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What makes you a scientist? Degree? Job?

by xfinite
Tags: degree, makes, scientist
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xfinite
#1
Jul20-11, 03:48 PM
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Hello everyone! I hope this is the correct spot for this question. Basically I was wondering who exactly can call themselves a scientist? I have several co-workers who have degrees in Environmental Science. We do not work in that field though. And during several debates - one in which they were arguing that Einstein hadn't "proved" anything and that it was all "theory". I was trying to explain to them that "theory" within science is not the same as in lay conversation. I explained that "theorys" explain facts. For example gravity is a fact. And the "theory of gravity" explains that fact. They responded to me - "Well, I'm a scientist. I have a degree in Environmental Science. And I'm telling you you're incorrect".

I do not have a degree in any science so basically they feel as though my understanding of anything scientific is meaningless because I have no credentials.

But back to my question. Does having a degree in Biology or Physics or Chemistry...etc....make you a scientist? Or does it simply say you have the credentials to get a job in that field of science? I'm not even sure that an Environmental Science degree is a "real" science degree actually. But I was hoping someone could shed some light on this for me!
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QuarkCharmer
#2
Jul20-11, 04:45 PM
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Your co-workers must be recent graduates. "Scientist" is a job title. Theories are verified and accepted to be true. They are using the same fallacy that theists frequently use. Correct me if I am wrong, because I don't have one of those fancy "science" degrees yet either.
Andre
#3
Jul20-11, 04:57 PM
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Scientists are supposed to use clean proper logic.

Quote Quote by xfinite View Post
... "Well, I'm a scientist. I have a degree in Environmental Science. And I'm telling you you're incorrect"...
That's the most basic form of the appeal from autority

Obviously the use of fallacies is not very scientific.

russ_watters
#4
Jul20-11, 06:46 PM
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What makes you a scientist? Degree? Job?

Quote Quote by xfinite View Post
Hello everyone! I hope this is the correct spot for this question. Basically I was wondering who exactly can call themselves a scientist? I have several co-workers who have degrees in Environmental Science. We do not work in that field though. And during several debates - one in which they were arguing that Einstein hadn't "proved" anything and that it was all "theory". I was trying to explain to them that "theory" within science is not the same as in lay conversation. I explained that "theorys" explain facts.
For people with science type degrees, they know disturbingly little about science!
They responded to me - "Well, I'm a scientist. I have a degree in Environmental Science. And I'm telling you you're incorrect".
I would say that a degree means that at one time, they trained to be scientists but are not currently scientists. "Scientist", "engineer", "drunken bastard" - these all describe what you are doing right now.
xfinite
#5
Jul20-11, 07:36 PM
P: 6
Quote Quote by QuarkCharmer View Post
Your co-workers must be recent graduates. "Scientist" is a job title. Theories are verified and accepted to be true. They are using the same fallacy that theists frequently use. Correct me if I am wrong, because I don't have one of those fancy "science" degrees yet either.
You would think right? But both of them graduated about 10 years ago. I didn't want to insult them by comparing them to creationist but their arguments were exactly the same that I've seen from the religious side! They both also told me that humans stopped evolving. I explained to them that there are recent adaptations that prove thats not true. Like lactose tolerance. They laughed and said that of course small changes occur but humans won't change into a new species like we did in the past. I wasn't sure how to respond to that other then to explain to them that evolution doesn't work that way. Species don't just leap frog from one thing to the next over night. Its hard to argue though when you've got a room full of people who don't give your opinion any weight because you lack a degree. I checked out the curriculum of environmental science and you do have to take Biology 1 and 2. So I just don't understand how college graduates with passing grades don't understand the very basics of what these theories say....
xfinite
#6
Jul20-11, 07:41 PM
P: 6
Quote Quote by Andre View Post
Scientists are supposed to use clean proper logic.



That's the most basic form of the appeal from autority

Obviously the use of fallacies is not very scientific.
Thank you for that link! I wish I knew about that and was able to explain it during my debate with them! I need to read up on debating tactics, fallacies..etc. I KNOW something is wrong when I'm debating people when they say certain things....like they aren't using logic. But I'm not currently smart enough to point it out clearly. I tend to get emotional quickly in these situations because of this. It's so frustrating!
Jimmy Snyder
#7
Jul20-11, 08:30 PM
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Quote Quote by xfinite View Post
they were arguing that Einstein hadn't "proved" anything
This is simply not true as you can see for yourself by reading his 1905 paper "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies". This is the famous special theory of relativity. In it he sets out to prove that the luminiferous ether is an unnecessary assumption. At the bottom of the second paragraph you will find:

Quote Quote by A. Einstein
The introduction of a “luminiferous ether” will prove to be superfluous inasmuch as the view here to be developed will not require an “absolutely stationary space” provided with special properties, nor assign a velocity-vector to a point of the empty space in which electromagnetic processes take place.
On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies

In the paper, he introduces the two postulates of special relativity and uses them successfully to prove his point. What he does not prove, for obvious reasons, are the postulates themselves. They are the theory.
Evo
#8
Jul20-11, 08:34 PM
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Quote Quote by xfinite View Post
But back to my question. Does having a degree in Biology or Physics or Chemistry...etc....make you a scientist?
No.

I know people with degrees in the sciences and then I know scientists.

To me, scientists are the ones that are actively working in growing/advancing scientific knowledge.
Pengwuino
#9
Jul20-11, 10:32 PM
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A high school teacher with a BS in physics from Caltech and a PhD in Theoretical Physics from MIT is still a high school teacher.

And to add to what people say..... it sounds like your co-workers degrees aren't worth the paper they're printed on. What they said is almost an insult to their field.
rootX
#10
Jul20-11, 10:41 PM
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Quote Quote by Pengwuino View Post
A high school teacher with a BS in physics from Caltech and a PhD in Theoretical Physics from MIT is still a high school teacher.

And to add to what people say..... it sounds like your co-workers degrees aren't worth the paper they're printed on. What they said is almost an insult to their field.
But you don't get Phd just for taking some graduate courses.

However, I think one need to be in active in the R&D field to continue claiming the title of Scientist.
Pythagorean
#11
Jul21-11, 01:19 AM
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Active research on grant money, publishing.
Ryan_m_b
#12
Jul21-11, 03:45 AM
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Having a degree doesn't make you a scientist. To be a scientist you have to employ the scientific method to research and publish your findings. And if I were you I'd buy your friends a book along the lines of "Scientific Method for Dummies".
Jimmy Snyder
#13
Jul21-11, 04:02 AM
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A scientist is someone with some education who agrees with you.
Pengwuino
#14
Jul21-11, 04:46 AM
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Quote Quote by ryan_m_b View Post
Having a degree doesn't make you a scientist. To be a scientist you have to employ the scientific method to research and publish your findings. And if I were you I'd buy your friends a book along the lines of "Scientific Method for Dummies".
Perfect!

Quote Quote by Jimmy Snyder View Post
A scientist is someone with some education who agrees with you.
Agreed.
Jimmy Snyder
#15
Jul21-11, 05:12 AM
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Quote Quote by Pengwuino View Post
Agreed.
For example, Pengwuino is a scientist.
Ryan_m_b
#16
Jul21-11, 06:45 AM
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Jimmy is forgetting to mention that aside from agreeing the person must be wearing a lab coat and staring intently at something, preferably some sort of lab equipment.

http://bit.ly/rjAKBr
http://bit.ly/pyy8qS
http://bit.ly/nWs883
http://bit.ly/oKnw7M
http://bit.ly/n1KprI
http://bit.ly/qvnHWY
Jimmy Snyder
#17
Jul21-11, 06:53 AM
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Quote Quote by ryan_m_b View Post
Now that's a scientist. She can call the theory of relativity a theory any time she wants. And have no fear, I will agree with her.
Ryan_m_b
#18
Jul21-11, 07:05 AM
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Quote Quote by Jimmy Snyder View Post
Now that's a scientist. She can call the theory of relativity a theory any time she wants. And have no fear, I will agree with her.
Now this woman clearly isn't a scientist; http://bit.ly/pc8ty0 if she were she would know that you should have a notepad with you when looking down a microscope.


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