APOD: Leo Trio (2017 Apr 12)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
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Ann
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Re: APOD: Leo Trio (2017 Apr 12)

Postby Ann » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:07 pm

This is how I see it. The universe is what it is and does what it does. My views on it, and my heartfelt hopes for it, will not change the nature or the evolution of the universe in the slightest.

The universe most certainly won't oblige to the majority view. It will not change its properties in order to suit any kind of human consensus. Therefore the majority view of the universe might be right, or it might be wrong.

Personally I have a lot of respect for the majority view in astronomy, nevertheless. That is due to the fact that I, in spite of my extremely shaky mathematics, can see how the majority view has been won through an extremely long, tedious, grueling, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes definitely biased but mostly extremely honest struggle to learn the truth about the cosmos. Astronomers have typically been open and honest about their views, hypotheses and methods in learning about the universe. Those who hold a minority view have been able to find the weak points in the line of arguments of those who stick to the mainstream view, and the "minority-champions" have been able (at least sometimes) to use cutting-edge equipment, such as large telescopes and powerful computers, to test their own hypotheses and try to prove the majority wrong. And, as I said, the huge majority of the astronomers have been open and honest about their hypotheses, their methods and their results.

I think that astronomy is great and wonderful. I think that it is science in, perhaps, its purest form. That doesn't necessarily mean that the majority view about the universe is "correct". And people who believe in other models of the universe may be more correct than the majority, for all I know.

But in many cases those who champion minority views will not have arrived at their convictions through honest hard work in the field of astronomy. Therefore, even though they may be more correct about the universe than those who hold the majority view, simply because the universe itself doesn't care one way or another, these "minority champions" will not have come by their knowledge in a rigorously scientific way.

The universe doesn't care either way. But personally I love to follow the work of the scientists, those who work so hard and follow all the rules as they try to expand humanity's knowledge about the universe. I love to see where they will take me and anyone else who wants to come along for the ride when they grapple with the mystery of the universe.

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Chris Peterson
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Re: Minority Retort

Postby Chris Peterson » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:45 pm

BDanielMayfield wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:
BDanielMayfield wrote:
Classic deflection. Ignore the argument (especially if it's true), just assail the qualifications of the one making the argument.

No. Appeal to authority is only a fallacy when the authority has no authority. A person qualified to have a non-mainstream view about some aspect of science where there actually is a consensus will almost certainly be an active researcher with a peer-reviewed publication history in that subject.


Note that in this exchange I haven't even brought up any particular non-mainstream view, I've merely dared to point out that mainstream views are subject to change as new data comes in. The mainstream view once was that everything revolved around the Earth; the invention of the telescope proved that wasn't the case. New tools could alter understandings in the future as well. One doesn't need to be a rocket (or any other type of) scientist to hold this valid opinion.

I get the sense you think I'm attacking you. I'm not.

I can not think of any example in modern science where a consensus view was overturned by somebody who was not a specialist in the subject. Can you? (It's also very rare for consensus views to get overturned at all... a separate issue.)
Chris

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Re: Minority Retort

Postby BDanielMayfield » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:35 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:I get the sense you think I'm attacking you. I'm not.

You sensed correctly. Nice that you're not.

I can not think of any example in modern science where a consensus view was overturned by somebody who was not a specialist in the subject. Can you? (It's also very rare for consensus views to get overturned at all... a separate issue.)

I'm under no apprehension that some yokel like me would be able to do something even close to overturning consensus view. At times I've even attempted to defend or explain consensus views to posters who asks questions, and you've often came in behind me to correct or clarify my points, which I've appreciated.

My point is just that new evidence can lead to new theories, not that I am or could in any way be the source of such. If that's what you were thinking, well, I don't.

Bruce
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Re: APOD: Leo Trio (2017 Apr 12)

Postby MarkBour » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:58 pm

tomatoherd wrote:So...there's a doppler shift on the side of the galaxy moving away from us and a blue shift on side towards us? And a big enough difference to measure? why have there been no APODs showing that? Is it so tiny it's not a visually demonstrable thing for a photo-based site? Is is just mathematical figures???

Chris Peterson wrote:No. Appeal to authority is only a fallacy when the authority has no authority. A person qualified to have a non-mainstream view about some aspect of science where there actually is a consensus will almost certainly be an active researcher with a peer-reviewed publication history in that subject.

Unless your name is Albert and it is 1904. :D
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Re: APOD: Leo Trio (2017 Apr 12)

Postby Chris Peterson » Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:06 am

MarkBour wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:No. Appeal to authority is only a fallacy when the authority has no authority. A person qualified to have a non-mainstream view about some aspect of science where there actually is a consensus will almost certainly be an active researcher with a peer-reviewed publication history in that subject.

Unless your name is Albert and it is 1904. :D

It's a little different when you basically invent the subject. But he did have excellent credentials.
Chris

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Ann
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Re: APOD: Leo Trio (2017 Apr 12)

Postby Ann » Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:37 am

When Riess at al. and Perlmutter et al. searched for distant supernovas to find clues about the evolution of the universe, they were really trying to find out how much the universe was decelerating. When the two teams announced that based on their research the universe apparently wasn't decelerating at all, but instead accelerating, the astronomical community was gobsmacked. That was in 1998, fairly recently.

But of course, the teams that carried out the supernova research were made up of scientists, and and the soundness of their hypothesis, methods and conclusions was peer-reviewed.

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Re: APOD: Leo Trio (2017 Apr 12)

Postby BDanielMayfield » Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:24 am

Ann wrote:When Riess at al. and Perlmutter et al. searched for distant supernovas to find clues about the evolution of the universe, they were really trying to find out how much the universe was decelerating. When the two teams announced that based on their research the universe apparently wasn't decelerating at all, but instead accelerating, the astronomical community was gobsmacked. That was in 1998, fairly recently.

But of course, the teams that carried out the supernova research were made up of scientists, and and the soundness of their hypothesis, methods and conclusions was peer-reviewed.

Ann


Excellent points Ann. Hubble's discovery of the expansion of the universe, and then the discovery of the acceleration of that expansion that you mention where two of the biggest, most mind blowing discoveries of the last century. Both have forced changes in mainstream astronomical thinking.

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Re: APOD: Leo Trio (2017 Apr 12)

Postby rstevenson » Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:49 pm

BDanielMayfield wrote:Excellent points Ann. Hubble's discovery of the expansion of the universe, and then the discovery of the acceleration of that expansion that you mention where two of the biggest, most mind blowing discoveries of the last century. Both have forced changes in mainstream astronomical thinking.
Bruce

No force was required, Bruce. Hard work was done by highly-qualified professionals; an interesting and unexpected result was obtained; other professionals sat up and took notice (and no doubt got out their calculators to check the work); and fairly soon a new consensus was reached and accepted. Scientists like new results; they don't need to be forced into accepting them, just convinced through the peer review process.

Science is not (usually) a contest of wills, not in this day and age. I think we may sometimes over-emphasize the struggles of scientists in days of yore, when the church ruled. It's not like that today, but today's way of working is not (usually) very exciting, so the old stories remain current.

Rob

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Re: APOD: Leo Trio (2017 Apr 12)

Postby Chris Peterson » Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:58 pm

BDanielMayfield wrote:
Ann wrote:When Riess at al. and Perlmutter et al. searched for distant supernovas to find clues about the evolution of the universe, they were really trying to find out how much the universe was decelerating. When the two teams announced that based on their research the universe apparently wasn't decelerating at all, but instead accelerating, the astronomical community was gobsmacked. That was in 1998, fairly recently.

But of course, the teams that carried out the supernova research were made up of scientists, and and the soundness of their hypothesis, methods and conclusions was peer-reviewed.

Ann


Excellent points Ann. Hubble's discovery of the expansion of the universe, and then the discovery of the acceleration of that expansion that you mention where two of the biggest, most mind blowing discoveries of the last century. Both have forced changes in mainstream astronomical thinking.

However, they were not ideas that really overturned existing consensus theories. There are, of course, numerous examples of new discoveries enhancing and extending scientific understanding. The examples I'm interested in are well established major paradigms being overturned.
Chris

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Re: APOD: Leo Trio (2017 Apr 12)

Postby MarkBour » Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:56 pm

Fascinating discussion, folks. And conducted with a decorum which is unusual for the Internet these days. I did like Ann's earlier post, it gives a sense of composure through it all, even when a paradigm shift comes along. I am reminded of Michael Polanyi and Thomas Kuhn, and The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
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Re: APOD: Leo Trio (2017 Apr 12)

Postby geckzilla » Thu Apr 13, 2017 3:09 pm

There are certain things in science that will be silenced mercilessly, though. Scientists are a pretty grumpy bunch when it comes to certain issues, just like with anyone else. And on matters of social justice there can be rather sharp divisions between ideological groups. There are some things I have learned never to even mention because I don't want to end up a pariah. Gravity? Dark matter? Black holes? Big Bang? Just about anything is fine. You may not be taken seriously without some serious credentials, but at least even the most loony-bin idea won't get people to actively campaign against you and get everyone else to shun you.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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Re: APOD: Leo Trio (2017 Apr 12)

Postby BDanielMayfield » Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:03 pm

rstevenson wrote:
BDanielMayfield wrote:Excellent points Ann. Hubble's discovery of the expansion of the universe, and then the discovery of the acceleration of that expansion that you mention where two of the biggest, most mind blowing discoveries of the last century. Both have forced changes in mainstream astronomical thinking.
Bruce

No force was required, Bruce. Hard work was done by highly-qualified professionals; an interesting and unexpected result was obtained; other professionals sat up and took notice (and no doubt got out their calculators to check the work); and fairly soon a new consensus was reached and accepted. Scientists like new results; they don't need to be forced into accepting them, just convinced through the peer review process.

Science is not (usually) a contest of wills, not in this day and age. I think we may sometimes over-emphasize the struggles of scientists in days of yore, when the church ruled. It's not like that today, but today's way of working is not (usually) very exciting, so the old stories remain current.

Rob


I should have wrote "required" instead of "forced".
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Re: APOD: Leo Trio (2017 Apr 12)

Postby MarkBour » Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:43 pm

Or, stick with "force". I think the usage is entirely appropriate. It makes a good pun, to boot.
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