5612, I have said this before but you can always say it again|
Posted by secondharmonic on Tue Apr-22-14 06:36 AM
When they chage the wording on these 'polls of Americans attitudes toward science' they get different results. If they say: 'astronomers think that ... or biologists think that ...' the percentage goes up.
So what if they don't respond directly -- the universe started in a big bang, or scientists think that the universe started in a big bang.
Technically speaking -- the locution 'scientists think that ...' is FACTUAL, the declarative statement OTOH is not actually fact, it is scientific opinion, and truly nothing is settled like Law is in science -- for there is no compact, no constitution, no judicial tradition and no lawgiver comes between us and nature.
And there have been statements like : "an electron is smaller than an atom" e.g. -- statements which are simply not true. The Compton wavelength or de Broglie wavelength of a free electron is larger than any atom.
OTOH, the outermost radius of a given atom's bound electrons is exactly the same as the radius of the atom (say Pauling radius or van der Waals radius); and then again the inner electrons' radii of a given atom is much smaller than that of the atom itself. So, which is it?
And if you encounter an electron, you cannot say which kind it is! That is an exceedingly important point about electrons, it is in fact the basis of chemical bonding -- their indistinguishability, which leads to the 'exchange interaction', which leads to the resonance/covalent bond description.