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cacoseraph

Scientific American-7 Most Misunderstood Word

54 posts in this topic

The real problem is scientists redefining words, then telling the rest of us that the old definitions are wrong. If they just want to use their own jargon among themselves, that's fine. All groups do that, not only as a means to help communication between members but also to exclude others. But no other group, at least in modern times (the Church did it in the middle ages), try and impose their definitions on the rest of us.

I don't think you understand science or how it works, or really have a grasp on the origins of certain words.

Science is not some shadowy, monolithic, conspiratorial organisation, and nor do they "try and exclude others". If this was the case, all scientific progress would have died on its ass centuries ago.

The meanings of words evolve. It is more likely for them to be distorted by the lay community who don't understand the meanings, than deliberately distorted by "science" to "keep people out".

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If the language you use is confusing your audience, you are using the wrong language.

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I don't think you understand science or how it works, or really have a grasp on the origins of certain words.

Science is not some shadowy, monolithic, conspiratorial organisation, and nor do they "try and exclude others". If this was the case, all scientific progress would have died on its ass centuries ago.

The meanings of words evolve. It is more likely for them to be distorted by the lay community who don't understand the meanings, than deliberately distorted by "science" to "keep people out".

If you check out the etymological dictionary, as I did, you will find that the so-called "lay" meanings are far older than the scientific ones. So who is doing the distorting? Furthermore, the fact that no one else thought to check out the etymology of these words, and assumed that most people are using them ignorantly, indicates just how pervasive the propagranda of the scientific establishment has been.

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If the language you use is confusing your audience, you are using the wrong language.

ehhh, to an extent. i do demonstrations to educate people about bugs. if i used the most advanced terminology possible i wouldn't be wrong, but i also couldn't convey an useful info to lay people. so. when i talk to common folk i use common words. when i read scientific papers i understand (as best as i can) the scientific meaning of the words i come across. i understand this. the reasonable folk i encounter understand this. you know who seems to not understand this? ppl with a not scientifically supported agenda.

If you check out the etymological dictionary, as I did, you will find that the so-called "lay" meanings are far older than the scientific ones. So who is doing the distorting? Furthermore, the fact that no one else thought to check out the etymology of these words, and assumed that most people are using them ignorantly, indicates just how pervasive the propagranda of the scientific establishment has been.

so, you are saying common, uneducated or averagely educated folk should set the standard, compared to super educated folk? yeah, I TOTALLY see how that would support the advancement of the state of human understanding. TOTALLY.

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ehhh, to an extent. i do demonstrations to educate people about bugs. if i used the most advanced terminology possible i wouldn't be wrong, but i also couldn't convey an useful info to lay people. so. when i talk to common folk i use common words. when i read scientific papers i understand (as best as i can) the scientific meaning of the words i come across. i understand this. the reasonable folk i encounter understand this. you know who seems to not understand this? ppl with a not scientifically supported agenda.

so, you are saying common, uneducated or averagely educated folk should set the standard, compared to super educated folk? yeah, I TOTALLY see how that would support the advancement of the state of human understanding. TOTALLY.

Was it someone else who claimed that science isn't elitist?

It's not about setting a standard, it's about the use of language. Language is an organic, natural process. If I tell a million people they are wrong for using a certain word in a certain way, why should I be deemed correct?

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lol @ 'common folks'

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lol @ 'common folks'

I think he slipped up and revealed a bit too much with that one.

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i kind of suspect some of the contributors to this thread don't possess any extraordinary knowledge about any given field? common folk, lay people, just can not understand the lingo of a specialized field. that is fine, to be expected, really. but, to expect all specialized field workers to conform their parlance to that which an uneducated person could understand? laughable! i possess specialized knowledge in at least two fields. computer programming and invertebrate biology and taxonomy. to accurately and concisely describe things and events in a useful manner our parlance basically requires that we separate from the lingo used by the bulk of humans in their average case. if you can't understand that then i suspect that most scientific discourse is just going FLY over your head. in specialized disciplines the accuracy and unambiguity of the text we use so far exceeds that of normal people in the normal course of their normal lives that at some point it splits off from normal language. as far as i can tell, such a thing is unavoidable.

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LOL

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i kind of suspect some of the contributors to this thread don't possess any extraordinary knowledge about any given field? common folk, lay people, just can not understand the lingo of a specialized field. that is fine, to be expected, really. but, to expect all specialized field workers to conform their parlance to that which an uneducated person could understand? laughable! i possess specialized knowledge in at least two fields. computer programming and invertebrate biology and taxonomy. to accurately and concisely describe things and events in a useful manner our parlance basically requires that we separate from the lingo used by the bulk of humans in their average case. if you can't understand that then i suspect that most scientific discourse is just going FLY over your head. in specialized disciplines the accuracy and unambiguity of the text we use so far exceeds that of normal people in the normal course of their normal lives that at some point it splits off from normal language. as far as i can tell, such a thing is unavoidable.

Yes, all special interest groups invent their own jargon. It's when they start telling the rest of us that their jargon is correct, and our own use of the language isn't, that the problems arise.

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Yes, all special interest groups invent their own jargon. It's when they start telling the rest of us that their jargon is correct, and our own use of the language isn't, that the problems arise.

it is when the lay person tells the scientists that their jargon is incorrect that problems arise. you clearly seem to seek to limit scientists to the abilities of average people. that is the oldest recipe for mediocrity and the death of advancement!

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it is when the lay person tells the scientists that their jargon is incorrect that problems arise. you clearly seem to seek to limit scientists to the abilities of average people. that is the oldest recipe for mediocrity and the death of advancement!

It's not that their jargon is "incorrect". Like all jargon it deliberately differs from pre-existing usage. So, when misunderstandings arise, the responsibility lies with those who have changed the usage.

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Ahhh the LCD argument. Least common denominator. Always the way up and forward! There are science writers to break down the current understanding for the uneducated. All kinds of 3 color pictures and everything! Trite similes and metaphors included!

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Ahhh the LCD argument. Least common denominator. Always the way up and forward! There are science writers to break down the current understanding for the uneducated. All kinds of 3 color pictures and everything! Trite similes and metaphors included!

Would you like it if I started using a whole load of Wiccan and Pagan jargon to you, and told you you were ignorant and uneducated for not understanding it? It is not only conducive to misunderstanding, but pure bad manners to do so.

P.S. Do I come across as uneducated to you?

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Would you like it if I started using a whole load of Wiccan and Pagan jargon to you, and told you you were ignorant and uneducated for not understanding it? It is not only conducive to misunderstanding, but pure bad manners to do so.

P.S. Do I come across as uneducated to you?

If i gave a single jot of care for paganism I would educate myself on the parlance of the field experts. Given as how i... don't, the personally directed question is basically irrelevant.

I wouldn't care to bring this general discussion down to an accusation of exactly personal abilities. Nor would I want to accidentally confuse any of the participants when educational moments are still to be had.

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If i gave a single jot of care for paganism I would educate myself on the parlance of the field experts. Given as how i... don't, the personally directed question is basically irrelevant.

I wouldn't care to bring this general discussion down to an accusation of exactly personal abilities. Nor would I want to accidentally confuse any of the participants when educational moments are still to be had.

So how come those who have no interest in science are regarded as ignorant if they don't know scientific jargon? That sounds like double standards.

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So how come those who have no interest in science are regarded as ignorant if they don't know scientific jargon? That sounds like double standards.

just because I don't personally care to commit to a position regarding such things on these forums at this time, don't think for an instant that science hasn't reckoned that kind of person down to the meme for an instant :)

edit:

https://www.google.c...chrome&ie=UTF-8 ;) ;)

i used to be hecka good at slow pitch softball AAHAHAHAHHAAAA!

Edited by cacoseraph

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just because I don't personally care to commit to a position regarding such things on these forums at this time, don't think for an instant that science hasn't reckoned that kind of person down to the meme for an instant :)

edit:

https://www.google.c...chrome&ie=UTF-8 ;) ;)

i used to be hecka good at slow pitch softball AAHAHAHAHHAAAA!

What is it about science that induces so much insufferable arrogance in some of its advocates?

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What is it about science that induces so much insufferable arrogance in some of its advocates?

What is it about antiscience that induces so much insufferable arrogance in some of its advocates?

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What is it about antiscience that induces so much insufferable arrogance in some of its advocates?

You mean hardcore Christians and people like that? Presumably because they are just as elitist and exclusivist.

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What is it about science that induces so much insufferable arrogance in some of its advocates?

Centuries of being the most demonstrably correct game in town? Yeah, probably that.

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Centuries of being the most demonstrably correct game in town? Yeah, probably that.

I rest my case.

Actually, I have no argument with science or its principles. But quite a lot of scientists annoy me almost as much as Christian preachers do.

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I knew America's education system was really bad...I guess this just proves me right.

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You mean hardcore Christians and people like that? Presumably because they are just as elitist and exclusivist.

Its not like the scientific meaning of certain words is secret and unknowable. Instead of complaining about being called ignorant go out and actually learn the scientific definition of the words, then you will be able to speak the language of the scientists and understand what they are saying. It is not up to them to teach you the terminology they use. It is all out there, in books, online. You can learn it, if you want. I am an engineer and I am not going to dumb down results I obtain just so that people not educated in engineering can understand it. It is up to the person trying to understand it to learn the terminology. If you read a book that is written in a different time, where words might have had slightly different usages, do you demand that the book be re-written to help you understand it? Or do you just bite the bullet and take some time to learn what it is you need to know?

Stop whining about the 'arrogance' of scientists. Last I checked, the entire human race was corrupted with arrogance and ignorance. Not just scientists or religious nut-jobs. It is a human problem.

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Its not like the scientific meaning of certain words is secret and unknowable. Instead of complaining about being called ignorant go out and actually learn the scientific definition of the words, then you will be able to speak the language of the scientists and understand what they are saying. It is not up to them to teach you the terminology they use. It is all out there, in books, online. You can learn it, if you want. I am an engineer and I am not going to dumb down results I obtain just so that people not educated in engineering can understand it. It is up to the person trying to understand it to learn the terminology. If you read a book that is written in a different time, where words might have had slightly different usages, do you demand that the book be re-written to help you understand it? Or do you just bite the bullet and take some time to learn what it is you need to know?

Stop whining about the 'arrogance' of scientists. Last I checked, the entire human race was corrupted with arrogance and ignorance. Not just scientists or religious nut-jobs. It is a human problem.

I've said before that I've no problem with special interest groups inventing their own jargon, it happens all the time. The problem comes when one particular group starts trying to tell us that the common definitions of words are "wrong".

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