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Posted by Owie (3300 posts) - - Show Bio

This is the second in my daily series of arguments about why you should vote for Obama and the Democrats.

Each day will have a different theme. Today's theme is science. (Yesterday's was the Republicans' cynical strategy, which would be awful to make into a successful precedent.)

Basically, science is tremendously important in today's world, and only one of the two parties supports it on a consistent basis. The key with science is that it is itself consistent. If you believe science has led us to be able to make ships that fly into space and bombs that blow up cities and medicine that eradicates polio, then you also have to believe what it says about evolution, climate change, and everything else.

Science is basically observation, measurement, prediction, and testing. It's not subjective, it's not wishful thinking. It's a description of the real world.

Democrats consistently support science. They support evolution science, which is one of the most strongly-proven theories in science. They support climate change science, which is also among the most strongly-proven theories in science. They support research into new energy sources and pure research in general. They also support stem cell research, vaccines, and many other aspects of medical science. In doing so, they pave the way for a general improvement of American life and health, and for our leadership in the world economy.

Republicans, unfortunately, let religion and commerce get in the way. They selectively don't believe in some theories (or at least say they don't), even though it is impossible to just pick and choose which theories you want to believe. Science is not like religion. In religion, you can pick and choose what religion you want to believe in. Once you pick a religion, you can decide which sect you want to belong to. Basically, you can chose your religious ideas based on what feels right to you. In science, you either believe in all of it, or none of it, and if you believe in none of it, you have to explain why observation, prediction, and testing doesn't work as a process.

SOME EXAMPLES

Evolution

For instance with evolution, we control the evolutionary processes in various microscopic organisms (bacteria, viruses, etc.) as we manipulate them into medicines and vaccines. Republicans take medicine when they're sick, just like anyone else, but somehow don't believe that the evolutionary processes involved in bacteria are the same as they are in humans. Democrats do not engage in this kind of selective-science hypocrisy.

Evolution is extraordinarily important because when Republicans try to block its teaching in schools, they are replacing science--something objective--with religion--something personal and, from the point of view of many, false. Evolution is the foundation for all of modern biology. The rest of the world understands and accepts evolutionary science. When we hold our kids back from understanding it, we are holding them back from understanding biology in general, and thus holding our entire country back from creating the new leading scientists in this field, and biology will continue to be a very important field of science in the future. We really need new scientists in order to push our country into the future. Scientists create entire new industries. They affect the health of the country. Their research leads to our tools and communications systems and our transportation. If we don't have scientists, we will lose any chance of having a first-rate economy. It's simple: Democrats are the party that is helping to keep us on track to lead the world in science. They work to make sure our schools are serious when it comes to science, and don't let religion sidetrack our students. They are constantly trying to invest money in education in general, while Republicans are trying to cut the Department of Education. Democrats are trying to invest in general pure research in science, while Republicans don't even believe in federal spending in the abstract anymore. We got where we are today because we invested in pure science, and we need the Democrats to keep us in this race.

Climate Change

Climate change is probably the most important issue in the world today. If it continues to get worse, it will kill enormous numbers of people from famine and floods, and will ruin our food production, our air, our infrastructure. The fact that there is climate change, and that it is caused by humans, has almost universal support among scientists, but Republicans routinely call it a myth. Climate change has been getting worse. Previously, it was assumed that it might not have real effects for another couple decades. However, it is becoming more and more of a consensus that it is happening now. It is true that we cannot tell if any particular storm, etc., is caused by climate change. But we CAN tell that changes in overall weather patterns are caused by climate change. There is no doubt that the ice is melting faster than expected, that storms are becoming worse and more unpredictable. It is having an effect on food production, plant cycles, animal migration and all kinds of things NOW. Democrats understand this and are trying to do something about it. Republicans are trying to block it.

Romney has said, inaccurately, that there is no scientific consensus on the human involvement in climate change. Both he and Paul Ryan have said they would roll back EPA regulations intended to slow climate change.

Why? This time it's not about religion, it's about commerce. Republicans are huge allies of the fossil fuel industry. They won't do anything that has to do with cutting or regulating it. And this has to be done. They also believe in "personal freedom," which they define as "no one should be able to tell you what to do unless you're hurting someone else." The thing is, we ARE hurting someone else--we are all hurting EVERYONE by our actions. We need to all take action and sacrifice, or we are all screwed. The Democrats understand this. The Republicans are opposed to this kind of action on principle. So not only do they say they are against changing the fuel industry, they deny the science behind climate change. They just do not see science as an objective thing that can be tested.

Alternative Energy

This ties into alternative energy. Democrats support and put an emphasis on research into green energy, and also support the government funding companies that are doing it. The Republicans say this is "picking winners and losers." Honestly, the government has always picked winners and losers, and it should. The winners should be the companies that make energy that isn't going to kill us and our kids. That shouldn't be all that controversial. We have ALWAYS funded companies that do things that we see as being in the national interest. Republicans say they're for clean energy in theory, but they put no money into it, and keep making excuses about how it's fine and all, but this just isn't the time to do it. They just don't support science.

This all boils down to two things:

1) Republicans deny the objectivity of science.

2) Republicans don't support real investing in science, without which our economy has no chance of continuing the be a world leader.

Meanwhile, Obama has done things like appointing the first national Chief Technology Officer to oversee the country's tech policies, repealing the stem cell restrictions, put $18 billion of stimulus money into nondefense R&D, invested in private space flight research, invested in science education, included a Nobel-winning physicist in his Cabinet, invested in clean energy, and made sure the Affordable Care Act made insurance companies make their decisions based on health science.

Obama is endorsed by all the major environmental groups due to his support of science, education, and work on climate change. Nature, one of the most respected science journals in the world, has written an editorial endorsing Obama over Romney purely due to their respective approaches to science. Or, if that's not enough, last week 68 Nobel laureates wrote a public letter endorsing Obama's science policies over Romney's, saying that Obama understands the important role science plays in public life, and that Romney does not, an that their policies reflect those understandings. And one last tidbit: the Republicans' lack of support is so terrible that only 6% of scientists are Republican!

If it's important to you that government respects the objectivity of science, that we as a country invest in research in order to keep our place in the world of science and our place in the world economy, that we put an emphasis on real science education instead of science that has been watered down by religion and business concerns, then you need to vote for Obama and the Democrats, because they are the ones who are going to deliver those priorities.

Agree? Disagree?

Finally, I'd like to point out, as I did yesterday, that I was a registered Republican for 15 years and am now an independent (partly because of the reasons above), and I've happily voted for Republicans, Democrats, and various third party candidates for years. But it is completely clear to me that if I want science to be respected and valued, the Democrats are the only game in town.

#1 Posted by Xanni15 (6758 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree with most of this.

#2 Posted by pooty (10341 posts) - - Show Bio

@Owie: Is Obama the right person for the job or merely the lessor of two evils?

#3 Posted by RazzaTazz (9353 posts) - - Show Bio

Science is going to be the defining aspect of society for the next thousand or more years.

Moderator
#4 Posted by XLR87T3 (1931 posts) - - Show Bio

@Xanni15: I'm not going to lie. Science has improved our lives greatly. I just hope that future personal transportation devises, like hovercrafts, will actually be safe for the environment and people, with less accidents. Sorry, going off-topic!

#5 Posted by Xanni15 (6758 posts) - - Show Bio

@XLR87T3 said:

@Xanni15: I'm not going to lie. Science has improved our lives greatly. I just hope that future personal transportation devises, like hovercrafts, will actually be safe for the environment and people, with less accidents. Sorry, going off-topic!

Well, we've seen the shift (slowing than it should be) to being more conscious of the environment, no reason to think that won't continue. Cars aren't dangerous, the people driving them are. :P

#6 Posted by XLR87T3 (1931 posts) - - Show Bio

@Xanni15: They're probably republicans. :D

#7 Posted by Owie (3300 posts) - - Show Bio

@pooty said:

@Owie: Is Obama the right person for the job or merely the lessor of two evils?

I firmly believe he is the right person. There are very few politicians I would say that about. But I believe he is a very good president.

#8 Posted by Xanni15 (6758 posts) - - Show Bio

@XLR87T3 said:

@Xanni15: They're probably republicans. :D

... Maybe. ;)

#9 Posted by KnightRise (4757 posts) - - Show Bio

@pooty said:

@Owie: Is Obama the right person for the job or merely the lessor of two evils?

Lesser of two. I followed Romeny's campaign much more than the President's; I want him as far away from office, my girl's vagina, our educational system, and foreign diplomacy as possible.

#10 Posted by Nova`Prime` (4140 posts) - - Show Bio

@Owie:

Why don't you ask these four men how good of a President Obama has been. Make sure you yell really loud so they can hear you.

#11 Posted by Journal (495 posts) - - Show Bio

@RazzaTazz said:

Science is going to be the defining aspect of society for the next thousand or more years.

I couldnt agree with that more.

#12 Posted by WillPayton (8435 posts) - - Show Bio

@Nova`Prime` said:

@Owie:

Why don't you ask these four men how good of a President Obama has been. Make sure you yell really loud so they can hear you.

This might be one of the stupidest posts I've seen on CV in a long time. Impressive!

#13 Posted by WillPayton (8435 posts) - - Show Bio

And yes, if you are pro-science then you should probably vote for Obama. The Republican Party has unfortunately been taken over by the scientifically illiterate and backwards-thinking idiots who think the Earth is 6,000 years old.

#14 Edited by Living_Monstrosity (422 posts) - - Show Bio

So the message of this thread is that...get this everybody...science is important!

#15 Posted by Owie (3300 posts) - - Show Bio

@Living_Monstrosity said:

So the message of this thread is that...get this everybody...science is important!

Actually there are two points. 1, science is important. 2, if you agree that science is important, then you should vote for the Democrats, because the Republicans don't happen to agree with point #1 in many circumstances.

#16 Posted by cameron83 (6416 posts) - - Show Bio

It kinda shocks me how republicans twist science.It is amazing.But my mother is very religious and knowing her,she would rather not vote for a republican.Same goes here.

#17 Posted by Owie (3300 posts) - - Show Bio

@cameron83 said:

It kinda shocks me how republicans twist science.It is amazing.But my mother is very religious and knowing her,she would rather not vote for a republican.Same goes here.

Yeah, I don't want to come off as sounding like there's no place for religion among the Democrats. Obama and Biden are both pretty religious for example. But they make their policy decisions based on science. I'm not religious myself, but plenty of my family is--Catholics and Protestants--and most of them vote Democratic. The kind of religion I'm talking about in the OP is a more reactionary, fundamentalist form of religion than that of most contemporary people, I think.

#18 Edited by cameron83 (6416 posts) - - Show Bio

@Owie said:

Sorry for the long post,here is the summary:

I agree with your article,I agree with what you say.And I agree with everything,and fundamentalists do have views that just shock me.And we do need science if we want to move forward in our society.I was just reminding you that people like me and my old science teacher are still there and will always be here (and there is plenty of us).It is just that some people forget that we exist,or sometimes It seems that they just overlook it and bunch up everyone.And don't worry,you do not come off wrong or "bashy".Your article is true and I like it (and look forward to seeing the others).And don't worry,you don't come if in a black and white way! :D

I was just reminding you that people like me will always be here,because sometimes people become corrupt with hate,ignorance,prejudice,etc when they "look into the abyss".They become corrupted by what they fight.

And if I have not said this already I enjoy your post.

#19 Posted by _Companion_ (8 posts) - - Show Bio

Abraham Lincoln still kicks Obama's ass at rapping :U

#20 Posted by cameron83 (6416 posts) - - Show Bio

@_Companion_: OF COURSE HE DOES!!!!

#21 Posted by Living_Monstrosity (422 posts) - - Show Bio
#22 Posted by minigunman123 (3116 posts) - - Show Bio

You're assuming that scientists don't have any say in any scientific reportings, and you're assuming everyone believes the "truth" that science tells us about a particular subject. You also assume that anything that we think is scientifically proven, is scientifically proven.

All of these are wrong.

You can't prove anything, first of all. You can only disprove.

Scientists don't always report accurately, neither do groups or organizations or companies. For example, take the food and drug industries. Surely you don't think all drugs are wonderful and vaccines are the path to a healthy civilization, when there is much evidence that drugs are being misused, and many modern day medicines are not very helpful at all? There are some drugs that are great. There are vastly more that are not, but they are marketed as such. I know you seem to like vaccines, but this is only one facet of your post, that we could go pages of discussion on, and we'd exhaust each other in the process, so I'm going to move on, for now, to other parts of your post.

Marketing is another topic on this. Marketing is a factor in science because unless a scientist markets his idea, and gets people to accept it, people don't believe it. If he's right, but people don't agree (or want to agree, or accept it) for whatever reason (religious views, political views, business reasons, personal conflicts with the scientist involved, peer pressure, etc.), then society says he's wrong. That doesn't make it so. That just means we believe he's wrong, because we were told it by other people who reviewed his work. This happens more often than you might think. Granted, it doesn't happen all the time, but with many pop science areas such as the environment and social sciences, things are skewed for one side or the other all the time. Best thing to do is make your own experiments and convince yourself, if nobody will listen to what you believe is the truth.

Belief. Everything is a belief. We believe that we won't fly off the Earth because of gravity, because it hasn't happened yet and we can measure gravity. What if there's a particle in space that nullifies gravity and it flies towards Earth overnight? Nothing is certain, even with science. You can only disprove. You can hypothesize and theorize, and you can make valid, accurate, probably predictions and statements, but you can't prove anything. This is a fundamental concept of physics; there is no proof, only evidence.

What if a scientist or group/company of scientists, or businessmen with scientists working for them, try to push a certain idea or group of ideas, that help them in the long run? Such as, for example, genetically modified foods. GMO's have been shown to be dangerous for various health reasons, because humans absorb microRNA from the foods we eat; if we change the genetic makeup and RNA of the food we eat, this could easily have adverse effects on the population. There are multiple reasons this could be true:

1. We don't know all the effects that all the different RNA have on our body, from food sources. There are so many food sources, we'd have trouble figuring out what all the RNA does to our bodies in one food specifically, let alone all the others; each RNA can play a role in a reaction in our body. We can't account for them all reliably. Too many variables.

2. Moving on from the "too many variables" aspect, all people are not created equal. A genetically engineered food might have an RNA in it that doesn't hurt 99% of the populace, but 1% gets cancer in 5 years from continued consumption of the food. Does that seem safe? It wouldn't seem safe to me, if that were an actual case (and who knows if there's an actual GM food like that, that causes cancer; there could very well be, and we just haven't figured it out yet.)

Science is great, science is fun, science is how we understand the world around us. I've been studying various sciences for quite some time. The main problem with science is that it has limits. I'm not going to preach religion, but I am saying we can't account for human error and human reactions to all the things science says and does. It's not just "people make mistakes", it's "people have agendas". To actually have science, you must first believe in what you have discovered or, in most people's cases, what you are told. That doesn't mean what you're told is actually what's true or accurate.

Just so you know, I'm a religious republican who doesn't think evolution is wrong or right, because it's still just a theory. As I said, and as many scientists might tell you, you can't prove anything in science, you can only disprove. Evolution hasn't really been scientifically disproven, but there's a bit of evidence to say that we probably don't have it quite right. I think it could easily be the case that humans evolved from something else such as apes; it's not like the Bible says "oh by the way, evolution is evil and wrong". However, there are missing pieces to what humans have been able to gather as evidence for evolution, and some strange observations and counter-arguments, so it's a bit of a mixed bag. If you actually proclaim to love science, I think you should consider the notion that evolution might be correct, but we probably haven't explained it correctly yet, rather than saying that humans have nailed evolution right on the spot.

I study physics and chemistry, love both of them, and have found no reason for religion and science to contradict each other thus far. Really, they shouldn't contradict each other, because, at least in the case of Christianity, it does not ever advocate nor condemn science, and why would it? If Christianity is correct, then science is simply what God put in place, and there's no reason it would ever contradict God, and there's no reason he would ever mention it, if we can figure it out on our own. I'm just saying this to let you know that the stereotype people seem to have, that Republicans and religious people are nuts who like guns and hate science, is a somewhat insulting argument, and is not true. People from all sides of every fence never see the big picture or think rationally; that's not a Republican trait or Democrat trait, Atheist or Theist trait. It's a human trait. Just because we happen to be irrational in a different way to you, doesn't mean we're all idiots. Please also don't take that as hostility towards you, as I don't think you think of Republicans as idiots at all, but it is a frank way of saying, neither of us is better than the other, so I don't think that Democrats are better just for apparently being more science driven. I think that's a bit of an odd argument for voting Democratic.

I'd also like to ask why you think the government should "invest" in anything such as science? Shouldn't it be private enterprise that invests in science? Science has always been driven by the need for profit, which is basically the ability to sustain research and sustain ourselves through thinking. If the government sticks it's fingers in scientific "investment", wouldn't that take away some of our sustainability, and our economic ability to grow through privatization of scientific thinking? I think the better approach is to encourage private enterprise, and keep the government out of such things, so people can drive the market and research themselves. What are your thoughts?

#23 Posted by minigunman123 (3116 posts) - - Show Bio

@WillPayton said:

And yes, if you are pro-science then you should probably vote for Obama. The Republican Party has unfortunately been taken over by the scientifically illiterate and backwards-thinking idiots who think the Earth is 6,000 years old.

And the democratic party has unfortunately been taken over by a spineless whippersnapper who doesn't know anything about the economy, and thinks socialism rocks ;) both parties have issues. I don't vote for science, I vote for who will take the country in the right direction. If person A supports programs you support, but other than that, is a horrible president, but person B doesn't support your programs, but is probably a much better president, who would you vote for? For example, say I supported scientific "investment" from the government, but I also thought the internet was dangerous and should be moderated by government employees at all times, essentially replicating the great firewall of China, right in the USA. Would you vote for me?

I'm not implying anything about you specifically, but I think a lot of people should think through all the angles and vectors of the presidential candidates, before hastily deciding based off of one or two things, that he's the one for the country. A lot of people tend to look at one thing and go "oh, he's wonderful," and vote for someone they might not even like or approve of.

#24 Posted by WillPayton (8435 posts) - - Show Bio

@minigunman123 said:

@WillPayton said:

And yes, if you are pro-science then you should probably vote for Obama. The Republican Party has unfortunately been taken over by the scientifically illiterate and backwards-thinking idiots who think the Earth is 6,000 years old.

And the democratic party has unfortunately been taken over by a spineless whippersnapper who doesn't know anything about the economy, and thinks socialism rocks ;) both parties have issues. I don't vote for science, I vote for who will take the country in the right direction. If person A supports programs you support, but other than that, is a horrible president, but person B doesn't support your programs, but is probably a much better president, who would you vote for? For example, say I supported scientific "investment" from the government, but I also thought the internet was dangerous and should be moderated by government employees at all times, essentially replicating the great firewall of China, right in the USA. Would you vote for me?

I'm not implying anything about you specifically, but I think a lot of people should think through all the angles and vectors of the presidential candidates, before hastily deciding based off of one or two things, that he's the one for the country. A lot of people tend to look at one thing and go "oh, he's wonderful," and vote for someone they might not even like or approve of.

I agree that people should consider all the issues and candidates positions and not just a single issue.

That said, being anti-science is a pretty severe problem for a candidate. It means that person is not willing to look honestly at the evidence and make rational decisions. So, this is not just a science problem, it's one about basic decision-making skills and rational thought. As such, it's a good indicator of how a candidate will make decisions in other areas.

It was given as an example before that Obama and Biden are both religious. Indeed they are. But, they generally leave that out of their decision-making process and are very pro-science. Now look at Republicans like Michele Bachmann and many others, even some on the science committee, who are either very ignorant about basic science or plainly deny what are considered facts by the scientific community. I consider this a major problem and one to which I give more weight when making my political decisions.

Now, of course, this doesnt apply to all Republicans. There are people like Huntsman who are also religious, but somehow whatever his personal beliefs he manages to still be rational and intelligent on issues. If more Republicans were like him, or like Colin Powell, I would have very little against them.

#25 Posted by minigunman123 (3116 posts) - - Show Bio

@WillPayton said:

@minigunman123 said:

@WillPayton said:

And yes, if you are pro-science then you should probably vote for Obama. The Republican Party has unfortunately been taken over by the scientifically illiterate and backwards-thinking idiots who think the Earth is 6,000 years old.

And the democratic party has unfortunately been taken over by a spineless whippersnapper who doesn't know anything about the economy, and thinks socialism rocks ;) both parties have issues. I don't vote for science, I vote for who will take the country in the right direction. If person A supports programs you support, but other than that, is a horrible president, but person B doesn't support your programs, but is probably a much better president, who would you vote for? For example, say I supported scientific "investment" from the government, but I also thought the internet was dangerous and should be moderated by government employees at all times, essentially replicating the great firewall of China, right in the USA. Would you vote for me?

I'm not implying anything about you specifically, but I think a lot of people should think through all the angles and vectors of the presidential candidates, before hastily deciding based off of one or two things, that he's the one for the country. A lot of people tend to look at one thing and go "oh, he's wonderful," and vote for someone they might not even like or approve of.

I agree that people should consider all the issues and candidates positions and not just a single issue.

That said, being anti-science is a pretty severe problem for a candidate. It means that person is not willing to look honestly at the evidence and make rational decisions. So, this is not just a science problem, it's one about basic decision-making skills and rational thought. As such, it's a good indicator of how a candidate will make decisions in other areas.

It was given as an example before that Obama and Biden are both religious. Indeed they are. But, they generally leave that out of their decision-making process and are very pro-science. Now look at Republicans like Michele Bachmann and many others, even some on the science committee, who are either very ignorant about basic science or plainly deny what are considered facts by the scientific community. I consider this a major problem and one to which I give more weight when making my political decisions.

Now, of course, this doesnt apply to all Republicans. There are people like Huntsman who are also religious, but somehow whatever his personal beliefs he manages to still be rational and intelligent on issues. If more Republicans were like him, or like Colin Powell, I would have very little against them.

Wow. That was pretty harsh.

#26 Posted by WillPayton (8435 posts) - - Show Bio

@minigunman123 said:

Belief. Everything is a belief.

The problem here is that all beliefs are not created equal. (no pun intended)

For example, a person might believe that Big Foot exists because they saw a program on TV. They dont have any evidence, or even any rational arguments, but they "believe" it. Another person might believe that the Theory of Relativity is real. They believe the flow of time changes depending on your speed, etc. They believe this because they have worked through the math, they have seen experiments that confirm the theory, and they understand that in fact we take relativity into account for things like GPS signals from satellites and many other things.

So, are both of these people equally justified in their beliefs? Are both beliefs... equal? Answer: No.

What does that tell us? It tells us that saying "everything is a belief" is a pretty meaningless statement. We have to make decisions based on beliefs all the time. Some beliefs are very well supported by evidence, some are not. Some are so well supported that we call them "facts". Things like evolution, gravity, relativity, quantum mechanics, germ theory, plate tectonics,... I could go on... are facts. They are not just "beliefs".

#27 Posted by WillPayton (8435 posts) - - Show Bio

@minigunman123 said:

@WillPayton said:

Now, of course, this doesnt apply to all Republicans. There are people like Huntsman who are also religious, but somehow whatever his personal beliefs he manages to still be rational and intelligent on issues. If more Republicans were like him, or like Colin Powell, I would have very little against them.

Wow. That was pretty harsh.

It wasnt meant to be harsh. I'm not making any judgement on his beliefs... it was only meant as a general thought that anyone can have personal beliefs that are not rational. I do see what you mean, it sounds like I'm slamming him... but it wasnt meant that way. My point was I dont necessarily know what his beliefs are, nor does it matter to me.

If anything, I was slamming Bachmann. She's someone who makes decisions based entirely on personal religious beliefs that have been disproved by science.

#28 Posted by minigunman123 (3116 posts) - - Show Bio

@WillPayton said:

@minigunman123 said:

Belief. Everything is a belief.

The problem here is that all beliefs are not created equal. (no pun intended)

For example, a person might believe that Big Foot exists because they saw a program on TV. They dont have any evidence, or even any rational arguments, but they "believe" it. Another person might believe that the Theory of Relativity is real. They believe the flow of time changes depending on your speed, etc. They believe this because they have worked through the math, they have seen experiments that confirm the theory, and they understand that in fact we take relativity into account for things like GPS signals from satellites and many other things.

So, are both of these people equally justified in their beliefs? Are both beliefs... equal? Answer: No.

What does that tell us? It tells us that saying "everything is a belief" is a pretty meaningless statement. We have to make decisions based on beliefs all the time. Some beliefs are very well supported by evidence, some are not. Some are so well supported that we call them "facts". Things like evolution, gravity, relativity, quantum mechanics, germ theory, plate tectonics,... I could go on... are facts. They are not just "beliefs".

As I've said, nothing is proven in science, this is a fundamental concept taught in first year college physics. You can only disprove. Things can be accepted and thought to be true, but they're not proven true, because they could always stop working for some reason or another.

Correct, not all beliefs are created equal, but they are still beliefs, and so you should take the more hotly debated ones, that seem to have people on both sides of the fence, with a grain of salt. Heck, if you think you've got the answer to quantum mechanics, go ahead and disagree with what everyone else says about it. You might be right, and if you're not, you're not hurting anyone by trying to bear out your ideas. It's only when people insult others for having different ideas that I start disliking the notion of "science" as it stands in society, because it's not just the study and observation of things, it's political now, too, and that's horrible.

#29 Posted by WillPayton (8435 posts) - - Show Bio

@minigunman123 said:

@WillPayton said:

@minigunman123 said:

Belief. Everything is a belief.

The problem here is that all beliefs are not created equal. (no pun intended)

For example, a person might believe that Big Foot exists because they saw a program on TV. They dont have any evidence, or even any rational arguments, but they "believe" it. Another person might believe that the Theory of Relativity is real. They believe the flow of time changes depending on your speed, etc. They believe this because they have worked through the math, they have seen experiments that confirm the theory, and they understand that in fact we take relativity into account for things like GPS signals from satellites and many other things.

So, are both of these people equally justified in their beliefs? Are both beliefs... equal? Answer: No.

What does that tell us? It tells us that saying "everything is a belief" is a pretty meaningless statement. We have to make decisions based on beliefs all the time. Some beliefs are very well supported by evidence, some are not. Some are so well supported that we call them "facts". Things like evolution, gravity, relativity, quantum mechanics, germ theory, plate tectonics,... I could go on... are facts. They are not just "beliefs".

As I've said, nothing is proven in science, this is a fundamental concept taught in first year college physics. You can only disprove. Things can be accepted and thought to be true, but they're not proven true, because they could always stop working for some reason or another.

Correct, not all beliefs are created equal, but they are still beliefs, and so you should take the more hotly debated ones, that seem to have people on both sides of the fence, with a grain of salt. Heck, if you think you've got the answer to quantum mechanics, go ahead and disagree with what everyone else says about it. You might be right, and if you're not, you're not hurting anyone by trying to bear out your ideas. It's only when people insult others for having different ideas that I start disliking the notion of "science" as it stands in society, because it's not just the study and observation of things, it's political now, too, and that's horrible.

It's true that nothing in science is proven 100%. We have evidence and logic (math, etc) for things, but no "proof". But, saying that "everything is a belief" really doesnt get you anywhere. At the end of the day you still have to make decisions about what to do. Do you get in your car and go to work? Why? You cant prove your workplace is still there. So, whether you have proof or not is irrelevant. We only have different degrees of certainty, but for some things we have such a high degree that to all intents and purposes, we DO have proof. Being 99.9999999% certain of something is the same as being 100% for any practical purpose.

#30 Posted by minigunman123 (3116 posts) - - Show Bio

@WillPayton said:

@minigunman123 said:

@WillPayton said:

@minigunman123 said:

Belief. Everything is a belief.

The problem here is that all beliefs are not created equal. (no pun intended)

For example, a person might believe that Big Foot exists because they saw a program on TV. They dont have any evidence, or even any rational arguments, but they "believe" it. Another person might believe that the Theory of Relativity is real. They believe the flow of time changes depending on your speed, etc. They believe this because they have worked through the math, they have seen experiments that confirm the theory, and they understand that in fact we take relativity into account for things like GPS signals from satellites and many other things.

So, are both of these people equally justified in their beliefs? Are both beliefs... equal? Answer: No.

What does that tell us? It tells us that saying "everything is a belief" is a pretty meaningless statement. We have to make decisions based on beliefs all the time. Some beliefs are very well supported by evidence, some are not. Some are so well supported that we call them "facts". Things like evolution, gravity, relativity, quantum mechanics, germ theory, plate tectonics,... I could go on... are facts. They are not just "beliefs".

As I've said, nothing is proven in science, this is a fundamental concept taught in first year college physics. You can only disprove. Things can be accepted and thought to be true, but they're not proven true, because they could always stop working for some reason or another.

Correct, not all beliefs are created equal, but they are still beliefs, and so you should take the more hotly debated ones, that seem to have people on both sides of the fence, with a grain of salt. Heck, if you think you've got the answer to quantum mechanics, go ahead and disagree with what everyone else says about it. You might be right, and if you're not, you're not hurting anyone by trying to bear out your ideas. It's only when people insult others for having different ideas that I start disliking the notion of "science" as it stands in society, because it's not just the study and observation of things, it's political now, too, and that's horrible.

It's true that nothing in science is proven 100%. We have evidence and logic (math, etc) for things, but no "proof". But, saying that "everything is a belief" really doesnt get you anywhere. At the end of the day you still have to make decisions about what to do. Do you get in your car and go to work? Why? You cant prove your workplace is still there. So, whether you have proof or not is irrelevant. We only have different degrees of certainty, but for some things we have such a high degree that to all intents and purposes, we DO have proof. Being 99.9999999% certain of something is the same as being 100% for any practical purpose.

What's a topic that was discussed in the OP that's 99.99999% certain?

@WillPayton said:

@minigunman123 said:

@WillPayton said:

Now, of course, this doesnt apply to all Republicans. There are people like Huntsman who are also religious, but somehow whatever his personal beliefs he manages to still be rational and intelligent on issues. If more Republicans were like him, or like Colin Powell, I would have very little against them.

Wow. That was pretty harsh.

It wasnt meant to be harsh. I'm not making any judgement on his beliefs... it was only meant as a general thought that anyone can have personal beliefs that are not rational. I do see what you mean, it sounds like I'm slamming him... but it wasnt meant that way. My point was I dont necessarily know what his beliefs are, nor does it matter to me.

If anything, I was slamming Bachmann. She's someone who makes decisions based entirely on personal religious beliefs that have been disproved by science.

Can you name one of these things that was disproved by science?

*Forsees a new religion thread*

#31 Edited by WillPayton (8435 posts) - - Show Bio

@minigunman123 said:

@WillPayton said:

It's true that nothing in science is proven 100%. We have evidence and logic (math, etc) for things, but no "proof". But, saying that "everything is a belief" really doesnt get you anywhere. At the end of the day you still have to make decisions about what to do. Do you get in your car and go to work? Why? You cant prove your workplace is still there. So, whether you have proof or not is irrelevant. We only have different degrees of certainty, but for some things we have such a high degree that to all intents and purposes, we DO have proof. Being 99.9999999% certain of something is the same as being 100% for any practical purpose.

What's a topic that was discussed in the OP that's 99.99999% certain?

Evolution. The specific number (99.99999%) is just something I made up, but evolution easily has so much evidence of so many different types that its degree of certainly is in that range. Yes, there are specifics still to be worked out, but the main elements like natural selection and how humans evolved are very well documented. If you have doubts I would very much encourage you to do more research... there's a lot of stuff online, it just depends how deep you want to get into it.

@minigunman123 said:

@WillPayton said:

If anything, I was slamming Bachmann. She's someone who makes decisions based entirely on personal religious beliefs that have been disproved by science.

Can you name one of these things that was disproved by science?

Michele Bachmann is a Creationist. So, for one, Creationism. If she's a Young Earth Creationist, then another thing is the age of the Earth. YECs believe the Earth is around 6,000 years old. Actual age of Earth: 4.5 Billion years old.

@minigunman123 said:

*Forsees a new religion thread*

LOL... God I hope not. =)

#32 Posted by minigunman123 (3116 posts) - - Show Bio

@WillPayton said:

@minigunman123 said:

@WillPayton said:

It's true that nothing in science is proven 100%. We have evidence and logic (math, etc) for things, but no "proof". But, saying that "everything is a belief" really doesnt get you anywhere. At the end of the day you still have to make decisions about what to do. Do you get in your car and go to work? Why? You cant prove your workplace is still there. So, whether you have proof or not is irrelevant. We only have different degrees of certainty, but for some things we have such a high degree that to all intents and purposes, we DO have proof. Being 99.9999999% certain of something is the same as being 100% for any practical purpose.

What's a topic that was discussed in the OP that's 99.99999% certain?

Evolution. The specific number (99.99999%) is just something I made up, but evolution easily has so much evidence of so many different types that it's degree of certainly is in that range. Yes, there are specifics still to be worked out, but the main elements like natural selection and how humans evolved are very well documented. If you have doubts I would very much encourage you to do more research... there's a lot of stuff online, it just depends how deep you want to get into it.

@minigunman123 said:

@WillPayton said:

If anything, I was slamming Bachmann. She's someone who makes decisions based entirely on personal religious beliefs that have been disproved by science.

Can you name one of these things that was disproved by science?

Michele Bachmann is a Creationist. So, for one, Creationism. If she's a Young Earth Creationist, then another thing is the age of the Earth. YECs believe the Earth is around 6,000 years old. Actual age of Earth: 4.5 Billion years old.

@minigunman123 said:

*Forsees a new religion thread*

LOL... God I hope not. =)

I do not deny evolution, but I also don't know what to make of it (but then, anyone claiming they know exactly what to make of it, is lying). I'm Christian, so I think God made the earth etc., but I don't think evolution is wrong because God doesn't say he didn't use evolution, he just says he created man from dust. That could imply we evolved from single celled organisms to some intelligent design. I just don't know.

I actually don't know the definition of creationism. What's the definition and why is it scientifically disproven?

I, too, believe the Earth to be billions of years old, never fear :P

#33 Posted by WillPayton (8435 posts) - - Show Bio

@minigunman123 said:

@WillPayton said:

@minigunman123 said:

@WillPayton said:

It's true that nothing in science is proven 100%. We have evidence and logic (math, etc) for things, but no "proof". But, saying that "everything is a belief" really doesnt get you anywhere. At the end of the day you still have to make decisions about what to do. Do you get in your car and go to work? Why? You cant prove your workplace is still there. So, whether you have proof or not is irrelevant. We only have different degrees of certainty, but for some things we have such a high degree that to all intents and purposes, we DO have proof. Being 99.9999999% certain of something is the same as being 100% for any practical purpose.

What's a topic that was discussed in the OP that's 99.99999% certain?

Evolution. The specific number (99.99999%) is just something I made up, but evolution easily has so much evidence of so many different types that it's degree of certainly is in that range. Yes, there are specifics still to be worked out, but the main elements like natural selection and how humans evolved are very well documented. If you have doubts I would very much encourage you to do more research... there's a lot of stuff online, it just depends how deep you want to get into it.

@minigunman123 said:

@WillPayton said:

If anything, I was slamming Bachmann. She's someone who makes decisions based entirely on personal religious beliefs that have been disproved by science.

Can you name one of these things that was disproved by science?

Michele Bachmann is a Creationist. So, for one, Creationism. If she's a Young Earth Creationist, then another thing is the age of the Earth. YECs believe the Earth is around 6,000 years old. Actual age of Earth: 4.5 Billion years old.

@minigunman123 said:

*Forsees a new religion thread*

LOL... God I hope not. =)

I do not deny evolution, but I also don't know what to make of it (but then, anyone claiming they know exactly what to make of it, is lying). I'm Christian, so I think God made the earth etc., but I don't think evolution is wrong because God doesn't say he didn't use evolution, he just says he created man from dust. That could imply we evolved from single celled organisms to some intelligent design. I just don't know.

I actually don't know the definition of creationism. What's the definition and why is it scientifically disproven?

I, too, believe the Earth to be billions of years old, never fear :P

Creationism says that God created humans on Earth in our present form... i.e. Adam and Eve. It says that God created all the species of animals all at once, species did not evolve at all. Even dinosaurs were created by God at the same time. According to some Creationists, humans and dinosaurs were around at the same time.

Young Earth Creationists believe that the Earth was created around 6,000 years ago. They arrive at this number by looking at the Bible and determining how many generations of humans lived from what the Bible says... but dont ask me specifics, that's about what I know.

All of this has been completely disproved by science since we know that modern humans evolved around 200,000 years ago from earlier species. Evolution and the age of the Earth are both supported by so much evidence that they are basically considered facts. They are as close to 100% certainty as we come in science.

#34 Posted by minigunman123 (3116 posts) - - Show Bio

@WillPayton said:

@minigunman123 said:

@WillPayton said:

@minigunman123 said:

@WillPayton said:

It's true that nothing in science is proven 100%. We have evidence and logic (math, etc) for things, but no "proof". But, saying that "everything is a belief" really doesnt get you anywhere. At the end of the day you still have to make decisions about what to do. Do you get in your car and go to work? Why? You cant prove your workplace is still there. So, whether you have proof or not is irrelevant. We only have different degrees of certainty, but for some things we have such a high degree that to all intents and purposes, we DO have proof. Being 99.9999999% certain of something is the same as being 100% for any practical purpose.

What's a topic that was discussed in the OP that's 99.99999% certain?

Evolution. The specific number (99.99999%) is just something I made up, but evolution easily has so much evidence of so many different types that it's degree of certainly is in that range. Yes, there are specifics still to be worked out, but the main elements like natural selection and how humans evolved are very well documented. If you have doubts I would very much encourage you to do more research... there's a lot of stuff online, it just depends how deep you want to get into it.

@minigunman123 said:

@WillPayton said:

If anything, I was slamming Bachmann. She's someone who makes decisions based entirely on personal religious beliefs that have been disproved by science.

Can you name one of these things that was disproved by science?

Michele Bachmann is a Creationist. So, for one, Creationism. If she's a Young Earth Creationist, then another thing is the age of the Earth. YECs believe the Earth is around 6,000 years old. Actual age of Earth: 4.5 Billion years old.

@minigunman123 said:

*Forsees a new religion thread*

LOL... God I hope not. =)

I do not deny evolution, but I also don't know what to make of it (but then, anyone claiming they know exactly what to make of it, is lying). I'm Christian, so I think God made the earth etc., but I don't think evolution is wrong because God doesn't say he didn't use evolution, he just says he created man from dust. That could imply we evolved from single celled organisms to some intelligent design. I just don't know.

I actually don't know the definition of creationism. What's the definition and why is it scientifically disproven?

I, too, believe the Earth to be billions of years old, never fear :P

Creationism says that God created humans on Earth in our present form... i.e. Adam and Eve. It says that God created all the species of animals all at once, species did not evolve at all. Even dinosaurs were created by God at the same time. According to some Creationists, humans and dinosaurs were around at the same time.

Young Earth Creationists believe that the Earth was created around 6,000 years ago. They arrive at this number by looking at the Bible and determining how many generations of humans lived from what the Bible says... but dont ask me specifics, that's about what I know.

All of this has been completely disproved by science since we know that modern humans evolved around 200,000 years ago from earlier species. Evolution and the age of the Earth are both supported by so much evidence that they are basically considered facts. They are as close to 100% certainty as we come in science.

Yeah, I don't know how exactly we may have come around to be (it might have been from evolving from apes, or maybe God started a chain of evolutions from single celled organisms, dunno), but I also don't think that since we don't have 100% proof that humans evolved from apes and whatnot, anything's possible. I don't exclude anything, because if I did, I'd be saying I have the answer to something nobody has the real answer to, and that's just arrogant.

TOTALLY unrelated, but I just had a lollipop with bubble gum in the center for the first time in my life. WHY have I not heard of this before? It's like heaven.

#35 Posted by NlGHTCRAWLER (2887 posts) - - Show Bio

@Living_Monstrosity said:

BURN.

Seriously though, there are more important things to focus on when looking for a right candidate to run the U.S. Obama isn't that guy... Neither is Romney, but that doesn't mean we should have to settle. Also, Obama gets way too much praise. Way too much which irritates me for some reason.

#36 Posted by Owie (3300 posts) - - Show Bio

@minigunman123: I agree with a reasonable amount of what you said in your main post and appreciate the time you took to write it. I also agree with most of what @WillPayton wrote in response to it, so I'm not going to make my own separate response to the things he already wrote about.

In terms of whether science can prove or disprove something, I'm not sure really where this came from in relation to what I wrote, but science can prove that X happens under Y conditions. It can't necessarily prove that X happens under all conditions. So if you want to make that caveat, that's fine, but generally speaking the point is that science has shown that certain things are facts, as long as we use the word "fact" colloquially, which is what I am doing here.

Belief in science and belief in religion are not the same. If I really want, I can replicate the results of any scientific experiment myself (given the right equipment). So I don't need to blindly believe in science's results. I do, however, have to blindly believe in religion's results, because they are not replicable. This is not a cut against religion, they're just different things epistemologically.

Specifically in terms of evolution, I have studied it in depth, and while of course like any huge field there are always details that will be altered, the vast, vast, vast majority of it is not under any serious scientific questioning or likely to change. It has undergone a huge amount of testing and questioning and refining already, so it's a fairly honed theory.

I don't personally think science and religion have to contradict each other in most cases, but it depends on the exact branch of religion. As WillPayton noted, many of the Republicans I'm talking about here are Creationists and Evangelicals who do happen to explicitly deny science's objectivity (minus the exceptions you brought up) and importance. On the other hand of course there are many every-day rank and file Republicans such as yourself who have perfectly rational views on science and religion. But these are not the people who are in charge of the Republican party, and they don't make the policies that, if followed, are very likely to hurt our country's scientific and educational and economic interests. Of course, I wouldn't make a decision to vote for the Democrats based on just one issue, but the support of science is a very important part of my political calculus. It speaks in general to the Democrats' fundamental support of rationality, and to the Republicans (at the national leadership level) lack of the same. And it really does have a huge effect on our economy in the long term.

When it comes to investment, the government has always invested in science and industry that is seen as important to our country's future. Of course it is important for private groups to do this too. But private businesses will never be able to do enough on their own. Let's take space as just one example. We would never have gone to space using private industry. It required huge government investment. Now, it looks like private space flight can take off on its own, which is fine. But lots of pure science is paid for by the government. Labs heavily rely on federal grants to sustain themselves because profits are often few and far between at the early stages of research--yet if that research isn't done, then the later stages are never reached. And the free market of science is ethically neutral--they have no reason to study one thing as opposed to another, but not all things affect our world equally in terms of ethics. I think it is the role of government--as constituted by its citizens--to make decisions about what kind of country we want this to be, and to make decisions accordingly. For instance, we probably all agree that we need a better energy infrastructure (our interstate energy pathways are totally degraded for instance) but we don't need a eugenics program. So it is reasonable for the government to stimulate energy research but not eugenics research.

#37 Posted by AtPhantom (14487 posts) - - Show Bio

@minigunman123 said:

You can't prove anything, first of all. You can only disprove.

Wait, what?

#38 Posted by minigunman123 (3116 posts) - - Show Bio

@Owie said:

@minigunman123: I agree with a reasonable amount of what you said in your main post and appreciate the time you took to write it. I also agree with most of what @WillPayton wrote in response to it, so I'm not going to make my own separate response to the things he already wrote about.

In terms of whether science can prove or disprove something, I'm not sure really where this came from in relation to what I wrote, but science can prove that X happens under Y conditions. It can't necessarily prove that X happens under all conditions. So if you want to make that caveat, that's fine, but generally speaking the point is that science has shown that certain things are facts, as long as we use the word "fact" colloquially, which is what I am doing here.

Belief in science and belief in religion are not the same. If I really want, I can replicate the results of any scientific experiment myself (given the right equipment). So I don't need to blindly believe in science's results. I do, however, have to blindly believe in religion's results, because they are not replicable. This is not a cut against religion, they're just different things epistemologically.

Specifically in terms of evolution, I have studied it in depth, and while of course like any huge field there are always details that will be altered, the vast, vast, vast majority of it is not under any serious scientific questioning or likely to change. It has undergone a huge amount of testing and questioning and refining already, so it's a fairly honed theory.

I don't personally think science and religion have to contradict each other in most cases, but it depends on the exact branch of religion. As WillPayton noted, many of the Republicans I'm talking about here are Creationists and Evangelicals who do happen to explicitly deny science's objectivity (minus the exceptions you brought up) and importance. On the other hand of course there are many every-day rank and file Republicans such as yourself who have perfectly rational views on science and religion. But these are not the people who are in charge of the Republican party, and they don't make the policies that, if followed, are very likely to hurt our country's scientific and educational and economic interests. Of course, I wouldn't make a decision to vote for the Democrats based on just one issue, but the support of science is a very important part of my political calculus. It speaks in general to the Democrats' fundamental support of rationality, and to the Republicans (at the national leadership level) lack of the same. And it really does have a huge effect on our economy in the long term.

When it comes to investment, the government has always invested in science and industry that is seen as important to our country's future. Of course it is important for private groups to do this too. But private businesses will never be able to do enough on their own. Let's take space as just one example. We would never have gone to space using private industry. It required huge government investment. Now, it looks like private space flight can take off on its own, which is fine. But lots of pure science is paid for by the government. Labs heavily rely on federal grants to sustain themselves because profits are often few and far between at the early stages of research--yet if that research isn't done, then the later stages are never reached. And the free market of science is ethically neutral--they have no reason to study one thing as opposed to another, but not all things affect our world equally in terms of ethics. I think it is the role of government--as constituted by its citizens--to make decisions about what kind of country we want this to be, and to make decisions accordingly. For instance, we probably all agree that we need a better energy infrastructure (our interstate energy pathways are totally degraded for instance) but we don't need a eugenics program. So it is reasonable for the government to stimulate energy research but not eugenics research.

A very excellent response, and I actually only want to reply about the investment thing some more. What have we really gotten out of space flight in terms of scientific or commercial achievement? It's significant, and cool, yes, but we haven't really learned anything applicable to human society or our lives yet. I also don't think we will find much that's applicable in a useful way. If we find something amazing out there, that's, like I said, cool, but we can't travel there, we can't send a probe there, it would take thousands of years to reach virtually anything outside our solar system, with our current technology. I don't think hyperdrives are a feasible goal, either, so I really don't see much point in space travel. Space research, telescopes, things like that, they're absolutely useful. They achieve exploration and observation of the universe without the risks of space flight, often without the same costs (though there are notable examples that are quite expensive, such as the hubble telescope), and we all recognize that the thing they'll contribute is purely intellectual, not pragmatic; and that's not a bad thing. The only bad thing about space flight is that people seem to be obsessed with going into space, when we really should worry about researching more about Earth down here. There are hundreds of miles, depth wise, of the Earth, that we have yet to explore or mine in any way, yet we're worried about resources. How ridiculous is that? Shouldn't we try and expand our knowledge and understanding and manipulation of what we already have, rather than attempt to inefficiently use the rest of the universe?

On a broader topic, you say that private business cannot do enough on it's own, yet I put forth to you that business is what controls the government itself in many facets. Business has, since the dawn of Humans, been one of the largest forces in Human history, and it has often transcended governments or even ruled them or corrupted them for it's own purposes. To say that government overpowers business and the almighty desire of wealth and power, is a bit ironic, since it's actually the other way around; business is what fuels our government. People will always do what's profitable, and that means the best, most widely used and most applicable technologies, will almost always be developed by private corporations, because they're always searching for ways to get better and make more money. That's a good thing, because it means things like, say, personal computers are developed. Computers were initially pushed by America in WWII for cracking codes, but I consider that different than investment. The government can try and fuel technological growth that directly helps the government in some way (so long as it's "ethical"), because that will usually help the government in it's primary role of protector and negotiator. What I don't think government should do, is try and invest in technology that won't directly help itself, such as certain aspects of space flight (certain aspects are useful, such as long range missiles, or satellites, but certain aspects, such as Lunar landings, are not useful or purposeful at all, for the time being).

#39 Posted by minigunman123 (3116 posts) - - Show Bio

@AtPhantom said:

@minigunman123 said:

You can't prove anything, first of all. You can only disprove.

Wait, what?

Yeah, it's a pretty basic concept. In science, you cannot actually technically prove anything, you can only disprove. Pure math might be the strongest case of "things that are pretty much proven", but who's to say tomorrow we don't wake up and find out there's actually a number called "negative zero", which changes our way of understanding the universe? People never thought 0 was a number until the Arabic number system came along. Nothing is actually concrete or proven. You can disprove, not prove. Evidence is reason to think something is correct, it is not proven correct, however. Overwhelming evidence simply means it's safe to assume it's true in every day usage. I was taught this concept in my first physics class, ever, in college, and it was pretty heavily nailed into us. It was also taught in my Chemistry class, a little bit.

#40 Posted by AtPhantom (14487 posts) - - Show Bio

@minigunman123 said:

Yeah, it's a pretty basic concept. In science, you cannot actually technically prove anything, you can only disprove. Pure math might be the strongest case of "things that are pretty much proven", but who's to say tomorrow we don't wake up and find out there's actually a number called "negative zero", which changes our way of understanding the universe? People never thought 0 was a number until the Arabic number system came along. Nothing is actually concrete or proven. You can disprove, not prove. Evidence is reason to think something is correct, it is not proven correct, however. Overwhelming evidence simply means it's safe to assume it's true in every day usage. I was taught this concept in my first physics class, ever, in college, and it was pretty heavily nailed into us. It was also taught in my Chemistry class, a little bit.

That seems pretty bogus to me. Zero didn't disprove anything we knew about numbers we knew before. It only added to what we already knew. There's a difference between arrogance in thinking what we assume is true, and knowing what he have proof of is true. If a certain scientific notion is wrong, then all the future scientific and practical concept built upon it cannot work. Without the theory of relativity GPS cannot work. Without quantum mechanics the Large Hadron Collider would be a waste of time. Without cell theory genetic treatments wouldn't work. So aren't these things proven? How can you argue that they may be wrong when we have practical evidence of them?

#41 Posted by minigunman123 (3116 posts) - - Show Bio

@AtPhantom said:

@minigunman123 said:

Yeah, it's a pretty basic concept. In science, you cannot actually technically prove anything, you can only disprove. Pure math might be the strongest case of "things that are pretty much proven", but who's to say tomorrow we don't wake up and find out there's actually a number called "negative zero", which changes our way of understanding the universe? People never thought 0 was a number until the Arabic number system came along. Nothing is actually concrete or proven. You can disprove, not prove. Evidence is reason to think something is correct, it is not proven correct, however. Overwhelming evidence simply means it's safe to assume it's true in every day usage. I was taught this concept in my first physics class, ever, in college, and it was pretty heavily nailed into us. It was also taught in my Chemistry class, a little bit.

That seems pretty bogus to me. Zero didn't disprove anything we knew about numbers we knew before. It only added to what we already knew. There's a difference between arrogance in thinking what we assume is true, and knowing what he have proof of is true. If a certain scientific notion is wrong, then all the future scientific and practical concept built upon it cannot work. Without the theory of relativity GPS cannot work. Without quantum mechanics the Large Hadron Collider would be a waste of time. Without cell theory genetic treatments wouldn't work. So aren't these things proven? How can you argue that they may be wrong when we have practical evidence of them?

I actually had a discussion like this with a friend after posting, because I thought it was an interesting concept; maybe my physics professor was wrong, because you can prove certain things like geometry. I'm still unsure.

I do wonder about the things you listed though; it would only take one instance to disprove the notion that they are what they are. Evidence isn't always proof, from what I've been taught.

#42 Posted by AtPhantom (14487 posts) - - Show Bio

@minigunman123 said:

I actually had a discussion like this with a friend after posting, because I thought it was an interesting concept; maybe my physics professor was wrong, because you can prove certain things like geometry. I'm still unsure.

Perhaps your professor worded it badly, or was referring to scientific axioms, which can't actually be proven but from which all other science is extrapolated?

@minigunman123 said:

I do wonder about the things you listed though; it would only take one instance to disprove the notion that they are what they are. Evidence isn't always proof, from what I've been taught.

That's a bit of a trick issue, don't you think? By definition you can't have proof of two contardictory things. If we have proof of one thing, we can't have proof of the opposite.

An example of such a situation happened last year when CERN scientists measured a neutrino seemingly breaking the light barrier in direct opposition to relativity. They already had proof of relativity, so they first collectively shook their heads and then scrambled to figure out what the freaking freak was going on. Eventually they found an error in the machinery. The point is that you can't toss out a host of evidence on one side because of evidence on the other. You instead look at why the contradiction exists and attempt to explain it with a theory in which both sets of proof work. Science is almost never actually disproved. It is however constantly expanded upon.

On topic, these are pretty interesting articles. Keep 'em coming.

#43 Posted by minigunman123 (3116 posts) - - Show Bio

@AtPhantom said:

@minigunman123 said:

I actually had a discussion like this with a friend after posting, because I thought it was an interesting concept; maybe my physics professor was wrong, because you can prove certain things like geometry. I'm still unsure.

Perhaps your professor worded it badly, or was referring to scientific axioms, which can't actually be proven but from which all other science is extrapolated?

@minigunman123 said:

I do wonder about the things you listed though; it would only take one instance to disprove the notion that they are what they are. Evidence isn't always proof, from what I've been taught.

That's a bit of a trick issue, don't you think? By definition you can't have proof of two contardictory things. If we have proof of one thing, we can't have proof of the opposite.

An example of such a situation happened last year when CERN scientists measured a neutrino seemingly breaking the light barrier in direct opposition to relativity. They already had proof of relativity, so they first collectively shook their heads and then scrambled to figure out what the freaking freak was going on. Eventually they found an error in the machinery. The point is that you can't toss out a host of evidence on one side because of evidence on the other. You instead look at why the contradiction exists and attempt to explain it with a theory in which both sets of proof work. Science is almost never actually disproved. It is however constantly expanded upon.

On topic, these are pretty interesting articles. Keep 'em coming.

That might be a pretty good way of explaining certain things, yes. Still, we don't even know why electricity behaves the way it behaves, at it's core... Science has a long way to go :P Much expansion is needed!

#44 Posted by AtPhantom (14487 posts) - - Show Bio

@minigunman123:No one can argue with that!

#45 Posted by WillPayton (8435 posts) - - Show Bio

@minigunman123 said:

@Owie said:

A very excellent response, and I actually only want to reply about the investment thing some more. What have we really gotten out of space flight in terms of scientific or commercial achievement?

Actually, quite a lot, especially if you look at both the manned and unmanned space programs.

Government funding for pure research, universities, and other R&D is largely responsible for much of the progress and technical proficiency we enjoy today in this country.

#46 Posted by minigunman123 (3116 posts) - - Show Bio

@WillPayton said:

@minigunman123 said:

@Owie said:

A very excellent response, and I actually only want to reply about the investment thing some more. What have we really gotten out of space flight in terms of scientific or commercial achievement?

Actually, quite a lot, especially if you look at both the manned and unmanned space programs.

Government funding for pure research, universities, and other R&D is largely responsible for much of the progress and technical proficiency we enjoy today in this country.

What did landing on the moon accomplish?

#47 Edited by WillPayton (8435 posts) - - Show Bio

@minigunman123 said:

@WillPayton said:

@minigunman123 said:

@Owie said:

A very excellent response, and I actually only want to reply about the investment thing some more. What have we really gotten out of space flight in terms of scientific or commercial achievement?

Actually, quite a lot, especially if you look at both the manned and unmanned space programs.

Government funding for pure research, universities, and other R&D is largely responsible for much of the progress and technical proficiency we enjoy today in this country.

What did landing on the moon accomplish?

Landing on the Moon is only a part of the space program. The benefits of the space program since it started are really incalculable at this point, from communications satellites, GPS satellites, materials discoveries, and practical inventions. Perhaps the biggest benefit has been the enthusiasm the space program created for science and engineering in the US. Many, many people were motivated to study math, science, and engineering because of the space program, and those are the same people that went on to invent the internet, cell phones, and many other things that you enjoy today. I guarantee you if we'd never had the space program in the US, the entire world would be very different now.

It's also important to understand that as part of going to space, NASA has to invent and discover stuff on a daily basis. There's way too much tech that was invented by NASA to list, and all of it becomes assets for the US government and public institutions to use as basis for new discoveries. Also a lot of it is used as basis for people to start new tech companies.

Other stuff we owe to the space program:

http://www.nasa.gov/50th/50th_magazine/benefits.html

http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/curiosity/topics/ten-nasa-inventions.htm

http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/spinoffs/redirected/

http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/benefits/index.html

#48 Edited by AtPhantom (14487 posts) - - Show Bio

Well for one thing the integrated circuit, which is basically the foundation of electronics and computer science, was developed for Apollo missions.

I'm sure the moon rocks brought back did wonders for the studies off geology and advanced materials as well.

EDIT: Aaaaaand completely beaten to the punch. Damn.

#49 Posted by cameron83 (6416 posts) - - Show Bio

@Owie: can I ask you a question....But what does creationist mean?

I'm not familiar with that word....and evangelical

#50 Posted by soduh2 (856 posts) - - Show Bio

You have a lot of "pro-science" people (evolution, stem cell research etc.) working at starbucks or McDonalds, the problem isn't the right wing or religion obstructing innovation. It's the education system that needs to be improved before public policy or ideology.