Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
JonW719 wrote (on thread in Contribute! re “in dangered”):
This one makes sense to me as an eggcorn. If an animal has been designated as in danger, it has been “in dangered.”
Alternatively(/actually?), the designation is a recognition that the animal has already been placed “in danger” by other factors.
The habit of speaking of our knowledge or our categorizations as if they were the basis for truth is an interesting one to track. It shows up when a “new species” of dinosaur is unearthed, or “new Mayan ruins” are discovered.
Here are some examples
Khufu’s pyramid has never yielded the treasures usually associated with pharaohs, perhaps because tomb robbers plundered it thousands of years ago. —News story on Internet 17 Sept 02.
(Surely it may have yielded treasures to the tomb robbers?)
Toumai is so unlike fossils that currently exist , that it is being assigned a new genus and a new species.— CNN Inet news 10 July 02.
(Toumai of course not only currently exists but is currently known to exist, i.e. has been discovered. Never mind all the fossils that have not yet been discovered; likely they in some philosophical sense do not exist until they are discovered. Why couldn’t they say “previously known fossils”?)
Study reduces risks of asteroid impact— CNN Inet news headline 22 Nov 02.
(Would that study alone could more regularly have such beneficial effects.)
(As in some other cases, it is a matter of debate whether the semantics of key words have changed: e.g. does “new” mean “new to us”, or does “toll” mean “the number we know about” rather than “the actual number”. In any case, it is not that the quake is currently killing large numbers of people that it did not kill back when it occurred. [Yes, a few die later from the effects of the quake. But that is not what is at issue in these statistics.])
Byrd wrote a recent study for the M.I.N.D. Institute at UC Davis that ruled out better testing and population increases as possible causes for California’s dramatic increase in autism cases. —CNN Inet news 22 Nov 02.
(Population increase, assuming percentage stays the same, is indeed a likely cause. But better testing shouldn’t be.)
A new species of crocodile which lived 40 million years ago has been discovered in tropical Australia, filling a gap in the evolution of the prehistoric-looking crocodile, researchers said on Thursday.—CNN Inet news 24 Feb 05.
Museum unveils replica of new dinosaur
Sunday, December 5, 2004 Posted: 12:45 PM EST (1745 GMT) RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP)—Scientists have unveiled a replica of a new species of dinosaur whose fossils were recently discovered in Brazil. The new dinosaur, an ancestor of the brontosaurus, has more in common with species found in Europe than with other finds in South America.—CNN Inet news 5 Dec 04
New dinosaur resembled large turkey¶ SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP)—Fossils discovered in southern Utah are from a new species of birdlike dinosaur that resembled a 7-foot-tall brightly colored turkey and could run up to 25 miles per hour, scientists said Tuesday.—CNN Inet news 5 Apr 06.
(A “new” species makes a bit more sense, if “species” is understood as “category on the standard scientific lists.”)
Depicted in this artist’s vision, the death spiral of the remarkable J0806 system is a consequence of Einstein’s theory of General Relativity that predicts the white dwarf stars will lose their orbital energy by generating gravity waves.
The theory causes the spiral! (In some sense it’s true: the spiral is a not an independently established phenomenon but a hypothesis, and as such (as an event in people’s minds) may be seen as resulting from the theory.)
BERLIN, Germany (AP)—Experts have discovered a previously unknown work by Johann Sebastian Bach in documents taken from a German library shortly before it was heavily damaged by fire, researchers said Wednesday. ¶ It was believed to be the first new Bach work to surface in 30 years.—CNN Inet news 8 June 05
A recent survey of stars conducted with the Spitzer Space Telescope is convincing astronomers that our Milky Way Galaxy is not just your ordinary spiral galaxy anymore. Looking out from within the Galaxy’s disk, the true structure of the Milky Way is difficult to discern.
(at least they recognize that there is a “true” structure of the Galaxy.)
Last edited by DavidTuggy (2008-08-24 11:09:18)
*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .