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SCIENCE: IT'S NOT JUST FOR BREAKFAST ANY MORE . . .

 
 
Setanta
 
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 10:58 am
It appears that science is getting to have a fairly elastic meaning. There is "creation science," its ugly stepchild intelligent design--and then we've got all these philosophy types around here for whom science means Dog only knows what.

The religionists have long peddled the line that "it's just a theory," as though theory can be defined by the word "guess." Now they're butchering the word science--and it isn't just the religionists either.

To me, science means a methodical review of data, applying a standard of replicability, falsifiability and predictive accuracy.

Anyone care to dissent from that? Anyone have what they think are better ways to define science?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 911 • Replies: 14
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rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 11:49 am
@Setanta,
To me the general use of the word Science, means both a collection of knowledge meeting certain criteria, and a behavioral methodology for evaluating information in many forms.

It's interesting that many people who want to attack Science also try to associate themselves to it. Creation Science, which is really just religion, added the word Science to its name. This is an ironic compliment to the true value and power of real Science, in that it both damages science and validates it at the same time.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 11:52 am
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:
Creation Science, which is really just religion, added the word Science to its name. This is an ironic compliment to the true value and power of real Science, in that it both damages science and validates it at the same time.


Very percipient of you, Roswell . . . i'd not thought of it in that light.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 12:18 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
Very percipient of you, Roswell . . . i'd not thought of it in that light.

Even stranger is PseudoScience, which is the name we give to a special form of bullsh*t which cloaks itself in the language and trappings of science in an attempt to gain validity through association.

We also see this with the use of the prefix Dr. when associated with health related bullsh*t. You can sell yourself as a Dr. of Naturopathic Medicine, which really means that you've had a certain number of years of schooling in some form of pseudoscience.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 01:35 pm
@rosborne979,
The only local "classical" radio station is commercial, so i hear their ads all the time. Lately, there have been a lot of "holistic" and "naturopathic" nostrum ads. It is incredible to me, not that people fall for that crap (there is no end to human credulity), but that they advertise themselves as scientific. One would think they'd be subject to regulations against false advertising. When i learned how so-called holistic medications are manufactured, i was just appalled. In fact, i might not have believed it if i had not seen film of workers beating heavy rubber bags of distilled water on a steel counter, which is how they are prepared. Just incredible . . .
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 09:14 pm
@Setanta,
what, pray tell, are they trying to do by beating rubber bags of distilled water on iron tables? I must have missed that testimonial.

I like when on Cable Tv, where Im sure the standards for ads is probably nonexistent, theyplay these ads that start with a premise like
"WHICH FAT BIRNER IOS THE BEST"

"OUR FAT BURNER IS BETTER THAN THEIRS BASED UPON THE REGIMEN OF DETAILED SCIENTIFIC TESTS WE PERFORM"

"OUR FAT BURNER CONTAINS (insert name of some tropical berry or fruit here) WHICH < AS WE ALL KNOW< IS NATURES MOST PERFECT FAT BURNER"


They have, just by repeating it enough, created the term"fatburner" which then emerges as an accepted term of science. IZZAT BULLSHEET OR WHAT?

Im sure taht, out there in tv land are a bunch of people like our own gungasnake who will buy stuff like that just because its repeated enough into their heads.

Another one is the magic "almost cold fusion" basis of these AMISH STOVES that, by the ads that are proferred us, must reach some new state of nuclear critical mass to create the amount of heat at vast energy savings on your electric bill.
Really dumass because the production and distribution of the ehat is merely an attempt at diffusion of radiant and convective heat based upon a series of resistance elements. AS someone said, there is no fuckin free lunch(especially with your electric bill)



Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 09:18 pm
@farmerman,
If I order an amish stove, is it delivered by buggy?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 10:08 pm
@farmerman,
Homeopathic "medicines" are based on the principle that "like cures like," and that toxic substances and poisons which induce a symptom in a healthy person will cure a condition causing the same symptoms in the patient. To prepare the "cure," minute quatities of the toxic substance or poison are put in a distilled water solution, and then, literally pounded. I had read about this, but didn't really believe that such an idiot process was really used until i saw film of it. Usually, the substance can be measured in parts per million in the distilled water, and part of the preparation is to literally pound the bag of distilled water containing the alleged cure. In the film that i saw, people in white lab coats, wearing white hair nets and face masks sat at a stainless steel table and pounded heavy rubber bags of the distilled water solution. I **** you not.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 10:11 pm
From the Wikipedia entry on Homeopathy:

Quote:
In producing “remedies” for diseases, homeopaths use a process called dynamisation or potentisation whereby a substance is diluted with alcohol or distilled water and then vigorously shaken by ten hard strikes against an elastic body in a process called succussion. Hahnemann advocated using substances which produce symptoms like those of the disease being treated, but found that material doses intensified the symptoms and exacerbated the condition, sometimes causing dangerous toxic reactions. He therefore specified that the substances be diluted. Hahnemann believed that the succussion activated the vital energy of the diluted substance and made it stronger. To facilitate succussion, Hahnemann had a saddle-maker construct a special wooden striking board covered in leather on one side and stuffed with horsehair. Insoluble solids, such as quartz and oyster shell, are diluted by grinding them with lactose (trituration).


Hahnemann began the homeopathy movement in the late 18th century.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 10:37 pm
@Setanta,
I know that a number of people believe in homeopathy but , as far as I know, theres never been any proof, predictions or repeptitive results that have been shown by the "like treats like" concept.
As you know, the AMish are huge believers in homeopathic meds and their country stores have whole sections of meds (mostly little droppewr bottles) that are bought up like candy by members of their community that show symptoms of almost any sickness. They usually wait until they see a real doctor.

Most of their extracts that Ive seen in the bottles are infusions that are made by steeping or (in some cases) distilling the herbal essences with alcohol or water. I was just not aware that there was a step that involved beating the infusion in leather or rubber bags.
The only thing I know about succussion is when youre a kid and youve been drinking so much soda you can shake up and down and you can her the soda slosh around in your stomach. I thought that succussion was shaking an area of the body and listening for the slosh.
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wayne
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 10:39 pm
@Setanta,
I've noticed this trend with lots of things in my lifetime. Certain groups have developed a tendency to redefine words and principles to suit their own ends.

I would suppose that this is nothing new, human nature doesn't change much.
I doubt that the proportion of persons buying into this is any greater than it was, say, in the 60's or 70's. The modern access to media is unprecedented, though, and makes this sort of foolishness all the more noticeable.

I always understood science to be defined by lots and lots of work, involving repeatable experiments and accumulation of definitive data.
I might go along with the science of religion, but not religion science of any sort.

That's about enough drivel outta me for now.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 10:55 pm
@wayne,
It is nice to see someone who knows how to spell the word drivel.

I think what strikes me (and this was a response to the homeopathy ads i've been hearing on the radio lately) is this appeal to science, and how ubiquitous it has become. By that, i'm referring to the last couple of centuries, although the trend is growing. Roswell's point is well taken--science has acheived a respectability of authority which attracts even those who actually despise science. The appeal of the authoritative integrity is too great to ignore.

Rastafaria science, anyone?
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 11:17 pm
@Setanta,
That makes good sense to me. I am seldom fooled by such claims, but I'm a skeptic at heart. I meet a lot of people who are willingly taken in by all sorts of false science though. It's like attaching the label" large" to a bag of chips.

When I was a kid ,I remember a book called the Foxfire book. It wasn't really homeopathic so much as folk remedy stuff. I would almost be inclined to believe there is some science to that, in a sort of primitive way.
This modern colon cleanse business seems to be quite different from all of that.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 11:27 pm
@wayne,
I think by the time it was finished, there were five or six Foxfire books. Home remedies and "old wives" remedies are not to be scoffed at just because of the source. Certainly there was a lot of nonsense, but there were also generations of clinical data (which is to say, observation by "herb doctors"). Digitalis was first described by an English doctor named Withering in the late 18th century, and he had it from an "old wife" who was accounted an herb doctor in her region, who used foxglove to treat certain heart conditions.

The important thing is that digitalis can be shown to have a beneficial therapeutic effect by applying the scientific method. White willow bark contains naturally occuring ASA. Beating a rubber bag on a table and saying the the distilled water molecules inside the bag will develop a "memory" of the toxin in minute dilution is another proposition altogether.
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 11:41 pm
@Setanta,
I am amazed at how much knowledge you can remember seemingly effortlessly, I gain a little greater perspective each time we chat.
My own memory is stubborn and erratic.
I new there were several books, we had the first two I think. I didn't really think about lore being clinical data before, you're right though.
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