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

  1. #31
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    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?
    The idea of Hawking "blurting something out" is rather incongruous. I wonder if having to decide whether everything was worth the effort of saying it led him to think things through more carefully.

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    I cannot see what the problem is here. If you think you have a good idea and the evidence to defend it, there is no disgrace in being asked to put it in ATM. If the feedback consensus is that you are not giving an adequate defense, you can back out. What the owners of this forum don't want, on the basis of bad experiences in the past, is dealing with the sort of speculative tossing about of vague ideas that all too often degenerates into ugly mudslinging. You can always request help via PM to vet your ideas and firm them up.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post

    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.
    This is post 6:

    Originally Posted by Cougar
    Look at it the other way around. What percentage is that of the Sun's total mass?




    waxrubiks
    I know, it is a very small percentage.

    Also, looking at it another way, the Sun has been doing this for a few billion years...
    I was just agreeing and stating a fact.....
    ................................

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    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.
    how did I characterise what you said?

    In the bit you quote from me, I just asked you a question.

    You seemed to be saying that Hawking didn't blurt thoughts out in discussions. I took from this that you either had met him, or that you were just assuming this. I was seeking clarity.
    ................................

  5. #35
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    If someone disagrees with the moderators about what mainstream means, shouldn't that thread itself be moved to ATM?

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    I'm not disagreeing that the mainstream consensus on something might be 'we don't know'; what I do disagree with is that suggesting a possible answer is going against that consensus.
    Going against that consensus would be 'ah; I think you do really know'..
    ................................

  7. #37
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    The first part of the mod comment that closed that thread (my underlines):

    This has gone from you asking a question, to advocating non-mainstream ideas.
    Now you say (my underline):

    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    ... suggesting a possible answer ...
    If "asking" is 1, and "advocating" is 10, where on that scale is "suggesting"?

    You've been here since December 2004. Do you really not know this stuff??
    Measure once, cut twice. Practice makes perfect.
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  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    how did I characterise what you said?
    What I said:
    "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."
    What you said:
    "How do you know Hawking didn't blurt out some ideas that just came to his mind, with his colleagues and friends?"

    You adopted a classic but obvious rhetorical approach - take what I said and adjust the frequency to render it Reductio ad absurdum. Effectively I said "If he did this all the time" and your response was "Are you saying he never did this?". You also ignored the qualifier "I think" which indicated I was making an assessment based on what I know of the community and people in general. And, as Strange points out, that speaking was harder for him than for many people.

    As for your post six - you asked a question. Strange gave a counter. So you then tried to support your claim by a vague reference to how long things had been happening for. You were not asking questions but trying to find a way to justify your belief.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    What I said:
    "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."
    What you said:
    "How do you know Hawking didn't blurt out some ideas that just came to his mind, with his colleagues and friends?"

    You adopted a classic but obvious rhetorical approach - take what I said and adjust the frequency to render it Reductio ad absurdum. Effectively I said "If he did this all the time" and your response was "Are you saying he never did this?". You also ignored the qualifier "I think" which indicated I was making an assessment based on what I know of the community and people in general. And, as Strange points out, that speaking was harder for him than for many people.

    As for your post six - you asked a question. Strange gave a counter. So you then tried to support your claim by a vague reference to how long things had been happening for. You were not asking questions but trying to find a way to justify your belief.
    that is all your interpretation. You assume I'm pushing an agenda in every post. I can say quite honestly that I was just agreeing with him, and agreeing it is amazing how massive the Sun really is.

    As for your Hawking point, and the 'if'..maybe I didn't clock it, but maybe that isn't relevant....by starting the statement like that and leading to the conclusion that they would have stopped talking to him..there are all sorts of things going on...I assume people didn't stop talking to him, but by that argument, this implies that he therefore didn't announce an idea, or insight he just had when he was in company.....it's all a bit confusing, so I just wanted clarity as to whether you had ever met him, and might actually have some experience as to how he behaved.....

    There's nothing absurd about having met, or know Stephen Hawking, is there? I'm sure he met and knew many people around the world.
    ................................

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by pzkpfw View Post
    The first part of the mod comment that closed that thread (my underlines):



    Now you say (my underline):



    If "asking" is 1, and "advocating" is 10, where on that scale is "suggesting"?

    You've been here since December 2004. Do you really not know this stuff??
    it was the mod's interpretation that I was advocating my idea....if an idea is worth talking about, why wouldn't taking it seriously be ok...I mean how am I supposed to treat my own idea; as if it wasn;t worth discussing?

    I really don't know how the universe is shaped, or if it is a closed system with slight local curvature...this stuff has no mainstream consensus except 'we don't' know, and as for being here since 2004, no I really didn't think having an idea about something that science's consensus is 'we don't know' was considered, or could be considered ATM..
    Last edited by WaxRubiks; 2019-Feb-27 at 07:55 AM.
    ................................

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    it was the mod's interpretation that I was advocating my idea....
    But then you used the word "suggesting".

    Is "suggesting" closer to "asking" or "advocating"?
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  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    that is all your interpretation. You assume I'm pushing an agenda in every post. I can say quite honestly that I was just agreeing with him, and agreeing it is amazing how massive the Sun really is.
    So because you think I think you are pushing an agenda in one post now I am assuming you push an agenda in every post? I'm sorry, I'm going to stop this discussion after this post. If you are going to insist on using this one tired approach to counter any comment I make then the discussion isn't worth having.
    Me: "I think you were advocating your idea in these two posts"
    You: "So you assume I am pushing an agenda in every post"

    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    As for your Hawking point, and the 'if'..maybe I didn't clock it, but maybe that isn't relevant....by starting the statement like that and leading to the conclusion that they would have stopped talking to him..there are all sorts of things going on...I assume people didn't stop talking to him, but by that argument, this implies that he therefore didn't announce an idea, or insight he just had when he was in company.....it's all a bit confusing, so I just wanted clarity as to whether you had ever met him, and might actually have some experience as to how he behaved.....
    OK then let's drop the argument from authority you were doing by using him as an example. In my life and career I have met a large number of scientists from a wide range of disciplines. I have worked with probably hundreds over the years and socialised with a reasonable number of them. At work and out of work the ones who consistently blurted out every idea in their head and insisted people then work it through with them were generally listened too much less than those who showed the common courtesy to spend a minute or two thinking about the idea before asking people what they thought, what issues they saw and so on. People who think every thought that goes through their head must be worth discussion because they thought it make collaborative working harder, not easier.

    But you are free to communicate how you like, and to post how you like (within the rules of the forum). Just as I am free to not engage with posts I don't think are going anywhere.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    So because you think I think you are pushing an agenda in one post now I am assuming you push an agenda in every post? I'm sorry, I'm going to stop this discussion after this post. If you are going to insist on using this one tired approach to counter any comment I make then the discussion isn't worth having.
    Me: "I think you were advocating your idea in these two posts"
    You: "So you assume I am pushing an agenda in every post"


    OK then let's drop the argument from authority you were doing by using him as an example. In my life and career I have met a large number of scientists from a wide range of disciplines. I have worked with probably hundreds over the years and socialised with a reasonable number of them. At work and out of work the ones who consistently blurted out every idea in their head and insisted people then work it through with them were generally listened too much less than those who showed the common courtesy to spend a minute or two thinking about the idea before asking people what they thought, what issues they saw and so on. People who think every thought that goes through their head must be worth discussion because they thought it make collaborative working harder, not easier.

    But you are free to communicate how you like, and to post how you like (within the rules of the forum). Just as I am free to not engage with posts I don't think are going anywhere.
    yes, that is probably fairly reasonable.
    I often have an idea, and it can seem quite important to me; almost an epiphany sort of thing. But whether or not I tell anyone this idea, after a while the idea doesn't seem so great; and later it might even seem like a load of rubbish.
    I realised the other week this process happens because, when I first had this idea, it was an emergent phenomena in my mind, and therefore everything about the idea can quite often seem important to me...because it came out of my mind's proceeding processes and considerations....but given some time to consider the idea, its components become less relevant to my later thinking, and the idea just isn't so relevant any more, and I can see it in perspective.....if you see what I mean...the idea might have summed up my thinking at the time, and so give the illusion of being a good idea....but later not so much.....
    not all ideas though; some still seem like good ideas after consideration.

    I must be mindful with this new insight into my thinking.
    ................................

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by pzkpfw View Post
    But then you used the word "suggesting".

    Is "suggesting" closer to "asking" or "advocating"?
    well I was probably using it as 'I suggest for consideration'...which is asking it(whatever it was) to be taken seriously for consideration; which is more advocations than saying than saying 'here's an idea'...I don't know.

    If a waiter said 'I suggest you choose the pasta dish, rather than the curry'...that is a bit like advocating...

    But by the very act of discussing something seriously, you are implying that it is worth consideration, and being taken seriously.....so discussing a new idea, can sometimes lead to the possible interpretation of advocating the idea.
    The only to other options I can think of are to discuss the idea in a way that shows the idea to be a bad one, or not discuss it at all.
    ................................

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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    yes, that is probably fairly reasonable.
    I often have an idea, and it can seem quite important to me; almost an epiphany sort of thing. But whether or not I tell anyone this idea, after a while the idea doesn't seem so great; and later it might even seem like a load of rubbish.
    I realised the other week this process happens because, when I first had this idea, it was an emergent phenomena in my mind, and therefore everything about the idea can quite often seem important to me...because it came out of my mind's proceeding processes and considerations....but given some time to consider the idea, its components become less relevant to my later thinking, and the idea just isn't so relevant any more, and I can see it in perspective.....if you see what I mean...the idea might have summed up my thinking at the time, and so give the illusion of being a good idea....but later not so much.....
    not all ideas though; some still seem like good ideas after consideration.

    I must be mindful with this new insight into my thinking.
    You can be reassured that you are not a True Crackpot.

    Some people are so convinced that their ideas must be right (after all, they thought of it and so it makes sense to them) that nothing can ever persuade them that they might be mistaken.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    But by the very act of discussing something seriously, you are implying that it is worth consideration, and being taken seriously.....so discussing a new idea, can sometimes lead to the possible interpretation of advocating the idea.
    The only to other options I can think of are to discuss the idea in a way that shows the idea to be a bad one, or not discuss it at all.
    One can ask about something with an open mind without assuming it must be good or bad (or right or wrong).

  17. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    Just talking about an idea isn't advocating the idea is it?
    I'm under the impression this is the crux of WR's frustration.

    If someone were to attempt to discuss a subject - one to which others don't lend much credence - and one were not to at least provisionally advocate for it - what exactly would that look like?

    "I've been following this movement that the Moon is made of green cheese. I know it's not, but there are a few confusing things about it."
    "It's not made of green cheese."
    "But..."

    I can't think of how this sentence would finish without the user advocating it - at least for argument's sake.

  18. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    I'm under the impression this is the crux of WR's frustration.

    If someone were to attempt to discuss a subject - one to which others don't lend much credence - and one were not to at least provisionally advocate for it - what exactly would that look like?

    "I've been following this movement that the Moon is made of green cheese. I know it's not, but there are a few confusing things about it."
    "It's not made of green cheese."
    "But..."

    I can't think of how this sentence would finish without the user advocating it - at least for argument's sake.
    How about "I know it is not made of green cheese, but I have this question about this idea" or "but I am trying to come up with counter arguments to someone who believes it is" or "what evidence would you use to prove it wasn't made of cheese" or "I know this is silly but just as a thought experiment imagine that if it was, then what cracker/crisp would you serve with it?".

    None of those are advocating and none of those violate our rules.

    However, in the thread in question, WaxRubiks said things like "I think it must be...". That is clearly advocating something.

    I'm sorry, but this isn't a subtle distinction. As I said in post 15 of this thread, if he had stuck with asking questions, he would have probably been fine (it is possible to still get oneself in trouble with just questions). But he didn't do that.
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  19. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    How about "I know it is not made of green cheese, but I have this question about this idea" or "but I am trying to come up with counter arguments to someone who believes it is" or "what evidence would you use to prove it wasn't made of cheese" or "I know this is silly but just as a thought experiment imagine that if it was, then what cracker/crisp would you serve with it?".

    None of those are advocating and none of those violate our rules.

    However, in the thread in question, WaxRubiks said things like "I think it must be...". That is clearly advocating something.

    I'm sorry, but this isn't a subtle distinction. As I said in post 15 of this thread, if he had stuck with asking questions, he would have probably been fine (it is possible to still get oneself in trouble with just questions). But he didn't do that.
    yes, maybe...but I always tried to present the idea/s in that thread, as being applied to a model, rather than the physical world...so me saying 'I think it must be...' was in the context of talking about a model, and also perhaps as an implied question, as in 'I think.....but am I incorrect in thinking that?'
    ................................

  20. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    . . . if he had stuck with asking questions, he would have probably been fine (it is possible to still get oneself in trouble with just questions). But he didn't do that.
    Do you have an example of someone getting in trouble with just questions? Would that be a situation where the one asking was continually ignoring responses and just repeatedly insisting, "yes, but if the moon were made of cheese, that what about...?" Or are you referring more to a situation where the one asking is leading to conclusions via questions (there's probably a Latin name for that) such as, "and if A were true, then wouldn't B be true. And if B were true then wouldn't C be true?" and so on until they have essentially presented their complete ATM argument with nothing but questions.
    Depending on whom you ask, everything is relative.

  21. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkline55 View Post
    Do you have an example of someone getting in trouble with just questions? Would that be a situation where the one asking was continually ignoring responses and just repeatedly insisting, "yes, but if the moon were made of cheese, that what about...?" Or are you referring more to a situation where the one asking is leading to conclusions via questions (there's probably a Latin name for that) such as, "and if A were true, then wouldn't B be true. And if B were true then wouldn't C be true?" and so on until they have essentially presented their complete ATM argument with nothing but questions.
    No, I don't have an example. I'm covering my rear end; if I had said "if he had stuck with asking questions, he would have been fine", then someone would take it as a commandment that as long as you phrase anything in the form of question you won't get infracted.

    Your examples are certainly possible sources of trouble. "Did you know that moon-cheese deniers are the stupidest people on Earth?" would also be bad.

    I am not going to get any more specific than that; as we've said many times, we are not going to innumerate all the ways that are acceptable or all that are not.
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  22. #52
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    If your question is, "What's wrong with my theory?" then Against the Mainstream is the place to put it even if you're not claiming that it's correct. It will get shot down more quickly there than if you just ask about it somewhere else. And while you'll have to answer questions about it there, "I don't know" is an acceptable answer. Also, you don't have to defend your theory in spite of overwhelming evidence against it. You can just withdraw it after finding out why it's wrong.

  23. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    If your question is, "What's wrong with my theory?" then Against the Mainstream is the place to put it even if you're not claiming that it's correct. It will get shot down more quickly there than if you just ask about it somewhere else. And while you'll have to answer questions about it there, "I don't know" is an acceptable answer. Also, you don't have to defend your theory in spite of overwhelming evidence against it. You can just withdraw it after finding out why it's wrong.
    Just to clarify: the ATM forum is not a Q&A or developmental environment in which one can merely ask questions or solicit feedback. Of course, OPs typically get a lot of feedback that can answer their questions or be used to develop a theory but first and foremost, they are fully expected to defend and answer questions about their claims. Anyone who isn't prepared to do that, should not post in ATM.
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  24. #54
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    For how long is someone required to defend his claims? If the first reply in the thread points out an obvious flaw in the theory, is the original poster supposed to go on defending it anyway?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    For how long is someone required to defend his claims? If the first reply in the thread points out an obvious flaw in the theory, is the original poster supposed to go on defending it anyway?
    I doubt this has ever come up! It would be a welcome change for the proponent to acknowledge the first (or any) flaw in their theory.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    For how long is someone required to defend his claims? If the first reply in the thread points out an obvious flaw in the theory, is the original poster supposed to go on defending it anyway?
    A maximum of 30 days...unless extended. Within that window, it very much depends on the OP's response to the flaw having been pointed out. Do s/he acknowledge it, argue it, withdraw the claim...or what? I imagine (and have seen) that if the OP doesn't see and/or accept the flaw, s/he would go on arguing it as long as it's a point of discussion, up to the thread's expiration date. If the OP acknowledges and accepts the flaw and withdraws the claim in whole or in part, I think that pretty much ends the argument on that point. If the claim/theory is withdrawn in its entirety, the thread is typically closed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    If the claim/theory is withdrawn in its entirety, the thread is typically closed.
    And the person cannot open another one on that topic. Which is not a good match for someone discussing an idea they had and may continue to develop over time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    And the person cannot open another one on that topic. Which is not a good match for someone discussing an idea they had and may continue to develop over time.
    Once again, a rule that was put in place about 12 years ago because the mods were almost invariably having bad experiences with posters who abused the forum no matter what.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    Once again, a rule that was put in place about 12 years ago because the mods were almost invariably having bad experiences with posters who abused the forum no matter what.
    And I think it is a good rule, I was just highlighting that it is another reason that the ATM section is not really somewhere to go to discuss vaguely formed ideas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    And the person cannot open another one on that topic[...]
    ...unless they request, justify, and receive an extension, of course. But that’s another can of worms.
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