I think popular science is ruining science

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  • #76
Aether
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tribdog said:
wow, I just don't have the energy or in inclination to do multiple quotes like all these posts. does that make my tiny comments look insignificant? Or is insignificance pretty much implied by my being the poster?
No, I'm still trying to figure out what you mean by a "white, dielectric material".
 
  • #77
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lol, thanks for asking.
that's what Penzias and Wilson called the pigeon droppings they thought was causing the noise that turned out to be the CBR

edit:see how well that fit in to the conversation, AND you learned something new and interesting. I keep telling everyone my posts aren't simply for my own entertainment. They have a value all their own.
 
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  • #78
Aether
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tribdog said:
lol, thanks for asking.
that's what Penzias and Wilson called the pigeon droppings they thought was causing the noise that turned out to be the CBR
Ohh, good one! :biggrin:
 
  • #79
SpaceTiger
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Aether said:
You said: And I said:Since then we have agreed (I think) that a "thorough understanding of mainstream theory...a degree and a good job"
Ok, first of all, that's an extremely unethical use of quotations because it implies I said that "a degree and a good job" are necessary to make a contribution. This is clearly not what I said or meant.

Second of all, no, I haven't agreed that people can make a meaningful contribution to a field without "a thorough understanding of mainstream theory". We already agreed that Penzias and Wilson would have to have obtained an understanding of Big Bang Theory in order to write the paper describing the meaning of their results. The observations in of themselves do not represent a development of cosmological theory. I thought we had already agreed on that as well.

If all you're saying is that people with no knowledge can make discoveries that end up being significant, then you're pushing a triviality. If that's all that is important to your argument, I think you're missing the point of this thread. A responsible (and, generally, a successful) scientist does not submit a theoretical paper without first understanding its context.
 
  • #80
Aether
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SpaceTiger said:
Ok, first of all, that's an extremely unethical use of quotations because it implies I said that "a degree and a good job" are necessary to make a contribution. This is clearly not what I said or meant.
How is it "extremely unethical" when the same quote in full context is presented immediately before? I'm merely trying to narrow down the precise issue that prompted my first post (and what I thought we were in agreement on) since you keep asking about that.

SpaceTiger said:
Second of all, no, I haven't agreed that people can make a meaningful contribution to a field without "a thorough understanding of mainstream theory". We already agreed that Penzias and Wilson would have to have obtained an understanding of Big Bang Theory in order to write the paper describing the meaning of their results. The observations in of themselves do not represent a development of cosmological theory. I thought we had already agreed on that as well.
Penzias & Wilson would have to have obtained something of an understanding of CMB, not including density perturbations, not nucleosynthesis, etc.. The material contained within (Dicke et al., 1965) summarizes everything that they would have needed to know in about four pages! That is the distinction that I am drawing between a "thorough" understanding of mainstream theory (e.g., all of cosmology), and a subset of all cosmology. I agree that they would have needed to have a thorough understanding of that subset of mainstream theory that they were presenting in a paper had they chosen to do so; but not a thorough understanding of all of mainstream cosmology, not a degree in cosmology, and not a job in cosmology. My apologies if I haven't made this clear before now.

SpaceTiger said:
If all you're saying is that people with no knowledge can make discoveries that end up being significant, then you're pushing a triviality. If that's all that is important to your argument, I think you're missing the point of this thread. A responsible (and, generally, a successful) scientist does not submit a theoretical paper without first understanding its context.
That is not all I am saying, but my point is a simple one that I think we can agree on.
 
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  • #81
Aether
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Pengwuino said:
Finally, one of my babies has grown into an adult thread :)
Indian_Head_320.jpg


We now return you to your regularly scheduled adult programming...
 
  • #82
Popular Science books are cheap, but textbooks are expensive.
Most pop sci books are around £10. The average textbook is around £30.
The best pop sci book I've seen (Roger Penrose's The Road To Reality) is something like £40.
I don't think that textbooks are greater than popular science though!
At school I'm being forced to "learn" things from textbooks that I learned from popular science books at about six years old.
And textbooks are strict, they tell you what to learn and how old you should be on learning it. You have a wide choice of popular science books to read at any age at all. I find it sick that I'm not supposed to know what quantum mechanics is.

And physics education is getting worse. Nowadays science in schools is getting vocational, based on "real life." Fair enough if you want to be a cook or something, but you need physics if you actually want to be a physicist!
Science education is not progressing as fast as the other subjects, it's sick, wrong, and evil.
Students should be taught physics, not how to keep your home warm.
 
  • #83
ZapperZ
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FeynmanMH42 said:
Popular Science books are cheap, but textbooks are expensive.
Most pop sci books are around £10. The average textbook is around £30.
The best pop sci book I've seen (Roger Penrose's The Road To Reality) is something like £40.
I don't think that textbooks are greater than popular science though!
At school I'm being forced to "learn" things from textbooks that I learned from popular science books at about six years old.
And textbooks are strict, they tell you what to learn and how old you should be on learning it. You have a wide choice of popular science books to read at any age at all. I find it sick that I'm not supposed to know what quantum mechanics is.
And physics education is getting worse. Nowadays science in schools is getting vocational, based on "real life." Fair enough if you want to be a cook or something, but you need physics if you actually want to be a physicist!
Science education is not progressing as fast as the other subjects, it's sick, wrong, and evil.
Students should be taught physics, not how to keep your home warm.
I don't know how old you are, or what you are majoring in. But in case you end up going to college and, heaven forbid, end up with a degree in physics, I would like to suggest you copy what you have written here, save it, and then look at it THEN to see how SILLY you were when you wrote this.

Zz.
 
  • #84
ZapperZ said:
I don't know how old you are, or what you are majoring in. But in case you end up going to college and, heaven forbid, end up with a degree in physics, I would like to suggest you copy what you have written here, save it, and then look at it THEN to see how SILLY you were when you wrote this.
Zz.
... OK, I haven't got a degree in physics in the past few hours :tongue2: but I do see that that was an incredibly silly thing to post, I'm sorry. I probably didn't express myself well.
If I wasn't planning on going to college or getting a degree in physics I wouldn't be here.
I think I'm out of my depth on these forums... everyone's older than me and they all seem to have a degree in physics...
Can anyone suggest any books for someone who wants to learn physics,
rather than learn about it?
Or do I have to wait four years?
 
  • #85
I do not have a degree of science, I am a freshman at a junior college going for a BS in chemistry. I have read two popular science books completely, but I never read them for any pursuit of knowledge about science or to learn science. I read them to better understand the history around two events. One book was Making of The Atomic Bomb and the other Leon Foucalt's Pendulum. There was information about science, but like others have stated no formulas. IN fact of the two books I can only remember something about sin0 something or another in the book about Foucalt.

WHy I read them? I always enjoy watching HC specials on the Manhattan Project so I figured why not and I read the book on FOucalt because the museum in my town has such a pendulum and I thought why not. Plus it was summer and I was bored.

I also read pop sci magazines such as Popoular Science and Scientific American. I try to read some journals such as the editor's choices in Science, but much of the reading in the journals is above my head.
 
  • #86
Aether
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FeynmanMH42 said:
Can anyone suggest any books for someone who wants to learn physics, rather than learn about it? Or do I have to wait four years?
There isn't anything at all wrong with learning about physics as long as you realize that it isn't the same thing as learning physics per se. Even after you learn physics, you will probably still want to watch tv programs, read pop-sci books & magazines, etc. to learn about biology, the brain, UFOs, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, dinosaurs, etc....see?

To learn physics, all you have to do is take physics and math in school and do your best. If you're not ready for a class, you can still get the book for a future class that you think that you might want to take in the future and skim through it on your own if you want.
 
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  • #87
My bad, I didn't give feedback to the statement...

Hard to say, many of my friends are not very interested in science. Many are focused on BBA, Law and Pharmacy. In fact I helped a friend out to pass Intro to IngChem. Besides, those with a pursuit and an interest in science should be able to distinguish the differences between pop sci publications and science publications.

I am a member of a forum (ATS) where people frequently post information on their latest permanent magnet motor concepts, free energy devices they want to buy, how Newtonian mechanics is flawed, how to achieve FLT, etc. My best guess tells me that many of these folks have read pop sci publications and feel they have recieved an education equivalent to a modern physics class. Then again a lot of it is just good ole layman discussion.

Maybe people not pursuing and education in sciences like to read and learn about science but do not like reading and learning science. Learning science would mean learning math, and 'math is hard' according to certain Matel toy products.
 
  • #88
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Well, on one hand it may be good if popular science refashions science into a more accepting light. Still, popular science seems to ignore large chunks of what makes science our most viable form of truth, including the scientific method, and a distinction between theory and law.

I'm new by the way, hello all.
 
  • #89
SpaceTiger
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Aether said:
How is it "extremely unethical" when the same quote in full context is presented immediately before? I'm merely trying to narrow down the precise issue that prompted my first post (and what I thought we were in agreement on) since you keep asking about that.
It's very poor form to piece together a quote in a way that makes it appear to have an alternate meaning. I'm sure the majority of forum-goers don't even read these pointless debates, let alone go back and review all of the proper context for quotations.


Penzias & Wilson would have to have obtained something of an understanding of CMB, not including density perturbations, not nucleosynthesis, etc.. The material contained within (Dicke et al., 1965) summarizes everything that they would have needed to know in about four pages! That is the distinction that I am drawing between a "thorough" understanding of mainstream theory (e.g., all of cosmology), and a subset of all cosmology.
So you really thought that, by "thorough understanding of mainstream theory", I was referring to everything in mainstream science? I find that a little hard to believe. In fact, in one of my first responses to you:

SpaceTiger said:
People need to understand whatever it is they're trying to challenge.
Yet you continued to push. Why?
 
  • #90
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Mindscrape said:
Well, on one hand it may be good if popular science refashions science into a more accepting light. Still, popular science seems to ignore large chunks of what makes science our most viable form of truth, including the scientific method, and a distinction between theory and law.

I'm new by the way, hello all.
actually I don't think there is much of a difference between theory and law, other than semantics. The theory of Evolution is just as true as Boyle's Law neither of which are as good as the Theory of Relativity.
 
  • #91
Aether
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SpaceTiger said:
It's very poor form to piece together a quote in a way that makes it appear to have an alternate meaning. I'm sure the majority of forum-goers don't even read these pointless debates, let alone go back and review all of the proper context for quotations.
Perhaps. No harm intended.

SpaceTiger said:
So you really thought that, by "thorough understanding of mainstream theory", I was referring to everything in mainstream science? I find that a little hard to believe. In fact, in one of my first responses to you: Yet you continued to push. Why?
I agreed with you by saying that "At some point they need to come to an understanding of this", and added "but this doesn't necessarily have to be a starting point. Penzias & Wilson had data, and then figured out what to make of it." Is that what you mean by "continued to push"? My intention there was simply to recognize that a person may need to challenge something as part of the process of their coming to an understanding of it.
 
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  • #92
SpaceTiger
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Aether said:
My intention there was simply to recognize that a person may need to challenge something as part of the process of their coming to an understanding of it.
I'm not sure what you mean here. I'm not saying I necessarily disagree with you, but I wonder if you could clarify what you mean by "challenge". I do think that it helps understanding to consider how things would be if the accepted explanation were not true, but that's more of a personal thing. Surely you must agree that a public challenge is inappropriate at this stage in the learning process.
 
  • #93
Aether
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SpaceTiger said:
I'm not sure what you mean here. I'm not saying I necessarily disagree with you, but I wonder if you could clarify what you mean by "challenge". I do think that it helps understanding to consider how things would be if the accepted explanation were not true, but that's more of a personal thing.
I think that you introduced the word "challenge" when you said:
SpaceTiger said:
People need to understand whatever it is they're trying to challenge.
So bear in mind that I had to guess at what you meant by that. :wink: To me the word encompasses everything from initial skepticism, to active probing/testing, to debates with peers (and others), and finally to "formal and public challenge".

SpaceTiger said:
Surely you must agree that a public challenge is inappropriate at this stage in the learning process.
I stipulated to that in my first post with respect to a "formal and public challenge":
Aether said:
If what you mean by "challenge the establishment" is a formal and public challenge, then I agree that it is better if one comes to an understanding of what they are talking about first. Otherwise, people have to be generally free to explore in the mean time.
What I intended by limiting this to "formal" and public challenges is simply to recognize the value of open debate, including informal discussions at PF of course.
 
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  • #94
SpaceTiger
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Aether said:
I think that you introduced the word "challenge" when you said:So bear in mind that I had to guess at what you meant by that.
The fact that I used the word "challenge" in a previous post is largely irrelevant to your intended meaning here. I already know what I meant by it (and I'll be happy to elaborate if you so desire), but you weren't quoting that passage of my post. The question I was asking is what you were trying to communicate. Your explanation is...


To me the word encompasses everything from initial skepticism, to active probing/testing, to debates with peers (and others), and finally to "formal and public challenge".

...What I intended by limiting this to "formal" and public challenges is simply to recognize the value of open debate, including informal discussions at PF of course.
That sounds an awful lot like you aren't saying anything. Your definition of challenge seems to include everything anyone could have meant by the word, and yet you say you don't agree with "formal and public challenge" in the early stages of learning. Do you have any other caveats to your support of "challenges" to mainstream theory?

If you have a deeper meaning here, I'm genuinely curious to know it, but all of your explanations so far have been either vague or trivial. Of course I value "open debate". Who doesn't? Of course people can make accidental discoveries that turn out to be significant. Of course you don't need to know about mainstream molecular biology to make an advance in galactic dynamics. Nobody was disputing these things and I don't see how you could have read our posts to be doing so. If you think you have a genuine disagreement, please make it known. Otherwise, I don't see the point of this discussion...
 
  • #95
Pengwuino
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Grrrr theres more of these people coming in and arguing with only popular science knowledge!!!!

I think we need to standardize a response for these people that basically tells them to go away until they read a BS degrees worth of physics and math textbooks if they are trying to argue against the appropriately studied members of the board.
 
  • #96
Moonbear
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Pengwuino said:
Grrrr theres more of these people coming in and arguing with only popular science knowledge!!!!

I think we need to standardize a response for these people that basically tells them to go away until they read a BS degrees worth of physics and math textbooks if they are trying to argue against the appropriately studied members of the board.
We do have a standardized response. We tell them to submit to the Independent Research forum if they are trying to argue things that are non-mainstream. If they are just here to learn, then we have no problem with people of any educational background joining in.
 
  • #97
Pengwuino
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Moonbear said:
We do have a standardized response. We tell them to submit to the Independent Research forum if they are trying to argue things that are non-mainstream. If they are just here to learn, then we have no problem with people of any educational background joining in.
No no, its not people who have actual real theories... its these people who read 2 or 3 popular science books but can barely spell 'electromagnetic' who just knoooooooooow they're right about special relativity being wrong.
 
  • #98
Moonbear
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Pengwuino said:
No no, its not people who have actual real theories... its these people who read 2 or 3 popular science books but can barely spell 'electromagnetic' who just knoooooooooow they're right about special relativity being wrong.
Yes, that's why the IR forum is moderated and threads need to be approved. :wink:
 
  • #99
Pengwuino
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Moonbear said:
Yes, that's why the IR forum is moderated and threads need to be approved. :wink:
:uhh: :uhh: you need to hop around the physics area more often to see what im talken about :tongue2:
 
  • #100
Aether
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SpaceTiger said:
So you really thought that, by "thorough understanding of mainstream theory", I was referring to everything in mainstream science? I find that a little hard to believe. ...Of course you don't need to know about mainstream molecular biology to make an advance in galactic dynamics. Nobody was disputing these things and I don't see how you could have read our posts to be doing so.
No, not at all. I said:
Aether said:
That is the distinction that I am drawing between a "thorough" understanding of mainstream theory (e.g., all of cosmology), and a subset of all cosmology.
 

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