Comparison between apples and oranges

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by -Cp, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. -Cp
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    -Cp Senior Member

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    We have all been present at discussions (or arguments) in which one of the combatants attempts to clarify or strengthen a point by comparing the subject at hand with another item or situation more familiar to the audience or opponent. More often than not, this stratagem instantly results in the protest that "you're comparing apples and oranges!" This is generally perceived as being a telling blow to the analogy, since it is generally understood that apples and oranges cannot be compared. However, after being the recipient of just such an accusation, it occurred to me that there are several problems with dismissing analogies with the comparing apples and oranges defense.

    First, the statement that something is like comparing apples and oranges is a kind of analogy itself. That is, denigrating an analogy by accusing it of comparing apples and oranges is, in and of itself, comparing apples and oranges. More importantly, it is not difficult to demonstrate that apples and oranges can, in fact, be compared (see figure 1).

    Read the rest at:
    http://www.improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume1/v1i3/air-1-3-apples.html
     
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  2. waltky
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    waltky Wise ol' monkey Supporting Member

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    Orange groves in Fla. ravaged by disease...
    :eek:
    Citrus Disease With No Cure Is Ravaging Florida Groves
    May 9, 2013 — Florida’s citrus industry is grappling with the most serious threat in its history: a bacterial disease with no cure that has infected all 32 of the state’s citrus-growing counties.
     
  3. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    Yup.

    Analogies need to be reasonably analogous.

    When they are they are effective teaching tools.

    When they fail they often fail because the student doesn't know enough about the issue to see the analogy.

    Or they fail because the analogy isn't really very good.

    Effectively communicating about conceptual issues is hard work.
     
  4. itfitzme
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    itfitzme VIP Member

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    Sometimes a bad analogy is used to mislead the audience. *The audience, unfamiliar with what is being described has no way to know they are being misled. *

    Analogies are not proofs. *Analogies are descriptive.*

    If an analogy fails to show how something works, it does not prove that that something doesn't work.*
     
  5. itfitzme
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    itfitzme VIP Member

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    V=A*cos(wt+lx) is a mathematical model descriptive of a radio wave, microwave oven energy, light from a LASER, and the undulating rings of water that occur when a pebble is dropped into a still pond. *

    All are analogous in the essential element of consideration, the magitude of the wave at any time, at any point in 1-D space.*

    The mathematical description is a model and an analogy. It is not a very satisfying analogy. *

    Light, microwaves, and radio waves are identical in that they are all electomagnetic field waves. They are different in what reacts to them and how they interact with other thing. We see light. Microwaves heat water. Radio waves do neither.

    Waves of water is a more satisfying analogy, for light and microwaves waves, than the mathematical model.

    Still, apples are more like oranges than light is like waves of water in a pond.
     

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