The Science - Science Fiction thread

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  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    edited May 2013 Posts: 7,471
    Do they think that the people of God are going to stand by like idiots
    Check
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 22,020
    Do they think that the people of God are going to stand by like idiots
    Check

    Well spotted, @CommanderRoss!

    That part about ice and how - oh no! - the freezing of water can be explained on a molecular level, is going straight into my chemistry lessons tomorrow. I predict hilarity overall.
  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,471
    DarthDimi wrote:
    Do they think that the people of God are going to stand by like idiots
    Check

    Well spotted, @CommanderRoss!

    That part about ice and how - oh no! - the freezing of water can be explained on a molecular level, is going straight into my chemistry lessons tomorrow. I predict hilarity overall.
    Lol! Wish I could be there. But this shows something else quite interesting: such stupidity you get by endless inbreeding.
    And socially: this is what the internet makes possible: even the biggest idiots are heard worldwide..
  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded the Ballrooms of Mars
    edited May 2013 Posts: 12,446
    DarthDimi wrote:
    I am so scared now... :-S

    From http://www.landoverbaptist.org/news1100/science.html

    Science Doesn't Make Any Sense!

    Creation Research Center

    "We don't know how He does it," said Landover Junior High School teacher, Mrs Doris Whitaker, "but Jesus changes the colors of the leaves on the trees during the Fall (a season named after the fall of man from Eden, which had no autumn colors). No science book will tell you that. But it is clear that Jesus is behind the pretty colored leaves that drop off the trees as piles of trash on your lawn! Why else are only the Christmas trees left green? So they can be decorated on His birthday, that's why! Praise!" Mrs. Whitaker expressed a long-held Baptist belief that science cannot explain natural phenomenon. "For years, Congress has been able to force scientists to label their disgusting work as fiction," said Pastor Deacon Fred. "But we don't think that's good enough. It's not called "Science Fiction" for nothing folks. So-called science is just a big pile of secular lies made up solely to take the credit away from God. There is no other way of putting it! They need to stop calling it Biology, Chemistry, Astronomy, and Physics. Do they think that the people of God are going to stand by like idiots and let them rot this country's education system with a mythology spawned by hoofed demons in the fiery caves of Hell?" One does not have to have a degree in Theology to see the Devil's hot red hands in this plot. It was only a matter of time before scientists would start trying to pawn off their silly stories as "truth." Christians know that scientists have never cared, nor will they ever care, one iota about "the Truth." Because truth can't be found in the light of a Bunson Burner. It can only be seen in the Light of God's Word. And that is only found in the Bible. The Bible will tell you that God did not make man from so-called carbon; He made him with dirt.

    Today's scientists have taken a turn for the worse. Their mysterious campaign of deception was no doubt designed by several demons of the highest order, armed with Al Gore's calculator and more than likely orchestrated by the hoofed satyr, Lucifer, himself. Science is a "fuzzy math" and a blood-bought Baptist must have a spirit of discernment to see through secular science's toxic cloud of confusion. They mislead the public by creating different names for themselves. They say, "I'm a psychologist," or "I'm a therapist or microbiologist." Poppy-cock! That's what it is. They are nothing more than Satanists with spectacles and pockets full of pencils and rulers. In fact, the word "scientist" is actually Latin for "Satanist." Do they take Christians for fools?

    Jesus told us that we need to become like children if we want to get into Heaven. You see, Jesus doesn't want us to get puffed up with so-called education and knowledge, which is why He has anointed George W. Bush. Scientists would have you believe that salvation can be found in the accumulation of knowledge. They say that "knowledge" will set you free. This is hogwash according to our Lord and Savior. Through Jesus, we know that all knowledge outside of the Holy Bible is a lie. A child could tell you that! During this time of Thanksgiving, science has yet to provide an explanation as to why there are still so many turkeys available after they were all killed last year. We will tell you why: Jesus blesses us with those turkeys, end of story. We don't need to read a book to find out where they come from! They come from Jesus! And if those skinny, knock-kneed Africans had the presence of mind to come up with a holiday that centered around eating, instead of collecting shrunken heads, Jesus would give them food so they wouldn't starve, too. Ask and you shall receive!

    We can't understand how people fall for science. Do you know where scientists say that "ice" comes from? They say that when water gets cold, it huddles together for warmth. They say this "molecular body heat" stops the water from shaking so it becomes still. Can you believe how stupid secular scientists are? God's Word offers another explanation – the true explanation. "Jesus wants us all to be Christlike - - and what better way than to be able to walk on water? Praise His name!"

    How long will Christians be subjected to ridiculous notions about where rain comes from, what causes hurricanes (Would you believe that scientists blame them on a man called Nino living in Peru? It's outrageous! But they really believe it!), why there are floods and droughts, what causes sinkholes, where oil comes from (scientists will tell you oil and coal come from fern trees – try getting either substance from trees!), how food suddenly appears each day in the aisles of grocery stores, how gasoline makes cars "go," how houses get warm during the winter, how light comes out of little glass bulbs (or even how those glass bulbs are made!)."

    As Christians, we don't have silly stories or some bizarre mythology to explain the Truth. We know that Jesus is up in heaven, living on a cloud, sitting on a golden throne. If He rustles His silver robes, the Sahara gets a sand storm. If He flicks a drop of perspiration off His furrowed brow, those little folks in Tokyo find themselves under 10 feet of water. Secular scientists go crazy about a few little factories belching smoke, saying it causes acid rain and holes in the erogenous zone. But I have news for you, if the Lord just lets out just one tiny pooty-poot, it is like 4,000 Mount St. Helen's blowing a dark hole straight through the sky.






    This is... Oh dear.

    Allrighty ... is there any chance of the above being written as sarcasm, or for humor? I think it MUST be a humorous piece. Because if this is for real, I shudder. Surely it is not for real ...

    And I just want to say please do NOT count me in with this group or any like it. I am a Christian. But I am in no part of that way of thinking. I suppose maybe many religions have extreme groups within their faith, ones who may be too far gone to be saved. Oh did I say saved? I mean saved as in "having a sane mind". Is that too harsh on anyone? I hope not.

    edit: okay, I clicked on the Landover Baptist Church link and read briefly. It has GOT to be a joke, like The Onion. Right?
  • Posts: 2,782
    Slightly off topic, but could someone please tell me what the array over 3 states in the middle of the US is? I saw a clip of it on some disco show...it looked like a giant electric fence. Is it really being used to control the wether?
  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded the Ballrooms of Mars
    Posts: 12,446
    Where did you see that, on YouTube or just on tv? Maybe you could find it on YouTube. I am unclear. Perhaps @DarthDimi can help with this. It sounds absolutely untrue and weird.

    If they could control the weather (sounds like a Bond fantasy evil plan), I do not think Oklahoma would have had this horrible tornado they have just had; it was devastating, so many killed.
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    edited May 2013 Posts: 9,117
    DarthDimi wrote:
    I am so scared now... :-S

    From http://www.landoverbaptist.org/news1100/science.html

    Science Doesn't Make Any Sense!

    Creation Research Center

    "We don't know how He does it," said Landover Junior High School teacher, Mrs Doris Whitaker, "but Jesus changes the colors of the leaves on the trees during the Fall (a season named after the fall of man from Eden, which had no autumn colors). No science book will tell you that. But it is clear that Jesus is behind the pretty colored leaves that drop off the trees as piles of trash on your lawn! Why else are only the Christmas trees left green? So they can be decorated on His birthday, that's why! Praise!" Mrs. Whitaker expressed a long-held Baptist belief that science cannot explain natural phenomenon. "For years, Congress has been able to force scientists to label their disgusting work as fiction," said Pastor Deacon Fred. "But we don't think that's good enough. It's not called "Science Fiction" for nothing folks. So-called science is just a big pile of secular lies made up solely to take the credit away from God. There is no other way of putting it! They need to stop calling it Biology, Chemistry, Astronomy, and Physics. Do they think that the people of God are going to stand by like idiots and let them rot this country's education system with a mythology spawned by hoofed demons in the fiery caves of Hell?" One does not have to have a degree in Theology to see the Devil's hot red hands in this plot. It was only a matter of time before scientists would start trying to pawn off their silly stories as "truth." Christians know that scientists have never cared, nor will they ever care, one iota about "the Truth." Because truth can't be found in the light of a Bunson Burner. It can only be seen in the Light of God's Word. And that is only found in the Bible. The Bible will tell you that God did not make man from so-called carbon; He made him with dirt.

    Today's scientists have taken a turn for the worse. Their mysterious campaign of deception was no doubt designed by several demons of the highest order, armed with Al Gore's calculator and more than likely orchestrated by the hoofed satyr, Lucifer, himself. Science is a "fuzzy math" and a blood-bought Baptist must have a spirit of discernment to see through secular science's toxic cloud of confusion. They mislead the public by creating different names for themselves. They say, "I'm a psychologist," or "I'm a therapist or microbiologist." Poppy-cock! That's what it is. They are nothing more than Satanists with spectacles and pockets full of pencils and rulers. In fact, the word "scientist" is actually Latin for "Satanist." Do they take Christians for fools?

    Jesus told us that we need to become like children if we want to get into Heaven. You see, Jesus doesn't want us to get puffed up with so-called education and knowledge, which is why He has anointed George W. Bush. Scientists would have you believe that salvation can be found in the accumulation of knowledge. They say that "knowledge" will set you free. This is hogwash according to our Lord and Savior. Through Jesus, we know that all knowledge outside of the Holy Bible is a lie. A child could tell you that! During this time of Thanksgiving, science has yet to provide an explanation as to why there are still so many turkeys available after they were all killed last year. We will tell you why: Jesus blesses us with those turkeys, end of story. We don't need to read a book to find out where they come from! They come from Jesus! And if those skinny, knock-kneed Africans had the presence of mind to come up with a holiday that centered around eating, instead of collecting shrunken heads, Jesus would give them food so they wouldn't starve, too. Ask and you shall receive!

    We can't understand how people fall for science. Do you know where scientists say that "ice" comes from? They say that when water gets cold, it huddles together for warmth. They say this "molecular body heat" stops the water from shaking so it becomes still. Can you believe how stupid secular scientists are? God's Word offers another explanation – the true explanation. "Jesus wants us all to be Christlike - - and what better way than to be able to walk on water? Praise His name!"

    How long will Christians be subjected to ridiculous notions about where rain comes from, what causes hurricanes (Would you believe that scientists blame them on a man called Nino living in Peru? It's outrageous! But they really believe it!), why there are floods and droughts, what causes sinkholes, where oil comes from (scientists will tell you oil and coal come from fern trees – try getting either substance from trees!), how food suddenly appears each day in the aisles of grocery stores, how gasoline makes cars "go," how houses get warm during the winter, how light comes out of little glass bulbs (or even how those glass bulbs are made!)."

    As Christians, we don't have silly stories or some bizarre mythology to explain the Truth. We know that Jesus is up in heaven, living on a cloud, sitting on a golden throne. If He rustles His silver robes, the Sahara gets a sand storm. If He flicks a drop of perspiration off His furrowed brow, those little folks in Tokyo find themselves under 10 feet of water. Secular scientists go crazy about a few little factories belching smoke, saying it causes acid rain and holes in the erogenous zone. But I have news for you, if the Lord just lets out just one tiny pooty-poot, it is like 4,000 Mount St. Helen's blowing a dark hole straight through the sky.






    This is... Oh dear.

    Allrighty ... is there any chance of the above being written as sarcasm, or for humor? I think it MUST be a humorous piece. Because if this is for real, I shudder. Surely it is not for real ...

    And I just want to say please do NOT count me in with this group or any like it. I am a Christian. But I am in no part of that way of thinking. I suppose maybe many religions have extreme groups within their faith, ones who may be too far gone to be saved. Oh did I say saved? I mean saved as in "having a sane mind". Is that too harsh on anyone? I hope not.

    edit: okay, I clicked on the Landover Baptist Church link and read briefly. It has GOT to be a joke, like The Onion. Right?

    I am also of the opinion that this simply has to be a joke. The alternative is too terrifying to contemplate. Even for American religious loons this is surely a step too far on the Sarah Palin Richter scale of insanity. Makes Westboro look moderate.

    Anyway dont want to turn it into an anti religion debate as per but not really having this:
    And I just want to say please do NOT count me in with this group or any like it. I am a Christian. But I am in no part of that way of thinking.

    Once you admit to believing in fairies at the bottom of the garden you've crossed a line. Dont really see the difference - its just a question of scale. In for a penny, in for a pound.
    Slightly off topic, but could someone please tell me what the array over 3 states in the middle of the US is? I saw a clip of it on some disco show...it looked like a giant electric fence. Is it really being used to control the wether?

    Whilst I think the actual science of 'weather control' is pretty sketchy this(http://www.globalresearch.ca/weather-warfare-beware-the-us-military-s-experiments-with-climatic-warfare/7561) seems to give the outline of something credible enough to form the basis of a Bond villains plan. Would fit in with Quantum's 'green' terrorism following their attempts to control water supplies but it is a proper grandiose Bond villain scheme rather than depriving Bolivian peasants of a cuppa.

    However in the new gritty era would people buy an over the top villain plan where he is creating hurricanes and tornadoes? It would probably have to be more along the lines of altering a countries rainfall which again is a bit dull. Lets just go back to hollowed out volcanoes and nuclear warheads for B24.

  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    edited May 2013 Posts: 9,117

    This all utter bollocks you poor fool. Dont you know that God creates hurricanes and tornadoes on a whim and that he was smiting the people of Oklahoma for their godless behaviour in having the temerity to send their children to school rather than let them grow up utterly ignorant as He wants?

    In all seriousness I find it rather hard to believe that the puny amounts of energy mankind can generate with HAARP, the Large Hadron Collider etc can have such effects and the evidence here is pretty circumstantial. In seismic terms our most powerful nuclear bombs dont even scratch the surface in comparison with the energy given off by an earthquake so to say we are capable of such 'godlike' powers is still something I'm rather sceptical about.
  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,471

    And I just want to say please do NOT count me in with this group or any like it. I am a Christian. But I am in no part of that way of thinking. I suppose maybe many religions have extreme groups within their faith, ones who may be too far gone to be saved. Oh did I say saved? I mean saved as in "having a sane mind". Is that too harsh on anyone? I hope not.

    edit: okay, I clicked on the Landover Baptist Church link and read briefly. It has GOT to be a joke, like The Onion. Right?[/quote]

    My dear @4EverBonded, as long as you don't identify yourself with such idiots there's no reason why any of us would put you in with that lot, except for the @Wizard ;-)
    The lovely thing about beeing an atheist is you judge people on an individual basis, there's no need to judge them as a group. It's only those that identify themselves with a group you judge by what people from that group say. I.e. I'd never blame a Muslim for those idiots in Syria or Egypt, until he/she says those akbar-fighters are his or her sisters and brothers. Clearly those identify themselves with people commiting crimes against humanity.

    I may not share your love of an imo non-existent creature called god, but as long as you don't irritate or harm people with your views I see no point in judging you in a negative way.

  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded the Ballrooms of Mars
    Posts: 12,446
    Thanks, @CommanderRoss. Briefly, because I also do not want this to turn into a religious debate: I certainly believe that people who have faith in God, or of any religious faith, can live harmoniously with everybody who does not share their faith - as long as their faith maintains a core of love, tolerance, respect, and acceptance of others who are different from them. That goes for any belief system. For sure, not all people of faith have that as their core. And those attributes are easy to say, but not often easy to do. Look at every religion's track record in history. But I do have that at the core of my faith, and I am a Christian. Therefore, I do appreciate not being lumped in with all other religious folks in this world at mere face value. I do consider myself part of the Christian community. But to say I believe exactly what every other Christian believes is not valid. And I do not think that having faith in God is a major conflict to acknowledging the realities of science. I am pretty sure I am not alone in that way of thinking either.

    Dear Wizard, I never mentioned fairies; why would you jump to such a far-fetched example? For you to suggest that is the same as a belief in God is amusing at first but at heart demeaning to say the least, and also not a practical kind of logic. Degrees do matter. With your logic, did you step on ants ever in life? That makes you a murderer on the same scale as Ted Bundy or Hitler. An ant is a living creature, a person is a living creature, you have thoughtlessly and cruelly murdered throughout your life. So sad.

    So let's continue discussions of all kinds of things: science, Bond, weather, a favorite martini, Sherlock Holmes, etc. ad infinitum. Let us agree to disagree, and I am fine with that - I hope you are. C'est la vie.
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    Dear Wizard, I never mentioned fairies; why would you jump to such a far-fetched example? For you to suggest that is the same as a belief in God is amusing at first but at heart demeaning to say the least, and also not a practical kind of logic.

    faith i]feyth[/i
    noun
    1. confidence or trust in a person or thing.
    2. belief that is not based on proof.

    If fairies are 'far fetched' but God isn't I would most certainly be illuminated if you could delineate for me the inherent logical difference in having faith that one exists but not the other.
    With your logic, did you step on ants ever in life? That makes you a murderer on the same scale as Ted Bundy or Hitler. An ant is a living creature, a person is a living creature, you have thoughtlessly and cruelly murdered throughout your life. So sad.

    This is a somewhat asinine example if you dont mind me saying. Or are you seriously equating an ants life with that of 6 million Jews? I think some people would find that rather offensive. Of course not having any religion to guide my moral compass I can't be sure.

    The cornerstone of a liberated, civilised, democratic society is the right to believe whatever one wishes as long as it does not impinge on anyone else (something that does not apply to religion) or cause or incite violence (I'm saying nothing) which I agree with heartily and I wish you all the best in life 4EverBonded with whichever path you wish to follow.

    Where I take umbrage is with this oft uttered phrase 'you have to respect everyones beliefs'.

    No. I respect the right for someone to believe whatever they want, which is the key thing that sets our society apart from places such as North Korea and Syria, but part of my right to believe what I want is that I am allowed to consider somebody's beliefs risible. Respecting a persons right to hold a belief and respecting that belief are two different things entirely.

    And just as we can all laugh at these Baptist nutters so can I laugh at anyone who belives in God at all if I so desire. That is the privilege of free speech.
  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded the Ballrooms of Mars
    Posts: 12,446
    I am all for free speech. We will simply disagree on this. Pretty simple, really.

    I think it is best to be respectful towards people of different faiths as well as people who state they do not believe in any faith. I have the right to state this, it is my opinion; just like we all want to state our opinions. One can disagree with someone without being extremely negative or putting others down. I personally do not appreciate derogatory or demeaning statements. That's just me. You can say differently any time you wish. We do seem to express our views in different tones. Well, we are different people.

    So again, I do not want to argue and did not seek an argument. I am not trying to persuade others or force my views on anyone. Yet I feel that I have the right to state my views, too. I do not see how my stating that I am a Christian and we will just have to disagree is risible. The ants illustration was only because of your statement about fairies, that thread of logic was similarly off track to the point of being ludicrous. I thought you would have realized that, that's all.

    Anyway, I hope that clears up whatever cloud was beginning to hang over this. I want to enjoy this thread, too.





  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    edited May 2013 Posts: 9,117
    that thread of logic was similarly off track to the point of being ludicrous. I thought you would have realized that, that's all.

    How is the thread of logic stating that believing in fairies is as credible as believing in God ludicrous? I fail to see as you do why its so obvious.


    Using scientific method (this is after all a science thread) both have no empirical proof merely anecdotal 'witness' evidence which is untestable either way.

    OK millions more people believe in God than do fairies but weight of numbers proves absolutely nothing. Most people thought the world was flat in the middle ages.
  • Posts: 2,782
    Not quite true about the middle ages and the world being flat. Most knew that the earth was not flat...it's just popular myth created to glorify the failure of CC, who we all know did not discover America and was just a PR figure to populate the idea of how the Spanish were kings of the ocean.

  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,471
    Not quite true about the middle ages and the world being flat. Most knew that the earth was not flat...it's just popular myth created to glorify the failure of CC, who we all know did not discover America and was just a PR figure to populate the idea of how the Spanish were kings of the ocean.
    Indeed, everybody knew the world was round. Like a pancake.

    The official view in the early middle ages was indeed that of a flat world. As everybody thought was quite obvious, you could see it with your own eyes. Even these days there are some nutters who keep this view.
  • edited May 2013 Posts: 2,782
    http://jameshannam.com/flatearth.htm

    Ummm the Middle Ages and the not so flat earth ummmmm
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    edited May 2013 Posts: 22,020
    Whether or not the idea of the Earth being flat was tightly held on to, there were other forms of barbaric thinking that permeated the Middle Ages.

    * The concept of atoms was mostly discarded in favour of Aristotle's theory of the four (or five) elements: Earth - wind - fire - water (and the "quinta essentia"). In fact, the Church did not like the concept of atoms because they suggested physical boundaries to God's Creation whereas the four elements allowed for infinity.

    * The Heavens were considered to be like a solid semi-globe or total globe - depending on the view of the Earth - pulled over the Earth, with the stars and other heavenly bodies fixed to it and complete nothingness beyond it. (A curious notion, for it also introduced boundaries to God's Creation, yet the Church went with it this time.)

    * Alchemists spent nearly a thousand years achieving some remarkable things, the fruits of which we still thrive on today. However, they also brought an overpowering sense of magic to the scene, looking for the 'Sorcerer's Stone', which could turn lead into gold, and the 'Elixir of Live', which promised immortality. Yet it took many more centuries before people would discover serious things, like the fact that combustion goes hand in hand with binding oxygen to other atoms, instead of ejecting the mysterious substance 'phlogiston' from the fuel.

    ...

    Sober scientific reasoning was often blocked by some of the most ridiculous arguments conceivable and very frequently did the Church decide what was acceptable and what wasn't. There was hardly room for serious arguments, criticism, objectivity and so forth. The tight grip of magic was felt for nearly 2000 years before the likes of Copernicus, Newton, Boyle, Dalton, ... left such a mathematically clean impression that even the Church had to admit it could no longer maintain its Ancient views, or at least some of them. Darwinian Evolution, for example, still proves hard to swallow... :)

  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,471
    Well there is a slight difference between the early middle ages and Copernicus' time and Columbus' time. Both lived in the 'high'middle ages, ater the Moors had been evicted from Spain. In the time between the dissapearence of the Western Roman Empire and it's eventual successors in the Western Kingdoms that predate our nation states things and thoughts were different. We don't really know what you average John 'early midlle age 'doe thought, we know there was a lot of discussion. Some scholars indeed stuck to the orb, or 'ball'idea, others held on to the 'wheel' concept. Wikipedia is actually quite well on pace with what i learned in Uni when studying history. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_Earth

    I'm still no fan of that era though.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 22,020
    Pohl was one of Asimov's close friends and through the latter I came to know his work a bit. RIP
  • Another iconic moment in Man's history that goes unsung.....

    http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24026153

  • MrcogginsMrcoggins Following in the footsteps of Quentin Quigley.
    Posts: 3,140
    Another iconic moment in Man's history that goes unsung.....

    http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24026153.

    To Boldly Go !.
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,512
    Another iconic moment in Man's history that goes unsung.....

    http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24026153

    Epic. Shame the tabloids are more interested in the omnishambles otherwise known as the Kardashians.

  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 22,020
    Great news! I'm so happy. Science triumphs. Now, let's abolish astrology, religious craziness, magic, ... PLEASE! And indeed, the tabloids... SIGH! Miley Cyrus seems all that's on people's minds these days.
  • retrokittyretrokitty The Couv
    Posts: 380
    Darth... Just discovered this thread. Cannot wait to dig into it. Your intro was so spot on. I think that many get turned off or scared of sciences because of stereotypes and silly parents and even teachers at times. And taking it too seriously - not making it fun and interesting.

    I didn't like maths in highschool but loved biology only because the teacher was completely mental and hilarious. As I've aged, I've been more drawn to science - all of it - and now really find it stimulating and fun. I don't think I'll ever do it professionally but I sure love learning sciency things now... and really encourage the kids of my friends to explore it.

    Now... back to the beginning of this thread for me. :)
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    Another iconic moment in Man's history that goes unsung.....

    http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24026153

    Top news story on the BBC yesterday was Prince William quitting the RAF. This was relegated until just before the story about a cat up a drainpipe.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    edited February 2014 Posts: 22,020
    Science versus pseudoscience
    By Darth Dimi

    science-vs-pseudoscience.jpg

    A boy with an illness which the doctors consider incurable quenches his thirst with water from a well high up in the mountains. Within a mere few weeks the boy miraculously heals. He recalls drinking the water and establishes, in his mind, a connection between the water and his sudden recovery. His story gets published in the newspapers and within days vast troops of people gather around the well, purchasing from the owner of the well expensive bottles containing its water. It is decided that costly medical treatments are ineffective and that the boy’s exceptional story proves the validity of the water’s astounding healing power as a far better cure.

    This fictitious story is an example of how pseudoscience works. Similar cases come in huge numbers in real life. Various places on Earth attract from everywhere ridiculously large pilgrimages to supposed sources of divine or other powers; wallets are emptied and the ill are denied correct medical care in favor of some untested therapy from mysticism. The truly upsetting part in all of this is that when – quite naturally – the ill don’t return home in better health, at least physically speaking, many folks maintain absolute faith in the puzzling powers to which they paid a visit. Worse still is that some real scientists actually support these ludicrous claims and devise all sorts of false experiments and incorrect conclusions which, when written in such a way that they sound convincing enough to the scientifically illiterate, are taken by many as evidence of the supernatural workings of the holy water, the mysterious force fields, or whatever we’re talking about.

    Let us return to the story of the boy. First and foremost, one sample makes for poor statistics. The fact that the boy heals after drinking the water doesn’t necessarily reveal any true causality between drinking said water and getting cured. If a student gets an F for a paper after having had a certain brand of cereal for breakfast, is there then a proven link between the cereal and his failure at school? If some sudden tragedy affects your life after you’ve spotted a black cat, is there then a proven link between the tragedy and the cat? Of course not, but we all know that in the latter case many people have, for ages, believed so and still, in fact, do! In order to make a strong case for the water, one would need to achieve repeated successes with ill people who find themselves cured after drinking the water. Even then, it might have something to do with the presence of a certain compound in the water, a compound which perhaps pharmacists have known for a long time and have in fact already isolated and distributed via pills.

    But the boy was deemed incurable, you say. Medical science, despite its continued advances, still allows for wrong diagnoses. The boy may not have been incurable after all. Such cases are well known. When assessing the disease and the potential for being cured, many variables come into play, some we have yet to discover, some we understand as leading to unpredictable effects on a person’s condition. His healing may have been a natural process. It may also have come from the medicines he’d been administered a long time ago to reduce the effects of his illness. The failure of one diagnose is no proof for the success of the holy water. In fact, it puts the whole element of the boy being incurably ill into a completely different perspective.

    Again, in order for the water to be called an effective cure, not merely the boy but many more people would have to enjoy its healing powers. Reproducible results are a basic requirement to have anything taken seriously in science. It’s true that pharmaceuticals sometimes let us down too, but they were manufactured because in the first place they had demonstrated a sufficiently high success rate during their tedious testing phases. No medical cure is sold after exactly one successful result. However, no medical cure is 100 % success guaranteed. That’s something we must at all times accept as a fact. That said, the lower life expectancies and high mortality rates of a few centuries ago have been effectively beaten not by drinking mystery water from some well somewhere, but because science allowed us to spot microorganisms, to increase our hygiene, to produce cures from research that puts to good use the scientific method, … People have been praying to the gods for ages, but it wasn’t until the advent of the microscope and precise chemical practice that we experienced an explosive increase in long-living, healthy persons – for better or worse.

    LINK: The periodic table of pseudoscience.

    Why do people then believe fake science, better known as pseudoscience? Firstly, pseudoscience tells us things we want to hear. Mysterious cures, supernatural forces, life after death, alien abductions, the faces carved out in the lunar surface, voodoo spells, fortune telling, … this stuff, often subject of our film and comic book fantasies, thrill us, excite us and make us happy. They hold a promise much less cold than what many dusty science books tell us. Science tries so hard to keep our minds sober, its books often labor hard to remind us of all that is impossible. Too bad, but a lot of things we’ve encountered in cartoons as children are said – and demonstrated – by science to be impossible no matter how hard you wish for them. Most scientists believe in alien life but most of them are also convinced that no aliens have arrived on our planet just yet because of the vastness of the universe. Some scientists are religious people but when it comes to life after death, they too will acknowledge how very unlikely it is. Many scientists will tell you that the details of evolution are perhaps not yet established with complete certainty, but that the concept of evolution is an undeniable fact.

    Another explanation for the success of pseudoscience – and it’s important to point out that the Western world seems to currently grow only more fascinated by it, which is not a good thing – is that it’s often talked about in such a way that it sounds scientific enough. Please understand that numbers can be plotted out any which way charlatans want and that laymen often struggle with making a distinction between trustworthy conclusions and bad conclusions. It sounds good enough, it must be true!

    But why must it be a problem that people cling to pseudoscience? For starters, when parents deny their ill children the proper medical treatment and have it replaced by untested pseudoscientific solutions like holy water, blessings, exposure to weird (and non-existing) force fields, the children may soon die. It would be utterly wrong to have innocent children fall victim to the follies of their superstitious parents. Also, when CEOs of large companies, politicians, army folk and other powerful people cling to the words of fortune tellers before making a call that affects us all, I’m genuinely frightened. Let’s not be naive. This happens all the time, even in our so-called civilized West. Furthermore, the future of our planet and its worst enemy, the human race, depends largely on the decisions we make in this and the next century. I’d rather have sober thinking scientists and people who rely on sober science making the tough calls, than people who believe in astral projections or are convinced that their houses are haunted by demons. Economical prosperity often exists in countries where science and technology are allowed to make proper advances, where they get royally funded and are supported in every possible way. Countries that suffer the tyranny of religious and superstitious madmen can hardly, as history proves, be considered prosperous.

    So then how can we resolve this matter and exorcise pseudoscience from our society? As usual, education does the trick. Now, this part is extremely complicated nowadays, since many schools in America and Europe, but elsewhere too, more and more allow pseudoscience to be taught instead of science. Creationism has effectively replaced Evolution in many schools in the so-called Bible Belt, because allowing for that, the local politicians make themselves increasingly more popular amongst their voters. Wherever scientists want to spread the word of reason and math, many uneducated or ill-informed people bible up to go fifty rounds against science. Can I blame them? Actually, no, I can’t. Because people who were never properly educated in the field of science must think us, scientists, madmen talking gibberish. And it’s true, as I myself won’t deny, that science often offers counterintuitive ideas. To a farmer working his fields, the Earth looks pretty flat. To someone who was never challenged to think in terms of particles, a tiny sphere known as an atom sounds ridiculous enough. With monkeys being the object of many jokes, how can Man have descended from the same forefathers from which apes descended? How, in fact, can I convince anyone of the unproven validity of a statement that was never properly taken through the steps of the scientific method, when that someone was never properly educated in the scientific method in the first place? How can I convince someone of the plausibility of the big bang theory via particle physics, when that someone never even heard of protons or electrons, let alone of quarks and the four fundamental forces? It takes many years of hard labor at school before one assembles even a few basic concepts of science. It takes an expanded mastery over math in order to understand the language in which science is written. Ultimately, it’s much simpler to just believe every word that comes out of the mouth of the local priest. He, at least, speaks a language most people understand. Unfortunately, many people still believe the Earth is flat and that God created the Universe from nothingness in roughly 6 days some 6000 years ago. But who can blame them, when such is the only thing they were ever taught in school?

    Luckily, many brilliant scientists have already written books in which relatively difficult scientific concepts are explained fairly easily and with respect to the scientific method. If anyone wants to read such a book, I suggest you turn to Carl Sagan’s Cosmos or The Demon-Haunted World. Isaac Asimov’s plethora of science books will equally do the trick. And many books on astronomy, chemistry and physics offer easy to understand introductions on the subject of pure science versus pseudoscience. Find them in the library if you don’t want to read the entire book.

    LINK: Interesting comparison between science and pseudoscience.

    Lastly, isn’t a purely scientific mind also a much less happy mind? Doesn’t the romance of the universe escape us when we sourly deny the curing powers of the water our boy drank in the first paragraph of this text? I promise, it isn’t. Quite on the contrary in fact. Pseudoscience lays false claims over how certain things supposedly are. It doesn’t, however, explain them. Science promises the closest thing to the truth we have, and furthermore, it shall never deny us the satisfaction of an explanation. As such, the more one grasps the workings of the universe, the more beautiful and awesome the universe becomes. In fact, science offers me more hope for the future than any future teller ever could! Therefore I must beg you, please, to be at all times critical of what people say and claim, to always reason things out for yourself but in an intellectually honest way and to sometimes ignore the ‘truth’ you so desperately want to know and open yourself up to the actual, factual and tested truth. Perhaps the truth isn’t always what we want to hear, but it at least will allow us to make the best judgement for our future and that of our offspring.

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  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 22,020
    Incidentally I want to add that my previous post actually got me into trouble with some people in my own school. You see I do have colleagues who do all kinds of weird stuff in their backyard and actually believe it pays off...
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