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Posted by z on November 5, 2010, 6:41 am
 


It's been a while since I taught scientific method.  It's funny we never
actually got to the 'law' stage as I recall.  More about experimental
design and falsification of the null hypothesis etc.

I would say -- just off the top of my head -- a Law is a predictor of
relationships between observations that has been accurate and repeated
over time to the point where any significant observed deviation to said
Law would make a lot of scientists shit bricks and fundimentially change
our understanding of whatever it is we're talking about.

Which does happen BTW :)


I agree that Math is just the method for describing relationships .. not
required to prove anything (or as we say in statistics disprove all the
other alternatives such that the probability is very high that the
primary hypothesis is correct).

There are issues with saying 'proved' or 'truth' given that we are within
a mathematical framework.  The math people will say 'proved' (i'd guess
-- maybe not) but what we say in statistical analsysis of real data are
that the probability of the alternate explanations of the results are so
small that we must accept 'primary hypothesis' to be right, but we still
must express that in a probability since there exists the possibility
that some alternate explation is valid.

A friend of the family had an alternate theory of gravity .. the
Fieldless Universal Circlon Theory (FUCT) which described the
relationship between objects pretty well .. it involved matter expansion
-- the earth doubling in size every 22 mins, so that when you 'dropped'
an object, rather than the object falling, the earth (constantly
expanding) grow up to strike it.  His math was very good and clean and
his method would allow you to plot a course to the moon etc.. at least as
good as newton. It also predicted some new elements, new structure of
matter (the circlon) etc.. it was quite a bit of work.   As far as the
Math was concerned it was 'true'  .. But we're still calling it the FUCT
theory :)

anyway

cheers for the conversation

-z



Posted by sno on November 5, 2010, 7:06 am
 
On 11/5/2010 1:41 AM, z wrote:

LOL...I sure agree with you...many forget...or never learned...that in
science nothing is ever proven...just assumed to be true...

I have always had a problem with supposedly scientifically literate
people misusing the terms....especially confusing hypothesis with
theory....most people have a pretty good understanding of "law"...I
almost went ballistic the first time I heard string hypothesis being
referred to as string theory...<grin>....

I like to point out newtons law of gravity which for over two hundred
years was a law.....until it was discovered that it did not apply to the
extremely small or extremely large...and is now still retained as a
theory because of its convenience.....

also.....have fun....sno

--
Correct Scientific Terminology:
Hypothesis - a guess as to why or how something occurs
Theory - a hypothesis that has been checked by enough experiments
  to be generally assumed to be true.
Law - a hypothesis that has been checked by enough experiments
  in enough different ways that it is assumed to be truer then a theory.
Note: nothing is proven in science, things are assumed to be true.


Posted by z on November 5, 2010, 7:30 am
 


Exactly.  It is still a 'law' in that you can use it to get to the moon or
predict a heck of a lot of stuff (they still call them Newtons laws of
motion right?).  Even though it may not be 'true' the math describing the
relationships within known broundries work very well.

Does it matter if a 'law' is true or not if, in most practial
circumstances, it works to solve a problem?

damn it now we're into philosphy


take care sno


Posted by sno on November 5, 2010, 8:09 am
 On 11/5/2010 2:30 AM, z wrote:

It is usually called a theory now...except for those who remember it as
a law...<grin>....Einstein blew it away...from what I
understand....einsteins hypothesis explained everything newtons did plus
the extremely large and small....but he had to do it with two
hypothesis...einstein and people since have been trying to tie the two
together into one hypothesis....so far no luck...if everything I knew
about einsteins theories was weighed it would weigh less than a
scruple..<grin>

This thing started with crawl space energy storage...so am not to
surprised it drifted into philosophy...after all think how close
together they are....LOL

have fun....sno

--
Correct Scientific Terminology:
Hypothesis - a guess as to why or how something occurs
Theory - a hypothesis that has been checked by enough experiments
  to be generally assumed to be true.
Law - a hypothesis that has been checked by enough experiments
  in enough different ways that it is assumed to be truer then a theory.
Note: nothing is proven in science, things are assumed to be true.


Posted by z on December 3, 2010, 3:57 am
 

I think we just had one of those 'law breakers' today -- DNA found in
bacteria with arsenic in place of potassium.  

http://www.tomsguide.com/us/NASA-DNA-Arsenic-Life-form-Mono-Lake,news-
9190.html

So much for that !

:)

-z

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