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« The Devil in Democracy | Main | Ruminations – 17jan2012 [updated] »

15 January 2012

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Brad Croul

I am not a physicist but I enjoyed the video, "Black Whole", featuring the work of physicist Nassim Haramien. Rented it at NC Video on Argall.

http://theresonanceproject.org/about/personnel/nassim-haramein

Ryan Mount

Until God, the Flying Spaghetti Monster or one of Shirley MacLaine's past lives shows up, raises his/her/its hands (plural in case it's the flying spaghetti monster or Shirley MacLaine's past lives) and says, "Trees? You like trees? I made those happen. I'm also responsible for category 5 Hurricanes, death and people who hoard Elvis memorabilia," we've got nothing but an untestable and fantastical belief system/myth.

Now I know some of the readers of this blog have read (or pretend to have read) good-old Thomas Kuhn and his structuralist paradigm shifting yip-yap, and the more "Conservative" types here certainly have reverse-applied his rhetoric onto the current scientific "academic" milieu of around evolutionary biology and cosmology, but I want to see the experiment that even hints at an Intelligent Designer. My bets, if I must entertain this absurdity, are on a disgruntled teenage boy in a parallel universe who was asked to clean his room, but instead messed around with some household cleansers, which accidentally created our current home-sweet-home. After which he promptly swept us under the bed. Now that's a myth I can believe in.

Intelligent Design is a *belief* system this is largely a disingenuous proxy for Christianity concocted by people, of good intention I might add, to re-introduce God-ish-ness back into the academic discourse using the rhetoric of the post-modern hipsters. It's really that simple. And it's a fail.

Todd Juvinall

We know the limitations of a human mind when a person believes in an alternate universe but not a GOD. We win! Or should I say, God wins!

Ryan Mount

@Todd. What do/does we/God win? A year supply of turtle wax? Bragging rights down at the Mineshaft?

But that aside, there appears to be evidence of different universes. String Theory or something like that. I believe people much smarter (or more stoned) and presumably more handsome (or not) than me call it a Multiverse:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against the believers other than an occasional incredulous chortle. And I do not mean to be insensitive, but I'm looking for the facts. And frankly I agree with George that I'll take Christianity any day over, I dunno, pick any other theistic religion as I have a lot less chance of losing my literal head for being such a sardonic smarty pants as I'm doing here. So we got that.

I'm just looking for an answer to Bertrand Russell's teapot. Is God there or not? So far, I'm still waiting for Godot.

Todd Juvinall

Who created the multiverse? You see, we choose to believe in something wonderful and good while others think science fiction is real.

George Rebane

RyanM 1202pm - I'm not sure how Christianity per se got into the discussion here on ID. Should the multiverse structure of the cosmos (label for all there is that humans could ever discover) become testable science, then the arguments for ID would still not be affected.

Just so that we're not talking past each other, taxonomically 'existence' denotes the highest level of what IS. Existence may contain more than one 'cosmos'. A cosmos is an existence class that is based on various relationships of what we know as the 4-tuple of matter, energy, space, and time. A cosmos contains one or more 'universes'. A universe is an observable/testable (by us) 4-tuple domain that is bound by the laws of physics as we continue to discover them. And in general, a universe is any delimited 4-tuple that is observable/testable to all sentient and sapient civilizations which reside in that universe.

Princeton's John Wheeler, one of 20th century's greatest physicists, gave himself the ultimate assignment before he died, to tackle the most fundamental of teleological inquiries, 'Why existence?' That worthy question, where science borders metaphysics, is now becoming of consuming interest to almost all physicists who delve into the origin, structure, and behavior of our 4-tuple. Why? Because we believe that the border is finally coming into view.

billy T

If one looks at science with an open mind and reads the conclusions of the best and brightest in the top fields of the limited science we have now, the top dogs conclude that evolution can only occur in a closed system. However, we live in a expanding system. Mathematicians, the law of thermodynamics, NASA, cosmos, and micro biology are just a few of the realms that point to the impossibility of evolution. Something is beyond the creation of time and space. Most say their opinions privately such as the Harvard Dean of Mathematics who said that evolution is a 100% impossibility, but to teach intelligent design would be unpalatable. The formation and bonding of the DNA molecule can be recreated in a lab (closed system) using heat. However, heat destroys the molecule and the by product created is a kind of tar, which also destroys the DNA. Its the old throw a stick of dynamite into a building of letters and try again and again for billions of years and see if a Websters is recreated in perfect order. Right now we are stuck with two options. The first is we all come from a bacteria hitchhiking on some asteroid or intelligent design, be it aliens or God. Don't waste my time telling all about software. I am more interested in who designed the mainframe that runs the software.

Ryan Mount

George wrote: "I'm not sure how Christianity per se got into the discussion here on ID"

ID was manufactured by Christians, George. Can we at least be honest about that? In more recent years is has also been brought to us by people who believe that Aliens/UFOs planted DNA here. Interesting bedfellows. And it has been somewhat ironically enabled, as I mentioned above, by its recent most proprietors using the same post-modern tools used by 1960/70ish Academic Liberals/Radicals starting to undermine or deconstruct, if you will, the "dominant paradigms" of the age. Science, or better the scientific methods are biased. (this is why our Progressives get so beside themselves and start name-calling because modern neo-orthodox/conservative arguments such as ID are implementing the same rhetoric used on college campuses; they can dish it out, but they can't take it.) BTW, there probably is genuine bias going on here for reasons you and I probably agree on, but that's not the point here. The point is ID is not science. It's a belief system. Or as Charles Pierce puts it:

"Intelligent design is religion disguised as science, and it defends itself as science by relying largely on the “respect” that we must give to all religious doctrine. Fact is merely what enough people believe, and truth lies only in how fervently they believe it."

And this has been accomplished by moving scientific method and empirical processes into the realm of the body politic and worse, into popular culture. Fact is as mutable as a polling sample.

For record, I do not hear you saying that at all. Your approach is more sober and grounded and frankly curious, so I celebrate that. But the background noise in this ID movement is undeniable: it is largely anti-science and puts belief systems ahead of empirical research: in it's extreme forms, Jesus rode dinosaurs.

OK. That was the response to the first sentence. Where are we?

George wrote: "Just so that we're not talking past each other [snip] sapient civilizations which reside in that universe."

We are probably talking past each other, and that's probably my fault for being a rude house guest here. However George, this smells of relativism. Is that your intention? But I tend to agree with you here, although I am suspicious on this abstraction of "existence."

BTW, you get major points for using the word teleological. It's a complex concept that underpins much of our Western thought and assumptions: that there's a beginning and an ostensibly, an end. Although, because I'm firmly a post-modern, I am not comfortable that. I tend to think both (beginnings and ends) are myths. Time only exists, to boorishly paraphrase Mr. Hawking, because we notice decay and entropy.

George Rebane

I made no claims as to the pedigree of the label 'Intelligent Design', nor do I and those who think like me condone the use of ID as a label under which fundamental Christians, Jews, Muslims, ... have attempted to hide the acceptance/teaching of spot creation or creationism. In serious discussions about existence, ID is accepted as a distinct religion-free proposition worthy of pursuit on its own merits.

If we couldn't use ID (or pick another similarly informative label), then we can't very well discuss the notion that existences themselves may exist in an hierarchy, in one of which we may be subsumed, and others which we are already talking about creating in the not too distant future (i.e. some day we will play God to sentient sapients which we cause to come into existence).

As such ID is a very scientific notion that stands vulnerable to the two pillars of that noble field of enquiry - falsifiability and Occam. And that is why it is being pursued without seeking permission, acceptance, or even acknowledgement from those who fear what the complete set of plausible solutions may contain. Like E=mc^2, ID is pervious to only one avenue of attack - papal/political bulls and burnings at the stake need not divert us.

Ryan Mount

George, you're exercising exactly what I proposed above ala Thomas Kuhn. And I'm OK with that, to a point. And that point is the core supposition of Intelligent Design is you need an Intelligent Designer(s). Maybe I'm misreading you and/or the ID community.

I have no idea how one might design an experiment to test the the existence of an Intelligent Designer. Do we smash particles until a signed instruction manual is revealed?

billy T

Interesting exchanges of ideas, Dr. Rebane and Mr. Mount. It won't be solved here. I find it exciting that we live in an open, expanding universe that even puts the once "worshiped" 2nd Law of Thermodynamics open to challenge: everything must go from a highly ordered state to disorder, randomness and decay over time, such as winding a clock and watch it lose energy or throwing a baseball and watch it lose momentum. Yet, we observe the universe expanding with greater velocity and time speeding up. There is even something now being observed astronomers label only as "funny energy" that further defies our known laws of physics. To repeat, any thorough study of experiments and the "ingredients" used in observations and theories leave us with only two conclusions for the origin of life, time, space, and energy. Spontaneous generation or intelligent design. Spontaneous generation was disproved 100 years ago. If you believe in the second law of thermodynamics, then there was a highly organized creation point.

George Rebane

No RyanM (226pm) you are not misreading the need for an intelligent designer if you posit that at least this universe has enjoyed purposive intervention to get by some developmental hurdles which requires what some call a certain level of 'probabilistic resources' that are not available in this universe's 13.7B year life. I tried to relay that in my vignette about our playing God some day.

BTW, it should be clear at this point that ID does not require any religious provenance for it to become a subject of discussion among serious scientists. Bringing in the agendas (hidden or otherwise) of various religions here is a waste of time and off topic.

George Rebane

billyT 301pm - good point about the 2nd law of thermogodamics. Within the established discussion framework, we can now envision a cosmos that need not adhere to said 2nd law which may apply only to certain universes within that cosmos.

Brad Croul

@George 308pm - "thermogodamics", hmmm, is this an ID term?

George Rebane

Good pick-up BradC. Thermogodamics ia a less than salutary label used by lower division physics majors when they encounter their first course in thermodynamics, and get hit by the biggest blizzard of differential equations they have yet encountered. Some wag a century ago shortened 'goddam thermodynamics' to 'thermogodamics'.

billy T

Hmm. Perhaps parallel universes? The 7th Heaven? I would love to shy away from the concept of Designer, but an open mind forbids me. That would be what Hebert Spencer called contempt prior to investigation. I know the surest way to break up a good conversation is for someone to drop the G word. The word God is like fingernails on the chalkboard and even the hint of Intelligent Design(er)produces the instant CLANG of minds closing like steel traps. I do not throw out or reject the laws of physics. I do believe time and space had an origin. I also believe the field of micro biology will reveal more answers (and create more questions) than the studies currently being done by our astro physicists. I also cannot discard the laws of thermodynamics as I observe mankind was much more intelligent in the past. Just look at the writings and creativity of men and women 400- 500 years ago. Who were our greatest sculptors, artists, thinkers, composers? As a small example, who categorized our zoological system and gave animals their names per such system? To break down complex living organisms into families and sub species per various characteristics without computers would be tough for any generation, yet we were handed this classification by our distant forefathers. How did the writer of the Book of Probabilities know 4,000 years ago that all water (and matter) is constant and no more is being produced/formed. Oh, we call that book Proverbs. Who could write our Constitution or Declaration of Independence today with such elegance and pure genius as the minds of 250 years ago and not make it sound like 20 pounds of legalize? So, I do believe in the laws of thermodynamics with a highly creative and organized starting point. This is not a which came first?, the chicken or egg issue. What was before nothing, before time, before matter? Oh, the full Herbert Spencer quote I referenced: There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to a man in everlasting ignorance--that principle is contempt prior to investigation"

Douglas Keachie

I owuld be totally remiss if I did not chip in my two cents worth, on one of my favorite topics.

God appears, coasting down a rainbow, and says that who He is, always has been, always will be.

How do you know this entity is telling the truth?

He could do every magic trick possible, but that would still prove nothing, or would not prove anything, take your pick.

The problem is, I suspect the human mind is simply unable to cope with anything that always was, always will be. Everything else comes and goes, apparently including what we perceive as our current universe. Science is able to define 14 billion years or so, but what was before, or what will come, we're pretty much clueless. Parallel universes, other dimensions, include them all, but they all are finite, and thus beg the question, "And what's outside of THAT box," ad infinitum. "It's turtles all the way down, Sonny" the punch line to a joke in which an old lady declares that the universe stands on top of a giant turtle. She is asked, "and what does that turtle stand on?"

As a hopeful agnostic I will be more than happy to discover that they is yet another chapter after all my molecules decide to disagree with one another. Why hopeful? There are only three possible things I know for sure about after death: it will be worse, or, it will be the same, or it will be better. Since two out of the three conditions are OK or fine by me, the odds are 2 good vs only one bad (bad would include zip existence, but you'd never experience that was what happened, not so bad, but what a weird conclusion). Given that I can't do anything about the odds, but, they are in my favor, that's cool.

Douglas Keachie

"and not make it sound like 20 pounds of legalize? " Legalize was invented by the lawyers to protect their guild. The Constitution was written to solve problems, not to make money, other than protecting and improving the interests of white male landowners.

Douglas Keachie

It was also written to balance the relative powers of citizens of the various different colonies, in the new unified government. There is no evidence that God came down and directed the minds and pens of anyone, and certainly not Thomas Jefferson. Looks like God likes the Giants more than He likes Teebow. Let's hope that God likes the Niners more than He likes the Giants. "If God is on our side, he'll stop the next war." ~ Bob Dylan ~

Douglas Keachie

"Why existence" is a great question, but it is trumped by the fact that we accept that "existence indeed happens." Even if we assume that we alone are the only person in the universe, and the rest of what we perceive as real is all imaginary, generated by a reality generator running amuck through our brain, we still have to admit, "existence is happening." "I exist, and I am thinking."

Douglas Keachie

I have no problem accepting evolution and support Project Steve: from Wikipedia: Project Steve is a list of scientists with the given name Steven or a variation thereof (e.g., Stephanie, Stefan, Esteban, etc.) who "support evolution". It was originally created by the National Center for Science Education as a "tongue-in-cheek parody" of creationist attempts to collect a list of scientists who "doubt evolution," such as the Answers in Genesis' list of scientists who accept the biblical account of the Genesis creation narrative[1] or the Discovery Institute's A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism. The list pokes fun at such endeavors to make it clear that, "We did not wish to mislead the public into thinking that scientific issues are decided by who has the longer list of scientists!" It also honors Stephen Jay Gould.[2]

However, at the same time the project is a genuine collection of scientists. Despite the list's restriction to only scientists with names like "Steve", which in the United States limits the list to roughly 1 percent of the total population,[3] Project Steve is longer and contains many more eminent scientists than any creationist list. In particular, Project Steve contains many more biologists than the creationist lists, since about 51% of the listed Steves are biologists.[4]

The "Steve-o-meter" webpage provides an updated total of scientist "Steves" that have signed the list.[5] As of 9 January 2012, the Steve-o-meter registered 1,185 Steves.[

billy T

Love your comments, Mr. Keachie. Yes, I should have used Shakespeare instead of Thomas Jefferson and I felt it did not fit while typing it. My point is I believe our species may have possessed more innate intelligence, intuition and creativity closer to the starting point, which would go with the 2nd law of thermodynamics. I did not venture into the realm of Divine Providence to describe our forefathers abilities, although many use that phrase for lack of a better term for explain the unexplainable. I don't believe in evolution as it is currently known due to the complexity and conditions necessary for the formation of the DNA molecule. At least not from the center of the earth or volcanoes which would have prevented the nucleotides from bonding. Perhaps from the bottom of an ocean is a possibility, I will grant you. Too many fields of science are pointing to x to the 29th as the possibility of evolution as Darwin put forth, who in his last years recanted his theory, yet evolution has been taught as carved in stone. Excuse the sublime reference to Moses and the Tablets of Stone, :) Archaeologists search high and low for the missing link, yet I have yet to be convinced that a species has ever evolved into a completely different species. Sure, horses were once small and dolphins were once huge and many species have disappeared. Yes, the crossing of a couple of fruits have produced plums, or is it apricots? Finding a hip bone under 100 feet of soil and another one 300 yards away under 220 feet of soil does not mean the two were from the same creature. Archaeology would tell you that the different depths would be from different time periods, yet all rules were pushed aside for the hope that the missing link was discovered. We go to any lengths when the ends justify the means. That find made the Australian dirt digger a rock star in his field, until after 20 years of enjoying fame and fortune, he, too, recanted his find as evidence of the Missing Link. We all know that Homer wrote the Iliad. But did he? One single copy discovered hundreds of years after his death is not proof to me. Or are there 4 versions 1000 years after his passing and they are much different. Did Homer even exist or know how to write? Yet, we take this as fact. Prove it. You get my point. We all are worshipers. Some worship science and some worship music, and some worship themselves. I worship the sight of a distant ship on the horizon at sunset and the way a woman's hair falls on her shoulders.

George Rebane

Project Steve (DougK 1219am) reminds me of the current parallel effort by political types and laymen to confirm various tenets of climate change like AGW. All of them cite the length of list of 'scientists' who are supposed to be in support. Even scientists on shaky ground apply that argument as related by Einstein when informed of the many prominent scientists who listed themselves as rejecting special relativity. (By the time general relativity came along, all of them were trying their best to change what they had really said.)

In any event, the overwhelming fraction of scientists named Steve, or anything else, don't have the necessary math based tools to speak authoritatively on something as complex as what I gathered under the over-strained rubric of 'probabilistic resources'. As in the climate sciences, most biologists focus on their narrow fields in fauna and flora, isolating, describing, and relating minute functions in their specialty lifeforms.

Regarding worship (billyT 641am), I am perfectly satisfied to worship the Intelligent Designer who may have given rise to the universe I know, whether you want to call the designer God or whatever. I am drawn to the Christian cosmology (but not the way it is taught in your neighborhood church) simply because were I God, it is what I would do with the critters that I brought to life. From my studies and experience such an interpretation totally dovetails with science's revelations and best satisfies Occam.

Douglas Keachie

Indeed we are all worshipers, but unfortunately, a great many on the planet are convinced that it's their way or the shun way (Evangelicals and other variants of the Christian "species") or in some interpretations of the Koran, the death way. Using a religion to justify telling other people how to live is, if there is a Goddish critter, is one of the greatest sins on his short list. Using His name to puff themselves up and put others down, sometimes literally, is in at least within the Top Ten List of Sins. Since it is Martin Luther King Day, I will salute a certain R. King who famously said, "Can't we all just get along?"

Douglas Keachie

I could easily go through the 32,000 hits, for ["evolution of DNA" "statistical analysis"] and find impeccable mathematical backgrounded researchers who say "most likely yes, to the hypothesis", but I've got a lot of work to do before the rains hit, so I'll leave that exercise elsewhere. George, did you miss the fact that Project Steve was done "tongue in cheek" and still got a huge number of respectable folks? The disclaimer about using "lists" to determine scientific truth was stated very plainly on the link I provide, right in the first introductory paragraphs.

Douglas Keachie

Here's a sample of worshippers gone wrong: http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2010/02/22/83337/disabled-abortion/?mobile=nc and this guy is in the legislature?

Douglas Keachie

And here's a problem for you, how do planariums get along without what was once considered a key structure in their cells:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/16/BA2E1MMTLF.DTL

George Rebane

DougK 940am - I fully understood the humor of Project Steve. I only tried to relay that a similar effort at validation rendered WITHOUT humor has been foisted on earth's population by the UN IPCC and Team Gore. Go figger.

Douglas Keachie

Of course you have to be prepared to have your established notions about what can and can't happen revised from time to time.....http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-01-scientists-replicate-key-evolutionary-life.html

George Rebane

Indeed DougK (1035pm), as we discover new processes in nature that are more likely to occur, then we whittle away at the required probabilistic resources of the universe. And that goes the other way also, digging deeper also has uncovered previously unknown processes whose probabilistic rates are vanishingly small.

billy T

I feel sorry for Stephen Hawking and can understand his aghast that science is pointing to Creation. He spent is whole life relying of superior intelligence and science to discover the non-origin of our universe, yet reasonable men of study are coming to different conclusions. Human intelligence can only take you so far. We can only observe with awe the farthest reaches of the universe and can only observe the unfathomable complexities at the sub atomic level. Yet, the more we use science and study, the more our best and brightest observe a perfect order and harmony even it the most minute unseen complex properties at the tiniest level to the largest levels. Reasonable men are staring at the proposition that this harmony and perfect order could not have arisen out a big bang explosion (or implosion), out of nothingness and chaos and total randomness. This perfect balance must have had a starting point. That is why I believe the breakthroughs in micro biology will make the theory of evolution a flat earth topic in 50 years. As Professor Hawking is confronted with challenges to his "no start of the universe" theory and life's work, he must press on for ego's sake. Human nature is predictable. Allow me to compare Mr. Hawking work to someone who decides to study interpersonal relationships. The researcher looks around and falls into the trap of studying anatomy. He studies the human bone structure, the blood vessels, the organs. Like peeling off layers on an onion, he discovers more and more . But each layer he uncovers, brings him no closer to his original aim of understanding interpersonal relationships. His vast accumulation of knowledge leaves him clueless to understanding relationships that was caused him so much grief. He dives into anthropology and still is no closer to is original aim. Professor Hawking may one day echo the ancient writer crying out "Vanity, vanity, all things are vanity", which being correctly translated is "Emptiness, emptiness, all things are empty." Some of us have traveled distances to discover what was under our noses the whole time.

George Rebane

billyT 845am - Eloquent and to the point.

Douglas Keachie

So Billy T and George Rebane give up, take on the "God is Great" hypothesis, lock stock and barrel, and that solves a lot of "problems" for them. at a much higher level than Al Qaeda, or your typical evangelical, admittedly, as at least George is still poking a the fire to see what new sparks may show. Bill may be doing the same, it's hard to tell.

I'm sorry, in my heart of hearts and brain of brain, I will keep on examining the problem, and realize that there may be no answer which is understandable by either heart or brain or both combined, but I value the fact that I don't give up on the evidence I can see and feel. if we simply "vanish" existence-wise, at death, let if be known, in advance, that I am very annoyed by such a huge practical joke, but there were a lot of fun and loving times, so I guess that makes up for it.

Douglas Keachie

I dove into anthropology after trying psych and soc, because when I wandered the hall of the Anthro dept, I discovered far more and much better cartoon clipping posted on and around the doors of the prof's offices. In general, anthro folks seemed much more in touch with the human side of things, and humor, for me, is very much a core value, as high in any constellation of human values are spirituality, etc.

George Rebane

DougK 1007am - Please don't misunderstand, there is no "giving up" on anything, most certainly not on the evidence. In their own ways both the Judea-Christian and Vedantic traditions teach that God created an 'ordered universe', one that is designed to reveal its make-up through systematic examination, i.e. science (as opposed to a Harry Potter world).

And the adherents of these traditions are exhorted to take up those studies so they can appropriately "subdue" and husband that creation, which cannot be done without identifying and then optimally controlling 'the system' with which we have been presented. There is no resting on the oars implied by any facet of ID. No scientists of this conclusion have ever folded their tents with 'I guess then there is no point in going on.'

In these efforts we all must be willing to go where the evidence points. (And that evidence may even include God telling us from a cloud of thunder and lightning that it was not He who created the universe ;-))

Douglas Keachie

Again, however, you appear to be using statistics to rebrand intelligent design/creationism and to point to how improbably things are for evolution. It seems to me that the most improbable thing of all is the very fact that there IS existence, or even space in which existence can take place, at all. As improbable as it seems, we do seem to be here. We seem to be headed for, "if there is no God, there is no existence." Or, "God exists, because existence exists." Which is another "cat chasing tail" explanation, I think these things are called either "tautologies" or "circular reasoning." Or, "The time for Tau is now."

Douglas Keachie

I am of course using the word tautology in the rhetorical sense of the word. Wittgenstein was bad enough the first time around, with one of the best profs at Berkeley.

A rhetorical tautology should not be confused with a tautology in propositional logic, since the inherent meanings and subsequent conclusions in rhetorical and logical tautologies are very different.

billy T

Doug, evidence is pointing to Intelligent Design and more will be revealed , much more as human curiosity and scientific discovery and even those hell bent on disproving ID will uncover, probably to no one's satisfaction or 100% certainty. The dilemma is who designed the mainframe as we can only observe the software. Questions of an after life or why are we here and for what purpose is up to each individual to decide for themselves, or simply live with unanswered questions. I am eager for more to be revealed. The problem is more philosophical as to why we exist, depending on the individual's preferences and prejudices and environment. I believe human beings are born with an innate belief in a Superior Being, or whatever term that catches your fancy. It is part of us as being born with a conscious is, as evidenced by all cultures throughout the history of mankind building temples or sacrifices or carving stones in every scattered region to appease or honor "the Divine". Many spend their lives trying to fight or push aside this innate part of them. Some go further than I and say we are born with a fear of impending doom or Judgement Day if you will. Science has yet to measure the tenderness of the heart or the human will, which is as much as part of us as our arms and legs. Science and laymen alike can only observe. Is the designer off somewhere else or still involved in this universe? Is creation a single act or an on going process? Just simply saying "science is pointing to Creation" is kicking a hornets nest. It leaves one open to ridicule and nasty name calling. But why should it? If science is pointing to a possibility, why should we not see where it takes us with an open mind? Surely answering these questions are more important to us humans than looking at old drawings of Professor Big Brain's Flying Machine or calculating the weight of the fuzz in one's navel. Very exciting dynamic times.

Dixon Cruickshank

All religons had "Gods" or a God and all civilizations talked about "Gods". This has come through many of mans interpretations but what we have is a "Missing Link" - the jump to civilization all across the world in a very short time frame - watch the Ancient Aliens program but better yet read Von Dankins books. Best explaination I have found so far and explains God and Gods - and all these giant monuments we couldn't build today but we are to believe were built by Hunter/Gathers - hard for me to buy that. Just the Nasca Plain in Peru will stump you. So in fact yes there was a God.

Douglas Keachie

Either God or aliens built all the stuff we couldn't build? Bring even Jefferson forward a mere two hundred years, and microbiology, electronics,your main frames, cameras/film and CCD's would be beyond his wildest imaginings. Have you noticed aliens or God(s) messing with the heads of the Wright Brothers, or Edison, or our surfer laureate? (the guy who while stoned and driving up 101 and watching the white dashed line hit upon the way to make a zillion copies of portions of DNA ]The improvements made by Kary Mullis allowed PCR to become a central technique in biochemistry and molecular biology, described by The New York Times as "highly original and significant, virtually dividing biology into the two epochs of before P.C.R. and after P.C.R.]

As for not being able to move or build, or yes the could, has the History channel has shown time and again. If you wish to say that man could not have done ancient marvels without help, you are probably falling into the trap that because they lived some primitively, they were dumber than we are. Our brain case has been pretty stable in size for the last 200,000 years.

As for claiming a trend, there is no sucha thing. What come next is always unknown, and as I pointed out, something thought impossible to do turned out to be relatively simple, and if DNA originally came from another planet, so what, that does not mean that it couldn't have had an environment possibly even more statistically favorable than here to make it happen.

When pinned, even GG knows that he has absolutely no way of predicting for sure what the sun will do next. It could have many more or many fewer solar flares at any time. Would somebody like to show me where in astrophysical research there is a line of study that clearly show a predictable sequence for which star will super-nova next? I do not believe it exists, too few observed cases, at least in this galaxy.

I have no quarrel with the notion that people have worshipped those/that which they take to be Gods from the beginnings of homo sapiens sapiens, 200,000 years ago, and perhaps even further back, but just because folks are worshipping them, it doesn't mean that they exist.

George Rebane

DougK 358pm - It appears that you are debating what you consider to be a fairly tight amalgam of opposing views when you make such general pronouncements. For the sake of clarity, you might identify the counterparty you are addressing, because I believe that you are encountering more than one distinct view of ID and/or Man's transcendence.

Gregory

"When pinned"? Don't be an ass, Keach. I've always described the state of solar cycle knowledge; that your understanding is ever shifting has always been the problem. When you first started trying to deflect solar arguments, it was well established that there was a major increase in solar magnetic activity in the early 20th century, about an 8000 year maximum, and that it couldn't last long.

As far as intelligent design not to be confused with creationism, I suspect that aligns with the Baroque period that is not to be confused with the Renaissance. There will always be gaps of scientific knowledge, and anyone who feels a need to imagine where God is hiding will always be able to find a home for Him.

Paul Emery

Someone please explain to me how the human mind can possibly have the preceptors to contemplate their own creation. What can we possibly know except what we see, feel smell, hear or touch. We of course do have our imagination and inspiration which of course all religious experiences are based.

My best friend from years ago became an inspired Christian who spoke personally with Jesus every night. I don't doubt for a minute his experience. I've also had friends who have experienced out of body travel studying Shamanism I also doubt them.

So contemplating creation in my view is futile. How can a particle contemplate the universe.

Gregory

Paul, particles don't contemplate the universe, but we do. Spinning myths used to be the best we could do to understand or at least explain but in the last 500 years or so we've hit on making good guesses and testing them.

billy T

Hawking is quoted "A point of creation would be a place where science broke down." That place would be beyond even Hawkin's capacity to accept. He completely trusts and is dependent on science. Those that believe 110% that science will provide all the answers and is infallible are setting themselves for disappointment. Science is Hawking's God. Same with those who believe politics will create Utopia. Someone once said "if God did not exist, man would invent him". Paul is on to something. How can the finite fully comprehend, much less apprehend the infinite? If we are spinning in space going nowhere from nowhere with no purpose or direction, then life for us is most sad indeed. If true, then we might as well live each day as every man for themselves with each of us the center of the Universe. Watching spellbound the flight of a falcon or gazing at the stars or dew on a flower scream that there is a more that meets the eye. Someone once said "God don't make junk." I don't know whether poets or scientists are more in tune with creation, but "there is something out there.", another quote.

Paul Emery

Billy

I totally believe in spiritual inspiration. It is one of the universal experiences of humanity. It is very personal to the individual who experiences it. It is indeed what makes us different from banana slugs and gives us the freedom and arrogance to even contemplate our own existence.

Gregory

I agree we have made tremendous progress in gathering information within our limited perceptions. We even create machines that expand our preceptors that give us a pinpoint of light into the universe.

George Rebane

Is it not possible that through its myriads of civilizations scattered throughout the stars creation can not only contemplate itself, but also its Source and Sink? And if indeed our Designer is asei (cf aseity), then every bit and we ourselves are made of divine stuff. In the end, then everything down to the smallest quantum burble is nothing but what the Designer thinks, workings in the Mind of God.

Paul Emery

Of course contemplation is possible within the confines of the input sensory tentacles we possess both organic and man made. Perhaps it's the endless desire we have to contemplate such matters that fuel our evolution.

I am reminded that when you combine an agnostic, a dyslexic and an insomniac you have someone who stays up all night contemplating whether there is a Dog.

Todd Juvinall

I have yet to see a a explanation by the Paul's of the world how it is that dinosaurs ruled the world for 150 million years and never built a house or created a recipe for Stegosaurus soup. If Darwinism is in play, how did that happen?

Paul Emery

I dunno Todd. Probably because they never grew a thumb. What's your explanation?

Douglas Keachie

Todd might just as well ask, "How come we humans stick with a transportation system that kills 40,000 plus Americans every year when in fact we have the technology and capabilities to design and implement a much better system, systems which have been talked about for over 50 years?" What dinosaurs had, worked for them, but it wasn't meteor-proof. Reminds me a lot of our economic supposed system.

Douglas Keachie

BTW, no meteor, and we would not exist.

Gregory

"no meteor, and we would not exist"

Keach, you don't have a clue.

I had dinosaur ova for breakfast. Anyone else?

Our ancestors hadn't managed to develop opposeable thumbs when they were scampering about on all fours developing a taste for those dino eggs. Old habits die hard.

Ryan Mount

Thumbs or not, let's take a poll and decide who right here, OK? And then enter that as proof. We can do it on Facebook!...

Perhaps we should commission a Gallop poll to ask the public about the nature of gravity? Then whatever the popular opinion is, along with some of the more fringe theories like Gravity is caused by influx of former Nazis into the hollow Earth or similar, we rewrite our textbooks and college lectures to include whatever new "facts" the discussion. Sound familiar?

Look, Intelligent Design is a theological construct--ostensibly one without God, but with an equally Big Designer that looks enough like him/her/it to be his smarter brother/sister/whatever--and an attempt to pretty-up creationism in a lab coat. Its fundamental tenets cannot be experimentally verified or, more important, falsified. The falsification bit is the key part of the scientific method since we started thinking about these kinds of things. The burden is on you (IDers) to come up with the rational proof, else all we have is good night time stories.

But here's the trick ID friends, something I think you missed in your post-modern Deconstruction studies. If you want to undermine/reform/ignore the Science paradigm because you believe it is corrupt, bought-off or just-plain-wrong, you're gonna need to come up with an alternative. (That's Thomas Kuhn's main point in his The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Pick up a copy. You'll like it.) If you believe that falsification is not a fundamental pursuit in science, then you need to come up with a new system. I would be anxious to see what you come up with. Because I, like I dunno billions of other people would love to see the God equation or whatever that might look like.

George Rebane

RyanM 255pm - It sure looks like you are attacking what you think is a single, unified, and coherent notion of ID held by the commenters in this thread. Please consider my 439pm.

Douglas Keachie

OK, so ID'ers are about as organized as the Republican Presidential candidates? Usually in science you have to agree on a few things, and not on the basis of faith. GG, take a good look at the Yucatan peninsula, and the iridium layer found around the planet, and tell me again how without that meteor we would have evolved into what we are? T Rex would still be ruling, most likely. His modern descendents are the interlocking directorships of the major corporations, and al the little birdie flying about the sky, as you so aptly pointed out, to what end, I am not sure.

George Rebane

I believe it would be a mistake to take the various opinions of RR readers here as 'ID science'. There are people, like Stephen Meyer author of Signature in the Cell, who claim to practice and act as apologists for what may be called ID science. However, ID is not so much a science, as a latent hypothesis that seems to explain some awkward facets of broadly accepted science. Therefore it remains viable in the pantheon of causes. ID satisfies Occam and falsifiability; the latter in that if it is proven that WHAT IS has always been and always will be (the Einstein condition), then ID will have taken a big hit. Until then it is a plausible hypothesis further strengthened by H.sapiens now starting to muse how it can create (virtual) universes that to their occupants will be as real as ours is to us.

Gregory

Like I said, Keach, you don't have a clue. Primates were around at the K-T extinction event, and mammals had been around for something like 190 million years before that.

There is absolutely no reason to *believe* hominids would never have evolved without that meteor hitting. Or that we'd have turned out better or worse, in fewer or greater numbers, without that or any other event of the past 500 million years or so.

Keach, you have a long history of making incredible leaps of illogic with little information and even less contemplation or investigation.

Gregory

George, I suspect there's a bit of circular logic in your claim of "intelligent design" satisfying Occam, not that Occam must be satisfied for any particular decision since it's a tendency, not a requirement. I doubt you'd get any agnostic or atheist to think it's less complex or costly to decide there's enough of some other Reality somewhere to support some entity capable of designing the reality we see, and we're back to the obvious conclusion that only folks who feel it in their bones that they have a Creator somewhere will believe in "ID" or one of the older creation myths.

George Rebane

Gregory 446pm - Not sure of your argument. Is your "entity capable of designing the reality we see" an intelligent designer?

Gregory

George, Intelligent Designer, Flying Spaghetti Monster, call it whatever you want. A name's just a handle and not all that important.

Paul Emery

This whole discussion is captured by faith in rational thought. Our perceptions are so limited we don't even have the sense of smell of a dog. George explain to me in language I can understand why you feel we have he perceptions to meaningfully contemplate such a question as the design and creation of our existence. That's why we use religions to inspire us because we are incapable of such scope.

George Rebane

Gregory 600pm - actually a name in this case transcribes a useful and needed additional semantic. Was the universe purposely 'designed', and was the designer 'intelligent'. Given that it was designed, the latter answer is definitely a 'Yes' since our universe is an ordered one which permits its systematic study according an expandable and reasonable set of intellectual disciplines. "Flying Spaghetti Monsters" don't evoke such necessary attributes in most of us, Intelligent Designer does.

PaulE 618pm - Very well stated - yes, this whole discussion and our science would be meaningless without "faith in rational thought." Comparing the apples of olfactory sensitivity to the oranges of our thought process with a dog doesn't help this discussion much.

Paul, we may not "have the perceptions to meaningfully contemplate such a question as the design and creation of our existence." But there is something in us that compels such contemplation, and we respond by charging forth and contemplating such questions and others. It is simply our nature. And we draw great strength and buttress our resolve to continue when we see that by simply thinking in an isolated room, and manipulating symbols with a pencil on blank paper we are able to reliably predict complex futures that come to pass in this universe.

Science now acknowledges that there exist domains of knowledge about existence that its tools are not adequate to analyze. This realization is recent, and marks a significant intellectual departure from what was dogma coming out of the Enlightenment. John Wheeler's 'Why Existence?' is an early harbinger into this new era of human understanding.

George Rebane

Re Occam - I did want to add a little vignette in response to Gregory's 446pm dismissive comment about Occam. As a leg of science, Occam is not optional. Given a theory that at a point in time explains away the body of all previous observations and makes successful predictions about the outcomes of new experiments, it is ALWAYS possible to posit additional theories of greater complexity that do equally as well. In fact, theoretically it is possible to develop a countably infinite number of such more complex theories.

But the history of science and the advancement of human knowledge is void of any such more complex theory being embraced and applied to carry on the business of science when alternatives are presented. Occam's dictum has always held and rules to this day - if a simpler explanation for all the observables is discovered, it is the theory of choice. One of the beauties of our ordered universe is the way it embraces Occam (as if by design).

Ryan Mount

George-

First off thank you for providing this site for me to show up and be a bad house guest. I realize, do to my upbringing, that I probably not being polite. So I beg your (and other's) pardon.

Regarding the ID crowd, I understand the temptation to reduce the argument down to the IDers are substituting a Designer (with a capital D) for a Christian God. I in no way want to single out anyone, nor any group in this melee. Although I undoubtedly have because most of the noise, as I stated earlier, is created by those who believe Jesus rode dinosaurs. And their objectives are anti-science, anti-progress, and frankly fundamentalist. So I take it as a personal duty to raise that red flag often...even if it's in your figurative living room. Again, my apologies.

I am perfectly willing (and ready) to accept a Grand Designer as soon as I see the evidence and the proof. Yeah, that's what St. Thomas said, but I happen to wish that good old St. Thomas pressed Jesus further to be honest. But he was a trouble maker who asked uncomfortable questions, eh? So they sent his butt to India to deal with even less tolerant nasties such as the Brahmin. And they promptly shot him, as legend has it, with arrows to show their appreciation for opinions.

I guess my point is, I celebrate the skepticism, but I'm skeptical of it, if that makes and sense. And what bothers me most is how these faux debates(it's really not reasonable) make their way into public policy. Really? ID viable topic in High School Biology? There is not debate until the IDers show up in their big boy pants: show me the evidence.

Douglas Keachie

Change any major event and even many minor events in the past and we would not exist.

All it takes is just one ancestor at any level not meeting another ancestor because it got eaten or distracted, and Gregory Goodknight never existed, likewise Douglas Keachie, under the same circumstances.

Now, in the more general scheme of things, would have primates evolved further along the mammalian line to something resembling the humans of today, if there was no meteor strike? That is wildly possible, but keep in mind the lawyer in Jurassic Park. Mammals were doggie snacks to T-Rex and Company. It's rather hard to start a civilization, with T-Rex's running around and borrowing people all the time.

George Rebane

RyanM 706pm - your comments and repartees are most welcome - thank you for championing your points.

As a trained scientist, I also am a skeptic and a formal Bayesian (a major area of my research). Your concerns seem to revolve around that you don't differentiate between Intelligent Design and Creationism (ID being a 'code word' for Creationism). If you can't accept that serious scientists have put a Designer into the spectrum of plausible alternatives which explain observations (a la the cited MIT Technology Review piece), then you have definitely run into a blind canyon as far as this discussion thread is concerned.

If ID were not a bona fide factor in the current scientific debate, then people like Stephen Hawking, Alan Guth, Roger Penrose, Frank Tipler, ... wouldn't give a tinker's damn for these considerations.

RyanM, I'm not sure what is your ideological persuasion, but there is a strong correlation that among progressives ID is a difficult subject to discuss, since out of hand they always dismiss the subject as a fundamentalist Christian ploy to bring creationism into the classroom. (BTW, you might be interested to know that I also am against that.)

Douglas Keachie

Just to catch up, as near as I've been able to gather, the ID movements stems at least in part from statistical analysis which concludes that spontaneous evolution of initial lifeforms, with DNA, is simply not possible.

As for SAT scores and Charter Schools, they do like to game their numbers, by discouraging enrollment of those likely to bring them down (based on personal conversation with principal of Charter School I once worked for) and at a higher level, the Charter School Association tries to disband schools that don't have high scorers in their populations. In this case, please read the Appeal Democrat article from this last December, concerning the Marysville School of the Arts, at this site

http://www.appeal-democrat.com/articles/charter-112254-least-schools.html

George Rebane

DougK 831pm - "... that spontaneous evolution of initial lifeforms, with DNA, is simply not possible." The more correct version should read is '... simply not probable within the limited time available to access and implement the trans-astronomical combinatorics required.' But even that argument only applies to the development of life on Earth in the span of about 3-4B years. The larger cosmological issues include the extremely low probability of the chance occurrence of this universe's physical constants (which allow life forms which can contemplate the universe to develop), and, of course, that the Einstein condition is not being met with what we observe and what we theorize.

Douglas Keachie

So far SETI has found nada, but the old Drake equation now must be updated as reports of new planet elsewhere are flooding in monthly, if not daily. I think I caught a hint that you consider ET to be likely, and that is based on one intelligent designer? Or many? Any reason it/them couldn't be a team?

Douglas Keachie

Put SOPA on a rope and pull the noose tighter.

Douglas Keachie

Feeling like Popeye, I'll have a can of Larry Krause, before persevering further in the ID chase.

http://www.npr.org/2012/01/13/145175263/lawrence-krauss-on-a-universe-from-nothing

Ryan Mount

Hi George,

I understand the distinction you're trying to draw between largely the Christian narrative Creationism and Intelligent Design. I'm not sure how much more we should belabor this point, especially so early in the morning, however I'm suspicious of any attempts to try and separate ID from its largely Fundamentalist Christian roots. One only has too look at the most famous of all examples in the discussion, a text book called Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins. This is kinda where people started taking sides on the issue, and where Creationists realized that using the word Creationism was falling out of favor with mainstream America.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Of_Pandas_and_People

They cynically decided to sneak the message into schools by not calling it Creation, but rather calling it to the already established term Intelligent Design because it feels less proselytizing and certainly less Christian. They re-directed the conversation away from Creationism the way a smart parent steers a child away from the candy section in a grocery store.

Intelligent Design, even removing its theistic underpinnings, has been repeatedly dismissed of the Scientific Community because it is a belief system, and not a testable even observable empirical discipline. And because of this, and this is the point of all this rambling, it has driven it proponents to accuse the Scientific community of liberal/Progressive bias, collusion with government and other conspiracy theory-like thinking. Ben Stein made a whole ridiculous movie about this.

So you're certainly smarter than your average bear [that's actually an understatement...you're a gift to this community] on this issue, and know enough to steer the conversation away from Creation "Science," as you did in the original blog posting. And if I and scores of others am having trouble separating ID and Creationism, it is because of ID's theistic and untestable underpinnings. I would submit that this is not my issue to solve, but yours and the rest of the ID community to remedy via empirical research. Big claims require big proof.

George Rebane

DougK 1029pm - You are absolutely right, I believe there is literally no chance that we are alone in this universe.
http://rebaneruminations.typepad.com/rebanes_ruminations/2011/04/singularity-signposts-running-out-of-processing-matterenergy.html

In talking with the former head of SETI about eight years ago, I offered that ETI may already be among us, and, if so, we are using the wrong kind of observatories trying to detect them. I posited that ETI will declare themselves when they think we are ready, and launching a serious effort like that of Wheeler's 'Why Existence?' and post-Singularity studies may be more rewarding for SETI.

By my studies of astronomy, long ago I came to the conclusion that planets were the normal companions of main sequence stars. If so, then even SETI's search in the EM spectrum was conducted erroneously. I showed him the results of my calcs as to where to point his antennas, and he was very intrigued. I think he went back to talk to his SETI colleagues.

RyanM 624am - Yes, I agree that ID has an unfortunate link to creationism. If someone can introduce a new label - ID2? - to what we have been discussing here, it would be a boon. We could dispense with all the accusations of hidden Christian agendas and proceed to the level with which the topic is discussed in serious science. (Denying the latter, as referenced in my post, of course will end the discussion.)

I have extensively discussed these and closely related topics in the 'Singularity Signposts' section of RR which is accessible in the right panel of this blog.

Gregory

"I did want to add a little vignette in response to Gregory's 446pm dismissive comment about Occam."

I'm sorry you misread that, George. There was nothing dismissive about Occam's Razor written or implied, only your misapplication and misinterpretation. I've been mindful of it for at least four decades and it has been a reliable guide, always a useful metric. However, it has never been a test that must be passed. Wikipedia has a summary I agree with: "...is a principle that generally recommends that, from among competing hypotheses, selecting the one that makes the fewest new assumptions usually provides the correct one, and that the simplest explanation will be the most plausible until evidence is presented to prove it false."

The big problem I see with this when applied to ID is that it hides the enormous physical complexity implied when you choose to add the simple in concept 'intelligent designer' hidden somewhere behind the scenes apparently doing their best to not be seen.

George Rebane

Gregory 913am - Thanks for the correction on Occam, I misunderstood your use of "tendency". But my contending your "it has never been a test that must be passed." will just waste our time; onward!

Regarding your "big problem" with applying Occam to ID, it seems that such applications have always been the place-holder causal factors in leading edge science. Today another such place-holder is the multiverse hypothesis that satisfies the super symmetry condition in the development of string (brane) theory.

No tests exist for detecting another universe, let alone a cosmos that contains an infinite number of universes. Yet multiverse, as does ID, successfully overcomes the dearth of 'probabilistic resources' as far as the balanced design of our universe is concerned. However, ID does go further and successfully addresses the probabilistic hurdles that had to be overcome in the course of life's evolution on earth, and presumably other planets. And as already mentioned, 1) ID is something that H.sapiens is already contemplating for our future, and 2) ID is falsifiable, at a minimum by establishment of the Einstein condition.

So according to my lights, ID stands in the anteroom of science along with some other pre-scientific proposals, quietly doing its job in supporting the fringe structure of human knowledge, and waiting to be expelled or be invited in. As to the relevance of the ID debate, I choose to stand with Hawking, Guth, Penrose,... . And in the notion that the universe, hence the cosmos, is 'intelligent', I sit at the knee of Frank Tipler et al.

http://rebaneruminations.typepad.com/rebanes_ruminations/2009/06/cosmologos.html

Gregory

"Was the universe purposely 'designed', and was the designer 'intelligent'. Given that it was designed, the latter answer is definitely a 'Yes' since our universe is an ordered one which permits its systematic study according an expandable and reasonable set of intellectual disciplines. " GR 06:44PM

George... "Given that it was designed" us the crux of your circular argument.

By the way, Creationists of all varieties should be overjoyed today... perhaps the most active of the groups defending modern, evolutionary biology has taken on a second scientific certitude to defend... anthropogenic global warming. In 2007, when, from my own reading of the literature in journals of physical science (as opposed to the house organs of AGW researchers) I realized AGW was a house of cards, the damage of science in general was one of my biggest fears when the cards fell.

So, Rejoice! AGW will die a graceless death as a political force in the US in the next few years, and those pesky Darwinists will be taken down a notch.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/19/comparing-climate-skepticism-to-creationism-in-the-classroom/

Paul Emery

George

My reference to us not having the sense of smell of a dog is relevant in that it shows the limitations our perception in certain areas when compared even to an animal. All knowledge comes first from observation and perception. Science is a faith based belief system based on a limited capacity to observe.

George Rebane

Gregory 1017am - 'Given that ...' is a legitimate statement of a limiting contingency in stating a proposition. There is nothing "circular" about its well-established use. We must have gone to different schools. And re AGW, I sincerely hope that you're right in this age of dumbth - from your lips to God's ear.

PaulE 1034am - yes, different critters have sensors of varying sensitivity, and that is illuminating in the general sense. As the sages have told us over the centuries - we construct the universe within ourselves, we can do nothing else. I think my 644pm stands close enough to your beliefs about acquiring knowledge.

Gregory

Paul Emery, I was just wondering about your frame of reference... What were the last few mathematics courses you took in your formal schooling?

Richard Feynman once wrote "Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts", and along with being a very entertaining speaker he knew more than most about the nature of science. I think your claim would almost be true if you had written "Science is a lack-of-faith-based belief system based on a limited capacity to observe".

In other words, you got it almost completely backwards.

Douglas Keachie

Gregory fires off another Physics and Mathematics Uber Alles pitch, to a possibly hapless player who probably didn't even know he was signed up to play Superiority against the Mighty Menzanians.

Gregory

Thanks to Keachie for a former public schoolteacher's version of reality and an automatic forfeit by Godwin's Law.

When discussing reality one should consider the views of those who have studied it.

Gregory

George, I doubt many recognized your argument as merely being 'if we stipulate Reality was designed, there must have been a designer'.
There might have been; there's even room in Quantum Mech for a God playing dice, or even be capable of shaving the corners of the dice He decides will be used. And there's room for no God at all.

I personally use Occam in the creation debate, you again err in characterizing my views: I think a science that does not require an invisible being in the Aether to fill in the gaps is much simpler and cuts to a antipatheist view of the world being more likely true.

Don't rejoice too much about modern biology being taken down a notch in schools by your foes diluting their message with a sure loser, because all of science and reason will be taken down with it.

Paul Emery

Gregory

Not much math. Lots of philosophy, literature ethics and religious studies.

Gregory

Paul, it's hard to grok much science without a firm foundation in mathematics.

In my physics education, and my first wife's math education, about a third of the courseload was lots of philosophy, literature, ethics, and if you wanted religion that could also be arranged. Not to mention lots of science and math outside your intended major. It's a shame philosophy, literature, ethics and religion majors don't get a third of their workload in science and mathematics.

Douglas Keachie

And for strike three, Paul is OUT! Funny how some folks believe that what they learned in college defines the sum of their learning during their lifetime. If there were not other things that interest me more, I rather suspect that if I put my mind to it, I could learn calculus, and from there, who knows?

Gregory

"I rather suspect that if I put my mind to it, I could learn calculus"

I rather suspect that is not the case but I'm sure it makes your lack of knowledge easier to bear. Folks tend to be interested more in the things they can reach.

It isn't the sum total Keach, just a foundation, and your words are just sour grapes.

Paul Emery

Are you saying that only Science and math majors can contemplate these questions?
That sure eliminates most preachers who speak with authority about the Guy in the Sky, heaven and hell and Christian Soldiers.

I don't think Bill Graham has studied advance math for example.

Douglas Keachie

Remember Paul, Greg is Dr. Science in this area, and the only intuition he believes in is his knowledge of when there will, and will not be, sun spots. Trends, without strong quantifiable scientific understanding of the exact processes involved, is mere faith, but he doesn't see himself engaged in such activity, and he has less understanding of what's really going on inside the sun than a freshman stock broker has of the markets. A trend is just recent history, and not a precise forecast of the future that can be relied upon with any certainty. Much like Billy Graham, actually...or in the case of Greg's apparent choice of religious trending, the Pope.

Gregory

No Paul, it doesn't take a math or science concentration to ask, but if you're going to ponder the questions it's appropriate not to do it from a position of virtual ignorance.

Bill Graham as far as I know ever made blanket statements about the nature of science; that was you.

"Science is a faith based belief system based on a limited capacity to observe." is what you wrote, but if you think about it, changing one word, it becomes arguably true: "Religion is a faith based belief system based on a limited capacity to observe". Do you really just see science as just another religion?

Gregory

It looks like the Keachie random thought generator is again stuck in a defamatory loop.

Douglas Keachie

Look George, d'Flame, d'Flame! Dear Greg, please tell us now, how many days of quiet sun we have ahead of us, and the date of the next major solar activity. Thank-you in advance, I know you mathematically super charged physics-oriented brain can do the calc in a jiffy, and all the world is waiting to hear the answers, Keach.

Douglas Keachie

Remember Greg, we all have faith in you. and yes, that should have been "your" not "you" in the last post. I am quite dependent on red underline squiggles to keep my typing error free, failing eyes. Actually the left eye can only take in 12 characters at a time.

billy T

While sitting in a waiting room this morning, I read an interesting article in Time Magazine along all the same topics mentioned by posters here. New super particle may produce matter that only physicists can explain the implications and only mathematicians can explain the importance. Can't be tested yet. Yes, it brought up theology and even the created pondering the creator. Felt like I was right at home on my computer while in the waiting room. One thing that caught my eye was a sentence that said our Sun only has about 6 billion more years of life. I guess that means in 6 billion years nobody will be complaining about Global Warming, man made or not.

Douglas Keachie

I wil make a prediction of my own, based on past trendings. Greg will go silent for at least a couple of days, until he feels that no one will remember the pointed questions Keachie ask about his faith in "Quiet Sun." Let's add one more to the list. Other than past trends, what, if anything, do you base your predictions on? Please list your understanding of the the internal chemical and physical states of the sun, that cause you to make your quantifiable future prediction of a "Quiet Sun" for sometime to come.

If you can't do it, get of your high knightly horse, and come down to earth, and admit that you can't even prove that you are smarter than everybody else here. Heck, you can't even prove you are smarter than me!

Gregory

Keach, you need to first adjust your meds and then try to describe what you think my "faith in "Quiet Sun"" is and a citation to back that up.

We're in the middle of a weak solar cycle 24 approaching its local maximum, and there are multiple teams of solar physicists who are expecting cycle 25 to be even weaker. Dalton is mentioned openly and Maunder is being wondered about. This is not controversial.

Now, you seem to glom onto CO2 or 'sunspots' for your clueless hysterical dialectics, the choice being what you think you can best make a personal attack out of without any apparent understanding of what it all means.

Keach, I don't feel a need to prove I'm smarter than you, I think you've handled that quite well all by your lonesome.

Douglas Keachie

Greg, all you have mentioned are more trenders. Not a one of you can do anything more than project graphs of numbers forwards, with no real understanding of the mechanisms and quantities above, on, and below the surface of the sun. You don't have enough information yet, give it a couple of years. And btw, your odds of hitting are not too bad. "Other historical sunspot minima have been detected either directly or by the analysis of carbon-14 in tree rings; these include the Spörer Minimum (1450–1540), and less markedly the Dalton Minimum (1790–1820). In total there seem to have been 18 periods of sunspot minima in the last 8,000 years, and studies indicate that the sun currently spends up to a quarter of its time in these minima." 25% OF THE TIME YOU MAY BE RIGHT.

Douglas Keachie

Please cite the last time I brought up CO2.

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