Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by The Internet, Jun 24, 2016.
Sure. Matter is made up of atoms.
The reality that we share is called life, the something firm to stand upon is called Terra Firma, aka earth. As for talking about the same thing, science really can't help us with that. That is epistemology and philosophy, which have no final answers, only endless questions. We honestly can only tell if we understand each other through our acts, which is why I liked the field of study called Human Action. It covers the ground nicely. It doesn't have all the answers, but it's a great framework for studying folk.
You are talking about science here. That is only a part of the way that people come to understand the world. Science can tell us about the natural world around us, but it can't tell us if the use is good or bad, moral or immoral, legal or criminal. Science is limited to certain questions, while life is unlimited, and requires far more than just science to understand.
It's the difference between normative and positive economics. Positive economics is about facts (raising the minimum wage lowers the amount of employment), while normative economics is about what to do with those facts. Of course, even here, it's not always easy to distinguish between the positive and the normative.
Another example: Yesterday, I spent much of the day celebrating a local woman who turned 100. There were 80 people there, 50 of them members of an extended family. They were very Christian. I listened to this 100 year old talk about how God had guided her life, sending help just when she prayed for it. To me, the stated facts were all about coincidence. To her, and her family, it was obviously the hand of God.
Facts. Slippery eels that never stay still.
Neil Tyson recently told us we should be in a state called Rationalia. Very very very bad idea.
If we assume the machines are actually seeing what we think they are seeing. We may have decided that's what we're seeing because it comports with our theory.
Can you name a fact that is obvious and doesn't require $$$ to access? Something all humans could agree with.
By agreement do you mean simple agreement that has no method, or the kind that requires each person to base their "yes" or "no" on a common method? If the former then no way will you ever get all humans in agreement.
BTW, humans figured out that atoms exist before they invented expensive atom smashers and the like.
In 1808 John Dalton noted that elements react with each other in proportions made up of small whole numbers --e.g., 2 parts hydrogen combined with 1 part oxygen give water. These whole number ratios suggest that discrete things in one element are reacting with discrete things in another. It's hard to imagine otherwise, I think.
In 1811 Avogadro published a paper that distinguished between molecules and atoms. His model of molecules containing discrete numbers of atoms explained the behavior of heated gases. Add enough heat and molecular bonds are broken, resulting in more discrete items in the container of gas.
Also Brownian motion. And on and on. Multiple lines of evidence for atoms.
Look in any standard dictionary for what I mean by agreement. I'm not the one who introduced the term, you are, making it your responsibility to define it, if you are not using it in the standard way.
If you and I both call the ball red, then we agree that the ball is red, It does NOT mean that the ball is red, it just means we both agree that it's red.
Thanks for the history lesson.
My point is you have yet to present a fact that we can agree on, without reservation, hence, I've proved my point that facts are slippery beasts that can lead to wildly different conclusions, such as I say coincidence, the 1o0 year old says 'the hand of god.'
And by the way, I agree that atoms exist. I'm simply saying that it's really hard to prove it and the fact of atoms is a qualified fact, that is, we believe this is how it works, we have lots of indirect evidence that atoms exist, but it's still a theory that could be disproved.
This thread is about Brexit. You said we needed facts about Brexit. So, got any?
More than 1,000 barristers have signed a letter to the prime minister urging him to allow parliament to decide whether the UK should leave the European Union.
The letter describes the referendum result as only advisory because it was based on “misrepresentations of fact and promises that could not be delivered”.
The barristers argue that there must be a free vote in parliament before article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon treaty can be triggered – paving the way for the UK’s withdrawal.
The initiative has been coordinated by prominent barristers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland including more than 100 QCs, among them Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice, a former war crimes prosecutor.
The letter states: “The referendum did not set a threshold necessary to leave the EU, commonly adopted in polls of national importance, eg, 60% of those voting or 40% of the electorate. This is presumably because the result was only advisory.
Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including Andrea Leadsom’s dramatic exit from the Tory party leadership race and Angela Eagle’s bid to lead Labour
“The outcome of the exit process will affect a generation of people who were not old enough to vote in the referendum. The positions of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar require special consideration, since their populations did not vote to leave the EU.
“The parliamentary vote should take place with a greater understanding as to the economic consequences of Brexit, as businesses and investors in the UK start to react to the outcome of the referendum.
And the irony continues.
Well it is kind of ironic that the UK wants to be firmly on it's own when it wasn't even able to hold a referendum properly. Shouldn't possible legal challenges been addressed beforehand and measures taken to prevent them happening?
Democracy is messy. It only works when all sides honor the results.
A word can mean different things depending upon the context, which is kinda my point. For example:
1. "Does your answer agree with mine?" (in the context of doing math problems)
2. "Do you agree that Trump is likely to rob us blind?" (in the context of a political discussion)
The first context bases agreement upon some method independent of the people involved. The second does not.
Claims about the world have to be tested according to methods involving corroboration, falsification, logic, and parsimony, before they can be accepted as facts. And we apportion our confidence in factual claims to the quality and quantity of evidence available. So one dude cannot establish facts all by himself. There has to be agreement, but agreement more like the math sort than the Trump sort.
It is a fact that matter is made up of atoms. In fact, that is about the most facty fact that I know. All of physics and chemistry agree with that fact.
Seems we have to work out the difference between facts and opinions before we can have a productive conversation. Otherwise, glob boodle munsy baragh lobustinian boops.
The statement, "matter is made up of atoms" will never be disproven and here is why:
In physics the p-value is set at 1/10,000. That means that a false positive finding would be expected to happen about 1 out of every 10,000 times some observation is repeated.
Nearly every paper in physics and chemistry published since Einstein agrees with the statement, "matter is made up of atoms." Most of those papers would have to be wrong if matter is not made up of atoms.
Count the number of published, peer reviewed papers in physics and chemistry. Let us say that number is B, for Big. So the odds of disproving the idea that matter is made up of atoms equals 1 over 10,000 exponent B. That crazy small number will have so many zeros behind the decimal point I do not even.
according to my dictionary the meaning of agreement is: harmony or accordance in opinion or feeling.
Notice, nothing is said about facts being involved, which is kinda my point. And again, if you use a word and don't define it I can assume you mean what the context implies. Otherwise, I figure you'd define the term.
And yet the word you used means what the definition above states. In both cases you are asking if it is my opinion or feeling that Trump is bad or 2+2 = 4.
How do you establish a 'fact'? I'd like to know. And I'll have more to say about this is one of the other replies.
You've already said this. I told you my objection. You did not respond. I assume that means you have no response.
Agreement is not needed for facts to exist. Think the Emperor's new clothes. Facts exist independent of opinion or agreement. Quentanon answered this point. Quit repeating your failed arguments.
Also, please distinguish between the two agreements you noted above. I have an inkling of what you mean, but "more like the math sort than the Trump" is not a good metric, too hard to replicate. Please put it in language that we can understand without equivocation.
Here's a statement that I can agree with:
Notice the key word used? Believe. So, this statement is from http://education.jlab.org/qa/history_03.html
Read the whole article. It's short.
That is my point. While we act as if atoms are real (I've accepted this since the 8th grade) we will never be utterly absolutely certain we have the full picture. We're not god, we'll probably never know for sure, but we can still act as if, and as long as no surprises bite us in the ass, we're good to go.
Actually, modern physics uses a sigma 5 for any critical experiment, This is a 1:1.7M (one tail) or 3.4M (two tailed) probability, far more rigorous than 1:10,000.
Now, I want to present a (possible) fact.
The Leave side won the Brexit vote.
Do you agree, or disagree?
There are other meanings though. From the Oxford English dictionary:
Agreement can mean harmony of opinion, my Trump example. Or it can mean consistency between two things, my math example.
If you ask people, do you agree such-and-such is a fact? you should make clear whether you are asking for opinions or for a statement backed by evidence.
So, you admit that you were using the word ambiguously. Thanks. I agree. You were. That's why people define their terms at the beginning, if they are using the terms ambiguously.
As I said, facts are slippery things, as you keep proving, but ignoring. I asked a simple question, but you couldn't provide an answer. What more proof do you need that facts are slippery beasts? You can't agree that a recent event actually happened. I'll give you a hint. The answer is Yes, the Leave vote won the day.
You want facts to be slippery things because you like slipping I reckon.
It was me asking you if you meant plain old simple agreement or agreement based on sound methods of reasoning and evidence.* Then you wrote a lot of words without clarifying which one you meant.
You ignore my response about facts versus belief. I even gave you a gov source showing that facts are not as firm as you seem to think. I can't explain it any better. It's up to you to have the insight.
I did answer that, actually, you just ignored it. I used the math example. We can agree, but it doesn't make it true. I asked you to explain how you prove something, that is, how you establish a fact, and you ignored me.
I asked you about the Brexit vote. Can you tell me if that vote is a fact, or not? That's what this thread is supposed to be about. Let's get back on point. Can we establish the Brexit vote and outcome as facts?
You found a sentence with the phrase, "most of us believe in them [atoms]." What was I supposed to say in response to that? Just like "agreement" the word "believe" can have different connotations depending upon context.
Okay, so you want me to give you a fact backed by evidence, analogous to my math example. Well I gave you one: matter is made up of atoms.
I answered you but apparently I was not clear. We test claims before we accept them as facts. One such test is corroboration. Another test is logic, looking for contradictions with what we already know. Another test is parsimony --does the claim impose more assumptions upon us than some competing claim? Another test is falsification --if the claim is false, how would we expect things to be?
Clearly if we do not agree on the method for establishing that matter is made of atoms we are pretty lost when it comes to facts.
This all started when you said we needed facts. I pointed out that facts are a bit slippery. When you brought up the existence of atoms as fact, I pointed out that even scientists in the field use the term belief to describe their understanding of atoms. You have more certainty in atoms than the actual scientists working in the field. This fact (hehe) seems to have escaped your attention.
Science, like democracy, is a messy process. That means that scientists might not be as certain as you might expect, even while using the terms in the normal way. Most of us accept the atomic theory, with good reason, but to present atoms as fact requires a leap of faith, as pointed out by the government scientist.
So, on to the thread again, is the Brexit vote a pertinent fact to consider in the recent election?
So facts are matters of faith for you. Are you L Ron Hubbard?
In separating facts from opinions, "certainty" is not our goal. We simply want to apportion our confidence in statements about the world to the quality and quantity of evidence available.
This started when I said the public vote based upon their understanding of the facts. If they are mislead as to the actual facts then they can't make a properly informed decision. In that context you said facts are slippery, implying we can't judge if something is bullshit or not.
Oh shit that is bad.
So, you don't understand what I'm saying, and rather than asking questions to clarify, you simply insult me. You, sir, are a bit of an ass.
I can explain it to you but I can't understand it for you. If that's what you take from this, so be it.
So, is the Brexit vote a fact? What other facts can we list pertaining to the Brexit vote?
Of course the Brexit vote is a fact. The question is, did UK voters understand the consequences of their vote?
Thanks. So now we have a point of agreement.
Why wouldn't they? They have brains, newspapers, the net, and can read, study about learn about the issues. Isn't that how democracy works? The people get to vote on important issues that affect their lives. The Brits voted, and now we've got change a-coming.
People have to rely upon experts when an issue is very technical. So experts, like political leaders, have a duty to represent the facts accurately when speaking to the public.
Which means that both/all sides have the same obligation. But it is still the people who decide, based on their limited understanding of the issues. that is how democracy works.
So how do we preserve our treasured right to say whatever bollocks we want while making sure the public have good access to the facts? I think we start by defining what we mean by "facts" and "due diligence" and "expert" and "speaking on the record to the public." Then most people can have their bollocks while public figures trying to educate the public generally are held to a higher standard.
Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said
The sovereign remedy for speech is more speech. "Truth will out", as the Bard says.
Have I mentioned it's a messy process? I think I did. I'm sure I did. Well, it bears repeating, Democracy is messy. Finding truth is even messier.
Each individual has to assess these 'facts' for himself. Each person has to decide how much effort to expend on the issue (rational ignorance is an important concept in voting). Each individual has to decide for herself if the experts know what they are talking about, if they have hidden agendas that warp their judgement, all sorts of things that each person must judge for him or herself. It's a messy process and nonlinear. Here's Neil Tyson on point
It's also helps explain why so many social science studies fail of duplication. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reproducibility_Project
It's not that any of the scientists were cheating, it's that science is hard, and creating a good study is as much an art form as a matter of science. Things go nonlinear, as Tyson says.
Here's an interesting article. You might want to read the whole thing.
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