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An interesting quotation

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steve_1979's picture
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Quotation from Gordon Holt in 1987.

 

"Despite heroic efforts to educate our population, the US (and, apparently, the UK) has been graduating scientific illiterates for more than 40 years. And where knowledge ends, superstition begins. Without any concepts of how scientific knowledge is gleaned from intuition, hypothesis, and meticulous investigation, or what it accepts today as truth, anything is possible.

 

Without the anchor of science, we are free to drift from one idea to another, accepting or "keeping an open mind about" as many outrageous tenets as did the "superstitious natives" we used to scorn 50 years ago. (We still do, but it's unfashionable to admit it.)

 

Many of our beliefs are based on nothing more than a very questionable personal conviction that, because something should be true, then it must be. (Traditional religion is the best example of this.) The notion that a belief should have at least some objective support is scorned as being "closed-minded," which has become a new epithet.

 

In order to avoid that dread appellation, we are expected to pretend to be open to the possibility that today's flight of technofantasy may prove to be tomorrow's truth, no matter how unlikely. Well, I don't buy that."

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RE: An interesting quotation

Magic cables, equipment stands, black ravioli, mains conditioners and unnecessarily high bit-rates for digital music spring to mind...

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RE: An interesting quotation

The trouble is Steve, it's just as bad on the other side of the fence.  We've got a bunch of folk out there who'll jump onto Google and start bandying the phrase "science" around and act like they know what they're talking about.  I've little time for either, but J Gordon was indeed bang on the money.  IMO.

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RE: An interesting quotation

Yes. Read this just recently on another website. Also applies to the magic properties of active crossvers.... Smile

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RE: An interesting quotation

the record spot wrote:

The trouble is Steve, it's just as bad on the other side of the fence. We've got a bunch of folk out there who'll jump onto Google and start bandying the phrase "science" around and act like they know what they're talking about.

This is true.

I expect that most people on hifi forums have done this at one time or another (myself included embarassed ).

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RE: An interesting quotation

steve_1979 wrote:

Magic cables, equipment stands, black ravioli, mains conditioners and unnecessarily high bit-rates for digital music spring to mind...

 

Unless the high bitrate version is the only one of a given mastering you want...such is life.  Equipment stands, well, depends which ones you mean really?  I have a four shelf wooden one than cost me £80 from richer Sounds, unbranded, but lovely bit of furniture, unlike, say, anything that looks like it'd been welded together or costs about £2000....or both.  

My personal favourite however, is the Shakti Innovations site.  Indeed...!

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RE: An interesting quotation

Indeed.

It's the same with many things though. If people aren't knowledgeable enough to understand fully the technicalites of the subject, they'll either take for granted what is commonly accepted as the norm, advice from people who are respected in the field, or advice from people who sound like they know what they're talking about. The problems only get worse when these people repeat stuff as if they 'know' it to be true, rather than stating "I once read that...".

Try a golf forum - there's a whole other range of magic beans out there. But there's still references to Snake Oil; how component companies are where it's at; how big OEMs are ripping us off; how a certain manufacturing process is clearly better than the other; tribal brand loyalty, how tiny differences make huge performance changes, etc. And then there's the good stuff which completely contradicts all known laws of physics but "It does work for me".

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RE: An interesting quotation

[quote=steve_1979]

Quotation from Gordon Holt in 1987.

Many of our beliefs are based on nothing more than a very questionable personal conviction that, because something should be true, then it must be. (Traditional religion is the best example of this.) The notion that a belief should have at least some objective support is scorned as being "closed-minded," which has become a new epithet.

[/quote

Unfortunately, many scientists, particularly those who work for the large industrial companies and governments, design their objective studies to prove the positive...and any negative studies are ignored.

Where money is involved, objectivity and neutrality are the first to suffer. (Tamiflu springs to mind ;-) 

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RE: An interesting quotation

altruistic.lemon wrote:

...Also applies to the magic properties of active crossvers.... Smile

I genuinely hope this comment doesn't offend you altrustic.lemon. Smile

 

But by saying that active crossovers have "magic properties" kind of proves the point of the quotation perfectly when you consider the amount of scientific evidence that supports the advantages of active speakers over passive speakers.

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RE: An interesting quotation

Yeah, sorry Steve, was thinking of the mantra on another website. 

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RE: An interesting quotation

the record spot wrote:
Unless the high bitrate version is the only one of a given mastering you want...such is life.

There are some people who don't understand that it's only because of the different mastering of some music which makes it sound different. Yet they still claim that 24bit music sounds better than 16bit music.

 

the record spot wrote:
Equipment stands, well, depends which ones you mean really? I have a four shelf wooden one than cost me £80 from richer Sounds, unbranded, but lovely bit of furniture, unlike, say, anything that looks like it'd been welded together or costs about £2000....or both.

Build quality and aesthetics aside, some people claim that putting a solid state amplifier (for example) on one solidly built rack sounds differerent to putting it on another solidly built rack. Yet these are usually the same people who are never willing to do any sort of blind testing.

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RE: An interesting quotation

Ooh, another ### stirring 'science vs belief/superstition/religion/magic' post.

Maybe it'll be like the last one, where someone got suspended and the thread was completely deleted.

Cue JCBrum in full-on 'pedagogue' mode and anthmax the unstoppable toxic troll (in at least one visit from under his bridge) and expect oodles of the sainted Clinton R ('Dicky') Dawkins FRS, FRSL, FOBS.

None of which will stop me looking now and then to watch everyone running around and setting their hair on fire (because that's quite funny) but this is my last comment.

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RE: An interesting quotation

chebby wrote:
Maybe it'll be like the last one, where someone got suspended and the thread was completely deleted.

Being an optimistic chap I was hoping that people might try and discuss things in a constructive and friendly manner. pray

 

People should be able to have differences of opinion without others taking it taking it too personally or resorting to verbal attacks against other members.

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RE: An interesting quotation

steve_1979 wrote:

chebby wrote:
Maybe it'll be like the last one, where someone got suspended and the thread was completely deleted.

Being an optimistic chap I was hoping that people might try and discuss things in a constructive and friendly manner. pray

After your "howevermanyhundreds" try, you're still optimistic on this?!

steve_1979 wrote:

People should be able to have differences of opinion without others taking it taking it too personally or resorting to verbal attacks against other members.

But surely the point of your original post was people shouldn't have different opinions if a scientist has proven something?

 

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RE: An interesting quotation

steve_1979 wrote:
But by saying that active crossovers have "magic properties" kind of proves the point of the quotation perfectly when you consider the amount of scientific evidence that supports the advantages of active speakers over passive speakers.

Yes, but they don't have magic properties, they're just a component. They can make a difference, but not on the level that they're often claimed to (in other words, all you need is an Active crossover and the cabinet, drivers, etc doesn't come into it). Similar applies to cryogenically frozen doodahs, dimmable displays, upsampling, etc.

See how I made this about other stuff as well as that which causes controversy? Can't we play nice for once and not make posts about it going EDITED-up before it actually goes EDITED-up? (Yes, I get the irony...)

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RE: An interesting quotation

Didn't the great Stephen Hawkings say that scientific truth was just a hypothesis waiting to be proven untrue. I've probably completely misquoted the great man, but the gist is there.

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