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Model versus Reality

Very nice site with well-put-together packages.

One thing that all too frequently occurs in science and mathematics articles, especially in lay publications such as newspapers and magazines for the general public, but often in the technical articles themselves, is a confusion of the model with reality. Our scientific and mathematical models NEVER completely describe reality -- there is always error -- from simplifying assumptions, measurement error, model application limitations, data acquisition limitations, inadequate observation, induced error from calculation processes, and the inadvertent introduction of extraneous data.

Under ideal conditions, our models are adequate predictors, but under some circumstances, our models are woefully inadequate. Then there is the problem of apparently credentialed individuals unfamiliar with the applicable limits misapplying the models, sometimes with very misleading results.

The best we can do with our mathematical and scientific models is "good enough for now," with the admonition that better and more refined models might be needed in the future - consistent with more massive computing power to process the models, along with more extensive and and relevant data acquisition.

The most prominent violators of the "model is not reality" dictum appear to be astronomers, who cavalierly describe theories, such as the big bang, and the expanding universe, as established facts. Other gross violators are the "warming earth" crowd, whose political fervor for their cause and supposed cure, are unworthy to even be called "science."

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