Most abused word in Science?

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What single word do you think is used in the widest range of contexts giving it many different meanings and leading to all sorts of possible confusion?

I'd vote on the word "phase".
 

Pengwuino

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Proof.

I win.
 
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The scientific word that is most abused by non-scientists has got to be "quantum". We have quantum healing, quantum bracelets, quantum touch, quantum sounds, etc. None of these things has anything to do with quantum physics.
 
The scientific word that is most abused by non-scientists has got to be "quantum". We have quantum healing, quantum bracelets, quantum touch, quantum sounds, etc. None of these things has anything to do with quantum physics.
Yes, but it's only a phase. :devil:
 
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"could" is the most beloved/abused word by alarmists. If X is true, the world, as we know it, 'could' be destroyed.
 

arildno

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Flappers is right. It doesn't win, though, due to unwinworthiness.
 

ZapperZ

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"Theory"

Zz.
 

Pengwuino

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Oh god, after reading the responses I think it's like asking which of my tomatoes in my garden looks the worse. How do you even pick a winner?
 
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Oh god, after reading the responses I think it's like asking which of my tomatoes in my garden looks the worse. How do you even pick a winner?
I don't think that they even qualify as tomatoes. So the question is void.
 

Dembadon

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What single word do you think is used in the widest range of contexts giving it many different meanings and leading to all sorts of possible confusion?

...
"Science."
 

Chi Meson

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"Theory"

Zz.
I'm on record agreeing with this. We ought to ditch "theory" altogether since even scientists regularly use this to mean "conjecture" or "hypothesis."

Second place is "centrifugal force." Yes, I'm one of those guys.
 
The scientific word that is most abused by non-scientists has got to be "quantum". We have quantum healing, quantum bracelets, quantum touch, quantum sounds, etc. None of these things has anything to do with quantum physics.
Hmmm. Interesting Micromass. I’m not sure from where you get the idea that the word ‘quantum’ is the exclusive preserve of science. The quantum of money, for example, is the penny, or the cent, or whatever is the smallest unit of money in your neck of the woods. The quantum of computer data, notwithstanding the Quantum Computer which is, I understand, something else all together, is the bit. I’m not convinced that the terms you refer to ever intended to bask in the reflected glory of the world of the quantum as referenced by physical science.
 
Energy. I have yet to meet a non-scientist who can define it in any meaningful way.
 
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Quantum! I have seen so many books and articles that say quantum has to do with peace or love or the meaning of life.
 

Pengwuino

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I’m not convinced that the terms you refer to ever intended to bask in the reflected glory of the world of the quantum as referenced by physical science.
A fun past time in PF chat is finding all sorts of examples online of people doing just that, unfortunately.
 
Energy. I have yet to meet a non-scientist who can define it in any meaningful way.
I agree with this because this word actually has a myriad non-technical definitions. Just like power, force, et al.
 
C

Containment

Breakthrough every time I see this word used on a "new discovery" I'm like yeah right...
 

Dr Transport

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quantum is good, but i am disgusted every time I hear I hear an engineer say "if we develop this technology, it will be a quantum leap"....
 

Pengwuino

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quantum is good, but i am disgusted every time I hear I hear an engineer say "if we develop this technology, it will be a quantum leap"....
Maybe they're just being super honest and know their technology will only be a super small jump in technology :)
 

Ivan Seeking

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I'll turn the tables for a moment since that's what I do.

Most abused in S&D... evidence. Scientific evidence is not the only form of evidence. Many times people will say there is no evidence for something, when there is, and sometimes a good bit of it, but there is no scientific evidence. The assumption here that we mean "scientific evidence" is understandable, but for the sake of accuracy, which is what this site is all about, I always felt the distinction should be made clear. I also see this error of omission applied in a wide variety of sceptical arguments generally.
 

phinds

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nano - <ANYTHING>
 
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"Truth" as in promoting or even just implying that there are scientific concepts,theories,models and so on which are absolute immutable truths.
 
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quantum is good, but i am disgusted every time I hear I hear an engineer say "if we develop this technology, it will be a quantum leap"....
I always thought of that phrase as meaning our knowledge will grew as much as it did on the discovery of quantum mechanics. It will leap forward as much as it did with quantum mechanics.
 
super as in super-conducting-super-cooled-super-super-heated-super-fluid-super-solid-super-symmetric-super-collider :rolleyes:
 

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