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Thursday, January 02, 2014

Mailvox: Atheist Philosophy in action

BH is bemused by a PhD's resort to an amusing variant of the very atheist logic I mocked six years ago in TIA:
I've been parrying on FB with an honest-to-God PhD engineer at IBM who asserts "evolution must be true because GPS works." His logic: because general relativity is learned from observing the stars, and the stars are billions of years old, therefore evolution is true.

Because I learned to eat crumbs that fall from the table of the most able Internet Cruelty Artist, I've been mercilessly pointing out his errors in reasoning, illustrating his absurdities, etc., while laughing at him.  He demanded acceptance with the premise that "ALL science requires that evolution be true." (He repeated it over and over, comment after comment... gee, Aspergers much?)  So I asked him if my dentist needs to believe in evolution in order to clean my teeth.  'Yes, they need to understand that bacteria evolved 500 mya before they can clean teeth.'

I hadn't personally encountered this level of idiocy before.
As I have occasionally noted, it takes a considerable amount of education to reduce a formerly intelligent individual to the level of a complete idiot. A PhD isn't absolutely necessary, but it does appear to help. The IBM engineer is merely engaged in the usual bait-and-switch; he's trying to defend evolution by cloaking it in the protective veil of real science that provides reliable results.

Labels: ,

100 Comments:

Blogger JCclimber January 02, 2014 4:11 PM  

I have a tendency to try and put myself into the intellectual shoes of an opponent to try and anticipate their next point and prepare my response.

In this case: "Ow, my brain". In response to someone hurting my brain with that level of idiocy, I'd switch to full on mocking and baiting to see how absurd I could make him become in public before he'd realize what a fool he was....

Anonymous Salt January 02, 2014 4:18 PM  

GPS may work but IBM hard drives failed more than any other. Must have been something wrong in their evolutionary matrix.

Anonymous MrGreenMan January 02, 2014 4:20 PM  

That old German presbyter dentist who kept my teeth clean and cavity free for 20 years, who thought evolution was all a bunch of hooey, who had a degree from an ivy league school no less (it must have meant something in the inter-war period), is just statistical noise.

Anonymous Stickwick January 02, 2014 4:23 PM  

His logic: because general relativity is learned from observing the stars, and the stars are billions of years old, therefore evolution is true.

That's the oddest bit of reasoning I've ever seen. In any case, general relativity wasn't "learned" from anything. It was a marvel of deductive reasoning that was later supported by observation, notably the deflection of starlight due to the mass of the Sun. This observation does not require stars that are older than a few thousand years, if you only account for the light travel time. Also, if I recall history correctly, nobody knew the stars were billions of years old at the time Einstein developed GR or even when it was famously supported by the 1919 solar eclipse observations -- that took another decade or so to figure out.

Finally, as mathematicians have been trying to tell these people for decades, even billions of years simply aren't enough for TENS to work.

Anonymous DrTorch January 02, 2014 4:23 PM  

So, does that mean I can't even brush or floss, b/c I don't believe the current evolutionary theories?

Seriously though, all science requires that evolution be true? Even inorganic chemistry? (pun intended)

Anonymous Noah B. January 02, 2014 4:30 PM  

So that's why the Romans didn't land on the moon. They didn't know about evolution.

Anonymous Alexander January 02, 2014 4:30 PM  

Ok but what about stuff we dont know even exists yet? Will dentists a century from now have to know scientific theories not yet produced? If so, how do modern dentists function? In fact, how did human evolve at all prior to Darwin!?!?

Anonymous fish January 02, 2014 4:31 PM  

At the risk of revealing my ignorance....who is Evil Santa into the photo?

Blogger Markku January 02, 2014 4:32 PM  

His logic: because general relativity is learned from observing the stars, and the stars are billions of years old, therefore evolution is true.

So, at the very best he has established that young earth creationism is false. And not even that human race is old, just the stars. The argument as such is just an assertion, but if he did the hard work and actually made a case, then that is the best that he could establish.

Anonymous el Guapo January 02, 2014 4:35 PM  

That's the oddest bit of reasoning I've ever seen.
 
Which should make you wonder if it’s accurately represented. 

Anonymous tdm January 02, 2014 4:36 PM  

"... it takes a considerable amount of education to reduce a formerly intelligent individual to the level of a complete idiot."

Or you could just hand him a golf club.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 January 02, 2014 4:40 PM  

By going by this engineer's logic, if man invents the atomic bomb and kills off humanity, I suppose that is also evolution.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 January 02, 2014 4:41 PM  

Also, where does he get this notion that GPS works to begin with? The damn thing barely works as it stands.

Anonymous DrTorch January 02, 2014 4:42 PM  

By going by this engineer's logic, if man invents the atomic bomb and kills off humanity, I suppose that is also evolution.

That's exactly the conclusion the old scientist reached in War Games.

Blogger El Borak January 02, 2014 4:44 PM  

who is Evil Santa into the photo?

Daniel Clement "Dan" Dennett III

Anonymous DT January 02, 2014 4:57 PM  

So, at the very best he has established that young earth creationism is false.

Not even that. He hasn't established any thing, merely confused two separate things. See Stickwick's post.

But even if you assume that the universe is billions of years old, that does not mean the Earth is. And even if you assume that the Earth is, that does not mean life on the Earth is. And even if you assume that life itself has existed on Earth for billions of years, that still doesn't mean it started or evolved due to random events.

Not claiming to be a YEC here. Just pointing out that you can't jump straight from A to D.

Or in the case of this particular PhD, from A to Z because SCIENCE!

Anonymous DT January 02, 2014 4:58 PM  

Also, where does he get this notion that GPS works to begin with? The damn thing barely works as it stands.

If he tried Apple's Maps he would be less inclined to believe in the power of random events.

Anonymous WaterBoy January 02, 2014 5:08 PM  

swiftfoxmark2: "Also, where does he get this notion that GPS works to begin with? The damn thing barely works as it stands."

~100,000 commercial flights per day seem to indicate that it works adequately enough. Not to mention its use in shipping, trucking, travel, hiking, and military applications, to name a few more.

Anonymous kh123 January 02, 2014 5:11 PM  

Had a few separate run-ins with (I was told) grad students who were moving on to careers in biochem and spinal surgery, respectively. Both were (I'd guess from their names) Indo/Paki, both very proud of their status - one had a tat of a chemical compound on his forearm. And both were as insistent as the example above when evolution came up. Every example they gave was as interpretive as it was interesting (read: obscure), but it was always "SEE?! It must be true. How can you doubt? Science wouldn't make sense otherwise..." Both were Stateside, just above FOB status in the one case. And they hated Christianity with a passion.

Self flagellation was the only thing missing. Well, wait, no; the sleeve tat would be a form of bleeding for the faith. So there you go.

OpenID herenvardo January 02, 2014 5:16 PM  

These Brights are beyond parody. You couldn't make this up!

How about this: There are evil people in the world; therefore Jesus rose from the dead.

There's a lot more logic to that statement, than this priceless offering of idiosyncratic (or is that idiotic?) reasoning. The mind, she boggles.

Anonymous fish January 02, 2014 5:24 PM  

who is Evil Santa into the photo?

Daniel Clement "Dan" Dennett III

Thanks El Bo!

Anonymous Howdy Droogy January 02, 2014 5:28 PM  

Just because an utter moron argues insanely for evolution doesn't mean the mountain of compelling evidence in favor of it isn't growing larger every year. Note the gene sequencing revolution has produced nothing but confirmation. Guesses based on phenotype are confirmed with hard numbers regularly, within the expected margin of error. This stuff isn't climate hoaxery, it's science.

Blogger CarpeOro January 02, 2014 5:40 PM  

"Note the gene sequencing revolution has produced nothing but confirmation. Guesses based on phenotype are confirmed with hard numbers regularly, within the expected margin of error. This stuff isn't climate hoaxery, it's science."

Sweet! now, what was the value for rate of change again? I seem to have forgotten at what rate evolution occurs.

Blogger CarpeOro January 02, 2014 5:45 PM  

"~100,000 commercial flights per day seem to indicate that it works adequately enough. Not to mention its use in shipping, trucking, travel, hiking, and military applications, to name a few more."

Just don't depend entirely on a Garmin. Get some strange results sometimes with ours and stopped using it.

Blogger RobertT January 02, 2014 5:45 PM  

"...IBM hard drives failed more than any other."

IBM did not thrive because they had the best products in the world, nor because they didn't hire idiots, because they obviously do. Good ideas are a dime a dozen, but great infrastructures are rare as hen's teeth. IBM thrived because of their terrific sales and marketing and because of their spectacular service. I was with companies who had IBM people on the premises 365 days a year. I would guess they continue to thrive for very similar reasons, as does, Amazon, Apple, and countless others.

Anonymous paradox January 02, 2014 6:00 PM  

IBM proves evolution because... IBM helped the NAZIs cleanse the gene pool of undesirables.

Anonymous WaterBoy January 02, 2014 6:02 PM  

CarpeOro: "Just don't depend entirely on a Garmin. Get some strange results sometimes with ours and stopped using it."

Yes, the ground equipment often leaves a lot to be desired; if one needs higher reliability there, spending the extra money for a commercial-grade product rather than consumer-grade is advisable.

Regardless, though, the failures of people's ground equipment is hardly the fault of the satellite network.

Blogger foxmarks January 02, 2014 6:02 PM  

I’ve been engaged in a FB debate with an atheist the past few days, too. It’s been fun to practice the arguments I’ve seen on VP, and watch how my opponents go through the routine stages of denial, evasion and retreat into semantics.

Just last night, I was tempted to link to this Dennett Demotivator when the atheist insisted that science is the only acceptable means of finding truth. Any evidence for God’s existence is insufficient because he can’t be detected with a microscope. But evolution is worthy of belief because fruit flies can be seen to evolve. Or something…

Blogger RobertT January 02, 2014 6:06 PM  

"But even if you assume that the universe is billions of years old..."

I tell my people "Don't Assume. Assumptions kill." It's easiest to learn this playing something that can get you sued,or stud poker or russian roulette, although the lesson is lost in the latter. It's hardest to learn playing knowledgeable guy games like "billions of years."

Anonymous Poli_Mis January 02, 2014 6:11 PM  

OT: Journalists in Italy better toe the Gay line or they will be fined and/or jailed.



Blogger RobertT January 02, 2014 6:29 PM  

"This stuff isn't climate hoaxery, it's science."

Oh yes, science. Isn't that part of the group that brought us East Anglia and the fat hypothesis and statin drugs and countless other hoaxes? Science and politics and the liberal mainstream media? I think so.Did you know that according to Perlmjutter in Grain Brain, cholesterol turns out to be an anti-oxidant that protects the brain?

OpenID wfgodbold January 02, 2014 6:32 PM  

Or, as Sherlock Holmes said:

“What the deuce is it to me?" he interrupted impatiently: "you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.”

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus January 02, 2014 6:35 PM  

"Guesses based on phenotype are confirmed with hard numbers regularly, within the expected margin of error. This stuff isn't climate hoaxery, it's science."

But it's also not evolution.

Anonymous kh123 January 02, 2014 6:49 PM  

Howdy, do you have some specific examples in mind.

Anonymous Jemison Thorsby January 02, 2014 6:59 PM  

Speaking of debates, this should be interesting: Bill Nye to visit Creation Museum for Debate

Blogger Doom January 02, 2014 7:08 PM  

I disagree completely. Which physicists get amazingly accurate results, and on... what tests? If I flick a quarter, can they tell me where it will land and on which side? What if they do flip the quarter through the air? Hell, even I can design a test that I can't fail. Let me design THEIR tests. Well, like I just did.

No bait and switch at all. They are all messed.

Anonymous Porky January 02, 2014 7:38 PM  

Great excuse next time my wife asks me to clean the toilet.

"Honey, I don't know the first thing about evolutionary biology."

Anonymous Matt January 02, 2014 7:44 PM  

Which physicists get amazingly accurate results, and on... what tests?

The computer you're reading this on is a triumph of precision in solid state semiconductor physics. The extreme accuracy of the electromagnetic waves running between your wifi router and your computer delivers billions of bits per second with robust accuracy. The GPS in your car measures radio signals to within nanoseconds, corrects for the refractive index of the atmosphere and the effects of relativity and triangulates your position to within meters.

A coin flip? Prediction is trivial, provided you're in exact control of all the inputs which comprise the flip in detail. Pretty much no one is, but that's no more a failure of physics than it's a failure of your car radio not to tell you which song the DJ is going to play next.

Blogger wrf3 January 02, 2014 7:54 PM  

Matt wrote: Prediction is trivial, provided you're in exact control of all the inputs which comprise the flip in detail.
Except that for quantum mechanics, prediction of individual events is impossible. At the bottom, the universe is random. Fortunately, random events follow the law of large numbers.

Blogger SirHamster January 02, 2014 7:59 PM  

A coin flip? Prediction is trivial, provided you're in exact control of all the inputs which comprise the flip in detail. Pretty much no one is, but that's no more a failure of physics than it's a failure of your car radio not to tell you which song the DJ is going to play next.

First, assume a fair coin.

Next, assume a spherical cow.

Then ...

Anonymous Matt January 02, 2014 8:30 PM  

Except that for quantum mechanics, prediction of individual events is impossible. At the bottom, the universe is random.

Which is to say physics can made extremely precise predictions about the probabilities of each possible outcome upon reduction of a state vector, and further we can know that this probabilistic description is correct because of extremely precise experimental measurements of the Bell inequalities. It's by definition not possible to say which random outcome will occur, because that would mean the event wasn't random.

Anonymous GG January 02, 2014 8:54 PM  

"Just because an utter moron argues insanely for evolution doesn't mean the mountain of compelling evidence in favor of it isn't growing larger every year."

This statement clearly proves we are now evolving backwards.

Blogger Doom January 02, 2014 9:08 PM  

Matt,

What are you, ten? This computer, and the electricity that run it, were created by people who didn't listen to physicists because they believed them impossible or too inefficient to tinker with. Solid state physics my you. Don't even get stupid with me. You've already lost. Now sit down with the rest who choose the little table. Dork. Not even a smart dork.

Blogger Doom January 02, 2014 9:11 PM  

SirHamster,

Urhm, there are no fair coins. Stay away from spherical cows. Try your luck with women. Sorry if that hurt your feelings too. *smile*

Blogger Doom January 02, 2014 9:12 PM  

Sorry about the dork thing. I was... remembering conversations with my last physics grad type friend. Mostly friend. Definitely when the good scotch was on hand. Mostly.

Anonymous Sigyn January 02, 2014 9:17 PM  

Stay away from spherical cows. Try your luck with women.

Though nowadays, there's a significant overlap.

Not that I'm one to talk right now.

Anonymous Azimus January 02, 2014 9:25 PM  

Matt January 02, 2014 7:44 PM
A coin flip? Prediction is trivial, provided you're in exact control of all the inputs which comprise the flip in detail.


And yet they can't consistently predict the weather 24hrs in advance...

Its amazingly how quickly you brushed past "exact control of all the inputs." That's a pretty hefty proviso to your "prediction is trivial thing", no?

Anonymous Porky January 02, 2014 9:30 PM  

Sigyn, congratulats to you and Lok on the baby. :)

Anonymous CLK January 02, 2014 9:49 PM  

Doom says "What are you, ten? This computer, and the electricity that run it, were created by people who didn't listen to physicists because they believed them impossible or too inefficient to tinker with. Solid state physics my you. Don't even get stupid with me. You've already lost. Now sit down with the rest who choose the little table. Dork. Not even a smart dork."

I think what Mr Doom is saying that many of the innovations today were actually developed using what one might see as non-rigorous --- invention first methods... these are not the result of careful basic research leading to engineering methods and then leading to applied technologies and products but rather technologies created by inventors ( often engineers) and then followed by the basic research to explain why it works -- many examples exist of this - electron tubes, BJT, FET, Lasers, magnetron (in fact most of RF and microwave field was innovated first then filled in with advanced math later on)... I think one of the best examples is Edward Armstrong and the FM radio --- he created the regenerative circuit, built the first FM radios which were working for 20 years before a bunch of scientific researchers can along and developed the math that explained by it worked and said hey look at us.. "we invented FM radio"...

Now .. why would anyone argue with a PhD engineer on some subject outside engineering ... There's no doubt he is smart (you cant get a PhD in engineering and work at IBM without being smart) but that does not mean he knows anything about evolution (or even GPS as its probably outside his area of expertise)

I would ask the question -- If I understand correctly the issue here in vox day land is TENS - theory evolution by natural selection .. the argument is not that evolution itself is wrong but that natural selection may not be the only input/driver ? ... I don't image that most here are creationist but what is prevailing position here ?

Anonymous bob k. mando January 02, 2014 10:00 PM  

Stickwick January 02, 2014 4:23 PM
Finally, as mathematicians have been trying to tell these people for decades, even billions of years simply aren't enough for TENS to work.



well, you see, when dealing with a mind of infinite density, mere decades of attempted suasion are clearly going to be insufficient.

the penetration of these concepts will require billions of years to even have a chance of succeeding. QED.



el Guapo January 02, 2014 4:35 PM
Which should make you wonder if it’s accurately represented.



i've been presented with worse in real life.



WaterBoy January 02, 2014 6:02 PM
if one needs higher reliability there, spending the extra money for a commercial-grade product


the Rand McNally works well, but as with ALL gps units pathing can be a bit flaky at times, especially at the local level. highly recommended if you're towing a largish trailer. the ability to path around low overheads is invaluable:
http://www.randmcnally.com/product/intelliroute-tnd-720



Sigyn January 02, 2014 9:17 PM
Not that I'm one to talk right now.



yes, but your spherical nature is transient, natural, desired and necessary and you are therefore beautiful.

[/ Spockbrow ]

Anonymous dc red dogs January 02, 2014 10:01 PM  

Hilariously, a big thing with the cool physicists (albeit with a lot of pushback from less cool physicists) is the supposedly worrying lack of a cogent argument against multiverse theories and the implications of infinite self-contained universes (or non-connecting configurations in a single universe) in which every fluctuating thing that can happen will happen because there has been no evidence to date that space and matter are not infinite. (Sorry for my bad grammar, I am describing ridiculous intellectuals here). Well, whether they like it or not, according to these theorists, in at least one universe (and if in one, then in an infinity of universes) the Biblical version of history is true in absolutely every respect, and there is no scientific way of getting outside the box and saying if we are in that universe or not. Now I think the Bible is true but I (like Leibniz, whose principle of the identities of the indiscernibles is the basis for the beginning of the rational counterargument to the inevitability of the multiverse) have been gifted with reason (although in my case, the gift is just a fraction of the gift Leibniz
got)
and that is not the way I would prove the Bible is true. (Also, but not quite as funny because promoted by people with more self-awareness and less intellectual intensity, the ridiculous idea that we are all in a hologram seems to be something that quite a lot of high-test-score physics aficionados are willing to talk about, without of course much common sense speculation as to who would want to run such a hologram, and who wouldn't)

Anonymous bob k. mando January 02, 2014 10:09 PM  

CLK January 02, 2014 9:49 PM
the argument is not that evolution itself is wrong but that natural selection may not be the only input/driver ?



Lamarckism has been proven at the bacteriological level. therefore, on it's face, natural selection cannot be the only forcing factor in species development.

then you've got direct gene exchange between separate, non-breeding species .....



CLK January 02, 2014 9:49 PM
these are not the result of careful basic research leading to engineering methods



actually, it's quite amusing. because i remember reading in the comp mags of the mid-80s that puters were soon to hit an impassable physics clock wall due to capacitance between traces. that was supposed to be around a couple of megahertz, iirc.

your avatar name makes this post ironic.

Blogger Doom January 02, 2014 10:13 PM  

Sigyn,

That's so not funny in so many crisscrossing ways that I feel like awarding you something. Doom's seal of metaphysical approval? Hey, it's all I've got on me... in my digital presence. I am laughing, too. I never said I was stable. Neighhhh.

CLK,

I am mostly creationist. Technically all creationist, with room for some changing and intermixing. While God may not roll the dice, I don't think He tends some issues, ones that aren't ultimately important. It is even written that man and/or nephilim, back in the day (Noah, and before, and presumably/possibly in the future) tinkered with all manner of things. Plants, beasts, men, nephilim... all were tinkered with, save Noah and sons... d-i-l's might have been questionable. Heh... Most are.

Yeah, and you got the drift of my notion quite well. Any physicist who knows history knows what you are discussing. And often feels as comfortable talking about it as fat women love talking about extra weight. Baby got back. Baby back. Pork, son, whole hog...

Sorry, screw loose lately.

Anonymous bob k. mando January 02, 2014 10:24 PM  

as an aside to the Cassady post, Graham Greene is another fine piece of work:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-539011/The-decadent-world-Graham-Greene--high-priest-darkness.html

these types of men would be ... well, not inconceivable in a milieu of dueling. but they certainly would have been more circumspect. and would likely have been killed out of hand by a husband, father, boyfriend, etc.

and it's not as if they are unaware of the damage they are causing their families.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neal_Cassady
" At one point Cassady took Cox, then 19, aside and told him, "Twenty years of fast living – there's just not much left, and my kids are all screwed up. Don't do what I have done."

Maugham is another.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Somerset_Maugham

in fact, it seems rather as if British intellectual life and theory is shot through with men who were molested by queers while young who grew up to be prolific liars, womanizers and bisexuals. effectually, sociopaths.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keynes#Relationships

mind, that's just a hypothesis.

Anonymous Richardthughes January 02, 2014 10:24 PM  

Thanks guys. The thread has been a fundy-bad-science-bingo dream. But none of you used 2LOT! Or "Where you there?"

Anonymous da bible January 02, 2014 10:25 PM  

Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
    or you yourself will be just like him.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
    or he will be wise in his own eyes

Anonymous Richardthughes January 02, 2014 10:27 PM  

Do not answer a fool according to his folly...Answer a fool according to his folly. ???

Anonymous Sigyn January 02, 2014 10:27 PM  

Sigyn, congratulats to you and Lok on the baby. :)

Thank you!

yes, but your spherical nature is transient, natural, desired and necessary and you are therefore beautiful.

Uh-huh. What do you want?

That's so not funny in so many crisscrossing ways that I feel like awarding you something. Doom's seal of metaphysical approval?

I don't know. You make change your mind in the cold light of morning, and I'd hate to be accused of non-consensual seal-receiving. Not even wereseals.

...Man, I'm as bad as you are right now. Eisa has more important things for me to do than sleep here lately. I've tried explaining it to her, but she's all like "NO. SLEEP IS FOR LOSERS. FEED NAO."

Anonymous Matt January 02, 2014 10:39 PM  

And yet they can't consistently predict the weather 24hrs in advance...

Its amazingly how quickly you brushed past "exact control of all the inputs." That's a pretty hefty proviso to your "prediction is trivial thing", no?


Not at all. I believe in God, and only he knows everything. When I say physics is amazingly accurate, I mean that the theories we do have work to a very high degree of precision. The technology surrounding you attests to this. But there are still two major classes of things that nonetheless can't be well predicted.

First, things for which we have no good theories: high-temperature superconductivity, masses of subatomic particles, and so on. Good theories may yet be found for these things, but they haven't yet. That's how progress works.

Second, things for which we have good theories but which are not feasably computable. Though it's not physics, a great example is chess. We understand its rules perfectly, they fit on a single sheet of paper. The "physics" of it is complete. But the space of possibilities allowed by those rules is just too big to completely solve all chess problems, including such simple and fundamental question as "can white always force a win?" The weather in your neighborhood a month from now is in that category. The equations have been well-understood for centuries, but numerically solving them is not feasible now and not likely to become thus in the immediate future.

these are not the result of careful basic research leading to engineering methods and then leading to applied technologies and products but rather technologies created by inventors ( often engineers) and then followed by the basic research to explain why it works -- many examples exist of this - electron tubes, BJT, FET, Lasers, magnetron

In fact this is not quite right. The laser was theorized by Charles Townes, an academic physicist, before its construction by Theodore Maiman, another academic physicist. The transistor was invented by William Shockley, a physicist at Bell Labs and later Stanford. The magnetron was first built by Albert Hull, an engineer working on principles established long before by physicists like Maxwell, but never went anywhere as an invention until the cavity magnetron developed by academic physicists in England. Electron tubes? J. J. Thomson, physicist. The stuff about the radio is just flat wrong. Radio waves were finished from a theoretical perspective by Maxwell in the 1860s, with his theory experimentally verified by Heinrich Hertz in the 1880s.

I'm not disparaging engineers. Experimental physics is basically just theoretical engineering. Don't let the TV string theory potheads fool you, most physics research is done in a very hands-on way in basement labs all over the world. Engineers and physicists aren't really competitors, they're really just working on different ends of the same problems.

Anonymous NateM January 02, 2014 10:41 PM  

So Scalzi may be in the process of coming out... at least he probably would if he thought the attention would sell books. If this game he's working on goes badly he might 'leak' those pictures he and jim hines took together for this purpose. yes totally for this purpose...

http://www.gay-or-straight.com/John%20Scalzi and his gayness is now up for a vote.

That being said i'm restricting myself to mentioning or referencing scalzi for at least a few days since that's twice today.

Anonymous kh123 January 02, 2014 10:43 PM  

Don't accept frame; set frame.

No, wait... what's... going on. It's... Too much. Just too much. Oh. Soy burger.

Anonymous Leonard Nimoy January 02, 2014 10:50 PM  

I have five albums to my name, and served as a television series host from 1977 to 1982 A.D.

Anonymous da bible January 02, 2014 11:14 PM  

uh oh... Richardthughes has da autisim again.

Ricky, turn down da Asbergers and read up:

www.tektonics.org/lp/proverbsfool.html

Anonymous bob k. mando January 02, 2014 11:17 PM  

evolution is SCIENCE! herp derp:
http://intellihub.com/2014/01/02/what-we-discovered-about-ancient-human-origins-this-year-and-what-is-still-a-mystery/
"All the other skulls were found in the same location and date from the same time period (suggesting the same species), but looked quite different from each other. Until now it was believed that different characteristics among the Homo fossils, including those from Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis and Homo erectus, showed they were distinct, different species. However, this research suggests the individuals belonged to the same species – according to the researchers, the differences between the Dmanisi fossils are no more pronounced than those between five modern humans. If this is the case, researchers will be forced to rewrite the classification system for early human ancestors."




Sigyn January 02, 2014 10:27 PM
Uh-huh. What do you want?


to find out if your ankles are as tasty as Porky's?

Anonymous Scintan January 02, 2014 11:18 PM  

I have five albums to my name, and served as a television series host from 1977 to 1982 A.D.

Your successor, in your greatest media achievement, is a poof.

Blogger wrf3 January 02, 2014 11:26 PM  

Matt wrote: But the space of possibilities allowed by those rules [of chess] is just too big to completely solve all chess problems, including such simple and fundamental question as "can white always force a win?"
I came across a paper a while back that theorized that chess would be completely solved by 2035, IIRC.

I'd google it, but it's late.

Anonymous dc red dogs January 02, 2014 11:42 PM  

wrf3 don't bother googling, all you will find is that several endgames have been solved, up to a very limited number of pieces, and that a big number, getting bigger every time, of subsequent moves will be analyzed for the midgame and opening moves, but you might as well expect a computer to solve Shakespeare, i.e, be able to extract an exponential Turing level set of dialogues from the corpus of Elizabethan words, equal to a Shakespeare play. Won't happen, because apples are not oranges, and never will be, no matter how nice each one is.

Anonymous lurker January 02, 2014 11:56 PM  

"Do not answer a fool according to his folly...Answer a fool according to his folly. ???"

A time for everything and your turn will come soon enough.

Anonymous fritz January 03, 2014 12:19 AM  

So many thoughts here. But, I'll refrain for now. If one agrees that evil and the Devil exist, then how can one not believe in a benevolent God? How is that, dear atheist? [1]

Vox, the following was tailor made for bloggers to comment on:

Why Are We Being Lied to?

Anyone [most bloggers of critical thinking] who does not think this merits front page status, then they really don't care what truly is important in secular society within the left-hand realm/kingdom context. [2]

At the pinnacle, one is faced with unpleasant revelations, that the world is ruled by secret societies, all of which are rooted in beliefs that can be termed “supernatural” or “extraterrestrial.”

What can be told is that these organizations are both centuries old “societies” and quasi-governmental organizations whose efforts periodically surface and, in doing so, give evidence of a reality that in startling ways resembles popular science fiction.




------------
[1] Too many times. More than I can count on both hands. I have been in discussions all over the cybershere with so-called atheists. They talk about these -- Satanists. These elites that worship Satan. Like myself, they give validity to this phenomenon. However, like myself do not condone the practice. So, I go to them and congratulate them on their astuteness. Then I pose the question to them on the inverse equation (Devil exists = God exists). In response to my query, I get back confounded silence. Nine out of ten times. (There is always that one troll)

[2] For Joe Six-Pack, this means you really don't care what is important.

Anonymous fritz January 03, 2014 12:24 AM  

And yet they can't consistently predict the weather 24hrs in advance...

Like Duff explains, one cannot predict the weather anymore than they can properly sense deviations in the stock market. They are both manipulated by very, very evil men...

Anonymous bob k. mando January 03, 2014 12:28 AM  

maybe some music for Nate in honor of the Sugar Bowl?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dJEwfYqAzY

Anonymous auomatthew January 03, 2014 12:38 AM  

Evolution: IBM -> HAL.

QED.

Anonymous automatthew January 03, 2014 12:42 AM  

Has there ever been a Dread/Wheeler confrontation? If there was, I know it's lost in the pit of CoComment, but I'd be happy just knowing it happened.

Anonymous The other skeptic January 03, 2014 1:30 AM  

Taxes on savings coming because you savers are evil.

Blogger JCclimber January 03, 2014 1:41 AM  

You would have loved a discussion I had at work today.
This person, gen Y, told me that he most admires Noam Chomsky. Not that I didn't already suspect as much, but he came out and said it after I stated I was libertarian.

This man, a former charter school teacher, is a true believer.
The economy in America is getting better.
The Fed is doing a great job.
The housing market - it is great that foreigners are buying up properties, it shows there is a strong belief that our economy is strong.
Obama is doing a great job.
If Iran gets an atomic bomb, that would be horrible because they sponsor terrorists and would probably give it to them.
FDR was a great president and Wallace was a much better VP than Truman, and was really good with business, and could have worked better with the Soviet Union, since we needed to be less capitalistic and more socialist.
The Soviet Union really needed Stalin to defeat Hitler so it was a good thing that he was there and able to defeat Hitler.

Every fact I pointed out was spun away and explained away. The funny thing is that he works as business analyst, crunching numbers and looking for trends. Yet, here in the real world where it is truly important, he cannot see the forest because he's busy looking at the meadow.

Anonymous bob k. mando January 03, 2014 1:57 AM  

the Soviet Union ... "needed" Stalin ... to defeat Hitler?

this world is almost too painful to live in.

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd77/Nicarius/JtHM/JhonenVasquez-JohnnyTheHomicidal-19.jpg

Anonymous Toby Temple January 03, 2014 2:12 AM  

The atheist tried to use "leet talk" to somehow confuse BH to submission or silence.

Didn't work. The asperger response was basically panic attack.

Blogger ajw308 January 03, 2014 2:22 AM  

But evolution is worthy of belief because fruit flies can be seen to evolve. Or something…
Huh? I thought when they forced mutations on fruit flies, in a couple of generations, they reverted back to their original state. It's more of an argument against evolution so it gets filed with thickening Antarctic ice caps and global warming research ships stuck in the ice.

Anonymous physphilmusic January 03, 2014 2:24 AM  

I disagree completely. Which physicists get amazingly accurate results, and on... what tests?

An example is the theoretical calculation and experimental measurement of the fine structure constant, α. The most precise calculation based on the theory of quantum electrodynamics results in a value of

α^-1=137.035 999 173 (35).

Compare this with some of the latest experimental results, for example one done by a group at Harvard, which gives

α^-1=137.035 999 084(51).

Another experimental group in France found a result of

α^-1=137.035 999 037(91).

Note how the two experimental results agree with each other within uncertainty. While they are slightly off from the theoretical calculation, all three numbers still agree to each other to at least within a part in ten million. If this still isn't accurate enough, then I don't know what conceivable experiment can. Perhaps a dishonest scientist can manipulate experiments to adjust his numbers one or two decimal places, but getting the same result to within 7 decimal places...now that's why physics is awesome.

Anonymous physphilmusic January 03, 2014 2:31 AM  

A different way to express the remarkable nature of the above result is to express it as the agreement between theory and experiment for the measurement of the electron g-factor (which can be calculated from the fine structure constant):

g/2 = 1.001 159 652 180 73 (28) (measured)
g/2 = 1.001 159 652 177 60 (520) (predicted)

which is an agreement of several parts per trillion.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus January 03, 2014 3:26 AM  

You can trust climatologists.
Because physicists get amazingly accurate results.

Anonymous kh123 January 03, 2014 3:36 AM  

You can trust no one.
Because Evil Santa has amazingly accurate GPS.

And he will find you.

Anonymous VD January 03, 2014 4:00 AM  

So Scalzi may be in the process of coming out... at least he probably would if he thought the attention would sell books.

He's just trying to rebuild his traffic by acting up, Nate. Which, based on your reaction, is working nicely. And his gay flirtations are just a weird form of trying to trap people into reacting to them.

Blogger Tom Kratman January 03, 2014 4:29 AM  

Poli_Mis:

Fuck the European Union!
Fuck the Hague and ICC!
Fuck their rules and regulations;
Fuck the whole bureaucracy!

Asshats, Bastards, Cowards, Dimwits,
Excrement Feeding, Gallows-bait.
Hang the swine higher than Haman,
Ignorant Jackasses, Knaves.

Watch them purge the bent banana.
See your taxes rise and rise.
See your nations fall to ruin.
Watch as every freedom dies.

Lick-ass Morons, nincompoops, Oh,
Pity the Quagmire these Reds made.
Sycophants and Thieves, the whole crew,
Underworked and overpaid.

Friday Mornings EUnachs sign in
To ensure their holidays
Are paid for by lesser beings.
Others call those beings, "slaves."

To the lampposts, Europeans
Tie the knots and toss the ropes.
Fit the nooses, haul the free ends
Stand back; let the bastards choke.

Anonymous WaterBoy January 03, 2014 4:50 AM  

fritz: "Anyone [most bloggers of critical thinking] who does not think this merits front page status, then they really don't care what truly is important in secular society within the left-hand realm/kingdom context."

False dilemma. There are many more explanations than what you propose.

For instance, they could be in on it themselves, and are intentionally trying to downplay it. Or they have been brainwashed and have no free will to care one way or the other. Or it has been preordained that they should not care. Or maybe you know it's a false dilemma and you're just trying to guilt trip them into caring about something which you care deeply, but is really of no import.

Anonymous DrTorch January 03, 2014 7:31 AM  

many examples exist of this - electron tubes, BJT, FET, Lasers,

Lasers most certainly are NOT an example of what you describe.

Blogger Lud VanB January 03, 2014 11:39 AM  

"Finally, as mathematicians have been trying to tell these people for decades, even billions of years simply aren't enough for TENS to work."

I d be very curious to hear the detailed mathematical argument against humans and other great apes sharing common ancestry.

Blogger CarpeOro January 03, 2014 12:09 PM  

""Finally, as mathematicians have been trying to tell these people for decades, even billions of years simply aren't enough for TENS to work."

I d be very curious to hear the detailed mathematical argument against humans and other great apes sharing common ancestry."

Good point, when the TENS crowd has no clue how long evolution takes to begin with.....

Blogger Lud VanB January 03, 2014 1:16 PM  

"Good point, when the TENS crowd has no clue how long evolution takes to begin with....."

how long it takes?...to do what exactly? if the question is how does it take to go from common ancestor with other great apes to human beings the answer according to the fossil record available today is about 5 million years

Anonymous Noah B. January 03, 2014 1:54 PM  

@Lud VanB

The mathematical argument I believe they're referring to is detailed in this post.

And note how Fred concludes the argument that evolution is so mathematically improbable as to be impossible: "Does the chance formation of an Original Critter involve such forbidding numbers? I don´t know that it does. Nor that it doesn´t. It is difficult to calculate the probability of an unknown process of unknown complexity under unknown conditions."

So, evolution is so improbable that it could never occur. Or not.

Blogger Lud VanB January 03, 2014 3:34 PM  

"So, evolution is so improbable that it could never occur. Or not."

again I m puzzled as to how that could actually constitute any valid argument against the possibility or even probability of evolution since A: evolution does not have a set end result goal and B: evolution doesn't begin from scratch with every new organisms

Anonymous kh123 January 03, 2014 4:00 PM  

Quite a bit of curiosity for someone who's ducked out on previous threads.

Blogger Lud VanB January 03, 2014 4:49 PM  

"Quite a bit of curiosity for someone who's ducked out on previous threads."

well having a job and a family to take care of means I don't always get to spend my days hanging around right wing blogs like you...when you grow up and get out of your mothers basement it ll become clear

Blogger SirHamster January 03, 2014 5:55 PM  

[i]again I m puzzled as to how that could actually constitute any valid argument against the possibility or even probability of evolution since A: evolution does not have a set end result goal and B: evolution doesn't begin from scratch with every new organisms[/i]

A. Because evolution has to result in the ecosystem we exist in today. It is far more probable that evolution would result in a completely lifeless universe rather than a mostly lifeless universe with a tiny life-filled pocket.

B. If evolutionary believers tried, they'd be able to determine the amount of "work" needed to evolve between organisms, and then extrapolate the time it'd take by random processes. Compare, for example, a bacterium and a mouse, and then add up all the extra systems the mouse has - and figure out how you can get from the former to the latter while always having a "most fit" organism at any particular point in time in the series.

The sheer number of ways to fail makes B time prohibitive. Extinction is an option.

Anonymous kh123 January 03, 2014 6:42 PM  

That took more than a half hour, Lud. Work must be off the hook for you at the geochem lab.

Anonymous Stickwick January 03, 2014 10:56 PM  

Lud: I d be very curious to hear the detailed mathematical argument against humans and other great apes sharing common ancestry.

The problem is, as Gerald Schroeder eloquently explains, with the notion of random events giving rise to meaningful complex order, e.g. life as we know it. Stephen Hawking popularized the idea using the example of hordes of monkeys typing away and occasionally, purely by chance, producing one of Shakespeare's sonnets. Here's why it doesn't work. Each sonnet is about 500 characters long; if you work out the math, the chance of one of the monkeys producing a sonnet is 10^700. That's a one followed by 700 zeroes. So, all you have to do is just get a lot of monkeys, right? For some perspective, consider that there are "only" 10^56 grams of matter/energy in the entire known universe. If you converted all that mass/energy of the universe into microcomputers, each weighting a billionth of a gram, and ran each of those computers billions of times a second nonstop from the beginning of time, you would need more than 10^500 universes like ours in order to produce just one sonnet by chance. That's why the math of TENS doesn't work out.

Anonymous Stickwick January 03, 2014 11:01 PM  

I'll also hasten to point out that this is why the whole flap over 6,000 years vs. billions of years -- wrt TENS -- is moot.

Blogger Michael Z. Williamson January 05, 2014 3:28 AM  

"As I have occasionally noted, it takes a considerable amount of education to reduce a formerly intelligent individual to the level of a complete idiot."

Ah, yes. Creationists. ;)

Blogger Michael Z. Williamson January 05, 2014 3:41 AM  

Stickwick: your math is wrong because it proceeds from wrong assumptions. There are finite ways molecules can connect. There were billions of molecules available.

This is the converse of the OP argument--repeating irrelevant figures.

We know life exists because life exists. Therefore, the odds are 100%.

Now, we can argue what caused them to connect. But they did, in fact, connect.

As to closely related species--all the big cats are close enough to interbreed. All the equines can interbreed. They have differing chromosomes and even numbers, but not that different.

We can assume therefore they are closely related. So either they evolved, or the creator is a lazy cheat.

Actually, I see no disconnect in those two positions. :)

The second problem is explaining how if billions of years was inadequate, thousands sufficed, under the direction of an obviously retarded creator: there is no organism on Earth that shows any signs of being intelligently designed. If some god is alleged to have done so, he was a fucking idiot and unworthy of notice by a rational being.

I wonder how long it will take the thousand monkeys at the thousand keyboards here to come up with a supportable, disprovable hypothesis to compete? Trick question. 90% of them couldn't define "hypothesis."

Vox's lead comment summarized the problem. "As I have occasionally noted, it takes a considerable amount of education to reduce a formerly intelligent individual to the level of a complete idiot." Dunning Kruger. This place is full of it.

Remember: Vox is right about biology because he has a degree in something else.

Anonymous kh123 January 06, 2014 3:47 AM  

X > 3.

QED.

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