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Bad Vocabulary in Science Communication

 

"Scientific" as qualifier

2008-10-00  On http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/denis_giron/islamsci.html Denis Giron writes about "Scientific Absurdities in the Qur'an and Hadith".

They are just absurdities. Qualifying them as "scientific" implies there are types of absurdities, and maybe scientific ones are acceptable from a certain point of view.  Using the qualifier immediately divides the world into those who have the scientific viewpoint and the others, thus lending a measure of legitimacy to the others.  It is tantamount to saying "from our preferences it's absurd, but from yours it may be acceptable."

Theories that change nature

2006-12-19 heard on Channel4 news about CERN:
"...but thousands of years the world has been without Higggs and dark matter, ..."
Well: NO, the Higgs and dark matter either exist or not, and if they do they have been there for a long time, the theory describes a discovery, it does not change the universe.

Anthropomorphism & Protagonism

I heard:  "the robot obeys Newton's laws of motion"
No, it does not. It obeys the physics of our universe, including the laws of motion. Newton discovered one description of them, and his description was not complete.  The actual laws the robot obeys are not Newton's, nor are they Einstein's.  And it does not "obey" them, it just works that way.

"The LHC will bring new physics".  No, it will not.  The physics we may uncover with the LHC have been in operation since forever.  What will be new is our understanding.

 

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