Talk:List of popular misconceptions about science/Archive 1

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This page is directly created because those who feel Christian Mythology should include works such as the New Testament and Old Testament. I feel that if 'mythology' is an appropriate word for those works, then it is appropriate for most other scientific fields too. -- BenBaker

You make a valid point, but given the pro-science orientation of the wikipedia, it's unlikely that the mythology label will wind up applied equally to religion and science. I tried mentioning two different usages of mythology and someone put a disclaimer at the top of religious mythology but this looks like a long war to me. I'm going to remain on the sidelines for this one. --Ed Poor

This is whacked. I appreciate your opinion that science can be wrong, but that doesn't make this npov. It's an incorrect use of the term mythology. Mythology, even when using the loose description of a story with symbolic and religious significance, doesn't apply to scientific findings, even if you disagree with them. Scientific theories are neither symbolic nor religious in nature. You can't go bending the language to suit your pet theories. Argue against using Christian mythology (and you might start by suggesting something better but still accurate), but don't argue for Scientific mythology which is bogus. --Dmerrill

The existence of the page seems reasonable; I came up with some real examples. The original contents, of course, is just malicious lies and has no place in honest discourse. --LDC

--- And mythology does not apply to religious beliefs. I don't believe you think that religious views are true. That is your choice. But your feelings or lack of belief does not change that they are true. My characterizing scientific views as mythology is not claiming they are false. I am merely taking the same approach that is being used on the Christian Mythology page, and you are reacting to it. Can it be that you are now able to understand how some Christians will react to that page? And yes. Scientific theories are religious and are symbolic when understood that Theology is the queen of the sciences, and all other sciences can only be understood in reference to Truth. By the way, LDC, characterising my examples as malicious and as lies is inflammatory, and beneath you.

-- BenBaker

After seeing LDC's edit of the page, I changed my mind about whether there should be such an article. There are mythologies around the field of science. The initial article claimed that scientific facts such as evolution, or theories such as natural selection were in fact mythology, a baseless claim that seems prompted by malice. The stories now listed actually make sense here. --Dmerrill

Personally, I do like this page since there are a whole bunchs of stories about how science is done that are of dubious validity. Flame wars over nautral selection don't belong here, but incorrect popular beliefs about science and what scientists do, should belong here. It's also analogous to Christian mythology, questions about the divinity about Jesus don't belong on that page, but beliefs which are not supported by scripture do (i.e. Lillith). -- Chenyu

I added the interaction of the Catholic Church and Galileo which is much more complex than what is popularly believed. Also added the Catholic Church and the flat earth since the Church never held that the world was flat, and this story was created in the mid-19th century. -- Chenyu

Let's be clear about what "myth" means; there seems to be some misunderstanding because the word is often misused to mean "falsehood". A myth is a story about specific people or events, that is told for the purpose of instruction, example, or literary background, and for which its actual truth is irrelevant to that use (whether or not it happens to be true).

Some myths of some religions might very well be true. That doesn't change whether or not they are mythical. Just as with the real scientific myths I outlined here. Archimedes might very well have run naked through the street shouting "Eureka", or he might not have, but the story is useful in its own right. Religious myths are the same: I know there are many--perhaps even a majority--of honest, practicing Christians who don't believe that there was a actual person named Noah who built a big boat and gathered animals and survived a 40-day flood over the surface of the Earth. Some might believe that it actually happened, but the story itself provides instruction and allegory and literary foundation and all the other things myths provide. Whether or not Buddha actually found enlightenment sitting under the Bodhi tree isn't relevant to the value of the story as a myth; that is simply a fact about what myths are, and Christian ones are not different from Hindu, Buddhist, or scientific ones. If a few Christians react badly to that, tough shit. This is an encyclopedia; we're not here to coddle the sensitivities of people, we're here to report about facts, culture, history, sociology, etc., as those things are generally reported in academia.

Note also that myths are stories about specific people and events--not theories. Theories are something else, which is also irrelevant to whether or not they are true. Calling an theory a myth is simply a misuse of the term. And your implication that things like Evolution are taught as myths, i.e., for the purpose of instruction where the actual facts aren't as relevant, is a malicious lie, because you, personally, know that isn't true. They are taught as theories, while stories like Noah's ark are taught as instructive stories, even by people who take them as fact. There is a real difference here, and you know what that difference is. I don't expect everyone here to agree on what's true and what isn't, but I do expect some basic personal integrity not to report on things one knows are not true. --LDC

I think you are using a different definition of malice than I am. From my dictionary,

malice is described as an Enmity of Heart, and the state of mind manifested by an intent to commit an unlawful act. Malice usually implies a deep seated and often unreasonable dislike that takes pleasure in seeing others suffer.
Emnity suggests postive hatred which may be open or concealed or dormant. Enmity is described as ill will on one side or both; hatred; especially mutual antagonism.

I may be frustrated by some people's refusal to allow other people's freedom of belief and consistent implication or outright statements that religious views are false. I don't think I hate those people. I simply support the NPOV as best I can. I have consistently said that myth and mythology is not the same thing, and the technical use of myth as refering to true statements is not generally understood by the reading public at large, who understand to be target audience of the articles on wikipedia. -- BenBaker

As to my experience (which I have stated in the past), regarding the teaching of Evolution, it drastically depends on the teacher. I have had teachers who taught the Theory of Evolution as a myth. (using your terms) They apparently did not understand the concept of Natural Selection, and were only interested in indoctrinating students in the 'right way to think'. As I said previously, I'm glad you didn't have teachers like that. But they do exist, and your refusal to see that there are people who treat science with a 'religious' mindset doesn't change their approach to teaching. In my opinion, if you teach a story with no reference to relevant facts, then you are teaching it as a myth. I do reserve the word 'mythology' for stories which are taught with the understanding that they are not necessarily historic facts. --BenBaker

OK, "malicious" was out of line. And yes, there are scientific myths, and teachers that teach some aspects of science as mythology. This article is a good place to talk about that. But please do pay attention to the difference between a theory and a story. Myths are stories about specific people and events. One cannot teach "evolution" in general as a myth; but there are certainly specific stories about it that may be taught as mythical: the Peppered Moth story, for example, which I added. If you think the other mythology articles aren't clear about exactly what mythology is, and what the word means, then perhaps that's worth fixing. --LDC

Well, Ben, I was almost willing to give you some credit, but you just removed some very good text and replaced your lies, and marked your substantive change as a "minor edit", clearly as a deliberate attempt to hide your changes. That behavior is not acceptable, and I hereby ask that you be formally censured if not banned for it. --LDC

1) I restored a paragraph that was a mirror of the paragraph in Christian Mythology. That other paragraph has now been changed, so I need to evaluate what must be done here to keep them in sync. 2) I marked my change that included the paragraph as minor because I needed to check the history of the article to make sure I didn't overwrite a paragraph, (which is exactly what you accused me of doing). I have no problem with a give-and-take on editing, but I don't like to see anyone's contribution erased, simply because there is a fast and furious editing going on. And having someone react to my paragraph when I haven't included the other people's contribution is unfair to them, hence I marked my minor change as a minor edit. --BenBaker

I quote the following from Taw:

I'm generally for Scentific Point of View, which sometimes, but not very often, is in comflict with Strictly Neutral Point of View. . . .

The Proposal

Immediately before replying to emotional subject, one should make useful neutral contribution to wikipedia, like starting or editing an article

It's impossible and useless to stop people from emotional discussions.

I think that human emotions should be exploited by such informal standard. It may also temperate disucssion, as people won't reply immediately after they got angry.

I hereby promise to more or less satisfy this Proposal, even if I were the only one who do it.

  • Taw (See Glycine, Collagen, Pokemon and others)
  • Jimbo Wales, especially I will do this before arguing with The Cunc. I promise. It's a great idea.
  • WojPob
  • sodium who rapidly sees what little spare time he has diffusing away :)
  • Ed Poor, hoping this will reduce friction with scientists and others regarding controversial topics.

The example of the peppered moth brings up a good point in that while religion and morality may be taught effectively through the use of dramatic stories, you get into big problems if you teach science (and for that matter history) that way. -- Chenyu

Chenyu, I'm curious if you can even teach religious history without a dramatic story. In the process of attaching the significance of religious belief to the story, it is inevitable that the story becomes dramatic.

Ben, I try to take it slow when multiple people are editing the same article. By the way, how do you like the opening 2 paragraphs now? Ed Poor . . . of Christian Mythology I mean.

I want to register a complaint about this article, on three grounds. First, Ben, it hardly follows that, since "Christian mythology" is apparently fair game on Wikipedia (though you think is inappropriate--and I do too, on NPOV grounds), "scientific mythology" names a topic appropriate for an encyclopedia. In fact, I don't think we should have articles with either name. (I will shortly redirect them as I think is appropriate, since I suspect nobody else will feel bold enough to do so.) Second, as others have said, apparently, you misunderstand what "mythology" means. Myth implies falsehood; many stories you've listed might very well be true. Third, and this is most important: Wikipedia is not the place for original research! As far as I can tell, you have invented the concept of "scientific mythology" and are now stating your theory about it. (If I'm wrong, prove it.) That is not what Wikipedia is for! Hmm. I think a lot of people still don't understand this; I'm going to put an essay about it on Meta-Wikipedia. --LMS

Larry, I created the topic originally in an almost exact rephrasing of the Christian Mythology page. I have no problem with your redirecting to 'stories ...' as that phrasing does not include the implicit characterization of falsehood. Now that the page is back at Christian mythology, without the inclusion of scripture as mythology, I have no problem with it. I did not create a concept of Scientific Mythology any more than the original author of Christian Mythology created that concept. I purposely added to the page theories and laws that would generally be accepted as true here. One of the first edits removed those items. This shows, in my opinion, the general disagreement (even among Wikipedians) that true items should be included with a title that includes 'Mythology'. I wasn't trying to be controversial, as much as trying for balance in the Wikipedia as a whole. I appreciate your attempt to redirect the Article title. I believe it served the purpose. -- BenBaker