Nick Matzke posted Entry 2352 on June 8, 2006 11:49 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2347

Remember the “we’re-creationists-and-proud-of-it” creationists? Well, despite the press that ID has been getting, the older sort are still around. Today, they’re discussing not the beginning of the universe, but the end. Evidently they don’t like “dark matter” and “dark energy”, explanations that astrophysicists have proposed to explain certain puzzling phenomenon like the fact that galaxies spin faster than the gravity from their observed stars seems to allow.

Now, I think it is perfectly reasonable to criticize these explanations on their merits – it is conceivable, for example, that dark matter doesn’t exist and that instead we need some new physics to describe gravity at the very coarse scale – see for example the latest on MOND (Modified Newtonian Dynamics) in New Scientist (plain text). And the answer to this question could impact our view of the eventual fate of the Universe – i.e., will we get a “Big Crunch” or not?

But I think the creationist solution to the problem leaves something to be desired:

Evolutionists accuse creationists of inventing a “God of the Gaps” to cover for their ignorance of true science. It would appear that the high priests of astrophysics have their own Gods of the Gaps, namely dark matter and dark energy. What will happen to the universe? It won’t be the Big Crunch or the Big Chill, but the Big Furnace: “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:10-13).

Astrophysics, schmastrophysics!

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Comment #104457

Posted by Sunny on June 8, 2006 1:10 PM (e)

I do agree in part that dark matter and dark energy might not be a satisfactory explanation of some astronomical phenomena, but “the Big Furnace”? You gotta be kidding me.

Once again, this only reflects how America’s education fails to give its children a proper understanding of science. Look what happens when you get your science from preachers.

Comment #104458

Posted by steve s on June 8, 2006 1:11 PM (e)

Evolutionists accuse creationists of inventing a “God of the Gaps” to cover for their ignorance of true science. It would appear that the high priests of astrophysics have their own Gods of the Gaps, namely dark matter and dark energy.

Whoever wrote that doesn’t know what ‘god of the gaps’ means.

Comment #104462

Posted by qetzal on June 8, 2006 1:30 PM (e)

Evolutionists accuse creationists of inventing a “God of the Gaps” to cover for their ignorance of true science. It would appear that the high priests of astrophysics have their own Gods of the Gaps, namely dark matter and dark energy.

The difference being, of course, that astrophysicists don’t just claim dark matter. They take the next step and say, “If dark matter is the correct explanation, we should expect to observe X, and we should not observe Y.”

Then they try to actually observe X and Y. When they find X but not Y, that’s evidence in support of dark matter.

Comment #104464

Posted by normdoering on June 8, 2006 1:32 PM (e)

steve s wrote:

Evolutionists accuse creationists of inventing a “God of the Gaps” to cover for their ignorance of true science. It would appear that the high priests of astrophysics have their own Gods of the Gaps, namely dark matter and dark energy.

Whoever wrote that doesn’t know what ‘god of the gaps’ means.

Right, that should be a “dark matter of the gaps” or “naturalism of the gaps” or “theory with gaps.”

Comment #104465

Posted by Moses on June 8, 2006 1:35 PM (e)

I blame David Heddle. If he’d have properly fine-tuned his puddle, we’d all be so much happier…

Comment #104466

Posted by Raging Bee on June 8, 2006 1:42 PM (e)

…But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

Ah, the “oscillating universe” theory: a “big crunch” (which will, of course, involve a lot of heat) leading to – and providing the raw material for – the next “big bang” – and a whole new universe! I can live widdat. Have the YEC’s got a timetable?

Comment #104471

Posted by tonyl on June 8, 2006 2:28 PM (e)

it is conceivable, for example, that dark matter doesn’t exist

Well, we know dark matter exists, we’re made of it, and the planet we’re standing on is also made of it. We also detect particles of dark matter all the time. The real dark matter question is what type and quantity of dark matter is needed to explain our observations? I know it’s a pedantic point, but it seems that most people don’t realize that dark matter really means matter that doesn’t emit light, like rocks, or planets, or neutrinos. It doesn’t necessarily mean weird stuff we’ve never seen before. (unless you want to throw black holes into the weird stuff category)

Comment #104472

Posted by frank on June 8, 2006 2:36 PM (e)

Jacob Bekenstein obviously doesn’t know anything about getting a new theory like MOND accepted by the scientific community. He should have gone to school boards and demanded that MOND be taught in grade school and high school classrooms. Why wasn’t he screaming about critically examining gravitational theory? Where were the politicians crowing about teaching alternate explanations to dark matter?

I just don’t get it.

Comment #104473

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 8, 2006 2:42 PM (e)

Have the YEC’s got a timetable?

yes!

the inferno will happen on 6/6/(0)6!

oh… wait..

Comment #104480

Posted by PaulC on June 8, 2006 3:23 PM (e)

Equating “gaps” with “god of the gaps” is like equating “closet” with “monster in my closet.”

Science is a work in progress and many theories have gaps. In science, you attempt to fill in the gaps with reasonable explanations. In a “god of the gaps” theology, any gaps are presumed unfillable, and taken as proof of some supernatural explanation. Historically, the gaps have eventually been filled, turning this into a process of steady retrenchment into ever more minor objections.

Comment #104481

Posted by Torville on June 8, 2006 3:25 PM (e)

That’s a surprisingly infomative site with an interesting compilation of science articles… as long as you ignore the “signing statements” that tell you what the article =really= means (handily color-coded for your convenience in not reading).

Comment #104489

Posted by Peter Henderson on June 8, 2006 4:08 PM (e)

This from AIG a few days ago:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/feedback/2006/0602.asp

I always thought that distant starlight was a problem for YEC’s but apparently not.

Comment #104491

Posted by Bruce on June 8, 2006 4:31 PM (e)

the inferno will happen on 6/6/(0)6!

That’s over. What will the six-crazed maniacs do now?

Comment #104493

Posted by Peter Henderson on June 8, 2006 4:38 PM (e)

Probably the same as they did after 6/6/66 !

Comment #104494

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 8, 2006 4:39 PM (e)

That’s over. What will the six-crazed maniacs do now?

obviously, they’ll pass the delusion on to their kids and grandkids, and get them all worked up about the end of the world coming on 6/6/6…. in a hundred years.

Comment #104495

Posted by stevaroni on June 8, 2006 4:54 PM (e)

I always thought that distant starlight was a problem for YEC’s but apparently not.

Wow. On a lark I actually went to that page and followed a couple of links.

My head hurts.

Apparently, Dembski feels that when God dictated Genesis, He was trying to convey the story by speaking to Moses not in metaphors, but in a observationally referenced discription of relatavistically adjusted space/time - clearly a good framework for a talk with a bronze age shepherd

(In fairness, I wasn’t smart enough to follow most of the details. It had something to do with being unable to ever synchronize two clocks - I have a degree in engineering, and have actually seen relativistic time dialtion in ultraprecise reference clocks - and he still lost me. I must be stupid)

Anyway, all these years I though God was trying to say “Yes, Yes, I made the world. Whatever. Now pay attention, here’s the stuff that’s important now. Apparently I was wrong.

Comment #104496

Posted by Scott on June 8, 2006 4:56 PM (e)

From the “analysis” from the AiG post that Peter Henderson’s post #104489:

“Big bang supporters themselves acknowledge that the big bang could not have produced anything heavier than lithium, so the only way to explain the heavier elements, like carbon, is to say that the stars did it. Notice there is no observational evidence or recorded eyewitness accounts to support this, just man’s fallible opinions about the past.”

For some reason spectra from ionized elements from stars that we’ve seen explode don’t constitute “observational evidence”.

It’s interesting that there are repeated references to “man’s fallible opinions about the past”. Apparently man’s opinions (supported by observation, mathematics, and reason) are “fallible” when they involve any thing over 6000 years old. But when man’s opinions about any thing which happened 6000 years ago or less are supported by devine revelation (and contradicted by observation, mathematics, and reason), they are completely infallible.

Sigh…

Comment #104500

Posted by David B. Benson on June 8, 2006 5:31 PM (e)

tonylon: That is “warm dark matter”. It is reasonably clear to astronomers that there is insufficient warm dark matter to explain the rotation of stars in spiral galaxies. Thus the conjectured ‘cold dark matter’ which interacts only gravitationally.

Comment #104501

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on June 8, 2006 5:45 PM (e)

Scott notes:

But when man’s opinions about any thing which happened 6000 years ago or less are supported by devine revelation (and contradicted by observation, mathematics, and reason), they are completely infallible.

Isn’t that supposed to be Divine revelation? Especially Divine demonstrating the big bang.
Nothing like a good John Waters movie to break the tension.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Comment #104502

Posted by Deacon Barry on June 8, 2006 5:58 PM (e)

6/6/06 is the day of the Beast. The Rapture will take place on the Lord’s day 7/7/07, ie. next year, being seven years after the millenium.
Of course, if it doesn’t happen then, then there’s 23/12/12, when the Mayan calender runs out, or sometime in 2018, 70 years after Israel was founded, or after that….

Comment #104503

Posted by Peter Henderson on June 8, 2006 6:06 PM (e)

The number of times that they use the word assumption, actually makes me think that they believe that all science is based on assumptions (except their interpretation of the bible of course).

I’ve completed and passed an Open University course on Astronomy, and there was a section of it which covered basic cosmology, such as whether or not the Universe is open or closed ie what will be the eventual fate of the Universe ? The teaching videos that came with the course were really excellent and dealt with most of the subjects that Jason Lisle has rubbished in his article, like stellar evolution, determining the distances to astronomical objects etc. The thing that really amazes me is that Jason Lisle describes himself as an astrophysicist. When I read this piece of nonsense I wondered what type of answers he gave when he was studying for his degree/PhD. I’m sure they were nothing like the ideas he has expressed in his AIG feedback essay !

Comment #104504

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 8, 2006 6:19 PM (e)

6/6/06 is the day of the Beast.

boy it sure was! I’m still getting over the hangover.

Comment #104505

Posted by RBH on June 8, 2006 6:24 PM (e)

Peter Henderson wrote

I always thought that distant starlight was a problem for YEC’s but apparently not.

Henry Morris took care of that 35 years ago. He proposed that light from stars that appear to be more than 6,000 light years away was actually created on its way to earth. He accounted for observations of distant novas by postulating that the star that supposedly went nova never really existed, but the “blob” (Morris’ word) of light indicating the occurrrence of a nova was created en route to earth – the star was never really there.

RBH

Comment #104512

Posted by the pro from dover on June 8, 2006 7:15 PM (e)

Oh you who doubt the mark of the beast and the coming rapture (by the way can I have your car when it comes?) the next certain end of the world will be 6/6/2013. If you add the digits of the year it comes to tada!!!-06. If that doesn’t end the universe Pat Robertson can leg-press your body from here to the asteroid belt.(usually reliable sources say he can -with some cheating- leg press 1000 pounds!).By the way I’ve met the antichrist and his name is Wayne Allard.

Comment #104528

Posted by Flint on June 8, 2006 10:13 PM (e)

It IS kind of interesting that galaxies are observed to spin faster (and cohere better) than a best-guess extrapolation (based on our limited knowledge of local conditions) allows. OK, so maybe Newtonian and Einsteinian physics have made some invalid simplifying assumptions (or we’ve done so to make the equations tractable) and galaxies are NOT best modeled as one huge gravitational point source at the center orbited by gravitationally insignificant satellites. Maybe galaxies obey known equations after all, if we redistribute the mass according to (again) extrapolations based on best observations of local conditions - even if this condition is hard to model.

Still, the notion that 85% (!!) of the total mass-energy of the known universe is composed of “dark energy”, without any clue what that IS, is discouraging. Does “dark energy” mean *anything* beyond “something we need to insert into our equations to make them match observation”? How would we ever test for this stuff? It sounds a lot like “we just don’t understand”.

Still and all, even thinking of finding answers to these questions in the Bible exceeds any useful concept of sanity. Instead, I submit that these folks don’t understand the issues and don’t see any utility in doing so. As Sagan wrote, their world is haunted by demons.

So fine, these folks are surrounded by an impermeable bozone layer. But help me out here anyway. What IS dark energy? How would we detect it?

Comment #104533

Posted by k.e. on June 8, 2006 10:48 PM (e)

Flint asked:
What IS dark energy? How would we detect it?

Take one bible, a foreskin collector and a child less than 7 years old , beat until firm, wash child’s mouth out with soap if any awkward questions arise. Any questions?

Comment #104540

Posted by CMD on June 8, 2006 11:41 PM (e)

From the AiG article:

We also know that stars that begin as gas and are then compacted into protostars and then become full fledged stars on the mainsequence for millions of years.

This is not known; it is blindly assumed by those who reject biblical creation. Have you or anyone else ever observed a star form? It supposedly takes millions of years (in the secular model), so no one could actually observe it even in principle. Those who believe in the big bang and secular models of star formation have no observational evidence that these things have occurred nor is there any sort of recorded eyewitness account.

[snip]

The proton-proton cycle turns hydrogen to helium in a star

Although this is not directly observed, we do directly observe the neutrinos that are produced in the process. So we have good scientific reasons to accept this theory.

These two quoted portions seem at odds with each other, unless I’m just missing or misinterpreting something.

In the first quoted portion, AiG states that if no direct observations of object or event X (in this case, X = the view of star formation as presented by S.D.) exist, and there are no eyewitness accounts of X existing/occuring, then belief that X exists or has occured is a “blind assumption.”

However, in the second quoted portion, AiG seems to realize that the above is not true; that just because X (in this case, X = the photon-photon cycle) hasn’t itself been directly observed and there are no recorded eyewitness accounts of X, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there cannot/do not exist good reasons to believe that X exists or has occured.

To me it appears that the “You haven’t directly observed X? There are no corroberatin eyewitness accounts of X? Then your belief that X exists/has occured is a blind assumption!” argument is not used consistantly by AiG.

If they did use this argument consistantly, wouldn’t AiG have to conclude that “the proton-proton cycle turns hydrogen to helium in a star” is a “blind assumption”, since there are no direct observations of this cycle (at least according to them; I have no idea if this is true) and no recorded eyewitness accounts of it?

Comment #104563

Posted by Wheels on June 9, 2006 12:54 AM (e)

The difference AiG sees is that we have indirect observed evidence of the fusion process, i.e. neutrinos. Apparently they don’t think you can use indirect evidence to support the formation of stars, despite plentify observation that lead to the conclusion of star formation.
What the article really says is that, since nuclear fusion doesn’t violate their interpretation of Scripture, they’ll allow that it happens as described.
It’s still fundamentally inconsistent because the nature of fusion in relation to a star’s operation is something we can use to determine the approximate age, distance, composition, etc. of stars.

Comment #104564

Posted by Chris Lintott on June 9, 2006 1:01 AM (e)

Flint:

I wanted to respond to this:

Still, the notion that 85% (!!) of the total mass-energy of the known universe is composed of “dark energy”, without any clue what that IS, is discouraging. Does “dark energy” mean *anything*
beyond “something we need to insert into our equations to make them match observation”? How would we ever test for this stuff? It sounds a lot like “we just don’t understand”.

‘Dark energy’ is best thought of as a label for a set of observations that don’t make sense but do tie together. The most direct piece of evidence is based on supernovae (the explosions of massive stars) - see http://supernova.lbl.gov/PhysicsTodayArticle.pdf which appear to be further away than they should be. There are other lines of evidence that agree with these results (for example, from studying the large scale structure around us in surveys like this one - http://www.mso.anu.edu.au/2dFGRS/ These observations taken together seem to confirm that the observed expansion of the Universe cannot be accounted for by matter (dark or otherwise) and we call the extra component ‘dark energy’, a name which I think is deeply confusing.

It is fair to say that we lack a sensible theoretical understanding of what ‘dark energy’ might be; it could appear on either side of Einstein’s equations - ie as a component of energy or a modification to gravity. Further observations are needed to get a grip on its physics and test theoretical ideas, but it does seem to be here to stay.

Sorry to be so OT, I thought it was worth adding to the pot.

Comment #104644

Posted by Popper's Ghost on June 9, 2006 4:13 AM (e)

Well, we know dark matter exists, we’re made of it, and the planet we’re standing on is also made of it. We also detect particles of dark matter all the time. The real dark matter question is what type and quantity of dark matter is needed to explain our observations? I know it’s a pedantic point, but it seems that most people don’t realize that dark matter really means matter that doesn’t emit light, like rocks, or planets, or neutrinos. It doesn’t necessarily mean weird stuff we’ve never seen before. (unless you want to throw black holes into the weird stuff category)

No, baryonic dark matter, the sort of thing that comprises rocks, etc., is only about 4% of dark matter, and neutrinos don’t qualify because they don’t clump. “dark matter” primarily means “weird stuff” like SIMPs and WIMPs.

Comment #104658

Posted by Popper's Ghost on June 9, 2006 4:35 AM (e)

Still, the notion that 85% (!!) of the total mass-energy of the known universe is composed of “dark energy”, without any clue what that IS, is discouraging.

The universe is composed of mass and energy. Do we have any clue of what those ARE? What we know is what properties and effects they have. “dark energy” is no different, except that we still have a very incomplete picture of what its properties and effects are.

Comment #104680

Posted by Peter Henderson on June 9, 2006 5:23 AM (e)

Re#104564 Hi Chris. I am an avid viewer of the “Sky at night”. Along with Horizon, it’s one of the best science programmes on TV over here, in my opinion, and one of the reasons why I find creationism so nonsensical. Your contributions to it are excellent and I think you are doing a really good job at popularising science here in the UK.

Sir Patrick, as you probably know, was once director of the Armagh planetarium in Co. Armagh here in NI, and it was a visit to this establishment that kindled my interest in astronomy. Although it’s out of commission at the moment they hope to be up and running again within the next year or so, courtesy of a European grant.

I really do hope that the BBC don’t drop the “Sky at night” if anything were to happen to Sir Patrick or if he was unable to continue.

Comment #104682

Posted by Moses on June 9, 2006 5:46 AM (e)

Comment #104489

Posted by Peter Henderson on June 8, 2006 04:08 PM (e)

This from AIG a few days ago:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/feedba…

I always thought that distant starlight was a problem for YEC’s but apparently not.

Nothing is a problem for YECs when all you have to do is make something up…

Comment #104684

Posted by Peter Henderson on June 9, 2006 6:32 AM (e)

That’s exactly what I thought when I read the article Moses !

Comment #104688

Posted by Raging Bee on June 9, 2006 7:47 AM (e)

He accounted for observations of distant novas by postulating that the star that supposedly went nova never really existed, but the “blob” (Morris’ word) of light indicating the occurrrence of a nova was created en route to earth — the star was never really there.

So God, in all his mighty truthiness, created – or allowed someone else to create – a universe full of deceiving information, including a planet full of fake fossils made to look much older than the universe itself. But we’re expected to believe that the books whose content this same God dictated can be taken at face value.

Do the YECs explain why we should disbelieve a universe full of physical evidence, and believe one book without a hiccup of doubt? Of those two, which is easier to fake?

If I remember my history correctly, the idea that the universe’s prime mover is an “evil genius” (which is what this creationist rubbish amounts to) was debunked by philosophers and theologians several centuries ago. Basically, if you go that way, you end up doubting everything you perceive, including your own sensory inputs, and retreating into your own closed bubble-verse – which some would call “hell.”

Comment #104689

Posted by fnxtr on June 9, 2006 7:48 AM (e)

Stevaroni hits the nail on the head again:

“Apparently, Dembski feels that when God dictated Genesis, He was trying to convey the story by speaking to Moses not in metaphors, but in a observationally referenced discription of relatavistically adjusted space/time - clearly a good framework for a talk with a bronze age shepherd”

Hmmm… so how fast and in what direction would G–, uh, the Designer have to be travelling to make billions of years look like six days to us earthlings? Anyone?

Remember, ID is not about religion, though. Not a bit. It’s science all the way down.

Comment #104692

Posted by Raging Bee on June 9, 2006 8:30 AM (e)

fnxtr: I vaguely remember some YEC site claiming that in the process of rushing away from Earth (which is, of course, the center of God’s universe), all the other stars and galaxies aged about eighteen billion subjective-years during the six thousand REAL years of the universe’s lifetime. So the rest of the universe is eighteen billion years old and six thousand years old at the same “time.”

That site also called on us all to reject all that highfalutin’ science and logic stuff and stick to “the solid ground of empiricism.” What. Ever.

Comment #104693

Posted by Raging Bee on June 9, 2006 8:32 AM (e)

Remember, ID is not about religion, though. Not a bit. It’s science all the way down.

All the way down the drain?

Comment #104698

Posted by Ric on June 9, 2006 9:22 AM (e)

looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God

This scares the crap out of me. These people actually do want to hasten the “end of the world.” George Bush anyone?

Comment #104699

Posted by fnxtr on June 9, 2006 9:34 AM (e)

Ric:

looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God

This scares the crap out of me. These people actually do want to hasten the “end of the world.” George Bush anyone?

Sounds more like Reagan, actually.

Comment #104706

Posted by AC on June 9, 2006 10:50 AM (e)

fnxtr wrote:

Hmmm… so how fast and in what direction would G—, uh, the Designer have to be travelling to make billions of years look like six days to us earthlings? Anyone?

The same direction and speed that Santa Cla-, uh, the Deliverer has to travel to give toys to all the children of the world on Christmas.

Oops, I’ve been naughty.

Comment #104712

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on June 9, 2006 11:04 AM (e)

Flint says:

“What IS dark energy?”

To complement what others said there is also this view:

The latest WMAP release prefered the Lamda-CDM model. ( http://cosmicvariance.com/2006/03/16/wmap-results-cosmology-makes-sense/ ) It explains dark energy with a cosmological constant in the standard cosmology. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_energy ) The cosmological constant is the vacuum energy. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmological_constant )

Sounds neat, but a problem is that the cosmological constant is the worst finetuning known. So then the question becomes:

“What IS vacuum energy?”

Comment #104713

Posted by Moses on June 9, 2006 11:09 AM (e)

Comment #104699

Posted by fnxtr on June 9, 2006 09:34 AM (e)

Sounds more like Reagan, actually.

Actually, not. Reagan had his problems and should have been impeached for the illegal and immoral acts conducted by his administration. But, when it comes to the fundies, when you look at his administration, it used, but never really empowered, the fundies and pretty much left them on the outside, looking in. Same with GHWB and Clinton. It’s only this recent idiot Bush that’s done that stupid thing, and with disasterous results that’ll take us at least a decade to undo.

Comment #104721

Posted by stevaroni on June 9, 2006 12:21 PM (e)

fnxtr wrote:
Hmmm… so how fast and in what direction would G—, uh, the Designer have to be travelling to make billions of years look like six days to us earthlings? Anyone?

The time dialation is about 10,000,000,000yr / 6000yr or maybe 1.6million : 1

I’m not a physisist, but teh formula is simple, and the way I figure it, what AIG suggests is mathematically possible if you make two assumptions…

1) The earth has been moving in such a way that it was receding from everything else - in every direction - at 99.9999999964 percent of the speed of light

2) For some reason we don’t see the 21 octaves of doppler shift.

By the way, I have actually seen time dialation at work and it’s kinda cool. A few years ago I was working on a Hi-def network project with facilities in Denver and LA. Back in those days, it was difficult to get everything to sync up properly, and super-accurate reference clocks played an important part.

I could actually compare the phase of the two 1.5GHz bitstream feeds on a scope, and over the course of the day watch the Denver clock, which was a mile farther out of Earths gravity well, start to lead the LA clock.

Comment #104722

Posted by Laser on June 9, 2006 12:51 PM (e)

stevaroni:

Don’t forget the Lorentz contraction. If we’re receding from the rest of the universe at 99.9999999964 percent of the speed of light, then our length would be contracted by that same factor of 1.6 million:1 (IIRC, too lazy to get the physics book out of my bookcase.) I also think our mass would be that same factor of 1.6 million:1 greater than our rest mass.

I would have loved to see that scope output that you described!

Comment #104727

Posted by fnxtr on June 9, 2006 1:12 PM (e)

2) For some reason we don’t see the 21 octaves of doppler shift.

This is simply the theoretic complement of infinite wavelength radiation. Near-infinite frequency radiation could appear visible, given a sufficient v/c.

Comment #104729

Posted by fnxtr on June 9, 2006 1:16 PM (e)

If we’re receding from the rest of the universe at 99.9999999964 percent of the speed of light, then our length would be contracted by that same factor of 1.6 million:1 (IIRC, too lazy to get the physics book out of my bookcase.) I also think our mass would be that same factor of 1.6 million:1 greater than our rest mass.

If we’re receding from all points of a 3-space universe, it must be through 4-space, neh?

I sense an oncoming Grand Unified Theory that connects Superstring with His Noodly Appendage… anyone? Anyone?

Comment #104730

Posted by Stevaroni on June 9, 2006 1:17 PM (e)

our length would be contracted by that same factor of 1.6 million:1 … our mass would be that same factor

I knew I was feeling awfully short and fat these days.

Comment #104731

Posted by stevaroni on June 9, 2006 1:22 PM (e)

Laser wrote
I would have loved to see that scope output that you described!

It was actually pretty cool to see it work.

But, I must admit, it took us a while to catch on to what we were seeing. We spent a couple of thousand dollars FedExing equipment back and forth before we figured out what was going on (and that was only because the manufacturer told us).

Comment #104737

Posted by Henry J on June 9, 2006 1:49 PM (e)

Re “I also think our mass would be that same factor of 1.6 million:1 greater than our rest mass.”

Would that be enough to explain the sun orbiting the Earth?

(Ducking for cover here.)

Comment #104753

Posted by Laser on June 9, 2006 3:38 PM (e)

Henry J:

I know you’re asking a silly question tongue-in-cheek, but here’s a (semi) serious answer: the sun is about 200,000 times more massive than the earth. So, with the earth’s relativistic mass, the earth would be slightly more massive than the sun, and the sun could be said to orbit the earth (more accurately, both would orbit a point somewhere between them, but that point would be closer to the earth).

HOWEVER, the above scenario involves the earth moving at 99.999..% of the speed of light but the sun not doing so. Obviously, with such a great difference in their velocities, the earth would quickly leave the sun behind, and the orbiting would last approximately zero seconds. For any orbiting to happen, both the sun and earth would have to be moving at 99.999..% of the speed of light, so both bodies would have their mass increase by the same factor. The sun would still be about 200,000 times more massive than the earth, and the earth would orbit the sun.

Comment #104759

Posted by Henry J on June 9, 2006 4:02 PM (e)

:)

Comment #104770

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 9, 2006 6:06 PM (e)

This scares the crap out of me. These people actually do want to hasten the “end of the world.” George Bush anyone?

You should drop by and meet some of the people who work in the same building I do. “God’s News Behind the News”, run by some doofus named Van Koevering.

His “schtick” is that he raises money to pay for Jews to return to Israel. And why does he do that? Because, ya see, once all the Jews have returned to Israel, then the Rapture and Armageddon and all that end-of-the-world stuff can begin. So yes, Rev Van Keovering is actively and deliberately attempting to end the world, so Jesus will come back.

Seriously. No joke.

The fundies are nutters, all. (shrug)

Comment #104771

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 9, 2006 6:14 PM (e)

Sounds more like Reagan, actually.

Nah, Reagan was into astrology and stuff. He never took the fundies seriously – just took their money and their votes.

But the fine folks at DI do indeed know someone who spent 20-odd years actively trying to end the world. His name is Howie Ahmanson, and he funds somewhere around one-third of DI’s total budget (he also sits on the Board of Directors).

Howie was a longtime member of the Chalcedon Foundation, which is the chief cheerleader for a group of fundie nutjobs known as “Reconstructionists”. They want to “reconstruct” the US into a theocracy which returns to “biblical law”, such as stoning heretics and unbelievers and gays and disobedient children and women who wear pants and all the other wonderful stuff in Leviticus.

And why does he want to do that? Because the Reconstructionists believe that Jesus won’t come back until AFTER the US is “reconstructed” and turned into “God’s Kingdom on Earth”. So by turning the US into a fundie theocracy, they hope to bring Jesus back and, literally, to end the world.

(You may also have heard of a similar group called “Dominionists”. The difference is subtle — the Reconstructionists only want to make the US godly. The Dominionists want the godly US to then invade and conquer the rest of the world to make it godly, too.)

Comment #104787

Posted by Peter Henderson on June 9, 2006 7:22 PM (e)

Not all evangelical Christians are dispensationalists of course. There are 3 other views within the church on Christ’s return:

http://biblia.com/coming/millennium.htm

However, it seems to me that sadly, the evangelical wing of the church is keen to adopt this view (dispendationalism) as the only belief in the same way as it has lurched dogmatically into young Earth creationism.

Comment #105016

Posted by fnxtr on June 11, 2006 1:32 PM (e)

Well, clearly, the Big Furnace is simply stellar evolution as explained by g- uh, the Designer, to Bronze Age nomads:

“You’ve only got 5 billion more years, or so. Hurry up and evolve, wouldja?”

Comment #105158

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 12, 2006 9:22 AM (e)

Popper’s Ghost,

“The universe is composed of mass and energy. Do we have any clue of what those ARE?”

Not to nit-pick your words here, but there lurks a conceptual misconception therein. Mass and energy are not two entities that exist independently, nor can one be converted into the other. Both of these exist side-by-side in what we refer to as mass-energy.

Lenny,

So by my sitting around in the Garden State I am holding up some divine cosmic plan for the end of days? I feel so important!

Nick Matzke,

AS I have pointed out in this forum on many occasions, the concept of “falsifiability” and “testability” does NOT at all imply that a non-falsifiable or non-testable proposal is non-scientific. It merely means that acceptance of the idea is contingent on it not being contradicted by data. Dark matter/energy joins the ether and EM fields and a host of other past and future ideas that gain currency because they provide a useful working model. And they may indeed be correct. There is nothing illogical about the prospect that a most effective, correct working model may turn out to be experimentally non-falsifiable.

Comment #105161

Posted by Raging Bee on June 12, 2006 9:40 AM (e)

AS I have pointed out in this forum on many occasions, the concept of “falsifiability” and “testability” does NOT at all imply that a non-falsifiable or non-testable proposal is non-scientific. It merely means that acceptance of the idea is contingent on it not being contradicted by data.

Wrong again. Acceptance of an idea is contingent on BOTH testability AND non-failure of whatever tests are performed on the idea. If an idea is non-falsifiable (i.e., “it is the way it is because God, by definition, created it that way”), then, by definition, it will never be contradicted by data. That’s what “non-falsifiable” means.

Are you trying to tell us (for example) that we should accept Lyndon LaRouche’s latest conspiracy theory because it includes an assertion that all contradictory facts are part of a coverup?

Comment #105163

Posted by Flint on June 12, 2006 10:17 AM (e)

It merely means that acceptance of the idea is contingent on it not being contradicted by data.

I’m not sure I understand what is intended by this qualification. Are you establishing a default position, namely that all statements not contradicted by data should be regarded as tentatively correct?

This is VERY distinct from the notion that acceptance of an idea is contingent on it being supported by non-contradicted data. And the distinction is, what do we do with ideas for which there are NO data, either contradictory or supportive, or even vaguely suggestive?

We can make statements testable in principle but not (yet) in practice, but such statements are at worst baseless guesses. For example, I can state that there are 17 planets orbiting a given distant star. Should this claim be accepted simply (1) it is testable; and (2) no data currently conflict? Or would we be better off dismissing this claim as unhelpful until at least *some* data are collected?

Without any hint of support, we run the risk of accepting everything babbled by a 2-year-old (or Pat Robertson!) as being a scientific statement. Surely scientific statements require something beyond semantic coherency, before you’d be willing to accept them as valid?

Comment #105183

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 12, 2006 11:29 AM (e)

Flint & Raging Bee,

I am obviously not proposing that the absence of contradiction is sufficient for acceptance.Acceptance is predicated on usefulness, and the more useful the more we tend to accept. But the absence of contradiction is necessary for acceptance. And the more opportunities for contradiction, the greater the support derived from the absence of contradiction. What I am proposing is that the absence of opportunity to contradict is no reason to reject as “unscientific”.

Comment #105185

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on June 12, 2006 11:39 AM (e)

Orbiting teapots, anyone? I’m afraid that the lack of opportunity for contradiction places anything firmly and irretrievably in the domain of “belief”.

Of course, what to me is a downgrade, to someone else might appear as an upgrade, and I have reasons to suspect that Ms. Clouser would in fact feel that way.

Comment #105199

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 12, 2006 12:09 PM (e)

What I am proposing is that the absence of opportunity to contradict is no reason to reject as “unscientific”.

And why are you proposing this? After all, the potential, in conception, for contradiction via the evidence is essential for something to be considered to be science. This does not hold for all of the tools that science uses, but it is understood that science must begin with accepted procedures (which have to be “intersubjectively” sound), which does not change the fact that scientific hypotheses must exist within the range of testing in some manner or other.

Religionists are welcome to the rest, and are not made “unscientific” by having extra-scientific beliefs, just so long as they don’t confuse the latter with science.

IOW, Clouser’s firmly with the IDists in trying to redefine science into something that includes mere speculation into its definition.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #105207

Posted by William E Emba on June 12, 2006 1:03 PM (e)

Carol Clouser wrote:

Popper's Ghost wrote:

The universe is composed of mass and energy. Do we have any clue of what those ARE?

Not to nit-pick your words here, but there lurks a conceptual misconception therein. Mass and energy are not two entities that exist independently, nor can one be converted into the other. Both of these exist side-by-side in what we refer to as mass-energy.

To be precise, “mass” and “energy” are attributes attached to matter and fields. Before Einstein, “inertial mass” (F=ma mass) and “gravitational mass” (F=GMm/r2 mass) and “energy” were three separate concepts. It was known that inertial mass and gravitational mass were the same to high accuracy, but there was no way to understand this. Also, there was speculation and even formulas that explained inertial mass in terms of electromagnetic energy. After Einstein, the three concepts folded into one.

As an example, an atomic bomb does not “convert” any matter into energy. The high binding energy of a uranium or plutonium nucleus has mass, and when the nucleus fissions, some of the binding energy is converted into other forms of energy, like light, heat, and blast. If you weigh the material pieces afterwards, you are omitting the escaped energy from consideration, and naturally you get a smaller weight.

Most physicists using relativity today simply use “energy” for this attribute, and “mass” for “rest mass”.

As for what “matter” and “fields” are, the basic distinction is that both are really quantum fields, with matter fermionic (half-integral spin) and fields bosonic (integral spin).

Comment #105208

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 12, 2006 1:28 PM (e)

“The high binding energy of a uranium or plutonium nucleus has mass, and when the nucleus fissions, some of the binding energy is converted into other forms of energy, like light, heat, and blast.”

This sounds like the binding energy decreases when a uranium nucleus fissions, and is factually untrue as one look at the famous BEPN graph readily reveals.

Comment #105210

Posted by William E Emba on June 12, 2006 1:39 PM (e)

Aureola Nominee, FCD in response to Carol Clouser wrote:

Orbiting teapots, anyone? I’m afraid that the lack of opportunity for contradiction places anything firmly and irretrievably in the domain of “belief”.

You are, in other words, a strict Popperian. Very few philosophers of scientists today would classify themselves as such.

Carol’s statement also mentioned “usefulness”. Orbiting teapots, like Intelligent Design Creationism, are utterly useless. The acceptance of heliocentrism had almost nothing to do with predictiveness and falsifiability, and almost everything to do with usefulness. By the time opportunities for contradiction were found (like the aberration of starlight and the measurement of stellar parallax), it was long accepted.

Usefulness has also dominated the historical acceptance of atomism, evolution, relativity, inflation, RNA world, and the like.

Comment #105211

Posted by William E Emba on June 12, 2006 1:47 PM (e)

Glen Davidson wrote:

Carol Clouser wrote:

What I am proposing is that the absence of opportunity to contradict is no reason to reject as “unscientific”.

And why are you proposing this?

Perhaps for the reasons she stated, and which you omitted?

Clouser’s firmly with the IDists in trying to redefine science into something that includes mere speculation into its definition.

Carol was explicitly proposing “usefulness” as an important criterion, as opposed to “mere speculation”. You, by engaging in quote mining and strawman attack, are the one currently with the IDiots.

Comment #105212

Posted by William E Emba on June 12, 2006 1:51 PM (e)

Carol Clouser wrote:

William E Emba wrote:

The high binding energy of a uranium or plutonium nucleus has mass, and when the nucleus fissions, some of the binding energy is converted into other forms of energy, like light, heat, and blast.

This sounds like the binding energy decreases when a uranium nucleus fissions, and is factually untrue as one look at the famous BEPN graph readily reveals.

Total binding energy does decrease after fission, as I stated. Meanwhile, the famous binding energy per nucleon does increase, as you state. So what?

Really, this is elementary.

Comment #105213

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on June 12, 2006 1:54 PM (e)

Mr. Emba:

Are you arguing that something that cannot be shown (in principle) to be false is something else from belief? That it is, indeed, knowledge (let alone scientific knowledge)?

Then what is belief? How do you separate belief from knowledge?

By the way, IIRC Galileo Galilei became convinced of the falsity of geocentrism due to his observations of the “imperfections” on the face of the moon and other disproof of the “celestial perfection” claimed by Aristotelism. That happened quite early, and well before the usefulness of the heliocentric model had been established.

Comment #105214

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 12, 2006 2:06 PM (e)

“Total binding energy does decrease after fission, as I stated. Meanwhile, the famous binding energy per nucleon does increase, as you state. So what?”

Well, That is false. Total Binding energy increases when a uranium nucleus fissions to the tune of 200 MeV, something explained long ago (By Lisa Meitner, I think) by relating it to the mass defect.

Aureola,

Acceptance of heliocentrism was based on the phases of venus.

Comment #105215

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on June 12, 2006 2:10 PM (e)

Ms. Clouser:

yes, also that, too. In both cases, not on “usefulness” at all, but on observation. Hard evidence.

Comment #105218

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 12, 2006 2:24 PM (e)

Emba wrote:

Davidson wrote:

And why are you proposing this?

Perhaps for the reasons she stated, and which you omitted?

And what were those supposed to be? Pragmatism? Sorry, I’m not falling for that one. There’s a whole lot more to science than just “usefulness”. Elegance, the lack of extraneous parts to the theory, and the human judgment of “sense” all come into play.

And what did I “omit”? Was her text somehow made inaccessible by my comments?

What did you “omit”? Apparently only where I explicated what I mean by “opportunity to contradict”, which was:

scientific hypotheses must exist within the range of testing in some manner or other.

Apparently you don’t mind twisting a nuanced argument into the one you understand, then shooting at that strawman. You really do fit the definition of tackling a strawman, while I do not.

The reason for merging into this sort of definition I used above is that Carol obviously argues for “science” that she claims is compatible with the Bible, but which fails to be testable, either by the plain meaning of Biblical texts, as well as by science. And since “contradiction” is a word with such broad meanings, I suspect that she means to slip one by us.

I dealt in more depth with issues of falsibiability and the like at the following link. I can’t go through everything in every post:

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/06/laudan_demarcat.html#comment-105205

Emba wrote:

Davidson wrote:

Clouser’s firmly with the IDists in trying to redefine science into something that includes mere speculation into its definition.

Carol was explicitly proposing “usefulness” as an important criterion, as opposed to “mere speculation”. You, by engaging in quote mining and strawman attack, are the one currently with the IDiots.

You, by quote-mining and ignoring the nuances that I added in the post in question, as well as elsewhere, are solidly linked with the practices of the IDiots. The lying that you engaged in is another practice that is notable among the IDiots, as well as the name-calling by someone like yourself who can’t and doesn’t back up his scurrilous charges.

Do you think that I missed the “usefulness” criterion that she mentioned? If you are ignorant enough to believe that pragmatism alone is sufficient to obviate the issue of “opportunity for contradiction” (even if it turned out to be sufficient), then you really don’t understand scientific matters–or in what proper argumentation consists. Or do you think that Carol is such an authority that she should not be questioned?

Also, I refer once again to context. We know how and what she argues, so have cause to believe that she is trying to redefine science to accept “mere speculation”. You ought to pay attention to the controversy in its whole before coming in and accusing people people, quite falsely as it happens.

You’re about as fair here as in your claim that to say “wing” literally means some organism’s wing. That’s absurd. Words take on new “literal” meanings (as far as “literal” can mean anything), so that to say “wing” might as readily refer to the wing of a building or an airplane as the wing of a bird or an insect.

Yes, you could apologize to Carol for your false statements about what constitutes literalism. You have no business coming in here and pretending that “usefulness” really did answer the question of why one would give up “opportunity for contradiction” as some sort of criterion. Just because you’re willing to fall for such a simplistic primary criterion for science does not give you any right to accuse others of your false charges, as if we should be so simple-minded as well.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #105219

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 12, 2006 2:45 PM (e)

By the way, IIRC Galileo Galilei became convinced of the falsity of geocentrism due to his observations of the “imperfections” on the face of the moon and other disproof of the “celestial perfection” claimed by Aristotelism. That happened quite early, and well before the usefulness of the heliocentric model had been established.

The imperfections on the moon were no disproof of geocentrism, however much it may have called into question the authority of Aristotle.

The fact of the matter is that observations were going contrary (which might be a better word to use here than “contradition”, as it happens) to the Ptolemaic model (the calendar was out of alignment), which is one reason why Copernicus revived the heliocentric model.

Now one may niggle over the contrary evidence for Copernicus’ model as well. And I literally mean that, of course, since it was not so very clear in Galileo’s day if heliocentrism really was such a superior model.

Nevertheless, “contradiction” (at least as I explicated it) was indeed important to the questioning and eventual overthrow of the geocentric model. Also, the lack of elegance, the need for more ad hoc epicycles, and the like, seemed to weigh against the useful (as useful as Copernicus’ model, according to what I have read) Ptolemaic model.

“Usefulness” is a poor criterion in many cases. In fact, it is said that for many calculations NASA did in fact use the geocentric model, since the calculations are much easier to do with only two moving bodies–spacecraft and moon–than with three (obviously geocentrism wasn’t used to calculate the velocity boost that launching near the equator provided). Newton’s theory is considered to be more “useful” in many many cases, while it is not considered to comport better with science than one may achieve with relativity and QM.

So we have to say “how” usefulness is supposed to count? I’m afraid that won’t do, that we’re then back to issues of “sense” and the comprehensiveness of theory, with “usefulness” having to be defined via other criteria if it is truly to be meaningful.

Ms. Clouser:

yes, also that, too. In both cases, not on “usefulness” at all, but on observation. Hard evidence.

That’s pretty much it, Aureola. The fact is that good science is useful, and it agrees with the relatively unbiased judgments humans make based upon their cognitive and perceptual abilities. That Emba and Clouser confuse the usefulness of science with the criteria that provide us with useful science does not reassure with respect to the knowledge they use here.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #105220

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 12, 2006 2:54 PM (e)

I should have written above, “The calendar was out of alignment with Ptolemaic calculations of the heavens.”

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #105221

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on June 12, 2006 3:10 PM (e)

Glen:

I was careful not to say that the Galileian observations disproved geocentrism; they disproved Aristotelism, and in so doing took the geocentric model down from the pedestal of undisputable truth.

That, by the way, is also part of the reason why the Catholic Church was so p***ed off with my old compatriot.

Comment #105222

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 12, 2006 3:17 PM (e)

Right, sorry I didn’t indicate clearly that that was not your position.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #105226

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on June 12, 2006 3:29 PM (e)

No problem, Glen. I realized you were not attributing that position to me, but one can never be too explicit, so I simply clarified.

Comment #105230

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 12, 2006 3:58 PM (e)

Glen and William,

Guys, I never thought I would live to see the day when either of you long time antagonists of mine would defend anything I say. Perhaps you do so for the greater goal of attacking each other.

Glen, you are right on literalism and wrong on usefulness. The term usefulness includes all the attributes of a good theory you mentioned and then some - elegance, simplicity, explanatory power, thematicness, and so on. When Wentzel’s alternate explanation of photoelectricity based on waves was rejected in favor of Einstein’s based on particles, this was done for reasons of elegance and you would certainly not describe that as unscientific. (“Dasi is eon fondle”, said Einstein, “it is a hoax”, but it worked nonetheless.) Heliocentric was certainly far more elegant and simple, and therefore useful, than the Ptolemaic model that had grown to a Hodge Page of over 70 spheres.

May I ask you, Glen, to stop reading hidden, sinister motives into what I say. Just relax and take what I say at face value, literally if you will.

William, you are right on usefulness and wrong on literalism. But I don’t want to go off topic here. I do appreciate your supporting correct statements whatever their source (me in this case).

Comment #105240

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 12, 2006 4:35 PM (e)

The term usefulness includes all the attributes of a good theory you mentioned and then some - elegance, simplicity, explanatory power, thematicness, and so on. When Wentzel’s alternate explanation of photoelectricity based on waves was rejected in favor of Einstein’s based on particles, this was done for reasons of elegance and you would certainly not describe that as unscientific. (“Dasi is eon fondle”, said Einstein, “it is a hoax”, but it worked nonetheless.) Heliocentric was certainly far more elegant and simple, and therefore useful, than the Ptolemaic model that had grown to a Hodge Page of over 70 spheres.

If you define usefulness to include all of those properties, that’s not bad. To write “usefulness” alone on this forum, however, does not automatically imply as much. On some physics forums it might be enough to write “usefulness” and assume that the rest is implied.

Usefulness in physics also typically means that it clears up some “contradiction” or “contrary observation”. I know that this seems not likely to differentiate all physics models, however the question of whether or not a truly “unfalsifiable” (in the broad sense) theory counts as a science theory remains up in the air.

Should, for instance, the multiverse be accepted based upon elegance, “usefulness” in the ordinary sense, “thematicness”, and explanation according to accepted concepts and practices? Or does it need to be “falsifiable” in some sense?

But even the more esoteric and abstract physics theories do rest significantly on their ability to be tested by the data. There are aspects to some accepted models that are not “falsifiable”, but I know of no model that hasn’t passed some tests. The following are examples:

Dark matter/energy joins the ether and EM fields and a host of other past and future ideas that gain currency because they provide a useful working model. And they may indeed be correct. There is nothing illogical about the prospect that a most effective, correct working model may turn out to be experimentally non-falsifiable.

Dark matter is falsifiable, by observing galaxies. EM fields are falsifiable with farily simple tests. They may not be “true” in some sense, but they certainly pass some tests of possibly contrary data.

These are more important questions in physics than in most of the rest of science, indeed. In biology there seems to be little or nothing that might be thought of as being “scientific” without its

May I ask you, Glen, to stop reading hidden, sinister motives into what I say. Just relax and take what I say at face value, literally if you will.

Your proposal:

What I am proposing is that the absence of opportunity to contradict is no reason to reject as “unscientific”.

is not well accepted in science at present, so I had my doubts. I think I see where you’re coming from, which is that models are made that may not tell us what is fundamentally occurring in physics, but not being able to pin down something completely (like EM fields) is not the same thing as saying that there is no “opportunity to contradict.” Like Einstein’s theories, they haven’t been tested completely, but they have been tested in some sense or another.

I did perhaps read too much into your comments, however, forgetting what was being discussed on this thread–physics (one jumps around to new posts, loses track of the threads). Since we seem to be getting along better at this point, okay, I’ll try to take your comments more at face value.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #105244

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 12, 2006 4:42 PM (e)

When Wentzel’s alternate explanation of photoelectricity based on waves was rejected in favor of Einstein’s based on particles, this was done for reasons of elegance and you would certainly not describe that as unscientific.

Just a few more comments about this directly. Yes, there may not be opportunity for contradiction between two models. The point that I believe that Aureola along with myself were making is that Wentzel’s and Einstein’s models could be contradicted by the data and turn out to be flatly wrong. Deciding between two models which explain the available data has to be done using other criteria.

Both Wentzel’s and Einstein’s explanations would have been useless if they could not be tested in some manner. This should not be forgotten just because some explanations compete equally on the “contradiction criterion”. All competing theories have to comply with the evidence that “test it” for them to be considered to be competing theories.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #105252

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 12, 2006 6:01 PM (e)

Glen,

It sometimes appears as if the gulf between physicists and biologists is as great as that between scientists and non-scientists. You alluded to this and, in my opinion, it goes a long way in explaining some of the arguments going on here. Biologists just don’t have as much opportunity and experience with grand theory formation as physicists do. And it is frequently so much easier to settle biological mysteries by going into a lab and tinkering with some specimens than it is in physics.

Comment #105257

Posted by William E Emba on June 12, 2006 6:09 PM (e)

Aureola Nominee, FCD wrote:

Are you arguing that something that cannot be shown (in principle) to be false is something else from belief? That it is, indeed, knowledge (let alone scientific knowledge)?

No, I’m claiming that as a matter of historical record, numerous scientific theories have been accepted as factual with hardly a shred of testability at stake. Their explanatory power was so great that the scientific community adopted them very early on and only as the decades passed were experiments conceived and tried.

By the way, IIRC Galileo Galilei became convinced of the falsity of geocentrism due to his observations of the “imperfections” on the face of the moon and other disproof of the “celestial perfection” claimed by Aristotelism. That happened quite early, and well before the usefulness of the heliocentric model had been established.

The heliocentric model was recognized as useful from the beginning. In fact, that was Copernicus’ main argument for it. Pope Urban VIII had given Galileo the church’s green light to write The Two Dialogues so long as Galileo kept his claims to usefulness. As a philosophical point, the Pope had in fact conceded that reinterpretation of Scripture could happen if Galileo had “proof”, as opposed to “evidence”.

Galileo certainly had evidence in favor of heliocentrism. But there was certainly evidence against heliocentrism, which his critics were glad to point out. The lack of parallax, for example. Galileo had nothing but an ad hoc explanation, a supposition that the stars must be further away than anyone had previously estimated. Yet he and others took to heliocentrism anyway. Both sides had evidence, and both sides offered just-so stories.

The first decisive measurements that distinguished heliocentrism from geocentrism was probably Cassini’s of the variability of the solar disk size, several decades after Galileo died. (I’m not sure if this counts, though, since it depended on Kepler’s laws also.) There was also something called the “quota of the anomaly” or the like, which differed by a factor of two between the simplest versions of the two centrisms, but I can’t remember.

Comment #105261

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 12, 2006 6:27 PM (e)

AS I have pointed out in this forum on many occasions, the concept of “falsifiability” and “testability” does NOT at all imply that a non-falsifiable or non-testable proposal is non-scientific. It merely means that acceptance of the idea is contingent on it not being contradicted by data.

Um, how, again, is “contradicted by data” different from “falsified” …. …. ……?

How, again, is “not being contradicted by data” different from “testable” …. …. …. .?

How, exactly, does one check to see whether a hypothesis is contradicted by data, without, um, testing it?

How, exactly, does one conclude that a given hypothesis is contradicted by data without, uh, concluding that it is false, and therefore falsifiable?

Do you actually have any idea what you talk about, Carol? Any at all?

Comment #105263

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on June 12, 2006 6:28 PM (e)

Mr. Emba:

No, I’m claiming that as a matter of historical record, numerous scientific theories have been accepted as factual with hardly a shred of testability at stake. Their explanatory power was so great that the scientific community adopted them very early on and only as the decades passed were experiments conceived and tried.

And you don’t equate “explanatory power” with “potentially falsifiable”. I see. Maybe that’s where we differ: to me, in order to “explain” something, a theory must also “not explain” something else.

In my opinion, a “theory” that would explain everything explains nothing. A theory compatible with every possible evidence is no theory at all. If a theory is incompatible with some (potential) piece of evidence it is ipso facto falsifiable, even if this is currently not possible.

In other words, when I say that a theory is unfalsifiable (not practically unfalsifiable for the moment, but theoretically unfalsifiable), I am also saying that it is scientifically insignificant, i.e. of no consequence.

Was geocentrism unfalsifiable? Yes with the technology of the time, but not in general. Was heliocentrism unfalsifiable? Yes with the technology of the time, but not in general. Both were perfectly reasonable theories (geocentrism a little more intuitive, perhaps). As a matter of fact, both were falsified.

Now, ID (and more in general creationism) is something else. Those “theories” are unfalsifiable in principle, and as such are useless.

Just my two cents.

Comment #105264

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 12, 2006 6:32 PM (e)

But the absence of contradiction is necessary for acceptance. And the more opportunities for contradiction, the greater the support derived from the absence of contradiction.

I.e., they are tested and potentially falsified by contradictory data.

What I am proposing is that the absence of opportunity to contradict is no reason to reject as “unscientific”.

Yes, yes, yes, Carol – we already know that you want science to accept your religious opinions as “scientific evidence”. Why you persist in that silly assertion, no one can asnwer but you. (shrug)

But alas, Carol, the only way a statement can have “no opportunity to contradict data” is, if it doesn’t actually, well, SAY anything.

Sort of like ID “theory”.

Comment #105265

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 12, 2006 6:36 PM (e)

So by my sitting around in the Garden State I am holding up some divine cosmic plan for the end of days? I feel so important!

Well, when the fundies have taken political power, they will forcibly relocate you, whether you like it or not. (shrug)

Perhaps you’ve not noticed, but they aren’t terribly nice people, and they don’t actually like your religion very much.

Comment #105269

Posted by William E Emba on June 12, 2006 6:56 PM (e)

Glen Davidson wrote:

William E Emba wrote:

Glen Davidson wrote:

And why are you proposing this?

Perhaps for the reasons she stated, and which you omitted?

And what were those supposed to be? Pragmatism? Sorry, I’m not falling for that one. There’s a whole lot more to science than just “usefulness”. Elegance, the lack of extraneous parts to the theory, and the human judgment of “sense” all come into play.

Sure. But you quote-mined Carol, who actually had a whit more complicated assertion than the “mere speculation” that you mocked and criticized. Her assertion could be good or bad as a philosophy of science argument, but you did not address it.

And what did I “omit”? Was her text somehow made inaccessible by my comments?

Uh no. You just blasted at a rather blatant strawman. As I had stated. The bit about “usefulness”.

What did you “omit”? Apparently only where I explicated what I mean by “opportunity to contradict”, which was:

scientific hypotheses must exist within the range of testing in some manner or other.

Apparently you don’t mind twisting a nuanced argument into the one you understand, then shooting at that strawman. You really do fit the definition of tackling a strawman, while I do not.

You are being disingenous here. I was criticizing you for not addressing Carol’s actual argument. It was quite blatant on your part. There was nothing nuanced about your choice of “mere speculation” as a quick summary of Carol, and there is nothing I omitted that suggested such a choice of words on your part was actually not an incompetent hatchet job. The words you think I should have quoted do not in any way shape or form address this inaccuracy of yours.

The reason for merging into this sort of definition I used above is that Carol obviously argues for “science” that she claims is compatible with the Bible, but which fails to be testable, either by the plain meaning of Biblical texts, as well as by science. And since “contradiction” is a word with such broad meanings, I suspect that she means to slip one by us.

I do not trust Carol’s intentions either, but I do not accept exaggerated criticisms.

I would be perfectly unconcerned if you had mocked Carol for contradicting herself from a few months back, or some such. Instead, I saw two posters in a row take a rather reasonable stance that gets batted about by respectable, knowledgeable, nonpostmodern philosophers of science and then quote-mine it.

I dealt in more depth with issues of falsibiability and the like at the following link. I can’t go through everything in every post:

I don’t expect you to. But perhaps you can treat philosophers of science with the same respect you treat biologists? The great majority are not Popperians. It really is a subtle issue, and you aren’t helping things by thinking it is and waltzing into the debate with all the intelligence your typical creationist brings to his attacks on science.

Do you think that I missed the “usefulness” criterion that she mentioned?

No. I think you omitted it and created a strawman. Sort of like what I’ve been saying?

If you are ignorant enough to believe that pragmatism alone is sufficient to obviate the issue of “opportunity for contradiction” (even if it turned out to be sufficient), then you really don’t understand scientific matters—or in what proper argumentation consists.

I made no claims as to what I believe, beyond what philosophers of science have noted for decades: the philosophy of science is very difficult, and in particular there are no simple on-off switches, with EZ-REED labels like “falsifiability” and “paradigm shift” that demarcate science from pseudoscience.

Or do you think that Carol is such an authority that she should not be questioned?

What I said: don’t quote-mine. She did not claim “mere speculation” passes the bar. You mocked her for saying so.

Also, I refer once again to context. We know how and what she argues, so have cause to believe that she is trying to redefine science to accept “mere speculation”. You ought to pay attention to the controversy in its whole before coming in and accusing people people, quite falsely as it happens.

I’ve seen her in action before. She seems to have evolved a more nuanced view. And as before, she is not acknowledging that she is disagreeing with her previous posts.

To reiterate, I would not be concerned if you mocked her for contradicting herself.

You’re about as fair here as in your claim that to say “wing” literally means some organism’s wing. That’s absurd. Words take on new “literal” meanings (as far as “literal” can mean anything), so that to say “wing” might as readily refer to the wing of a building or an airplane as the wing of a bird or an insect.

Nevertheless, the distinction in sense of “wing” meaning animal’s wing, as opposed to the now-permanent metaphor that applies to buildings and airplanes, is real. If “literal” is not the best word, or worse, is incorrect for this purpose, I’m happy to use something else, but nothing I’ve seen has suggested a good alternative.

Yes, you could apologize to Carol for your false statements about what constitutes literalism.

So do you agree that Carol’s sense of “literalism” includes assertions that since somewhere, sometimes, “yom” means era, it is accurate to tell everyone that Genesis 1 is literally talking about seven time eras? That was the point of my “wing” analogy. You know, “context”?

You have no business coming in here and pretending that “usefulness” really did answer the question of why one would give up “opportunity for contradiction” as some sort of criterion. Just because you’re willing to fall for such a simplistic primary criterion for science does not give you any right to accuse others of your false charges, as if we should be so simple-minded as well.

I did not pretend anything about “usefulness”. In my reply to Aureola I listed five or so famous examples. I take it you are opposed to the experimental procedure? As in, the question of what makes for good philosophy of science is decided by observation of what has worked well in the past, as opposed to just declaring victory and ignoring all those fussy details that go into reality.

And you are again being inaccurate about Carol’s statement. She did not propose giving up on “opportunity for contradiction”. And as such, I have not been defending such abandonment.

Comment #105270

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 12, 2006 7:00 PM (e)

Lenny,

Read what I write CAREFULLY, try HARD to understand what it says (it may require the full exertion of all your mental faculties), then if you have some intelligent commentary to make, I may respond.

Thanks for warning me about those not nice people. I will keep an eye on them.

Comment #105271

Posted by William E Emba on June 12, 2006 7:21 PM (e)

Aureola Nominee, FCD wrote:

And you don’t equate “explanatory power” with “potentially falsifiable”. I see. Maybe that’s where we differ: to me, in order to “explain” something, a theory must also “not explain” something else.

And my point is that this is often ahistorical. Atomism didn’t really falsify anything in its day. It simply explained so many phenomena that despite widespread opposition, it took over. The fact that there were numerous things it couldn’t explain but should have, or worse, explained wrong, hardly slowed down its acceptance.

Comment #105272

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 12, 2006 7:29 PM (e)

William,

“I’ve seen her in action before. She seems to have evolved a more nuanced view. And as before, she is not acknowledging that she is disagreeing with her previous posts. To reiterate, I would not be concerned if you mocked her for contradicting herself.”

More nuanced view? About what? Not only do I not acknowledge disagreeing with any previous posts of mine, I emphatically state that no such disagreement exists. Care to elaborate?

“ If “literal” is not the best word, or worse, is incorrect for this purpose, I’m happy to use something else, but nothing I’ve seen has suggested a good alternative.”

If I recall correctly, our key argument pertained to the meaning of “literal”. I am glad to see you concede the point. Better late than never.

“So do you agree that Carol’s sense of “literalism” includes assertions that since somewhere, sometimes, “yom” means era, it is accurate to tell everyone that Genesis 1 is literally talking about seven time eras? That was the point of my “wing” analogy. You know, “context”?”

Now YOU are distorting my position. I claim that “yom” is used in three different ways in the Hebrew Bible (all of which are by definition “literal”), that frequency of use is not at all decisive here, and that the context in Genesis in fact allows for the era translation.

Now, I don’t mind debating these points, but I will not allow you to distort what I say, just as you are right to not allow Glen to get away with similar distortions.

Comment #105274

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 12, 2006 7:34 PM (e)

More nuanced view? About what? Not only do I not acknowledge disagreeing with any previous posts of mine, I emphatically state that no such disagreement exists. Care to elaborate?

here we go again….

any possibility of heading this off before we have to watch Carol do backflips?

I got bored of this program in the first season.

I’d hate to see it go into syndication.

Comment #105275

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 12, 2006 7:35 PM (e)

William,

And now that you have taken the time to check out the facts pertaining to Binding Energy changes as a result of the fission of uranium, I imagine you are ready to concede that point too.

This must be your night for concessions. It’s OK. It’s good for the soul.

Comment #105277

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 12, 2006 7:37 PM (e)

STJM,

Read the previous posts. I did not start this.

Comment #105278

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 12, 2006 7:40 PM (e)

closes eyes…

“Clouser, Clouser, Clouser”

opens eyes…

did it work?

is she gone?

Comment #105282

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on June 12, 2006 8:27 PM (e)

Mr. Emba:

And my point is that this is often ahistorical. Atomism didn’t really falsify anything in its day. It simply explained so many phenomena that despite widespread opposition, it took over. The fact that there were numerous things it couldn’t explain but should have, or worse, explained wrong, hardly slowed down its acceptance.

Wait… I think you may be attacking something which I am not defending at all. I didn’t say that a new theory must falsify an older one to be acceptable. Why, then, should it matter whether atomism, heliocentrism or the theory of evolution did?

I stated my opinion that (simplifying, of course) “being scientifically useful” == “not being void of content” == “not being void of consequences” == “not being compatible with every conceivable evidence” == “being potentially falsifiable”. You seemed to disagree. That’s fine, but I would expect you to explain where you disagree, if you feel like it.

Comment #105283

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on June 12, 2006 8:29 PM (e)

(…and by the way, I don’t think this position can be construed as being Popperian strictu sensu).

Comment #105294

Posted by GvlGeologist, FCD on June 12, 2006 9:46 PM (e)

Jeeze. What’s the world coming to, when wamba, Aureola, Glen, Carol, Flint, Raging Bee, Emba and Lenny nearly simultaneously dump on and support each other (well, maybe it’s not so surprising with Lenny ;-))…?

How bout this: Can I suggest we resolve the difference between the definitions of science (falsifiability, usefulness, and testability), by the following statements:

One way of testing something is by using it to make predictions. If the predictions work, then the hypothesis is useful. If the predictions don’t work, then the hypothesis is falsified.

If an idea (I hesitate to use the term theory or hypothesis) is not useful, that’s because no predictions can be made that are successful, or because no predictions can be made at all. Thus the idea under these circumstances is either not science, or not good science.

ID fails on all accounts. It’s not useful because ANYTHING can be done by the unknown designer, it’s not falsifiable for the same reason, and for those few predictions that have been made (IC), they’ve been falsified, and are not useful as a consequence.

What d’ya think?

Comment #105295

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on June 12, 2006 9:54 PM (e)

I think I agree. As I was saying (or trying to say, at the very least) to me if something isn’t falsifiable in principle, it cannot be useful; which can be restated to say that if it is useful, then it is falsifiable.

ID isn’t either.

Comment #105306

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 12, 2006 10:35 PM (e)

I may respond

Please don’t. I find listening to your religious opinions insufferably boring.

When you can think of a good reason why anyone should give a flying fig about your religious opinions, do let me know, OK? After all, your opinions are no better than anyone else’s. (shrug)

Comment #105380

Posted by William E Emba on June 13, 2006 11:01 AM (e)

Carol Clouser wrote:

William E Emba wrote:

Total binding energy does decrease after fission, as I stated. Meanwhile, the famous binding energy per nucleon does increase, as you state. So what?

Well, That is false.

No, it is correct. In fact, it is trivially obvious, just by measuring total mass before and after.

Total Binding energy increases when a uranium nucleus fissions to the tune of 200 MeV, something explained long ago (By Lisa Meitner, I think) by relating it to the mass defect.

Total binding energy per nucleon, integrated over one nucleus (uranium or plutonium, say) is indeed less than total binding energy per nucleon, averaged over two daughter nuclei produced by fission, as is obvious from the BEPN curve, and since the difference in BEPN is just under 1 Mev per nucleon, this does come to 200 Mev or so. However, this doesn’t account for the binding energy needed to fuse the two daughter nuclei back into one parent nucleus, and therefore is completely, totally irrelevant to my statement.

Like I said, my assertion is not just correct, but it is trivially obvious.

Comment #105381

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 13, 2006 11:06 AM (e)

Emba wrote:

No, I’m claiming that as a matter of historical record, numerous scientific theories have been accepted as factual with hardly a shred of testability at stake. Their explanatory power was so great that the scientific community adopted them very early on and only as the decades passed were experiments conceived and tried.

Sure, you just don’t have any evidence. Heliocentrism was not accepted because of its “usefulness” so much as that it passed the tests that could be mustered, and at first largely because it was more “elegant” than geocentrism.

You’re confusing the need for evidence for all theories with the choice between two theories that may explain the evidence equally well. That’s pretty pathetic.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #105385

Posted by William E Emba on June 13, 2006 11:20 AM (e)

Carol Clouser wrote:

William E Emba wrote:

I’ve seen her in action before. She seems to have evolved a more nuanced view. And as before, she is not acknowledging that she is disagreeing with her previous posts. To reiterate, I would not be concerned if you mocked her for contradicting herself.

More nuanced view? About what? Not only do I not acknowledge disagreeing with any previous posts of mine, I emphatically state that no such disagreement exists. Care to elaborate?

No. You blatantly contradicted yourself before regarding “literalism” and then blatantly denied it, so there is no point. Since I was addressing Glen, what matters is if he sees what I am referring to. You can make as big an inconsistent, hypocritical fool of yourself as you wish, on as many topics as you think you know something about, and I won’t really care how blind you are.

If “literal” is not the best word, or worse, is incorrect for this purpose, I’m happy to use something else, but nothing I’ve seen has suggested a good alternative.

If I recall correctly, our key argument pertained to the meaning of “literal”. I am glad to see you concede the point. Better late than never.

I see English fluency remains something you lack entirely. I conceded nothing. I am willing to concede, if somebody provides evidence, that somewhere there are linguists or lexicographers who do not distinguish between “literal” and “permanent metaphor”, as Glen claimed was standard English.

So do you agree that Carol’s sense of “literalism” includes assertions that since somewhere, sometimes, “yom” means era, it is accurate to tell everyone that Genesis 1 is literally talking about seven time eras? That was the point of my “wing” analogy. You know, “context”?

Now YOU are distorting my position. I claim that “yom” is used in three different ways in the Hebrew Bible (all of which are by definition “literal”), that frequency of use is not at all decisive here, and that the context in Genesis in fact allows for the era translation.

I haven’t distorted your position one bit. You come to the conclusion that I just said you did, for the reasons I said you used. Sheesh, you’re breathtakingly inane.

Comment #105387

Posted by William E Emba on June 13, 2006 11:30 AM (e)

Aureola Nominee, FCD wrote:

William E Emba wrote:

And my point is that this is often ahistorical. Atomism didn’t really falsify anything in its day. It simply explained so many phenomena that despite widespread opposition, it took over. The fact that there were numerous things it couldn’t explain but should have, or worse, explained wrong, hardly slowed down its acceptance.

Wait… I think you may be attacking something which I am not defending at all.

That could be true. But when you write a theory must also “not explain” other things (in the part I had previously quoted), that to me sounds like you were requiring falsifiability.

Comment #105392

Posted by William E Emba on June 13, 2006 11:49 AM (e)

Glen Davidson wrote:

William E Emba wrote:

No, I’m claiming that as a matter of historical record, numerous scientific theories have been accepted as factual with hardly a shred of testability at stake. Their explanatory power was so great that the scientific community adopted them very early on and only as the decades passed were experiments conceived and tried.

Sure, you just don’t have any evidence. Heliocentrism was not accepted because of its “usefulness” so much as that it passed the tests that could be mustered, and at first largely because it was more “elegant” than geocentrism.

I mentioned five theories that were accepted far more through their “usefulness” than their falsifiability. The only one that you respond to, you get wrong rather ignorantly. Essentially no tests were available at first, and what little was there was mixed. Lack of parallax favored geocentrism, for example.

Elegance had very little to do with the acceptance of heliocentrism. Kepler’s nested Platonic solid model of the solar system was very elegant, for example, but totally useless. Astronomical theories in those days weren’t simply pretty pictures that astronomers looked at, but involved extensive rules for doing extensive calculations, all by hand. When the one comes out far simpler to work through, its users are sold. Geocentrists of Galileo’s day conceded the usefulness of heliocentrism. The next generation, for the most part, simply saw no point in waffling between calculating the one way and believing the other way.

You’re confusing …

Someone who doesn’t know the actual history should not comment on who is confused.

Comment #105394

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 13, 2006 11:59 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #105396

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 13, 2006 12:10 PM (e)

Emba wrote:

Davidson wrote:

And what were those supposed to be? Pragmatism? Sorry, I’m not falling for that one. There’s a whole lot more to science than just “usefulness”. Elegance, the lack of extraneous parts to the theory, and the human judgment of “sense” all come into play.

Sure. But you quote-mined Carol, who actually had a whit more complicated assertion than the “mere speculation” that you mocked and criticized. Her assertion could be good or bad as a philosophy of science argument, but you did not address it.

It is not “complicated”. It was a glib assertion, arguably not worthy of comment. It had no bearing on the need for evidence that is needed for the acceptance of theories, and it is reasonable to ignore faulty claims when they don’t address the issues and are not argued out in a substantive manner.

Since you make the same meaningless and groundless claim, I can see why you think I should address it. What you don’t begin to do is to show that it is a claim worth addressing. Try to think of how mentioning “usefulness” is supposed to obviate the need for evidence to back up a theory (and I don’t mean the lack of need for evidence to choose between two theories that appear to explain the evidence equally well).

Emba wrote:

Davidson wrote:

And what did I “omit”? Was her text somehow made inaccessible by my comments?

Uh no. You just blasted at a rather blatant strawman. As I had stated. The bit about “usefulness”.

“Usefulness” is the strawman, which you can’t see around to understand the relevant issues. I didn’t address “usefulness” because it answered nothing at all regarding the necessity for evidence. So you project your fallacies.

Emba wrote:

Davidson wrote:

Apparently you don’t mind twisting a nuanced argument into the one you understand, then shooting at that strawman. You really do fit the definition of tackling a strawman, while I do not.

You are being disingenous here. I was criticizing you for not addressing Carol’s actual argument.

It’s not an argument. It requires a truly simple mind to suppose that bringing up “usefulness” addresses the purported need for evidence for a theory to exist (for instance, to compete with another theory that explains the evidence). It is because you yourself resort to such tripe that you insist that I should have addressed the non sequitur used against the claims that evidence is necessary.

Emba wrote:

It was quite blatant on your part.

That I blatantly ignore meaningless arguments often enough is true. Why shouldn’t I?

Emba wrote:

There was nothing nuanced about your choice of “mere speculation” as a quick summary of Carol, and there is nothing I omitted that suggested such a choice of words on your part was actually not an incompetent hatchet job. The words you think I should have quoted do not in any way shape or form address this inaccuracy of yours.

Sorry, the words I wrote were relevant to the overall issues, which once again you are oblivious to. I mentioned the “omission” because all of us, including you, use partial quotes primarily for the sake of reference, not because we’re trying to hide something. You accused me of “omitting” something that I found not worth addressing as it had been written.

Perhaps it is time that you learn that others find different things worth addressing, particulary those of us who understand science criteria than what we see in your posts. Those of us who know that “usefulness” per se hardly eliminates the need for evidence don’t have to conform to your groundless belief that it “addresses” the evidence issue.

Emba wrote:

Davidson wrote:

The reason for merging into this sort of definition I used above is that Carol obviously argues for “science” that she claims is compatible with the Bible, but which fails to be testable, either by the plain meaning of Biblical texts, as well as by science. And since “contradiction” is a word with such broad meanings, I suspect that she means to slip one by us.

I do not trust Carol’s intentions either, but I do not accept exaggerated criticisms.

OK, you make exaggerated, and false, criticisms.

Emba wrote:

I would be perfectly unconcerned if you had mocked Carol for contradicting herself from a few months back, or some such. Instead, I saw two posters in a row take a rather reasonable stance that gets batted about by respectable, knowledgeable, nonpostmodern philosophers of science and then quote-mine it.

If it is a “reasonable stance” it should be argued as one. Throwing “usefulness” against the claims that evidence is needed to back up a theory is not an argument, it is a meaningless assertion, one that you repeat.

Again you lie about the “quote mine”. It is absolutely wrong to claim that just because someone brought up “usefulness” that it addressed the issue, and that it was worthy of comment in return. Though I don’t particularly expect you to understand that, or you would have in the first place.

You just don’t like it that your simplistic approach isn’t treated as authoritative.

Emba wrote:

Davidson wrote:

I dealt in more depth with issues of falsibiability and the like at the following link. I can’t go through everything in every post:

I don’t expect you to. But perhaps you can treat philosophers of science with the same respect you treat biologists?

Only if they address the issues, instead of using non sequiturs as if they legitimate arguments. But because you use non sequiturs as if they were legitimate arguments, I don’t expect you to understand these matters.
Btw, it is your lack of regard for logic and philosophy that most annoys me here, well, after the dishonesty of claiming that ignoring a useless argument constitutes quote mining.

Emba wrote:

The great majority are not Popperians. It really is a subtle issue,

Apparently there is too much subtlety for you in the concept that up to the present moment all, or very nearly all, theories to the present have required evidence to be considered in science. Your confusion of choosing between two theories that explain the evidence with the need for theories to be supported by evidence is not attractive.

Emba wrote:

and you aren’t helping things by thinking it is and waltzing into the debate with all the intelligence your typical creationist brings to his attacks on science.

How very stupid of you. Intelligent people do not always address non sequiturs, and your inability to understand that “usefulness” does not address the need for evidence shows that once again you are projecting your egregious mistakes.

Emba wrote:

Davidson wrote:

Do you think that I missed the “usefulness” criterion that she mentioned?

No. I think you omitted it and created a strawman. Sort of like what I’ve been saying?

So an excerpt constitutes “omission”. Perhaps it is time for you to recognize that excerpts do result in omission, and that ignoring non sequiturs is reasonable in many circumstances.

Emba wrote:

I made no claims as to what I believe, beyond what philosophers of science have noted for decades: the philosophy of science is very difficult, and in particular there are no simple on-off switches, with EZ-REED labels like “falsifiability” and “paradigm shift” that demarcate science from pseudoscience.

As I indicated as well. Still, you insist that I should have treated an unbacked statement as if it had addressed the questions raised. And still you utterly fail to demonstrate how “usefulness” obviates the need for evidence.

Emba wrote:

Davidson wrote:

Or do you think that Carol is such an authority that she should not be questioned?

What I said: don’t quote-mine.

Apparently you have a very poor conception of what “quote-mining” is.

Emba wrote:

She did not claim “mere speculation” passes the bar. You mocked her for saying so.

Of course I didn’t. Once again your inability and/or unwillingness to honestly address the issues rears its ugly head. I didn’t claim she said that “mere speculation” passes muster, I wrote:

IOW, Clouser’s firmly with the IDists in trying to redefine science into something that includes mere speculation into its definition.

It’s obviously an interpretation, and one that was based upon past statements. I’m sorry to be repeating these things, and would rather play nice with her, but that is what I said. Yours is merely a false claim.

Emba wrote:

Davidson wrote:

Also, I refer once again to context. We know how and what she argues, so have cause to believe that she is trying to redefine science to accept “mere speculation”. You ought to pay attention to the controversy in its whole before coming in and accusing people people, quite falsely as it happens.

I’ve seen her in action before. She seems to have evolved a more nuanced view. And as before, she is not acknowledging that she is disagreeing with her previous posts.

To reiterate, I would not be concerned if you mocked her for contradicting herself.

I was mocking her for not actually addressing the issue. But that’s over (I hope), and now I will simply mock you for claiming that “usefulness” addresses the claim that evidence is necessary for any theory to be properly accepted. You don’t seem to get it through your head that there are good philosophical means of addressing issues, and that yours fails utterly to approach the level of philosophy, or even of decent meta-science.

I am going to close for now, and address linguistic matters in another post. What you need to understand is that ignoring an argument that is an apparent non sequitur, thus not worth addressing, hardly constitutes “quote-mining” or attacking a “strawman”. Attacking someone for re-asking a question that has not been answered, based on your misapprehensions, is unworthy.

Comment #105400

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 13, 2006 12:43 PM (e)

Emba wrote:

Davidson wrote:

Sure, you just don’t have any evidence. Heliocentrism was not accepted because of its “usefulness” so much as that it passed the tests that could be mustered, and at first largely because it was more “elegant” than geocentrism.

I mentioned five theories that were accepted far more through their “usefulness” than their falsifiability.

No, you didn’t. You mentioned:

atomism, evolution, relativity, inflation, RNA world, and the like.

All of these had evidence in favor of them when they were created. True acceptance awaited the passing of tests. Inflation might be thought of as something of an exception, but the Big Bang had a great deal of evidence, and inflation made the Big Bang physically possible.

What you seem to be incapable of grasping is the fact that theories need evidence even to be considered in the first place (inflation had indirect evidence via the evidence for the Big Bang). Acceptance beyond that point may not rest on evidence so much, but even to get to the starting line means that theories must be consistent with existing evidence, and further evidence is very often required.

It is an affront to biology and biologists to suggest that evolution doesn’t rest crucially on passing “falsification” tests, broadly construed.

What is more, the RNA world is not thoroughly accepted at this time, due to the paucity of evidence. Some evidence seems to suggest it, which keeps it a good option, but evidence is going to be needed for general acceptance of that idea.

Emba wrote:

The only one that you respond to, you get wrong rather ignorantly. Essentially no tests were available at first, and what little was there was mixed. Lack of parallax favored geocentrism, for example.

Yes, I know about parallax (which did have a plausible explanation). What you fail to understand as “openness to contradiction” (the original phrase) is that heliocentrism passed a number of observational “tests” (not that they were performed specifically to test heliocentrism) in order to even be in the running. It didn’t need to be tested formally to conform with much of the evidence which already existed.

Too bad you can’t understand what falsification, broadly construed, entails. IOW, why don’t you pay attention to philosophers of science, instead of blundering ever onward with your poor understanding. Theories must pass evidentiary tests, according to standard practice, if they are going to be considered beyond a very preliminary stage. That you don’t seem to understand what “being open to contradiction” is all about means that you confuse what separates evolution from psychoanalysis.

Btw, the latter has been understood to be useful, but its scientific status is quite in question.

Emba wrote:

Elegance had very little to do with the acceptance of heliocentrism. Kepler’s nested Platonic solid model of the solar system was very elegant, for example, but totally useless.

You appear to mistake beauty for elegance. Elegance in science is typically considered to involve (but not consist entirely in) simplicity, not the complexity of Kepler’s nested solids. For that reason, Galileo’s model was far more elegant than the Ptolemaic, and Kepler’s equations even more elegant.

Carol got it right, it was elegance that tipped the balance in favor of Copernicus, though I see little reason to call this elegance “usefulness”. Actual usefulness could not make the difference to scientists in Galileo’s day, something you once again refuse to address in lieu of your demagoguing the issue.

Emba wrote:

Geocentrists of Galileo’s day conceded the usefulness of heliocentrism.

Yes, but it wasn’t more useful, except in the sense that it was simpler. Both models had errors. Elegance is again what made the calculations preferable, more “useful” in that way, yes (who would concede a point of science on the issue of simpler calculations?).

Emba wrote:

Davidson wrote:

You’re confusing …

Someone who doesn’t know the actual history should not comment on who is confused.

Indeed, you have shown yourself incapable of addressing the “openness to contradiction” that allowed heliocentrism to compete with geocentrism. Thus you are incapable of dealing competently with history. You should not be commenting on history, or linguistic matters.

Btw, by your low standards, your excerpt was a “quote mine”. Instead of dealing with what I actually wrote, you used two words and made a false statement.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #105403

Posted by Jim Harrison on June 13, 2006 1:10 PM (e)

An adequate theory must meet a number of standards. Empirical falsifiabity is one, but so is logical coherence; and there are others that involve relevance. At various times, a particular criterion may be more salient than the others because of the state of play of the science in question. Right now, for example, a debate is underway apropos of string theory as to what extent a theory requires a connection to observational facts in order to count as science. If lab tests show up that can confirm or disconfirm versions of string theory, that issue will fade away. Or maybe people will eventually go along with Suskind and decide that an overwhelmingly elegant and comprehensive theory doesn’t need a direct test. Or maybe it will become part of a third thing equidistant between philosophy and physics.

In the context of discussions on Panda’s Thumb, falsification is a big deal for the historically contingent reason that the Popperian doctrine is rhetorically useful to Creationists and ID types. It is not clear to me, why falsifiability should be the crucial dimension of scientific methodology instead of merely a (perhaps) crucial dimension of scientific methodology.

Comment #105404

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 13, 2006 1:13 PM (e)

Emba wrote:

Davidson wrote:

You’re about as fair here as in your claim that to say “wing” literally means some organism’s wing. That’s absurd. Words take on new “literal” meanings (as far as “literal” can mean anything), so that to say “wing” might as readily refer to the wing of a building or an airplane as the wing of a bird or an insect.

Nevertheless, the distinction in sense of “wing” meaning animal’s wing, as opposed to the now-permanent metaphor that applies to buildings and airplanes, is real.

Might “computer” literally mean the machine on my desk? Or must it refer, in the “literal” sense, to a person who computes figures, as it originally meant?

Emba wrote:

If “literal” is not the best word, or worse, is incorrect for this purpose, I’m happy to use something else, but nothing I’ve seen has suggested a good alternative.

The problem is that “literal” is a slippery concept. Nonetheless, when reading the Bible “literally” is meant it, it does not mean that it conforms to the original sense of the word.

Aquinas more or less conflates “literal” with “historical”. He writes, “The first meaning, according to which the words signify things, pertains to the first sense, which is the historical or literal sense…”:

http://www.rtforum.org/study/lesson2.html

John F. McCarthy writes:

“To percieve the literal sense of a verse, one need only know the meaning of the words and their grammatical use in the sentence.” (Ibid.)

Literal, however slippery a concept it is, at least refers generally to literal texts, verses, and passages, not to solitary words.

Emba wrote:

Davidson wrote:

Yes, you could apologize to Carol for your false statements about what constitutes literalism.

So do you agree that Carol’s sense of “literalism” includes assertions that since somewhere, sometimes, “yom” means era, it is accurate to tell everyone that Genesis 1 is literally talking about seven time eras? That was the point of my “wing” analogy. You know, “context”?

That’s absurd, of course. I said you could apologize for your false claims. I did not say that they were all false claims.

Emba wrote:

I did not pretend anything about “usefulness”.

Of course you did. As I wrote:

You have no business coming in here and pretending that “usefulness” really did answer the question of why one would give up “opportunity for contradiction” as some sort of criterion.

And below, you just continue to act as if it was an actual response to the matter, coupled with your false claims about evolution, etc., all over again.

Emba wrote:

In my reply to Aureola I listed five or so famous examples.

The only one that even looks slightly like it might have depended more on “usefulness” than evidence is inflation, and quite arguably it depends heavily upon Big Bang evidence, since it was thought up in order to deal with evidentiary problems in the Big Bang model.

Emba wrote:

I take it you are opposed to the experimental procedure?

More projection from the one who pretended that “usefulness” answers the claim that evidence is essential for theories.

Emba wrote:

As in, the question of what makes for good philosophy of science is decided by observation of what has worked well in the past, as opposed to just declaring victory and ignoring all those fussy details that go into reality.

Yes, that’s right. It is time for you to get a grip on the past, and to recognize that heliocentrism, relativity, the RNA world, atomism, inflation, and evolution would be nowhere without the evidence, even if they were “useful”. We know the difference between heuristic models and physical models (though demarcation is not always easy), and we much prefer the latter, though we don’t scorn the former if the other is missing.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #105405

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 13, 2006 1:17 PM (e)

Jim Harrison wrote:

It is not clear to me, why falsifiability should be the crucial dimension of scientific methodology instead of merely a (perhaps) crucial dimension of scientific methodology.

It isn’t. I don’t really know if Popper thought it was “the crucial dimension”, but many philosophers and scientists do not. Popper is not as popular as he previously was, at least according to my senses.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #105407

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 13, 2006 1:34 PM (e)

By the way, my intention is to be out of this thread now (likely I won’t even read it). There is no point in belaboring the crucial nature of evidence for theories up to this point, since anyone who knows history knows that few if any theories were considered contenders if they were not open to contradiction by the available (usually accumulated) evidence, and had passed (for the most part, at least) that “test” implicitly or explicitly.

ID fails to be science for this (false where it makes reasonable “predictions”, unfalsifiable where it resists making “predictions” in order not to fall before the evidence) and many other reasons.

If anyone denies this, too bad for them.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #105412

Posted by Henry J on June 13, 2006 2:11 PM (e)

Is it possible for a hypothesis to be useful without making predictions? Doesn’t seem like it to me. (If a model gives a way of caculating where something will appear in the sky, that’s a testable prediction.)

Henry

Comment #105452

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 13, 2006 4:56 PM (e)

William Emba,

“Total binding energy per nucleon, integrated over one nucleus (uranium or plutonium, say) is indeed less than total binding energy per nucleon, averaged over two daughter nuclei produced by fission, as is obvious from the BEPN curve, and since the difference in BEPN is just under 1 Mev per nucleon, this does come to 200 Mev or so. However, this doesn’t account for the binding energy needed to fuse the two daughter nuclei back into one parent nucleus, and therefore is completely, totally irrelevant to my statement.”

I have twice now tried to instruct you in some basic physics here, but you persist in repeating your ignorance. Now you propose to muddy the waters by introducing this red herring about fusing the daughter nuclei back together again. The fact of the matter is that the total binding energy, of all the particles in the event, present after the fission event is greater than before, contrary to your previous assertions. The BEPN graph makes that abundantly clear and you would get no release of energy (in the form of KE of liberated neutrons, gamma ray photons, etc.) if this were not the case. If you tried to do what you now propose, to fuse the daughter nuclei together, the total Binding Energy would go DOWN and that would require an INPUT of energy.

Your ignorance of physics is matched by your being totally clueless of linguistics. Why do you refuse to learn from those who clearly are more knowledgable and intelligent than you when they volunteer their time and energy to try to help you?

Comment #105456

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 13, 2006 5:05 PM (e)

Your ignorance of physics is matched by your being totally clueless of linguistics. Why do you refuse to learn from those who clearly are more knowledgable and intelligent than you when they volunteer their time and energy to try to help you?

lol. trust us, nobody wants your help here, Carol. You’re completely disingenuous, mostly clueless, and I’m sure rely on your physics from similar sources to your religious histrionics.

It worked yesterday…

*closes eyes*

“Clouser, Clouser, Clouser!”

*opens eyes*

Comment #105457

Posted by Henry J on June 13, 2006 5:14 PM (e)

Is binding energy the net emission of energy from a reaction, or is it the energy that retained within the particles? (In U fission the former is a positive value, the later is a reduced value.)

Henry

Comment #105463

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 13, 2006 6:02 PM (e)

Jeeze. What’s the world coming to, when wamba, Aureola, Glen, Carol, Flint, Raging Bee, Emba and Lenny nearly simultaneously dump on and support each other (well, maybe it’s not so surprising with Lenny ;-))…?

How the heck did *I* get dragged into this? I don’t have any horse in this race.

I’m just here to pop Carol’s self-righteous I-know-God-better-than-you-do bubble. (shrug)

Comment #105464

Posted by Wheels on June 13, 2006 6:04 PM (e)

Binding energy basically is the energy you need to take a system apart. The PE of a bound system is less than the energy of its constituents, it takes work to separate those systems.
Speaking in terms of the elements and their nuclei, the general trend in the lighter end of the mass spectrum is that you see an increasing binding energy as the mass of the nucleons per atom increases. Also, some of the mass is “sacrificed” in the process, making the the mass of nucleons in the nucleus measurably different than that for the equivalent number of free nucleons.
From Na to Xe, though, binding energy remains relatively stable throughout, because the nucleus is too large to evenly distrube the b.e. all the way across, and so some of the increasing b.e. is balanced by the repulsion of like charges in the protons. There is a curve where some elements on the lighter end have an increasing b.e., and others on the heavier end have a decreaseing b.e. but the curve is pretty squashed compared to the two extremes on either end.
Above the mass of Xenon, b.e. tends to decrease as you increase mass because the nucleus is too large to be so well-balanced and the repulsive forces start to gain more favor. Heavier elements’ nuclei tend to be less firmly connected as a result.
This is why power generation through fusion is generally pursued with lighter elements, and via fission with the heavier elements. Middleweight nuclei are so tightly bound that splitting them or sticking them together doesn’t produce a viable amount of excess energy.
With a few bumps, this is the trend you can see for yourself here.
The above was all culled from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binding_Energy

Comment #105465

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 13, 2006 6:04 PM (e)

I have twice now tried to instruct you in some basic physics here, but you persist in repeating your ignorance

And yet you keep coming back ….

Why don’t you just give up on us pig-ignorant losers, and go somewhere else where your genius and religious insights can be better appreciated? Obviously we are ill-suited to receiving the wonderful pearls of wisdom that you would like to cast to us.

Comment #105469

Posted by GvlGeologist, FCD on June 13, 2006 7:02 PM (e)

Lenny,

How the heck did *I* get dragged into this? I don’t have any horse in this race.

Just yankin’ your chain, Lenny. I know you’re normally a quiet, soft-spoken poster who tries not to rile anyone up and keeps his thoughts to himself so much that we have to beg you to let us know what you think.

And that’s why you earned the smiley face!

You may have noticed, I was trying to keep the race horses from killing each other (metaphorically, I hope).

Henry J.,

Is it possible for a hypothesis to be useful without making predictions? Doesn’t seem like it to me. (If a model gives a way of caculating where something will appear in the sky, that’s a testable prediction.)

I teach my students at Santa Fe CC (that’s FL, not NM) that a hypothesis is a “testable explanation for observations”. This definition essentially agrees with the definition used by the National Academy of Sciences book, “Science and Creationism” (http://fermat.nap.edu/html/creationism/index.html)

The way I look at it, is this: If you are using the hypothesis (finding it useful), then you are making a prediction that it will accurately model some aspect of nature. If it does not accurately model nature, it is still a hypothesis, merely a failed one (such as geocentrism, “ether”, caloric, Lamarkian evolution, or Alfred Wegener’s continental drift [which failed in its mechanism, not in its conclusion of motion]).

So I would have to say that (1) a hypothesis must be useful, and (2) it must make predictions. They are two sides of the same coin. You cannot have one without the other.

Comment #105473

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 13, 2006 7:25 PM (e)

I really am a sweetheart of a guy. Really. :)

It’s just that nazis, klansmen, leninists and fundies all seem to bring out the dark side in me.

And all for much the same reasons.

Comment #105476

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 13, 2006 7:58 PM (e)

Lenny,

“It’s just that nazis, klansmen, leninists and fundies all seem to bring out the dark side in me.”

I would have thought you would be quite comfortable in bed with a leninist, if any of them are still around.

Since I am not on your list, you ought to turn your brighter side, if you indeed have one, my way.

STJM,

Sir, if you have nothing of substance and relevance to contribute, why don’t you just SHUT UP.

Comment #105477

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 13, 2006 8:07 PM (e)

I would have thought you would be quite comfortable in bed with a leninist, if any of them are still around.

I’m comfortable in bed with (nearly) any female. (shrug)

But I hate leninists, and they hate me. Both for good reason.

Since I am not on your list

“Fundie” covers “self-righteous arrogant holier-than-thou pricks who think their religious opinions simply can’t be wrong”.

, you ought to turn your brighter side, if you indeed have one, my way.

Why? Want me to jump in bed with you too?

Comment #105482

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 13, 2006 9:17 PM (e)

GvlGeologist,

Let me try and elaborate a bit on my earlier point which elicited so much debate. I will do so by considering as an example the area of electromagnetic (EM) fields.

It is a fact that all interactions between charged particles, certainly all those known in the 1800’s, can be explained as just that, forces between particles, without resort to the concept of “fields”. It certainly would be more complicated to do so, and Maxwell’s equations would need to be drastically revised, but this is no excuse for inventing the existence of an entity (in this case, fields) out of whole cloth. The fact that the field concept agrees with observation is no help here, because so does the ‘no field’ approach.

So the field idea per se has no falsifiable or testable evidence in its favor. Why then was it adopted? And it was a real adoption, mind you. The electric and magnetic fields not only were associated with energy, but EM waves were also associated with monentum. The alternative was to accept that the law of conservation of momentum is violated in many interactions between charged particles. Only by associating momentum with EM waves could the conservation law be “saved”. So why not dispense with the unfalsifiable fields AND the conservation of momentum, at least for electromagnetic interactions, and so be it! That would be the logical conclusion based strictly on the raw data. So why the fields?

Because they had explanatory power (how one particle can act on another at a distance) and simplicity (much less complicated than the alternative) and symmetry (the roles of electric and magnetic fields are mirrored in each other, change either field and you generate the other) and elegance. In short they felt good to the human mind! They were useful!

Nobody is saying that evidence is not crucial in science. And the same can be said of testability and falsifiability. I am sure that the field idea would have been discarded (albeit reluctantly) had a shred of evidence appeared to contradict it. And that is as it should.

BUT MAN DOES NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE. Usefulness also counts! It’s more complicated than just looking at the evidence (as William Emba pointed out earlier).

There are many other such examples.

Comment #105488

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 13, 2006 10:07 PM (e)

Nobody is saying that evidence is not crucial in science. And the same can be said of testability and falsifiability. I am sure that the field idea would have been discarded (albeit reluctantly) had a shred of evidence appeared to contradict it. And that is as it should.

I won’t “shut up” Carol, because your motives are disingenuous, your arguments are crap, and anybody who has ever seen you argue before knows that your end goal it to somehow prove that science should accept supernatural phenomena as part of science.

You want God in science.

it really has been that clear over the endless illogical postings you have made on PT and ATBC over the last year, and I, for one, am truly sick of it.

go troll somewhere else!

Comment #105499

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 14, 2006 12:05 AM (e)

STJM,

First I want to apologize for that “shut up” remark. I got carried away there.

Second, you really have no idea as to what my motives are. The last thing I would want to do is bring God into science.

Third, your insults add up to nothing when you will not address the substance of the arguments. As a matter of fact, your flailing in the wind with wild and baseless insinuations about my motives only lends credence to the idea that you (and some others here) have nothing to offer by way of meaningful critique.

Comment #105501

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 14, 2006 12:12 AM (e)

you can lie all you want.

anybody who doesn’t already know your motivations can easily do a search for your posts on PT and ATBC and find out for themselves.

I mereley alert the ignorant to your idiocy ahead of time, hopefully to head off yet another ridiculous rant by yourself, which is where it always ends up.

I have no intention of starting a discussion with you; that’s been done numerous times already.

You’re simply a waste of time, to put it bluntly.

Comment #105502

Posted by Andrew McClure on June 14, 2006 12:31 AM (e)

Carol Clouser wrote:

It is a fact that all interactions between charged particles, certainly all those known in the 1800’s, can be explained as just that, forces between particles, without resort to the concept of “fields”.

Wait… what? Are you sure this is a fact, and if it is, how exactly would people in the 1800s have been expected to know it? According to wikipedia, the “field” appeared thus:

Michael Faraday first realized the importance of a field as a physical object, during his investigations into magnetism. He realized that electric and magnetic fields are not only fields of force which dictate the motion of particles, but also have an independent physical reality because they carry energy.

And as the article on Faraday himself explains further:

His demonstrations established that a changing magnetic field produces an electric field.

In other words the idea of a field as an entity (rather than just a mathematical formalization of a force gradient or something), as far as I can tell, was introduced to explain an explicit physical phenomenon: that magnetic and electric fields have the ability to induce voltage or current.

How exactly does one possibly explain this effect in pure terms of any traditional concept of “force”? Frankly my knowledge of physics is extremely poor in the specific area of EM, so I’d not be particularly surprised if it turns out that physics has some way that I was simply unaware of of explaining electromagnetic induction of current in terms of forces on particles. But I’d still be curious to know exactly what that explanation is, and curious to know exactly why scientists in the 1800s were supposed to have guessed what it was. Could someone with a greater understanding of EM physics than I have explain exactly whether or not Faraday’s induction experiments qualify as “falsifiable or testable evidence” in favor of treating EM fields as entities?

Carol Clouser wrote:

And it was a real adoption, mind you. The electric and magnetic fields not only were associated with energy, but EM waves were also associated with monentum. The alternative was to accept that the law of conservation of momentum is violated in many interactions between charged particles

Again… wait, what? As far as I know the notion of “charged particles” postdates fields. Faraday’s experiments which, if the above quotes are correct, introduced the idea of the field occurred in 1831. Particle physics was hardly mature at that point; the introduction of the atom was relatively recent, and as far as I am aware the idea of particles carrying “charge” occurred much later, with the discovery of the proton and electron in the 1890s. Did Faraday and Maxwell even know what a charged particle is?

Basically, you seem to be implying here something along the lines that physics “adopted” fields when a simpler explanation was present in terms of forces on particles. But I’m hardly sure that happened at all. Looking around I find this fascinating little history, from which, as far as I can tell, the exact nature of fields was not only quite messily formulated, but a matter of noticeable differences of opinion between, at the least, Faraday who brought the field concept in versus Maxwell whose laws mostly formalized the properties of EM fields:

The specific features of Faraday’s field concept, in its ‘favourite’ and most complete form, are that force is a substance, that it is the only substance and that all forces are interconvertible through various motions of the lines of force. These features of Faraday’s ‘favourite notion’ were not carried on. Maxwell, in his approach to the problem of finding a mathematical representation for the continuous transmission of electric and magnetic forces, considered these to be states of stress and strain in a mechanical aether. This was part of the quite different network of beliefs and problems with which Maxwell was working.

snip

On the other hand, Maxwell was not only limited by his belief that all force must be mathematically described as classical Newtonian force, but also further limited by his belief that all energy, including the energy of the electromagnetic field, is mechanical energy: “In speaking of the Energy of the field, however, I wish to be understood literally. All energy is the same as mechanical energy, whether it exists in the form of motion or in that of elasticity, or in any other form. The energy in electromagnetic phenomena is mechanical energy. The only question is, Where does it reside?”

In other words Maxwell at least appears to have been personally saying something extremely similar to the idea that EM fields are just forces between entities– which would be, if I understand you right, what you were saying is the “logical conclusion”.

(This link also elucidates exactly what it was that the field was “replacing” when it was adopted– it was not replacing the idea of forces on particles, it was replacing some very messy 17th-18th century ideas such as “imponderable matter”, which even after the demise of the phlogiston concept was used to explain things such as heat, light and magnetism as substances with volume but no mass. Surely the field is a step forward, occam’s-razor-wise, from ideas such as this?)

As I said, my knowledge of EM is weak, and practically everything I’ve said above was just from poking at the internet from the last half an hour. But what I’ve encountered in that time seems to mostly clash with your presentation of the situation. Do you have any source for your historical assertions concerning fields in the post above, or did they just “feel good”?

Carol Clouser wrote:

BUT MAN DOES NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE.

That was, I am told, the opinion of Jesus of Nazareth. I’m not entirely convinced, personally, and would be curious to seek a second opinion from a dietitian if I could find one. What if it were specially-prepared vitamin-enriched bread or something?

Carol Clouser wrote:

Second, you really have no idea as to what my motives are.

No, I think you have made your motives quite plain.

Carol Clouser wrote:

Third, your insults add up to nothing when you will not address the substance of the arguments.

Would these be imponderable substances, perchance?

Comment #105516

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 14, 2006 7:21 AM (e)

Second, you really have no idea as to what my motives are. The last thing I would want to do is bring God into science.

That’s pretty funny, Carol.

Comment #105518

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 14, 2006 7:55 AM (e)

Andrew,

Yes, Faraday was a key proponent of the field concept. But I would not quite say, as the article you quoted does, that he “realized” the fields were necessary. Instead, he preferred to visualize phenomena and “adopted” or “favored” the field approach.

Whether Faraday and Maxwell suspected that “particles” of charge existed, such as the electron or proton, is not germaine here. They certainly knew that charge existed, moved and flowed, and exerted forces.

Let me makes this as simple as I can. Say a charged object is accelerating. You can say that its magnetic field is changing over time and this generates an electric field, which in turn acts on a stationary second charged object nearby. (Magnetic fields don’t act on stationary charges.) This is how Faraday and Maxwell would express it. Or, you can directly relate the force on the stationary charge to the acceleration of the first charge and say nothing about mediating fields.

See the difference?

Comment #105519

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 14, 2006 7:58 AM (e)

Andrew,

Oh, I forgot. That verse about man not living on bread alone is by Moses in Deuteronomy. I generally do not quote that other fellow.

Comment #105527

Posted by ben on June 14, 2006 8:42 AM (e)

….you really have no idea as to what my motives are.

Maybe not, but when the first introduction one has to a person is them " rel="external nofollow">telling a bald-faced lie….

….Judah Landa’s latest work titled IN THE BEGINNING OF….I found the book at www.Amazon.com and it made a great impression on me.

….it makes it a lot easier to guess.

Comment #105537

Posted by Raging Bee on June 14, 2006 9:52 AM (e)

Carol wiggled about thusly:

But I would not quite say, as the article you quoted does, that he “realized” the fields were necessary. Instead, he preferred to visualize phenomena and “adopted” or “favored” the field approach.

Assuming we could read Faraday’s mind (or what’s left of it today) and verify such a claim, the important difference between these two thought processes would be…what? Or is Carol trying to weasel her way out of a factual refutation of her factual claims?

Comment #105612

Posted by Peter on June 14, 2006 2:14 PM (e)

I can’t see why everybody is overlooking the obvious. This bible passage obviously refers to the sun going nova, destroying the Earth and everything on it (due roughly 4 billion years from now), and not the end of the universe.

Comment #105614

Posted by fnxtr on June 14, 2006 2:19 PM (e)

Hey, Carol:

I have a theory.

“Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin” was really an instruction to the palace builders.

It means “Measure twice, cut once”.

Discuss.

Comment #105752

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 14, 2006 11:00 PM (e)

I think it means “Double, double toil and trouble”.

I’m writing a book, “The Shakespeare Code”, to explain my hypothesis.

:)

Comment #105764

Posted by fnxtr on June 14, 2006 11:53 PM (e)

Peter: see comment 105016

Comment #105856

Posted by fnxtr on June 15, 2006 1:47 PM (e)

Peter: by the way, our sun is too small to nova. Once the hydrogen is consumed, it’ll ‘burn’ some helium, swell up into a red giant, consume the terrestrial planets, and eventually become a white dwarf.

Comment #105900

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 15, 2006 5:34 PM (e)

Peter,

What Bible passages are you referring to?

Comment #105903

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 15, 2006 5:38 PM (e)

fnxtr,

Correct me if I am wrong, but the total output in the visible range by the sun should increase when it swells to red gianthood. Does it not therefore follow that at some distance from the sun where it cannot be seen now, it will become visible at that stage and creatures (if they exist) witnessing the event would see a “nova” (new star)?

Comment #105905

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on June 15, 2006 5:50 PM (e)

Caorol wrote:

Correct me if I am wrong, but the total output in the visible range by the sun should increase when it swells to red gianthood. Does it not therefore follow that at some distance from the sun where it cannot be seen now, it will become visible at that stage and creatures (if they exist) witnessing the event would see a “nova” (new star)?

No. That’s not what a ‘nova’ is. Do try and learn something about astronomy Carol before you make silly statements like that.

Comment #105906

Posted by steve s on June 15, 2006 5:53 PM (e)

I think Carol is right. Lemme go get my astrophysics textbook.

Comment #105907

Posted by steve s on June 15, 2006 6:03 PM (e)

Nope, I was wrong. Looks like you need a white dwarf, which sucks matter from a nearby star. the matter piles up on the degenerate-pressure-stabilized surface, until you get a big kaboom, which is the novae.

Comment #105909

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on June 15, 2006 6:04 PM (e)

No, I think Carol is wrong. Try

A nova is a strong, rapid increase in the brightness of a star. The word comes from the latin for “new star,” because often a star previously too dim to be seen with the naked eye can become the brightest object in the sky (besides the sun and the moon) when it becomes a nova.

Novae are now known to be caused by a star briefly re-igniting after having lain dormant for many years. Stars shine due to the nuclear fusion reactions in their cores, which process hydrogen into helium, releasing energy in the process. When the hydrogen is used up, sun-like stars slough off their outer envelopes, and become very small, very hot “white dwarfs.” These white dwarfs are the inert cores of dead stars which have used up all of their available fuel. Now, stars often come in pairs, or “binaries,” where two stars are in orbit around each other. If one of the stars in a binary is a white dwarf, and the other begins evolving into a red giant (a stage near the end of the life of a star, but before the white dwarf stage), the white dwarf can begin gravitationally attracting some of the gas from the atmosphere of the red giant to itself. Most of this gas will be hydrogen, and when the hydrogen reaches the surface of the incredibly hot white dwarf, it rapidly ignites, creating a large nuclear explosion on the surface of the star. This is what we see in our sky as a nova.

from http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=234

Or from Wikipedia: [quote]) is a cataclysmic nuclear explosion caused by the accretion of hydrogen onto the surface of a white dwarf star.[/quote]

Or from Bad Astronomy: [quote]A nova and supernova are two different beasts. A nova is actually a binary system, usually a normal star like the Sun and a small dense white dwarf. They orbit closely, and the white dwarf can actually draw hydrogen gas off the normal star. The fierce gravity of the white dwarf compresses the material, and if enough builds up on the surface it can fuse into helium, releasing a sudden and tremendous amount of energy. We see the star brighten quickly, and fade over time.

There are two types of supernovae. One is very similar to a nova: a binary system with a normal star and a white dwarf. If the gas coming from the normal star comes at just the right rate, it can pile up more efficiently than in a regular nova. When it finally fuses, the release of energy can be much larger than a nova, and can actually blow the white dwarf apart. To be honest, no one is completely sure how this works. Some models involve two white dwarfs coalescing.

The other type of supernova involves a star with a mass greater than about 8 times the Sun’s. There are a great many details involved, so I’ll be brief. The star fuses hydrogen into helium in the core. When hydrogen runs out, the helium fuses into carbon, the carbon into oxygen, and so on, until the core is mostly iron. Unlike the previous elements, iron does not release energy when it fuses. When the pressure builds enough to fuse iron, it robs the core of heat and electrons, both of which are needed to support the mass of the star. The core collapses, a flood of neutrinos is released, and the outer layers of the star explode outward in a supernova.[/quote]

Carol is, as usual, as always, as predicted, clueless.

Comment #105912

Posted by steve s on June 15, 2006 6:08 PM (e)

‘course, that’s if you’re using the strict definition of nova. I suppose Carol is right that if you simply mean new star, the total luminosity of the red dwarf might in fact make the sun more visible elsewhere in the galaxy

Comment #105931

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 15, 2006 6:45 PM (e)

I thought red giants were cooler and less energetic than their previous stage, and therefore would be LESS visible than before …. . ?

Sorry, I slept through all those high school lectures about the HR diagram. Any astronomers out there who can … well … enlighten me?

Comment #105947

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 15, 2006 7:27 PM (e)

I thought I indicated that I was using the term “nova” in the sense of its literal (oh, oh, bad word) definition, that of a “new” star. But thank you for informing me that a red giant is not a white dwarf. I really need PT for that!

Comment #105949

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 15, 2006 7:31 PM (e)

Lenny,

Red giants ARE cooler but their total surface area is greater, a factor that tends to increase lumionosity.

Comment #105968

Posted by GvlGeologist, FCD on June 15, 2006 10:48 PM (e)

As usual, PT is a great font of information. I thought that novae were in fact “tired-out” red giants, and had in fact been telling my students (from an outmoded text, I think) that. Now I’ll have to revise my lecture on that topic, which is actually coming up in less than a week. Thanks, RG, for the links.

Incidentally, if you haven’t looked at the Bad Astronomy website (or book, which is how I found out about it), it’s a great website - has lots of info on commonly held misconceptions about science, including creationism!

Lastly, Lenny, if you look at an HR diagram, you’ll see that red giants (and supergiants) are generally higher on the diagram than the main sequence, indicating that they are more luminescent, even though they are cooler. Carol is correct!!! The larger surface area allows more light to be released, even though on a per square meter basis red giants aren’t giving off as much light as our own.

Comment #105973

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 16, 2006 12:02 AM (e)

GvlGeologist,

“Carol is correct!!!”

Why do you sound so surprized? Of course, I am correct. I usually am. Even Lenny will confirm that. Have you ever seen me state something that turned out to be incorrect?

Back to the off-topic. Total radiation energy output, as I recall, varies directly as the fourth power of the temperature and the first power of the surface area. The redness of the giants indicate they must be cooler (than white stars), tending to decrease their total output, while their giantness tends to increase their total output. What I couldn’t recall was which dominates in this case. I guess it depends on how much larger they get.

So, what is the answer to my original question to fnxtr? Could our sun, when it gets to the red giant stage, be construed as a nova (new star) by some distant civilzation?

Comment #105978

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 16, 2006 1:35 AM (e)

Why do you sound so surprized? Of course, I am correct. I usually am. Even Lenny will confirm that. Have you ever seen me state something that turned out to be incorrect?

ROTFLMAO!

yer kiddin’, right?

oh, and surprised is spelled with an S.

Comment #106010

Posted by Darth Robo on June 16, 2006 7:22 AM (e)

My first post, hope this works.

Carol said:

“Total radiation energy output, as I recall, varies directly as the fourth power of the temperature and the first power of the surface area. The redness of the giants indicate they must be cooler (than white stars), tending to decrease their total output, while their giantness tends to increase their total output.”

“Could our sun, when it gets to the red giant stage, be construed as a nova (new star) by some distant civilzation?”

I don’t think I totally agree on this. The energy output is proportional to the mass of the star, not the surface area. The luminosity of a red giant may be more but it is spread out more thinly due to the greater surface area. This would tend to make the star look dimmer than our sun is today if looking at it from outside of our solar system. If a distant civilization could see our sun as a red giant then they likely have no problem with seeing our sun as it is today, too.

I freely admit I have no qualifications with astronomy (it is something of a minor hobby) so if anyone out there spots something wrong with my post, feel free to correct me. Anyway, here is an interesting link:

http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/CosmosNotes/stars.htm

Comment #106012

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 16, 2006 7:26 AM (e)

Lastly, Lenny, if you look at an HR diagram, you’ll see that red giants (and supergiants) are generally higher on the diagram than the main sequence, indicating that they are more luminescent, even though they are cooler.

Thanks. It’s been a long time since I’ve looked at an HR diagram.

Carol is correct!!!

Ah well, even a stopped clock is correct twice a day.

;)

Comment #106014

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 16, 2006 7:28 AM (e)

Of course, I am correct. I usually am. Even Lenny will confirm that.

You are seriously delusional, Carol.

Comment #106016

Posted by fnxtr on June 16, 2006 8:38 AM (e)

Caveat: this is how I remember it from 1st year astronomy:

Red giants are larger, but cooler. They radiate more infrared and less visible light. So they do radiate from a larger surface, but the total energy has decreased. Makes sense from a nuclear standpoint: helium fusion releases less energy than hydrogen fusion.

So, Carol, in short, my answer would be “not yet”. The star would fade, even though it is in fact larger.

If the graviational energy of the red giant overcomes the (decreasing) radiative energy, the star collapses and brightens again. That’s where you’d get yer nova.

Comment #106017

Posted by fnxtr on June 16, 2006 8:40 AM (e)

“gravitational”, of course.

Graviational energy is when you gain weight at Thanksgiving.

Comment #106043

Posted by William E Emba on June 16, 2006 11:13 AM (e)

Glen Davidson wrote:

William E Emba wrote:

Sure. But you quote-mined Carol, who actually had a whit more complicated assertion than the “mere speculation” that you mocked and criticized. Her assertion could be good or bad as a philosophy of science argument, but you did not address it.

It is not “complicated”. It was a glib assertion, arguably not worthy of comment.

It changed the meaning of her comment. She said something definitely more sophisticated and nuanced than “mere speculation” that you mocked her for supporting. Ergo, you quote-mined.

It had no bearing on the need for evidence that is needed for the acceptance of theories,

Which she didn’t deny, and which thereby reduces your garbage to a strawman. That you repeat it when it is pointed out makes it as blatant and deceitful as any creationist trash.

“Usefulness” is the strawman, which you can’t see around to understand the relevant issues.

She said it, you omitted it, thereby changing what she wrote to make cheap shots possible, which you engaged in and which you continue to support.

I didn’t address “usefulness” because it answered nothing at all regarding the necessity for evidence.

Who cares? My assertion is you mocked Carol for something she did not say or support.

You are being disingenous here. I was criticizing you for not addressing Carol’s actual argument.

It’s not an argument.

Of course it is. If it’s wrong, then say it is wrong. If it’s simple-minded trivially wrong, then let us know. But don’t lie about it, change Carol’s argument, and attack the made up strawman. Sheesh.

It requires a truly simple mind to suppose that bringing up “usefulness” addresses the purported need for evidence for a theory to exist (for instance, to compete with another theory that explains the evidence). It is because you yourself resort to such tripe that you insist that I should have addressed the non sequitur used against the claims that evidence is necessary.

I bring it up because I am pointing out your distortion. You’re now playing the typical creationist heads I’m right, tails you’re wrong, nah nah nah game.

It was quite blatant on your part.

That I blatantly ignore meaningless arguments often enough is true. Why shouldn’t I?

The meaning was inherent in what Carol said. You changed that meaning, quote-mining a strawman into existence. Sheesh.

There was nothing nuanced about your choice of “mere speculation” as a quick summary of Carol, and there is nothing I omitted that suggested such a choice of words on your part was actually not an incompetent hatchet job. The words you think I should have quoted do not in any way shape or form address this inaccuracy of yours.

Sorry, the words I wrote were relevant to the overall issues, which once again you are oblivious to.

You don’t get to quote-mine and then claim you’ve accurately summarized Carol because those are the issues you’ve decided are worthy. You are more than welcome to discuss what you want to discuss, but don’t attribute the “mere speculation” line to someone who obviously did not propose such.

I mentioned the “omission” because all of us, including you, use partial quotes primarily for the sake of reference, not because we’re trying to hide something. You accused me of “omitting” something that I found not worth addressing as it had been written.

And which had the effect of changing the meaning of what Carol wrote from something clearly not “mere speculation”. That’s called quote-mining.

Perhaps it is time that you learn that others find different things worth addressing, particulary those of us who understand science criteria than what we see in your posts.

It’s still quote-mining.

Those of us who know that “usefulness” per se hardly eliminates the need for evidence don’t have to conform to your groundless belief that it “addresses” the evidence issue.

Which wasn’t Carol’s claim, or mine.

If it is a “reasonable stance” it should be argued as one.

Why? Because you say so? Because you own philosophy?

Throwing “usefulness” against the claims that evidence is needed to back up a theory is not an argument,

It wasn’t thrown against it.

it is a meaningless assertion, one that you repeat.

Liar.

Again you lie about the “quote mine”. It is absolutely wrong to claim that just because someone brought up “usefulness” that it addressed the issue, and that it was worthy of comment in return. Though I don’t particularly expect you to understand that, or you would have in the first place.

Her original comment looked nothing like “mere speculation”. Your elision made it seem much more like “mere speculation”. That is all.

You just don’t like it that your simplistic approach isn’t treated as authoritative.

I made no such claims. You are simply lying deeper and deeper to cover your quote-mining buttside. I don’t like quote-mining.

I don’t expect you to. But perhaps you can treat philosophers of science with the same respect you treat biologists?

Only if they address the issues, instead of using non sequiturs as if they legitimate arguments. But because you use non sequiturs as if they were legitimate arguments, I don’t expect you to understand these matters.

These are just lies on your part.

Btw, it is your lack of regard for logic and philosophy that most annoys me here, well, after the dishonesty of claiming that ignoring a useless argument constitutes quote mining.

You changed the meaning of her words. You quote-mined. Pure and simple.

The great majority are not Popperians. It really is a subtle issue,

Apparently there is too much subtlety for you in the concept that up to the present moment all, or very nearly all, theories to the present have required evidence to be considered in science.

I have never suggested otherwise. You have to invent more and more outrageous and blatant lies, just like the creationists, to cover your nonsense.

Your confusion of choosing between two theories that explain the evidence with the need for theories to be supported by evidence is not attractive.

Entirely a strawman on your part.

How very stupid of you. Intelligent people do not always address non sequiturs, and your inability to understand that “usefulness” does not address the need for evidence shows that once again you are projecting your egregious mistakes.

It wasn’t a non sequitur, and I never denied the need for evidence. You are simply inventing things left and right.

Do you think that I missed the “usefulness” criterion that she mentioned?

No. I think you omitted it and created a strawman. Sort of like what I’ve been saying?

So an excerpt constitutes “omission”. Perhaps it is time for you to recognize that excerpts do result in omission, and that ignoring non sequiturs is reasonable in many circumstances.

Yes. But it wasn’t a non sequitur, and you changed the meaning, so in this case, the omission was not acceptable for argumentive purposes. That’s why there’s quoting (with excerpts and omissions totally acceptable), and there’s quote-mining.

I made no claims as to what I believe, beyond what philosophers of science have noted for decades: the philosophy of science is very difficult, and in particular there are no simple on-off switches, with EZ-REED labels like “falsifiability” and “paradigm shift” that demarcate science from pseudoscience.

As I indicated as well. Still, you insist that I should have treated an unbacked statement as if it had addressed the questions raised.

It was an assertion which you quote-mined, turned into something different, and for mocking strawman you got criticized.

And still you utterly fail to demonstrate how “usefulness” obviates the need for evidence.

A strawman on your part. Who said it did? Sheesh.

She did not claim “mere speculation” passes the bar. You mocked her for saying so.

Of course I didn’t.

Of course you did.

Once again your inability and/or unwillingness to honestly address the issues rears its ugly head. I didn’t claim she said that “mere speculation” passes muster, I wrote:

IOW, Clouser’s firmly with the IDists in trying to redefine science into something that includes mere speculation into its definition.

It’s obviously an interpretation, and one that was based upon past statements. I’m sorry to be repeating these things, and would rather play nice with her, but that is what I said. Yours is merely a false claim.

No, yours is. Carol’s statement wanted usefulness to be included. Your version leaves it out.

I was mocking her for not actually addressing the issue.

You were mocking her for something she did not say.

But that’s over (I hope), and now I will simply mock you for claiming that “usefulness” addresses the claim that evidence is necessary for any theory to be properly accepted.

Which is not something I said either.

You don’t seem to get it through your head that there are good philosophical means of addressing issues, and that yours fails utterly to approach the level of philosophy, or even of decent meta-science.

Well of course. I’ve been addressing your disgusting pathetic creationist like tactics of quote-mining and strawman refuting. Sheesh.

Comment #106055

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 16, 2006 11:58 AM (e)

Well, Bill, I did glance at your BS after all. Since you can’t and don’t intelligently support anything that you say (at least the little that I read–I’m not going to go on reading mere lies and false claims), I really don’t have anything substantive to add. I can only register my amazement at your inability to understand, and at your mendacity.

Apparently all you can do is repeat your falsehoods. Well do it then. I have explained things in my posts, and you seem not even to understand explanation any more than you do science, linguistics, and philosophy. Your stupidity and dishonesty is harmful primarily to yourself, and only mildly to others.

And now I probably am out of this thread for good. There can be no value in tangling with someone who has so little regard for understanding and truth as Emba reveals himself to be in his posts.

Glen D
http://tinyurl

Comment #106056

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 16, 2006 12:00 PM (e)

Well, Bill, I did glance at your BS after all, since I was a bit bored and a bit curious. Since you can’t and don’t intelligently support anything that you say (at least the little that I read–I’m not going to go on reading mere lies and false claims), I really don’t have anything substantive to add. I can only register my amazement at your inability to understand, and at your mendacity.

Apparently all you can do is to repeat your falsehoods. Well do it then. I have explained things in my posts, and you seem not even to understand explanation any more than you do science, linguistics, and philosophy. Your stupidity and dishonesty is harmful primarily to yourself, and only mildly to others.

And now I probably am out of this thread for good. There can be no value in tangling with someone who has so little regard for understanding and truth as Emba reveals himself to be in his posts.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #106103

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 16, 2006 2:17 PM (e)

Lenny and STJM,

Of course I was kidding. But that does not mean what I said was not correct.

Comment #106112

Posted by GvlGeologist, FCD on June 16, 2006 2:35 PM (e)

For those of you wondering what an HR (Hertzsprung-Russell) diagram is, I submit my class website:
http://inst.sfcc.edu/~gmead/Stars/stars.htm

Caveat: The website was created for Freshman-level non-science students, has been simplified, and is my understanding (as a general Earth Scientist, not an astronomer) of what is correct.

BTW: My understanding is that a nova (“new star”) is generally considered to be a sudden (days to months) phenomenon. The transition to a red giant from a normal main-sequence star would undoubtedly take millions of years (AFAIK) so would never be considered to be a nova, even if it did become brighter over that time interval.

fnxtr:
Although He-fusion does release less energy, the star still has a high temperature in the core: ~100 million K, vs. ~14 million k for a yellow H-fusion star. This leads to H fusion in the outer envelope. The cooler temperatures at the surface are more a result of the larger surface area than the total energy released. And the temperatures are not insignificant - about 3000 k for a red star vs. 6000 K for a yellow star.

Comment #106119

Posted by fnxtr on June 16, 2006 3:24 PM (e)

Roger that. Thank you for the clarification.