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View Diary: Pique the Geek 20110605: Misconceptions about Science (112 comments)

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  •  Law, because it descibes what is (1+ / 0-)
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    and it can be measured. In GmM/r^2 you aren't saying WHY, your saying "this Happens" and "this is how I measure it".

    The key part is "This Happens". It happens the same way, everytime and no one has seen an exception to it. We aren't asking why, just observing a fact.

    If an exception did come up- then the law would need to be re-examined, but that is not typical.

    I am much too liberal to be a Democrat.

    by WiseFerret on Tue Jun 07, 2011 at 10:37:18 PM PDT

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    •  You're assuming (0+ / 0-)

      that "r" is "observable" which is sort of true, but only given a set of conventions. It turns out that the implicit (Euclidean, Galilean relativistic) conventions contradict how the world actual behaves. In other words, they're false. So in retrospect that formula is not a bare observation but a particular way of structuring observations, i.e. what I think you're calling a theory. You can take the same observations and repack them (more successfully) in a different framework. In the new framework it doesn't make sense even to talk about the gravitational force. The acceleration ceases to be an invariant. The new framework will almost certainly break down on a small scale, but at least it works for a GPS system.

      There's a reason why serious books about the philosophy of science don't typically get hung up on naming conventions. They sort of waste time before we get to the real issues.

      But now rereading I think perhaps you're making a different point. What distinguishes a law is not so much that it lacks hidden assumptions etc but that it makes no claim to be explained in terms of deeper principles. This would be an unusual use of the term, since, e.g., the so-called zeroth law of thermodynamics and also the third) have explanations.

      Michael Weissman UID 197542

      by docmidwest on Wed Jun 08, 2011 at 07:22:09 AM PDT

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    •  Feynman put it better. (0+ / 0-)

      Michael Weissman UID 197542

      by docmidwest on Wed Jun 08, 2011 at 07:39:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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