INFORMATION

This website uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some of these cookies are essential to make our site work and others help us to improve by giving us some insight into how the site is being used. For further information, see our Privacy Policy. Continuing to use this website is acceptance of these cookies.

Facts and Theories

Any topic related to science can be discussed here.
Message
Author
Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Facts and Theories

#1 Post by Nick » May 10th, 2011, 5:10 pm

I came across this blog entry about facts and theories in science, which I thought was quite good, so thought I'd share it with you. :)

http://pseudoastro.wordpress.com/2008/1 ... y-and-law/

User avatar
animist
Posts: 6522
Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm

Re: Facts and Theories

#2 Post by animist » May 11th, 2011, 8:22 pm

that is very interesting and instructive (and it reminds me of how I anyway got into a bit of a pickle in trying to discuss moral "facts", if any); it is especially clever to point out that our colloquial views of the status of the four types of statement are the near reverse of the scientific one. The "moral" here seems to be, while the words "true" or "false" could probably be applied in principle to all four types of statement, there are no absolutely certain statements in science. Or am I confusing things again?

User avatar
Sel
Posts: 811
Joined: January 3rd, 2011, 3:53 pm

Re: Facts and Theories

#3 Post by Sel » May 11th, 2011, 8:51 pm

Thanks Nick. That is a clear explanation for those who are always telling me that "evolution is just a theory - they are just guessing." I have run into this quite frequently here in the Bible Belt.
"The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge." Bertrand Russell

dasha
Posts: 2
Joined: May 19th, 2011, 2:10 pm

Re: Facts and Theories

#4 Post by dasha » May 22nd, 2011, 2:38 am

Oh, I despair of it all -- after both learning there's a bible belt in Canada (we always hope you're so much better than we are) and reading a clear, fairly complete explanation of the terms and their uses (but I can't give people the url, as there are too many large, complicated words, like colloquial -- and worse, once we're talking science -- that are outside the vocabulary cap most Americans who make that "just a theory" comment can understand.) I had a 20 year old just last week tell me that Darwin's theory of evolution was wrong. He knew all the buzzwords from the intelligent design side (even multi-syllabic ones, although I'm not certain he understood them) and was sublimely confident in his opinion.

We do our best to provide the information, but they really don't intend to read it.

Dasha

User avatar
animist
Posts: 6522
Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm

Re: Facts and Theories

#5 Post by animist » May 22nd, 2011, 7:34 pm

I'm curious what the Canadian Bible Belt is; I don't think there is such in the UK, though there may be a Koran constellation formed by various major conurbations. Dasha, welcome to TH, and I wonder whether you could develop a strategy to undermine this superficial confidence in the person you mention: maybe on the basis of Occam's Razor and the fact that science continually solves problems previously thought to be incapable of solution

User avatar
Emma Woolgatherer
Posts: 2976
Joined: February 27th, 2008, 12:17 pm

Re: Facts and Theories

#6 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » May 23rd, 2011, 3:55 pm

Hello, Dasha! Great to see you here!

I gather that the Canadian Bible Belt isn't really a belt. According to the Wikipedia entry, "the term is also sometimes used to describe several disparate regions which have a higher than average level of church attendance. These include the majority of rural southern Alberta and Saskatchewan, parts of southern Manitoba, the rural and more traditional parts of the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia and the Saint John River Valley of New Brunswick". Not sure whereabouts Sel is living. But we had another visitor to Think Humanism who had lived in Alberta, but had left "to escape the bass ackwards mindsets over there" (see this thread).

I was similarly rather saddened to read that the Netherlands has a Bible Belt, or as they say over there, De Bijbelgordel.

And there's a Bible Belt of sorts in Northern Ireland, of course. We had a Think Humanism visitor a couple of years ago who lived there. See this thread. She was from Ballymena, which is apparently known as the buckle of Northern Ireland's Bible Belt. I don't think there's a Bible Belt anywhere else in the UK, fortunately. But according to this map, Milton Keynes (red splodge northwest of London) might qualify as the buckle in the Heathen Belt.

Emma

ludite
Posts: 603
Joined: April 4th, 2010, 8:06 pm

Re: Facts and Theories

#7 Post by ludite » May 23rd, 2011, 4:42 pm

Just a silly thought whose trousers are the bible belts holding up

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 24067
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Facts and Theories

#8 Post by Alan H » May 23rd, 2011, 5:25 pm

ludite wrote:Just a silly thought whose trousers are the bible belts holding up
Or not, as the case may be.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Sel
Posts: 811
Joined: January 3rd, 2011, 3:53 pm

Re: Facts and Theories

#9 Post by Sel » May 23rd, 2011, 5:32 pm

I am in Alberta. This Bible Belt is very serious stuff. A few weeks ago I attended a lecture at the Rocky Mountain Calvary Tabernacle titled "Why Genesis is true - the Proof". By the end, my head hurt from trying not to jump up and yell at the standing room only crowd to wake up. The minister told them to be sure to remind their children that their teachers lie to them constantly.

At another lecture by a Tyrrell Museum paleontologist, I learned that Alberta scores about the same as the US in general when polled about acceptance of the Theory of Evolution. Of course the US splits greatly between the North and the South. The following poll does not show Canada and I have not been able to find the required resource. I will keep looking.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/di ... 89x5015035
"The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge." Bertrand Russell

User avatar
Sel
Posts: 811
Joined: January 3rd, 2011, 3:53 pm

Re: Facts and Theories

#10 Post by Sel » May 23rd, 2011, 5:43 pm

Let me add that the latest Angus Reid Poll in 2010 shows 61% of Canadians accepting evolution - Great Britain 68%. Alberta shows only 50% accepting evolution.
"The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge." Bertrand Russell

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Facts and Theories

#11 Post by Dave B » May 23rd, 2011, 6:37 pm

In your link to the religious density in England, Emma, I was intrigued by that little tongue of red that extrudes from Bristol. Be interesting to look into that. That a city have a religious "character", or a heathen one for that matter, I can understand, but a little strip of land like that?
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

dasha
Posts: 2
Joined: May 19th, 2011, 2:10 pm

Re: Facts and Theories

#12 Post by dasha » May 29th, 2011, 1:45 pm

Confidence that arises out of ignorance and moral certitude is hard to shake, and I only saw the kid for one class over the semester. I'm hoping that by assigning the need to learn the definitions of scientific theory and reliable source, and stressing the need to at least look behind the name or site for political agenda, a seed may take root in some of the students, maybe even this guy, as otherwise he seemed reasonably intelligent. Next semester, I'm sure I'll have more like him.

Dasha

User avatar
robzed
Posts: 58
Joined: January 8th, 2009, 9:10 pm

Re: Facts and Theories

#13 Post by robzed » June 1st, 2011, 9:39 pm

dasha wrote:Confidence that arises out of ignorance [...] is hard to shake
and
dasha wrote:Confidence [...] arises out of ignorance
I like those.

User avatar
animist
Posts: 6522
Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm

Re: Facts and Theories

#14 Post by animist » June 1st, 2011, 11:45 pm

ludite wrote:Just a silly thought whose trousers are the bible belts holding up
no idea, but I bet they're holey :moon:

User avatar
animist
Posts: 6522
Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm

Re: Facts and Theories

#15 Post by animist » June 5th, 2011, 1:49 pm

this article covers the status of evolution as fact or theory, and of the nature of fact and faith

http://www.philosophynow.org/issue84/The_Facts_of_Life
Attachments
wilkinson.txt
(21.53 KiB) Downloaded 98 times

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Facts and Theories

#16 Post by Dave B » June 5th, 2011, 1:58 pm

Might be interesting to subscribers, animist, but . . . :wink:
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

User avatar
animist
Posts: 6522
Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm

Re: Facts and Theories

#17 Post by animist » June 5th, 2011, 2:00 pm

Dave B wrote:Might be interesting to subscribers, animist, but . . . :wink:
but? but? it it there now?

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Facts and Theories

#18 Post by Dave B » June 5th, 2011, 2:46 pm

Ah, got the attachment, is that the same as the link (to a subscriber only site)?

Later: hmm, does look interesting, I have a pile of once used paper so I will print it out and read at leisure (and comfort!).

Ta.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Facts and Theories

#19 Post by Nick » November 8th, 2011, 12:30 pm

The great thing about science, is that if the facts change, then so do the hypotheses, which are always open to challenge. We have recently seen this with the challenge to Relativity, though I'm inclined to think there is a problem with the measurements, rather than the theory.

It seems I am not alone. I could explain it to you, but.... (well, actually, I couldn't, so....) here is a particularly useful summary of the latest scientific thought on the matter, which even the most stupid of us should understand (once you get passed the title, that is...)

Here it is!

Fia
Posts: 5480
Joined: July 6th, 2007, 8:29 pm

Re: Facts and Theories

#20 Post by Fia » November 8th, 2011, 2:32 pm

:pointlaugh:

Post Reply