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scientific study and truthiness  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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I recently posted on this thread having to do with the distinctions between fruit and vegetable, and the kind gir-bot and staff decided it needed editing because:

"this is too 'truthy' and does not allow for other people's opinions.  to most people, if it comes from a plant, it's vegetable.  "

Where is the line drawn? In a legitimate, uncontroversial field of study with centuries of history and development behind it, is it possible to be too "truthy?"

Also, if we are discussing objective biological or botanical fact, what relevance is there to opinion? Why, then, is it necessary to leave room for speculation, or theoretical opinions with no biological basis?

I can accept that the tone of a message might be too dismissive, or that the way in which information is delivered might be overwhelming in its completeness, but slander and libel are only slander and libel if what is being said is wrong.

To me, it's not difficult. Set the parameters of what is being asked, and find the information that answers the question from sources relevant to the issues being discussed. The value of what most people "know" is trumped by the field of study dedicated to the question.

If it's a question of tone, I think it might be better if that is what shows up in the clue. I have a hard time with people being chastised for presenting a complete, scientific answer just because some see it as impolite to leave no room for equivocation.

Again, this is an uncontroversial topic. We're talking biological definitions here. If I am off-base, please let me know. Otherwise, perhaps this is a discussion worth having?

-CK
 
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I haven't looked into the specifics yet, but on the first read of your post, I hear you are saying that there is a clearcut line between fruits and vegetables.  

In the garden, a squash is a fruit.

And yet, in the kitchen, a squash is a vegetable.  According to the food guide, they taught me from in school, a squash is a vegetable.  According to my cookbooks, squash is always a vegetable.  

They are both true.  The truth is that a squash is both a fruit and a vegetable depending on the person and context.

To say it is absolutely a fruit is to insult hundreds of years of culinary history.  

To say it's only a vegetable is to insult hundreds of years of botanical tradition.

Truth is dependent on whether we are standing in the kitchen or the garden.  In this case, and in most cases, the 'truth' is relative.  

This is why we discourage talking about what is true.  This is why we encourage leaving room for other people's beliefs.
 
raven ranson
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Just reading your post here, I spect that this is the key.

I can accept that the tone of a message might be too dismissive



If it's too dismissive, it's not leaving room for other people's opinions.  Paul spells it out better here http://www.permies.com/t/7304/tnk/Leaving-room-peoples-ideas
 
Mother Tree
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Chris Kott wrote:Again, this is an uncontroversial topic. We're talking biological definitions here. If I am off-base, please let me know. Otherwise, perhaps this is a discussion worth having?



You might be.

The rest of us might be thinking of culinary definitions.  Or not realise that there *are* different definitions.  Or are maybe young enough to not yet realise that definitions change over time.  Or insular enough to not understand that definitions change by geographical location.



 
Chris Kott
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But biologically, squash is a fruit. It's where the seeds are. The vegetation is everything else. So in the kitchen, the squash is also a fruit. It may be treated culinarily, in every case in every tradition, as a vegetable, but it doesn't stop being the seed-bearing fruit of the plant.

What are the culinary reasons a fruit is a fruit, and a vegetable a vegetable? Are there any consistent ones?

What is carrot if it's used to make a jam? Does the definition of fruit or vegetable in the culinary sense change based on the flavour profile or the specific culinary traditions involved?

I don't think it's crazy to adhere to the seeds-equal-fruit school of thought. I don't see how it's insulting to culinary history to delineate on biological terms.

I have very carefully not stated anything that might suggest that fruit are unsuitable in their traditional culinary milieu, because that would be silly. But if culinary history has had to include in the cooking instructions the part about seed removal, it's nothing new to culinary schools of thought. Why should this be anything even slightly divisive?

It's about as relevant to the culinary angle as a reshuffling of taxonomic nomenclature. Do you really care what latinate name your squashes go by, or if they change slightly because of a biological quirk? Will it affect the taste of your food? So why is it controversial that any "vegetable" that is actually the part of the plant with seeds is that plant's fruit?

Words have meaning. If I use the pommel of my knife to hammer, it doesn't cease being a knife to become a hammer.

Why is it more correct to subborn scientific language, with its clear definitions and specificity, to the imprecision of culinary traditions? Calling a squash a fruit doesn't change the taste, or its suitability for traditional use.

And it's not new. Squash has always had seeds; it has always been fruit. In the linguistic past, where these two words didn't exist, I would venture a guess that, when sorting between plant-based food types, our ancestors would have grouped the stuff that needed cooking separately from that which didn't, and probably those goods which required specific preparation prior to cooking, such as seeding, separately from all that which didn't, which probably would have been sorted by anatomy, as in roots and tubers, stems, and leaves, each separately.

Fruit share certain specific characteristics. Vegetables are basically anything edible that isn't fruit. This doesn't say anything about culinary use.

So bearing this in mind, how do we acknowledge the botanical classification, if not the way it's been done?

As an aside, I was also a little surprised to see any issues with my original post. As long as I can remember, I delighted in knowing that if it had seeds, it was a fruit. Not having that straight, in my mind, was akin to not knowing what the unprocessed version of the food you eat looked like. I didn't think it was possible for someone to be insulted by the assertion that seeded veggies are, in fact, fruit, by the biological definition.

Back to truthiness, it's like math, to my mind. Two and two are four. The presence of seeds indicates that the plant part in question is the fruit. Hell, we even call the spore-bearing, edible part of fungi "fruiting bodies." It's not about where we're standing. It's about the commonalities present in the things we are trying to classify, and precision.

I don't think I used the word "true" or "truth" anywhere in my post, or really in any of my posts for a long time now. But I suppose if I have to work a little ambiguity into some of my statements, I am good enough to do that and maintain my meaning. And insofar as belief goes, there is room for personal belief in the culinary sphere. Biology is another thing entirely.

-CK
 
raven ranson
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What are the culinary reasons a fruit is a fruit, and a vegetable a vegetable? Are there any consistent ones?



I understand it's a purely cultural definition.

My government told me that all squash are vegetables when I was in school.  The same government that said that rhubarb is a fruit.

Yeh, I know.  That's democracy for you, we get the government we deserve.


I don't see how it's insulting to culinary history to delineate on biological terms.



Yet, that's exactly the problem here.

Not every culture classifies the world this way.  Even within the culture I live, there's a dislike of science telling us what to do and what to think.  It becomes a matter of one point of view bossing the other points of view around. You SHOULD think the way I do.  

People don't like being told what to do and how to think.

It's just like me saying that people shouldn't use the word decimate to mean totally destroy.  It means to reduce by one-tenth damn it!  The meaning is in the composition of the word and completely obvious to the meanest intellect on the slightest reflection (that last bit is a quote my favourite professor uses in this situation).  But going around telling people this has no use.  It makes them feel stupid and makes me look like a smart ass.

 
Chris Kott
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But that's just it. Decimate has an actual meaning, the one you just gave. How hard is it to swap out decimate for devastate?

And squash are fruit usually used and treated, in a culinary sense, in a savoury context, leading to people thinking about them as vegetables.

And rhubarb is the stem of a plant used typically in a sweet context, whose astringency or tartness usually balances sweeter fruit; it could be considered a vegetable, in the same way spinach, or more appropriately, celery, is a vegetable.

Anyone familiar with my posts, and certainly those familiar with requested edits, knows that I go to some length to be accurate and precise, and to use language properly. So to what degree is it necessary to dumb down the precision of my language?

Why aren't we referring to all harvested plant matter as harvested plant matter? Because that would be confusing, and there are widely accepted and understood concepts available to delineate between different types of plant matter.

So it's not the difference between decimate and devastate, but rather the difference between go harvest the tubers and go pick off the seed pods. Depending on the plant, that sort of misunderstanding could have lethal consequences.

This is just my opinion, but I think it should be valid to be able to say that x is x and y is y, even if in some cases x things fit y criteria for use (savoury fruit as non-dessert food, for instance, fruit acting as vegetable, mashed squash and mashed sweet potatoes looking and acting almost interchangeably).

I would trust science over the government, especially if its on the level that biologists have been able to do for millenia. I don't see the point of spurning a whole way of looking at existence as a form of intellectual rebellion. That kind of science has been largely concerned with cataloguing and documenting, and comparing like to like, looking for similarities and commonalities. This has literally been going on for centuries. We're not talking about the more recent fields that require study to even grasp in broad terms, or theoretical computer models with thousands of variables.

So I am concerned, I guess, with the integrity of language and discourse. If, in a thread specifically posted to discuss the difference, the scientific definitions are thrown out for being too exclusive, what are we left with?

On another note, if someone could check the post I have edited to suggest any additional rewording, I would be happy to comply.

-CK
 
raven ranson
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The real live, vernacular, meaning between decimating and devastate are culturally dependent.

In England, I understand decimate is still reduce by one-tenth.  In Canada, decimate means to destroy completely.  

If When I correct a Canadian about the 'correct' use of the word, they get offended that I'm telling them what they should do.  One time we went so far as to get out some dictionaries.  The Canadian dictionary they were working from said that decimate means total destruction.  

Truth and fact are more malleable than they first appear.  The meaning of decimate depends on what country, year, and the context we use it.  



 
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As usual, when I read things very carefully, I generally agree with Chris. Sometimes people are annoyed by those who take the time to know things before they post, and because they are annoyed, they look for the guilty party and there he is. But not guilty of much.

If I say that water boils at 212 Fahrenheit at sea level, there's going to be somebody who has some opinion on why this is not so. And in a case like that I'm going to get truthy.

In a choir voices, the one that people most often don't want to hear, is the voice of reason.
 
Burra Maluca
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Chris Kott wrote:Anyone familiar with my posts, and certainly those familiar with requested edits, knows that I go to some length to be accurate and precise, and to use language properly. So to what degree is it necessary to dumb down the precision of my language?



And here is the crux of the matter - properly according to whom?

As my father always used to say 'Talk proper, like what I do!'  

You don't need to dumb down, but you would benefit by snapping out of your overly scientific viewpoint and learning to appreciate that, as it were, oranges are not the only fruit.
 
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Chris Kott wrote:

Words have meaning.

-CK



Hear, hear.
 
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raven ranson wrote:
If When I correct a Canadian about the 'correct' use of the word, they get offended that I'm telling them what they should do.  



While I agree with what you said here, I don't see them as the same thing.  Correcting someone's speech can easily be construed as rude, and is different than giving someone an answer to a specific question when asked.  The OP asked what the difference was between a fruit and a vegetable.  As it happens, that question has a correct answer, as opposed to a question like "what is the meaning of life?".  The word "fruit" has a very specific definition, as does "vegetable".  Chris simply answered the question.  To steal Chris' example, if someone asks "what is 2+2?" and I answer "4", I don't see it as truthy (sic).  Following the reasoning given in the highlighted section of the first post, if someone else answers "5", no one should say differently, because that wouldn't be allowing for other people's opinions.  
 
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Chris Kott wrote:There is a scientific definition.



Chris Kott wrote:Again, the fruit part of a plant cannot, by botanical definition, be a vegetable. If we are eating vegetables, we are eating the vegetation, and not the parts resultant from the flowering.



Chis: I'm wondering what branch of science you are relying on to give you a definition of vegetable which would exclude fruits from the definition? Is there a peer-reviewed journal article that you are relying on to provide your definition of "vegetable"? Which scientist, or group of scientists are you relying on for an authoritative definition of "vegetable"? Why would I want to trust that particular group of scientists over some other group, or over the cultural traditions of my village?

Here's what I find when I do actual research to come up with a definition of "vegetable"...

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/vegetable wrote:Vegetable
noun
   1- any plant whose fruit, seeds, roots, tubers, bulbs, stems, leaves, or flower parts are used as food, as the tomato, bean, beet, potato, onion, asparagus, spinach, or cauliflower.
   2- the edible part of such a plant, as the tuber of the potato.
   3- any member of the vegetable kingdom; plant.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetable wrote:Vegetables are parts of plants that are consumed by humans as food as part of a meal. The original meaning is still commonly used and is applied to plants collectively to refer to all edible plant matter, including the flowers, fruits, stems, leaves, roots, and seeds. The alternate definition of the term vegetable is applied somewhat arbitrarily, often by culinary and cultural tradition. It may exclude foods derived from some plants that are fruits, nuts, and cereal grains, but include fruits from others such as tomatoes and courgettes and seeds such as pulses.  



Chris: I understand that you like to write precisely, but it appears that in this particular case that you are using a "somewhat arbitrary" definition by excluding "fruit" from being within the definition of vegetable.
 
pollinator
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Science Daily

Vegetable is a culinary term.

Its definition has no scientific value and is somewhat arbitrary and subjective.

All parts of herbaceous plants eaten as food by humans, whole or in part, are generally considered vegetables.

Mushrooms, though belonging to the biological kingdom, fungi, are also commonly considered vegetables.

Since "vegetable" is not a botanical term, there is no contradiction in referring to a plant part as a fruit while also being considered a vegetable.

When talking across paradigms, confusion is likely to occur.

In culinary school, we were taught that a vegetable is primarily served with a meal, a fruit is primarily served as a snack or dessert. This was according to Escoffier who codified French cooking, so completely arbitrary, but so much of life is.
 
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Why do we call the following nuts when they aren't nuts: Peanuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, horse chestnuts and pine nuts
How would you recommended that we get the populous to using the correct terms for things.

Personally I think that farmers are growing for cooks/eater and so they are going off the culinary vs growing for biologist. So using the culinary definitions is okay.

English is also a living language and words can
change there meaning
or at least acquire a secondary meaning
and also get exceptions

That said, I have posted something and got gir bot saying revise it.
And I think to myself I was obviously not wrong I feel like I am being singled out.
But then it hits me that permies.com is a bubble where people say hippy, equal voice, earthy crunchy stuff and they want everyone to feel free to share their "weird" ideas/experiences. So we have to create an enviroment of it depends.  

 
Trace Oswald
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I want to thank everyone that has written in this thread.  It seems that maybe "fruit" does have a scientific definition, whereas "vegetable" does not.  I love it when I find out something I accepted as fact may not be that way, and I have to research it further.  

I am certain about that 2+2 thing though.
 
Chris Kott
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Joseph, you have a point. I did inadvertently identify fruit as distinctly not vegetable, which wasn't my point. Rather, I meant to stress that plant parts bearing seeds were fruit, by definition.

We obviously need to exercise great care when choosing our language. Otherwise we can make statements  that may contradict, or at least muddle, our intended messages.

-CK
 
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Just to confuse a bit more: botanically, a pumpkin is a berry, and a strawberry is an aggregate fruit.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berry

Have no time to post a link to a scientific journal, but here wikipedia is accurate.
 
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Trace Oswald wrote:I am certain about that 2+2 thing though.


Here's a case where it maybe isn't.  I start driving around a hypothetical earth (that is round in this case) from California to the East.  I turn 90 degrees to the left and head North somewhere around Kansas.  My car is really good at handling ice and water so I travel to the north pole.  There I turn 90 degrees left again and head South to somewhere near Hawaii.  I did say my car handles the water really well.  Then I turn left again 90 degrees and head East to California.  I just made a journey that could be observed as a triangle.  The angles of a triangle usually equal 180 degrees but somehow this one equals 270.
 
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Thanks, guys!

I LIKE this thread. Thank you to everybody!  Great fun. I love it.


Rufus
 
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The truth is the truth. Opinions we've got far too many of already. If something is already clearly defined why do we need someone's story about their relatives, their professor, their anything.

This so called age of information is the age of disinformation it's absolutely everywhere. If you want to talk about integrity and let this nonsense fly because 'people's feelings' you are lacking integrity. This for the sake of allowing opinions to obfuscate the actual truth. Which is pretty much all media and much of the mess we're in with regards to global warming, agricultural practice, GE, financial in trading, corruption...

It's a slippery slope trying to accommodate for people's feelings rather than accepting facts you accept all manner of nonsense.

There is truth. And there is tact. We can try combine the two for the overly sensitive.

There is truth, and there is opinion. Opinion is largely horseshit. Observation however, is mildly interesting.

Although we love to read opinion when it aligns with our own thinking we're not all children, and being wrong is part of growing up.

 
Stacy Witscher
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I think it's been clearly shown that there isn't one truth about this particular issue.

Things are often claimed to be truths when they are really just opinions or limits in understanding.
 
Rufus Laggren
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Actually... IMHO

Courtesy and tact are serious advantages - survival skills, take-no-prisoners play-to-win skills. They're also research skills because somebody you carelessly insult may well not pass on good info or otherwise help you out. Courtesy and tact strengthen community by helping to ensure goodwill amoung all. I read somewhere that "a gentleman is one who never insults another by accident...". I love that. It implies that one doesn't _need_ to be impolite to get their full message across.

Politeness is something one can _always_ practice. It's _not_ limiting. Maybe it takes some effort sometimes and occasionally we can make mistakes; but there is no downside and it can save you. Save your ass, save your soul, by keeping you on the path _you_ chose, focused, on track. It even works in bed - doesn't get in the way at all... It embodies and engenders respect.

I admit I'm not that good at it, but from many experiences, both good and bad, I believe I'll stick with it. There is no silver bullet, of course. Wearing clean clothes to work doesn't mean you'll definitely get that promotion, but...

Cheers
Rufus
 
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Yesterday our govt sponsored talkback radio spent a couple of hours debating global warming.

They had experts with opinions. My neighbor mentioned it in glee, as obviously if he was still listening to opinions, the jury was still out.

I'll see your diplomacy, and raise you one planet.
 
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The problem with being truthy is in context.  Stating that something is true can often be correlated with the concept that other things are by subsequent consequence categorically false.  The sensitivity to precise language that Chris expresses in the thread of our current discussion, can be construed to not share the same sensitivity to how others are thinking. (I will return to this in my final paragraph)  As such, it becomes truthy rather than him stating 'his truth'.  It's not 'his truth', it's The Truth.  And while I agree with much of his direction of thought on the subject, I do find that Joseph's post was more accurate to my thinking/response.

The way I see it, there are Animals, Vegetables, Minerals, and Fungi.  Following that, there is botany which is decidedly not the study of anything else but those in the kingdom of vegetables. ie: not animals, not fungi, and not minerals.  There are plants, which all have botanical terms that describe and delineate them, and yet these are all vegetation, regardless of those terms.  While vegetable is not a botanical term, it is certainly a word of some substance in relation to the entire Kingdom that it is inexplicitly involved with.  A herb can be defined in many different ways, including 1. any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers used for flavoring, food, medicine, or perfume.  <-this definition makes me think of oregano, or echinacea. However, when we speak of a herbivore, it is an animal that feeds on plants, not medicine plants, not perfumes, and not stuff to make tea from, but plants, or... vegetation.    And what are plants...well here's some common synonyms: herbs, vegetables, weeds.  So there is a lot of common use definitions which support one another towards creating a kind of quasi-scientific reality to the word Vegetable, which is certainly not a dog or an amanita, or a sedimentary shale, but might be a pine, a pineapple, an algae, a broccoli, a potato, a squash, or a poppy.    

Fruit, on the other hand, are well defined by Chris, but he is giving a scientific definition and creating a division between fruit and vegetable based solely on science, and that is fine, but it is not the only way to describe the two... such a line has been difficult to relate to culturally, or, possibly even within cultures.  A tomato is certainly a fruit, and a cherry or yellow plum tomato is a sweet candy-like treat, but there are many tomatoes that are better made into a sauce.  The latter would certainly be considered to not be meat, but vegetables on the table.  But placed in a bowl of mixed fruit, the former might not be considered vegetables, despite being very closely related to the sauce tomatoes.  Getting the opinion of a thousand people at farmer's markets across a continent, might give quite a varied response when asked if all the stuff in the bowl were fruit, or if all the stuff meant to be cooked into the sauce, were vegetables.

But to pick Chris out for stating what he sees as the scientific definition, based on the botanical idea that a fruit is something that is created by a plant to reproduce itself, and as such that differentiates fruit from all other parts of a plant... well I think that that is unfounded.  Don't pick on Chris for this at all.... but if Chris is stating that any part of a plant that is not a fruit (simply because of this botanical definition for fruit) then becomes (magically via process of elimination) a vegetable with no botanical definition for vegetable, then his argument falls short of completing its own loop.  Botany and Science rules, and then... it doesn't because vegetable does not have a botanical definition.   Sure it's logical, just like my vegetable kingdom, herb, herbivore... stuff above is somewhat following a logical train of thought, and meant to draw people into a logic-based conclusion.  It doesn't mean that what Chris said is wrong, just that it is not nearly as precise as Chris might want to make it seem in this case.  

The problem really comes when someone (in this case Chris) pushes a point and argues it and defends it, rather than stating it and then allowing others to be who they are and discuss other ideas.  Stating the botanical definition for fruit is all fine and good.  Debating whether your botanical definition reigns supreme over other ways of looking at the differences between fruits and vegetables will get you into trouble on this site, regardless of whether it is a controversial topic or not.  Because that is what makes it Overly Truthy.  That's why it needed moderation, and as a result, this thread.  

That's how I see it.            
 
raven ranson
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Getting back to the original question - there are ways of expressing yourself that make the other person feel good, and ways that shoot them down.

Because there are so many different cultures and we all come from different backgrounds, we encourage conversation that leaves room for other people's ideas.

This is a heavily moderated site and all moderation decisions are done as a team, sometimes after days of discussion.  

The reason for the decisions may not always be apparent, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and this site seems to be a pleasant place to hang out.  So I think something's working.

We appreciate you working with the moderators to keep permies nice.

 
Dc Brown
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I'm certainly learning more than permaculture here. I appreciate how difficult it must be to maintain calm amidst the chaos that is the internet.

I'm a stickler for facts because I think the truth is of utmost importance. This may be an artifact of a religious upbringing "The truth shall set you free", it is certainly dear to my heart.

While diplomacy seems to matter to everyone, as an aspie it's not listed in my CV under personal skills. Meanwhile the worse kind of sociopaths have all the people skills you could wish for.

It's a dichotomy: this place is certainly no microcosm of the typical world; but fixing the typical world seems dear to the heart of this place...

Never accept diplomacy at the expense of the truth. We know where that get's us, awkward dinners with in-laws, that's where. You bring it on yourselves

Understanding of the many stakeholders involved in an issue is an extremely important argument for diplomacy, so we might understand context, rather than who is right or wrong.

In my context, after an oppressive religious background, science is sacred

 
S Bengi
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Like in calculus/algebra, solve for y=0 there can be more than 1 answer/truth

Vegetables are parts of plants that are consumed by humans as food as part of a meal. The original meaning is still commonly used and is applied to plants collectively to refer to all edible plant matter, including the flowers, fruits, stems, leaves, roots, and seeds. The alternate definition of the term vegetable is applied somewhat arbitrarily, often by culinary and cultural tradition. It may exclude foods derived from some plants that are fruits, nuts, and cereal grains, but include fruits from others such as tomatoes and courgettes and seeds such as pulses.



Etymology
The word vegetable was first recorded in English in the early 15th century. It comes from Old French,[1] and was originally applied to all plants; the word is still used in this sense in biological contexts.[2] It derives from Medieval Latin vegetabilis "growing, flourishing" (i.e. of a plant), a semantic change from a Late Latin meaning "to be enlivening, quickening".[1]

The meaning of "vegetable" as a "plant grown for food" was not established until the 18th century.[3] In 1767, the word was specifically used to mean a "plant cultivated for food, an edible herb or root". The year 1955 saw the first use of the shortened, slang term "veggie".[4]

As an adjective, the word vegetable is used in scientific and technical contexts with a different and much broader meaning, namely of "related to plants" in general, edible or not—as in vegetable matter, vegetable kingdom, vegetable origin, etc.[2]


 
Chris Kott
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And now vegetable can refer to a person in unflattering terms.

We got a bit far afield. Probably my fault. Thanks for all the great opinions.

Before I got away from myself and defined vegetable a little too narrowly, my point was to stress the botanical definition of fruit. That's pretty clear-cut, as the definition for vegetable is not.

The original post asked what the difference was between a vegetable and a fruit. What is the relevance of the question if all fruit is vegetable in nature?

So we arrive at a point where we can either look for defined answers, as in, fruit is the part of a plant where seeds are formed, or we can decide that because the botanical definition closes the doors on too many opinions, that there are no differences. Fruit are vegetable in nature, but vegetables aren't necessarily fruit.

I submit that unintentional misuse of language can be instructive as well. The delineation I was making between fruit and vegetable was less clear than I had made it out to be in my own mind, and I hadn't realised it until Joseph pointed it out. I didn't even realise, consciously and in the moment, how broadly defined and generalised the word "vegetable" was.

And I agree with you, Dean, that science is sacred, but only if you include the part where you're encouraged to slaughter your sacred cows should the data demand. In science, nothing is sacred but the scientific approach itself.

As to diplomacy, it can be both necessary and ultimately self-defeating. It can be very much like putting on your best face on a date, wherein perhaps you supress tendencies and wants that might seem unattractive and say what you have to in order to get more closely acquainted. What good is that in the context of a longer relationship, where eventually everything is known and shared? And yet everyone tells little white lies to get along.

This is not a popular opinion, or perhaps in some circles it is, but I think for far too long, people have been not only willing, but eager, to be personally insulted by anything that could be construed, even remotely, as a personal affront. This is not constructive.

I am not suggesting that people grow thicker skin, or whatever trigger phrase is currently being used by abusive political types. But I do prefer when people are willing to look at things in more objective terms, removing themselves and any slight (real or perceived) from the conversation. That way, truthiness (pushing personal truths) can be left by the wayside, so that objective truths, like botanical definitions, can be seen in the appropriate light.

That way, insult doesn't play into it, as nobody has a personal stake in the conversation except their talking points.

The staff here go through serious hoops to keep the trolls out here. Were I a troll, this place would be no fun for me, as I would have to restrain myself too much simply to remain. Also, I think my posts would be more political and less helpful in nature.

I submit, therefore, that I am not a troll.

That being the case, should there not be a modicum of trust in the fact that I am not posting anything maliciously, or intending to subvert the tone of the conversation to that end?

Is my opinion, which derives from observation and scientific study, and so is not subject to insult or injury, worth less than that of someone whose opinions derive from fervent belief of some kind, and therefore are so subject?

"If you prick me, do I not... leak?"

-CK
 
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Chris Kott wrote: Words have meaning. If I use the pommel of my knife to hammer, it doesn't cease being a knife to become a hammer.

I get a kick out of the term Hammer drill every time I'm tempted to strike that seemingly recalcitrant screw just one time with the base of the drill.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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The staff here go through serious hoops to keep the trolls out here. Were I a troll, this place would be no fun for me, as I would have to restrain myself too much simply to remain. Also, I think my posts would be more political and less helpful in nature.

I submit, therefore, that I am not a troll.

That being the case, should there not be a modicum of trust in the fact that I am not posting anything maliciously, or intending to subvert the tone of the conversation to that end?  

 

If someone takes offense to a post, or thinks that a post is not really being nice, or is overly truthy... or... lots of other possible stuff, then that someone sometimes reports it... and staff have to look into it.  Whether the staff believe you not to be malicious or a troll, or believe you do not intend to subvert the conversation, if they trust that you are a decent guy who is trying to better the site, BUT then someone who is a member of the site gets their hair caught up in it, then it is up to the staff to figure out if the potential issue is big enough a problem that it should be moderated.  Sometimes that is a decision that is made on the spot by the staff who picked up the reported post, but more often than not, as Raven said, there is an ensuing staff discussion that may take days to conclude.  This takes time and energy from people who are volunteering their time and energy....    ... Anything that can be done to alleviate this is appreciated.  And it should be noted that whatever the moderators decide, it's not personal.  They want you to be contributing to the site.  But they want your contributions to flow with the site.  Nothing personal.  Just keeping the flow.  Keeping the peace.  

We don't think you are a troll, Chris.  We think that you are a passionate and enthusiastic contributor who sometimes needs moderation or, to put it in other terms, guidance.  Some people need this more than others, and it is often noticed that people who are given a lot of guidance are also the same that other people report much of the time.  People report things that don't seem to go with the flow of the site.  So... it's up to all the contributors on the site to self-moderate as much as possible, and thus not get put in the position that they need to be moderated.  If they don't, then it is up to the staff to maintain the flow.

I appreciate your contributions to this site, and also your style of writing.  It can be a little edgy or to use a less nice word 'confrontational' (as can mine on occasion---I've had some moderation in my recent past even), even if you or I do not intend it, and its those sorts of posts that often get someone's hackles up.  The thing about the internet, or messaging in particular, is that how we write can create a kind of vibe that other people are reading into it that is not intended.  If a specific person is often (or even occasionally) creating the same vibe and reaction from others, then no matter what that person writes, the subsequent post can, when read, (perhaps subconsciously) have an undertone in the minds of the people who have been exposed often enough to such a tone that they found... too edgy or something.  And while the edge effect is much appreciated in how it adds diversity to permaculture or a conversation, too much edge can cut.  Sometimes a thing only cuts if it's repeated and repeated until it's driven home.  

Everybody has to figure out for themselves when they are posting on a website if whatever is going to be out there is going to be an issue or not to someone.  I know that might seem a little like its forcing our members to cater to the PC (politically correct) liberal scene, but generally, it seems to be working.  This site is super friendly and the moderators try to allow a certain amount of edge to the discussion.  But there is a line, and it if that line left to staff to be discerning or judging about a situation, then the people who are being moderated need to cater to the needs of the staff who are volunteering to make a decision- a decision which is often not easy.      

I might not choose to moderate a situation the same as another staff member, but we have a general feel for what we are looking for, and looking out for,  and if we are in doubt, we consult with one another.  It's not perfect, but, as I said, and as you alluded to, it seems to be working.

Thanks for starting this thread, Chris.  I think it might help other people understand the nature of the types of situations that moderators are having to deal with.  I think it will also help show the importance of choosing words that properly reflect what a specific contributor is trying to say, while at the same time remaining neutral enough to not be sounding like they know it all, or that they know more than others and as such should be listened to as if they know the only truth, and as such are not respecting others.  It all comes down to being nice, and reflecting on the fact that if you are feeling like you are demanding to be heard or adamant about a point, think further if it's really worth it to do that. Is it worth being moderated about?  What is your time worth, and how much time does moderation take for the staff?  Is it worth it to them?  Is it worth furthering a discussion about it by starting a thread in 'Tinkering'?  Sometimes, it is for all of those things.  Sometimes it simple is not.  There is always a space for convivial discussion of something so a better understanding can be reached.  How we go about that conversation, or any conversation on this site, is up to us as individuals.  

I think you made some excellent points, and they are well received.  I hope that you can gain more understanding about what other people are thinking by reading carefully what others have written in this thread, particularly those who dedicate a lot more time and energy to this site than I do.            
 
Roberto pokachinni
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The real live, vernacular, meaning between decimating and devastate are culturally dependent.

In England, I understand decimate is still reduce by one-tenth.  In Canada, decimate means to destroy completely.

 I prefer to use the words Annihilate or Obliterate to mean to destroy completely.  But that's just my version of Canadian.  I might read to much.  
 
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