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“Facts Only”
Posted: 12 August 2007 12:38 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Nobody likes to accept the idea of being wrong. To be in error is sometimes so embarrasing that we prefer to evade facing it and we hide in our comfortable world where others who share the same error accept one to another.

For the the saying “two wrongs won’t make a right” we can go farther and say that “millions of wrongs won’t make a truth.”

A common ground for battles in knowledge is found when science appears to contradict some statements found in religious writings and vicerversa.

Since we don’t know for sure which one appeared first in our ancient cultures, the firstborn rights cannot be given neither to science or religion but only the recognition of which one of them can get closer to reality.

While in several circumstances religion can be studied only by comparing the relates of its writings with the archeological discoveries, science is mostly reviewed by the support of facts.

What is a fact? Lets use the Webster’s New World dictionary which defines it as: 

1.          reality, actuality, certainty, truth, substantiality, palpability, experience, matter, state of things, truth of the matter, the case, not an illusion, fait accompli (French), what really happened, something concrete, what is the case, matter of fact, hard evidence, hard fact, nuda veritas (Latin), verity, naked truth, gospel, certitude, scripture, law, solidity, permanence, basis, physical reality, existence, corporeal existence, state of being, fact of life, what’s what*, straight dope*, bottom line*; see also facts. —

2.    [An individual reality] — Syn.  circumstance, detail, factor, particular, case, consideration, datum, evidence, point, event, action, deed, happening, occurrence, creation, manifestation, being, entity, experience, affair, act, episode, performance, proceeding, phenomenon, incident, thing done, adventure, transaction, organism, construction, truism, truth, plain fact, accomplishment, accomplished fact, fait accompli (French). — Ant.  ERROR, illusion, untruth.
as a matter of fact, — Syn.  in reality, in fact, actually, in point of fact; see really 1.

We have lots of interpretations of what applies to the word fact. So, cataloging it in a more ordained method we can use this word with the correspondent subject in play, like “scientific fact”, or “logistic fact”, etc.

Then, a physical fact doesn’t necesarily agree with an algebraic fact and viceversa, so we must be aware to apply the correspondent definition of fact in accord to the subject in play.

Apparently, this kind of action can carry the acceptance of any saying as a fact, because when the noun of the subject is used as an adjective what is considered a fact in one subject it might be considered as false, error, illusion, imagination and similar in another subject.

Another example is that not all the subjects might be found to be in accord to physical reality, like to say that mathematically it may be possible to resolve the Last Theorem of Fermat, but that this theorem x^n+y^n=z^n cannot be ever proven correct by using grains of rice.

We have as well that a religious statute might be correct as a moral principle but the historical events surrounding it might not.

When we apply facts from one subject in a different subject is when controversies are abundant. And today, while religion still exists as a main subject with millions of followers, science is continually used to discredit it.

What about using science to support religion? Are there scientific facts available to confirm some statements of religious writings? Or, can some religious writings be used as confirming historical facts and viceversa?

What are the methods used to cause the discarding of a fact from one subject in base of another?

I guess that several of these so called contradictions are no more than misinterpretations and by reviewing more carefully the facts or statements of the different subjects we might find agreements instead of conflicts.

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Posted: 12 August 2007 05:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Actually, a million wrongs do make a right. You don’t ever arrive at a complex truth by having the whole picture; instead, you have many, many blind men feeling their way around the elephant, saying a lot of wrong things and a few true things, which can then be replicated until the whole truth is discovered.

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Posted: 12 August 2007 02:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Nobody likes the idea of being wrong.

Not really true.  Scientists may need a lot of evidence, but their motivation is to gain knowledge of the universe, and this often requires discarding what was formerly believed.  So they like the idea of being wrong.

Occam

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Posted: 12 August 2007 02:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Depending on your truth conditions, there are very few things that can correctly be claimed to be facts, since there is always the possibility that you are just imagining the evidence that you are using to validate them.  And those that are genuine facts and that cannot be said to be based on possibly imagined evidence tend to be utterly useless.  Also, I can’t see how anyone actually could use science to support religious claims since religious stories tend to be magic and fairytale based and so clearly incorrect that they are outside of the realm of logical and intelligent study.  The creationists tried using science to support a religious story but they failed utterly, principally because they didn’t understand what science is or how to do it, but secondarily because the creation story in the bible is self-evidently far-fetched ill-conceived trash written by primitive palestinians.  I would say that is why scientists don’t try to support religious stories by using careful scientific testing.  I mean, you might just as well try to give an evidential basis to the story of Pinnochio as any religious stories.

Besides,  the fact that a lot of scientific theories contradict religious stories is a coincidental artefact of rather than the purpose of scientif enquiry.  For example, Darwin studied the evidence he came across and concluded that all the evidence he came across suggested that species we have today have not always been around on this planet, that species appeared to gradually change in line with environmental changes etc.  What he was doing was examining evidence and stating what the evidence pointed to.  He wasn’t looking for ways to show that the creation story in the bible was wrong, he was looking at what happened to species over time.  The fact that the evidence suggested a particular result that was nothing like the bible story is coincidental.

It’s never an embarassment to find you’re wrong in science; it’s expected.  The initial results show that you’re onto something and you formulate a hypothesis from that.  Any researcher worth their salt then tries everything they can possibly think of to try and show their own theory to be wrong.  They retest it a fair number of times,  they look at how they can argue against it in terms of are the errors good enough, are there other things that could be measured concurrently that might show that the results are spurious, what happens if you run the tests for longer, at higher/lower temperatures, in air, in a vacuum, etc. They test all of these things and if they can find plenty of evidence for it and no evidence against it, they send it to the peer reviewed journals.  These then send the papaer to two or three experts in that particular field and if they pass it, it is published.  If they come up with valid doubts that the researcher had not spotted, they fail it. The researcher then tests things that will show if the reviewers doubts are valid.  If they are, the researcher is delighted that he hasn’t put out a paper that can later be shown to be a load of garbage.  If the doubts prove not to be valid, he resubmits the paper, this time with a bit added showing how he addressed the reviewers valid concerns.  It then gets peer reviewed again by a further set of experts in the field and so on.  And yes, we are quite happy to be shown to have not given sufficient evidence to support our theory since if we have to reject the theory then it isn’t a sound theory (and sooner or later someone would notice that - and that would be embarassing) and if further testing still validates the theory, it gives us more confidence that the theory is valid.

[ Edited: 12 August 2007 03:19 PM by narwhol ]
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Posted: 12 August 2007 03:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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conquer - 12 August 2007 12:38 AM

What is a fact?

“I exist”.

That is the only ‘fact’ of which I can convince myself. I cannot even prove my existence to you.

Any ‘knowledge’ other than my own existence, can not be a proven fact, but only a belief. It may be a belief based on perception of scientific study, but it is ultimately only a belief.

Sorry!

I often feel solipsistic on a Sunday evening…

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There are 10 types of people in the world.

Those who understand binary numbers and those who do not.

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Posted: 15 August 2007 05:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Alon - 12 August 2007 05:42 AM

Actually, a million wrongs do make a right. You don’t ever arrive at a complex truth by having the whole picture; instead, you have many, many blind men feeling their way around the elephant, saying a lot of wrong things and a few true things, which can then be replicated until the whole truth is discovered.

Well, when your point is taken the result is that “million wrongs might help to find what is right.”

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Posted: 15 August 2007 05:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Occam - 12 August 2007 02:05 PM

Nobody likes the idea of being wrong.

Not really true.  Scientists may need a lot of evidence, but their motivation is to gain knowledge of the universe, and this often requires discarding what was formerly believed.  So they like the idea of being wrong.

Occam

Occam, I need you to write this same words in the topic “Evolution disproven?, there is a physicist who cannot accept that he is wrong.

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Posted: 15 August 2007 05:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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narwhol - 12 August 2007 02:47 PM

Depending on your truth conditions, there are very few things that can correctly be claimed to be facts, since there is always the possibility that you are just imagining the evidence that you are using to validate them…

...It’s never an embarassment to find you’re wrong in science; it’s expected.  The initial results show that you’re onto something and you formulate a hypothesis from that.  Any researcher worth their salt then tries everything they can possibly think of to try and show their own theory to be wrong.  They retest it a fair number of times,  they look at how they can argue against it in terms of are the errors good enough, are there other things that could be measured concurrently that might show that the results are spurious, what happens if you run the tests for longer, at higher/lower temperatures, in air, in a vacuum, etc. They test all of these things and if they can find plenty of evidence for it and no evidence against it, they send it to the peer reviewed journals.  These then send the papaer to two or three experts in that particular field and if they pass it, it is published.  If they come up with valid doubts that the researcher had not spotted, they fail it. The researcher then tests things that will show if the reviewers doubts are valid.  If they are, the researcher is delighted that he hasn’t put out a paper that can later be shown to be a load of garbage.  If the doubts prove not to be valid, he resubmits the paper, this time with a bit added showing how he addressed the reviewers valid concerns.  It then gets peer reviewed again by a further set of experts in the field and so on.  And yes, we are quite happy to be shown to have not given sufficient evidence to support our theory since if we have to reject the theory then it isn’t a sound theory (and sooner or later someone would notice that - and that would be embarassing) and if further testing still validates the theory, it gives us more confidence that the theory is valid.

And this is what happens with several theories, the supporters of the theories jump to conclusions with pre-conceptions and with the clear intentions to validate their believes at all costs.

The best way to validate a theory is by proving the opposite.

If the opposite becomes to be true, then the theory has a challenger or the theory is found incorrect.

It cannot be that a theory is valid with oppsite statements or doctrines. Darwin was correct about the changes in species but he was 100% wrong when he concluded that the variations were favourable only.

My point goes a little further than jumping from subject to subject.

Lets say that in the Bible says that the wife of Lot looked back and became a pillar of salt.

What is the fact about it?

Well, physically this event is not possible, so this assumed miracle is easily challenged by the basic principles of physics and chemistry.

But, when we read the Hebrew version and find out that instead of turning her face back to the destruction of Sodom she “was late behind” her husband Lot, we can understand that she was caught by the rain of fire and sulfur described by the narrator.

The Hebrew word “Mae-oo-har” found in the Hebrew version of Genesis or Bereshit implies the action of being late. Other translators have opted to use the word “look or peer behind” with the letter ‘M” preceding it as a complement to enforce the action.

However, by understanding better the narration, we use the Hebrew word “Mae-oo-har” and we find that by using it the whole narration is more credible and more close to reality.

Now, by having the wife of Lot being late, we can imagine the event as looking how lava “converts” everything -plants and animals- in its way as “lava”. The same as well, as formations of salt started with the cosmical event which showed rain of fire and sulfur, our woman appeared to become part of the salt because salt was forming in that zone in an amazing phenomenon.

Then, this event can be considered as a fact in religious writings, not as a miracle but as the description given by a witness of this event when a cosmical event caused great destruction and formation of salt was observed.

Of course, the writer will give the credit to the hands of god, however the event is possible and can be considered as factual.

[ Edited: 16 August 2007 08:58 PM by conquer ]
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Posted: 15 August 2007 05:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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NecAsperaTerrent - 12 August 2007 03:49 PM
conquer - 12 August 2007 12:38 AM

What is a fact?

“I exist”.

That is the only ‘fact’ of which I can convince myself. I cannot even prove my existence to you.

Any ‘knowledge’ other than my own existence, can not be a proven fact, but only a belief. It may be a belief based on perception of scientific study, but it is ultimately only a belief.

Sorry!

I often feel solipsistic on a Sunday evening…

I think, therefore I am. This is philosophy.

I am, therefore I think. This is factual.

Facts rule.

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Posted: 22 August 2007 12:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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conquer - 12 August 2007 12:38 AM

Nobody likes to accept the idea of being wrong.

“nobody” is one of those infinite words that should not be used lightly. “Some people don’t like the idea of being wrong” may have been less debatable.

Anyways let me share one of my sayings…

“One must stand up for what one believes in, because only then can one trip over its delusion and hit ones head on the truth.”

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Posted: 22 August 2007 02:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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This brings up a problem of reality versus semantics.

Reality does not care about language but it is possible to create language which does not correspond to reality.

How many continents are there on this planet?

I was taught 7 but looking at the map forced me to conclude there were 6.

Which is the fact?  There is no water separating Europe from Asia, they make up a single land mass.  This doesn’t even qualify as a metaphysical problem involving deities that can’t be proven to not be there.

psik

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Fiziks is Fundamental

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Posted: 22 August 2007 10:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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psikeyhackr - 22 August 2007 02:18 AM

This brings up a problem of reality versus semantics.

Reality does not care about language but it is possible to create language which does not correspond to reality.

How many continents are there on this planet?

I was taught 7 but looking at the map forced me to conclude there were 6.

Which is the fact?  There is no water separating Europe from Asia, they make up a single land mass.  This doesn’t even qualify as a metaphysical problem involving deities that can’t be proven to not be there.

psik

Why there is a separated North America from South America as different continents in some books? What about Central America? I guess that these sub-divisions are regional partitions of a sole continent named America. Is the canal of Panama the divider? :-0

On the other hand, language indeed is very expressive but in several cases goes against reality. The dumb weather man on TV still saying that the Sun “rises” in the mornings and “sets” at evenings, this is a new millennium and it appears that he still believing that the Sun orbits around the earth.

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Posted: 22 August 2007 01:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Is the canal of Panama the divider? :-0

The Isthmus of Panama is the divider because it is so narrow in relation to the sizes of North and South America.  The Panama Canal does not allow water to flow between the Atlantic and the Pacific.  Water from a lake is used by the system of locks to raise ships up and down over the isthmus.  But I am not aware of any locks at Suez.  If you choose to regard North and South America as a single continent because they are connected then that changes things at Suez.  If water can flow between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea because of the Suez Canal then then Europe, Asia and Africa were a single continent until the Suez Canal was dug.  ROFL

So there used to be 4 and now there are 5.

But no matter how you slice it, Europe isn’t and never was.  LOL

psik

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Posted: 24 August 2007 10:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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psikeyhackr - 22 August 2007 01:33 PM

Is the canal of Panama the divider? :-0

The Isthmus of Panama is the divider because it is so narrow in relation to the sizes of North and South America.  The Panama Canal does not allow water to flow between the Atlantic and the Pacific.  Water from a lake is used by the system of locks to raise ships up and down over the isthmus.  But I am not aware of any locks at Suez.  If you choose to regard North and South America as a single continent because they are connected then that changes things at Suez.  If water can flow between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea because of the Suez Canal then then Europe, Asia and Africa were a single continent until the Suez Canal was dug.  ROFL

So there used to be 4 and now there are 5.

But no matter how you slice it, Europe isn’t and never was.  LOL

psik

There are several differences about the number of continents in books of Geography, I remember my son having trouble with his school work because he forgot his book at school and his school book had more than seven US regions while other books and information from the internet showed five or six regions only.

It appears that editorials of school books have the freedom to choose their own delimitations. Some hundreds years ago America was considered as one sole continent from Canada to Chile. (I remember that this is how I learned about it in school.) Lets see how it was hundreds of years ago:

http://www.analitica.com/Bitblio/roberto/handbook.asp

“The name America was an accident. The Florentine cartographer Amerigo Vespucci traced the first useful map of the new continent, which was subsequently called after his first name. Incidentally, Vespucci baptized another region, this time voluntarily: Venezuela, a Spanish word that literally means ‘Little Venice.’ He observed that the Indians in the Maracaibo Lake dwelled in houses made in the water, as Venetians use to do. Venezuelans have debated for centuries if the diminutive Venezuela is derogatory or not. It reveals our complex of inferiority, as the diminutive in Spanish can be pampering too, as people in love and loved children know. Deminutives can be both derogatory and lovely, but we choose the derogatory interpretation because we feel insanely diminished by essence.

The word America covered the New World as a whole, from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. Amerigo Vespucci’s first name was used for one of the five continents on Earth, an exaggerated prize for tracing a map — being opportune is often more rewarding than being diligent… Before Vespucci — even after him — there were other names for the continent: La Española ‘The Spanish,’ Nueva España ‘New Spain,’ Peru, Virginia, New England. The Spaniards were reluctant to call it América. They preferred Las Indias ‘The Indies,’ Las Indias Occidentales ‘the West Indies,’ or Las Indias, Islas y Tierra Firme de la Mar Océano ‘The Indies, Isles, and Mainland of the Ocean Sea.’ The German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, together with the French Aimé Bonpland, called it Régions équinoxiales du nouveau continent ‘the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent.’ The name of their monumental book was Voyage de Humboldt et Bonpland aux régions équinoxiales du nouveau continent ‘Voyage of Humboldt and Bonpland to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent.’”

What “America continent” Columbus discovered, the north or the south one? Apparently the northen one. grin

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Posted: 25 August 2007 11:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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conquer - 15 August 2007 05:09 PM
Occam - 12 August 2007 02:05 PM

Nobody likes the idea of being wrong.

Not really true.  Scientists may need a lot of evidence, but their motivation is to gain knowledge of the universe, and this often requires discarding what was formerly believed.  So they like the idea of being wrong.

Occam

Occam, I need you to write this same words in the topic “Evolution disproven?, there is a physicist who cannot accept that he is wrong.

A scientist needs new data that shows his prior view was incorrect before he will work toward developing a new, more accurate concept.

If your physicist friend accepts Darwinian evolution, then he’s right because all the evidence indicates that’s the way life works.  However, I understand that non-scientists don’t need to change their views even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Occam

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Posted: 25 August 2007 07:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Occam - 25 August 2007 11:43 AM

A scientist needs new data that shows his prior view was incorrect before he will work toward developing a new, more accurate concept.

If your physicist friend accepts Darwinian evolution, then he’s right because all the evidence indicates that’s the way life works.  However, I understand that non-scientists don’t need to change their views even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Occam

Darwinian evolution implies that species will have favourable variations only through a process called Natural Selection. By consequence, any supporter (scientist or non-scientist) of this Darwinian evolution theory is wrong.

Lets go a little further. The orbit of Mercury presents a weird phenomenon in its periphelion, several decades ago a scientist called Le Verrier explained in numbers with incredible accuracy such orbit with the assumption that another twin planet (Vulcan) existed and caused such phenomenon. In those years some astronomers said that they witnessed that indeed besides Mercury another planet has been observed in the same orbit. Further observations deleted such theory because such planet wasn’t seen anymore.

No one knows for sure if another planet existed orbiting with Mercury as its twin planet, but the calculations made by Le Verrier suited with great accuracy the observed motion of Mercury at its periphelion.

The lack of “facts” deleted Le Verrier’s calculations even when they were in accord with the observations.

In this case the lack of evidence of an existing planet was the fact which ruled against Le Verrier’s calculations.

If scientists need new data to check their previous views, sometimes to have “no data” to support their current views is the “fact” which rules against their views as we notice with Le Verrier’s assumed existing planet.

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