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This Science related article has been awarded BRONZE status for quality. It's getting there, but could be better with improvement. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.


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Should we add a section on the history of science. Islam (talk) 02:50, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

Newton's "Dark" Legacy?[edit]

There's a section right now that goes on a bit about some history stuff and basically says that scientific realism is some bad dark thing and claims that the anti-realist position is correct (and historically victorious). But THIS! IS! RATIONALWIKIII!!! And I'm pretty sure here at rationalwiki a large amount of us take a very realist position on the matter. I tried making an edit but someone who sorta agreed with me still thought my edit was too extreme or misguided in some way. So everyone who is interested should share their ideas for how the article should handle this topic here :) Brianpansky (talk) 20:10, 15 December 2015 (UTC)

That person was me, and I think you and I are in agreement. That section isn't anything to keep; if anything, it belongs on the Newton page. And that was why I undid the blanking - I've got so much going on so I can't do things the same day I want to. But I'd like to comb that to see if any of it belongs on his page and so on. Also, as we start removing stuff from the page, that launches into the need to add new, good stuff. Got a pile of books just waiting for me to cite them on the topic. But anyways, the solution is not for you to wait for me. I'd say go ahead and edit - it's a collaborative Wiki. Nothing you undo can't be reverted back and so on. So go for it. But, like, be aware that I've yet to engage my whole machinery of editing on the page, and that might change things about what you yourself would chose to add or remove. All the best, Reverend Black Percy (talk) 20:54, 15 December 2015 (UTC)
You both need to go back and read the section actually says not what you THINK it says. It has NOTHING to do with scientific realism but the perception of Science as the Seeker of Truth coupled with the misunderstanding of what Mach and Miner pointed out (that there is NO "truth" in science; only models which is misconstrued by the anti-science as scinece 'making things up')--22:39, 20 December 2015 (UTC)BruceGrubb (talk)
Um, science does seek (and often find) the truth. My guess is that you have a language fetish that prevents you from using the words "truth" and "knowledge" in application to imperfect probabilistic models. I wonder if you likewise are against using words like "motionless" or "flat" or "triangular" or "square" or "3 meters tall" or many many other words, which technically are never 100% accurate either. Yet this is how it is with MOST words, they are useful approximations, not exact things. Words are just names for imperfect models, after all. Brianpansky (talk) 00:38, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
Uh NO science was not seek Truth it seeks Fact. You confusing the two proves point. Watch James Burke's Day the Universe Changed especially the last episode to see what I am talking about.--BruceGrubb (talk) 06:38, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
Is your sentence supposed to be written like that ("science was not seek Truth")? I can't tell with you. But what you say in the article is nonsense "At one time stating the Sun revolved around the Earth was the Truth" no, it was merely thought to be the truth. At least this is how the word truth is normally used, I suppose maybe your jargon is different. Maybe I could translate your statements, and they would look like this: "At one time stating the Sun revolved around the Earth was the Truth what people thought was correct", or "the perception of Science as the Seeker of Truth merely what people think is correct". You could have said that the first time without the silly jargon and then you wouldn't have confused anyone. But (from my second translated statement there) do you seriously think that Newton gave people the idea that science seeks merely what people currently think is correct? Or that anyone at all has that perception of science? If this isn't what you are trying to say, what are you trying to say?
I don't think that's what you are trying to say (it looks like you are trying to say the opposite when you say "created the view in the public's mind (and in many scientists) that there was some ultimate objective truth out there and science's function was to reveal it with each discovery clarifying just what that truth was"), but again I can't tell with you because you are such a poor communicator. Using some obscure form of jargon will only confuse most people. Seeking the facts is the same as seeking the truth. Also, I'm not going to go chasing some piece of media and then try to interpret it. If you have a point you want to make, you should be able to say it right here. Brianpansky (talk) 17:00, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
In the article you say "Fact is what can be demonstrated to be true through observation and-or testing. Truth on the other hand is subjective." which (since it includes a normal use of the word "true" similar to my own statements above) seems to confirm my idea that when you are capitalizing "Truth" I can translate it just like I did above. Again, if I'm mixed up please clarify. Brianpansky (talk) 17:06, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
The terms are capitalized for a reason and have you even bothered to watch Burke who explains it far better then you say I am doing?--BruceGrubb (talk) 01:12, 25 December 2015 (UTC)
(The answers to what you just said are already in what I wrote. But that's not important, so I'll just move on as if you didn't make that error.)
I changed my mind and decided to check out the episode you recommended. It talked a lot about worldviews, and institutional barriers to progress (and at the end was a prediction that something like the internet could revolutionize all of this, and I agree). I also think some parts of the video were mistaken, though this is again unclear.
I think I wasted my time watching that video. Much (perhaps all) of the ideas in it were already familiar to me (see my recent tumblr post). I still don't see how your thesis sentence is correct: Newton developed the first post Renaissance view on how the universe worked but it also created a serious problem regarding how science was and is viewed by the public. How did it create this serious problem? Just because his model was like "clockwork"?
Also, maybe I still don't know what view you are referring to. Here's my best guess about what this mistaken view of science is, which I would agree is mistaken: The video pointed out that current accepted science could be mistaken (sometimes due to bias on the part of scientists), so if people have the view that no such thing is possible, that would be a problem. That's the only problematic view of science that I can identify in all of this. And I still don't see how Newton caused it or whatever. I also doubt it is actually very much responsible for the way some people require absolute certainty or else they accuse science of being made up stuff. People have done that since much before Newton, that's a problem that might have it's roots in ancient religious theories of knowledge/truth (here's a talk by Richard Carrier that talks about ancient christian epistemology, and contrasts it with science).
So let me know if I'm understanding this correctly. Also feel free to support the cause and effect relationship you are claiming exists. Brianpansky (talk) 03:05, 25 December 2015 (UTC)
"Making Waves" (Another Day the Universe Changed episode and not to be confused with the Connections2 episode of the same name) goes into how Newton eventually fell to Einstein. What Newton did was he created a concept of "absolute" time and "absolute" space and the concept of "everything is knowable" (3:05). Another thing that came up was the misconception by the public that science itself was technology (rather then its byproduct).--BruceGrubb (talk) 15:32, 25 December 2015 (UTC)
Again, what difference does it make if Newton made such concepts? What is the logical relation between that and the claim I asked you to support? Brianpansky (talk) 18:31, 25 December 2015 (UTC)
I asked a question, got an answer? Brianpansky (talk) 21:54, 29 December 2015 (UTC)

Claiming bonus points[edit]

Planck's blackbody radiation. Am I too late? :-) Cheers Sorte Slyngel (talk) 17:22, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Since the question asks for a branch of science, the correct answer is quantum statistical mechanics. But you are right. That is Planck's function. Nerd (talk) 12:58, 29 July 2016 (UTC)

'Bad science' fiction[edit]

There should be some RW coverage on the subject.


  • science that was considered valid at the time the story was written, but which has since been proven wrong (habitable Venus, some of the Millennium Bug stuff etc).
  • simplification for plot convenience/to ensure that people don't do something dangerous at home and similar.
  • McGuffins and similar plot devices (Faster than Light travel, teleports etc) that speed up the story/create better visuals.
  • Extrapolations of the present to the worst or best case scenario, some 'what if' experiments and similar.
  • 'Taking a quirky/speculative approach, fun and creative misinterpretation' and other cases designed to be unserious or make people think etc.

The rest falls within the remit of RW. What would be a good article title? Anna Livia (talk) 13:04, 21 February 2018 (UTC)

A 'criticism' section here. - Leuders (talk) 17:39, 27 February 2018 (UTC)
Wherever suits.
Are the riders reasonable? (Though some of the stories might still be 'bad science' - the universe in which the McGuffin exists has the science badly applied etc). Anna Livia (talk) 18:19, 27 February 2018 (UTC)


Can we get the breaking bad science me here?Doublethink (talk) 17:59, 30 November 2018 (UTC)