Laws and Theories Among the Common People

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I guess it’s fair to say that the scientific community has not done so well in constructing its jargon vocabulary. That being said, it’s actually kind of sad how little people know outside of the scientific community, but are so prepared to argue for or against topics that they don’t know much about.

I came across an article today that talks about the discovery of a new dinosaur, from which birds may have evolved. You can read about it here: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/29/world/asia/dinosaur-discovery/index.html?iref=allsearch

I always like to scroll through the comments just to read what others have to say about the topics I’m reading; but reading these comments was worse than nails on a chalkboard. Before I go on, I would like to point out that this post is not about whether or not the Theory of Evolution is true, but rather attacking the arguments that those outside of the scientific community make to justify their points. Here are just a few of the comments that I read on the article today:

“Technically reality itself is a theory.
We cannot prove conclusively that we are not all just programs running inside a big virtual reality machine.”

“[S]o is gravity, for that matter. whoops, dropped my drink, wait no I couldn’t have, it’s right here on my table in spite of the evidence of broken glass and water on the floor because it’s just a theory.”

Yes, technically it is a theory, because it has not been (and probably cannot absolutely be!?) proven – but the evidence is overwhelming, and its a lot better than the fairy tales that other people chose to believe.”

Just stop for a second and read those comments. Can you figure out what is wrong with what they are saying? All of them seem to be under the impression that a “theory” is something that can’t be proven, hence why we can argue that it doesn’t exist. Before we distinguish what a “theory” and a “law” is in the scientific community, let’s consider what society seems to think they are. The biggest misconception is that a theory is a guess; a hunch of some sort. Such as, “My theory is that she jumped from her bedroom window, and wasn’t pushed.” That, according to the English language, is indeed a theory; a guess (whether educated or not) as to what had actually occurred. In the scientific community theories are FAR from educated guesses, or a hunch. The next misconception is that theories are not proven, and thus they are not factual. The last main misconception is that once a theory is proven, then it becomes a law; so only laws are scientific fact.

FALSE. FALSE. FALSE. So let’s set the record straight.

A scientific law is a description of an observed phenomenon. For instance, let’s take a look at Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation, that states that every mass in the universe is attracted to each other by a force that is directly proportional to their mass, yet inversely proportional to the distance between them squared. Or in more visual terms:

F = G \frac{m_1 m_2}{r^2}\

This law describes how point masses will interact with each other by the force of gravity. It is a physical observation of the phenomenon. It tells us that the apple will fall from the tree to the ground, and gives us a means of calculating that, but it doesn’t explain why the apple will fall from the tree to the ground.

Theories, on the other hand are an explanation for the physical observation of phenomenon. For instance, unlike Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation, Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity explains why we observe the phenomenon seen in Newton’s laws. Both laws and theories consolidate a lot of research and successful testing before being categorized as such. Both can be proven and unproven. Take for instance Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity; which is a theory that was proven by predicting and observing the bending of light in an eclipse. To argue that theories are not facts is not necessarily true either. Did you know that the equations in Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity are used in GPS tracking, otherwise your GPS would be off by a number of kilometers. If you’re ever interested, here’s an awesome read about it: http://www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~pogge/Ast162/Unit5/gps.html

Long story short, scientific laws are meant to describe how things behave in nature, while scientific theories are meant to explain why things behave the way they do. Theories and laws go hand in hand, such that your theory must be able to accommodate the laws that are associated to it. It is false to think that theories become laws when they are proven, because laws and theories are two different concepts. Not to mention that both theories and laws can be (and generally are) proven and challenged. Arguing against a certain theory (such as the Theory of Evolution) because you believe that theories are not proven, scientific fact just makes you look like a fool…to us science folk at least.

Stay educated my friends.

Kate Hunt’s Deal and the Rest of the World

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The other day I read a Facebook status that one of my friends posted about this Kate Hunt girl that the world seems to be going crazy about. The status read this:

“If the police in Florida are going after Kate Hunt, they should go after every other teen couple who are sexually consenting outside of the legal limit(s).

Heterosexual teens are not exempt from the law.”

I don’t watch the news much now that I don’t have a TV, since I can’t really find the motivation to search online. I had no idea what was going on with this Kate Hunt girl, so I did my quick research. For those of you that don’t know the story (or those of you that do and want to correct me), here is what is going on:

Kate Hunt is an 18 year old high school senior from Indian River County, Florida. She was apparently in a homosexual relationship with a girl in her school that was 14 (or 15, I’m not really sure). The younger girl’s parents found out and decided to press charges against Kate Hunt. Kate was arrested on two charges of lewd and lascivious assault on a minor. Now supporters of Kate’s cause have popped up all over the place with a ‘Free Kate’ outcry to stop her prosecution.

Let me just start by saying that I, in no way, endorse her prosecution (just so we’re clear). I just feel as if majority of people in this world are unable to look at things from a different perspective. Now everyone’s going on about how she’s only being prosecuted because she’s a homosexual, and that they were targeting her specifically, and that this is an attack on the homosexual community…you know, all that jazz. Yes, I do think that this was STARTED because she was involved in a homosexual relationship; but that was the parent of the younger girl’s doing, not because there’s some conspiracy out there to demoralize the LGBT community.

Let’s stop and consider this for a second…

The law in Florida states that the age of consent is 18, and that sex with a minor between the ages of 12-16 is considered a felony (I think that’s right…). So let’s just imagine that Kate Hunt was a guy instead of a girl. If the younger girl’s parents still pressed charges, do you think the police department can just say, “We’re just going to drop the case because they’re in high school, and we don’t see anything wrong with that.” UHMMMM, NO! Because they have a legal responsibility to pursue the matter if the victim (or victim’s parent in this case…and I’m using the word victim in strictly a legal way, not because I think she’s a victim) wants to press charges.

Now the LGBT community, and its supporters, is out there demanding injustice and that we start hunting down all heterosexual couples who are not within the proper age limits. I don’t understand why people think they can be above the law when it suits them. Do they not understand that if charges were dropped for Kate Hunt’s case, that would shatter the entire legal process on that matter and provide a gateway of counter arguments for any future potential sex offense involving a minor, whether heterosexual or homosexual. Legally, we cannot allow for that to happen.

This whole ‘pot stirring’ from the LGBT community just annoys me, because it’s as if they’re always looking for a cause to defend. Do remember a few years ago when that kid who was bullied for being a homosexual by his college roommate committed suicide by throwing himself from the George Washington Bridge in NYC? And suddenly everyone goes wild and creates a nationwide event to wear purple in remembrance of him, and all those that were bullied into suicide? Why. Why. Why….By wearing purple you’re practically telling those who are being bullied that if you commit suicide, then you’ll be remembered by the community. How is that going to help anyone? On that day I wore green, for the living. Does that make me a bad person? I don’t think it does. I truly felt sorrow for that kid. What they did to him was just awful, and he didn’t deserve that. I wish he would have lived; but wearing purple is not going to change that.

Now if that guy had been bullied for other reasons rather than being gay, would we still have worn purple on that day? I think not, because when you isolate yourself like that, you tend to only care about people within your own group. I know it seems wrong, but you know it’s true. The LGBT community isn’t the only one that does this. Not that I need to disclose any more personal information on here, but I come from a diverse background; and I do not agree with ‘African American communities’, or ‘Hispanic organizations’, or ‘Asian Societies’. My ideology is that when you separate yourself into a group like that society views you as different, and you begin to view others in society as different as well. But we’re not really that different. We’re all still people, regardless of your background and sexual orientation. So I like to walk around being who I am; and my friends come to love who I am, without the need of support from outside organizations. I’m really not a bad person. I’m more of a rather simple person. There’s no need to isolate yourself within a group of people because they’re just like you. Be who you are, and people will love you for it; and if they don’t they can go fuck themselves.

Wow, this was ALL over the place. Well, if you got anything from this post I hope it’s these two things:

  1. Don’t conform for others; be who you are because you are no different than anyone else in this world.
  2. Follow the legal system.

As for Kate Hunt, I sympathize for her. It’s awful that the other girl’s parents are pursuing this, most likely because their daughter is a homosexual. I hope things turn out in her favor – if she truly wasn’t violating the young girl, that is. That being said, it’s rather sad to think that society is giving her so much sympathy because she’s a female and a homosexual.

WHERE’S THE SYMPATHY FOR THE REST OF THE WORLD?