Our star has a sibling...
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17-05-2014, 02:26 PM
RE: Our star has a sibling...
(17-05-2014 01:50 PM)Sam Wrote:  ...
Only someone terminally stupid would be confused by such simple metaphors.

I'm a poet (a proper one... published and everything) and a professional communicator... so I like metaphor... but...

Sam, you are forgetting our religiously indoctrinated brethren who will no doubt use these words to imply to the flock that their deities gave birth to stellar systems.

I can hear the ID crowd cooking something up on paper already ( Laughat how's that for a mixed metaphor)

Big Grin

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17-05-2014, 03:10 PM
RE: Our star has a sibling...
(17-05-2014 01:50 PM)Sam Wrote:  I put those words in quotation marks, because they are quotations...
Fair enough, but you did use the adverb "almost" when referring to the seemingly parental (according to you) relationship between stars of subsequent cycles.

(17-05-2014 01:50 PM)Sam Wrote:  I'm yet to see an astronomy book that doesn't use those terms when describing stars.
I'm yet to see a chemistry book that doesn't use the term "atom" when describing clearly divisible structures, and that does not make the usage of the word more correct. Lies do not become truths after a sufficient number of repetitions.

(17-05-2014 01:50 PM)Sam Wrote:  Metaphors are used to simplify complex topics, they're also used poetically. Anyone can see that there's a life like quality to stellar processes. Birth, growth, life, death, reproduction and evolution.
(Italics are mine)

Nice bit of circular reasoning there; if you ascribe life to stellar processes, then of course you find life like qualities in stellar processes. Would you care to please explain what you understand by "life"?

Thanks!
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17-05-2014, 03:25 PM
RE: Our star has a sibling...
(17-05-2014 03:10 PM)living thing Wrote:  
(17-05-2014 01:50 PM)Sam Wrote:  I put those words in quotation marks, because they are quotations...
Fair enough, but you did use the adverb "almost" when referring to the seemingly parental (according to you) relationship between stars of subsequent cycles.

(17-05-2014 01:50 PM)Sam Wrote:  I'm yet to see an astronomy book that doesn't use those terms when describing stars.
I'm yet to see a chemistry book that doesn't use the term "atom" when describing clearly divisible structures, and that does not make the usage of the word more correct. Lies do not become truths after a sufficient number of repetitions.

(17-05-2014 01:50 PM)Sam Wrote:  Metaphors are used to simplify complex topics, they're also used poetically. Anyone can see that there's a life like quality to stellar processes. Birth, growth, life, death, reproduction and evolution.
(Italics are mine)

Nice bit of circular reasoning there; if you ascribe life to stellar processes, then of course you find life like qualities in stellar processes. Would you care to please explain what you understand by "life"?

Thanks!

You are riding a broken hobby horse.
A word is defined by its usage, not its etymology. Atoms are whatever we say they are.

And if you don't like metaphor, don't use it. The rest of us find it useful for communication.

How about simile? Have you got a problem with simile? What's that like for you?

And what about alliteration, allusion, antithesis?

And I bet hyperbole is a huge problem. Drinking Beverage

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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17-05-2014, 06:29 PM
RE: Our star has a sibling...
The word "atom" means "indivisible"... "Planet" means "wandering star".

The meaning of words changes depending on usage... We know planets are not merely stars, and that atoms are not indivisible. But the names have stuck... If someone refers to a planet or atom you know exactly what they mean.

That's irrelevant, the terminology used by astronomers when describing stars very often includes the words "birth", "death" and "life cycle"...

You must consider the fact that humans recognize the similarities in stellar "life" with our own biological life... After all, we are made of star stuff, so its no wonder that scientists might get a little poetic when talking about the stars.

The language used is insignificant.

If your worry is that fundamentalists/creationists will misinterpret these findings, well here's a tip... Fundies don't care whether they've misinterpreted anything. They are anti-scientific, denialists.

You could explain stellar processes and evolution in the simplest, most unambiguous ways possible... And they'd still ignore it.

Science is for clever people... Dick heads can fuck off.

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17-05-2014, 07:53 PM (This post was last modified: 17-05-2014 08:27 PM by TheGulegon.)
RE: Our star has a sibling...
Really cool post, Sam Thumbsup

Sometimes weird questions pop up and won't leave me alone, so no one need answer but...

Could a planet exist in a dual star system and be capable of sustaining life?
Like would the 2 stars' gravity combine to act as one source, or would the competing forces cause the planet's orbit to be too erratic? Too cold in it's orbit's outer most distance, &/or too hot in it's closest pass of the 2 heat sources?

[edit] or did I already ask this in a Star Wars thread I'll NEVER find again, somewhere around here? Laugh out load

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17-05-2014, 09:03 PM
RE: Our star has a sibling...
(17-05-2014 07:53 PM)TheGulegon Wrote:  Really cool post, Sam Thumbsup

Sometimes weird questions pop up and won't leave me alone, so no one need answer but...

Could a planet exist in a dual star system and be capable of sustaining life?
Like would the 2 stars' gravity combine to act as one source, or would the competing forces cause the planet's orbit to be too erratic? Too cold in it's orbit's outer most distance, &/or too hot in it's closest pass of the 2 heat sources?

[edit] or did I already ask this in a Star Wars thread I'll NEVER find again, somewhere around here? Laugh out load

Orbiting a binary

And here.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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17-05-2014, 09:56 PM (This post was last modified: 17-05-2014 10:05 PM by TheGulegon.)
RE: Our star has a sibling...
(17-05-2014 09:03 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(17-05-2014 07:53 PM)TheGulegon Wrote:  Really cool post, Sam Thumbsup

Sometimes weird questions pop up and won't leave me alone, so no one need answer but...

Could a planet exist in a dual star system and be capable of sustaining life?
Like would the 2 stars' gravity combine to act as one source, or would the competing forces cause the planet's orbit to be too erratic? Too cold in it's orbit's outer most distance, &/or too hot in it's closest pass of the 2 heat sources?

[edit] or did I already ask this in a Star Wars thread I'll NEVER find again, somewhere around here? Laugh out load

Orbiting a binary

And here.

You had me at And here. Blush

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18-05-2014, 03:17 AM
RE: Our star has a sibling...
Hello again, Sam, how's the weekend going? I hope you're enjoying it.

(17-05-2014 06:29 PM)Sam Wrote:  The word "atom" means "indivisible"... "Planet" means "wandering star".
Well, to be fair, "planet" originally meant "wanderer" and the notion of wandering stars was conveyed, if I'm not mistaken, by the expression "asteres planetai"; by itself, the word derived from the verb "planasthai" did not convey the notion of a celestial object. But I agree in that the word "atom" means "indivisible".

(17-05-2014 06:29 PM)Sam Wrote:  The meaning of words changes depending on usage... We know planets are not merely stars, and that atoms are not indivisible.
I'm not sure the verb "knowing" is most appropriate here, especially if used in first person plural. What you think you know is obviously different from what I think I know, so a generalisation is not appropriate unless you're trying to appeal to a majority.

Maybe you've learned, from your reading of scientific history, that atoms are not indivisible. But I've extracted a different notion from my reading of scientific history: that the things many people call "atoms" are not atoms, because they are indeed divisible. Now, you can try to convince me as much as you want that atoms are not indivisible, but I am not likely to accept your claim as a truth because not only I am aware of the word's etymology and morphology, but I am also aware that the word is still used with its original meaning in scientific fields other than physics and chemistry. Removing a word's meaning just so that we can use it as a fancy label for a different notion causes confusion and we don't need confusion in order to outlast this planet; we need understanding.

(17-05-2014 06:29 PM)Sam Wrote:  If someone refers to a planet or atom you know exactly what they mean.
Well, not necessarily. If someone refers to Pluto as a planet, meaning that it follows a complex trajectory when its location is tracked from Earth, you may feel tempted to correct them, explaining that Pluto is different from the other planets in the solar system in enough features to deserve its own word. And in that case I wouldn't disagree with you, but the point here is that you wouldn't have known exactly what the other person meant.

Similarly, in quite a few threads already I have explored the conceptual possibility of matter being quantised into indivisible pieces and those would be ideal candidates to be referred to as atoms, but I cannot refer to them as atoms because if I do, most people will think I am talking about those complex structures that may be divided into simpler components by non-chemical means. If I want to be understood, I need to resort to different words and expressions such as "bits of real information". But I'm not sure I'm understood.

(17-05-2014 06:29 PM)Sam Wrote:  That's irrelevant, the terminology used by astronomers when describing stars very often includes the words "birth", "death" and "life cycle"...
Maybe astronomers should learn a little more biology.

(17-05-2014 06:29 PM)Sam Wrote:  You must consider the fact that humans recognize the similarities in stellar "life" with our own biological life... After all, we are made of star stuff, so its no wonder that scientists might get a little poetic when talking about the stars.
I'm not going to tell you what you must do, because I am simply a living thing describing a subjective and possibly mistaken view, but you may want to consider that humans recogise the differences between stellar existence and biological life. I am a human being too, and I recognise those differences. Must I forget them so that humans can only recognise the similarities?

(17-05-2014 06:29 PM)Sam Wrote:  The language used is insignificant.
Well, maybe language is insignificant and if you view it that way, it makes sense that you don't mind using words as meaningless labels. But I don't view it that way; from my perspective, language is a tool for conveying significance.

Many users of this forum including myself are native speakers of languages other than English. If language were insignificant, we might as well all try speaking to each other in our native languages, expecting to achieve the same degree of mutual understanding. But we don't; we resort to English as a common vehicle for ideas because the language used is critical to achieve effective communication.

(17-05-2014 06:29 PM)Sam Wrote:  If your worry is that fundamentalists/creationists will misinterpret these findings, well here's a tip... Fundies don't care whether they've misinterpreted anything. They are anti-scientific, denialists.

You could explain stellar processes and evolution in the simplest, most unambiguous ways possible... And they'd still ignore it.

Science is for clever people... Dick heads can fuck off.
My worry is not that fundamentalists/creationists will misinterpret these findings, that may have been DLJ's worry but not mine. My worry is that if we choose our words carelessly, we won't be able to understand each other, and if we don't understand each other, humanity will never behave as a superorganism capable of great feats.

I'm not sure about your claim that "fundies don't care whether they've misinterpreted anything". That may be true for some or even many of them, but the fact that there are users in this forum who describe themselves as ex-fundies suggests that fundies may care, indeed, whether they've misinterpreted something.

If I try to describe stellar processes and evolution in the simplest, most unambiguous ways possible and other people ignore my descriptions, that is bad luck but at least I tried to describe something in a simple and unambiguous way. If I choose to describe those entities in an unnecessarily complex and ambiguous way, just because other people might nevertheless ignore my opinion, then I'm being quite stupid, because I am making my opinion less accessible to those who might not ignore it. But please note that I am not asking you to describe processes in a simple and unambiguous way, I am simply explaining why I try to do so.

And I don't think science is for clever people; I'm not specially clever, and I'd like science to be for me too. I do not agree with every notion labelled as "scientific" but, as a collection of notions, science is certainly the most useful. I can be as stupid and a dick head as the average, but I don't want to be excluded from science as if science were some sort of club.

I thank you for sharing your view with me and others, and I hope you will not mind if my view is different. I am not suggesting that your view is wrong because I am aware that my view may be completely mistaken; it is simply different from yours because we look at the same universe from different perspectives.

Have fun!
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18-05-2014, 09:50 AM
RE: Our star has a sibling...
(18-05-2014 03:17 AM)living thing Wrote:  Hello again, Sam, how's the weekend going? I hope you're enjoying it.

(17-05-2014 06:29 PM)Sam Wrote:  The word "atom" means "indivisible"... "Planet" means "wandering star".
Well, to be fair, "planet" originally meant "wanderer" and the notion of wandering stars was conveyed, if I'm not mistaken, by the expression "asteres planetai"; by itself, the word derived from the verb "planasthai" did not convey the notion of a celestial object. But I agree in that the word "atom" means "indivisible".

(17-05-2014 06:29 PM)Sam Wrote:  The meaning of words changes depending on usage... We know planets are not merely stars, and that atoms are not indivisible.
I'm not sure the verb "knowing" is most appropriate here, especially if used in first person plural. What you think you know is obviously different from what I think I know, so a generalisation is not appropriate unless you're trying to appeal to a majority.

Maybe you've learned, from your reading of scientific history, that atoms are not indivisible. But I've extracted a different notion from my reading of scientific history: that the things many people call "atoms" are not atoms, because they are indeed divisible. Now, you can try to convince me as much as you want that atoms are not indivisible, but I am not likely to accept your claim as a truth because not only I am aware of the word's etymology and morphology, but I am also aware that the word is still used with its original meaning in scientific fields other than physics and chemistry. Removing a word's meaning just so that we can use it as a fancy label for a different notion causes confusion and we don't need confusion in order to outlast this planet; we need understanding.

(17-05-2014 06:29 PM)Sam Wrote:  If someone refers to a planet or atom you know exactly what they mean.
Well, not necessarily. If someone refers to Pluto as a planet, meaning that it follows a complex trajectory when its location is tracked from Earth, you may feel tempted to correct them, explaining that Pluto is different from the other planets in the solar system in enough features to deserve its own word. And in that case I wouldn't disagree with you, but the point here is that you wouldn't have known exactly what the other person meant.

Similarly, in quite a few threads already I have explored the conceptual possibility of matter being quantised into indivisible pieces and those would be ideal candidates to be referred to as atoms, but I cannot refer to them as atoms because if I do, most people will think I am talking about those complex structures that may be divided into simpler components by non-chemical means. If I want to be understood, I need to resort to different words and expressions such as "bits of real information". But I'm not sure I'm understood.

(17-05-2014 06:29 PM)Sam Wrote:  That's irrelevant, the terminology used by astronomers when describing stars very often includes the words "birth", "death" and "life cycle"...
Maybe astronomers should learn a little more biology.

(17-05-2014 06:29 PM)Sam Wrote:  You must consider the fact that humans recognize the similarities in stellar "life" with our own biological life... After all, we are made of star stuff, so its no wonder that scientists might get a little poetic when talking about the stars.
I'm not going to tell you what you must do, because I am simply a living thing describing a subjective and possibly mistaken view, but you may want to consider that humans recogise the differences between stellar existence and biological life. I am a human being too, and I recognise those differences. Must I forget them so that humans can only recognise the similarities?

(17-05-2014 06:29 PM)Sam Wrote:  The language used is insignificant.
Well, maybe language is insignificant and if you view it that way, it makes sense that you don't mind using words as meaningless labels. But I don't view it that way; from my perspective, language is a tool for conveying significance.

Many users of this forum including myself are native speakers of languages other than English. If language were insignificant, we might as well all try speaking to each other in our native languages, expecting to achieve the same degree of mutual understanding. But we don't; we resort to English as a common vehicle for ideas because the language used is critical to achieve effective communication.

(17-05-2014 06:29 PM)Sam Wrote:  If your worry is that fundamentalists/creationists will misinterpret these findings, well here's a tip... Fundies don't care whether they've misinterpreted anything. They are anti-scientific, denialists.

You could explain stellar processes and evolution in the simplest, most unambiguous ways possible... And they'd still ignore it.

Science is for clever people... Dick heads can fuck off.
My worry is not that fundamentalists/creationists will misinterpret these findings, that may have been DLJ's worry but not mine. My worry is that if we choose our words carelessly, we won't be able to understand each other, and if we don't understand each other, humanity will never behave as a superorganism capable of great feats.

I'm not sure about your claim that "fundies don't care whether they've misinterpreted anything". That may be true for some or even many of them, but the fact that there are users in this forum who describe themselves as ex-fundies suggests that fundies may care, indeed, whether they've misinterpreted something.

If I try to describe stellar processes and evolution in the simplest, most unambiguous ways possible and other people ignore my descriptions, that is bad luck but at least I tried to describe something in a simple and unambiguous way. If I choose to describe those entities in an unnecessarily complex and ambiguous way, just because other people might nevertheless ignore my opinion, then I'm being quite stupid, because I am making my opinion less accessible to those who might not ignore it. But please note that I am not asking you to describe processes in a simple and unambiguous way, I am simply explaining why I try to do so.

And I don't think science is for clever people; I'm not specially clever, and I'd like science to be for me too. I do not agree with every notion labelled as "scientific" but, as a collection of notions, science is certainly the most useful. I can be as stupid and a dick head as the average, but I don't want to be excluded from science as if science were some sort of club.

I thank you for sharing your view with me and others, and I hope you will not mind if my view is different. I am not suggesting that your view is wrong because I am aware that my view may be completely mistaken; it is simply different from yours because we look at the same universe from different perspectives.

Have fun!

You're just nitpicking over trivialities. Some of these words have been in use for centuries to describe objects. In many cases their literal translation no longer applies, but that really doesn't matter.

What would really cause confusion is if we suddenly decided to stop calling atoms atoms, because they aren't literally indivisible, and stopped using words like "birth", "death" and "life cycle" when talking about stars...

"Sorry kids, all your text books, and every scientific documentary, paper and journal using these terms must be rewritten or discarded because we've decided to rename everything that has a non-literal name."

Our understanding of the universe and everything in it evolves constantly... If we were to rename things every time a previously held theory is replaced, we'd cause real confusion.

All that is required, is a simple amendment to explain the etymology of the name, and that it is no longer a literal description of that object.

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18-05-2014, 02:52 PM
RE: Our star has a sibling...
(18-05-2014 09:50 AM)Sam Wrote:  You're just nitpicking over trivialities. Some of these words have been in use for centuries to describe objects. In many cases their literal translation no longer applies, but that really doesn't matter.

What would really cause confusion is if we suddenly decided to stop calling atoms atoms, because they aren't literally indivisible, and stopped using words like "birth", "death" and "life cycle" when talking about stars...

"Sorry kids, all your text books, and every scientific documentary, paper and journal using these terms must be rewritten or discarded because we've decided to rename everything that has a non-literal name."

Our understanding of the universe and everything in it evolves constantly... If we were to rename things every time a previously held theory is replaced, we'd cause real confusion.

All that is required, is a simple amendment to explain the etymology of the name, and that it is no longer a literal description of that object.
You may be right, I'm not saying you are not. Maybe laziness is a good reason to leave mistakes uncorrected.

I don't want you to change textbooks, or rewrite scientific papers. I don't even want you to stop calling those non-atomic things "atoms"; I am simply describing why I prefer not to call them "atoms" and why I do not consider the statement "atoms are divisible" to be a truth. You may understand the reasons behind my behaviour, or not understand them; I don't really mind although I do try to make myself understood. But I don't want you to change your behaviour; you've got your own brain and if I tried to make your decisions I'd be trying to live your life as well as mine. That wouldn't be fair. So please don't be annoyed if we view things differently; we don't have any obligation to agree.

But let us not allow the thread to drift away from its topic; you brought up something much more interesting than my remark about the possibly unsuitable language and my remark is next to irrelevant.

Once again, thanks for an interesting thread. Have fun!
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