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Author Topic:   The Common Ancestor?
Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 1440 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008

Message 166 of 341 (587236)
10-17-2010 10:00 PM
Reply to: Message 162 by barbara
10-17-2010 10:50 AM

Re: Information rides again
barbara writes:

Science creates the dialect used in terminology and obviously have the power to change or alter the definition as they see fit whenever they want to.

Right. This is an indispensable feature of scientific discourse. A lot of explanation in science has to deal with things and ideas that are being explained for the first time, and to discuss new things and ideas coherently, you must either invent new words, or use existing words in "specialized" ways. (A common strategy in biology is to use various kinds of abbreviations for phrasal expressions.)

An equally indispensable feature of this kind of usage is that the person who is doing the explaining always provides the specific definition for the specialized terms that are needed in a given discussion; you'll always see statements near the beginning of an article, lecture or book chapter like: "In what follows, I use the term ... to mean..."; "For purposes of this discussion, we introduce the term ... to mean..."; and similar expressions.

When it's done correctly, the specialized terms are always defined with reference to objective observables, or to unambiguous logical distinctions, so that the audience (readers or listeners) can reasonably confirm that they correctly understand the intended meaning of the writer/speaker, and these kinds of "ad hoc" meaning/usage are strictly adhered to throughout the discussion. (When it's not done correctly, peer review can be counted on to spot the errors, and will not fail to expose them.)

autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 162 by barbara, posted 10-17-2010 10:50 AM barbara has not yet responded

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