Potential Habitable Planets

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Into Darkness, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks for the advice, mom. I will give it all the consideration it deserves.

    I have no intention of convincing anyone. A couple of university courses on actual cosmology and plasma physics will do exceptionally well in that regard. I just want to warn the uninitiated against wasting their time reading garbage when they could be doing something more constructive, like educating themselves on actual astrophysics.

    The so pompously-called "plasma cosmology" is crank science, plain and simple. It's an old, discredited theory that somehow found its way and became the pet theory of a vocal cadre of wannabe cosmologist without formal training. Giving it more consideration than that is playing into their hands. Like so many other "unorthodox theories", they want to present it as a credible alternative, arguing for "teaching the controversy", presenting "both sides" of the issue. It's crap.

    I'm sorry to sound harsh (no, I'm not), but I have little patience for people who wrap themselves in the mantle of science and yet fail to follow it most sacred rule: whatever your feelings on the matter, hypotheses that have been rejected must be allowed to die.

    Science is a ferociously darwinist endeavour: to keep discredited theories alive is doing a disservice to science, and to the public understanding of it, which is a topic close to my heart, not to mention one of my duties at my job.

    Inoltre, la befana è già arrivata a farmi visita da queste parti, a quanto pare, quindi non si dia pena per me, signora.
     
  2. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I mostly agree with you, except for two minor point: hypotheses that have been rejected must either be allowed to die or proven to be correct after all.
    Example: Galilei's theories about the Earth orbiting Sun were rejected. Yet they were correct and the rejection was wrong.

    Secondly (this is only my personal opinion, not a theory or thesis), I think it can be very fruitful to discuss with laypersons. They often offer a fresh perspecive that the expert might have completel overlooked, being burried too deeply in a matter. We tend to take things we believe in for granted, even if there is no definite proof. Outsiders who have a different approach can in such instances be very helpful at correcting our perspective. That's why I love discussing controversial things with others. It offers a new perspective (often to both parties). For example: in the other thread, I was very shocked at the casual use of "Nazi" which in my country is as bad an insult as (please excuse me) "motherfucker" in the US. American board members, in turn, were shocked by my casual use of a referrebce to Hitler's development from painter to dictator which is used just as casually (and proverbially, even) in my country. In this instance, both parties were not aware of (and hurt by) the casual use of certain phrases in the respective other country. By discussing it, both parties learned a new perspective. Intellectual gain for both parties, imho. A win/win situation.


    La Befana è troppo presto! Forse la cometa li ha confusa ;)
    [Sorry about my bad Italian. I really should make an effort to learn it properly. Please tell me if I make a mistake. I never had lessons, just caught a few words here and there. Plus I did my A-levels in Latin (among others). Am a big fan of Apicius and Martial :) ]
     
  3. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    Uh, Galilei's theories were not rejected by scientific methods, they were censored by religious dogma. That's, like, the opposite of science.

    Well, of course it can be useful to discuss things with laypeople: if nothing else, it helps you to better frame your arguments and improve your communication skills. But it's not the same thing as a layperson actually having a revelation on some scientific topic and making it works. I will not have "an intuition" and tell a doctor how to cure a illness, or a carpenter how to build a table, a musician how to play their instrument, or a layer how to conduct their trials. I don't see why someone should tell a scientist how to do their research, and insist on being right while all the scientific community is wrong.

    Actually, I don't think that's what happened.
     
  4. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Like everyone you are entitled to your own opinion and all I can do is attempt to convince you by logic - which is somewhat difficult with such an emotionally charged topic. But this would lead us too far away from the thread's topic. Would you agree to take it to PM to discuss it further?


    Religious censorship has indeed always been a big problem with scientific developments. Yet, in that particular case, there had been rather good points in favour of the churche's position: the geocentic theory had been the prevailing and generally accepted one for over a millennium at that time. The Church just used their influence to enforce that thesis beyond its "best before date".


    These examples about intuition and correcting experts are really very good. I wouldn't dream of denying them. But those were not what I had meant. What I meant to say (and propably expressed clumsily) was that experts often think like moving on railroad tracks. We take things for granted without questioning them and the very idea to look at a problem from a different angle sometimes doesn't occur to us.
    Laypersons don't have these limitations. They tend to view and tackle problems unbiasedly and often naively. This way they occasionally unconsciousely point us in the right direction to find a previousely overlooked detail that can proove useful for our research.
    I am not sure if I explained that well. We sometimes stand in our own way and don't see the forrest for the trees. Laypeople just take a balloon and discover the forrest from above.
    LOL ok, that doesn't make much sense either, I fear. But I trust you are intelligent enough to get at least a vague idea of what I mean.


    (I'm not sure when I can borrow my dad's computer again. Might be a few days. Please don't feel offended if I don't reply immediately. Have a Happy New year!!)
     
  5. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    Your argument with Iguana can be summarised thus.

    Rhubarb: Fairies!
    Iguana: No
    Rhubarb: But.. but.. Fairies!
     
  6. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    But, as the saying goes, you are not entitled to your own facts. I get what you are saying, and I don't necessarily disagree with your main point. I just want to make sure the discussion is framed in actual science and not some wacky mumbo-jumbo.

    Truth to be told, most of my arguments can be summarised like that. :lol:
     
  7. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    LOL I agree :) On both points, actually.

    Happy New Year to all of you! (yes I'm late - just returned from my parents. Ahh, having one's own computer: bliss!)


    One factor why my replies might occasionally sound unscientific is that in most areas (except for Biology and Medicine) I lack the necessary English techno-babble. My fluent use of the language and the fact that I have a better command of the grammar than many native speakers quite effectively camouflage that I have a very limited vocabulary. If you took all my posts and ran a computer analysis on them you'd find that I use very few words - I'd be surprised if it were as many as 500 (again, with the exception of my posts on Biology and Medicine). This forces me to express myself in a rather simple way that may sound lay-ish. It's also the reason why I frequently use tons of smilies, analogies and examples.

    Reason B is that I often can't find a scientific text in English in a hurry. I'll try to improve at least on that one. (And there I vowed not to make any new years resolutions *sigh* - goes to show that one must never take anything for granted LOL).



    From my point of view the discussion usually is:

    me: *points to sky* Fairies!
    you: No!
    me: *searching frantically in dictionary*Elves? Nymphs? - You know: winged people, obsession with justice...
    you: *getting out binoculars* Batman and Superman!
     
  8. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    My joke was not a sideswipe at your vocab.
     
  9. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    Especially since Deckerd is not a native speaker either. She speaks Scottish, you know.
     
  10. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly. Intelligebt Design gets far too much attention given to it by appealing to teach the controversy. There really is none, but people give ID, as scientific as Plasma Cosmology, attention it doesn't deserve.
     
  11. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    rest assured, I was aware of that. I just don't take any bait. You need to dangle at least an oatmeal cookie or a ginger parlie in front of my nose, instead of a haggis. :p
    But if it comforts you, I'll say that 'Se bleigeard a th'annad :D
    LOL! Now, that's almost racist.
    Shall I hold him while you spank him, Deckerd? :devil:


    Gov Kodos, I am not sure if the idea of Intelligent Design could be proved even if one tried very hard. Like all religious stuff it's a matter of belief.

    Personally (and as a biologist) I very much disbelieve in both ID and all sorts of gods. From my point of view it's simply so that there are coincidential variations and that the individuum carrying the most successful one has the best chance to survive and pass on that particular mutation. This way, gradually, a whole species adapts to its environment.
    The problem is that except for rapidly propagating species like viruses and bacteria this adaption works too slow to balance out the human changes on the ecosystem. To give one example: had the Dodo been subjected to moderate hunting over milennia, it might propably have regained its ability to fly or it would have developed the ability to run quickly. Not having been used to any predators (least of all human ones), the whole species was eaten up within 64 years (discovered in 1598, last sighting in 1662).
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
  12. PurpleBuddha

    PurpleBuddha Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Why not? If some being, beings or intelligence created the universe, I would imagine it should be something we could one day prove. Of course, I think the hypothesis is flawed but would be interested to hear your reasoning as to why it is something that we could not use the scientific method to uncover (assuming it were really true).
     
  13. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    No. It's on them to prove their hypothesis.
     
  14. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    If there is evidence that supports it, then, if it were found, it would support it. That's what I see PurpleBuddha as saying.

    However, no such evidence has been found, so ID has no evidential support. Since those pushing ID falsely claim that it does have support, Gov Kodos is right to keep the burden of proof on them. I think he's being too generous to characterize their claim as a hypothesis.
     
  15. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    A scientific hypothesis has to be disprovable.
     
  16. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    There's that, too. ID is a dodge to teach Creationism. If one wants to be more cynical, it is a version of what Hannah Arendt wrote about totalitarian movements transforming 'All is Allowed' into 'All is possible'. Science does not work that way. We don't know, therefore god, is not a proof.
     
  17. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That's exactly the problem. The part in brackets, I mean. Assuming it were not true, how could we possibly prove that deities do *not* exist?
    Personally, I am convinced that there is no such thing as a god or a goddess. But like the convictions of religious people this is merely a personal belief and nothing we can prove or have any chance of being able to prove in the future.
    So imho unless/until a deity comes forward, everyone is free to believe or disbelieve whatever they like.
    Given the Zeitgeist however, I fear that even if for example Jesus, Zeus or Aea would return, they'd put him in a talkshow for freaks and afterwards into a loonie asylum. If he'd work a miracle, at least 5 governments would immediately try to kidnap him and use him as a super-weapon against everyone else.
     
  18. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    You wouldn't have to worry about the US. We'd just store him in a big warehouse of crates. :shifty:
     
  19. PurpleBuddha

    PurpleBuddha Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Agreed. It is not disprovable at the moment so calling it a hypothesis was too generous. I should have referred to it as a notion instead. I am certainly no supporter of ID claims.