Best layman's explanation for Scientific Theory I have ever seen.

Comment by gene roush on July 25, 2012 at 2:27pm

Truth is personal and while I am not faithful to a god I am faithful to my journey for Truth. I have encountered too many people on both sides of this issue that fail to see faith as a journey and are of the belief that they have arrived at a destination. So they close their door to the possibility that another's Theory might be a truth.

We have thousands of laws and theories that organize the world around us into predictable patterns. Those patterns supply us with security among the chaos of life.

Paise the mathematician.

The more I study physics the more I realize faith.

Comment by Dienekes on July 25, 2012 at 3:41pm

It seems to me that the worst offenders of being closed minded are those that claim that "truth is personal".  Truth is not personal.  If it were, every inmate in every mental ward would have just as valid of a grasp on reality as anyone else.  You can't claim 2+2=16 and say that is just as valid as 2+2=4 because it is a "personal truth".  There is "personal speculation" and with that I have no issue with.  Is it possible that a "god" or "gods" exist? My *personal speculation* is no. Do I claim that as any sort of "truth"? Of course not. Anyone who is open minded allows that there just *might* be a being out there somewhere, someplace that could be considered a "god" by someone's definition.  But it is *NOT* a "personal truth" that one exists unless and until there is evidence to support (and ESPECIALLY no evidence to disprove) that that god exists.  It is nothing but personal *speculation*. 

When those "personal speculations" are forced only other people is when that belief system opens itself to attack.  If someone insists that I live under their "moral code" which is based on their *personal speculation* (read: delusional superstition) that some "god" has "laid down the law", that is when we have the right to demand evidence and proof of that super sky fairy.

I suspect that there are almost no atheists that are closed minded to religion. Unless you consider "closed minded" to be of that mind that you have to provide extraordinary evidence (or really ANY evidence) to support extraordinary claims.  Making the assertion that supposition and speculation is not "evidence" is also not being closed minded.  Another thing that is not being closed minded is capitulating to a logical fallacy, such as the Great Flood.  There is no evidence to support such nonsense, and especially the nonsense that such an event could have happened within the last few thousand years.  Not accepting someone else's crazy assed delusions is NOT being closed minded.

It amazes me when xians start begging that we all just "let each other believe as we wish", since that is exactly what all atheists want.  But the xian attitude is belied when they try to force "creation science" (again, that may be a "personal speculation" on someone's part, but it certainly is in no way a "truth") into our classrooms or claiming that we have gained ANY knowledge from a 1500 year old that has obviously be re-written multiple times to suit the powers that be at the time.

I have said it multiple times and will say it over and over again: I don't care what crazy nonsensical fairy tales you want to believe.  Just don't try to legislate laws to restrict the civil rights of others based on those delusional superstitions and we'll get along just fine.

Comment by Jerome Kinsworth on July 28, 2012 at 9:09pm

Keith Pinster-

You write "String Theory is an accepted (though extremely hard to understand) theory regarding quantum physics."

The Layman's Explanation we're discussing says this: ""It is a theory, and always will be a theory. The word 'theory' does not mean it is 'disputed.' " However, that does not describe String Theory. String Theory is disputed, especially because there are no proposed experiments that can come close to the energy necessary to achieve the near-Planck length measurements that would be necessary to confirm, deny or even approach.

I perceive a classic Straw Man fallacy approach in this thread, and especially its raison d'etre. Since strict creationist 6000-year earth advocates misuse the term "theory" as it applies to Scientific Theory, then therefore Scientific Theories are bolstered to levels of surety that it does not deserve. In other words, if you can successfully out-argue a Young Earth Creationist, you then think you are on the right track, but the truth is you could very well be on a different but still very wrong track. (Not addressing that to you, personally.)

Comment by Dienekes on July 29, 2012 at 12:23am

Well, if you want to get technical, "String Theory" is a framework, not an individual theory, but I do see your point. :-)

I also agree with your "strawman fallacy" point as well.  Presenting evidence that disproves someone else's assertion does not automatically make your assertion correct, which I think really gets into the meat of the issue.  I think the underlying assertion is that scientific theories *can* be disputed and disproved, and when they are, they are abandoned, whereas religious theories are *always* disputed and easily disproved, yet are only abandoned as slowly and carefully as necessarily so as not to disturb the rest of their delusional superstitions.

I'm not sure I understand your statement "therefore Scientific Theories are bolstered to levels of surety that it does not deserve." though. How does creationists trying to compare their crazy speculations and suppositions to scientific theories "bolster" the surety of those scientific theories? As far as I know, scientific theories are accepted or rejected based on the evidence that supports or disputes them, their acceptance has nothing to do with disproving anything else.  Just as any religious assertion assertion being disputable based on the fact that there is no evidence to support any of them.

Comment by Heather Spoonheim on July 29, 2012 at 4:09am

@Keith Pinster - I wouldn't worry abut it too much, this guy is just another one of those theists who feels he's rationalized his delusion through use of rhetoric.  It's like trying to have a conversation with a contrarian - it's just wordplay and he'll never actually define his position.

Comment by Dienekes on July 29, 2012 at 1:10pm

@Heather - Ya, I kind of assumed that when he misused the term "raison d'etre". He obviously doesn't understand exactly what is required for a Scientific Hypothesis to be promoted to a Scientific Theory. He also doesn't understand the basics of science, which is that EVERY theory is constantly challenged, which is one of the biggest strengths of science.  it's amazing that xians actually claim that allowing Theories to change is actually a weakness of science.  After all, very recently in the news there was an observation that could have easily disproved Einstein's Theory of General Relativity if the result not come out exactly as expected.

He could also research String Theory and easily find the predictions that it makes that have been confirmed, yet he apparently refuses to do so, requiring others to do the research for him. He is completely oblivious to the fact that, even though some predictions have not yet been confirmed, neither have those predictions been invalidated. Just because a prediction has not been confirmed, doesn't mean it is invalid.  As long as it is logically sound, it is still considered conceivably valid.  This is in direct opposition to religious assertions, especially from xians, where the absolute underlying claim is that the bible being a valid source of information, which has been proved beyond all reasonable doubt (from hundreds of different directions) to be completely unreliable and fallacious.

On the positive side, I think I may have him stumped, since he hasn't responded to my comment about his assertion, so maybe he can't come up with a rebuttal that even he thinks is in any way plausible.  LOL

Comment by Heather Spoonheim on July 29, 2012 at 7:38pm

@Pinster - they are never stumped; if all else fails they'll just say you don't know the ultimate truth that awaits in the love of Jesus, LOL!

Comment by John Abramson on January 2, 2014 at 4:28pm

Germ theory? That's a fucking stretch. 

Comment by Michael on January 3, 2014 at 7:29am

@ Keith Pinster 

Just to be clear. In your previous post were you pointing to the moneyed interests that attempt to use pseudoscience to discredit anthropogenic climate change so as to avoid any action that may bite into their profits or were actually stating that you think that anthropogenic climate change is junk science?

Comment by Teri G on January 3, 2014 at 7:48am

I wish I had come across this a year or 2 ago. I have a much better understanding of this now and had the opportunity to discuss it and correct another's "it's just a theory" belief a while ago, and tried to explain my - then skewed - understanding of the scientific theory. 

Though I am glad to have a better understanding full stop! Always happy to learn new things!

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