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Standard Definitions for Science Threads
Vanity ^ | 31 January 2006 | PatrickHenry and Coyoteman

Posted on 01/31/2006 12:52:13 PM PST by PatrickHenry

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I may regret this. Anyway, if those I've pinged aren't interested, feel free to ignore the thread.
1 posted on 01/31/2006 12:52:14 PM PST by PatrickHenry
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To: <1/1,000,000th%; balrog666; BMCDA; b_sharp; CarolinaGuitarman; CobaltBlue; Condorman; Coyoteman; ...

Vanity ping.


2 posted on 01/31/2006 12:53:29 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Virtual Ignore for trolls, lunatics, dotards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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To: PatrickHenry
Can you get the people who need to see this to actually read it?

Bump for education.

3 posted on 01/31/2006 12:58:34 PM PST by The_Victor (If all I want is a warm feeling, I should just wet my pants.)
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To: PatrickHenry
You probably will. ;)

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.

4 posted on 01/31/2006 1:00:33 PM PST by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: PatrickHenry

Needs work.


5 posted on 01/31/2006 1:02:44 PM PST by balrog666 (A myth by any other name is still inane.)
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To: PatrickHenry
Fanatic - Anyone who disagrees with me.
6 posted on 01/31/2006 1:03:52 PM PST by atomicpossum (Replies must follow approved guidelines or you will be kill-filed without appeal.)
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To: PatrickHenry
It is interesting that it is only in the scientific endeavors that individuals seem to be predisposed to paint the term theory with the veneer of fact. I suspect this has to do with the increasing politicization of science by liberals and a desire to present Darwinian or Neo-Darwinian ideas as carrying more evidentiary weight than they actually do in real life.

Interestingly, Webster has no problem also explaining the word with the terms:

"speculation, an unproven assumption, a belief, policy, or procedure proposed or followed as the basis of action," and "conjecture."

I would think that such description of the word would be more appropriate for all fields of endeavor.
7 posted on 01/31/2006 1:03:54 PM PST by Old_Mil (http://www.constitutionparty.org - Forging a Rebirth of Freedom.)
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To: PatrickHenry
That was a joke.

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.

8 posted on 01/31/2006 1:23:21 PM PST by balrog666 (A myth by any other name is still inane.)
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To: Old_Mil
Interestingly, Webster has no problem also explaining the word with the terms:

"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:

--SNIP--

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".

--SNIP--

Webster's then goes on to explain that Definition #1 is the definition used in scientific literature.

9 posted on 01/31/2006 1:24:11 PM PST by Quark2005 (Creationism is to science what the 1967 production of 'Casino Royale' is to the James Bond series.)
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To: PatrickHenry

I have a link I will post when I get home that fits in this nicely. :-)


10 posted on 01/31/2006 1:30:29 PM PST by RadioAstronomer (Senior member of Darwin Central)
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To: Quark2005; PatrickHenry
Webster's then goes on to explain that Definition #1 is the definition used in scientific literature.

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.

11 posted on 01/31/2006 1:35:16 PM PST by longshadow (FReeper #405, entering his ninth year of ignoring nitwits, nutcases, and recycled newbies)
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To: PatrickHenry
"The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge."

Albert Einstein

12 posted on 01/31/2006 2:04:55 PM PST by MRMEAN (Corruptisima republica plurimae leges. -- Tacitus)
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To: PatrickHenry; The_Victor

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?

Good Luck


13 posted on 01/31/2006 2:25:25 PM PST by furball4paws (Awful Offal)
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To: PatrickHenry

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.


14 posted on 01/31/2006 3:06:29 PM PST by Dimensio (http://angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif <-- required reading before you use your next apostrophe!)
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To: PatrickHenry

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.


15 posted on 01/31/2006 3:27:50 PM PST by furball4paws (Awful Offal)
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To: PatrickHenry

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...


16 posted on 01/31/2006 4:20:16 PM PST by andysandmikesmom
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To: PatrickHenry

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?


17 posted on 01/31/2006 4:31:05 PM PST by ovrtaxt ("I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born."- Reagan)
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To: furball4paws
... how do you get the anti-evo's to agree to it?

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.

18 posted on 01/31/2006 4:36:20 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Virtual Ignore for trolls, lunatics, dotards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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To: andysandmikesmom
Say, PH, why wasnt I pinged to this thread?

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.

Do You Believe in Evolution?

19 posted on 01/31/2006 4:41:33 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Virtual Ignore for trolls, lunatics, dotards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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To: PatrickHenry

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...


20 posted on 01/31/2006 5:29:35 PM PST by andysandmikesmom
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To: All; RadioAstronomer
Rades, when you post, use this updated list.

DRAFT TWO:

These are mostly Coyoteman's definitions, in slightly different order (the whole thing still needs to be put a better sequence, I think), with my contributions and those of others indented and identified by contributor:

Hypothesis: 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"

Guess: an opinion or estimate based on incomplete evidence, or on little or no information

Law: a generalization that describes recurring facts or events in nature; "the laws of thermodynamics"

Assumption: premise: a statement that is assumed to be true and from which a conclusion can be drawn; "on the assumption that he has been injured we can infer that he will not to play"

Model: a simplified framework designed to illuminate complex processes; a hypothetical description of a complex entity or process; a physical or mathematical representation of a process that can be used to predict some aspect of the process

Speculation: a hypothesis that has been formed by speculating or conjecturing (usually with little hard evidence)

By balrog666 (post 8): 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.

By furball4paws in post #15: A scientific speculation is much different than any old speculation. When a scientist speculates he is drawing on experience, patterns and somewhat 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.

Observation: any information collected with the senses

Data: factual information, especially information organized for analysis or used to reason or make decisions

Fact: when an observation is confirmed repeatedly and by many independent and competent observers, it can become a fact

Belief: any cognitive content (perception) held as true; religious faith

By PH:
Strictly speaking, what one "believes" on faith and what one "knows" are different things.
Belief: One can "believe" in the existence of the tooth fairy, but one does not -- in the same sense of the word -- "believe" in the existence of his own mother.

Faith: Belief in the first proposition (tooth fairy) requires faith, which is belief in something for which there is no evidence or logical proof.

Knowledge: The second proposition (mother) is the kind of knowledge which follows from sensory evidence.

Logical Proof: There is also that kind of knowledge (like the Pythagorean theorem) which follows from logical proof. In either case -- that is, knowledge acquired from sensory evidence or demonstrated by logical proof -- there is no need for faith, and that term is inapplicable to such knowledge.

Proof: Except for math and geometry, there is little that is actually proven. Even well-established scientific theories can't be conclusively proven, because -- at least in principle -- a counter-example might be discovered. Scientific theories are always accepted provisionally, and are regarded as reliable only because they are supported (not proven) by the verifiable facts they purport to explain and by the predictions which they successfully make. All scientific theories are subject to revision (or even rejection) if new data are discovered which necessitates this.

Faith: the belief in something for which there is no evidence or logical proof; acceptance of ideals, beliefs, etc., which are not necessarily demonstrable through experimentation or reason. [By PH: This is similar to what I said, above.]

By <1/1,000,000th% (post #4): 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.
Theory: 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." [That is Webster's definition #1, as pointed out by Quark2005 in post #9.] Addendum: "Theories do not grow up to be laws. Theories explain laws." (Courtesy of VadeRetro.)

By PH
Scientific theory: In between mother (knowledge from sensory evidence) and the Pythagorean theorem (knowledge from logical proof) are those propositions we provisionally accept (or in common usage "believe"), like relativity and evolution, because they are currently successful scientific theories -- testable, and therefore falsifiable explanations of the available, verifiable data (which data is knowledge obtained via sensory evidence). Here too, there is no need for faith, and that term does not apply in the context of scientific theories.

Confidence: When a scientific theory has a long history of being supported by verifiable evidence, it is appropriate to speak about "acceptance" of (not "belief" in) the theory; or we can say that we have "confidence" (not "faith") in the theory. The word "faith" is inapplicable in this context.

It is the dependence on verifiable data and the capability of testing that distinguish scientific theories from matters of faith. Purely theological matters that are believed on faith are not capable of being tested, and thus theological doctrines are not scientific.

Dogma: a religious doctrine that is proclaimed as true without proof

Religion:

theistic: "1 the belief in a superhuman controlling power, esp. in a personal God or gods entitled to obedience and worship. 2 the expression of this in worship. 3 a particular system of faith and worship."

Non-Theistic: "The word religion has many definitions, all of which can embrace sacred lore and wisdom and knowledge of God or gods, souls and spirits. Religion deals with the spirit in relation to itself, the universe and other life. Essentially, religion is belief in spiritual beings. As it relates to the world, religion is a system of beliefs and practices by means of which a group of people struggles with the ultimate problems of human life."

Impression: a vague idea in which some confidence is placed; "his impression of her was favorable"; "what are your feelings about the crisis?"; "it strengthened my belief in his sincerity"; "I had a feeling that she was lying" [Observation by PH: should be mentioned, perhaps, that this is subjective.]

Opinion: a personal belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty.

What follows are the rest of PH's offerings, not yet integrated into the above:
Reason: "Reason -- the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses -- is man's only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival." -- Ayn Rand

There are vital distinctions between reason and faith. It is necessary to distinguish between an axiom (which is a logical necessity) and an article of dogma (an arbitrary assumption), between objective fact and subjective experience, and between hypothesis (a proposed, testable explanation of an observed phenomenon) and conjecture (a guess based on virtually no data). Understanding these fundamental concepts allows us to distinguish reason-based science from faith-based doctrine. Reason and faith are commonly confused, but they are very different intellectual enterprises, with different goals. When properly understood, they are not in conflict.

21 posted on 01/31/2006 5:58:29 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Virtual Ignore for trolls, lunatics, dotards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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To: PatrickHenry
Coincidently, they're trying to set rules for the debate over on William Dembski's blog:

From http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/744

January 30, 2006

Framing The ID Debate Around Science

I will remind everyone again - please frame your arguments around science. If the ID movement doesn’t get the issue framed around science it’s going down and I do not like losing. The plain conclusion of scientific evidence supports descent with modification from a common ancestor. You are certainly welcome to have other opinions based on faith in something other than science but I’d ask that you go to a religious website with them if you must talk about it.

You certainly don’t have to agree here with descent with modification from a common ancestor but I’m going to start clamping down on anyone positively arguing against it. It’s simply counter-productive to our goals and reinforces the idea that ID is religion because nothing but religion argues against descent with modification from a common ancestor. What we are fighting is the idea that the modification was unguided. ID can fight that without ever leaving the battleground of plain scientific conclusions. If we try to argue against anything else we’re are going to lose. Plain and simple. No buts about it. There’s only one gaping vulnerability in the commonly accepted evolutionary narrative we can exploit successfully and that’s the bit about it being unplanned.

-- David Scott


22 posted on 01/31/2006 6:18:11 PM PST by forsnax5 (The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.)
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To: PatrickHenry
"Belief: any cognitive content (perception) held as true; religious faith"

The word belief is generally used with some corresponding Bayesian probability of being true. That depends on the priors(cognitive content) of that individual's cognitive system and whether, or not that cognition is rational, or irrational. The distinguishing feature is rationality, or the absence of it, in the belief system.

Rational cognition requires the use of logic, real evidence and consistent principles. An irrational system is arbitrary in every way regarding those features. In general any rational belief system will have a similar and consistent value attached to a belief. That is not true in an arbitrary system. In a rational system, any belief can be added, or altered with new evidence, in a simple, consistent and logical way. In an arbitrary system, that is not true. Each irrational system is a unique one, however similar, in an infinite sea of irrational possibilities.

In general any change in an arbitrary system requires the system itself to change. A change of an arbitrary to a rational belief system requires a change in foundation. That's a major obstacle. Rationality, more or less, is resisted, because it poses a threat to the foundation of the entire system.

At any ratte, "religious faith" is not a general description of belief. Nor does perception generally apply to cognitive content. Belief simply refers to any cognitive content held as true. Whether it is, or not, doesn't matter.

Knowledge in a similar way depends on the belief system. One can have knowledge of bagvita's belief system, of which bagvita's beliefs were his knowledge. Both the words belief and knowledge require qualifiers. In general though, the word knowledge implies that one actually knows.

23 posted on 01/31/2006 6:43:45 PM PST by spunkets
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To: PatrickHenry; Coyoteman
"Model: a simplified framework designed to illuminate complex processes; a hypothetical description of a complex entity or process; a physical or mathematical representation of a process that can be used to predict some aspect of the process."

I'd also suggest that this be changed to:

Model: a simplified framework representation designed to illuminate complex processes; a hypothetical description of a complex entity or process; a physical or mathematical representation of a process that can be used to predict some aspect of the process

The reason is that all models are representations of an object, or process. "Framework" doesn't fit.

You might also want to add the correspondance principle. The Correspondance Principle says, "Any new theory must contain the old theory as a limiting case." The reason for the incluison is that some folks think that theories can be replaced and the old one junked. That's never true. The old theory must always appear as a limiting case.

24 posted on 01/31/2006 7:33:35 PM PST by spunkets
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To: spunkets; PatrickHenry; All
Thanks for the suggestions. I will take a whack at a redo of my definitions on the morrow when I am fresh.

Any suggestions for reordering the list?

25 posted on 01/31/2006 7:43:25 PM PST by Coyoteman (I love the sound of beta decay in the morning!)
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To: spunkets

Your comments will be in the next draft.


26 posted on 01/31/2006 7:50:40 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Virtual Ignore for trolls, lunatics, dotards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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To: <1/1,000,000th%; PatrickHenry

Faith: the belief in something for which there is no evidence or logical proof; acceptance of ideals, beliefs, etc., which are not necessarily demonstrable through experimentation or reason

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.

I think the second is much more accurate.

27 posted on 01/31/2006 7:54:47 PM PST by SuzyQue
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To: SuzyQue

Thanks for the support. ;)


28 posted on 01/31/2006 7:57:22 PM PST by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: Coyoteman
Any suggestions for reordering the list?

I'm not sure. I was thinking of listing them in order of certainty, if that's possible. Starting with "proof," then "theory," etc. Some of the words that are part of one of those, like my "confidence" in theories instead of "belief" or "faith" should be placed (indented) right below the main term to which they apply. But that probably means introducing some terms terms before they're defined in the sequence of certainty.

Another way, which is a lot more work, is to introduce concepts as needed, in order to discuss the terms which follow. That would mean starting out discussing knowledge, belief, and faith at the beginning, and maybe then the difference between reason and faith. It might get tangled up. I'm not confident that any perfect sequence can be devised.

29 posted on 01/31/2006 8:00:07 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Virtual Ignore for trolls, lunatics, dotards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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To: PatrickHenry

I'd add the definition of Occam's Razor.


30 posted on 01/31/2006 8:03:32 PM PST by Virginia-American
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To: Virginia-American

To be noted in the next draft.


31 posted on 01/31/2006 8:08:36 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Virtual Ignore for trolls, lunatics, dotards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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To: <1/1,000,000th%; SuziQ; PatrickHenry
" 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."

Referring to the historical meaning and usage of the word faith and Webster's entry...(Collegiate is similar)

Faith
Noun

1. A strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny; "he lost his faith but not his morality".

2. Complete confidence in a person or plan etc; "he cherished the faith of a good woman"; "the doctor-patient relationship is based on trust".

3. Institution to express belief in a divine power; "he was raised in the Baptist religion"; "a member of his own faith contradicted him".

4. Loyalty or allegiance to a cause or a person; "keep the faith"; "they broke faith with their investors".

The word faith always implies strong conviction, trust and loyalty to some person. Loyalty to a person is why it is improper to use this as a scientific term. Science uses the scientific method, it does not refer to any individual, or their judgments, or decisions.

A Marine has faith in other Marines. He has empirical evidence for that belief. One can say they have faith that a roof won't collapse. They are actually referring to the person that engineered it, the one's that laid down the design specs, and the one's that reviewed the specs and final construction. You can't have faith in the roof itself. It's whatever it is and behave accordingly. If someone has faith in a rickety bridge, it's not the bridge they have faith in, the faith is in the person that makes the judgment.

I can't see using the term faith for any element of reality, other than a person. You can't have faith in reality; it just is. Science is knowledge and understanding of reality. Just as it makes no sense to have faith in reality; it makes no sense to have faith in science. You can only have faith in a person, regardless of the presence, or abscence of evidence though.

The US had faith in Hanson the spy. They had sufficient evidence in their own minds, that caused them to believe he was trustworthy. There was also clear evidence to me, that he was not.

32 posted on 01/31/2006 9:23:36 PM PST by spunkets
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To: SirKit

Check this one out!


33 posted on 02/01/2006 5:56:39 AM PST by SuziQ
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To: furball4paws; PatrickHenry
I suggest that at the start of any Crevo thread this be posted along with the ping list.

With the primer posted in the ping, I fear that evo threads would rapidly deteriorate into a debate over the definitions. Although, that's pretty much what happens now, so perhaps it would be no worse.

34 posted on 02/01/2006 6:20:22 AM PST by The_Victor (If all I want is a warm feeling, I should just wet my pants.)
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To: longshadow
...so long as the willfully ignorant cling to the fanciful notion that dictionary definitions are like some sort of egalitarian etymological smorgasbord...

Good point. The "Theory of Evolution" could be called the "Tangerine of Evolution" and it wouldn't make a whit of difference; facts are still facts; data is still data. When the facts & data aren't on one's side, what is one to do but drag in irrelevant points (like the definitions of words, moral 'implications' of believing a theory, or a theory's founder 'recanting' it on his deathbed).

IMO, when engaged in a discussion, not a good idea to let the other person drag these irrelevant points out - best to stick to the science after making a curt point. (If only I could learn to follow my own advice...)

35 posted on 02/01/2006 6:43:23 AM PST by Quark2005 (Creationism is to science what the 1967 production of 'Casino Royale' is to the James Bond series.)
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To: PatrickHenry; longshadow; Physicist; <1/1,000,000th%; balrog666; BMCDA; b_sharp; ...

Here is a really good read that I think is germaane to this topic.

http://www.fjc.gov/public/pdf.nsf/lookup/sciman0d.pdf/$file/sciman0d.pdf

Sorry for not being on more all. :-(

Sigh.


36 posted on 02/01/2006 8:20:37 AM PST by RadioAstronomer (Senior member of Darwin Central)
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To: Quark2005

Love your new tagline :-).


37 posted on 02/01/2006 8:27:43 AM PST by RightWingAtheist (Creationism Is Not Conservative!)
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To: RadioAstronomer

Wonderful article; it is now safely saved on my desktop. Coincidentally, I had downloaded another article by Goodstein-a defense of Robert Millikan-to my laptop several weeks ago. Even though I think he's a little too hard on Popper, Goodstein makes an excellent case for a "scientific conservatism", which needs to be integrated into social and cultural conservatism as well.


38 posted on 02/01/2006 8:33:43 AM PST by RightWingAtheist (Creationism Is Not Conservative!)
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To: doc30; DoctorMichael; js1138; Aracelis; MikeD; boris

Ping to 36.


39 posted on 02/01/2006 10:24:53 AM PST by RadioAstronomer (Senior member of Darwin Central)
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To: RadioAstronomer

I'll include "falsification" in the next draft.


40 posted on 02/01/2006 10:34:44 AM PST by PatrickHenry (Virtual Ignore for trolls, lunatics, dotards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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To: RadioAstronomer

Good article. Thanks RA.


41 posted on 02/01/2006 10:35:31 AM PST by The_Victor (If all I want is a warm feeling, I should just wet my pants.)
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To: RadioAstronomer

Excellent read ;-)


42 posted on 02/01/2006 10:50:51 AM PST by BMCDA (If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it,we would be so simple that we couldn't)
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To: RadioAstronomer
Sounds like it could be good.
I'll bump it for reading later tonight.
43 posted on 02/01/2006 10:55:05 AM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (Crime cannot be tolerated. Criminals thrive on the indulgences of society's understanding.)
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To: All
DRAFT THREE:

These are still mostly Coyoteman's definitions, again in slightly different order (not yet satisfactory), with my contributions and those of others indented and identified by contributor:

Hypothesis: 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"

Speculation: a hypothesis that has been formed by speculating or conjecturing (usually with little hard evidence)

By balrog666 (post 8): 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.

By furball4paws in post #15: A scientific speculation is much different than any old speculation. When a scientist speculates he is drawing on experience, patterns and somewhat 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.

Guess: an opinion or estimate based on incomplete evidence, or on little or no information

Law: a generalization that describes recurring facts or events in nature; "the laws of thermodynamics"

Assumption: premise: a statement that is assumed to be true and from which a conclusion can be drawn; "on the assumption that he has been injured we can infer that he will not to play"

Model: a simplified framework designed to illuminate complex processes; a hypothetical description of a complex entity or process; a physical or mathematical representation of a process that can be used to predict some aspect of the process

By spunkets (post #24):
I'd also suggest that this be changed to: Model: a simplified framework representation designed to illuminate complex processes; a hypothetical description of a complex entity or process; a physical or mathematical representation of a process that can be used to predict some aspect of the process . The reason is that all models are representations of an object, or process. "Framework" doesn't fit.

You might also want to add the correspondance principle. The Correspondance Principle says, "Any new theory must contain the old theory as a limiting case." The reason for the incluison is that some folks think that theories can be replaced and the old one junked. That's never true. The old theory must always appear as a limiting case.

Observation: any information collected with the senses

Data: factual information, especially information organized for analysis or used to reason or make decisions

Fact: when an observation is confirmed repeatedly and by many independent and competent observers, it can become a fact

Belief: any cognitive content (perception) held as true; religious faith

By spunkets (post #23):
The word belief is generally used with some corresponding Bayesian probability of being true. That depends on the priors(cognitive content) of that individual's cognitive system and whether, or not that cognition is rational, or irrational. The distinguishing feature is rationality, or the absence of it, in the belief system.

Knowledge in a similar way depends on the belief system. One can have knowledge of bagvita's belief system, of which bagvita's beliefs were his knowledge. Both the words belief and knowledge require qualifiers. In general though, the word knowledge implies that one actually knows.

By PH:
Strictly speaking, what one "believes" on faith and what one "knows" are different things.
Belief: One can "believe" in the existence of the tooth fairy, but one does not -- in the same sense of the word -- "believe" in the existence of his own mother.

Faith: Belief in the first proposition (tooth fairy) requires faith, which is belief in something for which there is no evidence or logical proof.

Knowledge: The second proposition (mother) is the kind of knowledge which follows from sensory evidence.

Logical Proof: There is also that kind of knowledge (like the Pythagorean theorem) which follows from logical proof. In either case -- that is, knowledge acquired from sensory evidence or demonstrated by logical proof -- there is no need for faith, and that term is inapplicable to such knowledge.

Proof: Except for math and geometry, there is little that is actually proven. Even well-established scientific theories can't be conclusively proven, because -- at least in principle -- a counter-example might be discovered. Scientific theories are always accepted provisionally, and are regarded as reliable only because they are supported (not proven) by the verifiable facts they purport to explain and by the predictions which they successfully make. All scientific theories are subject to revision (or even rejection) if new data are discovered which necessitates this.

Faith: the belief in something for which there is no evidence or logical proof; acceptance of ideals, beliefs, etc., which are not necessarily demonstrable through experimentation or reason. [By PH: This is similar to what I said, above.]

By <1/1,000,000th% (post #4): 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.
Theory: 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." [That is Webster's definition #1, as pointed out by Quark2005 in post #9.] Addendum: "Theories do not grow up to be laws. Theories explain laws." (Courtesy of VadeRetro.)

By PH
Scientific theory: In between mother (knowledge from sensory evidence) and the Pythagorean theorem (knowledge from logical proof) are those propositions we provisionally accept (or in common usage "believe"), like relativity and evolution, because they are currently successful scientific theories -- testable, and therefore falsifiable explanations of the available, verifiable data (which data is knowledge obtained via sensory evidence). Here too, there is no need for faith, and that term does not apply in the context of scientific theories.

Confidence: When a scientific theory has a long history of being supported by verifiable evidence, it is appropriate to speak about "acceptance" of (not "belief" in) the theory; or we can say that we have "confidence" (not "faith") in the theory. The word "faith" is inapplicable in this context.

It is the dependence on verifiable data and the capability of testing that distinguish scientific theories from matters of faith. Purely theological matters that are believed on faith are not capable of being tested, and thus theological doctrines are not scientific.

Dogma: a religious doctrine that is proclaimed as true without proof

Religion:

theistic: "1 the belief in a superhuman controlling power, esp. in a personal God or gods entitled to obedience and worship. 2 the expression of this in worship. 3 a particular system of faith and worship."

Non-Theistic: "The word religion has many definitions, all of which can embrace sacred lore and wisdom and knowledge of God or gods, souls and spirits. Religion deals with the spirit in relation to itself, the universe and other life. Essentially, religion is belief in spiritual beings. As it relates to the world, religion is a system of beliefs and practices by means of which a group of people struggles with the ultimate problems of human life."

Impression: a vague idea in which some confidence is placed; "his impression of her was favorable"; "what are your feelings about the crisis?"; "it strengthened my belief in his sincerity"; "I had a feeling that she was lying" [Observation by PH: should be mentioned, perhaps, that this is subjective.]

Opinion: a personal belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty.

What follows are the rest of PH's offerings, and some others, not yet integrated into the above:

Reason: "Reason -- the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses -- is man's only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival." -- Ayn Rand

Distinctions between reason and faith: It is necessary to distinguish between an axiom (which is a logical necessity) and an article of dogma (an arbitrary assumption), between objective fact and subjective experience, and between hypothesis (a proposed, testable explanation of an observed phenomenon) and conjecture (a guess based on virtually no data). Understanding these fundamental concepts allows us to distinguish reason-based science from faith-based doctrine. Reason and faith are commonly confused, but they are very different intellectual enterprises, with different goals. When properly understood, they are not in conflict.

Occam's Razor. [Suggested by Virginia-American (post #30).

Karl Popper's Falsification. [Suggested by RA's post #36. Possibly: ] A theory can never be proved right by agreement with observation, but it can be proved wrong by disagreement with observation. Because of this asymmetry, science makes progress uniquely by proving that good ideas are wrong so that they can be replaced by even better ideas. ... Almost without exception, in order to extract a falsifiable prediction from a theory, it is necessary to make additional assumptions beyond the theory itself. Then, when the prediction turns out to be false, it may well be one of the other assumptions, rather than the theory itself, that is false. To take a simple example, early in the twentieth century it was found that the orbits of the outermost planets did not quite obey the predictions of Newton’s laws of gravity and mechanics. Rather than take this to be a falsification of Newton’s laws, astronomers concluded the orbits were being perturbed by an additional unseen body out there. They were right. That is precisely how the planet Pluto was discovered.

44 posted on 02/01/2006 11:04:26 AM PST by PatrickHenry (Virtual Ignore for trolls, lunatics, dotards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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To: PatrickHenry
I'd also add (especially wrt "theory") that science is much more conservative with its definitions which means it doesn't follow every fad like the vernacular.
But well, that's just my opinion ;^)
45 posted on 02/01/2006 11:44:59 AM PST by BMCDA (If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it,we would be so simple that we couldn't)
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To: ovrtaxt; PatrickHenry

"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.)"

What you have is an inadequate sample size. You also failed to account for the fact that other people have put faith in Judaism, Hinduism, Satanism, and Scientology and have also remained addiction free.

So, it's still faith. You just think it turned into belief. That's because you failed to account or test for or disprove other possible causes. After all, correlation (spiritual experience and sobriety) is not causation.


46 posted on 02/01/2006 12:09:00 PM PST by adam_az (It's the border, stupid!)
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To: PatrickHenry

How'd this thread get moved to the Backroom?


47 posted on 02/01/2006 12:32:34 PM PST by balrog666 (A myth by any other name is still inane.)
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To: balrog666

I started it here because it's not breaking news.


48 posted on 02/01/2006 12:38:08 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Virtual Ignore for trolls, lunatics, dotards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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To: adam_az
That's because you failed to account or test for or disprove other possible causes.

Okay. My total deliverance and radical lifestyle transformation just happened to coincide, to the moment, with a profound experience with God, Who had nothing to do with it.

Now that takes a lot of faith to believe.

49 posted on 02/01/2006 1:25:16 PM PST by ovrtaxt ("I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born."- Reagan)
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To: adam_az
What you have is an inadequate sample size.

Do you really want to go there? My experience is shared by millions, perhaps over a billion, who will die for their 'knowledge'.

50 posted on 02/01/2006 1:31:17 PM PST by ovrtaxt ("I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born."- Reagan)
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