newhorizons

On the subject of astronomy I beg to differ!
« on: August 11, 2019, 04:43:18 PM »
Just come across the astronomy page in FE Wiki.  This starts off with:

Quote
On the topic of astronomy there is a view that, for whomever may practice it, astronomy is a pseudoscience.
Whoever wrote this has clearly got a very deluded understanding of astronomy. Far from being a 'pseudoscience' I would say that astronomy is not only one of the most popular sciences worldwide but is also one of the most accessible sciences to the public at large.

To suggest that true science can only be done through experiment is absurd. Astronomers gather their data through radiation received from the Universe as a whole and we then interpret that data to gain an understanding of physical bodies such as stars. We can gather a lot of data about the physical properties of stars for example through spectral analysis. 

I have done some proper science of my own using my own equipment. A supernova occured in a galaxy 65 million light years from Earth a few years back. Using a special filter I was able to image the spectrum of the supernova and identifiy a characteristic spectral line. Using software I was able to measure the observed wavelengh of the spectral line and then compare that to the laboratory standard wavelength.  As expected the observed wavelength was blue shifted becuase the shell of material released by the supernova was expanding at high velocity which (for a short time) was greater than the galaxies rate of recession away from us.  This was enough data to enable me to calculate the shell expansion velocity as about 5% of the speed of light.  I wrote a magazine article about it which I will be happy to attach to a further post if anyone is interested.   So how is that not an example of me doing true science using my own equipment and my own data?

Astrology is far more fitting of of the title of pseudoscience but astronomy, absolutely no way. 

*

Offline Tom Bishop

  • Zetetic Council Member
  • **
  • Posts: 6543
  • Flat Earth Believer
    • View Profile
Re: On the subject of astronomy I beg to differ!
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2019, 06:49:50 AM »
You are referring to this page: https://wiki.tfes.org/Astronomy_is_a_Pseudoscience

Astronomy is literally a pseudoscience, as it relies on observation and interpretation.

Phys.org says:

https://phys.org/news/2014-11-scientists-distinguishes-science-pseudoscience.html

Quote
Pseudoscience mimics aspects of science while fundamentally denying the scientific method. A useful definition of the scientific method is:

    principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.

A key phrase is "testing of hypotheses". We test hypotheses because they can be wrong.

Chemical Times & Trends, Volume 23 says:

Quote
"A theory does not become a fact without experimentation and repetition to rule out all other explanations."

Roger Bacon, father of the scientific method said:

Quote
"Without experiment, nothing can be adequately known. An argument proves theoretically, but does not give the certitude necessary to remove all doubt; nor will the mind repose in the clear view of truth, unless it f‌inds it by way of experiment."

“The strongest arguments prove nothing, so long as the conclusions are not verified by experience.”

In regards to blueshift and redshift, those theories don't work out in the universe as they do on Earth. The theories need to be modified. Most galaxies we see are redshifted to a degree that doesn't really make sense, and the implication is that we are the center of the universe. The cosmological redshift is known as Hubble’s law, and postulated that the known universe is expanding. Hypothetical mechanisms were put in place to change the observation and its implications based on the experimental science of the redshift and blueshift of light into an undiscovered metric expansion of space and time.

See this quote from Edwin Hubble:
    “ Such a condition (the red shifts) would imply that we occupy a unique position in the universe, analogous, in a sense, to the ancient conception of a central earth. The hypothesis cannot be disproved but it is unwelcome and would be accepted only as a last resort in order to save the phenomena. Therefore, we disregard this possibility and consider the alternative, namely, a distribution which thins out with distance.

    A thinning out would be readily explained in either of two ways. The first is space absorption. If the nebulae were seen through a tenuous haze, they would fade away faster than could be accounted for by distance and red-shifts alone, and the distribution, even if it were uniform, would appear to thin out. The second explanation is a super-system of nebulae, isolated in a larger world, with our own nebula somewhere near the centre. In this case the real distribution would thin out after all the proper corrections had been applied.

    Both explanations seem plausible, but neither is permitted by the observations.

    The apparent departures from uniformity in the World Picture are fully compensated by the minimum possible corrections for redshifts on any interpretation. No margin is left for a thinning out. The true distribution must either be uniform or increase outward, leaving the observer in a unique position.

    But the unwelcome supposition of a favoured location must be avoided at all costs… Such a favoured position, of course, is intolerable… Therefore, in order to restore homogeneity, and to escape the horror of a unique position, the departures from uniformity, which are introduced by the recession factors, must be compensated by the second term representing effects of spatial curvature. There seems to be no other escape. ”
                      — E. Hubble The Observational Approach to Cosmology, 1937, p.58

Stephen Hawking said:
    “ "...all this evidence that the universe looks the same whichever direction we look in might seem to suggest there is something special about our place in the universe. In particular, it might seem that if we observe all other galaxies to be moving away from us, then we must be at the center of the universe."

    "There is, however, an alternate explanation: the universe might look the same in every direction as seen from any other galaxy, too. This, as we have seen, was Friedmann’s second assumption. We have no scientific evidence for, or against, this assumption. We believe it only on grounds of modesty: it would be most remarkable if the universe looked the same in every direction around us, but not around other points in the universe." ”
                      —Steven Hawking, A Brief History of Time, p. 42 (Bantam, 1988).

From Paul Davies in Nature:
    “ If the Earth were at the center of the universe, the attraction of the surrounding mass of stars would also produce redshifts wherever we looked! This theory seems quite consistent with our astronomical observations ”

Does believing in a theory "on grounds of modesty" sound scientific to you?

newhorizons

Re: On the subject of astronomy I beg to differ!
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2019, 08:21:08 AM »
Well thank you for that little collection of quotes Tom. All very fascinating. I just typed in 'astronomy' into Google and I struggled to find a definition of astronomy that didn't contain the word scientific or science somewhere within it.  Astronomy involves a lot of physics and chemistry so how you could get away from describing it as a science is beyond me.

Your evidence to support your opinion focuses on comments that other people have said.  Notably Stephen Hawking and Edwin Hubble I notice. Both key figures in the field of astronomy and physics. That is fair enough but a comment or opinion does not in itself form a definition.  To be honest it doesn't really bother me what other people have said about it. But if you are going to describe astronomy as a 'pseudo' science then I think you will find yourself in a small, if not extremely small minority who do so. Astronomy is a huge subject because it studies the entire Universe and you cannot get much bigger than that. It is also a very personal subject and the way one person studies the subject is unique and independent. Why not join a local astronomy society yourself and I'm sure all the members will be more than happy to give you their personal insight into just how fascinating a subject astronomy is. I would be a little careful about describing it as a 'pseudo' science though. That would make you rather unpopular very quickly.

I am well aware of the scientific method and I believe that in many cases the definition of science includes the words experimentation or observation as the means of obtaining data. Science then involves the analysis of that data to identify trends and relationships.

All the astronomy or astrophysics degrees that I know of are classified as BSc degrees.  BSc meaning Batchelor of Science. Must be a reason for that.  I look forward to receiving mine in a couple of years time.

In my opinion one of the reasons why the FE movement have a tendency to belittle or dimsiss astronomy as they do is because they know that it is their threat or obstacle for want of a better expression. Especially modern astronomy. A popular way of fending off a threat or obstacle is to belittle it. Obviously they won't admit that but denial is no evidence of the truth or otherwise.

« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 08:48:09 AM by newhorizons »

*

Offline stack

  • *
  • Posts: 1255
    • View Profile
Re: On the subject of astronomy I beg to differ!
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2019, 08:46:46 AM »
You are referring to this page: https://wiki.tfes.org/Astronomy_is_a_Pseudoscience

Astronomy is literally a pseudoscience, as it relies on observation and interpretation.

Philosophically, I’ve never understood this argument as I’m not sure what it’s an argument for or against in terms of a Flat Earth Society perspective. It’s basically throwing the baby out with the bath water; the nuclear option. By stating that Astronomy is a pseudoscience basically dispenses with any and all observations, findings, theories, notions Astronomy has come up with, ever. Which would include all things astronomically heliocentric, geocentric and flat. All of it.

So are you saying that all things astronomical are essentially unknown and therefore no determination about anything regarding our cosmos is valid? Where are you drawing the line?
Not much is known about the celestial bodies and their distances.

Re: On the subject of astronomy I beg to differ!
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2019, 09:03:01 AM »
You are referring to this page: https://wiki.tfes.org/Astronomy_is_a_Pseudoscience

Astronomy is literally a pseudoscience, as it relies on observation and interpretation.

Phys.org says:

https://phys.org/news/2014-11-scientists-distinguishes-science-pseudoscience.html

Quote
Pseudoscience mimics aspects of science while fundamentally denying the scientific method. A useful definition of the scientific method is:

    principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.

A key phrase is "testing of hypotheses". We test hypotheses because they can be wrong.

To me it looks like Tom proved himself wrong. Taking the definition of the scientific method (in Tom's words):

    principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.

It contains the word 'observation'. And that is what scientists and people do in astronomy. They observe. So observing the sky is according to the scientific method, based on Tom's own quote.

The going on, I agree with Tom as he says:

Quote
A key phrase is "testing of hypotheses". We test hypotheses because they can be wrong.

Yes that is correct! I agree with the phrase stated by Tom! And that is why I look at the sky every day and night, observe the sunrise, sunset, the moon, phases of the moon, eclipses, stars, planets, other moons, galaxies and test the 'sphere earth model' every day and night. And guess what? So far I have not observed something wrong with it!

*

Online Rama Set

  • *
  • Posts: 5681
  • Round and round...
    • View Profile
Re: On the subject of astronomy I beg to differ!
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2019, 02:25:07 PM »
It seems silly that using the phenomena of the apparent uniformity of the universe as a “gotcha!” example of astronomy being pseudoscience. There are always problems and gaps in knowledge that every field is struggling to solve.
You don't get races of anything ... accept people.

newhorizons

Re: On the subject of astronomy I beg to differ!
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2019, 03:45:23 PM »
I always took science to be the interpretation and analysis of data obtained through empirical methods. Empirical meaning either through observation or experiment.  If you only count experiment and not observation then surely that would mean you can't count meteorology (the study of weather patterns) as a science because that is almost entirely done through observations.

Re: On the subject of astronomy I beg to differ!
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2019, 04:06:57 PM »
I always took science to be the interpretation and analysis of data obtained through empirical methods. Empirical meaning either through observation or experiment.  If you only count experiment and not observation then surely that would mean you can't count meteorology (the study of weather patterns) as a science because that is almost entirely done through observations.
I'd be interested to know what Tom makes of claims like

"When we observe the sun, we are observing its projection upon the atmolayer."
(https://wiki.tfes.org/Bi-Polar_Model)

What experiment or empirical evidence is that claim based on?
If you are making your claim without evidence then we can discard it without evidence.

newhorizons

Re: On the subject of astronomy I beg to differ!
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2019, 04:21:03 PM »
Well they (the FE Movement) invented such a claim so it can only be them that explain or account for it.

Tell me I am being unreasonable here but to me describing such a long standing and well established scientific field as astronomy a 'pseudo science' is knocking on the door of insulting of ridiculous. There are many aspects or theories in astronomy that can easily be tested in a laboratory. So how is that not experimentation?

*

Offline Tim Alphabeaver

  • *
  • Posts: 175
  • That's no beaver
    • View Profile
Re: On the subject of astronomy I beg to differ!
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2019, 07:13:25 PM »
You are referring to this page: https://wiki.tfes.org/Astronomy_is_a_Pseudoscience

Astronomy is literally a pseudoscience, as it relies on observation and interpretation.

[...]
those theories don't work out in the universe as they do on Earth. The theories need to be modified.
[...]
Does believing in a theory "on grounds of modesty" sound scientific to you?

You say that you think it's a pseudoscience, but then your argument evolves into "I don't agree with modern theories because of xyz reasons".

Science doesn't just become pseudoscience because you personally disagree with the theories put forward: it's science if it follows the scientific method. You seem to think that astronomy does follow the scientific method, as you even say yourself:
Quote from: Tom Bishop
...based on the experimental science of the redshift and blueshift of light
So what exactly is your point? Some theories in astronomy include as-yet unproven assumptions? That doesn't mean the whole field isn't science, it just means that the experiment hasn't been done yet!

Let me ask you: did you also think that particle physics was a pseudoscience until the Higgs Boson was observed? That was an unproven assumption, which if I'm following your logic, renders the whole field of particle physics a "pseudoscience".

Of course you don't actually think that, because that would be moronic, so could you please enlighten me as to what exactly the point you're trying to make is?
**I move away from the infinite flat plane to breathe in

newhorizons

Re: On the subject of astronomy I beg to differ!
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2019, 10:21:22 PM »
Tom claims that there is no experimental work done in astronomy.. so here are some articles and documents that seem to tell a different story..

https://link.springer.com/journal/volumesAndIssues/10686


*

Offline Tom Bishop

  • Zetetic Council Member
  • **
  • Posts: 6543
  • Flat Earth Believer
    • View Profile
Re: On the subject of astronomy I beg to differ!
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2019, 02:25:34 PM »
https://link.springer.com/journal/10686

Quote
Experimental Astronomy
Astrophysical Instrumentation and Methods

Description

Many new instruments for observing astronomical objects at a variety of wavelengths have been and are continually being developed. Consequently, a vast amount of effort is being put into new data analysis techniques to cope with rivers of data collected by these instruments.

Experimental Astronomy is a medium for the publication of papers of contemporary scientific interest on astrophysical instrumentation and methods necessary for the conduct of astronomy at all wavelength fields.

Experimental Astronomy publishes full-length articles, research letters and reviews on developments in detection techniques, instruments, and data analysis and image processing techniques. Occasional special issues are published, giving an in-depth presentation of the instrumentation and/or analysis connected with specific projects, such as satellite experiments or ground-based telescopes, or of specialized techniques.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2019, 08:22:49 PM by Tom Bishop »

newhorizons

Re: On the subject of astronomy I beg to differ!
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2019, 07:55:07 PM »
Experiment/observation...  does it really matter? Astronomy is about observing and interpreting the Universe as a whole. Studying the data from celestial bodies which mainly comes to us from the light we receive from them.

As I alluded to previously, amateur astronomers study the subject in so many different ways. Some simply read about the subject others equip themselves with telescopes and cameras and head outside and observe the Universe for themselves. Whatever the case it is what we learn about the Universe that matters and a truth that cannot be denied is that millions of astronomers all over the world love the subject and share the passion they get from it.

What you call it is immaterial to me. But please, do not belittle it as interest in astronomy is as large and as widespread as the subject it studies.

Offline Dumbo

  • *
  • Posts: 6
    • View Profile
Re: On the subject of astronomy I beg to differ!
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2019, 02:57:32 PM »
Well thank you for that little collection of quotes Tom. All very fascinating. I just typed in 'astronomy' into Google and I struggled to find a definition of astronomy that didn't contain the word scientific or science somewhere within it.  Astronomy involves a lot of physics and chemistry so how you could get away from describing it as a science is beyond me.

Your evidence to support your opinion focuses on comments that other people have said.  Notably Stephen Hawking and Edwin Hubble I notice. Both key figures in the field of astronomy and physics. That is fair enough but a comment or opinion does not in itself form a definition.  To be honest it doesn't really bother me what other people have said about it. But if you are going to describe astronomy as a 'pseudo' science then I think you will find yourself in a small, if not extremely small minority who do so. Astronomy is a huge subject because it studies the entire Universe and you cannot get much bigger than that. It is also a very personal subject and the way one person studies the subject is unique and independent. Why not join a local astronomy society yourself and I'm sure all the members will be more than happy to give you their personal insight into just how fascinating a subject astronomy is. I would be a little careful about describing it as a 'pseudo' science though. That would make you rather unpopular very quickly.

I am well aware of the scientific method and I believe that in many cases the definition of science includes the words experimentation or observation as the means of obtaining data. Science then involves the analysis of that data to identify trends and relationships.

All the astronomy or astrophysics degrees that I know of are classified as BSc degrees.  BSc meaning Batchelor of Science. Must be a reason for that.  I look forward to receiving mine in a couple of years time.

In my opinion one of the reasons why the FE movement have a tendency to belittle or dimsiss astronomy as they do is because they know that it is their threat or obstacle for want of a better expression. Especially modern astronomy. A popular way of fending off a threat or obstacle is to belittle it. Obviously they won't admit that but denial is no evidence of the truth or otherwise.
I believe that the point being made by Tom , if you would read the quotes more thoroughly, is that scientific process is not being truely applied when conclusions are being thrown out which don’t fit well , or at all , with your beliefs which are held to be so , regardless of outcome . In so much as saying “ it can’t be so as this does not fit into my religion .

newhorizons

Re: On the subject of astronomy I beg to differ!
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2019, 08:37:12 PM »
The scientific method is about reaching conclusions based on identified trends from data collection.  A scientist does not start off with a belief and then throw out as incorrect any data that doesn't seem to fit that belief. Rather it is the opposite way around. We will collect data first and then build a theory or model that best fits that data.  If at any time new data seems to show that the theories or models are inaccurate or can be improved further then that is taken in account as appropriate. Which of these sounds more like FE theory and which sounds like RE theory to you?

Of course there will be erroneous observations but taking in the holistic picture or trend it is quite apparent when a pattern is forming. Take eclipsing variables, cepheid variables and the HR diagram as examples.

Re: On the subject of astronomy I beg to differ!
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2019, 06:24:27 PM »
Astronomy is literally a pseudoscience, as it relies on observation and interpretation.

I'm afraid your whole response demonstrates a lack of understanding about exactly what science is and how astronomy is conducted.

I gather that you think that because we can't manipulate stars, then there's nothing we can test. Do I have that right?

If that's your point, then I'm afraid you don't understand astronomy at all. Take spectral lines, for instance - Once we identified the spectral lines for each element, we could test starlight to see if those lines were replicated there. They were. We developed models based on what we understood about those elements and looked at stars to see if the stars with those elements matched the models. The pair-instability supernova for supermassive stars was modeled out based on what we understood, and then three years ago we saw exactly that.

I'm going to take a wild guess that you've never sat down with a research astronomer and learned what he or she actually does all day. I think you'd be surprised - stunned, actually - at the amount of actual science being done to gain every little scrap of knowledge.

newhorizons

Re: On the subject of astronomy I beg to differ!
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2019, 06:59:25 PM »
I must admit before I came across this website I had not heard a term such as pseudoscience. The only thing that I can think of which 'literally' meets the description of a 'pseudo' science is astrology.  You have predictions of a sort but there is absolutely no scientific basis for it.

Anyway I digress. I'm not sure how you can physically manipulate something that is light years away. Of course everything you say is absolutely true and when you think about what astronomers can do perched on the tops of mountains with modern telescopes, I'm sure they would not take too kindly to being described as 'pseudo astronomers'. It does show a rather ignorant attitude towards what astronomy is about these days and a complete disconnection with what astronomy is about today.  Tom seems to place more significance on astronomy as it was in the past instead of how it is today.

Such comments as are made in FE Wiki used to really make me angry but now I just dismiss them. Nothing can change my love for what is a fascinating and ever changing branch of science.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2019, 07:00:57 PM by newhorizons »