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On the trusting of Scientists
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On the trusting of Scientists:

Is that cake frosting?
But actual physical science was held up by the element theory, I mean, can you imagine where we'd be right now if we'd gone with Atom theory in the first place? That's potentially 1500 more years of progress!
What Atom theory? The one developed by Dalton, Lavoisier and others in the eighteenth century? I can agree, if we had had that 1500 years before its time that'd have been a major achievement.

But Greek atomism was at least as antiscientific as the element theory. In hindsight, it was closer to the correct model than the theory of the elements was; but that was not something that anyone could have known at the time.

If it had been pursued instead of the element theory... well, it's difficult to predict what would have happened, especially since no original works by Democritus survived; but the transition from Greek atomism to modern atomic theory would not have been trivial in any case.

edited 6th Dec '11 10:41:16 PM by Carciofus

But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

 27 USAF713, Tue, 6th Dec '11 10:40:46 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
Bleh... it's not as if the Greeks weren't advanced.

Didn't they—and the Romans—come up with the steam engine some thousands of years ago, but they didn't have the replaceable parts and assembly line-style manufacturing methodology to use it—not to mention that slaves were cheaper?
I am now known as Flyboy.
Is that cake frosting?
They were very advanced, certainly. For the time.

The "steam engine" that you mention is, I think, the aeophile — a cool toy, and certainly an impressive one, but you cannot really compare it even to something as simple and inefficient as the Newcomen steam engine, let alone to the Watt engine or its successors.

I am not disparaging the Greeks or the Romans: the scholars of these civilizations did plenty of admirable work. But, well, they did it a long time ago, and it's not like the people of the middle ages (or of the renaissance, for that matter) contributed nothing to progress.
But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

 29 USAF713, Tue, 6th Dec '11 10:56:11 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
Indeed. As I understand it, by the time you hit the midpoint of the Middle Ages they were already bouncing back and any European army of notability could have easily outmatched a comparably large Roman legion. The "Dark Ages" are, save for a short period after the fall of Rome, largely a combination of myth and hyperbole perpetuated during the Renaissance, if I recall correctly.


edited 6th Dec '11 10:56:34 PM by USAF713

I am now known as Flyboy.
I have more of a problem with psychologists and social scientists claiming to know more than they actually know.

I've heard it argued that sociologists are afraid to actually do useful research precisely because of the misuses of science mentioned in this thread; that they're afraid of actually finding out how human society works, because politicians might use it to control people, so they do research where the conclusion is inevitably "more study is needed". I'm not sure how true that actually is, though.
Currently taking a break from the site. See my user page for more information.
 31 USAF713, Wed, 7th Dec '11 4:38:42 AM from the United States
I changed accounts.
That wouldn't surprise me. All this debate, for example, around whether or not welfare is good and wealth disparity is bad is rubbish. Any sociologist worth a damn already knows the answer.

I won't be an experimental sociologist, though. Too much time spent prancing about gathering data.

I am now known as Flyboy.
 32 Oscredwin, Wed, 7th Dec '11 6:40:08 AM from The Frozen East
How good and how bad matter, as do how much they cost. It's not enough to say something is good, you have to say it's better than the price.
Sex, Drugs, and Rationality
 33 USAF713, Wed, 7th Dec '11 7:12:03 AM from the United States
I changed accounts.
You obviously haven't taken sociology if you think it's not worth the money in the short-term to bring wealth disparity and poverty under control.

But I digress.
I am now known as Flyboy.
 34 Oscredwin, Wed, 7th Dec '11 7:19:59 AM from The Frozen East
That[up] a different claim then what you said [up][up][up]here. There are serious questions about how much things cost in terms of deadweight loss and lost growth potential, which, as far as I know, are handled by economics. I'm aware of the fact that people prefer to have equal wealth. Even rich people prefer equality although they prefer it much less if they think earned their money. The question of what the long term costs are. I'm interested in measuring the costs and the benefits before jumping to any conclusions.

edited 7th Dec '11 7:20:09 AM by Oscredwin

Sex, Drugs, and Rationality
 35 USAF713, Wed, 7th Dec '11 7:26:30 AM from the United States
I changed accounts.

I won't bother with the derail. Point is, (overly high) wealth disparity isn't really "bad, " it's society-ending. The only constraint on what we use to fix it should be moral in nature...
I am now known as Flyboy.
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Total posts: 35

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