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24 May 2016 @ 03:11 pm
There is a meme that attacks scientific ignorance. It says, “52% of the population refutes the Big Bang theory.” At this time, no one can refute the Big Bang theory; 52% of the population denies the Big Bang theory.
kerkevik_2014: Woman_of_ and Ikerkevik_2014 on May 24th, 2016 08:49 pm (UTC)
I wish I could deny the Big Bang Theory; can I refute it's being funny instead? ;-)

Kalimac: puzzlekalimac on May 24th, 2016 11:51 pm (UTC)
A great deal more than 52% of the population doesn't understand the Big Bang theory well enough to have an opinion worth measuring on it. Perhaps that doesn't include all of this 52%, but it does make the number meaningless.
arkuatarkuat on May 25th, 2016 07:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you for supporting my pet peeve about this misuse of the word "refute".
Elenbarathi: Knowledgeelenbarathi on May 26th, 2016 02:43 pm (UTC)
A controversy; who knew?
I would have agreed with you without hesitation, but I looked it up, and the usage is not necessarily as incorrect as I had supposed:

"Usage Note: Traditionally, the verb refute has two meanings. The first is "to prove to be false or erroneous," as in Charges of institutional bias against women were refuted by an analysis of the employment data. In this example, it is clear that an argument was mustered to demonstrate the falsity of the charges. This usage is well established as standard. The second meaning is "to deny the accuracy of," and in this use there is no mention or implication of mustering evidence or detailed reasoning. Rather, the refutation exists as a simple statement or claim. This second use has been criticized as incorrect or inappropriate since the early 1900s, despite being common. A majority of the Usage Panel accepts the use as a synonym of deny, but not by a wide margin. In our 2002 survey, 62 percent accepted the example In the press conference, the senator categorically refuted the charges of malfeasance but declined to go into details. This suggests that many readers are uncomfortable with this usage and would prefer to see deny in these contexts. Beyond these two meanings, refute is sometimes used to mean "to deny the validity of, repudiate," as in Observers are expecting the appeals court to refute the Microsoft breakup. The Panel has scant affection for this usage. Some 89 percent rejected the example just quoted in the 2002 survey."

It doesn't matter to me, since I will continue to hold that one until one has proved one's point, one has only attempted to refute whatever. Of course, the Creationists claim that no one can refute the Creation, and if one is talking to them, doubtless that's true. So what's the correct usage when one has used all one's best logic to refute something, but in vain, because one's opponent wears the Armor of Faith and is thus impervious to logic?

31% of statistics are totally made-up, and 84% of the population doesn't understand them anyway. (Haha, no one can refute that statement either! Grammar's so fun.)