Re: [humanism-174] In "Garlic Man" We Trust :)

From: Mark R. O.
Sent on: Sunday, January 13, 2013 4:57 AM
Randy: 

I'm afraid the misunderstanding is on your part.  

Theory:
1. Contemplation, speculation.
2. The result of contemplation; hence, an analysis or explanation;
esp., an analysis of a set of facts in their ideal relations to one another;
as, essays in theory.
3. The general or abstract principles of any body of facts real or assumed;
pure as, distinguished from applied, science or art; as the theory of music
or of medicine.
4. A general principle, formula, or ideal construction, offered to explain phenomena
and rendered more or less plausible by evidence in the facts or by the exactness
and relevancy of the reasoning; as, Lavoisier's theory of combustion; Adam Smith's
theory of moral sentiments.  In its most proper acceptation, theory means the completed
result of philosophical induction from experience.  - J.S. Mill.
5. A plan or scheme theoretically constructed.
6. A hypothesis offered as a basis of thought on a given subject; loosely, any idea ,
guess, etc., put forward to be accepted or rejected in seeking the explanation of some
condition, occurrence, or the like.
7. Math.  A body of theorems presenting a clear, rounded, and systematic view of a
subject; as, the theory of probability.

   -  Webster's Second.

I used it as I intended and I used it correctly.
You are using it the context of definition four. 
I used in the context of definitions two and three. 

I will also say that the scientific community does
not seem to be settled on any one particular definition. 


M. Orel

On[masked]:13, Randy Pelton wrote:
Mark,

First of all your use of the phrase "only a theory" appears to reveal a misunderstanding on your part. If it is a theory then what is meant by saying it is "only a theory?" You seem to be implying that there is some level within a hierarchy of scientific knowledge or knowledge in general to which the idea has yet to rise. In science, theory is the pinnacle. Theories in science are the BIG IDEAS. They are the explanations that are supported by a broad and deep body of evidence, facts, and laws. A theory explains, among other things, the relationship between a body of observations, laws, facts and both experimental and theoretical evidence. There is no category of scientific knowledge higher than a theory. Yet the phrase you use seems to imply there is.

Furthermore, be careful with the use of this phrase. This phrase is most often used by those whose intent is to dismiss a theory as no better than a guess or an unfounded opinion someone might have. And this most certainly is not what a theory is. 

Finally, all this said, it is unfortunate, IMO, that scientists call it String Theory. At best it is a hypothesis. As Tim pointed out earlier, String Theory is as of yet untested. None of its predictions have yet been experimentally tested and therefore this so-called theory has no actual verification. It is a very intriguing idea. And if it turns out to be correct it will explain a number of observations that remain unexplained. But this so-called theory still awaits some experimental verification.

If you need further clarification and information on why it is misleading to refer to a scientific theory in this way, I recommend reading Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul written by biologist Kenneth Miller. While the book is primarily about evolution, Miller tackles the intentionally misleading use of the phrase "it's only a theory" offered up by those who deny evolution. They often describe it as "just a theory" as means of dismissing it as being no better than a hunch. You might also read the short discussion of what is meant by scientists when they use the term theory on the website http://www.notjustatheory.com/

 Randy



From: Mark R. Orel <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Thursday, January 10,[masked]:54 AM
Subject: Re: [humanism-174] In "Garlic Man" We Trust :)

As I said this was a quick and simple description.  I did leave
a great deal out.  Is there something more you would like to
know? 

As far as string theory goes, I did write, "If you like string theory". 
I hoped that implied it to be only a theory.  But I thank you
for the clarification. 


M. Orel



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