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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Better way to describe "Science"

    I always say, "Nothing is definitive in Science."

    Do I express myself correctly? I mean we don't see a conclusive finding, something like that. There are many "grey areas" in Science.

    Thanks.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Better way to describe "Science"

    Quote Originally Posted by epina View Post
    I always say, "Nothing is definitive in Science."

    Do I express myself correctly? I mean we don't see a conclusive finding, something like that. There are many "grey areas" in Science.

    Thanks.
    It's not true to say that "Nothing is definite in science". There are many scientific facts that we know, as long as you agree that we can know anything at all. If you believe that we can know nothing definitely, then you can say "We know nothing definitely".
    A few definite things in science are:
    The atomic number of the basic elements:
    The orbits of the planets
    That electricity can kill you.

    Perhaps: "There are many things in science that are inconclusive". I don't think anyone would disagree with that.
    You need to be careful with saying "Nothing is X" when you mean "A lot of things aren't X" and similar generalisations.

  3. Newbie
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    #3

    Re: Better way to describe "Science"

    Excuse me, you kept using the word "definite." That was NOT what I used in my original statement!!!!

    I said, "Nothing is DEFINITIVE in Science."

    In my opinion, "definitive" means "conclusive" which you chose to use.

    Is there really a difference between "conclusive" and "definitive?"

    You wrote: "......as long as you agree that we can know anything at all...."

    The thing is I don't agree and there can be exceptions; that was why I chose the word "nothing."

    But for political correctness, I will take your point into consideration. By the way, there were survivors from lightning.

    Also, please note that it is wrong to put a "period" outside the quotes.

    e.g. "xxxxxxx." correct "xxxxxxx". incorrect

    For political correctness, maybe I should say, "In my opinion, it is wrong to put a period OUTSIDE the quotes."

    The truth is I am sure about this standard/rule and it is not really my opinion.
    Last edited by epina; 30-Sep-2009 at 00:38.

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Better way to describe "Science"

    Quote Originally Posted by epina View Post
    Excuse me, you kept using the word "definite." That was NOT what I used in my original statement!!!!
    Yes I misread your sentence. Sorry. It happens.

    You wrote: "......as long as you agree that we can know anything at all...."

    The thing is I don't agree and there can be exceptions; that was why I chose the word "nothing."
    Then you can say "We know nothing definitively".

    But for political correctness, I will take your point into consideration. By the way, there were survivors from lightning.
    That's irrelevant. The fact that there are survivors from lightning has no bearing at all on the fact that electricity can kill you.
    I think you mean "politeness". Political correctness is a different thing altogether.

    Also, please note that it is wrong to put a "period" outside the quotes.
    I know where to put the period, thanks. I put it at the end of a sentence as do many people.

    For political correctness, maybe I should say, "In my opinion, it is wrong to put a period OUTSIDE the quotes."
    No, that's not political correctness. That's politeness. Or some people might phrase it that way to avoid making a fool of themselves.


    The truth is I am sure about this standard/rule and it is not really my opinion.
    OK, well I won't call you an arrogant and narrow-minded, because that would be political incorrect, but I do believe you are wrong.
    Do you see anything hypocritical and intellectually sloppy about asserting that nothing can be known definitively, and then stating that it is true that a period must come before a closing quote?
    Absolutely nothing in the universe is definitively known except that you are right, and that a period comes within the quotes.
    R.
    Last edited by Raymott; 30-Sep-2009 at 03:53.

  5. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Better way to describe "Science"

    How's that for a kick in the teeth when you help someone!

    [bladi el]!

  6. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Better way to describe "Science"

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    How's that for a kick in the teeth when you help someone!

    [bladi el]!
    Oh, well. She probably hasn't learnt English politeness functions yet. It must be difficult believing in nothing but one's own correctitude and punctuation though.

  7. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Better way to describe "Science"

    Punctuation yes, punctillious, no. What a bad combination.

  8. Newbie
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    #8

    Re: Better way to describe "Science"

    Re: Post #4

    It is sad that the teachers think that they are superior and that the students are almost always wrong.

    I don't believe that it is fair to compare one's view on Science to that of a punctuation rule and make comments like "hypocritical and intellectually sloppy." I believe Science and grammar rule are very different.

    I think you mean "politeness".
    If I rephrase my original statement/view on Science, it has nothing to do with politeness regardless of whether it is a political correctness issue.

    To say that it is wrong to put a period outside the quotes is to share a punctuation rule with those who read the thread.

    http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/quotes.asp - rule #1

    It is not arrogant nor narrow-minded to emphasize or clarify that I follow a punctuation rule and that I am not expressing my preference/opinion.

    ************************************************** ************************************************** ********
    Re: Post #7

    I tried to justify the spelling of "punctillious" (with double 'l') but in vain. I don't mean to embarrass you but I think it is important that the readers/students learn the correct spelling.

    If the teachers believe that it is impolite for a student to say that he/she thinks the teacher has made a mistake, so be it.

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    #9

    Re: Better way to describe "Science"

    Have you watched "Dark Matter (2007)"?

    Be careful !!!

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    #10

    Re: Better way to describe "Science"

    Quote Originally Posted by epina View Post
    I always say, "Nothing is definitive in Science."

    Do I express myself correctly? I mean we don't see a conclusive finding, something like that. There are many "grey areas" in Science.

    Thanks.
    The existence of grey areas doesn't necessarily lead to the conclusion that nothing is definitive. Grey areas would include areas where there is uncertainty, conflicting theories, etc, but not where there is consensus now that may be replaced in the future when our knowledge or understanding is greater.

    Theories can, of course, be replaced, but what about constants? Not being a scientist, I don't know whether constants exist, though I recall having read that the speed of light is a constant. If this is the case, then the statement could be regarded as inaccurate. It might be worth thinking about changing nothing to little unless you can demonstrate in some way or argue the case for there being no constants at all, or presumably constants to come.

    It could also be open to criticism by those fans of Heidegger who see the statement as self-contradictory- if your statement is true, then there is something definitive- the absence of definitiveness.


    BTW, the rule you give for the punctuation outside quotes is not correct- in British English, and other variants, it is perfectly acceptable to place the punctuation outside- quotes get the punctuation we feel they should have. If the punctuation seems more a part of our sentence than the quote, we put it outside. It's not as rigid as direct speech and suits our needs rather than slavishly following a fixed pattern.

    GV Carey, the author of Mind the Stop, said that "Punctuation is governed 2/3s by rule and 1/3 by personal taste." or "Punctuation is governed 2/3s by rule and 1/3 by personal taste". Whichever way, he allows for plenty of scope and flexibility with punctuation and, as the author of one of the best-known guides to the art, he probably isn't advocating bad punctuation.


    You also ask whether there is a difference between conclusive and definitive. While they have a similar meaning, I would say that the latter is stronger. Do you use coprpora? (1,2)corpus If not, do start- they're ecxcellent for looking at things like the differences in meaning of near-synonyms, and can give an understanding that extends the dictionary definition. Search for negative forms too and you'll see that they are not the same. Is a government report on, say, poverty more likely to be described as conclusive or definitive?

    I don't know any teacher who would claim to be right all the time, and Raymott did apologise for misreading the word, not that it invalidates his answer. Your response was uncalled for and rather mean-spirited. If you wish to discuss things, please try not to be so aggressive.

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