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Re: [Phys-L] Relativity labeled as a liberal theory

The Conservapedia website is dismal. As a conservative, I find it extremely disappointing. I took a
look at the history for the E = mc^2 page. Everytime someone (user B) tries to correct anything, user A
switches it back to the old, incorrect interpretation. Then, if user B contiues making corrections, user A
reverts the page and has user B banned from contributing. User A has no background in physics. his
background is in law and government.

I am glad to say that I have never met a conservative or seen a post on Facebook by conservatives
that references this website. I tend to think that the number of page views they get is due to people
checking it out for some laughs.

On 12 Nov 2012 at 21:42, John Clement wrote:

This is a sad, sad list. It never ceases to amaze me how
people confuse relativity and relativism: moral,
philosophical or other. No, Virginia, relativity does not
tell us that everything is relative: sure, some things turn
out to depend on the observer -- but we already knew that
some things were observer-dependent: velocity, for example!
Relativity simply changed _which_ things we think depend on
the observer and which things are the same for every
observer. If anything, relativity of is a theory of absolutes.

The conservapedia does not inveigh agains the misapplication of "relativity"
as being related to moral issues, but actively attempts to dispute the
scientific findings. My favorite line is the one about the sun being a
"perfect sphere", reminiscent of how astronomical objects were considered
before Galileo. The perfect sphere is obvisoulsy theologically the correct

Of course most theologies do have elements of relative morality as they pick
and choose which things they agree with. It is just that the fundamentalist
point of view is black and white, but different groups have different
fundamentalist points of view, while the "liberal" groups see shades of gray
in addition. And of course science is always keeping in mind that a model
that applies in one realm may not be accurate or usable in another, which
one may interpret as shades of gray, especially for the in between cases.
So I am surprised that they didn't pick on quantum theory which has
uncertainty in it, but perhaps they find it too abstruse to bother with.

The objection to set theory is how it quantifies infinites, which comes too
close to the idea of an Infinite god. The other objection they seem to have
is that math is invented by us as a means to help figure things out. They
want math and science to be absolutes so students will think everything is
absolute. But the fact that you have a logical system does not make it
absolute. It depends on the assumptions, and there will always be things
you can not prove. This sort of absolutism is precisely what the
"mathematically correct" people use as arguments, instead of looking at what
the research shows. They use fundamentalist logic.

John M. Clement
Houston, TX

Forum for Physics Educators

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