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Old 06-28-2004, 08:02 AM   #31
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There are most certainly scientific facts regardless of what halfwit postmodernist doctrine (not a personal attack because I dont think Klaus is speaking from the position of a humanities student who deals with truths instead of facts) of many says about there being only truths and that truth is subjective and may be found in different places. I challenge anybody that doubts there being scientific facts to drink down a glass of H2S04 instead of H20 becase it only differs by a sulphur and 3 oxygen atoms and that alone wont make a difference.

A solid definition for scientific fact is
Quote:
an observation that has been confirmed repeatedly and is accepted as true (although its truth is never final)
It is a scientific fact that the Sun rose this morning (just as it is a scientific fact that species of animal gradually change and adapt over time, the fossil record and experiments show this over and over again).

Scientific Facts are explained by way of scientific theories.

An hypothesis for the Sun rising in the morning is that the earth is a flat disk and that the sun moves above this disk like a fixture on a roof. This hypothesis is testable because we can experiment and prove that the earth is not flat. Knowing that the earth isnt flat we have a new fact, using the spherical earth model we can construct a geocentric universe that may explain the motion of the Sun and planets with mathematics pretty well. Eventually we discover that things orbit in ellipses and that the geocentric model doesn't work, this new scientific fact leads us to a mew theory that can explain the new facts, this gives rise to a heliocentric solar system, eventually leading to our current picture of the universe.

You see the facts rarely change and when they do it is a paradigm shift, before we had a THEORY of universal gravitation things fell down, before we had the THEORY general relativity black holes still existed and before we had the THEORY of Evolution by means of Natural Selection all the facts that proved it still existed.

A scientific theory is an an hypothesis that can explain facts and make accurate predictions of experiments and observations, a scientific theory is falsifiable as if new evidence new facts that contradict it are found may be able to disprove it.

Mutation and Evolution are most certainly facts, how they occur is the theory portion, we understand many mechanisms for population diversity and pressures and these mechanisms allow us to construct theories. There is no direct link between evolution and cosmology. I do not find a mid Cretaceous Therapod and then march over to a physicist and tell him that this proves m-theory correct and will contradict Relativity. Understanding the formation of the universe is a clear scientific discipline, we have observations, facts. We know that there is a speed of light as has be measured accurately since the Michelson Morley experiment and subsequant more advanced experiments have verified this (this includes the superluminal observations that have to do with a faster than light group velocity which still disallows information from travelling back in time because the signal velocity will allways be below the speed of light). We also know that if we look into the sky we are looking at radiation from far away, the longer the distance the furthur away the star is, when we use the most powerful radio telescopes or the WMAP probe we can look back to the very beggining of light, this is called Cosmic Background Radiation, it is a snapshot of the universe just after it had formed and inflated. Knowing this and the fact that the light has been redshifted from high energy back down into microwave we can say the wavelenths have expanded in transit due to the observed redshift, hence we have another fact. These two facts tell us 1) The Universe in its current iteration began just before the CBR was formed. 2) The Universe is expanding.

Armed with these two facts we can work out the rate the universe is expanding and because it is expanding in every direction (kinda like a muffin or cake in an oven) and then using this rate of expansion work backwards to find out when it all existed in a single point, this dates the universe at around 13.7 billion years which matches up with the facts we know. There are still big problems with this theory because it cannot explain the uniform nature of the background radiation, how two portions of universe seperated by tremendous distances share common features, so we add in an inflationary phase to the universe. All these adjustments are made so that the theory can fit the observations better however they are not perfect, this tells us that there is still more work to be done until we have a theory that can match the observations and explain what we observe in the future. This is the process of using scientific facts and observations to construct theories.

With any theory there is a threshold of confidence to it in making predictions and its general accuracy in describing observations. Evolutionary Theories have a very high level of acceptance to such a degree that they are treated as facts (evolution itself happpens, it is a fact, how it occurs and the mechanisms are the theories) this contrasts to the Theory of Universal Gravitation which can explain most everyday observations really well (They still use newtonian physics to launch space probes) but when applied to something like High Energy Particle Physics break down, giving it a much lower confidence than General Relativity which can explain all the things Newton could in addition to the speed of light and extremes of Mass and Density in the universe.

In conclusion there are Scientific Facts that are not some sort of Subjective Truths. These facts can be explained with theories. Theories are retained as long as they are useful and do not contradict what facts we know. Test out some scientific facts by Dropping a ball to prove that there is some sort of force acting on it, Breeding drosophila to show how some traits are expressed and passed down, mixing elemental Sodium into water and observing a highly exothermic chemical reaction. There are Scientific Facts!!!
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Old 06-28-2004, 08:02 AM   #32
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Originally posted by Klaus
melon:
So, being Male/Female is a thing of chromosomes, looking Male/Female a thing of hormones - i guess we knew that part.

And sexual attraction? We don't know yet.
So we can't even say if it's free choice, genetic, hormonal or whatever.
Well i don't think it's important (it wouldn't make any difference to me if it's free choice or genetic) but it would be scientifically interesting.
It isn't "free choice." Period. Let me assure you that.

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Old 06-28-2004, 08:05 AM   #33
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
In conclusion there are Scientific Facts that are not some sort of Subjective Truth. These facts can be explained with theories. Theories are retained as long as they are useful and do not contradict what facts we know. Test out some scientific facts by Dropping a ball to prove that there is some sort of force acting on it, Breeding drosophila to show how some traits are expressed and passed down, mixing elemental Sodium into water and observing a highly exothermic chemical reaction. There are Scientific Facts!!!
I agree, yet again. People merely exploit the inherent uncertainty in science, as in science does not try and substantiate itself using unquestioning mythic speech, as religion does. It's a system that opens itself up to questioning, and that's not a bad thing.

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Old 06-28-2004, 09:49 AM   #34
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A_Wanderer:
verry interesting example
"Sun rose this morning" I could say no, sun didn't rise this morning sun dosn't rise at all, earth rotated around itself and because of that we were able to see the sun again
Also it's scientifically not acurate to speak of a sunrise we all know what you was talking about.
But it's an interesting example of outdated science. Everyone was able to see it for centuries (so it was verified) but as soon as someone was able to see the big scale he knew that this observed fact was simply missinterpreted.

I agree with most of what you said, just a few points to think about

Quote:
..Armed with these two facts we can work out the rate the universe is expanding and because it is expanding in every direction (kinda like a muffin or cake in an oven) and then using this rate of expansion work backwards to find out when it all existed in a single point, this dates the universe at around 13.7 billion years
You can only calculate this way if you're sure that the speed of expansion is constant or at least you should be able to get a formula for the v(t) and a(t) (speed / time and acceleration/time)

It's like showing aliens 2 seconds of ben hur and askim them how the movie started and how it ends...

I like science but i also see the danger that some people don't reflect science enough - they can't imagine that some of our scientific asumtions were false and therefore all conclusions might be false too.

My scientific work is pretty easy - i make asumtions i know which parameters i ignore and i can repeat again and again to find out if the ignored parameters were important or not.
Of course this gets more dificult in biology/bionics (ethics!) and it's completely impossible when we talk about the universe (we can't create several universes just to find out which one looks similar to our universe at the end). We can try to simulate it in a computer but of course it's not easy to ensure that there are no mayor flaws in this modeled universe.

melon:
Well i believe you but a friend of me told me that it was his free choice - maybee there are various reasons?
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Old 06-28-2004, 11:22 AM   #35
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I don't mind people questioning assumptions at all, nobody who values knowledge should ban any research on the basis that it adresses a problem in a different way. I just have a real problem when postmodernist interpretations are placed and they bring this whole BS cultural relativistic "science is a religion" and that there is no difference between worshipping a stone and understanding the universe crap. To be perfectly honest they are a bigger insult to humanity than creationists because they actually expect to be taken seriously.

Many factors lead to homosexuality im sure, choice is a factor. Somebody could have homoerotic urges but supresses them because their own free will or fear, this is not a good thing to do or to say that the feelings aren't there but it is certainly one of many factors that are involved in a behaviour.
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Old 06-28-2004, 11:35 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally posted by Klaus
melon:
Well i believe you but a friend of me told me that it was his free choice - maybee there are various reasons?
If someone can choose to be gay or straight consciously, then that would be, by definition, bisexual. Even then, though, that is an oversimplification.

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Old 06-28-2004, 01:26 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Many factors lead to homosexuality im sure, choice is a factor. Somebody could have homoerotic urges but supresses them because their own free will or fear, this is not a good thing to do or to say that the feelings aren't there but it is certainly one of many factors that are involved in a behaviour.
You're not talking about the choice to be gay or straight though. You're talking about whether someone who's gay will choose to be openly gay or to pretend to be straight. There are plenty of people who are gay but who choose to attempt to ignore that and live as though they are straight. Even if they spend their entire life pretending to be straight it doesn't change their underlying sexuality, although it is a pretty good guarantee of having a lonely and miserable existence.
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Old 06-28-2004, 01:31 PM   #38
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I'm not sure that I see the point in arguing that homosexuality is genetic.

After all, apparently some people are genetically predisposed to alcoholism, but that doesn't mean that alcoholism is therefore an acceptable lifestyle. It just means that alcoholism is a more difficult temptation for those people.

It could also be argued that the majority of young men are genetically predisposed to having sex with hundreds of women, but it doesn't necessarily mean that that kind of lifestyle is a good idea or that they'll all be living miserable, suppressed lives if they choose to get married instead.

From a scientific standpoint, the possiblity of a homosexual gene is an interesting point of study, but to say that "genetic predisposition = moral justification" is questionable logic at best.
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Old 06-28-2004, 02:09 PM   #39
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From a scientific standpoint, the possiblity of a homosexual gene is an interesting point of study, but to say that "genetic predisposition = moral justification" is questionable logic at best.
za?

...

It baffles me that homosexuality even enters a thread pertaining to evolution (but it never fails does it?). I see a loose connection, as some would purport that it is a deleterious or recessive trait, based on fecundity alone. But, the existence of preference is not limited to humanity... there are many instances in other species where such relationships exist (admittedly mostly within the Primate split of the phylogenetic tree). This simple case implies there could be a possible ubiquity of this phenotypic expression, so genetic pre-disposition is of definite high probability. Just like other qualities of any beings though, environment and additive properties of transcribed elements afford the resolution of what can be perceived as one trait. It is a limiting argument to suggest that sexual preference (of any variety) arises from one gene, one protein, one expression. However, I guess my interpretation is veiled by the "dogma" of science...

If I were to pursue any scientific research, finding the one gene for moral justification would be my quest. Seeing as it has no dynamism or relativity, it should be easy to isolate and liquidate. Pre-disposing all with awareness of doubt.

We just might extinguish the morally deplorable life that is ignorance...

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Old 06-28-2004, 02:54 PM   #40
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Originally posted by melon
Obviously, nothing I say here is in the realm of science, but what we are talking about here is less about science and more about what one puts their faith in.

The difference here we are talking about is between a sentient Being and an inanimate object--the universe. Even if it were proved as to where the Big Bang came from--and, ultimately, I believe it possible--then I would continue to ask what came before. Like I said, it is theorized that this universe may be just one of many, and, who knows...maybe the "superuniverse" of universes is just one of many objects in itself. Frankly, I have a hard time believing, as a matter of faith, that all of this came from nothing, "vacuum fluctuation" theory or not, because then I'd ask who or what created the "vacuum fluctuation" to create the universe and why it can exist out of nothing.
Okay. That makes sense. I can't remember what the person who brought up that vacuum fluctuation thing said in regards to how that would've gotten there in order for the universe to come about and all that right now.

The theories surrounding the creation of the earth are all fascinating. .

Quote:
Originally posted by melon
In terms of creationism, however, I find that it is more detrimental to Christianity, because it paints Christians as inherently delusional to more rational thinkers, and, really, it is my opinion that creationism versus evolution is actually less about trying to find the origin of creation, and more about reasserting one's cultural identity. As we have seen, many seem to view the battle between creationism and evolution to be a battle between Christianity and atheism, respectively; and as someone who can reconcile faith with science, as I believe that science is the representation of God (not so different from St. Thomas Aquinas, even if we come up with different conclusions regarding that philosophy), I tend to find the whole argument to be a bit ridiculous. One should not have to abandon one's faith in pursuit of scientific truth and vice versa.

Melon
I agree wholeheartedly, and I personally am also fine with the whole "intelligent design" thing, too. The stuff I'd asked earlier was just something I'd been wondering about for a while because of other debates I'd had with people regarding this stuff. It's good to hear your responses to that stuff. .

Also...

Quote:
Originally posted by TheFirstBigW
After all, apparently some people are genetically predisposed to alcoholism, but that doesn't mean that alcoholism is therefore an acceptable lifestyle.
Course, then again, alcoholism is harmful to people, whereas homosexuality isn't.

Angela
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Old 06-28-2004, 03:44 PM   #41
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Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees
You're not talking about the choice to be gay or straight though. You're talking about whether someone who's gay will choose to be openly gay or to pretend to be straight.
How do you objectively differentiate between someone's nature and what someone chooses to do (this isn't directed at or limited to the discussion of homosexuality)?
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Old 06-28-2004, 04:10 PM   #42
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Good point nbc.

I think one can find a correlation between behaviour and background (genetics, culture, etc.), but defining the differentiation between subcognition and action is probably a difficult thing to assert.

PS- I used the word preference earlier, when it should have been orientation.

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Old 06-28-2004, 04:22 PM   #43
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Melon / FizzingWhizzbees:
Well all i can say is that this guy calls himself gay not bisexual and he said it was his free choice becoming gay.

TheFirstBigW:
It's my fault that the discussion went into that direction, my point was:
If Homosexuality is inheritable how does "survival of the fittest" work?
Since being gay definetly is a dissatvantage when it's all about reproduction
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Old 06-28-2004, 05:01 PM   #44
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Klaus:
Sorry if I got away from your original point.
You've raised an interesting question. Because of the reproduction disadvantage, it's as though the homosexual trait is designed to weed itself out (assuming it's genetic).


Pinball Wizard:
When you refer to ignorance, I assume that you're specifically referring to a lack of academic knowledge, not to a lack of spiritual knowledge.
However, it is sad but true that many people consider themselves to be highly knoweldgeable while remaining steeped in spiritual ignorance.

In other words, do we really care whether or not God exists and whether or not he actually has given us specific guidelines by which to live, or do we choose to give up on the search for God and truth by assuming that they're either impossible to find or do not exist, and then choose to exalt our comparatively limited human understanding as the end-all and be-all of all knowledge?
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Old 06-28-2004, 07:48 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally posted by TheFirstBigW
When you refer to ignorance, I assume that you're specifically referring to a lack of academic knowledge, not to a lack of spiritual knowledge.
On an aside, my first post was more reserved discontent with the underpinning of homosexuality as some sort of genetic deviant... if it was offensive, I guess it was somewhat intentional.

Even though I don't necessarily subscribe to the points you made, I appreciate that you described them without hostility. My definition of ignorance is not limited to academic or spiritual knowledge... it's more an attitude rather than a shortcoming in intellect. Much like the hubris that you eloquently described (from your spiritual perspective), the lifestyle of ignorance I refer to is not passive, but instead a conscious disregard for opinions and alternative thinking. It would be nice if many realized that consideration is not acceptance, or some compromise of belief (this is a blank generalization, and can be applied to many different contexts); maybe this ignorance, in itself, is an evolutionary refined trait. After all, contemplation was never favourably selected. What immediate benefit would reflection and lofty thought have, from the vantage of a survivalist... live in the now, I guess.
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