Skip to comments.Standard Definitions for Science Threads
Posted on 01/31/2006 12:52:13 PM PST by PatrickHenry
click here to read article
Bump for education.
I propose that the definition for faith be modified along the following lines:
the belief in something for which there is no material evidence or empirical proof; acceptance of ideals, beliefs, etc., which are not necessarily demonstrable through experimentation or observation.
As a non-religious example, my marriage vows to my wife. We don't know we're going to stay together but we have faith that we can work out our problems and stay together.
But I think we need more discussion of the term "speculation" for the edification of a certain few of the Anti-science crowd.
Off the top of my head, I would say that all scientists speculate to some degree and many discuss, and some even publish, such thoughts (particularly to get some quick and easy feedback). However, such speculations are not indicative of beliefs held, not intended to indicate a direction for future research, but to simply to explore an idea, no matter how off-the-wall it may be, and see if any fruitful insights are realized. OTOH, some of it is intended to be read with tongue firmly in cheek. And most of the thumpers can't seem to tell the difference.
"speculation, an unproven assumption, a belief, policy, or procedure proposed or followed as the basis of action," and "conjecture."
What Webster's (online) dictionary has to say about the word theory:
1. A well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena; "theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses"; "true in fact and theory".
2. A tentative theory about the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena; "a scientific hypothesis that survives experimental testing becomes a scientific theory"; "he proposed a fresh theory of alkalis that later was accepted in chemical practices".
3. A belief that can guide behavior; "the architect has a theory that more is less"; "they killed him on the theory that dead men tell no tales".
Webster's then goes on to explain that Definition #1 is the definition used in scientific literature.
I have a link I will post when I get home that fits in this nicely. :-)
And so long as the willfully ignorant cling to the fanciful notion that dictionary definitions are like some sort of egalitarian etymological smorgasbord, where they get to pick and choose which definition they want to interchangeably apply, and when, there is no hope of counteracting their ignorance and mendacity.
I don't have any problem with C-man's definitions nor do I with your additions. I suggest that at the start of any Crevo thread this be posted along with the ping list. Then we can conviently refer back to that post when necessary.
But as The_Victor has pointed out, how do you get the anti-evo's to agree to it?
I'm afraid that this won't be of much use. Those of us who aren't anti-science Luddites already know these definitions, and many of the creationists here on FR have made it clear that they want to make up their own definitions of words and insist that their made-up definitions are the ones that scientists really mean, no matter what the scientists claim to mean.
A scientific speculation is much different than any old speculation. When a scientist speculates he is drawing on experience, patterns and somewhate unrelated things that are known or appear to be unlikely. This becomes a very informed guess. The better the scientist and the greater his experience, the better chance his speculations will prove to be true.
Say, PH, why wasnt I pinged to this thread?....found it by chance...and I need it more so than many others...
For instance, I read with interest, about 'believing' in TOE..Thats what I say, I believe in TOE...(so it would seem, I am using 'believe' in the sense of common usage), but it would actually be more correct to state that I accept TOE or that I have confidence in TOE...well, I have learned something today....I am still mulling it over in my mind, but will try to be more accurate in the future...
Your definitions of belief, faith and knowledge are inapplicable to the experience of many people.
What if I make a decision based on pure 'faith', then evidence or personal experience arises later which confirms my 'belief'? Is it still faith? Not by your definition. Then it becomes knowledge.
For example- what if I am addicted to certain substances, activities and practices. (Which I was.) Then I have a salvation experience where I put my faith in Jesus Christ. (Which I did.) Then, I instantly have no more of these addictions, and remain addiction free for fifteen years. (Which I have.)
Now I have knowledge. Or is it still faith?
They will never agree. This isn't for them. It's for us, so we're all on the same page, and so we don't have to come up with the same stuff over and over.
Nothing personal. I have a small ping list of long-time, hard-core evo types, and I thought they'd be the ones who'd be most interested.
I read with interest, about 'believing' in TOE..Thats what I say, I believe in TOE.
Thanks PH for that article, which went into lots of detail, and explained much about 'believing' in things, and the different distinctions....this article has helped me greatly, to further understand that which I did not fully understand before...my poor little unscientific brain, needs lots of help, and you have provided as much...thanks...
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