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#135440 - 04/08/05 06:10 AM Refinery
Elizabeth Creith Offline

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 500
Loc: Northern Ontario, Canada
I'm with Faldage. It doesn't refine a theory to prove it wrong, it overturns it. Science is rife with examples - like the French astronomer who was called to a village to examine a rock which the ignorant peasants said had fallen from the sky. He explained carefully to them that this was not possible, because there are no rocks in the sky.
I think that's been overturned lately - can't see how it could have been refined....

#135441 - 04/08/05 11:04 AM Eppur si muove!
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
Not to mention Galileo.

#135442 - 04/08/05 11:58 AM Re: Refinery
BraveLad Offline

Registered: 03/29/05
Posts: 31
Loc: California
Dear Elizabeth,

You wrote, "I'm with Faldage. It doesn't refine a theory to prove it wrong, it overturns it."

Let me clarify. I am not referring to the type of knowledge that is very concrete, such as the rocks in my head or in the sky. I am referring to the grand principles of events such as Newton's Laws of Motion. Einstein's Special Relativity modified these, 'refined' them if you will in the sense that in the ordinary case the predicted behaviors closely approximate each other.

Particular facts are like the leaves on a tree. They shake even in a gentle breeze that doesn't even make the trunk tremble. It is to such principles that correspond to the trunk of the tree of knowledge to which I am referring when I claim that refinement is a better description than revolution for real sciences. Most people BTW are not acquainted with such principles, so they will not easily appreciate my point.

My background is in Physics, Math, and Philosophy with a current career serving the Financial Industry with financial software.

Having been involved in technical fields, except for a brief stint in the military, I would occasionally grow discouraged at the dizzying pace of innovation and the difficulty of keeping up with it. Then I realized that the basic principles of the fields in which I was engaged for a living did not in fact change nearly as quickly over time. In fact they were either slowly added to or refined.

In Mathematics for instance, you do not see the sort of wholesale 'overturning' of which you speak, once at least it had become established on an axiomatic foundation. Physics is a distant second as to certainty compared to Physics.

Only in the past few years have I begun to grasp similarly axiomatic foundations of religion and politics. In the case of politics, I reinvented 'deontic logic' when attempting to describe the relationship between 'duty' and 'right.' Deontic logics are varieties of modal logic. In the religious instance, the axioms are those which make the 'Ontological Argument' work.

If Engineering principles changed as radically a the sort of particular 'facts' to which you refer do, then buildings and bridges would be falling down in ordinary circumstances with much greater frequency than they in fact do. But what we see are structural failures in extreme conditions if the engineers and contractors are following those principles. Good thing for us that in so many 'practical' areas that basic principles are more reliable in 'hard' than in 'soft' fields!


#135443 - 04/08/05 04:31 PM Re: Refinery
TheFallibleFiend Offline

Registered: 01/23/02
Posts: 1523
Loc: Virginia, USA

I'm not sure. Depends partly on what one means by 'modern science.' Caloric theory and Bode's Law have been debunked, but were legitimate science with evidence to support them.

I think the problem with the characterization isn't whether science can overturn old ideas. Whether we view it as an overturning or a refinement seems a semantic argument to me. The thing is that even when science has overturned old ideas, that hasn't been its goal. There's nothing in science that says, "Everybody's too comfortable, we have to switch things around a little." Rather, things have had to change (overturn or refine, I dont' care which phrase is used) because while the existing theory seems to explain X and Y very well, it's a little weak on Z.


#135444 - 04/08/05 09:01 PM Re: Well, Looking for a Writer...
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
You wrote, "Science is all about overturning received knowledge."

Au contraire Aged Fald (a title of respect)! The mark of true science is that each sucessive theory refines the previous one, not overturns it.

Yes, and I went on to say, "If a theory is accepted by the main body of science you best know what you're talking about if you're thinking of overturning it."

And, while Fald and age are the lexemes in question, the latter has nothing at all to do with senectitude, irregardless of whether or not I am or am not a geezer or not.

#135445 - 07/25/05 08:33 AM Re: Well, Looking for a Writer...

hi. looking for writers, not to sure whats it about, could you please give me some information. ania [ireland]

#135446 - 09/21/05 12:00 AM Re: Well, Looking for a Writer...

I am the best known of Financial Astrologers, and have written a financial newsletter for 28 years, with one of the finest written records.
On CNBC fincl TV 4-5 times a year, also speak at fincl conferences.

#135447 - 03/15/06 09:50 AM Re: Well, Looking for a Writer...

And the best writers, such as Steinbeck in Of Mice and Men, never are echoed by real life stories that make the same point, which are considered too bizarre or abnormal. Why?

#135448 - 03/15/06 08:30 PM Re: Well, Looking for a Writer...
Jackie Online   content

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11613
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Tell you what, Anonymous--you tell me who you are in a way I can verify, and tell how you got on here without registering, and I'll give you an answer.

#135449 - 05/16/06 03:17 PM Re: reading and comp 1A
Aramis Offline

Registered: 05/17/05
Posts: 456
Loc: SE US
A. was thinking Nietzsche or Dostoyevsky, but Mein Kampf probably is pretty extreme. Did not get through this whole string so sorry if anyone pitched either already.

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