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Spotting Pseudoscience

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I understand your point but education is not the answer to this difficulty.

Many scientific claims are difficult for the layman to grasp even if he were educated to o level standard. This fact is well known to the charlatens and dishonest and they exploit it to the full.

Not only that they misrepresent genuine scientists who often are not aware of the abuse. Last but not least there are such animals as dishonest scientists who use their scientific expertese for reputational gain or political ends.

Science has a high reputation as politics once had but it can easily be marred.

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Last but not least there are such animals as dishonest scientists who use their scientific expertese for reputational gain or political ends.

 

No doubt. I believe the condition is called "being human"

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Absolutey that is why we must elavate no one. It has perhaps been the greatest lesson we have learned in recent decades of improved transparency. We must be merciful of human folley in order to receive merciful treatment in return.

We live in the age of organic food and it is peddled continously everywhere. Now we have organic eggs at extra expense. I'm not sure what an inorganic egg looks like or even if it is edible. Is there really any scientific evidence for organic food? Just what is the meaning of organic?

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Absolutey that is why we must elavate no one. It has perhaps been the greatest lesson we have learned in recent decades of improved transparency. We must be merciful of human folley in order to receive merciful treatment in return.

We live in the age of organic food and it is peddled continously everywhere. Now we have organic eggs at extra expense. I'm not sure what an inorganic egg looks like or even if it is edible. Is there really any scientific evidence for organic food? Just what is the meaning of organic?

 

I thought we were discussing science, not marketing.

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My apologies I sometimes get fired up and carried away, but you are right I'm drifting from the point I will quietly withdraw.

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cientists call a spade a shovel; pseudo-scientists usualy call a spade a manualy-powered turf-displacement utility, with a hyperbolic soil-penetration component diametrically opposite a quasi-ergonomical manual-interface phlange which is, itself, adjacent to the axial support structure -- the three components synergistically affording significantly enhanced botanical inhumation powers.

 

 

 

And in the army (I kid you not,) I've heard it called an "Apparatus, terrestrial reconfiguration, manual."

Edited by wayne_m

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I agree with most points of the original post, except 5, 6, and 7.

5. The discoverer says a belief is credible because it has endured for centuries. There is a persistent myth that hundreds or even thousands of years ago, long before anyone knew that blood circulates throughout the body, or that germs cause disease, our ancestors possessed miraculous remedies that modern science cannot understand. Much of what is termed "alternative medicine" is part of that myth.


Ancient folk wisdom, rediscovered or repackaged, is unlikely to match the output of modern scientific laboratories.

6. The discoverer has worked in isolation. The image of a lone genius who struggles in secrecy in an attic laboratory and ends up making a revolutionary breakthrough is a staple of Hollywood's science-fiction films, but it is hard to find examples in real life. Scientific breakthroughs nowadays are almost always syntheses of the work of many scientists.

7. The discoverer must propose new laws of nature to explain an observation. A new law of nature, invoked to explain some extraordinary result, must not conflict with what is already known. If we must change existing laws of nature or propose new laws to account for an observation, it is almost certainly wrong.

 

 

If 5 is true, then Newton, Leibniz, the ancient Greek mathematicians, early 18th century chemistry, etc., would qualify as 'pseudoscience'.

 

As for 6, many great discoverers have worked in isolation: Newton, the photographer and pair of student biologists who discovered the structure of DNA, all the inventors throughout the 20th century who came up with something new in a shed or a garage - you can't discredit their works merely because they worked in isolation.

 

As for 7, what is a 'law of nature'? Maybe the original poster meant a physical law. Even many of the accepted physical laws have exceptions, like the law of thermodynamics for entropy (water, for example, can be separated into hydrogen and oxygen and recombined repeatedly, and repeatedly frozen/thawed without the entropy of the ice 'increasing' over time necessarily); the quark entropy might increase over time, but I don't think that's what the laws of thermodynamics were meant to describe.

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If 5 is true, then Newton, Leibniz, the ancient Greek mathematicians, early 18th century chemistry, etc., would qualify as 'pseudoscience'.

 

 

You seem to have missed the point. Did any of them argue that their ideas must be right because people had believed them for centuries? No, in fact, they were often presenting totally new ideas (that were supported by evidence).

 

We don't accept the ideas of Newton because they are hundreds of years old but because hey are still (largely) consistent with the evidence. We now know areas where they are not, and we have developed bette theories for those cases - based on evidence.

 

 

 

As for 6, many great discoverers have worked in isolation: Newton, the photographer and pair of student biologists who discovered the structure of DNA, all the inventors throughout the 20th century who came up with something new in a shed or a garage - you can't discredit their works merely because they worked in isolation.

 

Things were very different in Newton's day. Faraday may have been one of the last scientists to work, largely, alone.

 

As for the structure of DNA, there were many people involved in that: http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/discovery-of-dna-structure-and-function-watson-397

 

And we are talking about science, not inventors.

 

 

 

As for 7, what is a 'law of nature'? Maybe the original poster meant a physical law. Even many of the accepted physical laws have exceptions, like the law of thermodynamics for entropy (water, for example, can be separated into hydrogen and oxygen and recombined repeatedly, and repeatedly frozen/thawed without the entropy of the ice 'increasing' over time necessarily); the quark entropy might increase over time, but I don't think that's what the laws of thermodynamics were meant to describe.

 

Again, you seem to miss the point. A new theory must be consistent with existing theory because the existing theory is consistent with reality (by definition).

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... A new theory must be consistent with existing theory because the existing theory is consistent with reality (by definition).

 

Wrong! The new theory must be consistent with reality, period. It may have a completely different approach/model and give the same or better results/predictions for all the tested results of the previous theory. Also, it is desirable for it to make new predictions, that can be tested.

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Wrong! The new theory must be consistent with reality, period.

 

 

But if, for example, a new theory predicted an inverse cube law for gravity then this is not consistent with the predictions of Newtonian theory or GR or measurement (reality).

 

Sometimes it is easy to test a new hypothesis against data (reality) but often it is easier to test it against the predictions of existing theory (which is known to be correct).

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Sometimes it is easy to test a new hypothesis against data (reality) but often it is easier to test it against the predictions of existing theory (which is known to be correct).

Easier, but possibly wrong. SR offers for Fizeau experiment a good prediction, but a new theory prediction must be compared with the experimental result, NOT with SR prediction.

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Easier, but possibly wrong. SR offers for Fizeau experiment a good prediction, but a new theory prediction must be compared with the experimental result, NOT with SR prediction.

It is best to compare all 3 taking into account the error bars on them.

 

Normally an easy first check it to see whether the new idea falls within the error bounds of the existing model which is known to encompass the error of any experiment within the applicable domain.

 

I think that is what Strange is trying to say and what you would also agree with?

 

Once you have consistency with the existing model it is then useful to show consistency with experiments where they have tighter error bounds and to find places where the two predictions vary and an experiment can be performed with sufficient accuracy to discriminate.

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It is best to compare all 3 taking into account the error bars on them.

...

Once you have consistency with the existing model it is then useful to show consistency with experiments where they have tighter error bounds and to find places where the two predictions vary and an experiment can be performed with sufficient accuracy to discriminate.

Yes, you are right.

 

Another way is to predict, using the new model, something that existing theories can't/didn't predict, and then test it.

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Wrong! The new theory must be consistent with reality, period. It may have a completely different approach/model and give the same or better results/predictions for all the tested results of the previous theory. Also, it is desirable for it to make new predictions, that can be tested.

 

 

If the existing theory was consistent with reality, by the transitive property, the two theories will be consistent with each other, in the realm that they have been experimentally tested.

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If the existing theory was consistent with reality, by the transitive property, the two theories will be consistent with each other, in the realm that they have been experimentally tested.

con·sis·tent (kən-sĭs′tənt)

adj.

1. In agreement; compatible

A - In Newton's theory, gravity is a force, while general theory of relativity describes gravity not as a force, but as a consequence of the curvature of spacetime caused by the uneven distribution of mass/energy, so they are not really "in agreement; compatible" ...

 

B - In Fizeau experiment the result derived from the existing theory (SR) is not identical with what Fizeau found, so a new theory must be consistent with what Fizeau found, the reality, not identical with SR result (the one with 1+v/cn below). Do you agree?!

 

So, to say "A new theory must be consistent with existing theory" is not OK.

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A - In Newton's theory, gravity is a force, while general theory of relativity describes gravity not as a force, but as a consequence of the curvature of spacetime caused by the uneven distribution of mass/energy, so they are not really "in agreement; compatible" ...

We sent men to the moon and probes to distant planets with Newtonian gravity, I would have to say they are in agreement. The disagreement happens at a much finer level. Force vs not a force doesn't have practical implications; it's how things are modeled.

 

So, to say "A new theory must be consistent with existing theory" is not OK.

That's not the complete quote. So, I agree, and so what?

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A - In Newton's theory, gravity is a force, while general theory of relativity describes gravity not as a force, but as a consequence of the curvature of spacetime caused by the uneven distribution of mass/energy, so they are not really "in agreement; compatible" ...

 

 

 

This is a terrible straw man argument. No one said the had to be "compatible" (whatever that means). But they are consistent (within their relative domains of applicability).

 

 

 

B - In Fizeau experiment the result derived from the existing theory (SR) is not identical with what Fizeau found

 

Really? Where does it say that?

 

In fact, it says: "Fizeau's experiment is hence supporting evidence for the collinear case of Einstein's velocity addition formula."

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... So, I agree, and so what?

Nothing much :) I just need to see that you can agree with something I wrote.

 

 

 

How about this:

 

In Fizeau experiment the result derived from the existing theory (SR) is not identical with what Fizeau found, so a new theory must be consistent with what Fizeau found, the reality, not identical with SR result (the one with 1+v/cn below). Do you agree?!

Edited by DanMP

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Fizeau's experiment was explained by SR, so I'm not sure what you're referring to

 

" Over half a century passed before a satisfactory explanation of Fizeau's unexpected measurement was developed with the advent of Albert Einstein's theory of special relativity."

 

"Fizeau's experiment is hence supporting evidence for the collinear case of Einstein's velocity addition formula"

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Fizeau's experiment was explained by SR, so I'm not sure what you're referring to .....

It seems that you forgot our conversation on the matter :)

 

 

Really? Where does it say that?

Here: This is accurate when v/c « 1, and agrees with the formula based upon Fizeau's measurements, which satisfied the condition v/c « 1

 

It agrees but is not identical.

 

In fact, it says: "Fizeau's experiment is hence supporting evidence for the collinear case of Einstein's velocity addition formula."

Relax, the new theory is not intended to replace SR, which is good/sound, but to offer (& test) a new, specific, model/solution. SRT is too general, it not explains what is going on there.

 

 

So, back to my question, what is the target for a new/alternative theory, what Fizeau found or exactly the SR result (the one with 1+v/cn below)?

Edited by DanMP

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It seems that you forgot our conversation on the matter :)

That would be the thread where you said "Fizeau experiment and Sagnac effect are explained completely and correctly only using special relativity (Lorentz transformations)"

 

and I did not disagree with that, regarding the Fizeau experiment.

 

Why has your position changed, and what does this have to do with the current discussion?

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Why has your position changed

What do you mean?!? It didn't.

 

what does this have to do with the current discussion?

As I wrote above (3 times, or more), I need to know what result should be the target for my (or any) alternative (non-Lorentzian) theory for Fizeau experiment.

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What do you mean?!? It didn't.

I said Fizeau was explained by SR, and you're disagreeing with me; in post 201 you clearly state that there is a discrepancy, and earlier you has stated that it's completely explained by SR. "completely explained" and "discrepancy" are conflicting views.

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I said Fizeau was explained by SR, and you're disagreeing with me; in post 201 you clearly state that there is a discrepancy, and earlier you has stated that it's completely explained by SR. "completely explained" and "discrepancy" are conflicting views.

Post 201 ?!?

 

Ok, I get it, you don't know the answer and want to drive me away from the simple question I posted (see #196). No problem, maybe someone else will answer. I'll wait for the answer and not engage in a meaningless dispute.

Edited by DanMP

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