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Author Topic:   Helping a Friend about the Nature of Science
Member (Idle past 1517 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004

Message 5 of 41 (574586)
08-16-2010 7:18 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tram law
08-15-2010 12:53 PM

Hi Tram law and welcome to the fray.
Interesting problem. Don't know how accurate the diagnoses was, but I have had some experience with autistic children, and it can vary a lot. Some of it leads to black and white thinking.
I think it is wonderful that you want to help.
I also feel he does not even have a true understanding of how science works.
Because he feels that the way science works is that you do whatever you can to find something wrong with a scientific fact, and it could be any little thing wrong, then it calls into question the entire body of work. In other words science must be correct the first time and must be one hundred percent correct and if not then the entire body of work is wrong, period.
Try telling him that science does not have the ability to detect what is 100% true, that the best that can be accomplished is an approximation of the truth.
Consepts can be falsified, and in the process of falsifying the concepts that are wrong, the approximation of reality is refined.
An example to use is the age of the earth.
We don't know the exact age, but through the process of testing the ages of different bits of evidence our understanding of the true age of the earth has been refined. This is working from the present day back to the beginning of the earth, as the earth must logically be older than any evidence that has occurred on it (other than meteor deposits), such as lava flows or the ages of fossil life. This gives us a miniimum age.
We can also work from the age of the universe down to define an outer limit. This uses the ages of asteroids and other evidence from space that were involved with the formation of the solar system. This gives us a maximum age.
The true age would fall in between.
Once you establish how science approximates the truth, then we can move on to evolution.

we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.

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This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Tram law, posted 08-15-2010 12:53 PM Tram law has not replied

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