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Laws of Science and Prediction


khan2012
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarke%27s_three_laws

 

quote:

 

Arthur C. Clarke formulated the following three "laws" of prediction:

 

1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

 

2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

 

3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

 

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/01/17/top-ten-science-based-predictions-that-didnt-come-true/

 

Top Ten Science based predictions that didn't come true:

 

10. 'The earth's crust does not move'- 19th through early 20th century accepted geological science. See Plate Tectonics

 

9. 'The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives.' — Admiral William Leahy, U.S. Atomic Bomb Project

 

8. 'That virus is a pussycat.' — Dr. Peter Duesberg, molecular-biology professor at U.C. Berkeley, on HIV, 1988

 

7. 'I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.' — Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

 

6. 'Radio has no future. Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. X-rays will prove to be a hoax.' — William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, British scientist, 1899.

 

5. 'There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.' — Albert Einstein, 1932

 

4. 'Space travel is bunk.' — Sir Harold Spencer Jones, Astronomer Royal of the UK, 1957 (two weeks later Sputnik orbited the Earth).

 

3. 'If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can't do this.' — Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3-M 'Post-It' Notepads.

 

2. 'Stomach ulcers are caused by stress' — accepted medical diagnosis, until Dr. Marshall proved that H. pylori caused gastric inflammation by deliberately infecting himself with the bacterium.

 

1. 'Telltale signs are everywhere —from the unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland to the southward migration of a warmth-loving creature like the armadillo from the Midwest. Since the 1940s the mean global temperature has dropped about 2.7° F.' — Climatologist George J. Kukla of Columbia University in Time Magazine's June 24th, 1975 article Another Ice Age?

 

So the next time you hear about worldwide crop failure, rising sea levels, species extinction, or 'climate grief' you might want to remember that just being an expert, or even having a consensus of experts, doesn't necessarily mean that a claim is true.

 

 

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So the next time you hear about worldwide crop failure, rising sea levels, species extinction, or 'climate grief' you might want to remember that just being an expert, or even having a consensus of experts, doesn't necessarily mean that a claim is true.

If you replace the word expert with crackpot, the resulting statement is even more sound.At least an expert has (hopefully) reviewed the data and done some serious investigation before drawing a conclusion. Isn't it safe to say that while an expert might ultimately be incorrect, that they are working from the data they had available at the time they drew that conclusion? In other words, made the best educated guess as it was possible to make at their level of awareness?

 

 

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If you replace the word expert with crackpot, the resulting statement is even more sound.

At least an expert has (hopefully) reviewed the data and done some serious investigation before drawing a conclusion. Isn't it safe to say that while an expert might ultimately be incorrect, that they are working from the data they had available at the time they drew that conclusion? In other words, made the best educated guess as it was possible to make at their level of awareness?

Yeah, yeah. Every time someone comes up with some wacky theory they always say ' Oh yes, but they laughed when they said the world was round 'Actually they didn't laugh at the world being round.....but even if they did.....what does that conceivably prove about YOUR theory if you have one ??

 

This is a logical fallacy called 'questionable cause'. That is to say...someone arguing that because something seems to them to regularly happen then it MUST be the the case with them too.

 

 

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Yeah, yeah. Every time someone comes up with some wacky theory they always say ' Oh yes, but they laughed when they said the world was round '

Actually they didn't laugh at the world being round.....but even if they did.....what does that conceivably prove about YOUR theory if you have one ??

 

This is a logical fallacy called 'questionable cause'. That is to say...someone arguing that because something seems to them to regularly happen then it MUST be the the case with them too.

So you agree.Obviously, noting that an expert can be wrong does not prove another theory correct. Neither does the observation that people scoffed at what have turned out to be valid conclusions poof that another theory is correct.

 

 

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