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Thread: How is mainstream science and non-mainstream science defined on this forum?

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    How is mainstream science and non-mainstream science defined on this forum?

    WaxRubiks

    This has gone from you asking a question, to advocating non-mainstream ideas. You know better; this will earn you an infraction.

    I'm closing this thread, as I am not convinced you are prepared to defend your ideas in the ATM forum. However, if you wish to do that, Report this post, and the thread will be moved to ATM.


    https://forum.cosmoquest.org/showthr...67#post2476767

    By my understanding mainstream science is made up with things there is general consensus about, or at least there may be more than one consensus, but it is held by a large faction of the scientific community, as opposed to small factions.

    I'm not sure what the consensus is on the shape, size etc of the universe is....but I thought it was rather all up in the air, and no real consensus had been arrived at.

    I might have advocated something that was non-mainstream though, in that thread so if I did can a moid quote it, please.

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    oh, I just realised you said 'non-mainstream' idea, not 'against the mainstream' ideas?

    Is it against the forum rules to post ideas that aren't against the mainstream of scientific consensus?
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    I might have advocated something that was non-mainstream though, in that thread so if I did can a moid quote it, please.
    As I understand it the issue is, as the moderator said, that you had gone from mentioning an idea to advocating it.

    Also I believe more leeway is given when an idea is being discussed scientifically (as the discussion is often fruitful in terms of the physics covered). You were just saying "I think this because I think this" and adding in vague analogies to try to justify your stance. So the problem was that you were advocating something untestable and not justified in a way that didn't lead to any scientific discussion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    As I understand it the issue is, as the moderator said, that you had gone from mentioning an idea to advocating it.

    Also I believe more leeway is given when an idea is being discussed scientifically (as the discussion is often fruitful in terms of the physics covered). You were just saying "I think this because I think this" and adding in vague analogies to try to justify your stance. So the problem was that you were advocating something untestable and not justified in a way that didn't lead to any scientific discussion.
    but is it against the rules to advocate an idea, if it isn't against mainstream consensus?

    surely this is how science progresses: someone has a new idea, it is discussed and ways are found to test it, and if the results are favourable then it may become part of scientific consensus...?

    As for unsuitability, the process of fleshing oout an idea also should lead to working out ways that a claim can be tested....the idea comes first and working out ways to test it come after.

    And all under the umbrella of an idea that isn't counter to any real mainstream consensus.

    I can understand the mods don't want claims to be discussed that don't seem to have much chance of being testable, like someone claiming they had been taken to an alien planet...scientific consensus on that would be that that was a personal experience and without any ordinary evidence the only evidence would be anecdotal...

    If one of the things I said, and you are referring to was my idea that space-time need something to actually curve it, other than being forced to curve due to being a closed system; that doen't seem like an unreasonable idea, and it also seems like the idea could be testable at some point.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    ....the idea comes first and working out ways to test it come after.
    I've said it plenty of times but ideas are easy. This forum could be filled with ideas and provide little or no benefit to the scientific community. Thankfully the mods tend to do a good job at stopping threads that are just doodling in the sand while giving the better thought out ones a chance. I for one don't want to scroll through dozens of random speculations posted by people with no intention of doing any of the hard work of turning them into actual science.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    I've said it plenty of times but ideas are easy. This forum could be filled with ideas and provide little or no benefit to the scientific community. Thankfully the mods tend to do a good job at stopping threads that are just doodling in the sand while giving the better thought out ones a chance. I for one don't want to scroll through dozens of random speculations posted by people with no intention of doing any of the hard work of turning them into actual science.
    you see, this is why I often post threads in babbling..........I like to knock around ideas; and this is one of the ways ideas are developed...I can see that S&E is more a place for a focussed approach.
    Maybe there should be a section of the forum for less focussed knocking around scientific ideas, of course ideas that aren't counter to any real scientific consensus.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    Maybe there should be a section of the forum for less focussed knocking around scientific ideas, of course ideas that aren't counter to any real scientific consensus.
    Just because an idea is about a topic that is scientific doesn't make it a scientific idea. What makes it a scientific idea is taking the time to frame it in terms of the scientific method. Personally I think people being asked to take a bit of time to think an idea through and present it in a more coherent and structured way is a really good thing and to be encouraged. I'd rather read one thread that has enough content to make me think about the subject than a hundred stream of consciousness 'what-ifs'.

    So I'd say my preference would be not to have this extra forum, as I don't see the point, and for people who want to kick around an idea to do more than post a vague idea, get bored after one or two posts and move on to another vague idea they never develop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    you see, this is why I often post threads in babbling
    It will be interesting to see what the mods say about that. I have seen quite a few threads moved from there because they have serious content (or because they appear to be attempts to subvert the rules).

    I like to knock around ideas; and this is one of the ways ideas are developed...I can see that S&E is more a place for a focussed approach.
    Maybe there should be a section of the forum for less focussed knocking around scientific ideas, of course ideas that aren't counter to any real scientific consensus.
    This has come up very frequently (usually from people who have had their ATM threads closed). The answer has always been (rightly, in my opinion): "that is not what CQ is for". The rules explicitly forbid it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    It will be interesting to see what the mods say about that. I have seen quite a few threads moved from there because they have serious content (or because they appear to be attempts to subvert the rules).



    This has come up very frequently (usually from people who have had their ATM threads closed). The answer has always been (rightly, in my opinion): "that is not what CQ is for". The rules explicitly forbid it.
    yes, but the rules are that you shouldn't advocate anti-mainstream ideas...the emphasis on 'anti'...how can we really discuss anything scientific here if we are confined to only using ideas that are already mainstream in their consensus? That would be akin to having the rule that you can't post new ideas, as by definition a new idea wouldn't have any consensus at all.
    That isn't science either. That would just make the forum like a comment section to a science magazine, rather than a discussion board.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    yes, but the rules are that you shouldn't advocate anti-mainstream ideas...the emphasis on 'anti'...how can we really discuss anything scientific here if we are confined to only using ideas that are already mainstream in their consensus? That would be akin to having the rule that you can't post new ideas, as by definition a new idea wouldn't have any consensus at all.
    That isn't science either. That would just make the forum like a comment section to a science magazine, rather than a discussion board.
    Discussion, fine. Advocacy, not fine. You advocated, so not fine. People can, and have, discussed new and speculative ideas on here.

    And FYI you were not discussing anything particularly scientific. You had an idea you liked, when anything was brought up in opposition to it you provided some handwaving reason why your idea could still be right. That is not discussion, that is advocacy of a belief. If you wanted a scientific discussion you should have focused on things like how the measurements taken might or might not distinguish between two ideas, whether models currently distinguished between the two concepts under discussion etc etc. And you should have remained, in the debate at least, neutral and open to the idea what until tested either hypothesis could have been 'correct'.

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    whether I have some belief in an idea doesn't seem relevant; one must take the stance that an idea would make a good part of a bigger model, in order to progress it, surely. That can look like advocacy though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    yes, but the rules are that you shouldn't advocate anti-mainstream ideas...the emphasis on 'anti'...how can we really discuss anything scientific here if we are confined to only using ideas that are already mainstream in their consensus? That would be akin to having the rule that you can't post new ideas, as by definition a new idea wouldn't have any consensus at all.
    You can discuss anything. You can discuss flat Earth theories or alternatives to GR. You can discuss the latest speculative ideas about extensions to that standard model. You might even be able to discuss the "electric universe theory".

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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    whether I have some belief in an idea doesn't seem relevant; one must take the stance that an idea would make a good part of a bigger model, in order to progress it, surely. That can look like advocacy though.
    That is advocacy.

    I am fairly sure that I have started threads to discuss non-mainstream physics and never had any problems with the rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    That is advocacy.

    I am fairly sure that I have started threads to discuss non-mainstream physics and never had any problems with the rules.
    By advocating an idea, someone hopes to convince them that the idea has merit.

    If they present an idea, and develop it in a scientifically honest and accurate way, why wouldn't some people start to see the merit in the idea?

    I can't really see a problem with that....a person's motives aren't always clear; maybe they just want to develop the idea for personal satisfaction reasons, so the motivation doesn't seem relevant.

    It would seem like a problem is someone wants to advance an idea it a non-scientific way, regardless of motivation.

    Maybe I am very clumsy and random in the way I develop my ideas, but people don't have to read a thread, do they, unless they are a mod; they might have to read stuff they are not interested in. But then they would probably only do that if a report is made.
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    I think the members have addressed things very well, but I'll just add some thoughts.

    From the title:
    How is mainstream science and non-science defined on this forum?
    The general criteria is that it is the consensus opinion in science. There is no more precise definition, and ultimately it comes down to "it is what the moderators say it is".

    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    oh, I just realised you said 'non-mainstream' idea, not 'against the mainstream' ideas?

    Is it against the forum rules to post ideas that aren't against the mainstream of scientific consensus?
    You are making entirely too much of a distinction. As far as I'm concerned, non-mainstream and against-the-mainstream are essentially the same.

    Sometimes the mainstream answer is "we don't know" or "it is unanswerable". If you present an idea that gives an answer, it is against the mainstream.

    The main problem as far as I was concerned is that you went from asking questions to giving non-mainstream answers. If you stuck with asking questions, the thread might have been OK.

    Lastly, sticking the thread in OTB doesn't really make a difference as far as ATM is concerned. The same rules apply there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    Maybe there should be a section of the forum for less focussed knocking around scientific ideas, of course ideas that aren't counter to any real scientific consensus.
    Such ideas, of a less-strict ATM section, have been proposed for years and years (scroll through Feedback). They all have the same problem. Given a choice between a less strict-ATM and our current one, every ATM advocate would post in the less-strict one, and it would become ATM without all the rules; rules that have been put in place because they are necessary.

    If this was MY forum, ATM would have been eliminated a long time ago. I think it gives an unscientific focus to this forum, and attracts people who don't want to do real science, or find out what real science is about, but want to have an ego trip and a platform for their own, poorly developed ideas.

    But a lot of people among both members and moderators like it, so it stays.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    yes, but the rules are that you shouldn't advocate anti-mainstream ideas...the emphasis on 'anti'...how can we really discuss anything scientific here if we are confined to only using ideas that are already mainstream in their consensus? That would be akin to having the rule that you can't post new ideas, as by definition a new idea wouldn't have any consensus at all.
    That isn't science either. That would just make the forum like a comment section to a science magazine, rather than a discussion board.
    No, the differences are that the structure of a comment section is very different than a discussion board, and that we have rules and comment sections are more like the inmates running the prison.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    By advocating an idea, someone hopes to convince them that the idea has merit.

    If they present an idea, and develop it in a scientifically honest and accurate way, why wouldn't some people start to see the merit in the idea?

    I can't really see a problem with that....a person's motives aren't always clear; maybe they just want to develop the idea for personal satisfaction reasons, so the motivation doesn't seem relevant.
    That is the purpose of the ATM forum. Unfortunately, almost nobody does the "develop it in a scientifically honest and accurate way" bit.

    If you just have a vague idea that has occurred to you then you are not ready to present it on the ATM forum.

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    I'm nots sure that coming up with an idea and exploring the idea in a logical way is really against the mainstream, just because the mainstream's consensus on that problem is 'we don't know'.....
    'we don't know' isn't really an answer that can be contradicted.

    here's the analogy:
    a guy who is driving his van around trying to find a town see two people at the side of the road and stops to ask them the way. the first answer from one of them is 'I don't know', but the second guys say 'oh I know; you take this road and take the first right...etc etc'.....did the second guy contradict the first guy's answer? Did it damage or harm him in anyway? Maybe he was a bit embarrassed, might be all..

    And if presenting new ideas and exploring them can be defined by the mods as against the mainstream, without much guidelines as to how they came to that decision, it seems like it could be a bit restrictive on discussion.

    I can see that is important for the mods to be the ultimate deciders of how to interpret the rules, but my thread, I thought, was about something pretty mainstream, in science..ie the shape,size etc of the universe, and how that might relate to how and why it might be expanding.

    So I think at the least, some addition to the rules could be made as to how forum members are to judge how the mods might decide whether a subject is ATM or not would be a good idea.....
    Otherwise it is a bit like a man walking through a wood in the dark....the safest thing is to just sit down and not post anything which might be judged ATM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    And if presenting new ideas and exploring them can be defined by the mods as against the mainstream, without much guidelines as to how they came to that decision, it seems like it could be a bit restrictive on discussion.
    Yes, it is a bit restrictive on discussion. So are the rules that require politeness and prohibit profanity and most politics and religion. It's a feature, not a flaw.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    Yes, it is a bit restrictive on discussion. So are the rules that require politeness and prohibit profanity and most politics and religion. It's a feature, not a flaw.
    Those other rules may technically restrict the range of things that can be posted, but I personally think they have the effect of promoting discussion; well promoting productive discussion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    And if presenting new ideas and exploring them can be defined by the mods as against the mainstream, without much guidelines as to how they came to that decision, it seems like it could be a bit restrictive on discussion.
    You can explore new ideas without problems. There have been many threads asking about ideas that are not part of mainstream science.

    One can always ask the mods if it would be permitted to discuss some particular thing.

    I can see that is important for the mods to be the ultimate deciders of how to interpret the rules, but my thread, I thought, was about something pretty mainstream, in science..ie the shape,size etc of the universe, and how that might relate to how and why it might be expanding.
    You crossed the line from asking to asserting. If you want to present that idea, and the evidence supporting it, then you could do that in the ATM forum. If there is no evidence supporting it, why would you want to advocate it.

    Alternatively, you could probably continue to ask about the idea in the mainstream science forum. (Moderators permitting, of course.)

    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    Those other rules may technically restrict the range of things that can be posted, but I personally think they have the effect of promoting discussion; well promoting productive discussion.
    I think the same can be said of the rule against promoting ATM ideas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    Those other rules may technically restrict the range of things that can be posted, but I personally think they have the effect of promoting discussion; well promoting productive discussion.
    So you say. Others would disagree and have in fact done so. To date, their arguments have not been convincing. So far, yours hasnít been either because Iím not seeing anything in your argument that hasnít been proposed and rejected in feedback on several prior occasions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    You crossed the line from asking to asserting. If you want to present that idea, and the evidence supporting it, then you could do that in the ATM forum. If there is no evidence supporting it, why would you want to advocate it.
    .
    the thread that was closed wasn't a very one one; can you maybe find one quote from my posts where I asserted something that isn't part of mainstream consensus?

    my definition of something which is mainstream consensus is an idea that has consensus with a significant section of a branch of the scientific community. It wouldn't have to be over 50% of the relevant branch of the community, as that may not always be possible...I might set the percentage at 10% personally...10% census among the relevant group of scientists is quite a high fraction for a group of intelligent, knowledgeable(relevant knowledge), but any percentage value will always be a bit arbitrary...

    I think I will present the idea at some point, in ATM, if the idea is deemed ATM on this forum.

    As for updating the rule section, I do think it would be a good idea to tell people reading the rules that a post may be considered ATM, if it advocates an idea, on something where the mainstream consensus is 'we do not know the answer to that', as I previously really wouldn't have said that that would be how a new idea could be categorised.
    So I was infracted for breaking a rule I wasn't aware of.
    This is what I mean by having a limiting affect of discussion.
    I mean, what other possible ways of violating the rules am I unaware of? Or other people, even after reading the rules, are they unaware of?
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    I'm sure someone like Stephen Hawking would have discussed all sorts of new ideas, with is peers, that woud have come under this definition of ATM, that is ideas where the mainstream consensus is 'we do not know the answer to that'...but if he had come on this forum, he couldn't do that here.

    So he was in a better position to develop his ideas, using feedback from knowledgeable, intelligent, people, but it seems that some people's attitudes here is that someone without that advantage in the real world should develop their idea/s maybe in isolation, before presenting those ideas here...
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    I'm sure someone like Stephen Hawking would have discussed all sorts of new ideas, with is peers, that woud have come under this definition of ATM, that is ideas where the mainstream consensus is 'we do not know the answer to that'...but if he had come on this forum, he couldn't do that here.

    So he was in a better position to develop his ideas, using feedback from knowledgeable, intelligent, people, but it seems that some people's attitudes here is that someone without that advantage in the real world should develop their idea/s maybe in isolation, before presenting those ideas here...
    Again, he could discuss new ideas. He could not advocate them. You keep returning to this misrepresentation of the forum rules... Plus if he did adopt the pattern of throwing out a new, vague, unformed idea every hour or so and getting bored of that idea as soon as the next one came along... I think people would have stopped talking to him in the break room. Hawking got to discuss new ideas because he thought about them, because he had a track record of asking interesting questions and following them up with good science. Most people here have a little way to go before they get that status.

    And if I am one of those horrible 'some people' stifling debate... Again, misrepresentation of what I have said. What I said was that if you want people to spend some time and engage with your ideas then you should at least have framed them in a way that leads to a scientific discussion. I'll say it more clearly - just blurting out whatever happens to be on your mid that particular moment tends not to lead to much productive discussion.

    This is a discussion forum, not someone's social media status feed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    Again, he could discuss new ideas. He could not advocate them. You keep returning to this misrepresentation of the forum rules... Plus if he did adopt the pattern of throwing out a new, vague, unformed idea every hour or so and getting bored of that idea as soon as the next one came along... I think people would have stopped talking to him in the break room. Hawking got to discuss new ideas because he thought about them, because he had a track record of asking interesting questions and following them up with good science. Most people here have a little way to go before they get that status.

    And if I am one of those horrible 'some people' stifling debate... Again, misrepresentation of what I have said. What I said was that if you want people to spend some time and engage with your ideas then you should at least have framed them in a way that leads to a scientific discussion. I'll say it more clearly - just blurting out whatever happens to be on your mid that particular moment tends not to lead to much productive discussion.

    This is a discussion forum, not someone's social media status feed.
    yes, I get that...I have seen that criticism of some people's threads on forums.

    How do you know how much though I put into my thread OPs and posts? Yes, I have been guilty of just posting thoughts that just popped into my head, and I was suspended for such a while ago...I do see that I wasn't posting in a very good way, but that is not always the case.

    I am not highly trained academically, so there is only so much development of an idea I can do on my own.

    How do you know Hawking didn't blurt out some ideas that just came to his mind, with his colleagues and friends? Did you know him or interact with him?

    As for advocating ideas, no-one has posted a quote from the closed thread, to give an example, yet.

    Just talking about an idea isn't advocating the idea is it?
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    as an aside, I think there would have been a great many people who would have happily listened to Hawking if he did just sometimes blurt out some ideas that just popped into his head.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    I am not highly trained academically, so there is only so much development of an idea I can do on my own.
    It's not about academic background. As I've said before in this thread it is about structuring an idea, about asking questions that develop it. Anyone can do that. Here is an example:
    Bad: "I had a thought. Maybe the moon is made of silly putty? Just a thought."
    Good: "If the moon were made of silly putty what would craters look like on it?" leading to questions like "How does silly putty behave in a vacuum and under hard radiation?" and "What physical parameters affect how craters form and how they age?"

    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    How do you know Hawking didn't blurt out some ideas that just came to his mind, with his colleagues and friends? Did you know him or interact with him?
    Oh yes, all the time. I fact we had pet names for each other. He was Hawky and I was Shauls. There were even plans for a children's detective cartoon featuring our whacky japes. Shauls and the Hawk. You can find the pilot on Youtube. The theme tune was very catchy. "Shauly and the Hawk, crimebusters who love to talk". Sharky and George totally ripped us off though and they were the ones that got picked up by the network. We kind of lost touch after that, I think he blamed me for not aggressively following up after the pilot was made and giving other people a chance to take the idea.

    The above paragraph may not be true. Neither may your characterisation of what I actually said.

    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    As for advocating ideas, no-one has posted a quote from the closed thread, to give an example, yet.
    The post the moderator quoted has you doing just that. Use of the words like "Must" are a give away. That and the fact that you kept arguing that your ideas had to be right. Posts 6 and 13 seem to cross the line between just asking and asserting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    I'm sure someone like Stephen Hawking would have discussed all sorts of new ideas, with is peers, that woud have come under this definition of ATM, that is ideas where the mainstream consensus is 'we do not know the answer to that'...but if he had come on this forum, he couldn't do that here.

    So he was in a better position to develop his ideas, using feedback from knowledgeable, intelligent, people, but it seems that some people's attitudes here is that someone without that advantage in the real world should develop their idea/s maybe in isolation, before presenting those ideas here...
    I have seen some scientists say that the most important and productive parts of their work are when they get to have a coffee and a chat with colleagues. They can bounce around all sorts of ideas to test them, have them shot down, stimulate new ones, etc.

    That is how a lot of creative science (and, in my experience, engineering) is done.

    But... (1) that is not the purpose of this forum and (2) they know how to test and judge whether ideas have any plausibility (unlike 99.9% of people presenting ATM ideas on this forum).

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