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Difficulty: Medium Wednesday, January 3, 2018

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CHAT LOG for Wednesday, January 3, 2018

12:03 am

12:17 am

12:50 am

Done, started over once
3:44 am

3:51 am

3:52 am

Is it fact or just anecdotally just well known that more crazy people come out to play when there's a full moon?
4:01 am

finally done the NYE expert with a few guesses, tricky puzzle
5:37 am

6:12 am

TallMike, why don't you argue your finer points of English quotations with Mr.O in Dutch? Oh, wait . . .
6:16 am

Phrenology? Phlogiston? Neither withstood scientific experimentation. Can't do any better than that? I would agree that there is often fake science - from climate deniers to anti vaccers - but that doesn't make their beliefs in such nonsensical propositions "science".
8:31 am

Mr. O, I like Dijkgraaf better than Tyson, and I think Tyson got it wrong. Science is not truth. It is a search for truth. And it is a very narrow search for it excludes everything that we cannot observe.

Some examples of science that is not true. Newton's theory of gravity is not true, it was replaced by Einstein's general theory of relativity. The standard model is not true, otherwise CERN and Fermilab could be shut down and everybody sent home. Dijkgraaf wouldn't need to be working on string theory. Einstein's general theory of relativity is not true, or there would be no search for a GUT.

Truth is eternal and does not change. Science is always changing.
8:33 am

Not bad for a medium -- ngng
8:40 am

Let me reword the Tyson quote: truth is true whether you believe in it or not. That is a tautology and begs the question of how do we discover truth. Tyson is perhaps claiming that science is the best, perhaps only method of determining truth. If so, I disagree totally.
9:10 am

drwho where do you find Tyson saying truth is true whether you believe in it or not? I see a website that says he said that but doesn't actually quote him in the article.
9:14 am

n Physics a "theory" is a mathematical model based on various assumptions and valid for a limited range of physical conditions. Newton's laws are a mathematical model that is limited to non-relativistic speeds and low gravitational fields, and within those limits it is exceedingly accurate. There is no sense in which Newton was proved wrong by Einstein. What relativity did is expand the range of physical conditions over which the theory applied. Special relativity extended the range to include high speeds, and general relativity extended it again to include high gravitational fields. Even GR is not applicable everywhere because it fails at singularities like the centre of black holes. We expect that some future theory (string theory?) will extend GR to describe places that are singular in GR.
9:14 am

9:16 am

P.S. There is no gravity, the Earth sucks.
9:29 am

Using Phrenology etc to discredit Science as a whole is like using Chiropractic to treat a broken bone.
9:51 am

Nice try, tuco. But we both know that I am not trying to discredit science as a whole, I am merely demonstrating the flaws in Tyson's statement that "The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it."

Why do you insist on inaccurately restating other people's arguments? I would guess it is because that's the only way you think you can win. Weird.
9:53 am

Two of my four historical examples of science getting it wrong have totally escaped the onslaught of criticism. Why are you all ignoring the aether theory and the straightness of light theory?
9:54 am

@Diane, if you believe MrOoijer has difficulty understanding English, why do you not provide Dutch translations of your own posts?

The principles of accuracy in English quotations apply equally to Dutch. Maybe more so. In my experience, Dutch people tend to excel at accurate communication in several languages.
10:27 am

Tuco, in order to understand Tyson, you need to define the word science. Was Tyson using it in the sense that the theories of science are true, or the scientific method is true?
10:28 am

You also need to define the word true. True and extremely accurate are not the same.
10:32 am

Either way Tyson meant the word science I disagree, unless he was using the word true in a very loose sense (e.g. extremely accurate).
10:41 am

We might also ask if Tyson's use of the word science includes psychology? If so then are we obligated to agree with the notion that a man can be a woman if really want to, just because some psychologist says so?
10:42 am

The Medium tricks were not very tricky, but there were several. 15.
10:54 am

Diane, I will proudly claim the title of climate denier. There is no such thing as climate!
11:34 am

I enjoy the apolitical nature of Sudoku.
11:43 am

I think "true" in science is defined as whichever speculative theory best fits the available data. As long as data is accurately recorded, it is factual. A fact does not depend on belief. My biggest beef with folks who dispute current scientific consensus (which will undoubtedly be modified as science continues to elucidate our world) is that they so often have no alternative theory that explains the data. So while Darwin might have got some things wrong, his theory of evolution is still the best model to explain speciation. What makes science so cool is that it is self-correcting in the long run.
11:45 am

(1) Modern science only exists since the first half of the 20th century. As Tuco pointed out, in this modern scientific thinking the theory is an imperfect model of reality, and if obervations do not correspond to the model, then the model is amended or even thrown out. No scientist will regard models as "the truth". It is the other way around: as the staistician George Box said- all models are wrong, but some are useful. And there is no longer any place for theories that are not based on observations, but only based on belief.

(2) Scientists are busy to try to break theories all the time. Or working on experiments that demonstrate an effect that the theory implies bit has never been observed before. It may take decades before such effects can be observed. General relativity implies the existance of gravitational waves, but it took a century before they were observed. Even the very weird effect of quantum coupling was shown recently to exist between 2 particles that were several kilometers apart, just as the theory predicted.

(3) Dr Who is wrong. Science does not exclude everything that we cannot observe. The above examples show how important it is for science to try to observe those objects that were never seen before. What he should have said is that science excludes everything that is in principle unobservable.

(Another example: we do not always know whether objects exist or not, because they cannot be observed directly. Dark Matter is still part of science.)

(4) The mentioned theories of phlogiston and aether would not be consiederd science these days because they postulated substances that were in principle unobservable. What you also forget to mentioned is that these theories were always considered questionable.

Phrenology is a type of pseudoscience such as homeopathy that has always been popular in Western Europe ("quackery"). It has few scientific followers but is popular among part of the public. There has always been enough evidence against these theories, but as they are rooted in other beliefs (religions, racial superiority) they are very hard to eradicate. Some regimes have misused this type of pseudoscience for their own purposes

(5) You refer to your own education as a basis of truth "the still widely taught "fact" that light travels in straight lines". It is of courese totally nonsense and irrelevant. The high school currciculum does not determine what the state of science is. They just decided that general relativity was too diffcicult for the currciculum.

(6) Your interpretation of good vs beautiful is hilarious. YOU believe that HE meant that... Beliefs are not arguments. Go ask him or find a quote where he actually said what you think he meant to say.

PS a scientist talks about good and bad science in the sense that bad science is research that is not done particular well, has numerous mistakes, makes questional assumptions etc. In other words: poor research. But you assume that bad science is pseudoscience which is not the case.
11:51 am

PS how can the question what is science be considered a political question? Why is this considered a political debate?

That is because you yoursekf are making everything policitical.
4:53 pm

UTH: its better than that, you can start reusing your calendars in 28 years. But after the year 2100 you will need a reset because 2100 is not a leap year even though it is a multiple of 4.
5:26 pm

Mr. O: I thought the Tyson quote raised a couple interesting philosophical questions. Is science really truth? Can the scientific method lead us to all truth?

Obviously, not everything dressed up as science today is true. In physics the situation is perhaps the best where theory and the "truth" only differ by exceedingly small amounts. But in some branches of science like meteorology there can be and are gross errors! And the situation is even worse in psychology.

As for the scientific method it starts with observation, it proceeds with making a model, and then concludes with experimentation to test the model. Then the cycle repeats. B.T.W. it is interesting that Newton's theory of gravity has only been tested in our solar system and slightly beyond (Voyager). It is still quite possible that the universal gravitational constant is not universal, maybe not even constant. We have only been attempting to measure it for the last 250 years or so.

As for dark matter, the only evidence for it is that our current observations of the universe do not match the predictions of the standard cosmological models. So far, there is no proof that dark matter exists, but if it is proved it will be by indirect observation, which is still observation. However, the Bible and many other religions posit the existence of beings without any physical presence, such as God and angels. The methods of science are inadequate to discover the such beings if they exist.
5:33 pm

If any of these ramblings have made anyone think a little deeper, here is a link to a seminal paper on the Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences by Eugene Wigner in 1960:\nama/reading/Wigner.html
5:35 pm

And for Mr. O and other Dijkgraaf fans here is a link to a lecture he gives on a related subject:\nLIVNI6VA
6:11 pm

Ionibelle: its not that people who don't believe Darwin don't have alternative explanations, you just never get to hear them. One place that is doing a good job of developing alternative theories of origins (based on a literal understanding of the word day in Genesis 1 and 2) is the Institute for Creation Research:
6:44 pm

8:06 pm

Didn't know we were arguing TallMike.
8:06 pm

Evidence for Dark Matter
Evidence for dark matter in spiral galaxies
In spiral galaxies like the Milky Way, we derive the gravitational mass from observing the motions of stars and gas clouds in the disk as they orbit the center. The rotation curve of a galaxy shows how the velocity of stars around the center varies as the distance from the center increases. Most spiral galaxies show flat rotation curves out as far as we can trace them, even where no more stars are visible. Therefore we conclude that the gravitational mass is more than 10 times more massive than the luminous mass.

Evidence for dark matter in clusters of galaxies
In clusters of galaxies, we derive the gravitational mass by measuring the orbital motions of the member galaxies. Since the galaxies in a cluster are roughly at the same distance from us, we can interpret any spread in their redshifts as orbital motion around the center of the cluster; it might amount to more than 1000 km/sec! By measuring the redshifts of lots of galaxies in the cluster, we can calculate the gravitational mass required to keep the galaxies in orbit (rather than escaping). This gravitational mass then can be compared to the luminous mass contributed by the galaxies plus that contributed by the Xray gas.
8:07 pm

9:34 pm

Since you brought it up... @TallMike said "some of us learned in school about classic scientific theories of the past which were later proved incorrect. They include phlogiston (from 1667), aether (the 1700s) phrenology (the 1800s), and the still widely taught "fact" that light travels in straight lines except when refracted." I would say that if the some of you who were taught this in a public school in the U.S. were done a disservice and must have been in a district where they teach intelligent design and creationism. The position stated above is clearly meant to cast doubt on all science as potentially bogus and the only thing you should rely on is a belief system.
11:26 pm

Did you miss reading comprehension?
11:49 pm

dr who. I have tried to read the other side's arguments, an older gentleman at church gave me Darwin's Black Box and I have also read some other articles. Some of the research was very interesting, but I didn't find any compelling argument that explained the existence of speciation. or actually any argument at all other than "this is really complex, therefore there must be a designer of this complexity." As a religious person, I find this level of materialism/reductionism in relation to the divine rather alarming.