Significant and insignificant

Would you fuckheads stop using these words to elevate your opinion to a higher status?

This is always used as a way of saying, “my opinion is more objective than yours.”, when an opinion by definition is SUBJECTIVE.

IE, ‘Humans are Insignificant.’, is a meaningless statement. The size in relation to the entire universe is a completely facile and meaningless comparison. This sentence doesn’t do anything, it is just an empty platitude meant to dismiss religious belief. Basically what it means is, “God doesn’t love you.”, A Galaxy cluster is insignificant in comparison to the size of the whole universe too. That is of course if the only meaning of significance referred to size, which isn’t the way it’s being used in a religious debate.

Significance refers to how MEANINGFUL something is. And meaning is completely subjective. So if I find the falling leaf off of a flower in autumn to be significant, then it’s significant. You can’t argue that it’s not, you’d actually be wrong OBJECTIVELY. If I find it to be meaningful THEN IT IS.

And I have no fucking clue, how you determine whether one ecosystem is ‘significant’ or not.

Sorry, I am just sick of the misuse and abuse of these words.


I can’t believe you started a pit thread about something so insignificant.

Ha, I’m sorry I couldn’t have made something more consequential or monumental like ivn1188’s thread where he pitted pittings.

Though I actually think this is more important than most things that are pitted because it derails so many discussions around here, where people use it as a term of dismissal of someone else’s arguments and act as though their notion of significance should simply be ‘understood’ and unquestioned.

You’re good to go if you assume a nihilistic approach.

You’ll get over it, Nancy.

Thanks Sid.

But I doubt I will. It’s hard to accept that intelligent people are comfortable with such imprecise terminology.

If this forum has some of the world’s smartest people, we’re fucked. :wink:

Fucked by syntax. Damn. I had my money on giant honking asteroid.

Nope, it’s our problems with communication that will get us every time.

Did you run this past him to make sure it’s up to the standards he enforces for the Pit?

No, I already knew that I was beneath the standard, and I posted anyway. I live in shame. But it’s alright, I have my shame curtains up.

Er… doesn’t that require precedent?

Yeah, you could consider war, repression, greed, and lack of resistance to biological impulse a ‘failure to communicate’ but that’s a stretch.

We have an age named for it. Feel the ironic justice. A big rock hit us. There’s your humanity-ender (unless we smarten up, which, oddly, I feel more optimistic about by the day…)

Funny, I have been going the opposite direction lately, thinking people are generally stupider than I usually give them credit for.

Hmm… “significant” is just a meaningless value judgement, but “important” is… well, apparently it’s something else.

And so, apparently are “consequential” and “monumental.” Although you do seem to be using them somewhat tongue-in-cheek. A shame your whole OP wasn’t tongue in cheek, though. Instead of just silly.

Hehe, I like when you pretend to be smarter than me. :wink:

The problem with what I am complaining about is the way the word was used. I used important and it was clear how the term, ‘important’, related to all the concepts, unlike the ‘significance of the ecosystem’. When I said ‘important’, it was clear that I was stating MY OWN opinion. Whereas comments on the significance or consequence of an eco-system were expected to simply be ‘understood’ as though it was a commonly shared scale of the significance of one eco-system in relationship to another.

Nice try though. Even when I’m tongue in cheek your literal corrections are simply WRONG.

The reason that neither of you would quantify significance is because you both knew that your scale was based on your own opinions, but you didn’t want to diminish your self-importance by admitting that it was just your opinion, and not some sort of high-falutin, objective scale.

That you don’t even understand how my use of important is used correctly, and your use of significance was used without providing the proper context, demonstrates the point.

As I pointed out in the thread the other day, the fate of the victims of genocide in Darfur is insignificant because it has no impact on MY life. See, how I did that? I applied a criteria for judgment, thus validating the use of the word ‘significant’. I could just as easily say, “It is of no consequence, to my life.”, see how that works?

Could we get a link to an example of somebody doing this? I don’t recall any examples of this particular problem.

But I disagree with this:

I think that there are many situations where significance does have an objective meaning. If I say that solar radiation would be a significant risk during a manned flight to Mars, I’m expressing an objective fact based on probability not meaningfulness.

I addressed that before I got to the part you quoted. It also refers to size differentials, but when discussing religion, its relationship to meaning is intentionally obscured so that people can haughtily tell people that God doesn’t love them. I don’t feel like seeking a particular instance of this. You can look if you like. Usually it’s couched in some kind of commentary of how the universe is indifferent to your existence because of your relative size, as though sheer physical magnitude is the end-all be-all of importance in the universe.

As for what inspired this thread well, check out the Spelunking thread in Great Debates for the joyful use of ‘significance’ and ‘of consequence’, as proposed by Snowboarder Bo and Baal Houtham.

Your significant risk in your example clearly illustrates the qualifying modifiers. The radiation is a significant risk to the spacecraft. Which is meaningful in a way that, “Solar radiation is significant.”, is not. It is significant to what? As compared to what?

Misery loves company. Is this an SDMB-related peeve? A link might help show up this significant syntactical sinner!

Well really the error is in the use of ‘consequence’

He has yet to provide any sort of criteria for how we may determine if an ecosystem has any consequence or not.

Here Baal Houtham uses the term significant.

He also fails to supply the qualifying terms that determine what comprises a ‘significant’ eco-system. Apparently also, he views humans as being separate and distinct from an eco-system.

As near as I can tell from the link the word might be superfluous and imprecise, but erroneous? What is the significance of the cave’s ecosystem as compared to, let’s say, the overall ecosystem of the area? Probably not all that great, given it’s a cave. In any case, I don’t know that it’s any worse than your claim that this issue is going to incrementally limit our liberties–I hardly think this rises to the level of an eminent domain claim to build an airport or highway.