Joined: June 2006
|Whitesides is welcome to his personal hunches, and is certainly welcome to state the reasons behind his hunches, but this is otherwise regrettable language.|
edit to actually include Whiteside's comment:
|Most chemists believe, as do I, that life emerged spontaneously from mixtures of molecules in the prebiotic Earth. How? I have no idea.|
This is a particular argument that has always rubbed me the wrong way. As an actor, I very much understand the importance of language and its usage. However, I've ever been irritated by people claiming phrases like Whiteside's are ill-conceived.
I don't believe they are. There are situations where words need to be chosen very carefully--situations that require great specific detail in order to communicate a message. Most situations do not fall into this category. For the most part, we get a sense of message from the context of what we're hearing/seeing/feeling.
When a scientist is the one speaking/writing/punching us in the nose, we generally know where he's coming from. His words can be interpretted through our understanding of his role as a scientist.
Walking on linguistic eggshells is not what we should be worried about (and, indeed, I don't believe for the most part we are). We should be more concerned with educating people to be able to think in real life situations. Even so, some people will not be helped--we don't need to tread lightly for them.
But I get the trick question- there isn't any such thing as one molecule of water. -JoeG
And scientists rarely test theories. -Gary Gaulin