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    Quote of the Week
    By Enrico Uva | April 20th 2012 11:25 AM | 105 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Enrico

    I majored in chemistry, worked briefly in the food industry and at Fisheries and Oceans. I then obtained a degree in education. Since then I have...

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    I hope that with my title I'm not stepping on Tomasso Dorigo's toes. He normally does this sort of thing.

    Scientific questions that ask for final answers are, by definition, unanswerable.
    --Marcelo Gleiser Theoretical Physicist at Darmouth

    Nice. We all know that scientific answers always lead to more questions. This won't ever end. Does anyone out there want to live forever because of this? I sometimes do, but maybe I'm rationalizing.
     

    And on a completely different note,
    here is some time lapse photography to reveal how silver crystals grow from the reduction of silver ions and the oxidation of copper. I used one frame per 11 seconds this morning.

    Comments

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    I've observed, through readers' comments, that more and more Science 2.0 contributors have learned to overlook Sascha's occasionally abrasive comments and are focusing instead on the quality of his blogs and articles.
    Enrico, you are only speaking for all of the several admiring Science2.0 contributors like you, whose comments don't all get deleted by Sascha. If all dissenting comments on his blogs are deleted as trollipop then naturally it looks as though there is no dissent and just growing appreciation of the quality of Sascha's blogs! It's called censorship, and dictators and control freaks are very good at it. Your observations are based on false information and data.

    Sascha has deleted all of my and other people's dissenting comments and links to contrary evidence arguing against the scientific validity of advising for example suicidal people, that they will feel no pain if they jump from a 20 storey building onto concrete from his 'Suicide: Life Ends Six Metres Above The Ground' blog.

    When I complained about this on another blog in the past, like I am now, Sascha then publicly threatened me and accused me of being a schizophrenic who talks to aliens, so the owner of that blog deleted all of the comments, including mine about his article! He will probably attack me again here and you will feel obliged to delete this perfectly valid comment here and so it goes on. Have you ever wondered why there are so few women making comments here at Science2.0? Its because many women have argued passionately in the past about subjects and then had their comments deleted or the comments section closed down, and they don't like male censorship, it is not because we are meek or disinterested in science. Just read the 'Is Wikipedia Sexist Too' blog if you want proof.

    I have a BSc honours degree in Psychology and I am in the final year of a Social Science degree majoring in Counselling. I am an experienced, trained, crisis telephone counselor and supervisor and every year over a million people in the world commit suicide, many of them scour the internet beforehand, looking for painless ways to kill themselves. How many of them have found and read Sascha's 'quality' blog with all of its dissenting and opposing comments and links to evidence removed and decided that this is a scientifically proven, painless, suicide method and how many of them did feel pain on impact I wonder? I guess we will never know.

    Right now someone might be reading that Science2.0 'quality' blog and planning their painless suicide and death today, by jumping from a 20 storey building onto concrete. They might also read this blog praising Sascha but hopefully this one, lonely, dissenting comment will remain to make them at least think twice before they jump.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    UvaE
    Helen, there are 11 featured female writers and columnists at Science 2.0, so I don't see evidence of discrimination. Also the majority of Sascha's posts are not suicide-related. The quality-ones I was referring deal with his specialty, physics.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Sascha often deletes dissenting or what he calls 'trollipop' comments on all of his blogs, regardless of whether they are about physics or the Dalai Lama, the drugs war, nanotechnology, scientific experiments with falling planks, American Imperialism, foot fetishes, the singularity, cooking cat recipes, consciousness, regressive thinking, dualism or any of the very many science and non-science topics that he chooses to cover.

    Making observations and deductions about the way that readers are appreciating the quality of even just his physics blogs, despite his often abrasive comments, simply from the remaining uncensored but non-dissenting comments is therefore still not very scientific or valid.

    If I write a blog arguing against a painless death from jumping from a 20 storey building onto concrete, I am pretty sure that it would not be allowed to remain here, but maybe that's what I need to do to find out? BTW Enrico, I don't believe that women are being discriminated against at Science2.0 at all, I never said that, please reread what I wrote. I am also not interested in pursuing my speculations about different male and female psychological responses to censorship that I mentioned earlier, as they detract from my main point about censored comments giving false impressions about readers appreciation of the quality of any blog, including a physics blog.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    Its because many women have argued passionately in the past about subjects and then had their comments deleted or the comments section closed down, and they don't like male censorship, it is not because we are meek or disinterested in science. Just read the 'Is Wikipedia Sexist Too' blog if you want proof.
    If you want to argue a male conspiracy, then you'll have to do better than that, because many of the comments are simply anonymous and deserved deletion.  On the other hand, if you're asking that females be treated differently than males on these posts, then you need to think about what the term "sexist" means.  It does no good to argue that women react or behave differently, because then you're simply claiming that women are different and should be treated differently.  If it's about equality, then everyone gets treated the same, and I don't see any evidence to suggest that females are singled out in any capacity.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    I am not arguing a male conspiracy but I am saying there are psychological differences between men and women and how they respond to criticism and perceived censorship. The simple proof here will be if my comment above is allowed to remain.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    Actually that won't be proof of anything.  You can't conflate your personal experiences with all females.
    ...but I am saying there are psychological differences between men and women and how they respond to criticism and perceived censorship.
    So the question remains.  Are you saying that females should be treated differently than males?  That seems to be what you're implying.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    No, not at all, I wish I hadn't even mentioned the female response to censorship, as we are digressing from the main point I wanted to make which is that censorship of dissenting blog comments can give false impressions.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    You're right that you shouldn't have brought up male/female issues.  However, you also haven't demonstrated arbitrary censorship, since every poster has the ability and "right" to delete comments that they feel distract from the theme of their post.  That's one of the nice things about this, is that dissenters have a forum in which they can post their own articles and maintain control over what gets posted there as well.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Well this is an outreach science website and Enrico clearly said :-
    I've observed, through readers' comments, that more and more Science 2.0 contributors have learned to overlook Sascha's occasionally abrasive comments and are focusing instead on the quality of his blogs and articles.
    So if he or anyone else here with moderator powers (like Sascha) then deletes my comments here questioning the validity of his observations, then this will simply prove my point scientifically :)
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    No moderator is going to arbitrarily delete posts from someone's blog.  If it's their own, then that is their choice.  If Enrico wanted to delete this series of posts, then why should I tell him he can't?
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Gerhard, I am not in any way telling you to tell Enrico that he can't delete these comments, but if he does delete my comments disagreeing with his empirical observations that censored comments give a fair impression to readers that science2.0 contributors have a general appreciation of such 'quality' blogs then he will have proved my point.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    UvaE
    If any one cares to recall counter-examples, please point them out, but the comments I've deleted fall under these categories:

    (1) Things I've said that are more directly related to my work and which have little to do with Science 2.0.
    (2) Comments that are disguised links to commercial sites.
    (3) Things I've written when I was half-asleep and were regrettable when I was fully awake.
    (4) One comment which was just gratuitive and destructive criticism.

    In my articles, only very occasionally have I seen comments disappear without my doing.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Enrico, thank you very much for allowing my dissenting comments to remain and for not proving my point! Below you have said in response to this comment by Steve :-
    In fairness to Enrico he probably never imagined that a casual comment would be so controversial!
    I did imagine, but I also had the probably unrealistic expectation that an open discussion would help iron things out.
    I don't think that was an unrealistic expectation at all Enrico, it has definitely helped to iron things out a bit. You also later said :-
    I've seen it first-hand in high school, junior college, undergraduate and in graduate settings. It's so easy for teachers and professors to get away with making unchallenged statements in class and even in face-to-face discussions with peers. Students or peers can be easily oversensitive to the possibility of offending, and so they create a lifeless silence to science.

    For me the open forum of science 2.0 is a welcome antidote to that. Of course the rules of civility must always hold in place, and moderators have responded to people stepping over the line--not through deletion of those comments necessarily but by pointing them out to the offender, sometimes behind the scenes.
    All I can say is that I wholeheartedly agree with you Enrico, that this is a very welcome antidote and hope that you will keep up the good work of spreading this message here at Science2.0.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    There is no question that most of Vongehr's comments here at Science2.0 don't exceed the level of screaming & shouting. I personally consider also the quality of most of his blogs (particularly the physics ones) well below par. Remember his diarhea of posts on superluminal neutrinos? He made a fool out of himself in attempting to describe a faulty cable connection by invoking magical 'superluminal jumps'.

    Gerhard Adam
    I find it interesting that anonymous posters feel qualified to criticize posters as either being dogmatic and non-open minded and yet when they are open-minded they are ridiculed by those "Johnny-come-lately's" after the data is in.

    The reality is that Sascha never claimed that superluminal neutrinos existed, although he was certainly receptive to the idea.  Primarily the intent was to show that their existence did not requirement fanciful physics, nor a violation of Einstein.  While so many people were climbing on the "Einstein is wrong" bandwagon, Sascha was one of the few that bothered to explain that even if superluminal neutrinos existed, that it had nothing to do with violating relativity.

    So while you can talk about a "faulty cable connection", let's remember that all the people posting [including physicists] were quite prepared for all manner of exotic explanations and theories, so if you want to talk about people making "fools of themselves", then you'd better include most of the people posting on this topic [everywhere].
    Mundus vult decipi
    OK, you are not a physicist. No problem. But please read again your comments. No fanciful physics? Ha,ha, is that your description of instantaneous jumps? Instantaneous jumps not violating relativity? Wow. I hear Einstein screaming from his grave. And just for your information: I am no "Johnny-come-lately" here. I explained to Sascha in comments to his blog that he was wrong and why his million-times-the-speed-of-light-jumps violate the basic principles of physics. He deleted all my comments.

    Gerhard Adam
    Sorry, but you'll have to do better than that.  Right now, all I see is an anonymous poster, and frankly, I've had my fill of people that are re-inventing physics.

    So, what "basic principles" are being violated?  Especially since the point was specifically to account for an unknown, unexpected phenomenon.  After all, if Einstein was going to be "over-turned", then it can hardly be claimed to be business as usual.  So, it's actually somewhat ironic that you would criticize Sasche for violating the "basic principles of physics", when the mere existence of superluminal neutrinos [had that been accurate] would have done so.  What would your position have been then?

    However, in fairness, Sascha was also quite specific regarding his position:
    I have already clearly enough pointed out that I personally expect that the superluminal neutrinos will go away as nothing but a systematic error. However, if the superluminal neutrinos stay with us, a scenario like I discussed is most likely to account for it.
    http://www.science20.com/alpha_meme/neutrinos_can_go_faster_light_without_violating_relativity-82950
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Gerhard, surely you can see that the point that this anonymous commenter is making, supports the very valid scientific point that I am making to Enrico about his empirical observations and deductions.

    This anonymous commenter clearly says that Sascha deleted his perfectly valid dissenting comments on one of Sascha's physics blogs, arguing against Sascha's faster than light neutrino initial jumps and supporting the laws of relativity. Enrico believes that because there are no dissenting comments on Sascha's physics blogs that this is a sign of Science2.0 readers and contributors now appreciating Sascha's physics blogs as being quality blogs, despite Sascha's occasional abrasive comments, when really it is a sign of biased, self-supporting censorship.

    BTW, I am not in any way saying that Sascha doesn't write some quality blogs, which I also enjoy reading, I am just opposed to Enrico's unscientific observations and deductions from the censored comments sections and very worried about the people following Sascha's advice for committing suicide painlessly, without even knowing about, let alone getting a chance to read the heavily censored, deleted, opposing viewpoints, comments and evidence.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    "Reinventing physics" we better leave to Sascha and the likes. No reputable physicist ever considered superluminal neutrino claims credible. And all bloggers with a solid physics background (including those at Science2.0) made the same perfectly clear. Your statement "Had superluminal neutrinos been accurate then bla, bla.." as well as Sascha's statement "If the superluminal neutrinos stay with us then bla bla.." can have only one reply: We are not going to derive vacuous truths here, are we?

    Gerhard Adam
    Well, now you've put your foot in it.
    No reputable physicist ever considered superluminal neutrino claims credible.
    So "no reputable physicist" ever considered it?  So then you're saying that the press releases and the announcements from OPERA were from less than reputable physicists?

    In addition, you obviously ignored the comments in the article that indicated that they were likely going to be a systematic error, so again, I don't know what the basis for your accusation is unless you're just inclined to deliberately misrepresent what was said.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerard tries again with: "So "no reputable physicist" ever considered it?  So then you're saying that the press releases and the announcements from OPERA were from less than reputable physicists?". Welcome back to the discussion Gerhard. Elsewhere in this tread you left another discussion with an angry remark void of any discussion-specific content. I am sure you can do better here. So, why are you leaving out of your remark the word "credible"? The word is somewhat relevant, isn't it? Attempting a strawman? Let me put the word back in again: No reputable physicist ever considered superluminal neutrinos *credible*. This remark also applies to the scientists in the OPERA collaboration: they were very careful in the wording of the article and never lended credibility to superluminal motion. Still many of them made a drastic decision and decided *not* to sign the authors list thereby ensuring their names remained out of the article. All reputable scientists. These remarks also apply to Science2.0. Based on a deep understanding of physics, Dorigo from start brushed superluminal neutrinos aside. So did the Hammockman and all other physicists here. Except for one individual. An individual who managed to continue spitting out titles like "A million times the speed of light", "neutrinos can go faster than light without violating relativity" and "OPERA confirms faster than light neutrinos and indicates ultra superluminal small initial jumps". These are interesting titles coming from someone who now hastily retracts and claims he never considered superluminal neutrinos in any way credible. Name me any reputable physicist who wrote similar headlines as Sascha's.

    vongehr
    Sascha never claimed that superluminal neutrinos existed, although he was certainly receptive to the idea.
    I wasn't even receptive to the idea. It was clear from day one, and I said so from day one as one of the earliest science bloggers with a clear position before others even knew what is going on, that FTL neutrinos are extreeeeemly likely a systematic error, period. The only reason I posted on the topic at all (I do not post on little sigma bumps and preliminary rumors - that is TD's domain) is that I am strongly against religious distortions of science, for example people who do not understand modern physics (like obviously "G") making a dogma out of what may be little more than graphene's emergent SO(1,3) symmetry on a stringy membrane.
    Gerhard Adam
    I wasn't even receptive to the idea.
    My apologies for speaking on your behalf in this.  To be honest, I didn't follow everything that closely, since I thought it was much ado about what would amount to nothing.  As a result, I was probably a bit more liberal in interpreting your position than I would have been had I read everything more carefully.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Steve Davis
    I have to support Helen on this, in so far as Enrico's use of "Sascha's occasionally abrasive comments" is a bit of a whitewash. (In fairness to Enrico he probably never imagined that a casual comment would be so controversial!)
    But "abrasive" is not adequate to describe the sneering, the urge to dominate discussions and the threats against individuals.
    A few days ago he made an "abrasive" comment then added in brackets something about being angry that day.
    That's not good enough and should not be tolerated.
    We would not accept that from a child, so why accept it from an adult?
    I have no problem with the fact that Sascha likes to publicly declare his infallibility, but one so positioned should not feel the need to engage in childish antics. 
    UvaE
    In fairness to Enrico he probably never imagined that a casual comment would be so controversial!
    I did imagine, but I also had the probably unrealistic expectation that an open discussion would help iron things out.
    vongehr
    Scientific questions that ask for final answers are, by definition, unanswerable ... scientific answers always lead to more questions.
    That 'scientific answers' up to now have always lead to many more questions neither implies that it must always remain this way, nor do I see that this is so by definition. Though mathematics does for some not fall under science due to empirical verification being inapplicable (e.g. also here in the classification scheme at Scince2.0 does mathematics not fall under science), it seems to me that terminology/logic belong to the very core of science (while empirical stuff is necessary because we are simply not clever enough to do without) and that once certain fundamental questions (for example non-decidability) are proven to be a certain way, then that is the final answer at least to the particular issue right there, period.
    Sorry if this should be an abrasive comment, but I do not think the quote is any good. It looks like as if it was given in a context where it served to rationalize some suspicious argument - after he ran out of good reasons kind of thing. It is also too easily taken as justification for pseudo-science, like "well, we will never truly know whether Bell's prove is not somehow wrong".
    Sacha writes: " it seems to me that terminology/logic belong to the very core of science [..] and that once certain fundamental questions (for example non-decidability) are proven to be a certain way, then that is the final answer at least to the particular issue right there, period." Let me help you here, as you grossly misinterpret undecidability. Undecidability proves the opposite of what you claim it demonstrates. Undecidability gives us a hard proof that there never will be an all-encompassing final answer. Undecidability tells us that within any system of formal logic certain proposition will be undecidable. Is that the end of it? By no means. Stronger, more general systems of logic can be build, and will be build, that include all the truths previously derived, and that also prove (or disprove) the previously undecidable propositions. Is that the end of it? No, because the stronger system of logic will generate new propositions appear that are undecidable. Undecidability will always be with us, and makes science a never ending enterprise. Isn't that lovely?

    vongehr
    Undecidability will always be with us
    So you agree on it being final. Good. Whats all the "no, no, no, Sascha is wrong" for then all the time? Just admit I am right and we are through with it already.
    You again miss the whole point. Undecidability is not the answer. It is the never ending chain of ever more powerful systems of logic that provides answers. Ever more answers. And ever more questions. Please try to push your huge ego aside. Even if for just one second.

    Gerhard Adam
    I will let Sascha make his own comments, but you clearly don't understand.  "Undecidability" IS an answer, and consequently if you employ it to explain something, then it becomes THE final answer to that issue.  You're simply trying to define some sort of recursion, but when you try to define it you're forced to consider that something is "undecidable", thereby making that trait the answer.

    As a simpler example.  When if someone says that something is "unknowable", that doesn't mean that it opens up more questions for exploration until it can be "known".  It is the final answer in proving that a particular point can never be known.  It's the same thing with "undecidability".  If something can not be decided, then that view is the final answer towards the problem.  In other words, an solution to the problem can never be decided.  The point being that there can never be enough information to tip the scales and allow it to become "decidable".  If that were to occur, then your original premise that it was "undecidable" would have been incorrect.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Ok, let me dumb it down further. Sascha wants us to talk about math here. So math it is. Undecidebility is mathematically well defined . You (and your hero Sascha) are clearly not even faintly familiar with this definition. Key is that undecidability only has meaning in the context of a formal system of logic. Read that sentence again. Digest it. Does it occur to you that undecidability can never be "the final answer"? Undecidability of a given proposition can only be the answer within a given formal system of logic. In other words, the undecidability of a proposition is per definition provisional. Its decidability is awaiting more powerful systems of logic being devised. This is what math is about. Keep changing the goalposts until an undecided shot becoes a goal. Other shots will now become undecided. No problem. We again change the goal posts. Ad infinitum.

    Gerhard Adam
    I can see why your comments were deleted.
    Mundus vult decipi
    In that case your thesis depends on the laws of physics being isomorphic to the axioms of a formal system. This leaves some facts of nature undecidable, certainly. However, science is not about stamp-collecting random facts, it is more to with finding the fundamental laws, the axioms, given that we know a tiny fraction of all possible facts. I don't expect someone to get a PhD for proving the inevitability of the colour of my socks from quantum electrodynamics. I would suggest then that the decidability of scientific statements is not the same as that of mathematical ones: the law of conservation of electic charge - if it is a law - severely restricts what can come out of a pot if you throw known ingredients into it. Whether the entangled microstates of a pair of colliding lead nuclei in the LHC could perform a quantum computation to determine the colour of my socks may very well be undecidable. It's wrapped in "scientific" terms but no-one is going to say science is incomplete without knowing the answer.
    We are not talking physics here. Sascha was attempting to disprove the quote made in the article by zooming in on math and the issue of undecidability of propositions. He argued that math is part of science (this can be debated, but I am not interested in that debate) and that within math the undecidability of a proposition is a final verdict not giving rise to new questions. On the latter, Sascha could not have been more wrong. He picked the very example that proves the opposite of what he is claiming. The undecidability of a proposition within a certain formal system inevitably triggers the question whether the proposition can be decided upon in a stronger system.

    vongehr
    He argued ... the undecidability of a proposition is a final verdict not giving rise to new questions.
    No, I would never claim anything like that; I simply argued that you are a troll if not a moron. Thank you for proving me correct again and again. All reasonable readers of this thread agree by now with all those readers who thanked me for removing your (and the alien tea reader's etc.) useless drivel cluttering the otherwise interesting comment threads under my articles. Thanks.
    I guess we can now all stop giving you the attention you crave.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Would it be that terrible for you just to put a disclaimer in saying that you had deleted a lot of dissenting comments with a link to your 'trollipop will be deleted' article? Is it that much to ask for the sake of just a few suicidal lives maybe?
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    Is it that much to ask for the sake of just a few suicidal lives maybe?
    Oh stop the bullshit.  As I've already said, if you were remotely interested, you'd have published your own article.  Instead you just want to play the victim here, when you easily had alternatives available.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Oh stop the bullshit. As I've already said, if you were remotely interested, you'd have published your own article. Instead you just want to play the victim here, when you easily had alternatives available.
    Gerhard, I am not 'playing the victim here'. You haven't denied that Hank, the owner of this website has told Sascha that he can push the button on me any time that he wants to, for whatever reason however petty and block my IP address and all of my access to Science20, including my ability to comment and write blogs. 

    That's why I said earlier that I was sticking my neck out here just by pointing out that Enrico's deductions from Sascha's heavily censored comments sections that Science20 contributors have learned to overlook Sascha's occasionally abrasive comments and were focusing instead on the quality of his blogs and articles were wrong. Several commenters here have agreed with me, so Sascha has now written a blog in response to this comments section, called 'So Called Censorship and Real Censorship'.

    His opening paragraph says :-
    A statement about more people focusing on the content (rather than side issues) of my column lately has led to an out of hand comment section over on Enrico Uva’s Quote of the Week. The comments are mainly people* complaining about “censorship” on Science2.0, supposedly especially occurring at my column here.
    [* Not surprisingly, all people whose comments I removed, mostly crackpots, one schizophrenic that talks to aliens, who I remove because she is a stalker (nothing more vicious than rejected love).]

    As I am the only female commenting here, it is pretty obvious that he is saying this slanderous and abrasive comment about me. Sascha has said in the past that I am not allowed to make any comments on any of his blogs as he will delete them all, so I can't respond to his slander against me there, so I would like to respond here and say :-

     I am not a schizophrenic that talks to aliens or a stalker who is being vicious because of Sascha's rejected love.

    If I am not allowed to defend myself there or here by writing this then I am definitely a victim of Sascha's slander. I am pretty sure that you don't want me to write a blog just saying this statement do you? You might misinterpret it as a blog bashing Sascha. Especially as you have said below :-

    Also, let me be real clear about this.If your only point in posting a blog would be to bash Sascha or any other writer here, I'd ban you myself. 

    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    I give up.  You either don't get it, or you don't want to "get it".
    Several commenters here have agreed with me...
    From which I conclude that this is your REAL reason for all this drama.  You want to play the victim, and the more people that you feel are rallying around you, the better you feel about your antics.

    What's funny is that you still can't consider writing a blog about the topic you claim is so important [i.e. your suicide ideas], and yet you now claim that you can't write a self-defense blog because I've already threatened you.
    You might misinterpret it as a blog bashing Sascha.
    Trust me ... that would be no misinterpretation.  As I've repeatedly said.  You have every opportunity to write a piece that discusses your views and presents your information.  Instead, you invest all your energy into bashing others and playing the victim. 
    You haven't denied that Hank, the owner of this website has told Sascha that he can push the button on me any time that he wants to...
    Why would I deny something I know nothing about?   But, you just can't leave it alone.  You're accusing Hank of something along with Sascha, and creating this conspiracy against you, and I suspect soon I'll be part of that group whose sole purpose in life is to "get Helen".
    ...it is pretty obvious that he is saying this slanderous and abrasive comment about me.
    It is equally obvious that you have no sense of proportion.  You apparently don't recall the number of times you've hurled insults at me.   Yet, in your mind, that apparently isn't abrasive.  You've insulted others here as well, but you never seem to feel that it amounts to anything.  Well, fortunately for you, most of us don't take such commentary seriously and we let it go.  However, you want to tenaciously hang on it, as if you're the only one about whom things have ever been said.

    From now on, I won't be there to delete comments when your mouth runs away with you.  You're a grown woman and can fend for yourself.  Let your conscience be your guide.

    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    You haven't denied that Hank, the owner of this website has told Sascha that he can push the button on me any time that he wants to...
    Why would I deny something I know nothing about?   But, you just can't leave it alone. You're accusing Hank of something along with Sascha, and creating this conspiracy against you, and I suspect soon I'll be part of that group whose sole purpose in life is to "get Helen".
    This was clearly written on Sascha's corkboard for some time for all who have friendlisted Sascha at Science2.0 to see, so naturally I assumed you must have seen it. I have a copy if you want me to send it to you? 
    It is equally obvious that you have no sense of proportion.  You apparently don't recall the number of times you've hurled insults at me.   Yet, in your mind, that apparently isn't abrasive.  You've insulted others here as well, but you never seem to feel that it amounts to anything.  Well, fortunately for you, most of us don't take such commentary seriously and we let it go.  However, you want to tenaciously hang on it, as if you're the only one about whom things have ever been said.
    I have no sense of proportion? Where is your evidence of insults that I have hurled at you and others here? Are they on a par with Sascha calling me a schizophrenic and a viscious stalker in an actual blog not just in a comments section? I also don't take the commentary section too seriously. Sascha has also written similar stuff about me being a cyber stalker in his 'Alpha Meme One Year Old: Zen Exercise in Futility' blog, most people there probably realised that he was slandering me.

    I am not an anonymous commenter, I am a Science20 contributor whose profile describes herself as a professional counsellor with a psychology degree and currently completing a second degree. These slanderous insults are written in blogs not in a comments section, by another Science2.0 contributor. You said that if I did the same to Sascha you would ban me. Surely what's good for the goose should be good for the gander? 
    From now on, I won't be there to delete comments when your mouth runs away with you. You're a grown woman and can fend for yourself.  Let your conscience be your guide.
    Well I'm sorry to hear that Gerhard, unlike some people here I can realise when I've made a mistake and try to rectify it. I'm sad that you won't be there to help me do that in future. Tell me, were you ever guilty of showing favouritism to one of your kids over another? Hopefully not for their sake, it can be very damaging for them.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    ...I am a Science20 contributor...
    No, you denied that, when you didn't publish anything regarding your topic of interest and instead elected to fight about it and argue about censorship.
    Where is your evidence of insults that I have hurled at you...
    I'm not going to hunt them, but I'm sure if you think for a moment, you'll remember some of your choice comments, simply because you hated my position on rote learning.
    I have a copy if you want me to send it to you?
    Not interested.
    You said that if I did the same to Sascha you would ban me.
    Yes, I did.  Two reasons,  first is because you want to generate a fight and the second is because you invariably push until you get a reaction.  So, in that respect, it is your fault.  You can't simply ignore something and let it go away.  If you don't hear anything, you have to poke and prod until you elicit another reaction.

    I've told you before.  Stay away from people that don't like you.  Don't keep insisting that they must like you or you're going to make a scene.  But you can't do that.  You keep posting to people that don't like you, and then if you don't get a reaction you say things that are insulting or provocative.
    ...I can realise when I've made a mistake and try to rectify it...
    But you don't realize it.  You let petty reasons and arbitrary anger cloud your judgment for no better reason than you still haven't learned to control yourself.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    You said that if I did the same to Sascha you would ban me.
    Yes, I did.  Two reasons,  first is because you want to generate a fight and the second is because you invariably push until you get a reaction.  So, in that respect, it is your fault.  You can't simply ignore something and let it go away.
    I ignored him calling me a cyberstalker on his 'Alpha Meme turns One Year Old: Exercise in Zen Futility' blog because it was not so clear who he was referring to but this time he is clearly talking about me as I am the only female who has made comments here and this time he is accusing me of being a vicious stalker and a schizophrenic for God's sake! Who's generating the fight here? Who's pushing to get a reaction? Who's writing these slanderous insults in a blog?
    I've told you before.  Stay away from people that don't like you.  Don't keep insisting that they must like you or you're going to make a scene.  But you can't do that.  You keep posting to people that don't like you, and then if you don't get a reaction you say things that are insulting or provocative. 
    I have stayed away from Sascha, I haven't made any comments on his blogs for a long time. So I don't keep posting to people who don't like me. So where is your evidence that if I don't get a reaction I say things that are insulting or provocative? This is getting ridiculous Gerhard! Can you please stop making false accusations against me, or at least provide some evidence, as you are being most unfair. 
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    So where is your evidence that if I don't get a reaction I say things that are insulting or provocative?
    OK, let me refresh your selective memory.  This one is easy since it's the first comment you posted on this blog.
    Enrico, you are only speaking for all of the several admiring Science2.0 contributors like you, whose comments don't all get deleted by Sascha. ...It's called censorship, and dictators and control freaks are very good at it.
    These aren't false accusations and you're only digging your own hole deeper.  From there you decided to widen the scope of your attack and extended it to men in general. 
    Its because many women have argued passionately in the past about subjects and then had their comments deleted or the comments section closed down, and they don't like male censorship, it is not because we are meek or disinterested in science.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Gerhard, so what you are saying is that it is perfectly fair that Sascha can write blogs which include slanderous insults clearly calling me a cyberstalker, a viscious stalker and a schizophrenic who talks to aliens but that I cannot make any comments on either his blogs or on other people's blogs about Sascha's blogs because these comments above that I have made are considered insulting and provocative. 

    That it was provocative for me to say that censorship is done by dictators and control freaks or that women do not respond well to male censorship. Oh and that if I am unhappy about the heavy censorship of the suicide blog comments section and the possibility that suicidal people might interpret this as meaning that there was no dissent then I should write my own blog saying so but if my blog could in any way be interpreted by you as 'bashing Sascha' then you will not hesitate to ban me. 

    OK, I get it, no more comments about Sascha and his blogs from me, consider me well and truly silenced. 

    I will write a blog here about suicide when I get time and I will try not to make any direct reference to Sascha there or here ever again. 
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    I see that my comment that followed on here after Sascha accused me of being seriously mentally sick and asked Enrico to delete my comments to 'help me out of my hole' has been deleted, so I am reinserting it because I think that it was very relevant to the overall discussion. What I replied to Sascha's comment that he deleted was :-

    Please don't delete my comments Enrico, I have not done or said anything wrong to deserve that, if I have please show me first before deleting. Surely that is a fair request? I have no intention of making any more comments here. If you delete my comments you will be doing a lot of people here a big disservice, not just me and you would be just bowing to very unfair pressure from Sascha. 

    What is really sad is that Sascha just can't seem to understand that this is not about him and his big ego, I am not stalking him at all, I am just genuinely morally and professionally concerned about suicidal people getting good, scientific advice about painless methods of suicide. Maybe that is something that some people like Sascha, who by his own admission is on the 'fashionable' autism/Aspergers spectrum just can't sometimes understand? 

    Anyway as I said earlier, i have given up here but I really don't want my comments unfairly deleted. I am the person being attacked and slandered, I have never slandered Sascha.


    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Wow, the Alpha Mule shows its real nature. Thanks for your insightful reply carefully addressing all the arguments I brought to the fore.

    We are not talking physics here. Sascha was attempting to disprove the quote made in the article by zooming in on math and the issue of undecidability of propositions. He argued that math is part of science (this can be debated, but I am not interested in that debate) and that within math the undecidability of a proposition is a final verdict not giving rise to new questions. On the latter, Sascha could not have been more wrong. He picked the very example that proves the opposite of what he is claiming. The undecidability of a proposition within a certain formal system inevitably triggers the question whether the proposition can be decided upon in a stronger system.
    That's absurd. Propositions "belong to" the formal system that creates them. The proposition does not even exist in the new "stronger" system. Most mathematical statements are not formal so the issue of undecidability does not arise. But if a proposition is formally undecidable then that means it is undecidable in the formal system that created it.
     
    Is this the result of you thinking about the matter for a full day? Sigh. This is my last reply. I am going to give a trivial counterexample to your claim. If you still don't get it, so be it. The proposition "the angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees" belongs to Euclidian geometry. It also belongs to non-Euclidian geometry. The truth value of this proposition differs in both systems. Obviously, (non-)Euclidian geometry needs to be supplemented with a (standard) logic to make it a formal system, but you get my point (or not).

    Is this the result of you thinking about the matter for a full day?
    Oh har har. Like your vacuous point-scoring polemic is worth spending a full minute on, let alone a full day. Give me a break.

    If you want to decouple your proposition from any particular mathematical system, that's fine - when it comes to finding its truth value you will have to state the system at that point instead. I prefer to regard a proposition as underspecified if you don't say which system you are talking about. Thus "the angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees" is totally meaningless in Boolean Algebra, is underspecified in "geometry" and is fully specified in Euclidean geometry, where it is decidable and true. There need be no argument over this - there is no point in quibbling about whether the word-string is a proposition before the system is specified; we both agree it can only be tested in a particular system: "Proposition, P, in System, S", so it comes to the same thing.

    However, that is where your logic goes awry. It is only by sloppily referring to a proposition without specifying the system that you fall into the trap, as you have done, of thinking that an undecidable proposition will become decidable as "stronger" systems come along. "Undecidable" means "undecidable in such-and-such a system"; it doesn't mean anything on its own. 

    For example, simply adding P to the axioms of S makes P decidable in the new system. (This can never  be inconsistent since neither P nor /P are theorems of S.)  It is crucially important that we say whether we are talking about S or S plus P.

    As for the nebulous term "stronger", I wonder whether this trival procedure of adding P to the axioms of S results in a "stronger" system in your view?
     This is my last reply.
    I guess we'll never know, then. 
     
    Halliday
    Derek:

    Yes, this "nebulous term 'stronger' " that "G" has been using...  I have been wondering the same thing.  In fact, the only use of "stronger" or weaker, having to do with "systems of logic", that I have seen, has much more to do with "systems of logic" that are too weak vs. strong enough to be expressive enough to be subject to Gödel's incompleteness theorem.

    I have seen the use of the phrase "more powerful" applied to "systems of logic" in a way that's not too dissimilar to the way "G" has been using "stronger".  However, these are certainly not limited to "this trival procedure of adding P to the axioms of S", but still run into significant issues about their ability to "decide" the provability or falsifiability of a statement within a less "powerful" system, without including the less "powerful" system in the proof of consistency of the "more powerful" system.  (Going around-and-around will not get you away from Gödel's theorems.)

    Now, one could, I suppose, consider a "system of logic" that is not "recursively enumerable" (so it cannot be "effectively generated") to be a "stronger" "system of logic".  However, in this case, one has actually moved to a system that is actually not subject to Gödel's incompleteness theorem.  ;)  (Of course, since it is not "effectively generated"/"recursively enumerable" one would be hard pressed to know whether one had an undecidable statement since there is no even countably infinite method to prove or disprove statements within such a system.  <queue maniacal laughter>)

    In any case, since science is not about obtaining an axiomatic "system of logic", or even "effectively generated" theory of the universe around us (or even the "multiverse"), the questions of undecidability, and incompleteness, as embodied in Gödel's theorems almost certainly don't apply.

    However, if we were to take on the apparent axiomatic program of some theoretical physicists—wherein they want to create a theory of everything from an axiomatic system (undoubtedly one that is effectively generatable)&mdash;then I expect we would run headlong into the limits imposed by Gödel's theorems, thus sticking a huge "monkey-wrench" in such plans.

    David

    UvaE
    it seems to me that terminology/logic belong to the very core of science (while empirical stuff is necessary because we are simply not clever enough to do without) and that once certain fundamental questions (for example non-decidability) are proven to be a certain way, then that is the final answer at least to the particular issue right there, period.
    Sorry if this should be an abrasive comment.

    That's not being abrasive. That's a welcome and justified disagreement.

    I've seen it first-hand in high school, junior college, undergraduate and in graduate settings. It's so easy for teachers and professors to get away with making unchallenged statements in class and even in face-to-face discussions with peers. Students or peers can be easily oversensitive to the possibility of offending, and so they create a lifeless silence to science.

    For me the open forum of science 2.0 is a welcome antidote to that. Of course the rules of civility must always hold in place, and moderators have responded to people stepping over the line--not through deletion of those comments necessarily but by pointing them out to the offender, sometimes behind the scenes.
    The Stand-Up Physicist
    Sascha was my BFF until we split up.  Here is a slightly longer quote about his neutrino stuff:
    I have already clearly enough pointed out that I personally expect that the superluminal neutrinos will go away as nothing but a systematic error. However, if the superluminal neutrinos stay with us, a scenario like I discussed is most likely to account for it. If so, I will be very glad to have published already in December 2009, two years before this discovery.
    This is the "cover your ass defense".  Ass covered, now what does one do if the data does turn out to be systematic error?  Do you go and write a paragraph near the top about a RETRACTION?  Of course not.  I worry that one can publish such theoretical work two years before the observation that was later called into question (I don't believe the paper has been officially retracted, just officially questioned leading to a few resignations).  Sascha did delete my suggestion.

    I wrote to complain that a discussion of physics does not need gratuitous violence. The combination was a chainsaw and an eight year old girl. Absolutely f---ing sick. He did not heed my request to alter the story to something else, and deleted it the comment entirely.

    I will never defend my former BFF due to this glaring lack of humanity.
    Gerhard Adam
    I will never defend my former BFF due to this glaring lack of humanity.
    While I can appreciate the fact that your sensibilities had been offended, I find many other posters "lack of humanity" far more disturbing despite the fact that their claims sound more innocuous.  People think there's nothing wrong, and that it's positively wonderful to be trying to develop technology that will make us subservient.  People think it's wonderful to contemplate eliminating death.  People think that it's a great idea to imagine creating an augmented intelligence for humans.

    If you want to witness "inhumanity", just let any of those things come to pass.  It will be infinitely worse than anything to do with chainsaws.

    ... and for those that think I'm overreacting, just consider that should the technological advancements being described ever come to pass, I can absolutely, unequivocally guarantee that it will never be distributed amongst seven billion people.  If you thought the rationalizations around racism and considering other humans as animals was bad ... just wait until there's a technological or genetic basis for asserting that it's now true.

    At least in Sascha's case, he wasn't advocating any of those things, but rather using them as a vehicle to illustrate the consequences [the tough, difficult consequences] of accepting one particular premise about quantum mechanics. 
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    This is the "cover your ass defense".  Ass covered, now what does one do if the data does turn out to be systematic error?
    I think perhaps you should review the paper before making such accusations?

    http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0912/0912.3069.pdf
    Mundus vult decipi
    The Stand-Up Physicist
    The accusation as you call it was based on the quote.  Covering one's ass means no matter what happens, he is right.  The complaint is self-contained.  Thanks for the link, but I am not going to invest in 32 pages of trying to mix philosophy into mathematical physics.
    vongehr
     Covering one's ass means no matter what happens, he is right
    In your case, this is correct of course, as proven by your weaseling out of your crackpot no-stinking-Higgs, no dark energy, nothing but quaternions childishness. But you should not project your own flaws on serious scientists. Portraying science correctly in as far as what is confirmed via observations without elevating misinterpretations of preliminary results to dogma, this is precisely why good science guaranties serious scientists to be correct "no matter what happens".

    Dear Sourdough - you simply do not grasp what science is. Please stop already and use the skills you obviously have to help your local community or something, how is that? Honestly, why do you waste your skills? It is so sad to witness.
    The Stand-Up Physicist
    Thanks for your blog on censorship.  Since your deletion policy is based on whim, it is not worth my time to comment on one of your posts again, so I won't ever.  The details in that other blog also provide a sketch as to some of the sources of your bitter attitude.  Good luck with your "serious" science, but I remain skeptical about your skills.
    vongehr
    Actual base and given justification are different things and calling a spade a spade is not "bitter". But certainly, people with a reading comprehension of ten year old ADD kids perhaps better not comment on articles written for adults; your best idea yet sweety dough. ;-)
    Covering one's ass means no matter what happens, he is right.
    As opposed to bravely going out on a limb and taking sides when there is not enough evidence? No, Doug, we all take responsibility for our own arguments, our own intellectual integrity.  If someone says "The data as presented suggest P but I suspect systematic error and my personal opinion is /P." then you should not berate them for covering their ass.
    Gerhard wrote: "I think perhaps you should review the paper before making such accusations http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0912/0912.3069.pdf ". Ha, ha. I couldn't resist the temptation and clicked on the link. Hilarious. I had many laughs, but stopped reading when I arrived at his remark about the Pioneer anomaly. This guy is soaking up systematic errors (Pioneer anomaly, OPERA anomaly, ..) like a wet towel, and spitting the aggregate of errors out as 'the universe according to Sascha'. He probably is still desperately trying to get this nonsense published. Hoping for a glitch in the peer review process. A lot of rubbish gets through the peer review process, but it is difficult to believe this will survive even a reviewer with no more than a high school physics background.

    "... Enrico's use of "Sascha's occasionally abrasive comments" is a bit of a whitewash." An understatement. But, as Helen said, by the time Sascha deletes anything that doesn't support him -- which he certainly has the right to do by the site's rules -- his thread's always are slanted "his way."

    But, doesn't it bother anyone that as a supposedly "science" oriented site, Sascha has a venue for rants that would better serve as the basis for an episode of X-Files -- a murky brew of pseudo-science terminology and "spooky" fantasy.

    My four cats -- as they hunt song birds all over a vast area -- know the value of data from the physical world, more than Sascha understands that without any basis in data, his attention grabbing posts are sophomoric. You know, the kind of things we all wondered about as teenagers looking up at the night-sky. ARE THERE PARALLEL UNIVERSES?

    Eventually we discovered sex and productive work and left these non-functional questions for the next generation of teenagers to ponder.

    Let's get back to discussing data as T. does so well.

    Steve

    How dare you attacking Mr. Vongehr, one of "the worlds best scientists" who floats high above us mortals on his private moral high plane, and who proudly admits he has never written a single scientific paper that attracted any serious attention from his peers; for the obvous reason that the whole scientific world is narrow minded, dishonest and colluding against him.

    Gerhard Adam
    Well, this series of posts definitely provides some proof regarding the nature of exchanges.  I find it interesting that the most vehement and insulting posts come from anonymous posters.  Way to go guys .... criticize someone for displaying the same attitude and tactics that you relish employing in your own posts. 
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Well, this series of posts definitely provides some proof regarding the nature of exchanges.  I find it interesting that the most vehement and insulting posts come from anonymous posters.  Way to go guys .... criticize someone for displaying the same attitude and tactics that you relish employing in your own posts. 
    Well, I find it interesting that in my opinion, many of the dissenters here have argued some very valid points and yet if you were to now delete their dissenting comments from this comments section, you would be left with a totally different overall impression of Science2.0 readers and contributors' opinions about the main claims in Enrico's article. Also, Sascha can be very scary at times, so people have good reason to hide under anonymity. Those Science2.0 contributors who made comments are brave people and could still experience Dr Vongehr's retribution at a later date. Less brave Science2.0 contributors have probably remained quiet for good reason. 

    Sascha has also remained very quiet here regarding the censored comments and how they reflect upon the quality of his blogs, probably also for good reasons, now that he appears to be getting more public status and has more to lose if he publicly misbehaves. According to his Science2.0 profile he now serves on the prestigious, editorial board of the ISRN journal Nanotechnology and his profile there claims :-
    His science outreach efforts to further the public understanding of science include a science column on Science2.0 where he has become a moderator and featured author read by ~ 100 thousand readers monthly.  
    I doubt if Enrico's blogs have nearly so many monthly readers, so what is written here is probably just a drop in the ocean in comparison, unfortunately :(

    It is only because I am very concerned about the many hundreds of suicidal people each year, especially more recently in China, who have in the past and will still keep jumping in the future from skyscrapers onto concrete to commit suicide, many of whom may well have read Dr Sascha Vongehr's 'scientific article' called 'Suicide: Life Ends Six Meters Above The Ground' beforehand, that I am sticking my neck out here. 

    This is an article that has been written by a reputable 'doctor' claiming that this would be a painless way to commit suicide, regardless of whether they hit the ground feet or head first, which would make a big difference but which is also not mentioned anywhere in the article and of course all related comments have been deleted along with those showing evidence of consciousness even after decapitation or any other such evidence to the contrary.

    I have to admit that I am mainly sticking my neck out because I am a crisis counsellor and supervisor who supervises interventions for suicidal people and therefore I feel a professional and moral obligation to point out that this Science2.0 article does not anywhere give a disclaimer to say that all opposing comments, evidence and criticisms have been deleted from its comments section and I think that it should. 

    How would you feel if one of your children, parents, relatives or friends became suicidal and read this Science2.0 article and then committed suicide by jumping from a 20 storey building onto concrete, believing that this would be a respectable, scientifically proven, painless death, approved by a reputable doctor and then afterwards there was found to be evidence to the contrary? 
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    Also, Sascha can be very scary at times, so people have good reason to hide under anonymity.
    Sorry, but that's just nonsense.

    I think your concern about the pain aspect is misguided.  Suicide was NOT advocated by the article and frankly it seems like you're splitting hairs.  In fact, much of it seems downright misguided, considering the number of people that attempt suicide and fail at it, often creating more medical problems for themselves, but you haven't mentioned anything about that.  As a result, I find your concern about whether one dies in a fall from a 20 story building a bit strange.

    Your also not being accurate in your assessment, by claiming that it matters whether the individual impacts the ground head or feet first.  From the article:
    Falls from a mere ten meters onto unyielding ground have already often deadly consequences, but 34 m/s, that are 76.2 mph or 122.4 km/h, are enough to immediately switch off and destroy one’s brain regardless of the body’s orientation at impact.
    The whole point was in discussing the signal delay of the brain's processing, and that is correct.  Now if you want to argue that someone may fall in such a way as to not experience the exact nature of what's being described, then feel free to do so, but stop acting as if this were a suicide advocacy article.

    In general, while you may have your disagreements, the onus is on you to provide evidence to the contrary and not simply stubbornly insist that it exists.  [No, anecdotal reports from beheadings don't count].

    I know you've got an axe to grind, so I hope you're enjoying the forum you have at this moment.  However, again, I would caution you to not get too self-indulgent, because it can backfire on you.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    I think your concern about the pain aspect is misguided.  Suicide was NOT advocated by the article and frankly it seems like you're splitting hairs.  
    You are joking aren't you Gerhard? The article is called 'Suicide: Life Ends Six Meters Above The Ground' and the opening paragraph says :-
    Suicidal Philosophy is much more science than philosophy, as the following outtake of a long article aimed at helping people in distress exemplifies. It explains why it is that if you jump out of a 20 story building, your life already ends peacefully more than six meters before impact with the ground:
    When my mother was dying an extremely painful death from Motor Neurone disease, she spent considerable time searching for painless ways to end her life when life became unbearable for her, as do many other people in similar situations. She eventually chose to successfully combine morphine liquid as a drink combined with several days beforehand of taking anti-emetic pills to prevent her from vomiting. After witnessing her death I can say that it appeared to be painless and the doctors also told me that it was. That was my number one concern at the time just as it is here!

    Everyone has the right to commit suicide in my opinion but in order to choose a painless method they need good scientific information and advice. The whole point of what we are discussing is that Dr Vongehr's article repeatedly advocates this method of falling onto concrete as a painless, peaceful death but he has also deleted all of the many dissenting comments from the comments section of the same blog, without a single disclaimer saying that he has done so. 
    Now if you want to argue that someone may fall in such a way as to not experience the exact nature of what's being described, then feel free to do so, but stop acting as if this were a suicide advocacy article. 
    Feel free to do so? You know very well that that is exactly what I did and several people commented that they thought I had even won part of that debate (I still have a copy BTW) then all of those dissenting comments were deleted. Anyway, lets not detract from the main point of this article yet again! Heavily censored comments sections give misleading impressions to the readers as to what has transpired and how approving commenters were overall about the content of the blog. Are you arguing with that or are you looking for every other irrelevant aspect of this discussion to nit pick about?
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    I don't know who thought you won the debate.  Your point was either insisting that someone might not die, or that body orientation made a difference, or you got side-tracked into talking about beheadings.

    You offered no evidence of anything being wrong, except insisting that it must be.
    The whole point of what we are discussing is that Dr Vongehr's article repeatedly advocates this method of falling onto concrete as a painless, peaceful death
    There is no "repeated" advocacy of that method.  It is merely discussed regarding the signal delay to the brain.  Again, from the article:
    Of course, most people do just not feel well at large heights and many lack knowledge and skill to place a gun correctly.
    Unfortunately, Helen there are too many times when you insist on arguing simply for the sake of arguing and then wallpaper your responses with Wikipedia quotes.

    So, again I ask you ... beyond your own opinion, what information do you have that says that you would feel pain in a drop from a 20 story building?  Since it was already pointed out that people may not be comfortable with heights, then you can't argue regarding the anticipation of the event.

    Again, I will ask is your point regarding suicide, censorship, or just being pissed off at Sascha?
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    So, again I ask you ... beyond your own opinion, what information do you have that says that you would feel pain in a drop from a 20 story building?  Since it was already pointed out that people may not be comfortable with heights, then you can't argue regarding the anticipation of the event. Again, I will ask is your point regarding suicide, censorship, or just being pissed off at Sascha? 
    I'm not going over all that again here, there were so many different ways that I gave evidence against this being a painless, peaceful death. A flatmate that survived a non-inflating parachuting accident, MRI scans by scientists looking for peaceful, painless ways to euthanase laboratory animals, showing that some decapitated animals appear to regain consciousness after 50 to 80 seconds or so of having no blood supply or spinal attachments to their now detached brains and so on. Just one second of pain after impact would negate everything that Sascha wrote in that blog!

    Anyway if all the evidence I gave was just my opinion, why wasn't it left there for others to make up their own minds about or alternatively why wasn't a disclaimer and a link to the 'trollipop will be deleted' article put in its place when it was all deleted? This article says :-
    I love good comment sections in blogs: Good questions, different opinions, more examples, constructive criticisms, and so on; all this can help to get a much better picture of the issue at hand. However, having to scroll through loads of junk just to find the one or other interesting comment that may or may not hide in there, now that seriously lessens the value way too often. Therefore, I delete especially long and off topic comments if I deem them of no use to any readers.
    Do I lose readers with such Stalinist attitude and is it not the case that the more comments I have, the longer my member is? Yes of course. And so? Who said I long for enlargement? I am writing for fun, to exercise writing for educated lay people, and to get constructive feedback from the one or the other insightful being that may find me this way.
    ...So, the next time I edit something, I will just link to this post. This should be enough to ensure that the further removal of any asking along the lines of “why don’t you at least explain to us point for point why you are such a Hitler with this poor so terribly unreasonably marginalized victim” will not come as a surprise. 
    Instead, the end result is a scientific blog detailing a painless, peaceful method of suicide with all dissenting comments and links to evidence deleted and not even a link to his trollipop article as he had promised he would do there!
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    Again ... your parachute example is irrelevant since the article didn't address the issue of someone NOT dying.  After all, the same could occur in many types of suicide, so that kind of problem is always a remote possibility. 

    As I said before, your decapitation examples are also irrelevant since that was also not discussed.  Since suicide by decapitation is decidedly difficult to accomplish, your comments might be more appropriate within the realm of executions and warfare, but hardly relevant in a discussion about suicide.

    Even in your claim about animals regaining consciousness after 45 seconds with no blood supply, is suspect
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/089203629290004T

    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0016514

    In short, you're playing fast and loose with the actual data since there doesn't appear to be anything that actually supports your position, but I won't digress on the specifics of decapitation, except to explain ... once again ... that it is irrelevant in a discussion about suicide and that you've latched on to this issue without having provided anything pertinent to discuss.

    Again ... is this about suicide, censorship, or your problem with Sascha.

    I've told you time and again, if you really wanted to push this point, you could readily publish your own article and maintain full editorial and content control over what it contains.  You've repeatedly ignored that suggestion, insisting rather on fighting this battle over Sascha's deletions.  If you're really concerned about the effect on suicide then I would suggest you stop your stubborn battle against Sascha and publish something you think is relevant.  Otherwise I'm going to be forced to conclude that you aren't nearly as interested in suicide victims as you are in making a point about Sascha's deletion policy.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    If you're really concerned about the effect on suicide then I would suggest you stop your stubborn battle against Sascha and publish something you think is relevant.  Otherwise I'm going to be forced to conclude that you aren't nearly as interested in suicide victims as you are in making a point about Sascha's deletion policy. 
    Well Gerhard, you can conclude what you want and everyone else here reading this can also make their own, unbiased, informed conclusions too, because this comments section here has not been heavily censored. I rest my case!

    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    Well, I hope you're content now.  As far as I'm concerned, you've demonstrated that it really is all about you and that you can't let anything go until you've had your final say.  Well, I hope you enjoy it.

    I'm tending to agree with Hank.  If it weren't Enrico's blog [and it's up to him to determine how it should be handled], I'd delete the whole bloody thing too.  I'm tired of the self-righteous crap from people that expect to be able to indulge themselves and have everyone else hold their hand. 

    Cries of censorship are just stupid.  There is far more drivel being posted by people that want to troll, be rude, and then remain anonymous for any of them to be complaining.  Most of them are far more arrogant than anything Sascha's ever done and despite all the claims of how wrong he is [or others for that matter] they don't have an account and they don't actually have anything useful to say. 

    I'm done with it and with them.  They can all be deleted for all I care.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Gerhard, I am only asking for a disclaimer to be put onto Sascha's 'Suicide: Life Ends Six Metres Above Ground' blog saying that many dissenting comments have been deleted and maybe linking to the trollipop blog, then I'll let you and him rest in peace, OK? Is it really that much to ask? Sascha actually says in his 'Trollipop wiill be deleted' article that that is what he intended to do when he deleted comments, then he didn't do it! 
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    You don't have any such right, because no one would have the right to demand it of you.  If I write a piece, should I have to acknowledge every creationist or IDer the credence to be linked because I may have deleted what they have to say?

    You're out of line.  It's that simple.  As I said before, this isn't about suicides, it's about you and I'm done with it.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    No Gerhard you are wrong, its NOT about me, this is ONLY about people being given proper, unbiased, scientific advice about painless and peaceful or painful and terrifying suicide. I couldn't care less about any of the other blogs on the whole of Science2.0. I am a crisis counsellor and supervisor who deals with suicidal people daily and believe it or not this is way more important than all of the potentially super novae type explosions, of all of our ridiculous egos combined!
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    Then provide a link to your article saying as much.  If you don't have one, then it is about you.  I don't particularly care whether you're a suicide counselor or not.  In fact, that makes it worse if you have such concerns and haven't written anything on the topic.

    No, you don't get off the hook by blaming Sascha.  If you couldn't be bothered to write anything, don't expect others to retain your comments or care whether they reflect your point of view.  You had/have your chance.  You still prefer to argue in a comment thread than write your own article.  Sorry, but you've demonstrated that your opinion on this is self-centered and nothing more.

    ... as a further demonstration about what a load of crap this is, Helen, you've indicated that you kept all your original comments.  So, again, you could have easily posted them again, created your own blog post, done anything you wanted to ensure they were read.  Instead your only interest is in fighting with Sascha and to try and get the last word in to force Sascha to do something.

    You have absolutely no excuses for why your comments or information aren't currently on this site, except for your stubborn insistence of trying to get Sascha to do it for you.  It is completely about you.

    ... and this isn't the first time for you.  You forced me to do it, with the only difference being that I created a separate archive post to retain the entire dialogue.  However, I'm beginning to realize that you didn't consider that a courtesy, but rather an obligation to you.  I should've just deleted it.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    ... as a further demonstration about what a load of crap this is, Helen, you've indicated that you kept all your original comments.  So, again, you could have easily posted them again, created your own blog post, done anything you wanted to ensure they were read.  Instead your only interest is in fighting with Sascha and to try and get the last word in to force Sascha to do something.
    Stop trying to make out that I could do that without immediately being completely deleted and banished from this site with my IP address blocked permanently. You know very well that Hank recently told Sascha that if he wants to push the button on me any time he has Hank's approval. How long do you think I would last here if I followed your advice and wrote a blog linking to Sascha's blog decrying it? Probably less than a day, if that!
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    Oh please, stop playing the victim.  You've had posts here that probably should've been deleted and it's been tolerated.  You keep pushing the envelope and no one has done anything to hinder what you do.

    Whatever you perceive is in your imagination.  Your statements make no sense, because if you really felt that much "at risk", you wouldn't post crap like this and hijack a thread. 

    You think you can make comments insulting Hank and Sascha and then worry that they might do something in retaliation.  Well, they really haven't and it says more about their tolerance levels than your own common sense.  So go ahead, engage in this ridiculous fight .... but if it comes back to bite you in the ass, remember you'll have no one to blame except yourself.
    ... if I followed your advice and wrote a blog linking to Sascha's blog decrying it.
    What is so difficult to understand?  Do you have to make everything about you fighting with Sascha?  Can't you even conceive of writing a piece that stands by itself and contains the information you want?  Your problem is that you want everyone to acknowledge that you're right and you aren't going to let go until that happens.

    I have news.  It's not going to happen, and it may well be the end of you if you don't grow up.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    You know what I don't understand is that I know that Sascha cares about justice and victimisation and I have only accused Sascha of being guilty of over censorship of his blogs, and expressed concern for the resulting, misguided, potentially suicidal people and asked for a disclaimer to be added. I haven't done a complete character assassination of him as you are doing to me. I have also said that I thought that Sascha writes some quality blogs and now you are saying that many of mine are rubbish and should have been deleted. Thanks.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    Do you also intentionally misread?  I believe I was quite clear in saying "posts", which you translated into "blogs".  Stop playing the victim.

    You have no business trying to force Sascha or anyone else to do anything.  You've had your say.

    At this point, your persistence is simply self-indulgence.  I've told you what your choices were, even if you refuse to acknowledge them.  If you truly think that posting something on a topic that is informative will result in your being deleted or banned, then you're just delusional. 

    If you insist on having your way and bashing others, then the consequences will fall on your head alone. 
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    Also, let me be real clear about this.

    If your only point in posting a blog would be to bash Sascha or any other writer here, I'd ban you myself.
    Mundus vult decipi
    vongehr
    I'd delete the whole bloody thing too.  ...  They can all be deleted for all I care.
    Noooooo! :-)
    If Enrico wants to delete, it is his decision, but please nobody feel that I would want that. This comment thread is what I should link to in order to support deleting comments, not my trollipop post. I see nothing here that does not clearly argue in my favor (I mean, in the eyes of at least semi-reasonable people, and with the rest there is no hope anyway).
    About the decapitation blog link: In that text it doesn't say anywhere that animals regain consciousness after 50 to 80 seconds. There is a single EEG wave after a period of flat line, which the authors conclude to be a sign of the final neuronal death. That has nothing to do with consciousness. As to the humaneness of decapitation, personally I don't like it. We have no way of knowing, whether there is a short (a couple of seconds at most) period of conscious pain before lack of oxygen and blood pressure collapse cause unconsciousness. This also has nothing to do with the speculation of the suddenness of a death from falling from a 20 story building. In a sudden stop from a free fall the extreme "negative acceleration" causes instantaneous heavy injury of all tissues in the body, including the whole brain. I am convinced that ther is no conscious perception of pain in that situation.

    This is of course just a detail that is not relevant to the general discussion here, except that it shows either carelessness or lack of understanding in the reasoning. If one wants to prove a point, then the facts and reasoning should be sound.

    UvaE
    I doubt if Enrico's blogs have nearly so many monthly readers..
    About 15 000 per month, which is about 10 times what I expected when I first signed on!
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Wow, well done Enrico, I'm pleased to hear that, as I only get about 10,000 reads per month but then I have only written 11 blogs so far. I have been spending most of my time here writing thousands of comments on other people's blogs and possibly just bringing them more readers instead. I think it is possible though that some very prolific Science2.0 writers automatically get a large readership count, regardless of the quality of their blogs and that some very high quality less prolific contributors here get less readers, so readership volume does not necessarily reflect quality of blog writing.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Sascha HEAVILY censors his blog... I have seen it many times. Figured any regular reader around here already knew that. Anyway, with regard to advocating the painless experience of a suicidal jump from a 20 story building, it is not only crass and insensitive but, as Helen rightfully points out, it is dangerous given his high readership and penchant for deleting dissenting arguments (and science 2.0 is set up/optimized well with respect to search engines, so it is not unlikely that some poor depressed soul might happen upon his article, check his profile/credentials, and take his 'advice' .)

    Assume, just for argument sake, he is right - what about all those people that survive a jump from that high or (WAY) higher? Takes 10 seconds on Google to find many examples. Sascha is no doubt smart, provocative, and interesting to read... but, he is a world class douche bag. I mean c'mon, all that crap about a peacful suicide just to talk about signal delays in the brain! Really? World. Class. Douche.

    And that's the memo.

    Hank
    I can see why he censors his blogs - nothing in this was about Sascha's suicide post yet it got hijacked to be about him.  Why do any of you people read him?  Why take over another writer's piece?  I'd wipe out this entire comment thread if this were mine and you hijacked me to complain about someone who isn't even in the conversation.  
    Wow. ...

    From Enrico's blog:
    "I've observed, through readers' comments, that more and more Science 2.0 contributors have learned to overlook Sascha's occasionally abrasive comments and are focusing instead on the quality of his blogs and articles."

    It isn't a hijack it is on topic... how did he observe this, Hank? "[T]hrough readers' comments" Pretty hard to do if Sascha is deleting most of them. I assumed Enrico wasn't aware. You damn sure couldn't post this at Sascha's blog. So I posted about Enrico's observation, that he posted about on his bog (using the example already brought up - there's tons more and, no doubt, you already knew that.) That would be on-topic. Glad to know you, as owner of this site, advocate for censorship, too. Didn't see that one coming.

    Have a good one.

    Hank
    I am 100% in favor of allowing people who do science outreach for peanuts being able to moderate the tone of the comments they have to endure.  If that is censorship, so be it - but every science site taken over by anonymous cranks and weird anti-science sycophants who troll every article with useless garbage basically has no readers. 

    But if it were actually 'censorship' then I would already have deleted all the nonsense comments. I didn't, because Enrico can do anything he wants as the writer.

    Fair enough. Although, the idea of Sascha moderating the "[TONE] of the comments [he] has to endure" is pretty funny/ironic. You ever see what happens when one of his comments gets deleted, or worse, gets ignored! Look the guy is very smart (genius even) and well educated in several areas. He writes great stuff. Certainly a lot more interesting than your typical blog. Doesn't make him not an asshole or his censoring of dissenting comments (which are on topic) cool. Hell, I rarely comment anyway (and have no relevant expertise to dissent myself) but, others do. Enrico brought it up [readers' comments on Sascha], several others gave their opinions. I chimed in. *shrug Didn't think it was nonsense, or trolling, or anti-science sycophancy. /shrug*

    That's enough, I guess the point has been made (both ways) and thanks to Enrico for letting some of us 2.0 fans vent a little. I'll be back, I'll even click on some adds/toss you a few more peanuts.

    Hank
    Well, thanks. :)  

    I agree that some writers are more bombastic than others (and I agree Sascha thinks no one but Sascha is qualified to be here) but it's Science in the name and people come here to read them - this is not Postmodernism 2.0 where science is just one viewpoint and astrologers and ghost hunters are all equal. These people. including him, are using real names and their real jobs so they get to not be sniped if they don't want to be sniped.  I have a lot of tolerance for stupidity, unless I know it is from people who exist to babble stupidity.  Some people who have written here have never even enabled comments at all.
    vongehr
    I agree Sascha thinks no one but Sascha is qualified to be here
    If you think this is funny, it isn't. If you think that I would like Enrico or Samuel or Paul (in order of increasing disagreement with me) to go away, or David or Lilja or ..., I would like to point out that this is no more than Hank being annoyed that I have ventured to criticize his substituting with too much right-wing feel good polemics what could be instead reasonable, rational arguments.
    Hank
    Well, you have no problem sharing your opinions and I don't care what you think about what I write - your vanity lets you believe your criticisms make any difference - but the issue is that I can't find a single new contributor to this site, no matter how qualified in their field, that you haven't told are idiots.  That was the root of my comment, not your desire to be important to my ego.
    vongehr
    a single new contributor to this site, no matter how qualified in their field, that you haven't told are idiots.
    Again, if you think this is funny, it is not. If anything, it shows that you may just not be able to distinguish calling somebody an "idiot" from well reasoned arguments. I certainly never called Enrico or Paul idiots (to name just two that joined after I did). I pointed out Paul's investment in establishment and suchlike. Apart from that, I linked to his pieces and support him.
    It seems you simply cannot stomach my speaking out against populism on a science site. If it helps: I would even support your progressive bashing if it were based more on arguments and less on trying to make conservatives feel warm and fuzzy.
    I don't care what you think about what I write
    Well, I do care about what my readers write, that is part of why I write here, not to get a book deal or speaking engagements. Why is it that vain people always insist other people are vain?
    Gerhard Adam
    Sorry, but there are far too many people that claim to be "on topic" that are simply peddling their own agendas.  I see it all the time with creationists, IDers, anti-vacciners, and recently the "infect yourself with hookworm to cure autism".

    I know I'm personally getting really tired of it, and when this is compounded by the number of anonymous posters that think it is their "right" to get belligerent and insulting, it's sometimes too much.  I don't necessarily agree with various writer's policies.  Some might be too strict, some might be too liberal.  I, personally, tend to leave too much stuff around, unless I'm in a really bad mood.  I don't think that's necessarily a good thing, so I'm certainly not going to fault someone that has a stricter policy. 

    However, let's also get to another very important point here.  I have absolutely NO sympathy for other members or writers that want to complain since they have the means to write their own articles and advance their own counter-arguments.  Such complaints are simply frivolous and out of place here.
    Mundus vult decipi
    vongehr
    Rob - thank you for the flowers. Just to clarify, I hardly ever censor the *tone*. I do not care how many times you call me a f*&! *&!hole, that is 100% fine with me as long as it stays clear of, say, racism, i.e. if it goes against others who are already discriminated against etc (all in my own opinion of course). So I agree with you that Hank's comment about moderating the *tone* is not fitting.
    Being smart and educated does not stop people from being *&!holes; you are right again.

    You are simply wrong with concluding that I delete dissenting comments. Important is whether the comment is useful to readers, although especially lately, I did not have the time to read and delete early enough. Many recent comment threads have degenerated into a pile of garbage where no reasonable person wants to dive in to find the one or the other gem in the rough.
    Steve Davis
    "I hope that with my title I'm not stepping on Tomasso Dorigo's toes. He normally does this sort of thing."
    Tommaso must be looking at this and thinking "Aha! So that's how you do a Quote of the Week!"
    UvaE
    "Aha! So that's how you do a Quote of the Week!"
    :) Well, I did receive 1 comment for every two words I wrote; unfortunately, only 2 comments actually addressed the quote---the rest centered around the 2nd last paragraph of my short blog entry.

    I think I'll leave future quotes of the week/day to Mr. Dorigo and get back to writing about chemistry!
    i very much like the featured quote ..

    Scientific questions that ask for final answers are, by definition, unanswerable.
    --Marcelo Gleiser Theoretical Physicist at Dartmouth

    there seems to be a whole batch of related quotes ..

    Jiddu Krishnamurti - "The description is not the described"

    Magritte’s picture (Treachery of Images): a pipe wth the caption "this is not a pipe."

    Korzybski (who tried to save us all from the delusional verb "to be") - "Whatever you say it is, it isn't"
    Korzybski - "The map is not the territory"
    Korzybski - "God may forgive your sins, but your nervous system won't"

     Scientific questions that ask for final answers are, by definition, unanswerable. 
    What definition would that be I wonder?
    hmmmm .. now you draw attention to the detail .. i guess the quote assumes that science isn't something that deals with "final answers" (ultimate "truth"). Though that's not something everyone assumes, is it?

    Duh? Well, until the woo-mongers took over the laboratory I thought that was exactly what science was doing... Ahhh, just a minute, I see what you mean, you're talking about the metaphysics behind it. Like why does something exist rather than nothing? Okay but we don't know whether those questions will turn out to be answerable either at all or after immense effort, personal cost, and Faustian bargaining with the fairy-winged qualia. But as they are not science, they are not what Enrico was talking about. His view of science is an ever-expanding exploration, mine is more like digging a hole until you hit bedrock.

    Or, as you say, another bloody turtle. 
    re assuming science does or does not seek truth.

    referring to "the map is not the territory" .. my assumption is that science is a sort of cartographical exercise : mapping reality not exposing its ultimate "truth". Even if "truth" means nothing more metaphysical than perfect accuracy or being the final "correct" form of model.

    Ie. (in my view of science) science doesn't seek truth, it seeks to create models which will predict phenomena to a tolerant accuracy. In which case, there will always be more turtles. 8-)

    Ie. (in my view of science) science doesn't seek truth, it seeks to create models which will predict phenomena to a tolerant accuracy. In which case, there will always be more turtles. 8-)
    That is a view. Science just provides formulae and they are always wrong. I could argue against both of those assumptions but it's such an old subject I can't be bothered to. Suffice it to say that the idea that a botanist, working out why a flower has a long nectar tube, is just providing a rule of thumb so that technicians can make things work without knowing what is really going on is so absurd that it is not worth considering.

    These days I leave that sort of argument to the kiddies who want to play toy philosophy. 
    > "Science just provides formulae and they are always wrong."
    well .. i wouldn't say a working scientific theory is "wrong", but "imperfect" (bound to be, isn't it?). Ie. usable within a particular context. Further ie.: newton's nowhere-near-light speed dynamics are just as "right" as einsteinian near light speed dynamics within their appropriate contexts. (If "right" means minimal information model for a particular tolerance of measurements. Ie. for low speeds the einsteinian approach is "wrong" because it'd be an inefficient use of information.)

    > " Suffice it to say that the idea that a botanist, working out why a flower has a long nectar tube, is just providing a rule of thumb so that technicians can make things work without knowing what is really going on is so absurd that it is not worth considering."
    A botanist will probably provide some ideas for why a flower has a long nectar tube, and provide evidence to back that up. But will he claim his theories are the absolute perfect truth to all questions of why this flower has a long nectar tube? Is it even possible any human being can provide a *absolutely* complete set of theories of why this flower has a long nectar tube? The botanist still doesn't know what's really going on. He has worked on providing an adequate model for his particular interest though.

    just to recall .. "the map is not the territory". Theories, no matter how well they map to reality according to measurements, will not be complete. (never mind that a theory, no matter how brilliant isn't reality - it's a superficial description of an aspect of reality - no more.)

    > "These days I leave that sort of argument to the kiddies who want to play toy philosophy."

    Hey! .. are you dissing toying around with philosophy? ... does everything have to be dull, grim and important?
    (is this about wondering whether the process of science lead to "truth" or merely provides a "working model"?)
    Playing with philosophy is the best way to deal with philosophy, isn't it? .. and, i guess .. all philosophies are toy philosophies, including science (in that they are toy models of the real thing.)

    oh .. this just occurred to me re:
    Scientific questions that ask for final answers are, by definition, unanswerable.
    --Marcelo Gleiser Theoretical Physicist at Dartmouth

    to paraphrase the "turtles" quote:
    "it's scientific models all the way down"