Silvestru

Forum Rule about disproving mainstream science

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Hello forum,

Recently I have been reading more and more threads of people trying to disprove well established science with their own pet theories.

I totally understand engaging in a polite discussion and explaining why they are incorrect in their assumption but doing a ridiculous back and forth for 7 pages while the OP refuses to provide any model or evidence...in my view is a waste of time and it clogs this wonderful forum that I hold so dear.

I know there have been backlashes from even veteran members about the closing of some threads but can't we have a forum rule that if you propose a new theory you have to provide some data, some maths, something, even if it turns out to be incorrect.

If we would all agree on such a system I think the forum would be much cleaner and pleasurable to read. 

Rule: If you bring forward a new theory that (attempts to?) disproves or ads something new to mainstream science, you need to provide the evidence or calculation that lead you to this conclusion.

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Moderator Note

Moved to the Suggestions forum as it seems more appropriate.

 
1 hour ago, Silvestru said:

I know there have been backlashes from even veteran members about the closing of some threads but can't we have a forum rule that if you propose a new theory you have to provide some data, some maths, something, even if it turns out to be incorrect.

We do have such a rule. It can be hard to enforce when people flood the thread with cherry-picked articles (often from unreliable sources) that they claim are evidence for their idea. 

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1 hour ago, Silvestru said:

 can't we have a forum rule that if you propose a new theory you have to provide some data, some maths, something, even if it turns out to be incorrect.

That’s part of the speculations guidelines

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1 hour ago, swansont said:

That’s part of the speculations guidelines

I supppose his and in part my question would be, why doesn't it seem enforced. I have only been lurking on SFN for a little bit, but I have seen so many ... "alternative ideas" without a lot of evidence (surprisingly, it only is regarding physics, never any other field, any idea why? (personally I think it is because physics still has the most freedom with some fundamental questions open)).

-Dagl

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Dagl1 said:

I supppose his and in part my question would be, why doesn't it seem enforced. I have only been lurking on SFN for a little bit, but I have seen so many ... "alternative ideas" without a lot of evidence (surprisingly, it only is regarding physics, never any other field, any idea why? (personally I think it is because physics still has the most freedom with some fundamental questions open)).

-Dagl

If I had a nickel for every time I've read swansont say

"This is not mainstream. Moved to speculations. Please read the rules of speculations and provide evidence for your proposal."

or similar,

I'd be a billionaire.

That typing wing must be worn out by now.

 

I'd say that is ample room for allowing the rules to be followed before the final curtain is dropped.

 

 

 

Edited by studiot

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I would bet a whole Japanese yen that he has it saved somewhere, however I think that it doesn't really answer my (our) question; why is this allowed. There is soo much bullshit (sorry, I am all for out of the box thinking but most of the time its just BS) in the speculations section....

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Dagl1 said:

I would bet a whole Japanese yen that he has it saved somewhere, however I think that it doesn't really answer my (our) question; why is this allowed. There is soo much bullshit (sorry, I am all for out of the box thinking but most of the time its just BS) in the speculations section....

But your question was not an answer to the original one (which was effectively can we have a repository for such BS ) even though it was a reasonable one.
So it is strictly speaking off topic.

But do you really want to be that strict?

I think the mods do a fine job between pernickettyness and laxity and encourage members to obey the rules rather than just slap them down at every opportunity.

Thus they offer a way forward (provide evidence) rather than just saying. "Rule broken" and taking some sort of drastic moderator action.

Perhaps with your interest in the Life Sciences you could propose a way to get members to post in the appropriate section  in the first place?

Edited by studiot

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2 minutes ago, studiot said:

But your question was not an answer to the original one (which was effectively can we have a repository for such BS ) even though it was a reasonable one.
So it is strictly speaking off topic.

But do you really want to be that strict?

I think the mods do a fine job between pernickettyness and laxity and encourage members to obey the rules rather than just slap them down at every opportunity.

Thus they offer a way forward (provide evidence) rather than just saying. "Rule broken" and taking some sort of drastic moderator action.

Perhaps with your interest in the Life Sciences you could propose a way to get members to post in the appropriate section  in the first place?

Nah I don't think in most cases being super strict (nice how it works in my favour now isn't it;p ) is necessary, but maybe it is personal opinion but I think a lot of leeway is given to those who do not believe science (physics). I am still interested if you agree or have another reason for why this seems to happen mostly to the physics department. 

I definitely agree with the idea that everyone puts their ideas in right (appropriate) section. 

I want to make sure that you all don;t misunderstand me; I like this this forum, and I really apppreciate how helpful some of the people are, but I also agree with the OP that there is a lot of... BS here. And while I am mostly for discussion, I think there are limits.

-Dagl

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57 minutes ago, Dagl1 said:

 

Nah I don't think in most cases being super strict (nice how it works in my favour now isn't it;p ) is necessary, but maybe it is personal opinion but I think a lot of leeway is given to those who do not believe science (physics). I am still interested if you agree or have another reason for why this seems to happen mostly to the physics department. 

I definitely agree with the idea that everyone puts their ideas in right (appropriate) section. 

I want to make sure that you all don;t misunderstand me; I like this this forum, and I really apppreciate how helpful some of the people are, but I also agree with the OP that there is a lot of... BS here. And while I am mostly for discussion, I think there are limits.

-Dagl

The thing is, sometimes, people don't know what they don't know and are genuinely naive to the rigours of scientific discussion. It would be unfair not to give  everybody the benefit of the doubt initially, so that we don't frighten off those that are genuinely naive and don't have an ego and agenda to promote; rare though that they are.

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

The thing is, sometimes, people don't know what they don't know and are genuinely naive to the rigours of scientific discussion. It would be unfair not to give  everybody the benefit of the doubt initially, so that we don't frighten off those that are genuinely naive and don't have an ego and agenda to promote; rare though that they are.

I totally agree but let's be honest. I can give you actual examples if you want where members are very obtuse and stubborn and refuse to provide any data, the back and forth's go on for 6 pages then the OP goes overboard, starts insulting members participating in the thread and only then the thread gets closed. 

Even for Speculations you are requested to provide evidence for your claims.

Edited by Silvestru

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There is a range when it comes to those proposing alternative ideas. Many are just filling in the gaps in their understanding with things that make more sense than the mainstream science they fell behind on. Science knowledge is so layered, but humans will try to fill in patterns based only on what they know, so it often seems to them that they've discovered something basic nobody else knows about. These folks just need better knowledge, but it's like any other kind of renovation; you have to remove the old junk before you can put the new stuff in.

Some of those folks get so adamant about being right that they lose perspective and refuse to listen to any corrections in their stances. They ridicule and insult because everyone seems to not understand the simplicity of their arguments, and instead offer up useless evidence to refute what they should be trying to understand. Q-reeus was one of those, and it takes us a while to make sure our assessment is correct before banning these folks. It wouldn't have been fair to ban him after just a few posts revealed his disdain for mainstream knowledge, not without giving the other members a chance to chisel through a thick skull. 

We sure do appreciate when the membership reports posts from these folks. We obviously don't want to interrupt a discussion to point out every fallacious statement made, and we hope that most of them get pointed out by the participants in order to improve the arguments. But we also know how frustrating it is when you offer evidence and it's ignored in favor of incredulity or gut feelings or eternal skepticism. In the face of almost overwhelming confirmation bias, I think our members do a good job of isolating misunderstanding and misinformation so it can be hunted down and eradicated.

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35 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

There is a range when it comes to those proposing alternative ideas. Many are just filling in the gaps in their understanding with things that make more sense than the mainstream science they fell behind on. Science knowledge is so layered, but humans will try to fill in patterns based only on what they know, so it often seems to them that they've discovered something basic nobody else knows about. These folks just need better knowledge, but it's like any other kind of renovation; you have to remove the old junk before you can put the new stuff in.

Some of those folks get so adamant about being right that they lose perspective and refuse to listen to any corrections in their stances. They ridicule and insult because everyone seems to not understand the simplicity of their arguments, and instead offer up useless evidence to refute what they should be trying to understand. Q-reeus was one of those, and it takes us a while to make sure our assessment is correct before banning these folks. It wouldn't have been fair to ban him after just a few posts revealed his disdain for mainstream knowledge, not without giving the other members a chance to chisel through a thick skull. 

We sure do appreciate when the membership reports posts from these folks. We obviously don't want to interrupt a discussion to point out every fallacious statement made, and we hope that most of them get pointed out by the participants in order to improve the arguments. But we also know how frustrating it is when you offer evidence and it's ignored in favor of incredulity or gut feelings or eternal skepticism. In the face of almost overwhelming confirmation bias, I think our members do a good job of isolating misunderstanding and misinformation so it can be hunted down and eradicated.

Fair point, we should report members or posts that become unprofessional and admins will review. I never had a real problem with threads exceeding their lifetime. I just feel bad when I see someone well-intentioned wasting time on someone who is not open for a discussion and prefers preaching.

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3 hours ago, Dagl1 said:

I supppose his and in part my question would be, why doesn't it seem enforced. I have only been lurking on SFN for a little bit, but I have seen so many ... "alternative ideas" without a lot of evidence (surprisingly, it only is regarding physics, never any other field, any idea why? (personally I think it is because physics still has the most freedom with some fundamental questions open)).

-Dagl

I think the majority of posts in speculations didn’t start there, and the fraction that are locked or abandoned after warning about rigor is significant. I see 5 locked threads on the first page and 11 on the 2nd page.

We don’t lock them immediately. We tend to give people an opportunity to comply with the rules.

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The way it is now, is good, IMHO, it's even too tight (there should be given more time for speculators to take a lesson about science).

The one who wants to participate in thread, engage in thread, discuss with OP, and try to teach and explain science to layman pet-theory author.

Some of them will take a lesson, some other will not. You do not have control over it.

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3 hours ago, Dagl1 said:

Nah I don't think in most cases being super strict (nice how it works in my favour now isn't it;p ) is necessary, but maybe it is personal opinion but I think a lot of leeway is given to those who do not believe science (physics). 

It sometimes takes a while to suss out whether someone doesn’t believe in science, or just doesn’t understand the science they are critiquing. Or possibly is an admixture of both.

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4 hours ago, Dagl1 said:

(surprisingly, it only is regarding physics, never any other field, any idea why?

In the earlier days, when intelligent design became en vogue, there was quite a bit in biology, specifically evolution. The other chunk that was for a while quite persistent was regarding race (and usually intelligence). The rest is more speculative sci-fi (transhumanism or similar aspects). But I agree as a whole, physics was always target of crackpots and in contrast to other it has barely changed over the years. A part of it is that those areas of physics which are most targeted by those folks are also rather counter-intuitive. The other being that e.g. in biology we have fewer stringent theoretical framework that can be "revolutionized".

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From my own selfish perspective, I typically learn the most from those types of threads and would hate to see them cut off. Following a discussion between only knowledgeable participants is often too narrow and too deep for me to gain much. When someone flails about with misunderstanding, the responses tend to be more at a level I can gain from, and the suggested links for further information are generally very helpful to me. Oftentimes I'd like to ask similar questions myself but after one or two curt answers I tend to back off. I'm glad others aren't so sensitive.

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12 hours ago, Silvestru said:

Hello forum,

Recently I have been reading more and more threads of people trying to disprove well established science with their own pet theories.

I totally understand engaging in a polite discussion and explaining why they are incorrect in their assumption but doing a ridiculous back and forth for 7 pages while the OP refuses to provide any model or evidence...in my view is a waste of time and it clogs this wonderful forum that I hold so dear.

I know there have been backlashes from even veteran members about the closing of some threads but can't we have a forum rule that if you propose a new theory you have to provide some data, some maths, something, even if it turns out to be incorrect.

If we would all agree on such a system I think the forum would be much cleaner and pleasurable to read. 

Rule: If you bring forward a new theory that (attempts to?) disproves or ads something new to mainstream science, you need to provide the evidence or calculation that lead you to this conclusion.

There are many reasons, as far as I can tell. [1] Science most assuredly has pushed back the need for any deity or ID factor to near oblivion. If individuals offended by that fact can show that science in any particular sphere is wrong, this is somewhat of a feather in their cap, and [in there eyes] points to some omnipotent all powerful deity that started it. [2] Others are simply enveloped by "delusions of grandeur" and believe they are able to come to a science forum and usurp some aspect of science. [3] Those that see awe and wonder and mystique in conspiracy nonsense and will extend that to science in general. 

And of course while recognised as probably the greatest, Albert Einstein generally becomes the focus of their intent and the whipping boy and by extension, SR/GR and that which extends from GR. The theory of the Evolution of life is of course another that appeals as being relevant to try and dismember to facilitate personal beliefs.

Often those that would push some alternative idea, will automatically do it in the sciences section, irrespective of the rules and glaringly obvious correct place for such ideas. They see that as somewhat analogous in trying to gain some respect for their hypothesis.

In saying all that, I believe the mods and admins are sometimes caught between a rock and a hard place, in trying to show even handedness and fairness, and applying the rules correctly. We all are not going to agree when that time comes and personally sometimes I see aspects of alternative and hypothetical aspects drag on too long, and other times there has been scenarios where I dearly would have liked to have said something, but was too late as the thread was closed. That's my 2 cents worth. 

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