Science and the general public

  • #101
Evo
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So given this quote:



How is this not a claim either explicitly or implicitly?

They are actually both making a claim: it's not only the sister.
He said
She believes dead relatives talk to her in her dreams
She would have to prove this, it would not be up to him to disprove it.

I undertand your point, but it begins with her claims.
 
  • #102
chiro
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Forgive my ignorance, but how exactly is that a claim for or against the paranormal??
If you want to "set someone straight", the implication is that they need "fixing". Her claim boiled down to paranormal behaviour (specifically in relation to the actions of John Edwards) being a real phenomenon.

The implication is that Ivan Seeking wanting to "set her sister straight" is that of "correcting" her beliefs, thus effectively setting out to change her belief of said claim implying that it is in fact wrong.
 
  • #103
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If you want to "set someone straight", the implication is that they need "fixing". Her claim boiled down to paranormal behaviour (specifically in relation to the actions of John Edwards) being a real phenomenon.

The implication is that Ivan Seeking wanting to "set her sister straight" is that of "correcting" her beliefs, thus effectively setting out to change her belief of said claim implying that it is in fact wrong.
Not necessarily. "Setting her straight" could also mean to teach her about arguments for claims and to show that the evidence (that she or other people provide) is not sufficient.

One can NEVER prove that ghost don't exist. But we can take a look at the arguments and the evidence and make conclusions about it.

If I say that I'm going to "set someone straight" about beliefs, that doesn't mean I'm going to prove that it's false, but it means I'm going to debunk the evidence that people have for it.
 
  • #104
chiro
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He said She would have to prove this, it would not be up to him to disprove it.

I undertand your point, but it begins with her claims.
It is up to both if both want to prove it. If someone makes a claim but doesn't want to prove it, then at a minimum they have to accept that it is potentially wrong. If someone states it as a fact where there is no potential instance that it is ever wrong, then they would have to prove it.

If both people think that there is no potential falsification in their claim, they both have to prove it.

I don't know if Ivan's sister or even Ivan have the stance that there is no potential for any kind of falsification for their claims (remember potential falsity refers to any instance of it being wrong: not necessarily disproving something entirely. Having zero potential falsification corresponds to an absolute truth).

If they both do, they both need to show proof. If one does and the other accepts the possibility that they might be wrong in one way or another (potential falsification), the first must prove. If both admit the potential for falsification, then both just get on with their lives.
 
  • #105
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It is up to both if both want to prove it. If someone makes a claim but doesn't want to prove it, then at a minimum they have to accept that it is potentially wrong. If someone states it as a fact where there is no potential instance that it is ever wrong, then they would have to prove it.

If both people think that there is no potential falsification in their claim, they both have to prove it.

I don't know if Ivan's sister or even Ivan have the stance that there is no potential for any kind of falsification for their claims (remember potential falsity refers to any instance of it being wrong: not necessarily disproving something entirely. Having zero potential falsification corresponds to an absolute truth).

If they both do, they both need to show proof. If one does and the other accepts the possibility that they might be wrong in one way or another (potential falsification), the first must prove. If both admit the potential for falsification, then both just get on with their lives.
That's not how it works. It is for people making the existence claim to prove it. We should not (and cannot) disprove an existence claim.

It's the same thing in a court of law. The defendant should not prove that he is not guilty. It is the other site who should prove that he IS guilty. And it is up to the defendant to debunk the evidence a charge.
 
  • #107
chiro
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Not necessarily. "Setting her straight" could also mean to teach her about arguments for claims and to show that the evidence (that she or other people provide) is not sufficient.

One can NEVER prove that ghost don't exist. But we can take a look at the arguments and the evidence and make conclusions about it.

If I say that I'm going to "set someone straight" about beliefs, that doesn't mean I'm going to prove that it's false, but it means I'm going to debunk the evidence that people have for it.
I see what you are saying, but ultimately people in the end engage in this process to move towards proving their own point.

I mean you can say "debunk" the evidence, but all you are doing is trying to re-inforce your own perspective over someone elses. It is always the initial intention of a debunker or challenger to do that.

The other thing though is that a lot of people do not admit that their conclusions are under uncertainty and this is such a critical thing.

When people think they 'debunk' something, they think that their arguments are conclusive. This means that the implication is that the debunker not only has all the information about the argument specifically, but all the information about everything complementary to that of the context of the argument.

To put it simply, the arguments that are presented to 'debunk' are always going to be in a very fixed context that miss a tonne of things. One reason for this is that in order to analyze anything effectively, we have to simplify and constrain things and I understand that.

The problem is that people forget they are even doing this and then assume that they didn't do this: they think they covered all bases when they made the argument and the so called 'debunking', when they didn't do that at all.

Again, the point I am making is that when people set someone straight, they have the explicit intent of trying to change someones perspective to their own and this predisposition ends up having the characteristics mentioned above.
 
  • #108
Evo
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I see what you are saying, but ultimately people in the end engage in this process to move towards proving their own point.

I mean you can say "debunk" the evidence, but all you are doing is trying to re-inforce your own perspective over someone elses. It is always the initial intention of a debunker or challenger to do that.

The other thing though is that a lot of people do not admit that their conclusions are under uncertainty and this is such a critical thing.

When people think they 'debunk' something, they think that their arguments are conclusive. This means that the implication is that the debunker not only has all the information about the argument specifically, but all the information about everything complementary to that of the context of the argument.

To put it simply, the arguments that are presented to 'debunk' are always going to be in a very fixed context that miss a tonne of things. One reason for this is that in order to analyze anything effectively, we have to simplify and constrain things and I understand that.

The problem is that people forget they are even doing this and then assume that they didn't do this: they think they covered all bases when they made the argument and the so called 'debunking', when they didn't do that at all.

Again, the point I am making is that when people set someone straight, they have the explicit intent of trying to change someones perspective to their own and this predisposition ends up having the characteristics mentioned above.
You probably missed this, so i'll repeat it.

It is up to both if both want to prove it.
No. Please read the link I provided.

Holder of the burden

When debating any issue, there is an implicit burden of proof on the person asserting a claim. "If this responsibility or burden of proof is shifted to a critic, the fallacy of appealing to ignorance is committed".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof#Holder_of_the_burden
 
  • #109
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Yes, but I'm sure if a physicist were standing there, I'd sound like President Clinton. But average people are usually impressed. I had to stop talking science at the bar, as an actual particle physicist has taken up residence. Damn smarty....

In trying to convey a concept, I have to do a stream of consciousness, and not let them interrupt until I'm finished, otherwise--------(see below)--------v

Only with one person. He insists paw-zee-trons are ejected from atoms in solar panels by light beams and that's what makes electricity.

For the most part, I like surrounding myself with people smarter than myself. I feel this is the primary reason I'm here at PF. Some people are the opposite. They like having all the answers.

Not sure why, but some people seem to have taken the following way too literally:
Whoa, what bar do you go to where people talk about science?
 
  • #110
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Our baristas, yoga teachers, and drywall hangers are taxpaying, voting citizens. As a collective, they have real power, and ultimately if we do not make a concerted effort to inform the public, we will be left with a bunch of scientists with their hats in their hands begging for money from people who have no idea why it is important to fund the endeavor.
The authentic physicists here can confirm or deny this but my understanding is that most research funding comes from the government and big industry. I don't think voters are involved in deciding what gets funded.
 
  • #111
OmCheeto
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I had more profound beliefs in mind. :biggrin: My own sister is a good example, actually. She believes in the claims of John Edwards and the like. She believes dead relatives talk to her in her dreams. She buys into many of the modern spiritual/religious beliefs. And guess what; that makes her happy. She is a wonderful wife and mother who lives a very normal and fulfilling life. But she clearly needs to believe these things. And speaking as someone who has known her since day 1, this is completely consistent with her personality and thinking. It is in her nature.

I love my sister far too much to ever "set her straight".
I come from a large family: 4 brothers and 2 sisters. We run the gamut from evangelical christian to evangelical atheist, and everything in between. So far, I've noticed no difference in their interest in science. My mother claimed to talk to angels, yet there were at least 4 encyclopedias in our house when I was growing up. I think she bought them a volume at a time at the grocery store. (We were dirt poor, and I had to resort to dismantling our B&W TV when I was 10 to get her to buy a color set. It worked!)

One anecdote though that I should point out, is that people can be way smarter than you think. Part of the clan went to Mexico a few years back, and no one knew how to convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit to cook some lasagna in the oven. Being the brilliant scientist that I am, I decided to work out the point slope intercept, knowing the boiling and freezing points of water in both scales. Working through the problem on paper, I noticed that my sister was doing the same thing, as she knew the scales from her porch thermometer. So I stopped and watched her solve the problem. She'd never struck me as being a mathematical type person, but she figured it out.

She also posts scientific discoveries on my facebook page, that she thinks might interest me. She actually beat PF one day. I was impressed.
 
  • #112
chiro
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You probably missed this, so i'll repeat it.

No. Please read the link I provided.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof#Holder_of_the_burden
But you are assuming a debate: comments can be made without the implication of something being a debate. A debate will be a causal effect of some discussion involving ideas being communicated, but it doesn't actually become a debate until people decide that they need to change others beliefs or convince some audience greater than themselves of some particular conclusion.

Not everything is a debate. Many people say things to other people and not everyone has the need or desire to challenge what they say and thus create a scenario for debate and this is a critical thing that needs to be understood.

Scientists are a different bunch because it is their livelihood and nature to find a measure of certainty and engage in debate when there are conflicts between their own views and another.

With your example of the court, again two parties can do things but things don't always end up in court. However if one party wishes to take it to court, then things change.

Think of examples of owing money especially between friends. In some situations it becomes a problem that goes to court or some kind of arbitrater and then the defendant has the right to be innocent until proven guilty. But the matter doesn't have to go to court and if it doesn't then the context is completely different.

Realize that not everyone is out to prove everything all the time and be 'right' all the time.
 
  • #113
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Whoa, what bar do you go to where people talk about science?
You can find people to discuss science with at just about any coffee shop. If nothing else, there are science students taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi. I met a working aerospace engineer a couple months back. Met a neurologist once. Tons of science students.
 
  • #114
Evo
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But you are assuming a debate:
No, I am taking it to not be a debate. His sister has stated a belief and he's not going to try to debate it. And that is correct on his part.
 
  • #115
OmCheeto
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  • #116
ZapperZ
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Humm.... I think only two members who participated in this thread answered my question on how many here have made an effort to communicate science to the public beyond participation on PF.

Are we all talk but effort?

Zz.
 
  • #117
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I'm in high school, and am in the science club at our school. I'm sure there would be something that I could try to do, but I'm not entirely sure where to start.

So as of now, I'm all talk no effort.
 
  • #118
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Are we all talk but effort?
I don't know if you would consider this a serious effort, considering that I've barely started college and only did a few things in high school, but I tried a few times to give some sort of presentation about the scientific method to first- and second-years in high school (I was a fifth year at the time - I'm not sure what you'd call that in the USA). I *think* most were pretty interested and I *think* I was able to explain it all quite well, but of course it would be a rather hard for me to judge my own performance.
 
  • #119
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I don't know if you would consider this a serious effort, considering that I've barely started college and only did a few things in high school, but I tried a few times to give some sort of presentation about the scientific method to first- and second-years in high school (I was a fifth year at the time - I'm not sure what you'd call that in the USA). I *think* most were pretty interested and I *think* I was able to explain it all quite well, but of course it would be a rather hard for me to judge my own performance.
If 5th year is the last year of secondary school in the UK, then that would be equivalent to a Senior in high school in America.

For future reference, in the U.S, we go through four years of high school. First year is Freshman, second year is Sophomore, third year is Junior, and fourth year is Senior.

Anyways, I'm sure that was helpful. Usually when giving speeches, if people look like they're paying attention, they are. Whenever I present something, I can't stand to go up there and not know the material, so I go hardcore with it and know the subject as well as I possibly can. This results in me being more confident with my presentations, and I've invariably gotten both excellent grades from my teachers, and excellent responses from my classmates.

What I'm getting at is, when I knew the material and seemed interested in what I was presenting, people looked like they were paying attention. When, say, I was giving a presentation in a kind of blow-off elective class that held no interest to me whatsoever, my presentations suffered, and I was able to see that in the way my classmates responded.
 
  • #120
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Humm.... I think only two members who participated in this thread answered my question on how many here have made an effort to communicate science to the public beyond participation on PF.

Are we all talk but effort?

Zz.
I'm not really involved in the thread but I can answer your question.

I help run public observing at the Observatory on campus on weekends. I run the telescope and show people things in the sky they never new existed, explain basic astrophysics and stellar evolution and various cosmic processes, and also a bit of the history of astronomy, and wherever I can work it in physics.
 
  • #121
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If 5th year is the last year of secondary school in the UK, then that would be equivalent to a Senior in high school in America.
I'm from the Netherlands, so that doesn't apply. ;) Which year is someone's last in high school depends on what kind of education they're getting. There's VWO (pre-university secondary education), which generally takes six years to complete, HAVO (higher general continued education), which takes five years, and VMBO (preparatory middle-level vocational education), which can be finished in four years. I'm talking about VWO - most people are about 18 or 19 years old when they finish their sixth year.

I should also point out that this wasn't some sort of class assignment. I simply realized - as I suppose more people who're interested in science from a young age do - that practically no one knew anything about how science actually *worked* (not that I know it all, of course, but I hope that I at least know a bit about the basic process). The fact that I went to a religious school may also have been a factor, but I don't think it mattered much (if people in non-religious high schools learn a lot of science, I will be very surprised indeed). Thus, I asked my physics teacher whether I would be allowed to give a small presentation about the scientific method. He agreed, I gave the presentation, and that's that. :)
 
  • #122
ZapperZ
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I don't know if you would consider this a serious effort, considering that I've barely started college and only did a few things in high school, but I tried a few times to give some sort of presentation about the scientific method to first- and second-years in high school (I was a fifth year at the time - I'm not sure what you'd call that in the USA). I *think* most were pretty interested and I *think* I was able to explain it all quite well, but of course it would be a rather hard for me to judge my own performance.
KiwiKid: that MORE than counts, and I think you should be commendable for doing such things considering that you just started college.

Zz.
 
  • #123
Pythagorean
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Humm.... I think only two members who participated in this thread answered my question on how many here have made an effort to communicate science to the public beyond participation on PF.

Are we all talk but effort?

Zz.
To be fair, your post wasn't the OP. perhaps you'd have better results starting a new thread.
 
  • #124
ZapperZ
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To be fair, your post wasn't the OP. perhaps you'd have better results starting a new thread.
Sure, but I see such "enthusiasm" in here among the participants. At some point, I'm curious to see for all those who made all these statements, how many actually DO something about the problem. This isn't the first time such a topic has been discussed. But there comes a time where simply talking about it won't cut it anymore. That's why I wanted to know how many people have done something about it, and how many people haven't, and why? So it is certainly tied to this thread and this very topic.

Zz/
 
  • #125
QuantumPion
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I think a general distrust of science comes from politicians misuse of science for political ends.
 

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