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Author Topic:   Scientific terms and terminology - defining and using
CK
Member (Idle past 2293 days)
Posts: 3221
Joined: 07-04-2004


Message 1 of 5 (228369)
08-01-2005 8:31 AM


In another thread - a debate with faith over the use of the word "proof" (Faith feels that science is something that proves things) led to the following remark:

quote:
I'm using ordinary everyday language which is quite understandable and a lot clearer

So - this is very simple, when we have a discussion of the sciences between people who already have a basic knowledge of the area - is it better to use everyday langauge because it's a "lot clearer" than the specific terminology that we current do*?

Faith suggests that if people get stuck that

quote:
You can figure out what I'm saying if you are willing to, could ask for clarification if you don't.

Are we a bit too strict asking people to use fact, law, theory as they are used in the sciences? What's wrong with us all just defining the terms ourselves?


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by mick, posted 08-02-2005 7:32 PM CK has not yet responded
 Message 4 by Rahvin, posted 08-02-2005 7:53 PM CK has not yet responded

  
AdminSylas
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 5 (228744)
08-02-2005 8:35 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
mick
Member (Idle past 3151 days)
Posts: 913
Joined: 02-17-2005


Message 3 of 5 (228966)
08-02-2005 7:32 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by CK
08-01-2005 8:31 AM


Hi Charles,

The simplest solution is never to use the words "fact", "law" or "theory". I don't think that an understanding of science necessitates a detailed dissection of these terms. Science is very much a craft, and not so much a philosophical enterprise.

The communication problem is usually caused by those who wish their unsupported pet idea to have the status of "law", "axiom", "thesis", "valid hypothesis", or what have you. Discussions on EvC of the meanings of these terms are very often initiated by quacks who want to raise the status of their mental rambling by using supposedly rigorous terminology.

Personally I find it boring.

Mick

added in edit: That came out a bit wrong. What I mean to say is that terms like "proof", "hypothesis", "fact" etc. are best understood by people who have actually carried out some scientific endeavours. Ideally by profs who are nearing retirement age and want to look back over their achievements with a philosophical eye...

This message has been edited by mick, 08-02-2005 07:35 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by CK, posted 08-01-2005 8:31 AM CK has not yet responded

  
Rahvin
Member (Idle past 1352 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 4 of 5 (228968)
08-02-2005 7:53 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by CK
08-01-2005 8:31 AM


Are we a bit too strict asking people to use fact, law, theory as they are used in the sciences? What's wrong with us all just defining the terms ourselves?

Everyone in the US is taught the real definitions of "hypothesis," "law," "theory," "axiom," etc in high school (or, at least, they are supposed to be). The fact that the mass media uses them incorrectly and that some people have no willingness to learn the truth is not our fault.

If we all define the terms ourselves, we have the exact issues that have come up with Evolution, ID and Creationism. "If they are all just theories, then none is more valid than the others!" But we know that a true Scientific Theory is more than just somebody's random idea that explains some aspect of the world. We know that it's backed up with substantial evidence, has undergone peer review, etc., and is widely accepted by mainstream science.

The terms are easy to learn, and SHOULD have been learned by everyone here by now anyway. Anyone who chooses to argue from intentional ignorance and refuses to use the terms with their proper meanings should stay out of discussions of science.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by CK, posted 08-01-2005 8:31 AM CK has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by Theus, posted 08-13-2005 12:50 AM Rahvin has not yet responded

  
Theus
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 5 (232868)
08-13-2005 12:50 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Rahvin
08-02-2005 7:53 PM


The terms are easy to learn, and SHOULD have been learned by everyone here by now anyway. Anyone who chooses to argue from intentional ignorance and refuses to use the terms with their proper meanings should stay out of discussions of science.

Amen. The plus of scientific endevors is not just rigorous testing... it also lends itself to predictable models. What does evolution predict and what does creationism predict? At what point is it no longer an explanation and becomes a model?

Vale,
Theus


Veri Omni Veritas
This message is a reply to:
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