Science of the Discworld ~ where Magic ends? (SPOILERS)

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Postby Ponder Stibbons » Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:11 pm

Good point. Well, taht debunks my theory of time paradoxes :x :lol:

Well, like pooh said, objects arent evil or good, use and circumstances make them so, and right or wrong.
Again, with art, jan, it might not actually be liked any more, but its an antique, which might make it valuable, not for its actually artistic quality(not making fun of the smile, here*glares aroubnd* :lol: ) and then different people have different artistic values; just ask the people next to you on the train tommorow :wink:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:30 pm

That'[s more or less what I meant - science is factual and objective, art (of any kind) is subjective and aesthetic so taste and viewpoint come into it, as does the skill of the artist - for instance Da Vinci was far more than an artist and in some disciplines could be called an artistic scientist because he worked in concepts rather than absolutely solid cold maths :lol:

I think possibly you could describe some scientists, like Einstein or Stephen Hawkinge as artistic scientists because they also draw on interpretation of the math and had/have an ability to conceptualise hypotheses. I think we need Dotsie in here! :lol:
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Postby raisindot » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:04 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:I think possibly you could describe some scientists, like Einstein or Stephen Hawkinge as artistic scientists because they also draw on interpretation of the math and had/have an ability to conceptualise hypotheses. I think we need Dotsie in here! :lol:


The difference between scientists and artists that while scientists can be proven wrong and be bad scientists, artists can never be wrong--they can only be bad!

:lol:
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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:13 pm

Raisindot wrote:The difference between scientists and artists that while scientists can be proven wrong and be bad scientists, artists can never be wrong--they can only be bad!


Being proved wrong doesn't make you a bad scientist, it just means there's now more evidence that disproves your theory
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:36 pm

Doughnut Jimmy wrote:]Being proved wrong doesn't make you a bad scientist, it just means there's now more evidence that disproves your theory

Which is what's happened to Einstein and to Darwin in some respects although their basic theories are still sound enough.

Before the Darwinists start to scream his conclusions on the geological front, were complete pants. Again, that's because studies were not that advanced so Darwin had insufficient data except from the rather obvious and visual evidence that the eastern South America and western Africa coastlines were an almost perfect match and so he effectively took a not so well-concieved educated guess that there were 'land bridges' between S. America/Africa/Antarctica and Australsia to account for the development of similar fauna and botany on those continental land masses in lieu of super-continental separations and consequent 'drifting' that wasn't satisfactorily proved until much later. Even there Darwin wasn't absolutely wrong about the bridges as we're still looking at human migrations from Far Eastern Asia to North America via a Bering Strait arctic icecap route (in places perhaps) which effectively account for the presence of Native Americans long, long before Scandinavians began to migrate (a bit) into the western side of the continent via Iceland and Greenland (which was green with mostly no ice at all in those times).

Magic therefore almost always precedes science (and certainly divine intervention but perhaps we're a little premature to introduce god(s) into the equation?) :twisted: PMSL
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Postby Ponder Stibbons » Sat May 01, 2010 9:38 am

As raisidot said, it doesnt mean your a bad scientisst if your wrong. Look at einstein for example; some of what he said is wrong, but it doesnt make it any less great. He understood most of how the universe worked without any equipment save his brain ages before any of it could be tested.
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Postby Quark » Wed May 05, 2010 12:38 pm

I can't remember exactly where I read it, but Hex is 'magic advanced to the point that it is indistinguishable from technology', whereas most computational devices are 'technology advanced to the point that it is indistinguishable from magic'. As always, Terry is holding up a mirror to Roundworld. Perhaps the advancement of technology on the Disc is merely reflecting our own past, except that, of course, it keeps magic because otherwise it isn't a fantasy any more :?

Just a passing thought.
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Postby poohcarrot » Wed May 05, 2010 12:43 pm

I hope Dotsie doesn't see your new "avvie" Quark. She won't be a happy bunny, I can tell you! :lol:
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Postby Penfold » Wed May 05, 2010 1:24 pm

You can always refer her to #Pinflodsfault :lol:

(I saw you had swapped from Nick Clegg the other day Pooh, PMSL! :lol: )
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Postby poohcarrot » Wed May 05, 2010 1:25 pm

Well, it was your creation. :D
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Postby Dotsie » Wed May 05, 2010 2:50 pm

I did see it, and was thinking "who the heck is that? A newbie? No! It's cheeky avvie swapper Quark! :evil: "

Anyway, I've not been in yet because this subject needs brain power, so I've been mustering.

Well, on the subject that scientific discoveries would be made eventually anyway - we don't know that, do we? I mean, things seem obvious after someone else points them out, but for thousands of years no-one else copped on, so this might not be the case every time. It also makes a huge difference who actually makes the discovery, as some well-respected scientists could get practically anything in print, whereas unliked/unknown scientists, without the backing of higher-ups, struggle for decades (this is more the case last century and further back - Darwin for example had a lot of friends in high places which is why his work was not as controversial as many people seem to think).

Also, it has been said before that the mark of how important a scientist is how long he manages to hold up progress in his field. New discoveries have been shelved because the top guy won't have his work undone. So is science really objective then? And physics sounds mostly made up to me, since it seems to be about sitting around playing guessing games. I like science I can test!

Bad scientists - ones that don't put their theories to the test (where it's possible) but will keep insisting they're right, or do but then lie about it. Darwin was overly brilliant in this respect, as he did decades of research beofre finally publishing Origin. Possibly a bit too much, I think he was a bit of a chicken. But then he didn't start out as a scientist as such, he just happened to have a brilliant idea following a boat trip which then took a lot of thinking about and experiments with pidgeons and barnacles.

Where was I? Oh yes, bad scientists vs good scientists. Well, I'm often wrong, but luckily not in anything I've had published (well no-one's disproved me anyway). Now I've forgotten what I was talking about when I started this ramble, so I'll call it a day until someone complains and then I can defend it (defending your work is a huge part of being a scientist, you have to do it all the time).
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Postby Quark » Thu May 06, 2010 12:08 pm

I did see it, and was thinking "who the heck is that? A newbie? No! It's cheeky avvie swapper Quark!"

The old one was all grainy! :evil: Besides, I'm secretly never happy with anything the same for more than a few months. Sometimes I rearrange all my furniture... although since getting the very large, very heavy new bookshelf, none of that really happens anymore.
The thing about proper science is that you aren't allowed to withhold results because they're the ones you don't like, and you aren't allowed to publish false results. Code of the Ig... scientists. 8)
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Postby Dotsie » Thu May 06, 2010 1:34 pm

Quark wrote:The thing about proper science is that you aren't allowed to withhold results because they're the ones you don't like
I don't know about "allowed", if you've done the work and you don't like the results you don't have to publish. But if the data is good quality then in most cases it's still a good idea to publish. Unless of course you're work is paid for by someone with their own agenda, in which case you might have a fight on your hands.

As an example, next time you read an original piece of work telling you that a certain food or type of alcohol is good for you, check where the funding came from.... :wink:
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Postby raisindot » Thu May 06, 2010 6:00 pm

Dotsie wrote:Well, on the subject that scientific discoveries would be made eventually anyway - we don't know that, do we? I mean, things seem obvious after someone else points them out, but for thousands of years no-one else copped on, so this might not be the case every time. It also makes a huge difference who actually makes the discovery, as some well-respected scientists could get practically anything in print, whereas unliked/unknown scientists, without the backing of higher-ups, struggle for decades (this is more the case last century and further back)


Not necessarily true. If the idea is revolutionary enough, and stands the scrutiny of peer review, it doesn't matter who publishes it, although good timing always helps. Look at Einstein--a completely unknown patent clerk who couldn't get a job in physics published a bunch of papers in 1905 that changed the world. And he changed the world because of the brilliance and game-changing nature of his discoveries. But it was inevitable that someone would made his discoveries. Think of all the amazing physicists who were born shortly before or after he was--Teller, Oppenheimer, Bohr, etc., any one of whom would likely have come up with some of his theories, particularly as the technology advanced to a point where the testing of these theories became practical. If the obscure scientists don't get their brilliant theories heard, it's more often because of politics. Many great Russian physicists were killed off by Stalin and their papers, published in very obscure journals, didn't see the light of day until many years later.


Dotsie wrote:Also, it has been said before that the mark of how important a scientist is how long he manages to hold up progress in his field. New discoveries have been shelved because the top guy won't have his work undone. So is science really objective then?


No scientist "holds up" progress in his field. For every discovery, there's always someone who wants to disprove it. The competititive nature of the field invites challenges to accepted notions. What may look like a lack of progress is in reality a testament to the dependability of the theory that makes it difficult to disprove or supplant with a different theory. Einstein's theories have held up amazingly well in the "real world" even if they tend to break down at the quantum level. And while he defended his theories at every opportunity, he invited others to challenge him (he and Bohr, who had opposite opinions of existence of quantum physics, debated endlessly over the subject. Bohr ultimately proved to be right, and even Einstein had to admit it, although he hated the whole idea). Science is totally objective; it's the scientists who may not be objective or may be hampered by their own beliefs (i.e., Einstein's refusal to believe in an expanding universe, or the Krazy Kreationists). The "importance" (as opposed to celebrity) of a scientist is measured by the number of fellow scientists who continue to do research to either support--or supplant--the discoveries he or she has made.

In fact, you're far more likely to see these kind of "important people' holding up progress in the liberal arts, where pompous humanities professors and philosophers refuse to consider other points of view that don't jibe with their own on matters of literature, history, music and art.


Dotsie wrote:Bad scientists - ones that don't put their theories to the test (where it's possible) but will keep insisting they're right, or do but then lie about it.


There aren't that many of these kinds of scientists out there other than the aforementioned Kreationists and kooks like Fred Hoyle. It's far more often that scientists have theories where technology doesn't exist to prove it. Einstein had to wait until 1919 to get proof of his general theory of relatively. Today, the whole string theory industry is built on a gigantic theoretical house of cards, with no technology available to prove or disprove it or likely to be developed for another 100 years or so.

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Postby Dotsie » Thu May 06, 2010 7:46 pm

raisindot wrote: Look at Einstein--a completely unknown patent clerk who couldn't get a job in physics published a bunch of papers in 1905 that changed the world.
He wasn't completely unknown, he was doing a PhD. Which means he had the backing of his supervisor (who presumably knew him).

raisindot wrote: If the obscure scientists don't get their brilliant theories heard, it's more often because of politics. Many great Russian physicists were killed off by Stalin and their papers, published in very obscure journals, didn't see the light of day until many years later.
It's more often because of politics, and you're giving me one example?? Bad science! It's more often because of poilitics if you're in Russia. You might as well say that it's because they're eccentric and don't want to publish (there are more examples of this).

raisindot wrote: No scientist "holds up" progress in his field.
Oh my word you are soooo wrong. You're going to have to give me more time for this one, but it'll be a stunner.

raisindot wrote: Science is totally objective; it's the scientists who may not be objective or may be hampered by their own beliefs
But science is the gathering of knowledge, which is obviously done by man, who will always be biased. So science (which is not the same as fact) can never be totally objective.

Dotsie wrote:Bad scientists - ones that don't put their theories to the test (where it's possible) but will keep insisting they're right, or do but then lie about it.
raisindot wrote: There aren't that many of these kinds of scientists out there other than the aforementioned Kreationists and kooks like Fred Hoyle.
Actually, Mike Rossner, editor of the Journal of Cell Biology, estimates that roughly 20% of accepted manuscripts to his journal contain at least one figure that has to be remade because of inappropriate image manipulation. This phenomenon is well known in scientific circles, and whilst frowned upon it isn't illegal. It's definitely bad science though.

raisindot wrote: It's far more often that scientists have theories where technology doesn't exist to prove it. Einstein had to wait until 1919 to get proof of his general theory of relatively. Today, the whole string theory industry is built on a gigantic theoretical house of cards, with no technology available to prove or disprove it or likely to be developed for another 100 years or so.

J-I-B
Well now you're talking about physics again, which I already said I dont like because there's not enough testing of theories possible. So thank you for finally agreeing with me, dear.
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