We finally took a photo of a black hole

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Re: We finally took a photo of a black hole

Post by BBP » Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:26 pm

Of course there's a big difference in taking a class and learning something from it...
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Re: We finally took a photo of a black hole

Post by MusicallyInspired » Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:18 pm

Tawmis wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:11 am
MusicallyInspired wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:06 am
That's a little unfair. Most kids who say that still have to take the classes whether they like it or not.
It's a bird! It's a plane! No... it's just the joke going over your head. :lol:
Sometimes it's hard to tell in some places...
BBP wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:26 pm
Of course there's a big difference in taking a class and learning something from it...
More evidence of the current educational system failing students.
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Re: We finally took a photo of a black hole

Post by DeadPoolX » Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:44 pm

Like Rath said, I think some of the language here is a problem, specifically when it comes to terms that are different in science, but outwardly appear the same due to everyday usage.

Theory is a big one.

For example... the people out there who love to claim that "evolution is just a theory" really don't understand the scientific use of the word and often have a very false impression of what evolution is from the start.
MusicallyInspired wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:18 am
I'm talking about all us laymen that don't (yet) understand all facets of science and how we currently understand what the universe is and how it works. We have to take their word for it because we haven't devoted our lives to it. We the laymen have to believe on faith that these scientists are right because we haven't done any of the experiments ourselves for the most part.
Everyone does this every single day. It's why there are so many jobs out there. We can't be everything and know everything, so we have to trust that people who have knowledge, skill, and experience in their field are, at minimum, considered competent.

Unfortunately, we live in a time where anyone can be an "expert" in something because they can Google some topics or use Wikipedia. Add in confirmation bias and a distinct inability to tell correlation from causation, and you have a lot of false information spreading faster than ever before thanks to the Internet.

It's a shame, but I really think the Internet, especially social media, has made the world a dumber place. Sure, morons have always been around, but they didn't have a soapbox from which to preach their stupidity nor could they easily find so many like-minded individuals to bolster their dumbassery.
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Re: We finally took a photo of a black hole

Post by Collector » Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:46 pm

^This!
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Re: We finally took a photo of a black hole

Post by notbobsmith » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:20 pm

MusicallyInspired wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:28 am
notbobsmith wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:52 pm
The problem lies when policy decisions are made. If the science supports a conclusion, but it is rejected by someone who just doesn't "believe" it without offering a rational argument as to why, that is dangerous. "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts."
Ohhhhhh boy I couldn't agree more with this! This could go off in a completely different direction but I'm not going to go take that route right now. :)
So, continuing on...
MusicallyInspired wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:28 am
...I just don't see why we can't let people live their own way.
I think this pretty much sums up my real concern. Letting people live their own way is all well and good, but who do you think puts these people in office?
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:08 am
And chemistry? Where would we be without chemists (also known in the US as 'pharmacists')? Chemistry's contribution is immense, from more effective fertilisers to more powerful dynamite to nitrocellulose, as well as more effective medicines.
As a chemist, I'm touched. :) Although it's in British English that sometimes uses "chemist" for "pharmacist".

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Re: We finally took a photo of a black hole

Post by MusicallyInspired » Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:19 am

I feel like I'm being ganged up on here a little bit for some reason and I'm not sure what that reason is. I basically agree with most of what you're saying. All I'm saying is that I leave a little bit of room and an open mind for a little more just in case. And I admire others who do the same. Surely we can permit people their extra room to have an open mind? And if the worry is all these laymen who don't understand science voting in people who don't understand science who you don't like, well, I'd say again that's due in part to a failing of the educational system.

And yes, I know what the definition of scientific theory is.
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Re: We finally took a photo of a black hole

Post by BBP » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:33 am

MI it has nothing to do with "this educational system failing". You can't get people to learn about anything if they are not wanting to.

When I studied Islam at uni, I had to write an essay about one of three books. I chose the most popular one - a book by a theologist who tried to prove scientific finds were predicted in the Qu'Ran. Among others, he mentioned how the seven layers of heaven in Islam predict the seven layers of the atmosphere. (The atmosphere has 4 or 5 layers).
The Stephen Hawking fan in me decided to write about his section on black holes. Basically the theologist missed the mark at a lot of places because he doesn't understand the matter.
That's not the problem. The problem is that he himself is considered a scholar on everything (because Allah created everything) and that he's teaching people incorrect things because of it.

I wish Dr Hawking was here to see this...
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Re: We finally took a photo of a black hole

Post by Rath Darkblade » Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:30 am

DeadPoolX wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:44 pm
Like Rath said, I think some of the language here is a problem, specifically when it comes to terms that are different in science, but outwardly appear the same due to everyday usage.

Theory is a big one.

For example... the people out there who love to claim that "evolution is just a theory" really don't understand the scientific use of the word and often have a very false impression of what evolution is from the start.
Yes, yes, yes! 1,000 times yes. Yes to the "theory" confusion, and definitely 'boo-hiss' to the "it's just a theory!" crowd. :P No-one who knows anything about science or the scientific process will make such a blunder.
DeadPoolX wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:44 pm
MusicallyInspired wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:18 am
I'm talking about all us laymen that don't (yet) understand all facets of science and how we currently understand what the universe is and how it works. We have to take their word for it because we haven't devoted our lives to it. We the laymen have to believe on faith that these scientists are right because we haven't done any of the experiments ourselves for the most part.
Everyone does this every single day. It's why there are so many jobs out there. We can't be everything and know everything, so we have to trust that people who have knowledge, skill, and experience in their field are, at minimum, considered competent.

Unfortunately, we live in a time where anyone can be an "expert" in something because they can Google some topics or use Wikipedia. Add in confirmation bias and a distinct inability to tell correlation from causation, and you have a lot of false information spreading faster than ever before thanks to the Internet.
Hmm, I agree - although when I do research, I go much further than Google and/or Wikipedia. To give an example: I'm currently writing a story set in the time of Ramesses II of Egypt (roughly 1,250 BC). Before I even started writing, I read at least three or four different books by different authors on the subject, from all kinds of angles: what people wore and ate, how they travelled, how they worked and what they did, coins of the era, and so on. I also consult maps of the area - some from books, some from wiki, many from other sources. I educate myself on the Nile, of course, and ancient Egypt's neighbours and gods.

Then, and only then, do I put pen to paper (or keyboard to word-processor). :)

I'm not trying to boast, or prove a point, or anything. I just feel that if I don't immerse myself in my subject, then the story (when it's done) will be poor. Why should I ask anyone to pay me money for my book, if I do a bad job? ;)

Maybe that's a strange way of looking at things, in an age when books like "Twilight" or "Fifty Shades" sell like hotcakes. But at least my work isn't a piss-poor vampire fanfic, or unrealistic erotica. :twisted:
MusicallyInspired wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:19 am
I feel like I'm being ganged up on here a little bit for some reason and I'm not sure what that reason is. I basically agree with most of what you're saying. All I'm saying is that I leave a little bit of room and an open mind for a little more just in case. And I admire others who do the same. Surely we can permit people their extra room to have an open mind? And if the worry is all these laymen who don't understand science voting in people who don't understand science who you don't like, well, I'd say again that's due in part to a failing of the educational system.

And yes, I know what the definition of scientific theory is.
MI, please don't think of our (very slight) changes of opinion as us ganging up on you. We'd never do something like that! :)

I agree with you that having an open mind is important, especially when you're a scientist. I also agree that there are many things we don't know about the universe, although I must qualify that statement by adding that the number of those things is shrinking.

Some quick examples: Just 200 years ago- 1819 - it was considered proper discipline to whip children if they misbehaved, and to send them to work in dangerous conditions from the age of 6 or 7. To not believe in biblical inerrancy was heretical, and would expose you to ridicule. People died of, or were disfigured by, diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, and rabies.

Flash forward 100 years, to 1919. Children were (generally) better looked after, and no longer sent to work in factories or mines. Evolution has started to make inroads. Einstein's theories began to take hold. MMR, chickenpox, and rabies were treatable and curable. Just 10 years later, Fleming's famous accident meant the discovery of penicillin - a boon for everyone.

Flash forward another 100 years, to our time. Children are pampered, sometimes to a ridiculous degree. Evolution is generally accepted, though not everywhere. Many of Einstein's theories are taught in schools. Some of the above diseases - previously almost eradicated - are making a comeback, thanks to the anti-vaxxers. :P

We can go to the moon, and to Mars. How long, perhaps, before humans can set foot on Mars? At the moment this is still science fiction, but perhaps it will be fact within our lifetime - or that of our children?
==========================
I also agree that the educational system is flawed in some western countries. I think this is because it tries to be all things for all people - e.g. some public schools (as opposed to private ones) are asked to teach the kids sociology or religion - whereas they shouldn't have to.

Some schools teach the kids things that are totally irrelevant, or things that shouldn't be taught in publicly-funded schools. Religion is a prime example of this, particularly creationism (and its bastard child, Intelligent Design). But that's another rant.

Phew, that was long. I hope I haven't bored you all. :oops:

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Re: We finally took a photo of a black hole

Post by Collector » Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:43 am

Harlan Ellison wrote: You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.
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Re: We finally took a photo of a black hole

Post by MusicallyInspired » Thu Apr 18, 2019 1:17 pm

That sounds like more than a little tyrannical of a point of view to have to me.
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Re: We finally took a photo of a black hole

Post by DeadPoolX » Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:27 pm

Rath Darkblade wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:30 am
Hmm, I agree - although when I do research, I go much further than Google and/or Wikipedia.
Yes, but you actually care about accuracy. Often we're "lucky" if someone even spends ten seconds to check if they're spelling a word right or using it correctly, let alone fact-checking their work to make sure it's not full of errors or completely wrong. Most people just type away, assuming they know all there is to know about a subject or using their own experiences as the "end all, be all" of proof of something.

I remember an argument on Facebook between thousands of people about grocery store prices. The vast majority of them were bickering of what this or that costs. They were unable to understand that prices differ from store to store within the same damn city, let alone across different states or in other countries. That's the sort of willful ignorance we're dealing with that has become pervasive online and unfortunately, I only see it getting worse as more and more people continue to log on.
MusicallyInspired wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 1:17 pm
That sounds like more than a little tyrannical of a point of view to have to me.
I think the quote basically means "you're not entitled to spread/teach an opinion based on ignorance of a subject and/or if it's scientifically possible to measure."

I think the major disconnect for a lot of people (and I'm not lumping you in here) is that they conflate personal belief with scientific fact.

Not all opinions are equal as it depends on the nature of the opinion and who's expressing it. I realize that sounds tyrannical to some degree, but a plumber's view on astrophysics should not hold the same weight as a legitimate astrophysicist (and the reverse is true as well; I wouldn't want an astrophysicist fixing any plumbing issue or telling me what's wrong with my home's pipes).

There's nothing wrong with being skeptical at times, but there is something wrong when that skepticism takes a wrong turn and becomes dogmatic belief (without any real proof whatsoever) and/or conspiracy theory.
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Re: We finally took a photo of a black hole

Post by Rath Darkblade » Thu Apr 18, 2019 10:04 pm

^ This! :D

Thank you, DPX. Yes, I care very much about accuracy - perhaps it comes from my background in programming and network engineering, and my current vocation in accounts. If I got things wrong in programming, the program doesn't run; if I got it wrong in network engineering, the network fails. If I get things wrong in accounts, people get a wrong bill and start getting mad. ;)

Similarly, when I write a story, I want it to be right. No-one would (or should) pay good money if I, for instance, tell a story about Aztecs with nukes, or a Viking called Fred Johnson. ;) Of course there is - and must be - room for satire, but the broad overarching details must be right. If I create a story set in ancient Egypt, and don't mention the Pharaoh or the Nile, what would people say? "Hey doofus! Where's the Nile?" :lol: :P And they'd be right, and I don't want to look like a doofus. ;)
MusicallyInspired wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 1:17 pm
That sounds like more than a little tyrannical of a point of view to have to me.
I don't think Collector is having a go at you, MI. Please don't be offended! :)

Harlan Ellison's quote only means that people are entitled to have an opinion of something, if they know something about it. As DPX said, plumbers aren't qualified to talk about astrophysics in the same way that astrophysicists are, and vice versa.

You are clearly aware of science and the scientific approach, so you are as entitled to your opinion as anyone else here. Skepticism in science is a good thing - it would be wrong of us, when speaking of science, to talk in terms of absolutes (unless, of course, we are sure that the absolutes are true; for instance, 1 + 1 is always 2, that sort of thing). ;)

Gravity is an (almost) absolute force on earth, but it's less so on the moon or on Mars. Still, so few people can go to the moon or Mars that we treat gravity as an absolute (almost). :)

As DPX points out, if skepticism becomes dogma and/or conspiracy theory (or worse - as is often the case on Facebook), that's when it time to call time. But you haven't done anything like that, so please, don't feel like we're having a go at you! We always value and appreciate your opinion here. :)

Besides, there's nothing wrong with not agreeing all the time. If we all agreed all the time, this forum would be a very boring place. ;)

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Re: We finally took a photo of a black hole

Post by Collector » Thu Apr 18, 2019 10:18 pm

MusicallyInspired wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 1:17 pm
That sounds like more than a little tyrannical of a point of view to have to me.
Not directed at you per se, but to those that pontificate on what they know little of. It has led to some outrageous conspiracy theories, some of which present a huge danger like the antivax movement that is literally killing people with diseases that were nearly eradicated. It is threatening herd immunity. It is making people distrust science when we need the solutions that it can provide more than ever.

It is one thing to be skeptical, but it is intolerable when that skepticism is borne out of ignorance.

a case in point:
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Re: We finally took a photo of a black hole

Post by MusicallyInspired » Thu Apr 18, 2019 10:41 pm

I'm not offended, don't worry. But I've been saying this whole time that I'm not talking about the crazy conspiracy people who perpetuate outlandish theories without any basis (besides web browsing). I get why those types of people are frustrating, but that's never what I was bringing up.
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