scientific

Tag archives for scientific

Ask Ethan #17: The Burden of Proof

“Never waste your time trying to explain who you are to people who are committed to misunderstanding you.” -Dream Hampton Perhaps no word in the English language generates as much misunderstanding as the word theory. In scientific circles, this word has a very specific meaning that’s different from everyday use, and — as a theoretical…

Most Scientific Theories Are Wrong

“There could be no fairer destiny for any physical theory than that it should point the way to a more comprehensive theory in which it lives on as a limiting case.” -Albert Einstein Imagine: you’ve worked hard all your life, through your primary and secondary school education, where you worked hard to get into a…

“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.” -Frederick Douglass I thought we were past this, I really did. Having grown up in New York, having lived in eight different states and traveled to 39…

What is this all about?

“You don’t use science to show that you’re right, you use science to become right.” -Randall of xkcd In January of 2008, I began writing this blog, Starts With A Bang, both for myself and for all of you, because we all have something in common. The same planet, the same heavens, the same laws of nature and the…

Astronomers make use of… molecules?

When I think of molecules, I think of Conan O’Brien doing his skit where he plays Moleculo… the molecular man! I don’t think of astronomy, and I certainly don’t think of the leftover radiation from the big bang (known as the cosmic microwave background)! But somebody over at the European Southern Observatory put these two…

Scientific Arguments

Sometimes, I publish things on this website that are not entirely correct (and when I do, I’ll own up to it). Sometimes other people do on theirs. There are bad ways and good ways to argue these points, ranging from name-calling to explicitly explaining where the flaws are in one’s arguments, and what the corrections…

On String Theory from a String Theorist

Bret Underwood, a friend of mine from my time in Madison, WI, saw my post on String Theory, and took issue with my statement that it wasn’t testable. I’m still standing behind what I said, but let’s address what Bret has to say. I don’t understand your argument above for why string theory is untestable.…

Brain-damaged arguments and Boltzmann Brains

Okay, so I got a question from my friend Tamara, who’s a high school teacher in my hometown of New York City. It concerns a recent article she read on the front page of the New York Times about something funny that us scientists are calling Boltzmann Brains. I’ve read this article three times since…