Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

General question about debunking

  1. to try to validate it

    1 vote(s)
    11.1%
  2. to try to invalidate it

    8 vote(s)
    88.9%
  1. Nov 10, 2003 #1
    if a theory is bunk, does that mean it's true or false?

    if bunk=true then to debunk is to disprove or argue that it is false.

    if bunk=false then to debunk is to prove or argue that it is true.

    or this this one of those oddities of english where bunk=debunk (kinda like regardless=irregardless)?

    what sense does debunk mean in this forum?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 10, 2003 #2

    enigma

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    If something is bunk, that means it's garbage.

    To debunk something means 'exposing the garbage'
     
  4. Nov 10, 2003 #3

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    So you're a Seinfeld fan then, phoenix? English doesn't necessarily make sense. Another example: flammable=inflammable.
     
  5. Nov 10, 2003 #4
    Bunk means nonsence. If a theory is bunk, it means it is nonsence.
    Bunk = true? Bunk!
    The prefix "de-" means, in general, "to do the opposite of" (deactivate, for example) or "to remove" (debug, for example). Therefore, to debunk something means, literally, to remove the nonsence from it, much as Mentat suggested.

    The Webster's characterizes the common usage of debunk as: "to expose the sham or falseness of"
    I hope you can see that this is not at all the case with "debunk". "Debunk" is a verb. "Bunk" as a verb, only refers to occupying a bunk or place to sleep, or to provide a bunk or place to sleep. You can't "bunk" something in the sence of rendering it nonsensical.
    I have always assumed people were using it as the webster's defines it: "to expose the sham or falseness of". People have discussed the word "Skeptic" alot, but as far as I know no one has brought up the word "debunk" for discussion before this.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2003
  6. Nov 10, 2003 #5
    yeah i liked seinfeld a bit more when i saw one of the discussions i had with someone appear on it regarding bunk/debunk.
     
  7. Nov 10, 2003 #6
    I do not like the wording of this poll, I find it confusing and want a recall.

    LOL, I crack myself up.
     
  8. Nov 11, 2003 #7

    Bystander

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Or, along the lines z-shoe mentions, "debunk: remove 'bunk'." In most cases, this leaves very little of the original "bunk" theory; and, if a theory no longer even exists, that probably falls into the category of "false."
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: General question about debunking
  1. Debunking Debunkers (Replies: 27)

  2. Debunking the debunkers (Replies: 24)

Loading...