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The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

devent Re:Certanty of answers (543 comments)

Yes, I did wrote exactly that in the next two paragraphs. Good to see that somebody else got an understanding of scientific theories.

49 minutes ago
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The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

devent Re:Certanty of answers (543 comments)

I think you have bigger problems if in fact it is true that "For a 4.5-billion-year-old Earth and a 13.8-billion-year-old Big Bang, acceptance was below 30 percent." I can imagine how it works: pupil learned from geology class about strata and tectonic plates and how mountains are formed and the fact that the Earth is 4.5 billion year old. Then the pupil go to the parents and asks about it and gets a reply from the parents that their pastor said the Earth is 6,000 years old and that mountains were formed in Noah's flood. America is really ruled by an oligarchy[1], because poll after poll shows the scientific illiteracy of the general American population.

[1] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new...

These are mathematical constructs that explain differences between our hypothetical starting at a unified point and the differences from the hypothesis that we observe in reality.

I don't get what where you getting with that. Scientific theories are using math to describe nature.

Inflation is a way to reconcile theory with observation.

Yes, and one of the observation is the flatness of the universe.

You only "need" these things to make the Big Bang theory work. That you "need" inflation to make the Big Bang possible is putting the horse before the cart. Normally theory follows observation, not vice versa as in the case with Inflation.

You don't need Inflation for the Big Bang. If the universe would not be flat, then Inflation would not be needed. But observations shows that the universe is flat.

Indeed the Big Bang theory may still be correct even if the Inflationary theory is proven to be incorrect.

We cannot observe the first 10^-31 seconds directly, so we need to deduce in a theory. But we can see the results of the first 10^-31 seconds of the Big Bang, the flatness of the Universe. We need to explain that, hence the Inflation theory.

Inflation theory is not a fact in the same way that we accept gravity or evolution as a fact, and really still stands to be verified. There are several competing theories to Inflation that aim to address the complications that Inflation introduces, which may in time be proven to provide a better explanation.

I never stated that. I wrote that the Big Bang is a fact.

I have news for you: we are in the Big Bang. We can see down in time to the first 380,000 years of the Universe, by a telescope. You do know that the speed of light is a constant and if you look at a star, for example, 30 light years away, you see how the star was 30 years ego. Then we look at a galaxy, say, a billion light years away, that means we see the light that was send a billion years ego. Now we look at the CMBR and we see the Universe like it was when it was just 380,000 years old. We cannot look further back in time because the CMBR is obscuring our view. So we can see the Big Bang from 380,000 years to today (13.7 billion years).

Look at the image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F...
We can see (with a telescope) everything that is the "Big Bang Expansion". The only thing we cannot see is beyond the CMBR, the first 380,000 years.

about an hour ago
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The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

devent Re:Certanty of answers (543 comments)

A theory is either correct or not. If it's making correct predictions than it's correct, if not, it's wrong. I still don't understand what you mean by "true uncertainty". If we find ever that the speed of light is in fact variable, then the current models must be dropped as wrong.

Only because there is a theoretical (or rather philosophical) possibility that the speed of light is in fact variable, you can't say that our current models are uncertain or have a higher "true uncertainty". Those models are still correct and valid because for a constant speed of light they do make correct predictions. It's like Newton's theory of universal attraction (aka gravitation) is still a valid theory, despite the fact that it does not work if v approaches the speed of light, or if one object have a very big mass (like the orbit of Mercury around the Sun).

Scientific theories not only can quantity the uncertainty but have clear defined limits. A Scientific theory says: if a, b, c, then z, with the uncertainty w (a, b, and c being the limits, z is the prediction). If the limits are not met then the scientific theory makes no prediction, and if no prediction is made then you can't say the theory is correct or wrong.

yesterday
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The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

devent Re:Certanty of answers (543 comments)

You have to know certain facts, you could also ask for what it is good to know where Europe is (the continent), if you don't know anything about the movement of the tectonic plates. Facts are the basics on which you can advance your scientific understanding and not everyone is interested in science. But facts are helping in a democracy to come to a correct conclusion and create good policies. If you know that the earth is round then your are more likely to support funding for satellites, if you know that the Sun is the centre and not the Earth, you are more likely to support funding for NASA's space exploration, and so on.

Not everyone have an interest in science and how theories are formed. But like the ability to read and write, you need a scientific literate public to make policies that correspond to the real world.

I'm stop discussing here with you about the Big Bang theory because obviously you should inform yourself more what the theory is all about. Quite ironic, since you are arguing that the scientific concepts are more important.

The fact that if you have an expanding universe that if you back track everything then you will arrive at a point. If everything started as a point then well it must have expanded from a point. The cosmic microwave radiation background was supporting evidence that came about much later. The evidence being if the background radiation is uniform then perhaps everything did start from a unified point.

Yes, that is what the Big Bang theory is about. That if you go back in time everything did start from a singular point. Then if you go even more back in time you need the Inflation theory and then later the quantum fluctuation theory. And the Big Bang is a fact and a theory, like biological evolution is a theory and a fact, because we can observe the Big Bang right now (the expansion), like we can observe the evolution of species right now. What we can't do is to observe the Big Bang further in time because the CMBR is obfuscating our view. But from the CMBR we can pretty much deduce what should be happened before, because it is a cooling down plasma.

Once again, the Big Bang explosion is a metaphor. And it is a cooling down plasma, because pressure and density are equal to temperature. The more dense, the hotter the temperature. We even use the model of a black body temperature to predict the mass of the universe from the CMBR. Sure, there is no outside from which you could observe it, but the laws of a gas apply here nevertheless.

yesterday
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The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

devent Re:Certanty of answers (543 comments)

Sure, and I could be a brain in a jar and none of that is real. The scientific method is the only method that can actually quantify the uncertainty and comes up with testable predictions. How do you propose to calculate the uncertainty? The models can be assumed to be correct, since they do make correct predictions.

The modern cosmology can predict everything in the universe up from the first 10^-31 seconds. For example, the cosmic background radiation, the distribution of matter (and dark matter, and dark energy), the distribution of the heavy elements, the formation of stars, planets and galaxies. The only unknown frontiers of modern cosmology are the details, like inflation.

yesterday
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The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

devent Re:Shocking... (543 comments)

What other knowledge? All the evidence points to a 13.7 billion year old universe and a 4.5 billion year old earth. Appear? Do you mean that all tests and all our understanding of physics and chemistry and geology show that those bones are million of years old? Do you really weight the claims of some primitive, illiterate people from 2000 years ego the same as the current consensus of the scientific community? Those people who wrote the bible had even less understanding of the world then the ancient Greek people that lived 500 years before Jesus. If you really weight the claims of the bible of a global flood, and dirt people, and talking snakes as the current science, then the survey was really accurate.

There is a difference between being ignorant of science as you are, and being a sceptic. Vaccines killed exactly zero people. That is zero as in 0 or none at all. But vaccines helped literally billions of people, including millions of children that before vaccines died horrible of, for example, polio.

The further I read the comments here on Slashdot, the more I believe that the USA is really an illiterate third world country.

yesterday
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The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

devent Re:Experimental science vs narrative science (543 comments)

He did not wrote about inductive and deductive reasoning. He wrote "... different types of science. One is experimental [...] Then there's the science that says ...". Science is a method of gaining knowledge, and there is only one scientific method. What he wrote was very familiar to Ken Ham's "observational" and "historical science". That shows his ignorance of science.

yesterday
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The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

devent Re:Certanty of answers (543 comments)

I think you should inform yourself what the Big Bang theory actually is. The Big Bang theory is not about the creation of the universe, but what happened after the universe was created (or came into existence or whatever, because we don't know what before the Big Bang was), see [1]. The most obvious evidence of the Big Bang is the cosmic microwave radiation. The term Big Bang is a good metaphor, because if you were an observer outside the universe you would see a hot ball of plasma expanding very fast, like in an explosion, for a very short time (about 380,000 years), until the ball of plasma cooled down and became transparent. The second evidence is the expanding universe.

Maybe you are confusing the Big Bang theory with the Inflation theory[2], that predicts that the universe expanded exponentially in the first 10^-31 seconds, to explain the flatness of the universe? Big Bang theory was proposed by Georges Lemaître in 1927 and is based on the observation of the expanding universe and Einstein's equations and is currently accepted as fact. The Inflation theory is a recent model to explain the flatness of the universe and is in dispute. There are models that explain the flatness without the Inflation.

You can't expect from everyone to have a scientific education, but you can expect from everyone to know agreed upon facts. For example, do you really expect from everyone to explain why the earth is round, why the earth is rotating in an elliptic orbit around the sun, or why the orbit of Mercury is irregular? But you can expect that people know that the earth is round, that the orbits are elliptic and that Mercury is the closest planet to the sun.

Should we also teach flat Earth and Geocentric cosmology? No, because it would just waste time and it would just be confusing. It's hard enough to teach some basic facts and an argument from authority is sometimes a valid argument. If someone have a scientific interest she could open a book and learn for herself why those theories were proven wrong.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I...

yesterday
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The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

devent Re:Experimental science vs narrative science (543 comments)

Firstly, because of your Ken Ham's there are two sciences argument. And secondly, because of your statement of "they're not "truth" without faith.". I think you mean faith in science, like religious faith. Science is a method to search and gain knowledge, so there is only one scientific method, the scientific method. The scientific method makes use of experiments to falsify hypothesis and to observe nature. That is the case in both your experiment of the health issue of cigarettes smoking and the question of the age of the universe.

yesterday
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The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

devent Re:Certanty of answers (543 comments)

There are something like established theories in science. We would not make any progress if we not draw a line somewhere and say "we are certain beyond a reasonable doubt". And the topics in the survey are all established theories. For example, the age of the earth was determined of 4.54 ± 0.05 billion years (4.54 × 10^9 years ± 1%). That means that scientists are 99% certain that the age is in fact between 4.59 and 4.49 billion years old. The age of the universe is determined as 13.798±0.037 billion years. That means that scientists are 99.7% certain that the age of the universe is in fact between 13.835 and 13.761 billion years old. What do you call a certainty of 99% or 99.7%? I call that certain, if we can be certain of anything at all.

yesterday
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The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

devent Re:Experimental science vs narrative science (543 comments)

You sir are an idiot. And your mod +5 insightful shows the scientific illiteracy even on Slashdot. There is only one scientific method, and it contains "testable, provable (and proven) hypothesis", also called theories. Yes we do have only one universe and only one earth, but what makes a scientific theory successful is a) the explanatory power and b) testable predictions. How can we test that the earth is in fact 4.5 billion years old? For example by searching for old rocks and date them with the radioactive dating methods (no there is not just carbon-14, Wikipedia lists over 9 methods[1]) and geologists actively trying to find older rocks to push the limit of the age of the earth. Then we confirmed the age of the solar system (4.568 billion years)[4] and it confirms the age of the earth. Furthermore, we actually can see now protoplanetery disks (thanks to the hubble space telescope)[2] that confirms our theory of how a solar systems are formed. Please see How Old Is The Earth, And How Do We Know? [3]

The scientific method deals with models. There are no truths, there are best explanations. Only religion deals with truths and for that you do need faith. But science makes correct predictions, whereas religious "prophecies" are all failures.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P...
[3] http://www.talkorigins.org/faq...
[4] http://www.universetoday.com/1...

yesterday
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Mathematical Proof That the Cosmos Could Have Formed Spontaneously From Nothing

devent Re:So "nothing" has quantum fluctuations (610 comments)

I have zero apples, which one will produce an apple seed to grow a tree.

Yes, nature is fascinating. Only because we can't grasp such supposedly impossible behaviour with our tiny mammalian brains, it does not mean that it can't be.

The article itself doesn't imply what the summary says, but the summary here makes the article seem like nonsense.

Not really, quantum mechanics behave that way. Nothing -> matter, space and time. Your analogy with zero apples is good.

about two weeks ago
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Mathematical Proof That the Cosmos Could Have Formed Spontaneously From Nothing

devent Re:"Proof" (610 comments)

Everything is a model, that is the problem of hard solipsism. But scientific models also make predictions.

Laws are not "something", because laws do not exist physically. Natural laws are concepts of how nature behaves. Let us imagine an observer outside of nature and she tries to observe the part of nature that have no matter, no space and no time. That observer will see that this part of nature that was literally nothing spontaneously (out of nothing) pops out matter, space and time. Since time does not existed before the spontaneously generation of time, it does not matter how long the observer was sitting there to observe the spontaneous generation. Also, since space did not existed, it does not matter what part of nature the observer watched.

Natural laws do not govern anything. Natural laws are descriptive laws, they describe how nature behaves. As such, the laws do not exist physically, they are an abstract concept. Nature behaves like nature behaves, with or without natural laws.

about two weeks ago
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Mathematical Proof That the Cosmos Could Have Formed Spontaneously From Nothing

devent Re:Quantum fluctuations != nothing (610 comments)

What do you call no matter, no energy, no space and no time? I would think it's a pretty good nothing.

about two weeks ago
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Mathematical Proof That the Cosmos Could Have Formed Spontaneously From Nothing

devent Re:Quantum fluctuations != nothing (610 comments)

How do you call no matter, no space and no time? Physicist (and me personally) are not really concerned what labels you give to a set of properties (or the lack of properties). Quantum physics shows that the philosophical nothing is not possible in nature, that means that any argument "Why there is somerthing rather than nothing?" is nonsensical. The answer is, because nothing is not possible in nature, therefore we have something and not nothing.

You could also ask, why the ratio between the diameter and circumference of a perfect circle is Pi and not 5. Because in nature it is not possible to draw a circle that have any other ratio. Nature is the ultimate arbiter of what is possible and what is not possible. If nothingness is not possible, then nothingness will not exist.

So science have answered the question "Why there is somerthing rather than nothing?". It's your problem if you don't like the answer.

about two weeks ago
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Double Take: Condoleezza Rice As Dropbox's Newest Board Member

devent Re:Uh oh! (313 comments)

Did she supported any bills that were discriminatory? If yes, then I would say that she deserves the same backslash as Mr. Eich. Of course, it's not to be to decide but from the homosexual community. From the short quote I can't decide, because same-sex marriage was never about the marriage itself but the recognition of the union from the government. Basically, I would agree with Rice on this particular quote.

Lets see what the quote says:
"I don’t ever want anybody to be denied rights within our country." - Great, I wish Mr. Eich would think the same way.
" I happen to think marriage is between a man and a woman." - Her personal opinion, it's all O.k. with that.
"That’s tradition, and I believe that that’s the right answer." - Her personal opinion, it's all O.k. with that.
"But perhaps we will decide that there needs to be some way for people to express their desire to live together through civil union. ” - I agree fully. The government should stay out of marriages and just recognize a union between people. The problem with Mr. Eich was that he went beyond his personal opinion and actively tried to deny rights to his fellow citizens.

about two weeks ago
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Scientists/Actress Say They Were 'Tricked' Into Geocentric Universe Movie

devent Re:where is the controversy? (641 comments)

Evolution describes a population, not individuals. Sure, some individuals were born with more human like traits, but those individuals have interbreed with other individuals that had probably less human like traits. Also there are dominant traits and recessive traits, see Mendelian inheritance laws. So to talk about individuals that were our first ancestors is just wrong. Evolution is a drift of a population, that generation after generation adapting to the environment by natural selection and accumulates traits that were advantageous in some way.

about two weeks ago
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Japan Orders Military To Strike Any New North Korea Missiles

devent Japan have really bad security (107 comments)

Onodera has avoided publicly announcing the new missile-intercept order so as not to put a chill on those talks, Japanese media said.

[about the order] the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Thank you very much anonymous source for betraying your country and make peace negations more difficult with an insane regime, that threatened many times a war against South Korea and to nuke Soul.

about three weeks ago
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Was Eich a Threat To Mozilla's $1B Google "Trust Fund"?

devent Re:And where is the news? (564 comments)

There are currently over 1000 right and privileges that married couples enjoy from the state. Mr. Eich supported a law that would withhold those rights and privileges to homosexual couples. How is that not damaging the LGBT community?

Married couples enjoy this kind of benefits:
http://www.nolo.com/legal-ency...
* Tax Benefits
* Estate Planning Benefits
* Government Benefits
* Employment Benefits
* Medical Benefits
* Death Benefits
* Family Benefits
* Housing Benefits
* Consumer Benefits
* and Other Legal Benefits and Protections

Mr. Eich and the other supporters of Prop 8. wants to take away all those benefits from homosexual couples, from people who are born differently as Mr. Eich. That makes him a bigot.

about three weeks ago

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