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** STICKY ** Science, layman and language

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** STICKY ** Science, layman and language
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TheFlyingBastardUser avatarPosts: 787Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 3:17 am Gender: Male

Post Re: ** STICKY ** Science, layman and language

RichardMNixon wrote:Purdy culurs


Thanks, that's a bit more understandable. :-P

So what you're trying to say is that to make the water fully coloured, you need to spread around the Cs which, from far away, will make the water look uniform, but up close will show that the Cs are actually all over the place?
Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:38 pm
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LightUser avatarPosts: 34Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:14 pm

Post Re: Sticky please: Science, layman and language

AndromedasWake wrote:This might seem mundane, but its fundamentally important to the Universe that this process has a definite direction, because this is the direction of the arrow of time.


...I got chills.
...and it's 1973. Almost dinner time. I'm 'avin 'oops.
Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:29 am
RichardMNixonUser avatarPosts: 1047Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:45 pmLocation: USA Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: ** STICKY ** Science, layman and language

Anachronous Rex wrote:I would point to the misconception that evolution denotes improvement by standards we judge to be good.

Definitely a good point, I would also add that no modern species is "more evolved" than any other modern species. Humans aren't "further up" the "evolutionary ladder" than trout, we just evolved in a different direction.


Thanks, that's a bit more understandable.

So what you're trying to say is that to make the water fully coloured, you need to spread around the Cs which, from far away, will make the water look uniform, but up close will show that the Cs are actually all over the place?


Hurrah! I think that's about right. Make sure you get the causality right though. The Cs don't spread around in order to color the water; rather the water is fully colored because the Cs spread around. They spread around because it's entropically favorable to have more possible combinations.

The fact that colored water might look more "ordered" than wisps going everywhere isn't especially relevant except as an example that "looking ordered" doesn't mean it isn't entropically favorable. There are plenty of things that both look entropically favorable and still are entropically favorable, like explosions :D .
"When I come to my own beliefs, I find myself quite unable to discern any purpose in the universe, and still more unable to wish to discern one." ~ Bertrand Russell
"If we do not succeed, we run the risk of failure." ~ Dan Quayle
Fri Aug 13, 2010 4:55 am
hackenslashLime TordUser avatarPosts: 2253Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:43 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: ** STICKY ** Science, layman and language

Oh, and I thought I'd add this, originally posted at Ratskep, as a corrollary to AW's post about entropy, because it deals with Shannon entropy, a concept from information theory, and is also often falsely conflated with thermodynamic entropy:

hackenslash wrote:
Psalm23 wrote:I'm not lecturing you on entropy, please calm down and put your knife away. :what:

PubMed: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8196422

That article should speak for itself. I'm willing to bet there are others like it.


Oops! You appear to have missed the operative words in that abstract. Perhaps it would be informative if the key words were presented here. I will bold them, just so you don't miss them.

Aging, from the perspective of the second law of thermodynamics, can be viewed as associated with the inevitable and natural increase in informational entropy of the genome.


So, what this actually amounts to is a quote mine. This is not talking about thermodynamic entropy, but information entropy. The two concepts are related, but not equivalent. Allow me to explain, for your edification and the reduction of your abject ignorance in this regard:

In information theory, there is a parameter known as Shannon entropy, which is defined as the degree of uncertainty associated with a random variable. What this means, in real terms, is that the detail of a message can only be quantitatively ascertained when entropy is low. In other words, the entropy of a message is highest when the highest number of random variables are inherent in the transmission or reception of a message.

In thermodynamics, entropy is defined as the amount of energy in a system that is not available to perform work.

The association between the two is very simple, because it amounts to an equation. Shannon actually chose the word 'entropy' because his formula for determining the degree of uncertainty in an informational system is very similar to the Gibbs equation, formulated by Gibbs and Bolztmann in the late 19th century. The equations are as follows:

Shannon:
Image

Gibbs:
Image

It is only the similarity between to two equations that led Shannon to choose the term entropy, and if he were a member of this forum, he would fuck your argument up the arse with a cheese-covered stick, possibly adorned with several pinecones, just for your cretinous misrepresentation of what he was actually talking about.
Last edited by hackenslash on Sun Dec 19, 2010 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Fri Aug 13, 2010 9:03 am
OrkaneyUser avatarPosts: 15Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 8:26 amLocation: Oslo, Norway

Post Re: ** STICKY ** Science, layman and language

I thought this was going to be a list of misunderstood definithions and so on, I think most of us are capable of looking things we don't understand up. Anyway, my contribution would be:

Battery

of cells
of drums

and so on.
Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:51 pm
ICQ
AndromedasWakeAdministratorUser avatarPosts: 598Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 11:38 pmLocation: Captain's Chair, League HQ Gender: Cake

Post Re: ** STICKY ** Science, layman and language

RichardMNixon wrote:
AndromedasWake wrote:A snow flake is highly entropic, but is it disorderly? Statistically yes

Be careful with this, by my understanding a snow flake does have less entropy than the liquid water that formed it. Freezing is exothermic, so it's the entropy term of the Gibbs energy that stops it from being spontaneous at higher temperatures. The formation of a snow flake in a closed system of air and water is of course entropically favorable but I think this is because the air gains more entropy than the water loses. But in an open system considering only the water, which is all that I imagine a layman would consider, I believe the entropy does go down by 22 J/mol-K - the entropy of fusion.

The water that formed it has its entropy minimised by the Sun. The Sun heats the oceans, which liberates vapour, increasing entropy. The vapour rises to meet with cold surroundings in the atmosphere, and warms it surroundings, increasing the entropy of the vapour/air system. The snowflake isn't any colder than its surroundings when it forms, it's just made of water, so at the equilibrium temperature it has lost enough heat to state change to a solid, whereas the air does not. The snowflake will not spontaneously give up any more heat in this state, it's at thermodynamic equilibrium with its surroundings. The water vapour that makes up the snowflake is warmer than its surroundings, and will perform work on them.

Therefore the snowflake has more entropy (less available work energy) than the water vapour from which it formed. The low entropy of the vapour is set by the Sun. Heat flow from the Sun to the ocean transfers work energy (order) decreasing the entropy of the ocean, which performs work on the atmosphere increasing its entropy. The atmosphere also performs work on space.

EDIT: I can see just how unclear this is reading it back after a coffee. What I am trying and failing to say clearly is that the water vapour leaving the ocean surface has more work energy in its surroundings than a snowflake does in its surroundings. So even though as you rightly pointed out, the formation of the snowflake results in a decrease in entropy (which is less than the increase of the system) the snowflake is more entropic (less able to do thermodynamic work) than the vapour just above the ocean's surface, which is able to give up heat to its surroundings.
ImageImage
(( "We are 'star-stuff'. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself." - Carl Sagan | Music! | Twitter - [ AndromedasWake | SiriusStargazer ] ))
Sat Aug 14, 2010 1:10 pm
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EpiphyteUser avatarPosts: 10Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:04 pmLocation: VA Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: ** STICKY ** Science, layman and language

hackenslash wrote:In information theory, there is a parameter known as Shannon entropy, which is defined as the degree of uncertainty associated with a random variable. What this means, in real terms, is that the detail of a message can only be quantitatively ascertained when entropy is low. In other words, the entropy of a message is highest when the highest number of random variables are inherent in the transmission or reception of a message.

In thermodynamics, entropy is defined as the amount of energy in a system that is not available to perform work.

The association between the two is very simple, because it amounts to an equation. Shannon actually chose the word 'entropy' because his formula for determining the degree of uncertainty in an informational system is very similar to the Gibbs equation, formulated by Gibbs and Bolztmann in the late 19th century. The equations are as follows:

Shannon:
Image

Gibbs:
Image

It is only the similarity between to two equations that led Shannon to choose the term entropy, and if he were a member of this forum, he would fuck your argument up the arse with a cheese-covered stick, possibly adorned with several pinecones, just for your cretinous misrepresentation of what he was actually talking about.


Thanks for the info. I didn't know this. :)

In Ecology we use the Shannon index to find species diversity.
Image
Sat Aug 14, 2010 3:47 pm
ProteusUser avatarPosts: 84Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2009 8:55 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: ** STICKY ** Science, layman and language

Historical ("origins") Science


Creationist/laymen definition


Since creationism is by definition unscientific, believers often try to segregate experimental and historical science into two separate categories. They argue that while experimental science is compatible with both their world view and with real scientists, but that historical or "origins" science being constantly subject to change is, they claim, unobservable and has to be taken on faith. Most people in the general public seem to be unaware of this, largely unnecessary division and are prone to be confused when they are presented a creationist argument like these.


"Creationists, differentiate between operational science and origins science. Operational science is defined as science which deals with observable, repeatable, and testable phenomenon such as the laws of gravity, the structure of the cell, or chemical reactions. Origins science, on the other hand, deals with questions of an unobservable nature: hypotheses about events which only occurred once by their very nature, and which therefore cannot be repeated, tested, or observed."
-creationwiki.org

"To help us understand that science has practical limits, it is useful to divide science into two different areas: operational science and historical (origins) science. Operational science deals with testing and verifying ideas in the present and leads to the production of useful products like computers, cars, and satellites. Historical (origins) science involves interpreting evidence from the past and includes the models of evolution and special creation. Recognizing that everyone has presuppositions that shape the way they interpret the evidence is an important step in realizing that historical science is not equal to operational science."
-answersingenesis.org

Proper definition


"Experimental scientists focus on a single (sometimes complex) hypothesis, and the main research activity consists in repeatedly bringing about the test conditions specified by the hypothesis, and controlling for extraneous factors that might produce false positives and false negatives. Historical scientists, in contrast, usually concentrate on formulating multiple competing hypotheses about particular past events. Their main research efforts are directed at searching for a smoking gun, a trace that sets apart one hypothesis as providing a better causal explanation (for the observed traces) than do the others. These differences in methodology do not, however, support the claim that historical science is methodologically inferior, because they reflect an objective difference in the evidential relations at the disposal of historical and experimental researchers for evaluating their hypotheses."
-Dr. Carol E. Cleland

Historical science focuses on creating hypotheses about past events. This research, like experimental science, must rely on testable laws and theories and is based on empirical observations.


Evolution


This is easily the most poorly understood scientific term in western culture. People often characterize evolution as "Something coming from nothing." "It's like a tree falling on a rock and creating a pencil." "Random chance accident." "Molecules getting together to make a man or a fish." "Things getting better because of mutations."


Creationist/laymen definition

"Evolution breaks down into at least three logically separable components: First, that life arose by chemical accident; second, that it then evolved into the life we see today; and third, that the mechanism was the accretion of chance mutations. Evolutionists, not particularly logical, refuse to see this separability."
-Fred Reed

"See evolution says we started of tiny and we're getting bigger, and better, and stronger, and smarter..."
-Kent Hovind

Proper definition

"The word, "evolution" simply means "change over time." But in the context of science, that word refers to an aspect of biology. Specifically, it is a process of varying genetic frequencies among reproductive populations; leading to (usually subtle) changes in their morphological or physiological composition, which,when compiled over successive generations- can increase biodiversity when continuing variation between genetically-isolated groups eventually lead to one or more descendant branches increasingly distinct from their ancestors or cousins. Or more simply, it is how life forms diversify via "descent with modification"."
-L. Aron Nelson

Evolution describes the diversity of life. Evolution is the change in allelic frequencies in reproductive populations across generations being influenced through the mechanisms of natural selection and genetic drift. This process leads to increased biological complexity and diversity over many generations.


Microevolution


Creationist/laymen definition


"Animals adapting to changes." "Animals getting a little bit bigger or smaller, or changing in color." "Variation in a kind of animal."


"People usually mean that we see changes within a kind but not between kinds; however, the important distinction is that we observe changes that do not increase the genetic information in an organism."
-answersingenesis.org

"...describes the variations that develop within a population, and includes speciation."
-creationwiki.org

"Variation within a kind..."
-trueauthority.com

"Microevolution refers to varieties within a given type. Change happens within a group, but the descendant is clearly of the same type as the ancestor. This might better be called variation, or adaptation, but the changes are "horizontal" in effect, not "vertical.""
-Institute for Creation Research

Proper definition


"Evolution involving small-scale changes, i.e. within the species level, occurring over a short period of time that results in the formation of new subspecies."
-biology-online.org

Microevolution is evolutionary change limited to adaptation within a species.


Macroevolution


Creationist/laymen definition


As stated in the 11th FFOC creationists and lay people often say macroevolution involves "one thing turning into another different kind of thing".


"Major changes occurred between these diverse life forms (i.e., fish changed to amphibians, amphibians changed to reptiles, and reptiles changed to birds or mammals)."
-Kent Hovind

"Kinds of life diverging and occasionally increasing in complexity through random processes down through time. The theory is that single-celled creatures gave rise to (possibly) multi-cellular marine organisms. Later fish evolved into amphibians, and then into reptiles which (possibly diverged and) evolved into the birds and mammals. Over the theorized millions of years the divergent complexity of life in nature has (apparently) increased in order, numbers and magnitude."
-creationism.org

Proper definition


"In evolutionary biology today, macroevolution is used to refer to any evolutionary change at or above the level of species. It means at least the splitting of a species into two (speciation, or cladogenesis, from the Greek meaning "the origin of a branch")...or the change of a species over time into another (anagenetic speciation, not nowadays generally accepted)...[a]ny changes that occur at higher levels, such as the evolution of new families, phyla or genera, are also therefore macroevolution, but the term is not restricted to those higher levels. It often also means long-term trends or biases in evolution of higher taxonomic levels."
-talkorigins.org

Macroevolution is minimally evolutionary change resulting in new species and ultimately all other higher taxonomic groups and levels of biological complexity.


Mutations


Creationist/laymen definition


Most people think that mutations are uncommon and either horrifically detrimental or lead to some type of dramatic change resulting in fully derived feathers or something equally unlikely. Many laymen also think that mutations are evolution, without any selective pressure.


"Being random, mutations represent a loss of genetic information and they often result in a loss of specialization. Such mutations actually produce an organism that is generally weaker than the non-mutant, but in some cases a mutation happens to allow the mutant to survive an unusual situation because the mutants have lost something the situation targets for destruction."
-creationwiki.org

Proper definition


"A permanent change, a structural alteration, in the DNA or RNA. In humans and many other organisms, mutations occur in DNA. However, in retroviruses like HIV, mutations occur in RNA which is the genetic material of retroviruses. In most cases, such changes are neutral and have no effect or they are deleterious and cause harm, but occasionally a mutation can improve an organism's chance of surviving and of passing the beneficial change on to its descendants. Mutations are the necessary raw material of evolution. Mutations can be caused by many factors including environmental insults such as radiation and mutagenic chemicals. Mutations are sometimes attributed to random chance events."
-medterms.com

Mutations are variation being brought about by changes in a genomic sequence. Mutations are occasionally caused factors including radiation, viruses, transposons and mutagenic chemicals, and more commonly caused by errors that occur during meiosis or DNA replication.
Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:46 am
Aught3ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 4290Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:36 amLocation: New Zealand Gender: Male

Post Re: ** STICKY ** Science, layman and language

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :evil:
Wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking.
Sat Sep 04, 2010 7:05 am
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ProteusUser avatarPosts: 84Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2009 8:55 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: ** STICKY ** Science, layman and language

Aught3 wrote:AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :evil:

Does my extreme use of color bother you? ;)
Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:18 am
MokyUser avatarPosts: 175Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:41 am Gender: Female

Post Re: ** STICKY ** Science, layman and language

@Proteus I love you. Except for the bright colors.
Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:54 am
TheFlyingBastardUser avatarPosts: 787Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 3:17 am Gender: Male

Post Re: ** STICKY ** Science, layman and language

Moky wrote:@Proteus I love you. Except for the bright colors.

Why? I think they're FABTATHTIC!
Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:08 am
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WombleUser avatarPosts: 216Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:04 pmLocation: UK Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: ** STICKY ** Science, layman and language

If you are going to get creationists on their misconceptions you might have to go lower than the levels your talking about in this thread. Why? Because if they misunderstand even one of the fundamentals that the more scientifically literate take for granted then their understanding is just a giant house of cards. I'd put money on the fact that few creationists (this is out of the majority) rally get what science is about, and thats before i even tackle those that allege to be trained scientists that are proponents of it. So i've hit google and i've found this link for you on kids misunderstandings in science: http://homepage.mac.com/vtalsma/misconcept.html It seems to be a summary of other works on kids misunderstandings, and it's a nice accessible free format. If theres anyone that is intriuged by this topic and would like to read more i recommend this book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Making-Sense-Se ... 168&sr=8-2 if you are ordering it from elsewhere make sure it's the book you get and not the teachers resoure pack.
Periods of the Palaeozoic & Mesozoic:
Cambridge Ordinand Silently Develops Carbuncles at Permanent Trial by Jury for Creationists.

Made of naturally refined fissile Womblonium 232
Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:56 am
FaithlessThinkerUser avatarPosts: 618Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:41 am Gender: Cake

Post Re: ** STICKY ** Science, layman and language

Womble wrote:http://homepage.mac.com/vtalsma/misconcept.html

Wow! A collector's item! :) Some of the childish misconceptions listed are also found in religions. Some are found in other fields like supernatural (ghosts and such), astrology, etc.
It was my honest attempt to find a more pure form of God that made me realise that there was none.”
— Master_Ghost_Knight
Previously known as anon1986sing. You can call me FT. :)
Thu Sep 30, 2010 4:49 am
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WombleUser avatarPosts: 216Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:04 pmLocation: UK Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: ** STICKY ** Science, layman and language

anon1986sing wrote:
Womble wrote:http://homepage.mac.com/vtalsma/misconcept.html

Wow! A collector's item! :) Some of the childish misconceptions listed are also found in religions. Some are found in other fields like supernatural (ghosts and such), astrology, etc.


It's not surprising that those misconceptions are childish......as they're the misconceptios of children. ;)
Periods of the Palaeozoic & Mesozoic:
Cambridge Ordinand Silently Develops Carbuncles at Permanent Trial by Jury for Creationists.

Made of naturally refined fissile Womblonium 232
Thu Sep 30, 2010 4:49 pm
amanda morePosts: 2Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2011 7:03 am Gender: Female

Post Re: ** STICKY ** Science, layman and language

"How it is misunderstood by laymen.
What it actually means in science.
An easy definition for a regular person to correctly understand it.
And if possible, some examples and media."

I do kind of tire about discussions of terms in this fashion. There are technical terms and lay terms. Using the term in a lay fashion is not exactly incorrect. It is just English.

The language of science is - math. Is that bridge safe? (<only english) It will safely hold 20 tons. < primarily math

Why must we slave when talking to nonscience types to talk in their way- words? When they won't try to speak ours.

So this isn't exactly terms just very basic fourth grade or maybe eight grade math. I ask "Oh, you play the lottery- so if there is 100 million taken in the state takes in 50 million." "Yes, I knew the state kept money." "So, when you spend $1 on a lottery ticket the state keeps 50 cents, right?" It goes right over their heads. Why? Why can't they work to understand just a little of our method of communication. No, it isn't education. Even if they aren't science majors, they had math in eight grade. Is there a FMRI on why? I wanted to write a book on this phenomena but I can so far only describe. I can't find studies on the why. So, I suppose the word here is odds. There would be no Las Vegas if there wasn't a sucker born every minute.
Sat Jul 09, 2011 7:28 am
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