Why I don't like a well-meant response and what is wrong with it.

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In summary, the conversation in the thread on Physics Forums discussed the idea of challenging theories, particularly Newton's First Law of Motion. The original poster received criticism for their lack of understanding and arrogance in their approach. The thread was closed due to the violation of forum rules, and the idea was discussed that challenging theories is allowed in the scientific enterprise, but it must be done with humility and understanding.
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Gerson
https://www.physicsforums.com/threa...oven-wrong-in-this-thread.743745/post-4691874

I would like to say that I really enjoyed following the thought process of the original poster and was surprised at the last response in the thread. I like to think that Isaac Newton himself would probably welcome such opposition and thinking, but he was dealing probably with the same response. ("how could Isaac be so arrogant as to challenge Aristotle's theories that were not just 300 years old, but thousands") I can empathize with Dale too, but I think it’s better to express your feelings than to appeal to what actually are feelings behind quite obvious fallacies.

Why would two fallacies receive three thumbs up?

Ad hominem: you’re arrogant to challenge a 300-year-old theory.

Don’t you think there is something wrong with the phrase?
“Challenging a theory” is “arrogant”

Because there is something to say that the whole idea of the scientific enterprise was
“Challenging a theory” is always allowed.

Now if I would know as much about physics as the people do here, I would have written the following

“I felt annoyed I think it’s because you started your post with an assertion a priori ‘this is a very serious post’. I choose not to go into semantics, or the implications of every post being serious, etc. but I was taken aback by your suggestion. Why would you think we would not take the post seriously? The first thing that I learned about physics is ‘there are no stupid questions and about science ‘question everything’. Those truths are axioms, beliefs they are things we choose to believe in, not because they are true, but because everyone can see today that they are good.

When I grew up my feelings were invalidated by a well-meaning and loving yet confused person. Your assertion reminded me of that person. This may be not logical, but it is real.

Perhaps your assertion was necessary, because of how you felt what people were going to say. Because you also have your own unpleasant experience with people telling you cannot challenge someone who we celebrate for challenging the status quo.

Such an exchange has nothing to do with physics, but everything to do with being human.

My point is, abide someone who gets fueled by illusions of grandeur and humor him a bit. If you’re unfortunate and have a position of authority, then realize that your form of response does matter. A title or appeal to IQ, tenure, etc. does not justify that, even if we’re conditioned to believe so.
 
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Our mission is to educate on the mainstream understanding of physics and science in general. We are not a forum for speculation.

Please see our forum rules.

Thread closed.
 
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  • #3
@Gerson, you made some interesting points, ones that deserve a bit more response, and to which I am replying.
Gerson said:
I would like to say that I really enjoyed following the thought process of the original poster and was surprised at the last response in the thread. I like to think that Isaac Newton himself would probably welcome such opposition and thinking, but he was dealing probably with the same response.
First off, the thread you cited is 7 1/2 years old. Second, I don't doubt that Newton would welcome any reasoned opposition, but such reasoning was not at all evident in the posts of the thread you cited. The thought experiment was of interest but the OP apparently was unaware that when the two balls collide, their velocities would change, resulting in negative accelerations for both balls.

Gerson said:
Why would two fallacies receive three thumbs up?
I don't have any idea what you mean here. The only fallacies I see in the thread were from the OP, who did not receive any likes (i.e., thumbs up) for his posts.
Gerson said:
Don’t you think there is something wrong with the phrase?
“Challenging a theory” is “arrogant”
The title of the thread was "Newton's First Law of Motion is Wrong (Proven Wrong in This Thread)." I definitely believe that challenging a theory is arrogant if you don't understand the basic concepts of the theory; e.g., that a change in velocity is an acceleration. Such a challenge would not be arrogant, in my view, if one could posit a reasoned argument.
Gerson said:
Because there is something to say that the whole idea of the scientific enterprise was
“Challenging a theory” is always allowed.
Not so. See above.
Gerson said:
My point is, abide someone who gets fueled by illusions of grandeur and humor him a bit. If you’re unfortunate and have a position of authority, then realize that your form of response does matter. A title or appeal to IQ, tenure, etc. does not justify that, even if we’re conditioned to believe so.
The OP would not have received the responses you saw if he had exhibited a lot more humility. To state that Newton was wrong in the thread title, with no evident understanding of some very basic physics concepts, concepts that are taught in the first quarter or semester of a college physics course, rubbed the people responding in the thread the wrong way. The poster's user name, @NewtonWasWrong, was another red flag. If he had instead asked a question about his thought experiment, and asked us to help him understand the situation, I believe the conversation would have gone in a completely different direction.

@Gerson, this thread is still closed, but if you wish to continue the discussion with me, in private, feel free to send me a PM.
 
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Related to Why I don't like a well-meant response and what is wrong with it.

1. Why do I feel offended when someone gives me a well-meant response?

There could be several reasons for feeling offended when receiving a well-meant response. One possibility is that the response may not align with your own thoughts or beliefs, causing a sense of discomfort or disagreement. Additionally, if the response is given in a condescending or dismissive manner, it can also lead to feeling offended.

2. What is wrong with a well-meant response?

There is nothing inherently wrong with a well-meant response. However, it is important to consider the context and delivery of the response. If it is given without understanding or empathy, it may not be received well. Also, if the response is not well thought out or lacks depth, it may not be helpful to the recipient.

3. How can a well-meant response be improved?

A well-meant response can be improved by taking the time to truly understand the situation and the recipient's perspective. It should also be delivered with empathy and sensitivity. Additionally, offering specific and helpful advice or solutions can make the response more effective.

4. Is it okay to express that I don't like a well-meant response?

Yes, it is okay to express that you don't like a well-meant response. It is important to communicate your feelings and concerns in a respectful and constructive manner. This can lead to a better understanding and potentially improve the response in the future.

5. How can I handle a well-meant response that I don't like?

If you receive a well-meant response that you don't like, it is important to take a step back and evaluate the situation. Consider the intention behind the response and whether it may be helpful in any way. If you still feel uncomfortable or disagree with the response, it is okay to politely express your thoughts and move on from the conversation.

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