Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Overheard in the Office:

Me: "But that's not even a science! That's just somebody taking a Greek or Latin root and tacking '-ology' on the end of it to make their made-up twaddle sound respectable, like 'phrenology' or 'astrology' or 'psychology'!"


staghounds said...

No one has ever conclusively proven that astrology is twaddle.

It's unprovable, so it's more fantasy, really.

Anonymous said...


Mr.Wolf said...

I've always thought astrology rubbish. We Geminis are discriminating about such things.

Best wishes.

Tam said...


That's not really a word. "Theology" is, however. ;)

Anonymous said...

Not science perhaps, but certainly not twaddle...Snarkology is in a class by itself.


og said...

Logos just means to say or discuss. In some contexts it can be inferred to mean study or research. Hard sciences have names like physics or optics where disciplines like biology include pieces from the hard sciences.

Tam said...

It was a joke. Lighten up, Francis. :p

og said...

What, a guy can't crack wise here anymore?:)

Midwest Chick said...

Like climatology?

Tam said...

Almost exactly like climatology.

JHardin said...

I see a great need for experimental verification of the benefits of Therapeutic (as opposed to Diagnostic) Phrenology. I volunteer as a researcher.

'course, as the benefits mostly accrue to the practitioner, I'm not sure how scientifically objective the data will be.

BobG said...

So that means that fecology would be the study of political promises?

Tam said...

Close; politicians.

Weer'd Beard said...

Hey climatology, is a real science! I can prove it. Just take any real climatologist and look at how fast the MSM and the "Progressive" goons try and personally attack them for pointing out data on climate over time. : ]

DirtCrashr said...

Progressiveologists believe in Climatistics.

TJP said...

Psychology is, in fact, a real science. And so is climatology. Like all sciences, the integrity of the work depends on the integrity of the worker.

Michael said...


Yes. It has. Many times.

Easiest example? Twins don't share the same fate, and fraternal twins often have wildly different personalities.

Also, tell ten astrologers a birthday and you will get ten different readings that contradict each other.

It is. It is science in every respect. It builds it's ideas on empirical evidence and documented research. Most importantly, it is always open to having it's models altered or overturned as new data comes to light. Rigorous documentation, testing and retesting is the only real definition of a field of science.

Michael said...

Biology is a hard science:

Hard science
Any of the natural or physical sciences wherein facts or truths are derived from empirical investigations or experiments based on scientific method.

In contrast to soft science, hard science relies on quantifiable or empirical data based on scientific method. It focuses on accuracy and objectivity.

og said...

Michael: so, biological organisms always act the same, right?

Kristopher said...

Hey ... corrective Phrenology actually works.

Provided you use a heavy enough corrective tool.

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

Biology and Behaviorism, not the same thing at all.

Also, acting the same every time does not constitute a difference between soft and hard science. Do you grok Brownian motion?

Don't confuse immensely complex systems with random or arbitrary ones. The only level on which biological organisms can be identical is on a micro scale, and in those cases, yes, biological systems function predictably.

I laughed myself to tears on that. Thank you sir.

Jayson said...

You forgot the bestest:


Xenu thanks you.

Tam said...

Your internets is in the mail! :)

Michael said...

Scientology: the science of studying science!

og said...

Michael: First of all, I'm not going to be contentious nor argumentative, just state my viewpoint, YMMV.

I think of mathematics and chemistry and physics as hard sciences, because they have strict rules and experiments in each discipline provide predictable, qualifiable and quantifiable results.

Biology- and for this example, let's merely speak about humans- seems to be a moving target. I'm not talking about the behavior of people, I'm talking about the behavior of their bodies. Frinstance: A substance- lets say, sugar- can be ravenously devoured by one human and yet be toxic to another. And the toxicity can vary- what would kill a diabetic at 45 might not have affected him at 11. Different people react to different substances differently, even under practically identical circumstances. Also, Biology contains within it many disciplines; chemistry, physics, genetics, anatomy, etc. Genetics is a hard science, based on this view, because genetics is quantifiable and repeatable. Anatomy is a hard science because even though we all have a different appearance, we have the same parts (unless genetically deformed) Which is why anything with the LOGOS suffix is generally considered a study rather than a science.

it's confusing because we all take chemistry, biology, and physics in HS, but in reality, Biology is like Chemistry in the same way a car is like a carburetor.

Tam said...

"Biology- and for this example, let's merely speak about humans- seems to be a moving target."

All science is a moving target, as this transmission through the lumineferous aether proves. ;)

Tam said...

PS: And molecular biology? Prithee, what there?

og said...

Molecular biology is a subset of biology.

there is no biology in math. There is no biology in physics. There is no biology in Chemistry. There are math, chemistry, and physics in Biology, which in my mind makes it a study rather than a science unto itself. Just an opinion, a way of looking at it. Your mileage may vary, as I've said.

WV: Repalgyn. Hooking back up with your old friend the gynecologist.

Don't sniff his hands.

No matter how much he goads you into it.

og said...

mathematics is a science, optics is a science, and they are not moving targets. They are finite and their laws are immutable. We may not fully understand them, but it doesn't make them moving targets, the only thing that moves is our understanding.

benEzra said...

Tam, you wouldn't happen to have been discussing "killology" would you?

Tam said...


Too bad I just mailed the internets to somebody else, because otherwise you'd have just won it. ;)

og said...

Tam is certainly a preeminent killologist. I look for a tarantino movie in her future.

reflectoscope said...

The seminal reference.


Michael said...


Again, do not confuse amazingly complex with random. Different bodies react different ways to the same substance not because they follow different rules. The point is they follow the SAME rules, however their makeup is different thus you get different results. As Tam says, all science is a moving target, because science is the method by which we discover, not a sum total of what we know. That is called data.

The lines between the sciences are not a strict as you think. There is plenty of Biology in chemistry. Chemistry and physics overlap all over the place. There is math in every science, and yes biology can be described in mathematical terms. Biology is quantifiable and measurable, thus hard science. You are entitled to any opinion you wish, and I will defend that right with my life. However it behooves you (since I assume you use the services of biologists every day of your life, a life that might not have lasted long enough to post this without the science of biology) to treat this science with all the respect it has earned.

Awesomeology: The study of all things Tam.

og said...

"There is plenty of Biology in chemistry"

before we go any further, I'd love to see an example of this. Just one will do.

sobriant74 said...

Math begets physics, Physics begets Chemistry, Chemistry begets Biology. Therefore Biology is the ultime study of all things scientific. :)
I will admit as a Biologist I am a little biased.

Michael said...

Og: Organic molecules. Ask Dow chemicals if they need to know biology to do their jobs.

Yes, if you take away physics and Chemistry, Biology can't exist. But then neither of them can without math. By your logic, only Mathematics is a true science.

Sobriant: As a functional life-form, I tend to agree.

og said...

"By your logic, only Mathematics is a true science."

You get an F for reading comprehension. I'm still waiting for the biology in chemistry example, and will wait forever because it does not exist. organic molecules do not require organisms to exist.

Sobriant comes closer to a meaningful explanation, but you can take that a lot of directions, such as engineering, not just biology. Sorry. You'll have to do much better than that.

Tam said...


FWIW, the reason I have dropped the argument is that, if one party gets to make the definitions, then there's no point in debate.

"Science" is what you say it is. A "Study" is what you say it is.

Cool. You are teh victor.

We'll go talk about something else, then, okay? Perhaps guns, or why hippies suck. :)

og said...

As I have stated, this is not a set of rules that i am trying to establish for everyone to use, but a way of looking at the situation- a model, if you will, that helps ME to understand the relationship between the disciplines. I have yet to hear any other explanation that works better for ME than my model. I'm happy to take the discussion elsewhere, and only even continued the discussion once prodded into doing so. It has never been about me winning anything, only having a discussion. I prefer not to have the discussions on other people's blogs. If Michael wants to continue the discussion he is free to stop by my place and we will thrash away as long as he pleases.

""Science" is what you say it is. A "Study" is what you say it is.

Cool. You are teh victor."

that's the furthest anyone has ever missed the point of what I'm talking about in my life.

Michael said...

It's your blog, so I will shut my trap. I just enjoy a lively debate with intelligent people who require me to think and compose my thoughts. There is no winning, only learning.

Four Guns Good. Two Hippies Bad.

og said...

Mike: I was having fun. Want to keep it up at my blog?

WV: Ruction No shit, sherlock.

Tam said...


There was a big smiley at the end of my post, okay?

Y'all chat however long you want to, and I'll follow the discussion with interest.

It's just that you and I have some fundamental disconnects of the weltanschauung on this issue and we'd have to hammer out a set of terms for fundamental ideas upon which we both could agree and, all in all, I'd rather just have another beer. I just don't have enough typing in my to start from "A is A" and work up to metaphysics, agreeing on each term along the way so that we have a common basis for discussion.

I'd rather just buy you a beer at the next blogmeet and leave it at that. :)

og said...

Sorry, don't always catch the smileys on the phone.

What I'm saying is pretty straightforward and easy for anyone to comprehend. And I'm not looking to convince anyone of anything, as I've said. A lot of these discussions, I like to have, because they help me cement my thoughts further, holding them up to the scrutiny of others.

I'd hate for you to buy me a beer, I don't think you could raise the bail money without selling guns, which would be awful, but I'd go for an iced tea.

Michael said...

It's just as well I stop. I've got a twelve hour drive starting soon and then a five days with inlaws and no internet.

mycrofth4 said...

Sorry, Og.
Math isn't a science.
Math is the language of science.
Just like English
or Latin
or Greek.

dr mac said...

A end to the superflous tit for tat ? Oh my.