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We Have To Qualify That Statement Carefully!

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Posted by Box Holder on September 27, 2002 17:35:46 UTC

Chris wrote:
"I'm with Mike. People usually get only one chance in the scientific community. Once they say something that they know is false, there goes there scientific career out the window. No one wants to here what they have to say after that. If anyone does, they are very sceptical and critical about whatever that person puts forward."

Hi
Good that you care about integrity. I do think you are pushing the envelope, Chris. To explore that topic a little further:
How do we know someone "knew" something was false? Probably we "know" only if they say something contrary to their demonstrated knowledge in the most formal process , such as a series of scientific papers or a court of law, where it can be determined to be more than very likely that they knew it was not so...or alternately, if they admit doing so in formal detail.

Parhaps you were using anonymous rhetorical methods to elicit this explanation, for I do feel you were exceeding your own data in the way you phrased that note.
The weakest parts were:
1) the vagueness of the terms, such as
"usually," "the scientific community," "something," no one," "anyone," and "whatever" ...
2) which were chained to very strong assertions:
"only one," "they know," "scientific career out the window," and "very skeptical and critical."

If that were a story problem being put into an equation its parts would read in the general form
(variable with very vague references) 'times' (a constant) 'equals' (a behavior that commonly occurs under many circumstances already).

What I could safely assert about the topic is:
"Science processes enable us to obtain accuracy about quantities, behaviors and relationships. Probably most scientists are highly dedicated to obtaining accuracy. Some safeguards and procedures are available for checking their work and even disciplining scientists."

How's that?
Mike

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