledge, because they are both cardinally and situationally contingent to a degree that precludes making a substantive evaluation of truth."

This is completely false about evolution and the big bang. While the Big Bang may not be a fully developed model and does have some problems you cannot compare it with something like Evolution, which is a quite complete and a very very important model for how things are done. Then again, I don't think people have a very clear idea of what a model is or what it means. You may not have a good idea of these things and that is why you may get the responses you do.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2011 3:58:23 PM PDT
<<Theory is one thing, but all a theory says is "It is possible that my idea is true." [i.e. a theory doesn't involve] the next step and prove by empirical means (testing, and so forth) whether this thing you think is true or not.>>

False. A theory is thoroughly tested and broadly explanatory, by definition.

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<<It is the "or not" that I believe hinders progress with such theories as evolution and big bang from being tested in any real sense as is true of other areas of the sciences. Neither big bang, nor evolution theories have any real substantive contribution to knowledge, because they are both cardinally and situationally contingent to a degree that precludes making a substantive evaluation of truth.>>

False. The big bang and evolutionary theories are evaluated like *many other* sciences -- the historical kind of sciences. You must be unaware of these to claim the big bang and evolution are unique?

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<<What is it about science that makes the person involved feel they must give the impression of knowing everything?>>

What is it about science denial that makes the person involved (inadvertently) give the impression of knowing little?

Both questions are bass-ackwards. To the extent your question is valid, people who want to know everything might have a tendency to go into science. They do end up learning many things, but may be know-it-alls prone to overreach anyway. To the extent my question is valid, people who want to make up knowledge on the spot have a tendency to deny science. They do end up contriving plausible BS, but will be contriving BS nonetheless.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2011 8:56:56 PM PDT
TN says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2011 9:10:06 PM PDT
Actually, John Smith, astronomers and astrophysicists do know the age of the moon.

If you would study radiometric dating you would know this. Lead, Pb, has three isotopes. Pb 204, Pb 206 and Pb 207.

Pb 204 is primordial from the formation of the solar system. The other two isotopes are generated by the decay of Uranium.

Go do some studying of this method and then come back with your misplaced notion that we don't know the age of the moon.

Not only do we know the age, we know how it formed. It's called the big splash.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2011 9:14:03 PM PDT
Papawaron says:
TN says:
<<Evolution, which is a quite complete and a very very important model for how things are done.>>

If we did know how things are done [quite completely], great, could we duplicate some macro-evolution? Or geneticists would rather do gene splicing get it over with.

Yes. TN. we do understand enough about evolution to replicate it. It's called selective breeding and people have been doing it successfully for about ten thousand years.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2011 10:06:43 PM PDT
<<If we did know how things are done [quite completely], great, could we duplicate some macro-evolution? Or geneticists would rather do gene splicing get it over with.>>

Of course... ever heard of a domesticated animal?

Posted on Apr 10, 2011 2:45:39 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 10, 2011 2:49:33 AM PDT
DRM says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2011 7:43:40 AM PDT
Mr. Gerling,

Yours: "Not only do we know the age, we know how it formed."

Mine: I'm an amateur astronomer currently reading "Ancient Earth, Ancient Skies: The Age of Earth and its Cosmic Surroundings" so I generally agree with your comments.

Please allow me to suggest that we can "fry other fish" as well if we acknowledge that most of what "we know" is the consensus of scientists' support of particular hypotheses. The on-going discussion of science, its trust that human knowledge (and there is no other kind) is always partial and subject to change given new data, is one of the great strengths of science. We should not shy away from the fact that Evolution, and every other scientific "fact," is simply a "theory." Then we need to teach others the scientific meaning of that term and how science knowledge is not merely a guess or a hunch or an accepted opinion among specialists.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2011 12:10:52 PM PDT
John Smith says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2011 12:14:17 PM PDT
John Smith says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2011 12:28:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 2, 2011 10:55:06 AM PDT
John Smith says:
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Posted on Apr 11, 2011 12:33:14 PM PDT
John Smith says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2011 1:01:21 PM PDT
John Smith says:
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Posted on Apr 11, 2011 1:11:02 PM PDT
John Smith says:
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Posted on Apr 11, 2011 1:21:29 PM PDT
The dishonesty related to science is special pleading by people who refuse to play by the rules of science. In the past, this has included most cranks, including the psychiatrist Immanuel Velikovsky who thought he knew better than tens of thousands of astronomers and physicists, archaeologists and geologists, even though when he tried to publish scientific papers, he showed that he didn't even understand that the atmosphere mixes (something modern CO2-caused warming deniers also usually don't understand), and even though his main theory called for an electric potential for the sun of 10 quintillion volts. People who liked how Velikovsky seemed to validate the Old Testament trashed people like Carl Sagan for refuting that. More dishonesty in science comes from anti-vaccine hucksters like the thoroughly discredited Andrew Wakefield, or from creation "scientists" who made the (Duane) Gish Gallop famous - trying to settle scientific questions with 1- or 2-hour debates filled with hundreds of claims, or from the proponents of "intelligent design" who were shown in court to be simply retooling old creation science materials, and who have never produced any contributions to science. Part of the dishonesty "in" science comes from people who attack science due to a lack of education and a surplus of belief in what they want to believe. Terms like "Darwinism" or "CO2 is plant food!" or "green our vaccines!" are giveaways that someone is repeating slogans, not lab results.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2011 1:38:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 11, 2011 2:17:37 PM PDT
Strictly speaking, I did answer your question, even to the point of accepting its dubious premises. People who are attracted to the power of knowledge go and acquire that knowledge; one example of this is people becoming scientists. The fact that they learn many facts doesn't mean they always shed their propensity for being knowitalls. (Although for many people, higher-level science training can in fact strip this tendency.) But how broadly applicable and/or useful is this pattern? Generally not much, I don't think. It doesn't excuse a person from acknowledging science and dismissing the whole enterprise as merely arrogant, power-hungry, or dishonest.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2011 2:18:08 PM PDT
Mr. Smith,

Yours: "In fact, if you look at the evidence closely enough, the big bang heory falls apart on its primary assumption."

Mine: It seems to me that there's some confusion in this statement. One major _observation_ leading to the Big Bang Theory is the fact that all known galaxies in the visible universe are receding from each other. The current state of gravitic energy is irrelevant to that observation. The Theory simply "plays the film (of cosmic expansion) backward," which seems logical enough. An hypothesis derived from the Theory is that the Universe was once much hotter and more compact. This predicts that some "left-over" energy might still be around from that period; such energy is observed in the form of the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation. None of this has anything to do with the assumption that we see all of the matter in the universe. You've got the cart much before the horse on this one.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2011 2:40:20 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 11, 2011 2:41:12 PM PDT
CFM:

There's considerably stronger evidence for the Big Bang. Two key pieces of evidence are:

1. The spectrum of the cosmic background radiation is a blackbody spectrum, i.e, the spectrum of an object in thermal equilibrium. This implies that the early universe was small enough that all parts were in direct physical contact, which is required for thermal equilibrium to occur.

2. If one looks at the kinds of nuclear reactions that would have occurred early in the Big Bang, one predicts production of specific ratios of light elements, i.e., hydrogen, deuterium, helium-3, helium-4, and lithium. These ratios have been borne out by observation.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2011 3:49:11 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 11, 2011 5:00:46 PM PDT
arpard fazakas,

Thank you for the additional observations that support hypotheses derived from Big Bang and, therefore, the Big Bang Theory itself. These observations, also, do not depend on whether we see all of the matter of the universe.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2011 5:38:14 PM PDT
John Smith: <<Are you saying that neither are contingent to the degree that they are nonrepeatable? If so, how?>>

I really don't know what you're driving at here. First off Evolution IS repeatable, that's already been observed. If the evolutionary process did not repeat over time we may not exist under these conditions, but observed science suggests otherwise. It may not compete in terms of predictive nature like some Physics theories, but that doesn't make it completely wrong. I'm also not saying there are NO unknowns in the field of Evolution, if that were true then why major in it? If you have these massive problems with Evolution, why aren't you on a campaign to overturn Gravitation? We know less about that, but I don't hear people going on campaigns to have THAT removed from school curriculum or attempt to say it's just a "matter of opinion".

The Big Bang is not a fully working model yet and to level the criticism you do at it is ridiculous to me. Whatever issues you have with it do not change facts such as observed background radiation. Are you saying that we should not study this subject and become interested in explaining observed phenomenon? That's what a lot of the anti-science people in here sound like to me. Seriously, what is YOUR solution to these problems??

Posted on Apr 12, 2011 2:48:46 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 12, 2011 2:52:46 AM PDT
Jack Shandy says:
Anyone care to explain to me what the term 'gravitic energy' is supposed to mean? In my studying of relativity I have as of yet never come across this term. I did encounter this gem though, with googling:

"In his ultimate form, Grand King Ghidorah is able to breathe devastating bolts of gravitic energy from each of his three heads. He is able to fly, and also travel through space by encasing himself within extracted life essenses and hurtling through the void like a meteor."

But seriously, the 'energy of the gravitational field' is rather complex subject matter, and a statement that "there's not enough of it" for whatever purpose, is just meaningless without a very detailed justification. So I dare ya..

Here's a taste of the subject:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_energy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landau-Lifshitz_pseudotensor

Also, don't forget to read this one:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_in_general_relativity

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2011 6:39:37 AM PDT
CFM:

Correct. In fact, we can only see a portion of the Universe as a whole, namely that portion which is inside or on the surface of our past light cone. Any part of the Universe which is far enough away and moving away from us fast enough that light can never reach us from there will never be observable to us.

Posted on Apr 12, 2011 7:08:13 AM PDT
barbW says:
If we don't know how old the Moon is, how come everything else we know that's related to the age of the Moon points to the fact that we do know?

Science isn't solely about some smart guy thinking he's found an explanation. Science is mostly about checking and collating and reconciling future discoveries and data. It's self-correcting. And it's proven the effectiveness of this over and over down through history.

In my field, we 'reconcile' all the relevant meteorological theories every 6 hours. That's what keeps it interesting for me..

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2011 7:48:50 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 12, 2011 7:56:31 AM PDT
arpard fazakas,

I've recently read the datum that the real universe has been calculated as something like 10^40,000 (an inconceivably large number) times the size of the visible universe. Had you heard of that outcome? If so, have you any notion how that calculation was made, or upon what assumptions it depends?
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Initial post:  Apr 9, 2011
Latest post:  Jul 11, 2013

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