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Old 01-05-2009, 02:56 PM   #35
Web Rider
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Originally Posted by True_Avery View Post
I say water in the sense of pure, filtered, plain old water. Placing dirt, salt, etc is arguing semantics, as it is still water with additives unless that water has been fundamentally changed.
Scientifically, the "water" in question hasn't changed, it now shares it's space with other molecules of things.

As far as I know, salt and dirty don't fundamentally rearrange the molecules that make up water. If they did, by definition, it would no longer be water. It would be a different substance entirely.
Before there was "hard science" there was society, and we learned by trial and error much the same way. Mud is really dirty water. So dirty, that there is often more dirt than water. We apply these modifiers to words for social reasons, which can be just as much important to the truth as anything.

For example, what are characteristic factors of water? Well, it's made of two hydrogen and one oxygen. Okay, it's also transparent. It's also drinkable for most of the human population. It has reflective and refractive properties. It can be a gas, a liquid, and a solid.

When we add modifiers to "water" we can rule out some of these qualities. If the water is now "dirty" then it will probably lose it's transparency, and it's drinkability. Now, if you can't drink it and you can't see into it, you might not be as inclined to call it "water". There is another non-drinkable, semi-tranparent liquid out there, and that's gasoline. But gasoline has other features, such as smell. If you have dirty, smelly water, and a pool of gasoline, at casual glance, you might be more inclined to think of the gasoline as the drinkable one(until you tried).

So social definitions are important to truth. Imagine another race has massive oceans of Mercury, a liquid similar to dirty water. For them, it is drinkable, for us, it is not, yet their word for their semi-transparent, reflective and refractive drinkable liquid, translates to our "water". Yet, we do not describe the same scientific things, but we do describe the same social things.

Just like you example with water, just calling all these variations "snow" is incredibly general. But the word has more of a social meaning than the scientific meaning of Snow as a type of precipitation in the form of crystalline water ice, consisting of a multitude of snowflakes that fall from clouds.

Calling it something else does not fundamentally change the way it is created. Only the way we perceive it. And what we generally all perceive on a basic level would be "frozen water (translate to any language you want)" I'd assume.
No, it doesn't. But it can. If I call water "air" and in reverse, call air "water", then it stands to reason, I am a fish. I breathe water and die in too much air, even though like a human, I require some air to survive. Social meanings are just as important as scientific ones. Can they cause more confusion? Sure, because social truths are more flexible. Water on this planet will always maintain the same chemical combination until something changes it.

But, again, choosing the answer and which to stick to is more for social interaction purposes. Scientifically, I'd presume they are all acceptable answers for the definition of snow.
Sure, science will mostly say it's made out of certain elements in certain combinations. But socially, if you define water as something radically different, then even if you are still talking about a semi-transparent, reflective and refractive, drinkable liquid, that can be a solid, liquid, and gas, then science will back you up when you say that it's not the same as dihydrogenmonoxide.

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