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Re: terminology

Because by it's very NATURE, all science is tentative
and incomplete. Science does not (and CAN not) have an >official final
arbiter of correctness.

Certainly science can't have an authority that says that current theories
are going to be correct at future times.
New evidence can always overturn current understanding. Until a couple of
years ago, the consensus was that neutrinos were massless. New evidence
now points to a need for mass. Our understanding has been changed by
experimental evidence.

But in a differnt sense, science SHOULD have an arbiter of correctness.
I'm talking about agreeing on terminology. Before we can even debate if a
neutrino has mass, we need to agree an what a neutrino IS. If we are
talking about different things, then continuing the debate is less that
pointless. If we are going to debate the predictions of special
relativity, we need to agree on the specific postulates and assumptions of
the theory. If we are going to debate the correct value for my weight, we
need to agree on a definition of weight. Does my weight change in an
elevator? Does it change in a swimming pool?

Maybe we need to take a lesson from software and attach version numbers to
everything. To be specific, we might say FORTRAN77 rather than generic
FORTRAN. Similarly, Eistein's original paper would be Special Relativity
1.0. We could have beta versions of "dark energy" until there is some
better consensus on what it is. Each new version of a theory, model, or
definition would have a new number. Upgrade if you want, but at least
remember to tell people when you are sticking to a less than current

I say this partly in jest, but that is already done with the practical
temperature scale, among others.

In some sense, we don't need to bother. The difference between
1/40,000,000 of the distance from equator to pole, and the distnce light
travels in 1/29979??? s is so small that it doesn't affect much. But when
it does matter, we need to know which definiton is definitive and which is
merely a reasonable approximation.


(And I'm off for vacation for a week, so I won't be following up for a