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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The intrinsic unreliability of science

More and more investigations of quasi-scientific shenanigans are demonstrating the need for more precision in the language used to describe the field that is too broadly and misleadingly known as "science":
The problem with ­science is that so much of it simply isn’t. Last summer, the Open Science Collaboration announced that it had tried to replicate one hundred published psychology experiments sampled from three of the most prestigious journals in the field. Scientific claims rest on the idea that experiments repeated under nearly identical conditions ought to yield approximately the same results, but until very recently, very few had bothered to check in a systematic way whether this was actually the case. The OSC was the biggest attempt yet to check a field’s results, and the most shocking. In many cases, they had used original experimental materials, and sometimes even performed the experiments under the guidance of the original researchers. Of the studies that had originally reported positive results, an astonishing 65 percent failed to show statistical significance on replication, and many of the remainder showed greatly reduced effect sizes.

Their findings made the news, and quickly became a club with which to bash the social sciences. But the problem isn’t just with psychology. There’s an ­unspoken rule in the pharmaceutical industry that half of all academic biomedical research will ultimately prove false, and in 2011 a group of researchers at Bayer decided to test it. Looking at sixty-seven recent drug discovery projects based on preclinical cancer biology research, they found that in more than 75 percent of cases the published data did not match up with their in-house attempts to replicate. These were not studies published in fly-by-night oncology journals, but blockbuster research featured in Science, Nature, Cell, and the like. The Bayer researchers were drowning in bad studies, and it was to this, in part, that they attributed the mysteriously declining yields of drug pipelines. Perhaps so many of these new drugs fail to have an effect because the basic research on which their development was based isn’t valid....

Paradoxically, the situation is actually made worse by the fact that a promising connection is often studied by several independent teams. To see why, suppose that three groups of researchers are studying a phenomenon, and when all the data are analyzed, one group announces that it has discovered a connection, but the other two find nothing of note. Assuming that all the tests involved have a high statistical power, the lone positive finding is almost certainly the spurious one. However, when it comes time to report these findings, what happens? The teams that found a negative result may not even bother to write up their non-discovery. After all, a report that a fanciful connection probably isn’t true is not the stuff of which scientific prizes, grant money, and tenure decisions are made.

And even if they did write it up, it probably wouldn’t be accepted for publication. Journals are in competition with one another for attention and “impact factor,” and are always more eager to report a new, exciting finding than a killjoy failure to find an association. In fact, both of these effects can be quantified. Since the majority of all investigated hypotheses are false, if positive and negative evidence were written up and accepted for publication in equal proportions, then the majority of articles in scientific journals should report no findings. When tallies are actually made, though, the precise opposite turns out to be true: Nearly every published scientific article reports the presence of an association. There must be massive bias at work. 

Ioannidis’s argument would be potent even if all scientists were angels motivated by the best of intentions, but when the human element is considered, the picture becomes truly dismal. Scientists have long been aware of something euphemistically called the “experimenter effect”: the curious fact that when a phenomenon is investigated by a researcher who happens to believe in the phenomenon, it is far more likely to be detected. Much of the effect can likely be explained by researchers unconsciously giving hints or suggestions to their human or animal subjects, perhaps in something as subtle as body language or tone of voice. Even those with the best of intentions have been caught fudging measurements, or making small errors in rounding or in statistical analysis that happen to give a more favorable result. Very often, this is just the result of an honest statistical error that leads to a desirable outcome, and therefore it isn’t checked as deliberately as it might have been had it pointed in the opposite direction. 

But, and there is no putting it nicely, deliberate fraud is far more widespread than the scientific establishment is generally willing to admit.
Never confuse either scientistry or sciensophy for scientody. To paraphrase, and reject, Daniel Dennett's contention, do not trust biologists or sociologists or climatologists, or anyone else who calls himself a scientist, simply because physicists get amazingly accurate results.


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192 Comments:

Blogger exfarmkid April 13, 2016 8:28 AM  

Vox: "Never confuse either scientistry or sciensophy for scientody."

Preach it, brother!

Anonymous That Would Be Telling April 13, 2016 8:39 AM  

Biology is freaking hard. I would be a published author, if not for one contaminated reagent ruining half the experiments in the one stint I did in a lab, and I'm sure a lot of the failures to reproduce mentioned above hinge on reagent issues.

Based on that experience decades ago, subsequent looser associations with people in the field for a decade and a half including watching some of the big fraud cases during that period, and watching biomedical research more and more as I age, I independently came to the conclusion that at least half of what's published is wrong (note biomedical is a subset of biology, although probably most of it since that's where the most money is at, and many of the hardest remaining problems). One inpatient resident I've started seeing only trusts the experience of his supervising experienced doctor, research is more a curiosity that perhaps provides some hints.

Chemistry is pretty good, although certainly not perfect as you'll see if you check out popular blogs like ChemBark. Physics remains pretty good, but has obvious problems with unique and very expensive instruments like the LHC, or the perpetually detached from reality even in theory string theorists, who've captured US high energy theoretical physics for decades. Condensed matter physicists, though, are still producing wonders that often eventually make it to the marketplace.

Astrophysics, well, it produces testable hypothesis, but it's always been inherently iffy, but fun, and like some astronomy, essential in looking for threats.

Blogger Phillip George April 13, 2016 8:39 AM  

Science advances one funeral at a time.

Then there's the limits of "knowable". It will never be possible for example to build a big enough computer to predict one specific single set of future states in which a single compound pendulum exists.

only one example. the problem with sciences is most scientists haven't done a philosophy of science introductory course. ie. to understand the role of science you have to start with philosophy. To learn philosophy you have to cover epistemology. To cover epistemology you need to cover Kurt Godel and Frederic Fitch. To comprehend them you need to cover Theology including special and general revelation. To cover special and general revelation you need to do comparative religion. To cover comparative religion you need to look at Jesus. So endeth the lesson. All of them. Forever.

Blogger Mad Dok Rob April 13, 2016 8:40 AM  

Not a big surprise. I would say that this probably holds true for hard science also. When I was working on my Ph.D. I saw many things that were "massaged" to have the data work out to get published.

Nobody would publish null results either. I always thought that "hey, here is proof that this theory does not work", but that is not considered "scientifically significant". This is why we keep seeing all this junk science in the media "global warming is going to kill everyone in x years, days, mins, seconds" because a great deal of it is getting made up just to publish and get funding.

Blogger Phillip George April 13, 2016 8:46 AM  

ie. what most people call science was born in a class called "natural philosophy" in a university which required Theology in order for people to not be considered bat shit crazy.

With the order lost people are still trying to square the circle.

OpenID denektenorsk April 13, 2016 8:58 AM  

My understanding is that the company who is applying for US food or drug safety approval is the one who is responsible for proving that that said food or drug is safe. They run the (clinical) trials and submit the findings. I'm sure they have absolutely no motivation to lie, nosiree. The government rubber stamps the findings at worst, and in some cases are overruled by politicians when they make the wrong call (i.e. Aspartame).

I've had people say to my face that the government wouldn't approve X if it wasn't safe. The poor, sweet, dears, I wish I could live in their world. Even if one was to naively trust random bureaucrats (think of how competent your average coworker is) look at how long it took to build a consensus around "cigarettes are bad, m'ok?".

The scientific process is not a bad thing. The people who use it may have alterior motives or may not be as objective as they think they are. Hijacking the method/process erodes trust.

Anonymous Eduardo April 13, 2016 9:02 AM  

Well guess that is a... DEVOlution of the field!!!!!

Which means PZ is more right then nothing! I mean never!

Blogger Avraham April 13, 2016 9:05 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous Amigo April 13, 2016 9:06 AM  

Science attracts a lot of atheists. Maybe a belief in a higher power looking over their shoulder would result in better studies.

Blogger Avraham April 13, 2016 9:07 AM  

The harder the science you do, the more you look down on anyone not on that level. If you are in math, you think physicists are stupid. If you are a physicist, you have "math envy," and think biologists are stupid. If you are a biologist, you have "physics envy," and think psychologists are frauds and idiots, along with being insane themselves, and their motivation in going into psychology was to project their defects on everyone they do not like.
Also, the scale of jargon is reversed. The more of a pseudo science it is, the more they have to invent jargon for simple things- so that they can sound profound and call what they do "science." Thus, social sciences, which are at the bottom, have jargon invented for things that there are commonplace terms for. It is a scam in order to be able to call what they do "science."

Anonymous That Would Be Telling April 13, 2016 9:11 AM  

@6 denektenorsk:

My understanding is that the company who is applying for US food or drug safety approval is the one who is responsible for proving that that said food or drug is safe.

When it comes to drugs, who else is going to spend the billion plus USD to do that?

It may be a bad system, but no one has come up with a better one.

You want to worry about this field? Worry about the Indian (and PRC) companies that make generics and are sometimes wholly fraudulent from the top down, to the ones that, at best, cargo cult the HPLC tests of drug batches, even in factories they've set up in the US. And that's for drugs made for First World markets, I've read that at least a quarter of the stuff they market in India has no active ingredients, they aren't even pretending, like too many outfits in the PRC which are barely, sometimes, maybe trusted to make the lower value raw materials, and have already killed plenty of Americans (a minimum of 81 in the linked case).

Anonymous Eduardo... I am just joking April 13, 2016 9:11 AM  

Well amigo, if a divine being was there in the lab we could have no science porn0.... Alright alright i know its creepy but it is a fact that non believers are awesome in bed!!!!!! Maybe...

OpenID denektenorsk April 13, 2016 9:12 AM  

Astrophysics, well, it produces testable hypothesis, but it's always been inherently iffy, but fun, and like some astronomy, essential in looking for threats.

You are probably much more informed on The Big Bang theory than I am. My understanding is we have measurable evidence to support the theory that galaxies are moving (i.e. from the shape of lightwaves hitting us we can tell the source is moving away). Have we measured all (visible) galaxies? Have we found the universe center we are moving outwards from?

Is the rest not the scientific equivalent of a creation myth? What came before - the universes' equivalent of Pangea?

Anonymous VFM #6306 April 13, 2016 9:16 AM  

Except...economics anticipates, exposes and explains the errors and frauds in physics, Avraham...so your hierarchy doesn't quite fit the situation.

It is all disintegrating, because all of the sciences are corrupted by the presence of the postmodern man.

Anonymous Toastrider April 13, 2016 9:18 AM  

The core of science is 'I do not understand'. The beginning of wisdom, in other words.

The problems of late, though, have come from certain people grandly declaiming 'the science is settled'. Nothing is EVER settled. All it takes is a result that wildly differs, and boom, you've got a whole new problem. As I've joked before, science is less 'Eureka! I've done it!' and more 'Huh, that's not supposed to happen...'

Anonymous Heh April 13, 2016 9:18 AM  

"Never confuse either scientistry or sciensophy for scientody."

Great dialectic but as rhetoric it ain't pushing my emotional buttons. =)

OpenID frankluke.com April 13, 2016 9:19 AM  

@10 Thus, social sciences, which are at the bottom, have jargon invented for things that there are commonplace terms for. It is a scam in order to be able to call what they do "science."

"Methodological observation demonstrates a causal relationship between downward geotropism and the lacrimal functions of pre-maturated human beings."

Translated to English: I see that little children cry when they fall down.

OpenID denektenorsk April 13, 2016 9:21 AM  

@11 When it comes to drugs, who else is going to spend the billion plus USD to do that?

Uhm, no one and that is kind of my point. When literally no one can verify or replicate your findings the real experiment comes afters years of it being on the market. If there is a problem then lawsuits will arise. That (IMO) would be one of the incentives to play it straight... but if that is 20 years in the future and I'm retiring that's someone else's problem.

I freely admit that there is no better method but if you are a billion plus in of private money there is a strong incentive to recover that investment. With public money there is an incentive to keep the tap on since getting grants in the first place is notoriously hard.

Even if we rule out nefarious motivations what if you make a geniune mistake?

Anonymous Quartermaster April 13, 2016 9:21 AM  

@12
I approve the addition of the subjunctive at the end.

Anonymous That Would Be Telling April 13, 2016 9:25 AM  

@13 denektenorsk:

I might be "much more informed on The Big Bang theory", but I don't know squat about it. I'd suggest looking at cosmic background radiation for something more tractable than the visible light stuff, which I'm inherently a bit suspicious of.

There are theories about how it came about, as I recall Alan Guth played around with ideas there, such as "assemble in your basement lab two black holes, one white hole, and...", but until that sort of speculation produces testable hypothesis it's just speculation. Which makes some atheist scientists break out in hives, which in turn has resulted in the theory getting serious pushback and examination (the linked Fred Hoyle is according to Wikipedia actually the guy who came up with the name Big Bang).

So it all is better than "a creation myth", but parts of it, are at least for now, are not much better, and might stay that way until some crazy mad scientist is willing to risk destroying our universe to see if he can create another one :-).

Anonymous That Would Be Telling April 13, 2016 9:33 AM  

@16 Heh:

"Never confuse either scientistry or sciensophy for scientody."

Great dialectic but as rhetoric it ain't pushing my emotional buttons. =)


Yeah, I'm sorry, our exalted host, but this is by far the greatest rhetorical failure I've even seen you commit. Now, maybe I'm a special case by virtue of being trained as a scientist and having a STEM career and otherwise being light on the humanities outside of history, but the last two terms just don't make it for me, and the first one is catchy but I never remember what it means because of the failure of the latter two.

To the extent you think this issue is important (I think it's very important), could you please try again for the latter two, or perhaps try coming up with synonyms?

Blogger Dave Narby April 13, 2016 9:34 AM  

You can't trust the physicists either. Go peruse the works of the Thunderbolts Project for a metric ass-load of examples.

www.thunderbolts.info

I have long held sciencmagicians are actually more prone to bias. This is IMO due to because of their training in scientific method, they assume they have greater powers of objectivity than the average man.

This results in their failure to recognize they can be as biased and irrational as the everyday asshole on the street, and adjust accordingly.

I always say look at the data and make up your own damn mind. If you let someone do it for you, then at best your pocket will get picked, at worst you will end up dead - or a slave.

Anonymous Eduardo April 13, 2016 9:37 AM  

Denek

In theory... Fellow scientists should criticize your paper, to guarantee a high level; intellectual level.

But well... Don't know if quality matters that much for scientists. Think if we went on and checked 100 papers, how many would have a perfect argument?

------------------

The pope is going to island of Lesbos... Where all those lesbos came from, including the feminists!

Btw thank you Quartermaster, I agree to the subjective too lol.

Blogger dc.sunsets April 13, 2016 9:37 AM  

HAH!

I successfully defended my biology masters degree thesis despite the fact that the hypothesis was proved wrong. This either makes me an honest biologist or a great BS-er.

Or both.

Blogger dc.sunsets April 13, 2016 9:42 AM  

One inpatient resident I've started seeing only trusts the experience of his supervising experienced doctor, research is more a curiosity that perhaps provides some hints.


As medicine claims it's becoming more scientific (best practices, evidence-based, etc.), it is actually regressing toward purest dogma (deviation from established norms courts malpractice catastrophe) and treatment based on anecdote.

Apogee is in the rearview mirror.

Anonymous That Would Be Telling April 13, 2016 9:43 AM  

@24 dc.sunsets:

HAH!

I successfully defended my biology masters degree thesis despite the fact that the hypothesis was proved wrong. This either makes me an honest biologist or a great BS-er.

Or both.


Well, one purpose is to see if you can do real science, and if you tried in good faith, and the experiments were of high enough quality (the biggest issue, perhaps?) and failed to prove the hypothesis, well, no papers for you :-(, but a good sign you're ready to try for Ph.D. research, yes?

Blogger Ahazuerus April 13, 2016 9:43 AM  

If you look into the history of the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation then you find that the steady-staters and the big bangers had made predictions regarding the anticipated level of background radiation depending on each theory.

The steady-staters predicted 2 to 5 degrees Kelvin.

The big bangers predictions ranged from 5 to 30 degrees Kelvin.

In 1964 when Penzias and Wilson measured it at ~4 K it was trumpeted as evidence of the big bang.

Marketing, cf. Beta vs VHS.

Anonymous Eduardo April 13, 2016 9:44 AM  

... DC you ain't helping the church... Of scientism.

You give no choice but call the templ... I mean the Darwinaries. May dawkins have mercy on your meat!

Blogger dc.sunsets April 13, 2016 9:46 AM  

Incentives matter. As the incentives experienced by scientists became ever more perverse, so did published results.

It is now to where a person on a message board for Colloquy Society (four times more selective than Mensa) actually repeated the "97% of climate scientists agree" stupidity.

We're doomed.

Blogger dc.sunsets April 13, 2016 9:49 AM  

but a good sign you're ready to try for Ph.D. research, yes?

No. I defended that thesis in 1986, on my way to a career in sales. Some people are not cut out for a career in the lab (clinical or research, in my experience.)

Anonymous Cap'n O April 13, 2016 9:51 AM  

One inpatient resident I've started seeing only trusts the experience of his supervising experienced doctor, research is more a curiosity that perhaps provides some hints.

I have a chronic disease and, after researching the options offered by conventional medicine, decided to take the alternative medicine route. I mentioned this on a forum populated by scientists and was roundly mocked because alternative medicine isn't "proven."

In other words, 'Nevermind that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine has thousands of years of experience behind it! Take this medicine, 12 guys in white lab coats say it will work!'

My alt med physicians may seem kooky but the stuff is very slowly working, and I don't have to (literally) take radioactive pills to fix the problem. And with herbal medicine, you know there's something in there, if only because it tastes so bad.

Blogger VD April 13, 2016 9:54 AM  

Yeah, I'm sorry, our exalted host, but this is by far the greatest rhetorical failure I've even seen you commit.

It isn't rhetoric at all. What about the terms causes you to conclude they are intended to manipulate emotions? They are pure dialectic and as such are solely of interest to dialectic speakers.

Who gives a damn what the rhetoricals think about them? All they know is they fucking love science because pictures.

Anonymous Eduardo April 13, 2016 9:59 AM  

What Vox means is that... They are special because they were the beutiful flower inside a SJW skull for PZ.

;-)

Anonymous That Would Be Telling April 13, 2016 10:15 AM  

@32 VD:

Yeah, and I'm a notorious limited to rhetoric "thinker". Sorry, but the last two terms still suck big time, or at least given my meager humanities education are entirely unmemorable, don't sing in the least (yeah, that rhetoric of a sort), and if enough people complain, and few others use them, which Google indicates is true for sciensophy, maybe, just maybe, you should try to put your self-admitted contemptuous nature to the side and listen to the complaints.

Put another way, I think you're making very important points, but making them poorly, and I'll note the audience spectrum certainly is more complicated than the dialectal crowd vs. the "I fucking love Science" mob.

Blogger Young Heaving Bosoms of Liberty April 13, 2016 10:21 AM  

Even dialectical neologisms should be easy to pronounce and not look funny.

Anonymous BGKB April 13, 2016 10:24 AM  

I know one thing, I have to go visit NYC again before it is underwater by 2015.

Anonymous That Would Be Telling April 13, 2016 10:27 AM  

@35 Young Heaving Bosoms of Liberty:

Even dialectical neologisms should be easy to pronounce and not look funny.

I question the latter, scientody is the "funniest" word, but it actually gets a number of hits from people other than our host using it. I grant that it's easy to pronounce.

Anonymous Eduardo April 13, 2016 10:29 AM  

5 points to gryffindor!!!

For Mr BGKB awesome trolling...

Whiiiiich, reminds that Vox hasn't done many posts about AGW... Have it finally became a bureaucrats only thing? The news no longer cares because it is settled?

Blogger Young Heaving Bosoms of Liberty April 13, 2016 10:29 AM  

"scientistry" is the only one I would be able to use in discourse without snickering.

Anonymous That Would Be Telling April 13, 2016 10:37 AM  

@39 Young Heaving Bosoms of Liberty:

"scientistry" is the only one I would be able to use in discourse without snickering.

Yeah, scientistry is, if not pure gold, at least a solid silver, and somewhat obvious in meaning in context. Although it needs to get a lot more popular to avoid confusion, for it's not clear it means purely "the profession of science" vs., for example, what I refer to as "science" with the scare quotes, or in longer form, cargo cult science. Which, if I'm correct, reinforces my point that the trio of words needs serious polishing for any of them to do much good in referring to the concepts, and trashing the concepts that deserve it.

Anonymous Stickwick April 13, 2016 10:42 AM  

Ahazuerus: If you look into the history of the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation then you find that the steady-staters and the big bangers had made predictions regarding the anticipated level of background radiation depending on each theory.

I find no evidence that Bondi, Gold, and Hoyle — the original steady staters — predicted the existence of a background radiation as part of their model prior to the discovery of the CMB. It was only after the fact that the steady staters needed to explain the CMB in the context of their model, and predicted that it should have a particular temperature.

Marketing, cf. Beta vs VHS.

This is grossly misleading. It’s not marketing. There are numerous insurmountable problems with steady state, which is why it’s dead, with the CMB serving as the final nail in the coffin. The only way steady state could explain the CMB is to have it result from the dust-scattered light of very distant stars. The problem was, the CMB showed none of the characteristics of that kind of light, including polarization or significant variations in its intensity. The CMB is incredibly uniform, exactly as you would expect if it resulted from a creation event. Furthermore, it is nearly a perfect blackbody in character, which the steady state model is unable to explain.

Blogger dc.sunsets April 13, 2016 10:46 AM  

The problem with terminology is that scientology has already been trademarked.

Anonymous Brick Hardslab April 13, 2016 10:48 AM  

I can't keep the differences straight in my head. Probably memory loss.

Anonymous BluePony April 13, 2016 10:49 AM  

That's why I gravitated toward engineering, I think. You build a thing and it works or it doesn't. If it doesn't work you fix it until it does. Of course most of mine work. :) I work mostly in R&D so I'm even allowed to fail the first attempt once in a while.

Hardware I designed is currently operating in deep space, and I didn't have to spend much of the day dealing with God knows what in a test tube, or standing in the ocean surrounded by randy dolphins, or hypothesizing the universe is actually two dimensional plane of information* or whatever those folks do.

Well, I guess stuff like physics or pure mathematics would be OK. Far fewer encounters with questionable organic material, and the hardware is pretty sweet (CERN, Hubble, etc.)

Blogger Desiderius April 13, 2016 11:05 AM  

"physicists get amazingly accurate results"

Physicists are looking under the streetlight for their car keys because that's where the best light is.

Mathematicians (the careful ones, at least) get amazingly accurate results. Accuracy is not validity.

See Berlin on Vico.

Anonymous Eduardo April 13, 2016 11:11 AM  

BluePony

Hehehe.... Condensed matter, materials, optics... Dude most pf physics is crazy people in labs wondering about weird stuff... My kind of people must say.

Well a great part of physics is also mathematical analysis... Just look at mathematical physics.

Blogger Sam Lively April 13, 2016 11:15 AM  

I was driven to the linked article by a Google search last night as my BS detector got set off by the fawning, unquestioning portrait of Stanley Ingram's research in the Experimenter on Netflix.

Blogger Ahazuerus April 13, 2016 11:15 AM  

Stickwick,

With all due respect, as we say when about to be disrespectful, the big bang has "numerous insurmountable problems" but it remains very much alive.

Or at least experiences the illusion of consciousness... perhaps in a Bolzmann Brain somewhere...

To call it marketing is not at all misleading. On the contrary it is utterly and devastatingly accurate.

Anonymous BluePony April 13, 2016 11:19 AM  

Have we found the universe center we are moving outwards from?

There is no center. The event hypothesized as the Big Bang occurred at all points in the universe at the same time. There is no expanding edge- the universe is likely infinite. We're limited to an observable horizon of ~13.8 billion LY because that's simply how long there's been anything in existence to see.

Avoid the old balloon analogy. It sucks hard. Even supposed science popularizing stuff like the new COSMOS depict it as an explosion at a point. Honestly, the science hawkers have only themselves to blame with their crappy analogies.

Rather, imagine an already infinite *flat* rubber sheet that's continually stretching or expanding. Yes, and infinite thing can expand- infinities are weird, wacky things in higher math. I can only really grasp the stuff indirectly.

The BB event occurs at every point on the rubber sheet, creating the matter and energy we know and love today. The sheet keeps on expanding uniformly everywhere, and may have even gotten a temporary boots (the Inflation model), so you observe every object in the universe moving away from every other object, and the expansion appears to be centered on any particular observer no matter where they are.

As to the Big Bang's trigger event, the BB theory specifically does not cover that. You need to go to theology or quantum fluctuations or something like the ekpyrotic cyclic universe model.

Blogger Ahazuerus April 13, 2016 11:27 AM  

@49

As an explanation, that scenario has far bigger problems than crappy analogy.

Blogger kurt9 April 13, 2016 11:28 AM  

Nearly all government-funded "science" is fraud, as is all of the "soft" fields.

Anonymous BGKB April 13, 2016 11:30 AM  

Yeah, scientistry is, if not pure gold, at least a solid silver, and somewhat obvious in meaning in context

Pure unobtanium

Blogger RobertT April 13, 2016 11:31 AM  

Never forget East Anglia

Blogger B.J. April 13, 2016 11:34 AM  

Modern pharmaceuticals are just the quacks of old, subsidized and corporatized, enabled by modern psychiatry. Every personality trait is a 'disorder' and all of them can be treated with drugs. I know so many people hopped up on so much junk it's frightening. "Oh I have anxiety so I take these 18 different drugs. I need Obamacare!" Um yeah no shit dude, everyone has anxiety, it's called "Being Human." We have pathologized all normal human emotions.

Not only that, but when scientists do research anything meaningful or factual about human nature, mainstream science will do everything in its power to squash it. Not because they think it's wrong, but because they think if people know the truth it will lead to some disaster. Can't tell people temperment and intelligence are inheritable traits because we'll go straight down the slippery slope into nazi death camps.

Anonymous Jack Amok April 13, 2016 11:36 AM  

Physics remains pretty good, but has obvious problems with unique and very expensive instruments like the LHC, or the perpetually detached from reality even in theory string theorists, who've captured US high energy theoretical physics for decades.

I was going to say that physicists don't always get such great results these days, but you already covered it. They still do get great results, when they are doing the modern day equivalent of throwing rocks (throwing them very far, very fast, and very, very accurately). But then people - even non-experts - are pretty good at figuring out if a thrown rock landed where it was supposed to or not, so it's hard to pull of a scam throwing rocks.

Easier to be wrong without being detected when you're throwing invisible, hypothetical things like strings around. Hard to see where they really landed.

So updated, "don't trust biologists simply because physicists used to get amazingly accurate results when they didn't act like biologists."

OpenID denektenorsk April 13, 2016 11:42 AM  

So it all is better than "a creation myth", but parts of it, are at least for now, are not much better, and might stay that way until some crazy mad scientist is willing to risk destroying our universe to see if he can create another one :-).

Thanks for the links. I find the field fascinating but didn't see a career path for myself so I avoided it. Now my limited spare time is occupied... elsewhere. I've always wondered what role blackholes play in the grand scheme of things. I see that scientists have discovered they emit energy. Are they a cosmic garburator if you will?

Blogger YIH April 13, 2016 11:44 AM  

BGKB:
I know one thing, I have to go visit NYC again before it is underwater by 2015.
You make that sound like it's a bad thing.
I'm looking forward to those submarine and glass-bottom boat tours.

Anonymous Athor Pel April 13, 2016 11:46 AM  

" 45. Blogger Desiderius April 13, 2016 11:05 AM
"physicists get amazingly accurate results"

Physicists are looking under the streetlight for their car keys because that's where the best light is.

Mathematicians (the careful ones, at least) get amazingly accurate results. Accuracy is not validity.

See Berlin on Vico.
"


Since many here do care about Truth, I would amend what was said above and replace accuracy with precision.

Accuracy assumes a known target or in science it assumes meaning, maybe even a cause and effect relationship. Making more precise measurements is what humanity is able to do but what those measurements mean...

My job relies on measurements made with GPS. The difference between precision and accuracy is something I live with every day. If you don't believe me just ask a long distance shooter or a land surveyor.

Blogger SciVo April 13, 2016 11:48 AM  

Phillip George wrote:ie. what most people call science was born in a class called "natural philosophy" in a university which required Theology in order for people to not be considered bat shit crazy.

With the order lost people are still trying to square the circle.


Reminds me of Medicine (lyrics in the top comment).

OpenID denektenorsk April 13, 2016 11:53 AM  

Rather, imagine an already infinite *flat* rubber sheet that's continually stretching or expanding. Yes, and infinite thing can expand- infinities are weird, wacky things in higher math. I can only really grasp the stuff indirectly.

That squirms around in my brain.... I'm a lay person at best with my information filtered through reporters (when they report on how game dev or the Internet works I cringe in embarassment over how little they understand). So I get that what I read is probably drastically over simplified.

I thought that the 2D plane was brought into question? I.e. we see the world as (relatively) flat because we are on it.

To my little brain if we assume that our galaxy is moving, we are either moving away, towards or at the same speed as something else. Have all of those cases been observed? Do the theories posit something else?

OpenID denektenorsk April 13, 2016 11:55 AM  

I know one thing, I have to go visit NYC again before it is underwater by 2015.

LOL. Remember to visit Miami before it is underwater in 2025. Already past the lock-in date, for reals. Oh wait, Mr. Mann updated the estimate to 20 years out in March, so 2036. Hurry!

Anonymous Stickwick April 13, 2016 12:05 PM  

Ahazuerus: With all due respect, as we say when about to be disrespectful, the big bang has "numerous insurmountable problems" but it remains very much alive.

People like to claim this, but so far I have seen nothing that deals a death blow to big bang theory. Maybe you know something I don't know, though I don't hold out much hope. What are these numerous insurmountable problems with big bang theory?

Or at least experiences the illusion of consciousness... perhaps in a Bolzmann Brain somewhere…

You don’t seem to understand the Boltzmann Brain concept. Consciousness is not an illusion. However, it is possible — in that, no one can disprove it — that the experiences we think we’re having are hallucinations.

To call it marketing is not at all misleading. On the contrary it is utterly and devastatingly accurate.

No, it isn't. Whatever flaws big bang theory may have, the CMB was undeniably a devastating blow to steady state while supportive of big bang theory.

Blogger Josh April 13, 2016 12:09 PM  

YOU'RE RHETORIC IS TEH DUMB!

It's not rhetoric

YEAH WELL THEM WORDS IS STUPID!

Anonymous Jack Amok April 13, 2016 12:13 PM  

...but if that is 20 years in the future and I'm retiring that's someone else's problem.

That is actually a huge problem in American companies from all sectors, not just pharma. And it's not a 20 year horizon anymore either, it's "5 years from now, hell, maybe 2 years, I'm moving on to another company or another department, and it'll be someone else's problem."

Too many of the people we let into decision making positions are running their careers as a series of short-term scams where their biggest challenge is avoiding getting stuck holding the bag at the end.

Blogger Sevron April 13, 2016 12:18 PM  

Jack Amok,

A big part of that problem is the corporations reward that behavior, and are pretty flagrant about the whole "you are an utterly unimportant and replaceable cog in our big beautiful machine that we will replace with a monkey as soon as possible" thing. When corporate culture rewarded and encouraged staying, people stayed. Now that the best way to get significant raises and promotions is by hopping around, people hop.

Blogger Josh April 13, 2016 12:20 PM  

Too many of the people we let into decision making positions are running their careers as a series of short-term scams where their biggest challenge is avoiding getting stuck holding the bag at the end.

The Gervais principle

Blogger John Wright April 13, 2016 12:29 PM  

"what most people call science was born in a class called "natural philosophy" in a university which required Theology in order for people to not be considered bat shit crazy.
With the order lost people are still trying to square the circle."

You said it! Ideas fit together like atoms in a molecule: some work together and some do not.

Physics without theology leads to brain-dead schoolboy errors in epistemology cf: Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.

Without theology, philosophy, and the philosophy of physics, soon you have physicists announcing, like Hume, that since cause and effect cannot be seen or weighed, it does not exist, or that particles change position without moving through the intervening space, or that a cat can be alive and dead and neither and both provided only Dr. Schrodinger is not looking at the cat.

The modern mind hears the physicists making silly schoolboy errors in philosophy, and assumes that if they know physics, they know as must as the Profession on Gilligan's Island, because they are experts at everything. So the modern man concludes the physicists are right and the universe is bananas.

I conclude the universe is rational and the modern man is bananas. When Einstein said 'God does not play at dice' he was enunciating a principle of the philosophy of science without which science cannot exist: ex nihilo nihil fit. Nothing comes from nothing; nothing happens for no reason.

Heisenberg, answering him back, told Einstein not to tell God what to do, by which he meant, if I do not see the cause, the cause does not exist. Heisenberg did not draw the logical conclusion from this, namely, that without cause and effect, all science, indeed, all reasoning is vain.

Blogger Lobo Util April 13, 2016 12:41 PM  

My theory: There is only one large star somewhere, not observable in its entirety. ALL the observable stars in the galaxy or universe are wormholes that open onto that sun of varying sizes, strengths, and filtering. The are caused by the mass, gravity, energy, etc. of that one star. Since wormholes are not actually tubes, the sun appearing from a wormhole would look like, for instance, our sun. It would appear as a 3D object wherever the wormhole terminates. Since the gravity, radiation, and other properties emanate from a 3D wormhole, we cannot tell the difference from having the sun as an actual physical presence. There might be wormhole effects near the sun, as the folks who tested bending of light near the sun discovered. There is no limit to the number of wormholes since they are not 3D objects. The missing "black matter" in the universe actually physically exists in that massive star and its neighbors whose existence powers all the stars.

Blogger Lobo Util April 13, 2016 12:45 PM  

Anyway, I think it is as good as the Big Bang.

Blogger Rusty Fife April 13, 2016 12:45 PM  

Eduardo... I am just joking wrote:Well amigo, if a divine being was there in the lab we could have no science porn0.... Alright alright i know its creepy but it is a fact that non believers are awesome in bed!!!!!! Maybe...

So at least one truth was discovered; but at what cost to the Science! that was supposed to be at issue?

Anonymous Jack Amok April 13, 2016 12:51 PM  

A big part of that problem is the corporations reward that behavior... When corporate culture rewarded and encouraged staying, people stayed. Now that the best way to get significant raises and promotions is by hopping around, people hop.

Yes, and what was the mechanism by which corporate culture changed to such short-term thinking? Ah, by rewarding and promoting short-term behavior, so that eventually the place is run by the most nimble hoppers.

Maybe we should collaborate on a Business Psychology research paper covering the subject. If only we could get a grant...

Blogger Dave Narby April 13, 2016 12:56 PM  

CBR Big Bang bla bla bla... (pukes).

Watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8ijbu3bSqI

Here's why:

"Ever since Penzias and Wilson discovered that the Earth was surrounded by microwave energy, astronomers have been quick to postulate that the apparent ~3K signal represented the signature of the Big Bang. Yet long ago, Gustav Kirchhoff insisted that the setting of temperatures, using the laws of thermal emission, required enclosure. Clearly, the Big Bang can never meet this requirement. In this presentation, it will be demonstrated that the microwave fields, which surround the earth and have excited distant molecules, can be generated by the hydrogen bond within water in the condensed state. A review of the COBE and WMAP will be presented, revealing that the microwave anisotropy maps have no scientific validity. The data lack both signal to noise and reproducibility. Furthermore, the PLANCK satellite findings will be discussed. These data provide unambiguous evidence that powerful microwave fields do not exist at L2. Penzias and Wilson measured water on Earth. The correct assignment of this signal is vital to better understanding our own planet.

Pierre-Marie Robitaille, PhD is a Professor of Radiology at The Ohio State University, with a joint appointment in Chemical Physics. He initially trained as a spectroscopist and has wide ranging knowledge of instrumentation in the radio and microwave bands. A recognized expert in image acquisition and analysis, Professor Robitaille was responsible for doubling the world record in Magnetic Resonance Imaging in 1998. In 2000, he turned his attention to thermodynamics and astrophysics, demonstrating that the universality advanced in Kirchhoff's Law of Thermal Emission is invalid. He has published extensively on the microwave background, highlighting that this signal arises from water on the Earth and has no relationship to cosmology and has recently published a paper on the Liquid Metallic Hydrogen Solar Model (LMHSM)."

Blogger FALPhil April 13, 2016 12:57 PM  

@64
Too many of the people we let into decision making positions are running their careers as a series of short-term scams where their biggest challenge is avoiding getting stuck holding the bag at the end.

Heh. Just like the US Navy, where the operational goal is to maintain the illusion of getting something done until your fitness report is in, and moving on to the next unit. Only problem is, you inherit the crap that the last guy threw over the transom when you replaced him.

Anonymous That Would Be Telling April 13, 2016 1:02 PM  

@56 denektenorsk:

So [the Big Bang] is better than "a creation myth", but parts of it, are at least for now, are not much better, and might stay that way until some crazy mad scientist is willing to risk destroying our universe to see if he can create another one :-).

Thanks for the links. I find the field fascinating but didn't see a career path for myself so I avoided it. Now my limited spare time is occupied... elsewhere. I've always wondered what role blackholes play in the grand scheme of things. I see that scientists have discovered they emit energy. Are they a cosmic garburator if you will?


You're welcome, and I too avoid getting too deep into this for some of the same reasons, and that my math is good enough for chemistry, but not enough for this sort of serious physics.

"Black holes" ... well, first of all, when the math creates singularities, I myself get suspicious of where the theory takes us. As for emitting energy, that can happen in at least two ways, from stuff falling into them, and from quantum effects.

As I recall, and it's been decades since I read this, I think mostly from Jerry Pournelle, the topic of the most recent post to this blog, Steven Hawking pioneered the application of quantum mechanics to black holes, which resulted in all sorts of interesting things, like small enough ones will evaporate, to, and I am not making this up, it is theoretically possible that Cthulhu will emerge from one. Just very very unlikely, and of course we're not talking about a Cthulhu that has supernatural powers.

This all has to do with what would happen at the "edge" of a black hole, where it's not going to escape the constraints of quantum mechanics.

Blogger clk April 13, 2016 1:04 PM  

ok nerd fight ... :)

"I was going to say that physicists don't always get such great results these days, but you already covered it'

Well part of that is the universe has gotten more abstract .. just look a progress in modern physics -- atomic physics (easily measurable, effects most reactions, driver of properties - pretty well understood and applied), nuclear physics (first radiations were pretty straight forward, detectable, again now pretty well understood and applied). Particle physics -- still quite abstract, its application at a macro level is still in infancy (I would say non existent but people like to use words like quantum to describe new devices which really are not quantum devices, just things that are so small that you need to work on a single particle scale -- but large and large its untapped and unproved to the sense of any application)..

I don't hold it against the present day modern physicists looking at sub atomic fundamental particles sometimes get it wrong, or spend their whole career waiting for one test that can change the whole course of the fields... they have been very successful in modelling the low hanging fruit and now whats left is quite hard and quite abstract. They are often one new test result away from a completely new theory .. its quite exciting... As for you astrophysics -- it must be nice to work in a field where the chance to be proven wrong or right might be hundreds if not thousands of years in the future.. and no potential applications to demonstrate proof of correctness. :)


Anonymous Eduardo April 13, 2016 1:18 PM  

I couldn't hold my will to joke about the fetish...

But you know and I know that every once in a while we need to challenge the sexual paradogmas. Once we though that the skin rubbing gang was the ultimate sexual theory, and that everything spins around the head of the male apparatus... Today we know better! The uterus was born ex nihilo from assexual nothingness and the pee-pee is just a small insignificant part of Vosmos. We now know that the ovaries are black .... Eggs! They attract everything including light; ever wonder why it is dark inside? Well that is why! There are billions and billions of... Cumets; that run away from their cannibal father and run towards the bosom of the mother, not only to save her from misoginy but to hump the egg and later in life the Mom a.k.a. Miss Gaya, as Freud noticed. The Vosmos is almost entirely made ... Of dark wetness, such a thing is predicted by the Uter-US field, that pretty much explain why is there such a thing as salsiche in the Vosmos. And of course the cream of the crop in frontier science: the plastic space-time divider that without it we would all be living in a whole different world! Without that the Vosmos would enter in a horrible stage where a huge headed homo sapiens appears in the edge of the Vosmos and destroys all its environments and sucks the beauty and diplomas out of Gaya... It is trully a Darwinian miracle that the rubber divider is just the right density to permit life as we see today, out of all possible condongenical conditons we got the right one, exactly as expected if the Vosmos sprang to existence from Nihil, the galactic milk man.

Anonymous That Would Be Telling April 13, 2016 1:19 PM  

@54 B.J.:

Modern pharmaceuticals are just the quacks of old, subsidized and corporatized, enabled by modern psychiatry. Every personality trait is a 'disorder' and all of them can be treated with drugs.

Errr, not at all. Personality disorders are, at least the last time I checked, intractable, and they can't be treated as such by drugs. Maybe a bit by talking therapy, but of course the lightbulb has to want to change, and that's not exactly characteristic of them.

"Oh I have anxiety so I take these 18 different drugs. I need Obamacare!" Um yeah no shit dude, everyone has anxiety, it's called "Being Human."

Be thankful you don't have any family members with crippling anxiety, it's a lot more than "Being Human", it's more like being human without having sufficient coping mechanisms for whatever reasons. And while the drug companies might love to have "18 different drugs" to treat it, it turns out they don't have any that'll reliably work for more than a couple of weeks, it's either stuff like the benzodiazepines that your body gets tolerant to in that time frame, or entirely hit or miss, let's see if this helps stuff that never had a primary indication for anxiety and aside from the anti-depressants are entirely off-label for anxiety, with the exception of buspirone, and I don't personally know of anyone for whom buspirone did a bit of good.

Blogger Ahazuerus April 13, 2016 1:24 PM  

Joke of the Day Prize:

"... the universe has gotten more abstract ... "

Now THAT's class A hallucinogenic trolling, right there.

9,000 internetz, that man.

Anonymous Eduardo April 13, 2016 1:26 PM  

Anxiety and depression are extremely related. I have both and yeah... Is a horrible thing to have anxiety transtorn (hope the word exists)

OpenID denektenorsk April 13, 2016 1:29 PM  

Maybe we should collaborate on a Business Psychology research paper covering the subject. If only we could get a grant...

Wasn't the opposite already done? I.e. papers on maximizing share holder value - solving a problem that didn't really exist?

Blogger Ahazuerus April 13, 2016 1:35 PM  

Stickwick,

No, I doubt I know anything more than you do. It is vaguely possible I don't know some of those things that aint so that you do know.

Firstly, as another commenter pointed out, as an explanation for everything, the Big Bang suffers from not explaining everything, itself included. It suffers from the Hubble constant not being constant. It suffers from largely the same horizon problems as every other theory. It suffers from requiring inflation, a phenomenon never observed nor even possible in theory, yet required to account for the macro structure of the universe. It suffers from the fine-tuning problem, which is simply inexplicable on a purely material basis. It suffers from the fact that we know stars and planet don't form purely by gravitic accumulation. It suffers from the objections of the electric theorists, who actually have much stronger evidence (so much so that, famously, NASA shut down a student project to look at that evidence) than their opponents.

Mostly, it suffers from the ego-jingoism of its adherents, whose manic confidence in the face of all objections reminds one strongly of other forms of human infelicity.

Like just about everything we know, if we know anything at all, we know it is wrong. Now, it might or might not be less wrong than competing ideas, but then, that's what these kinds of discussions are about, innit?

OpenID denektenorsk April 13, 2016 1:42 PM  

Anxiety and depression are extremely related. I have both and yeah... Is a horrible thing to have anxiety transtorn (hope the word exists)

Inquiring minds want to know, do you prefer clapping or Jazz Hands?

Anonymous Mr. Rational April 13, 2016 1:46 PM  

denektenorsk wrote:My understanding is we have measurable evidence to support the theory that galaxies are moving (i.e. from the shape of lightwaves hitting us we can tell the source is moving away).
Specifically, measuring the spectrum of emission and absorption lines in the light from these galaxies (which are characteristic of the chemical elements which emit/absorb them).  These lines are more and more red-shifted the more distant the source is (beyond the local group; Andromeda is heading for us so slightly blue-shifted).

Have we measured all (visible) galaxies?
There are too many of them and not enough telescopes.  But nobody's found any verifiable exceptions.

Is the rest not the scientific equivalent of a creation myth? What came before - the universes' equivalent of Pangea?
Scientists are trying to figure that out by measuring the properties of extremely hot, extremely dense matter such as existed in the first instants of the universe.  They create tiny bits of it by slamming protons and anti-protons into each other at CERN, and trying to suss out what it's like by looking at what flies out.

The earliest instants of the universe were weird beyond human comprehension.  Things like everything packed into a space smaller than an atom, but it couldn't collapse into a black hole because the force of gravity didn't exist yet.  Space existed in 11 dimensions of which only 3 can be detected directly today.  Out of such bizarre models come predictions that look like the universe we live in.  That doesn't make them right, but all science can ever give us is something that's not obviously wrong.

@27 Reference for that, please.  I found one 1995 paper that does not appear to have any real traction, nor do we have any evidence that matter is being created.

@81 The "electric hypothesis" lacks things like evidence of the transfer of energy through electric currents.  We've flown probes over the poles of the Sun; if there was a cosmic welding cable feeding the star as an electric arc, we'd have detected it.

Anonymous It's me! Eduardo April 13, 2016 1:50 PM  

Denek...

Jazz... Jazz hands ó_ò!

OpenID denektenorsk April 13, 2016 2:00 PM  

Eduardo Here you go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3MY3016FAk

Blogger wrf3 April 13, 2016 2:02 PM  

JCW @67: Physics without theology leads to brain-dead schoolboy errors in epistemology cf: Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.

And theology without physics leads to some pretty brain-dead errors, too.

... that particles change position without moving through the intervening space

Quantum tunnelling is what allows you to type your mis-informed opinions on your computer.

or that a cat can be alive and dead and neither and both provided only Dr. Schrodinger is not looking at the cat.

Again, a gross mis-understanding of what QM says. The cat is alive (with some probability) or dead (with some probability). You won't know which until you look. It is not "alive and dead" or "not alive and not dead."

When Einstein said 'God does not play at dice' he was enunciating a principle of the philosophy of science...

Einstein was wrong and has been demonstrated to be wrong. See, for example, Is the moon there when nobody looks? Reality and the quantum theory by Mermin. The title comes from a question Einstein asked Bohr in the famous debate between the two.

... nothing happens for no reason.

I suggest you take six hours and listen to John Conway's presentation of The Free Will Theorem. The link goes to part 1 of 6.

Heisenberg did not draw the logical conclusion from this, namely, that without cause and effect...

QM does not deny cause and effect. It just says that, underneath everything, are uncaused causes. Read QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter by Richard Feynman.

Anonymous Eduardo April 13, 2016 2:11 PM  

Denek

Thank you that was very instructive and cute.... Hairdo cute.

Must say I LOL'ed. I sincery wanna use these in a theather some day heheheh.

Now I knew Milo was funny but this is just! It reeks of awesomeness.

Anonymous tublecane April 13, 2016 2:31 PM  

"physicists get amazingly accurate results"

Physics has its own problems. Nevermind string theory, which isn't science at all. There hasn't been any forward momentum in fundamental physics for nearly 90 years, since the development of quantum theory. Which no one is fully satisfied with. The big bang theory has giant holes they plug with dark matter and dark forces. Does anyone really trust the so-called standard model? A billion types of fundamental particles, some which never appear on their own, but are bound within bigger particles for reasons we don't know, with spins and flavors and colors and so forth that are only metaphors, really. Does anyone know what the hell a Higgs boson is, or whether it exists, let alone deserves the ridiculous hype implied by the nickname "God particle?" Certainly not the Nobel Committee.

Blogger pyrrhus April 13, 2016 2:36 PM  

The reason physicists get great results is that physicists are highly intelligent and very skeptical. Every interesting result is checked hundreds if not thousands of times in labs around the world.....and apart from Carl Sagan's "nuclear winter" scam, everyone plays by the rules, and understands that all results are tentative...

Blogger Ahazuerus April 13, 2016 2:37 PM  

@85

"And theology without physics leads to some pretty brain-dead errors, too."

Since, as Mr Wright correctly pointed out, science (including physics) is an outgrowth of (a specific) theology, he neither stated nor implied that anyone should pursue theology without physics.

Your opening non sequitur renders the rest of your tendentious assault quite moot.

OpenID anonymos-coward April 13, 2016 2:37 PM  

And while the drug companies might love to have "18 different drugs" to treat it, it turns out they don't have any that'll reliably work for more than a couple of weeks.
Yes, obviously. You can't treat spiritual problems with psychoactive drugs. Quite the opposite.

Acedia is the king of sins in the Christian tradition, and psychoactive drugs are the straightest path to traffic with the demonic.

Anonymous BGKB April 13, 2016 2:37 PM  

go visit NYC again before it is underwater by 2015...LOL. Remember to visit Miami before it is underwater in 2025

David the Good just moved to Ft Lauderdale. I told him it was a bad idea as all the gays have been fleeing South Beach Miami to there since after Versace was killed(no cheap place for young guys to stay after that), because of all of the non Asian minority attacks against them. Could it be rats fleeing a sinking ship?

I might have to write "BigGaySteve's Guide to Dealing With Petulant Puffs" and send it to him. Chapter 1: How to Bitchslap Without Leaving Marks. Don't date more than one guy named Mark at a time, its better to be single than in a bad relationship.

Blogger pyrrhus April 13, 2016 2:38 PM  

String theory, which has no empirical basis, is an academic pretense that enables people to get PhDs....Experimentalists simply ignore it...

Blogger wrf3 April 13, 2016 2:41 PM  

Ahazuerus @89 wrote: Your opening non sequitur renders the rest of your tendentious assault quite moot.

Not at all. If your theology leads you to think that Copenhagen is wrong, then it's your theology that's wrong.

Anonymous tublecane April 13, 2016 2:59 PM  

@10-I think you're correct about the scale of jargon, although there is an awful lot of it in popular exposition of the higher fields. But the social "sciences" aren't the bottom of it. Literary criticism, or "lit crit," is much worse and much more pretentious. I don't think anything has it beat, though certain branches of postmodern philosophy may try.

Blogger Ahazuerus April 13, 2016 2:59 PM  

@93

Two non sequiturs do not a theory make.

Anonymous BGKB April 13, 2016 3:02 PM  

North Carolina is less likely to sink into the sea now that Micheal More is boy coting it. What a poster boy for men in little girls rooms. http://twitchy.com/2016/04/12/worst-threat-ever-oh-no-heres-how-michael-moore-is-punishing-n-c-for-bigoted-law/

Blogger borderwalker April 13, 2016 3:13 PM  

@76: I'll have whatever Eduardo is having. ;-)

Blogger borderwalker April 13, 2016 3:14 PM  

@76: I'll have whatever Eduardo is having. ;-)

Blogger Joshua Sinistar April 13, 2016 3:18 PM  

Why bother? The cancer has metastasized to the point that the frauds are simply hiding the collusion. The Long March through the Institutions has not yet reached the Trail of Tears portion yet, but we can all help it get there. Whenever Dr. Stupid comes along to give the Politically Correct Line like the good little weaselly commissar he is, lets refer to him as The Soothsayer formerly known as a Scientist. When people realize he's just a soothsayer looking through the entrails of Western Civilization they can give him the Old Bronx Cheer. The Raspberry Beret will never seem the same to these fruit loops.

Blogger Young Heaving Bosoms of Liberty April 13, 2016 3:25 PM  

BGKB wrote:I

BGKB, your monomania is showing again.

Anonymous BluePony April 13, 2016 4:02 PM  

"As an explanation, that scenario has far bigger problems than crappy analogy."

I fully admit I'm not the best person to explain such concepts. I figured I'd take a shot at it because why not.

The problem with the old balloon analogy is that the layman invariably focuses on the center of the balloon, and how the balloon expanded from that point when there is no original point at all. So you kind of just have to wrap your head around infinities. The flat sheet is a 2D representation of the 3D world. Amy curvature it may have is unimportant to the expansion concept.

I ran across a cosmology discussion on Reddit (yeah, yeah, I know) a year ago where the idea of infinite things expanding into other infinite things was very well explained. Alas, I could not find it.

Anonymous Stickwick April 13, 2016 4:05 PM  

Ahazuerus: Firstly, as another commenter pointed out, as an explanation for everything, the Big Bang suffers from not explaining everything, itself included.

Right away we get a category error. The big bang theory is not intended as an explanation for everything.

You clearly don’t have a good grasp of physics or cosmology. I give you credit for coming up with mostly novel “problems” for the big bang theory, though. With the exception of inflation, which is not an insurmountable problem, I have never heard anyone come up with any of the other objections you presented.

- It is in no way, shape, or form a problem that the Hubble “constant” is not constant. If you’re alluding to the observation that the universe is accelerating in its expansion, that is explainable by dark energy.

- The horizon problem is not an insurmountable problem. It is entirely surmountable if inflation is correct.

- Inflation is hotly contested, but I have never heard any physicist state that it is impossible under current theory. What some of them do state is that the physical requirements for inflation are so specialized that it presents a philosophical problem in terms of explaining how that could even happen. But so what? Physicists were presented with the same philosophical problem with the carbon resonance energy, and yet it was discovered to exist. It’s so finely-tuned that it inspired Hoyle to famously state that it was like someone was monkeying with nature. There is no reason similarly fine-tuned parameters couldn’t lead to inflation. And in spite of what some people claim, inflation makes testable predictions, which is what experiments like BICEP and Keck Array are examining.

- It doesn’t “suffer” from the fine-tuning problem. The fine-tuning problem is only a metaphysical problem for scientists who can’t figure out a solely naturalistic way to explain why the universe is so finely-tuned for life. Big bang theory works just fine without knowing why the constants and parameters are the way they are.

- I have no idea how the star formation theory or planetary formation theory are supposed to be related to big bang theory.

- “It suffers from the objections of the electric theorists, who actually have much stronger evidence… “ Evidence for what, exactly?

You don’t seem to understand the meaning of “insurmountable problem.” It doesn’t mean “currently debatable” or “difficult to test” or “philosophically unpleasant,” it means impossible given the limitations of the theory. An insurmountable problem isn’t how to explain inflation. An insurmountable problem is how to explain the blackbody shape of the CMB or arrive at the cosmic abundances of light elements in the context of steady state theory.

Anonymous BluePony April 13, 2016 4:06 PM  

"Amy curvature" is my typo of the week. I think I dated her in college.

Blogger Ahazuerus April 13, 2016 4:25 PM  

Oh I understand just fine. Thanks anyway.

As for category error, go back and read the comment I referred to, and you'll understand what I wrote. And why it is no such thing.

Anonymous Stickwick April 13, 2016 4:26 PM  

tublecane: Physics has its own problems. Nevermind string theory, which isn't science at all. There hasn't been any forward momentum in fundamental physics for nearly 90 years…

It’s not an unreasonable point, but at the same time it’s not entirely accurate. As someone who has been in the field for almost 20 years, I can tell you that the dam is about to burst. Anyone who has read Kuhn or knows anything about the history of science knows that scientific development does not proceed in a steady forward progression, but rather by great, seemingly instantaneous leaps. These leaps look instantaneous, but they are always preceded by crises that develop over many decades or centuries of apparent stagnation. We have abundant crises in physics right now. It’s only a matter of time before the next leap occurs.

Does anyone know what the hell a Higgs boson is, or whether it exists, let alone deserves the ridiculous hype implied by the nickname "God particle?”

Yes, yes, and it’s not hype. Take a few minutes to google the history of the Higgs boson and the details of its discovery. As for the nickname, it apparently serves to trip people up the same way the nickname of our host does. It’s not called the God particle out of hype, but partly out of Jewish tradition and partly as a joke. Lederman was inspired of the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis and by analogy the frustrated attempts by physicists to reconstruct a time in the history of the universe when nature spoke one coherent language. The joke, he explains, is that he called the Higgs boson the “God particle,” because his editors wouldn’t let him call it the “Goddamn particle.”

Anonymous Eduardo April 13, 2016 4:34 PM  

Join the Crazy Train borderwalker hahahahha.

U_____U wait until I post VOICE messages, then you will know the power!!!! My vox is least 2 SD more sexier than the Dark Lord!!!!

Believe it or not that is just how I roll... I get over excited

Anonymous Mr. Rational April 13, 2016 4:34 PM  

tublecane wrote:Does anyone know what the hell a Higgs boson is, or whether it exists, let alone deserves the ridiculous hype implied by the nickname "God particle?"
Nobody really knows what a neutrino is, but it has to be there to explain what we observe.  In the words of I. I. Rabi, "Who ordered that?"

The balloon analogy is at least good for getting across the idea that the "center" of the expansion does not exist in the universe.  It occurs to me that it might be useful to think of it as being 13.7 light-years ago (the dimension being time, not space); someone with a better grasp than I will have to say whether or not this is a better way of getting it across to the layman.

Anonymous Mr. Rational April 13, 2016 4:39 PM  

I meant 13.7 billion light-years ago, of course.

Anonymous Stickwick April 13, 2016 4:41 PM  

Ahazuerus, it's fine if you don't want to continue the discussion, but you clearly do not understand what an "insurmountable problem" is.

Blogger Ahazuerus April 13, 2016 4:47 PM  

"explainable by dark energy"

VP threads are always amusing, but this one is funny as all hell.

Anonymous Stickwick April 13, 2016 5:07 PM  

Dude, just give it up. It's one thing to debate the scientific merits of something like dark energy or inflation, and it's quite another to assert that something is impossible to explain or test when it clearly isn't. You don't understand the difference.

Blogger Ahazuerus April 13, 2016 5:21 PM  

Stickwick

When a theory demands things that are flatly impossible, only one such problem is required to be insurmountable.

As for dark matter and dark energy, they're only "necessary" if you believe that the structure of the universe is dominated by the effects of gravity, as force 39 orders of magnitude weaker than electromagnetism. Suffice it to say, I do not so believe.

Dark matter and dark energy do not explain anything. Their purpose, their function, is not to explain, but to paper over the gaping lacunae in the theory. You know this. I understand why it is impolitic to admit to it in this context, but you know it.

Inventing unobservables to "explain" failures of prediction is the primary sign of a theory in crisis, the very same kind of crisis by which you say science advances in leaps and bounds.

Take the leap, Stickwick. You're far to intelligent not to.

Anonymous Stickwick April 13, 2016 5:45 PM  

Ahazuerus, seriously, you're not equipped for this discussion. You didn't bother to address my responses to the problems you presented, and you doggedly persist in missing the point, which I'm not going to explain again. Also note that simultaneously appealing to someone's intelligence while insulting it is counterproductive.

Blogger Ahazuerus April 13, 2016 6:03 PM  

Stickwick,

I have not insulted you. If you feel I have, I apologise. That was not my intent.

Blogger exfarmkid April 13, 2016 6:19 PM  

This blog post went off the rails.

The point was a reiteration of VD's correct assertion that we very much need our society to understand that the scientific method, the cumulative body of "knowledge" and the habits of the practitioners are completely different animals.

As we know, it all gets lumped under the term "science". With lousy results. Hard to communicate when words are vaguely defined.

I like the term "scientody", but it doesn't seem to be catching on very well. Google search got 443 hits about 30 seconds ago.

Blogger wrf3 April 13, 2016 6:20 PM  

Ahazuerus wrote:
Take the leap, Stickwick. You're far to intelligent not to.


Leap into what, Ahazuerus? You haven't provided any alternative theory, except for a veiled reference to some flavor of "electric universe".

Anonymous tublecane April 13, 2016 6:38 PM  

@106-I don't see the difference between me saying there hasn't been any forward momentum in 80+ years and you saying a great leap forward is due any minute now. Either way there's no forward momentum. It's been in a rut since the development of quantum mechanics.Just because a great leap forward comes at the end of a period of Kuhnian crises doesn't mean the crises themselves were progress. In fact, by definition they're not. And who knows if a paradigm shift or shifts will come? I think the skyhigh stacks of assumptions and stop-gap theories piling up to explain the standard model of particle physics and the big bang theory are like medieval epicyles. Eventually someone's going to ask if we need to bother, and boom! We'll have a new model. Or maybe not. Maybe we'll fall into a really expensive Dark Age.

By the way, maybe I should have said THE Higgs boson or the supposed particle that was found and categorized as a Higgs boson. I dare say no one knows what that is, including the Nobel Committee, and the hype surrounding it was sickening.

As for the concept of the Higgs boson, if it were real it'd be important. But we have no way of knowing it is, especially not with our standard model several crises down the Kuhnian road without many publicizing the fact. It smells of yet another Next Big Thing.

Also, just because "God particle" was a joke doesn't mean it wasn't used for hype. "Bing bang theory" started as an insult. If you didn't notice how they were selling the hell out of the Higgs, all pit of proportion to its meaning, you weren't paying attention.

Blogger Phillip George April 13, 2016 7:25 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Phillip George April 13, 2016 8:17 PM  

Hmmmm, a Universe with no center and no boundary and homogeneous and resulting from an explosion of nothing, with nothing expect quantum fluctuation in nothing and then inexplicably rapidly expanding and then inexplicably non rapidly expanding and then having lots of useful energy gradients in it.
Then lots of locally entropy reversing random reactions resulting in life.

F. I. T. H. syndrome.

Hansen blamed the general public’s lack of science education for why he’s been criticized as an “alarmist,” saying “we have a society in which most people have become unable to understand or appreciate science, and partly that’s a communication problem which we need to try to alleviate.”

oooh, yeah baby, yeah

Well, "Actually", no Mr Hansen the general public's lack of confidence in the recent culture of science is due to the public understanding it all far too well..

Blogger David-2 April 13, 2016 8:33 PM  

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Blogger David-2 April 13, 2016 8:34 PM  

Speaking of scientists not publishing results because they go into a study with an idea of what the result should be then don't publish when the measured results are what they expect, consider this article on the suppression, but the scientists themselves, of the full study on saturated fats in the diet and the effect on cholesterol and the effect of that on heart disease, done 40 years ago.

Anonymous Stickwick April 13, 2016 8:39 PM  

Ahazuerus, you implied I'm dumb enough to fall for the old "you're too smart for this" routine. You also implied I'm dishonest and/or cowardly. I don't know you, so I don't take it personally, but I have written you off as someone who can't be taken seriously.

tublecane: I don't see the difference between me saying there hasn't been any forward momentum in 80+ years and you saying a great leap forward is due any minute now. Either way there's no forward momentum. It's been in a rut since the development of quantum mechanics.Just because a great leap forward comes at the end of a period of Kuhnian crises doesn't mean the crises themselves were progress.

Yes, that’s exactly what it means. If a crisis is necessary for the leap forward, then it’s part of the progress. And there is forward momentum, you’re just not seeing it. That’s why I said “apparent stagnation.” I’m in the field, you are not. You don’t see what’s happening aside from what the media (ineptly) report on. It’s like a butterfly before it emerges from the cocoon — you only see what comes out of the cocoon and assume that nothing is going on before that.

By the way, maybe I should have said THE Higgs boson or the supposed particle that was found and categorized as a Higgs boson. I dare say no one knows what that is, including the Nobel Committee, and the hype surrounding it was sickening.

Just because you don’t understand what it is doesn’t mean other people don’t. Go to Matt Strassler’s blog and read his articles on Higgs if you want to actually find out what people know about it.

Also, just because "God particle" was a joke doesn't mean it wasn't used for hype. "Bing bang theory" started as an insult. If you didn't notice how they were selling the hell out of the Higgs, all pit of proportion to its meaning, you weren't paying attention.

Did you not read what I wrote? It wasn’t entirely a joke, it has a basis in the Old Testament which very aptly describes the philosophical idea behind it.

And, no, “bing bang theory” did not start as an insult. That’s a myth. Hoyle explained in an interview that he was giving many talks on the radio at the time and striving for visual words that would create pictures in people’s minds, and “big bang” is what he came up with.

As for “hype,” you don’t seem to understand the difference between scientists and media. The media hype the hell out of everything, not scientists.

Anonymous A Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents April 13, 2016 9:01 PM  

A few years back I tracked down some of the original Framingham heart attack study. It was a real effort to gather data, given that in the 1950's and 1960's a heck of a lot of men were dying of heart attacks around age 45 - 55. The researchers accumulated data on everything they could.

I do not have the numbers to hand, sad to say, but one fact stuck in my mind: the increased risk of heart attack correlated with "high cholesterol" was almost exactly the same as the increased risk correlated with "married to woman with college degree". On the order of (picking number) "4.14" vs. "4.12".

The campaign against cholesterol has been going on for over a generation. Nobody has bothered to even consider saving men by keeping women out of college, though, quite the opposite.

All kidding aside, the effects of repeated stress and activation of fight/flight/freeze on the circulatory system are not exactly secret. Men are advised to meditate, exercise, take up yoga, etc. but their wives are never advised to put a sock in it, no matter how "heart healthy" that might be.

In my opinion, elevated cholesterol is a symptom of a problem, not a disease to be treated. It's probably not an accident that men who undergo careful T replacement (with a blood test every 6 months, etc.) see a drop in cholesterol numbers. Can't imagine why that would be, by the standard science (Statins For The Win!) unless of course the fact that cholesteral is a precursor to sex hormones might be a factor. Just as a hypoactive thyroid results in an increase in TSH. But thyroid hormone replacement is standard medical practice, while sex hormone replacement is alternative and considered risky.

At least the idiot who proposed putting statins the water supply never got anywhere.

Oh, and let's not forget Jerome Sullivan, who first proposed that excess iron was responsible for heart disease. His paper was published in the early 1980's, and the evidence has only gotten deeper since then. Yet no mainstream doc that I hae worked with tested iron until I demanded it. Not even cardiac specialists look at iron, despite the strong correlation shown in paper after paper. Because "everyone knows" that cholesterol is the only culprit.

Blogger Phillip George April 13, 2016 9:18 PM  

@124, that was the full dollar.
sunlight exposure also lowers cholesterol.
and I started giving blood for no other reason than heart attack prophylaxis.

now there's a modern myth turned full circle. The ancient phlebotomists were working with strong empirical evidence that they didn't have.

And I'm sticking with the theory atherosclerosis is subclinical scurvy.

Blogger SirHamster April 13, 2016 9:21 PM  

A Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents wrote:Oh, and let's not forget Jerome Sullivan, who first proposed that excess iron was responsible for heart disease. His paper was published in the early 1980's, and the evidence has only gotten deeper since then. Yet no mainstream doc that I hae worked with tested iron until I demanded it. Not even cardiac specialists look at iron, despite the strong correlation shown in paper after paper. Because "everyone knows" that cholesterol is the only culprit.

Excess iron due to diet or a symptom of some other disorder?

Would a solution to excess iron be bloodletting? Because that would be an amusing irony, no pun intended.

Anonymous Mr. Rational April 13, 2016 10:00 PM  

Phillip George wrote:Well, "Actually", no Mr Hansen the general public's lack of confidence in the recent culture of science is due to the public understanding it all far too well.
Speaking as someone who's been dealing with misunderstandings of science for literally decades, it has only been recently that I have encountered organized attempts to mislead the public about major principles and conclusions of science.  The dumbing-down of education since the post-Sputnik surge has been a godsend to those behind it, of course.

Anonymous Jack Amok April 13, 2016 11:35 PM  

Yes, yes, and it’s not hype. Take a few minutes to google the history of the Higgs boson and the details of its discovery...

Not taking sides in the debate, but this is a useful example of what I meant by "throwing rocks." When physicists are throwing rocks, even laypeople with no idea of the theories (or jargon behind the theories) can tell if the rock landed where the physicist said it would land.

With Higgs bosons (Aye Cap'n, Bosun Higgs report'n fer duty. Shall I fetch the cat?), there's nobody outside the credentialed profession in a good position to call Bullshit (or to call "good job! - right on target!"). That doesn't mean Higgs bosons are automatically bullshit, but it does mean there are fewer inherent controls on charlatans.

Ultimately, the real crisis of science is that once the laity were no longer in a position to evaluate the clerics, a large number of the clerics succumbed to temptation, and, as with cops, one rotten boson spoils the whole.... hadron? Nucleus? Atomic particle?

Basially, science the profession hasn't done well on the trust scale once it was no longer subject to close scrutiny from non-scientists.

Blogger Phillip George April 13, 2016 11:43 PM  

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Blogger Phillip George April 13, 2016 11:55 PM  

Sir Hamster, there's a teleological explanation that fits the false evolution narrative as well. Menstruating women suffer fewer heart attack and once the male has gotten their progeny to puberty they are redundant. It reads well and an evolutionist might be difficult to refute on that point.

Changi POW camp seemed to demonstrate that lower iron intake and intermittent fasting reverses atherosclerosis.

http://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/reduce-your-risk-of-heart-attack-and-stroke-by-donating-blood/

of course you can't promote blood donation this way as there would be a glut on the market and Red Cross profits might suffer if competition sprang up. Who is the Red Cross is a different rabbit hole.


Blogger Phillip George April 14, 2016 12:03 AM  

conclusions of science aren't QED mathematics. Many are no where near as compelling or conclusive as advertised.

If science were taught in terms of the myriad anomalies that refute many existing hypothesis in the grand tradition of Socratic inquiry it might divest it's pseudo Pontifical garb and surge forward.

Most Cosmology, by definitions, is hypothesis. You can't run it in a laboratory. There's nothing to refute. It reads and is promoted like the Epic of Gilgamesh.

But all history has only one solution. It either happened or didn't. So every conclusion promoter runs the risk of being entirely wrong.

Anonymous Mr. Rational April 14, 2016 1:04 AM  

Phillip George wrote:If science were taught in terms of the myriad anomalies that refute many existing hypothesis in the grand tradition of Socratic inquiry it might divest it's pseudo Pontifical garb and surge forward.
The problem is the depth of knowledge you need in order to understand the issues at all, including and especially if you have another known principle at work or a measurement error.

Blogger Doc Rampage April 14, 2016 1:09 AM  

Mr. Rational wrote:Nobody really knows what a neutrino is, but it has to be there to explain what we observe.

And this is what's wrong with modern physics. No, the neutrino is not needed to explain what we observe. It is needed to patch up a theory of what is happening at scales too small to observe.

For a hundred and twenty years, physicists have been committed to a theoretical model of micro physics that has been proven wrong over and over again. But instead of throwing it out and starting over, they patch it up by throwing new particles and forces at it.

Physics gets a lot of credit for modern technology, but it doesn't deserve hardly any of that credit. Physicists don't publish a paper and then an engineer picks it up and builds something using the equations in the paper. Engineers experiment, modify, adapt, and find ways to make things work. Much of physics contributes nothing to that process, and it's not clear that the process wouldn't have gone faster if "science" had never existed and engineers had been given those same resources to do speculative work. What else could they have accomplished if time were not spent theorizing about unobservable events?

Anonymous A Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents April 14, 2016 1:19 AM  

Excess iron due to diet or a symptom of some other disorder?

Yes.

There's lots of dietary sources of iron; red meat, iron fortified this, that and the other, most multivitamins, etc. The big way to get rid of iron is to bleed.

Leaving out hemochromatosis, where iron builds up way too fast, there are two categories of adults: those who are prone to heart disease, and those who are not. Women have far fewer cases of heart disease than men do, until menopause. After menopause they tend to follow the same track as men. For years this was attributed to some sort of protective property of estrogen. However, "bleeding every month" vs. "not bleeding much at all" is another difference.

Would a solution to excess iron be bloodletting?

Yup. People with hemochromatosis have to be bled at regular intervals, I know someone who has it. But I don't know if they can do that as blood donors at the blood bank or not.

Because that would be an amusing irony, no pun intended.

Yeah, all these years we all made fun of leeches and bleeding as cures, and now…well, hmm.

Anonymous A Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents April 14, 2016 1:23 AM  

Oh, yeah, one more thing: there's some pretty good evidence for people taking an aspirin daily having some preventative value regarding heart disease. Maybe it's just the small, daily, intestinal bleeding that results for some people?

Anonymous Eduardo April 14, 2016 1:24 AM  

Doc Rampage

Doc, I think quantum Physics may be THE field where it absolutely changed. Our computers own to Quantum mechanics, and Quantum mechanics paved the way to make those technologies.

Now about allll the rest... Yeah you right, scientists just theorize after the event is known, but the especulation in Hard(core) sciences can open new awesome doors!

... Like ... Hmmmm... Errr... Well quantum mechanics makes very accurate predictions so there! Shut your mouth and know your role!!!

Blogger Desiderius April 14, 2016 1:27 AM  

Athor,

"Since many here do care about Truth, I would amend what was said above and replace accuracy with precision.

Accuracy assumes a known target or in science it assumes meaning, maybe even a cause and effect relationship. Making more precise measurements is what humanity is able to do but what those measurements mean..."

Validity encompasses both accuracy and precision, which both have their role to play.

Blogger Ahazuerus April 14, 2016 2:05 AM  

Stickwick,

Please yourself, as is your right. I wish you good fortune and God speed.

Anonymous Mr. Rational April 14, 2016 3:06 AM  

Doc Rampage wrote:And this is what's wrong with modern physics. No, the neutrino is not needed to explain what we observe. It is needed to patch up a theory of what is happening at scales too small to observe.
No, you nitwit.  It is required to explain where the missing energy and momentum in beta decay goes, and what it is that goes through the entire earth like it was vacuum and causes photon emissions in detectors deep underground.  It's what Fermilab is shooting through the earth from Illinois and back to the surface in northern Minnesota.  It's what we appear to be detecting from distant supernovae, arriving from the stellar core collapse before any light appears.

This is what disgusts me about ignorant clowns like you.  You spout off about matters where the slightest bit of knowledge of the history of the issue is all that's required to show that what you're saying is flat wrong.  It's like saying Hertz's spark gap requires EM waves "to patch up a theory".  No, nitwit.  Hertz was testing Maxwell's EM theory of 1873.

For a hundred and twenty years, physicists have been committed to a theoretical model of micro physics that has been proven wrong over and over again. But instead of throwing it out and starting over, they patch it up by throwing new particles and forces at it.
Ye gods, you idiot.  The nature of the atomic nucleus wasn't even known 120 years ago.  The fact that protons and neutrons were not elementary particles wasn't settled until something like the 2nd half of the 20th century; I remember that the quarks vs. partons question was still open in the 70's.  Worse, "proven wrong" is what science TRIES to do!  Every time someone comes up with a theory that explains what's observed, experimentalists try to come up with something that tests whether the theory is right or wrong.  When any prediction doesn't pan out, the theory gets revised.  At no step is it ever assumed to be "the truth", only "not known to be wrong".

If you had one thousandth of the humility that high-energy physicists have displayed over the past 50 years, you would be lauding them for their contributions to human knowledge.  Instead, you show naked hatred for them...like the hatred of SJWs for realtalkers.  And for the same reason.

Blogger Ahazuerus April 14, 2016 3:42 AM  

It's all the medias fault: scientists are pure, rational, restrained and unemotional.

It is to lulz.

No true scientist ...

Blogger Phillip George April 14, 2016 4:24 AM  

Mr Rational, it strikes me as quite immoral what you just said.
It doesn't matter if students can understand the mathematics, equipment limitations, error bars, alternative paradigms.

Nothing should be presented as anything other than pure speculation if it cannot be demonstrated.

What is gravity?

Why does angular momentum work?

As an evolutionist you have, apparently lead thousands of people astray "apparently" being the qualifier.

Louis Pasteur, the empiricist, one of the greatest of all time stated his theory "life from life". He demonstrated pasteurization and the experiment has been repeated billions of time. It is called canning.

You teach, life from non life, abiogenesis as a fact and have demonstated it exactly, nil times.

With or without mathematics you shouldn't gloss over your ignorance simply because you are a teacher of people who don't understand.

cheers, in Jesus Christ the Judge of the Living and the Dead.

Blogger Phillip George April 14, 2016 4:29 AM  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1jpyXPdCRE

scientists at work. pasteurization for a few more billion demonstrations

Blogger Ahazuerus April 14, 2016 5:26 AM  

@wrf3

I don't need to have an answer, nor pretend to know "the" answer. I have no reputation to defend, no papers to publish, no grants to secure.

So I don't have any need for all that pretense, posturing, and pandering.

I know very few things but I know people and our foibles. I know bullshit when it hits me in the face.

I know religious fanaticism when I see it, even when the fanatic claims no religion.

Blogger Ahazuerus April 14, 2016 6:18 AM  

@Mr Rational

You ought to know by now, that going the "hater" route won't sell on this blog.

Criticising people's ideas =/= hating those people.

Anonymous Eduardo April 14, 2016 7:54 AM  

Well let me give you an idea...

Neutrinos... 5 papers explaining an experimental phenomena with neutrinos... You two interpret the paper your own way.... We get three judges to see if your arguments are valid...

END OF THE LINE

Anonymous JustSomeGuy April 14, 2016 9:25 AM  

"Journals are in competition with one another for attention and “impact factor,” and are always more eager to report a new, exciting finding..."

Nope, not even close. Many times the novel finding is rejected by these top-tier publications because it is too outside the conventional (for example- see history of CRISPR).

As statistics isn't my forte' like Ioannidis, I won't comment on the negligence or worse of using flawed study-designs and use of improper statistical-tests or ghost-studies.

Could it be that some of these failures to reproduce results occurs because of ignorance? Ignorance of the impact that things have in affecting life (time, location, environment).

For example, I remember reading about a researcher in "Moon Rhythms in Nature: How Lunar Cycles Affect Living Organisms"
repeating simple daily chemical experiments for a period of years and noted the variation correlated with lunar and solar phases. Living creatures are more than chemicals mixed in a test tube in a lab.

Or, Scientists would hypothesize that a identically equipped lab in Bolivia would/should give the identical results in measuring a hypothetical sample as in Sweden. But are other factors identical in Sweden and Bolivia? No. Often equipment has to be adjusted for changes in altitude. Is the incident radiation the same in Sweden and Bolivia? No. Is this accounted for in general human medical research? No. Some niche journals may cover this topic, though.

Atomic clock researchers say that most sensitive clock behaves differently if deviated 1" from a given location (graviational effect). Does anyone completely understand how molecular clocks are affected gravitational changes (Equator compared to Antarctica or Mt. Everest?)

I would like to think that Ignorance instead of Negligence is responsible for some of the variance.

Also @2 that's when you rewrite your paper to address the contamination and submit it to a different journal, say for example Journal of Lab Contaminants or some such. I would fault the research advisor for not mentioning/encouraging this if it was feasible/interesting.

You might have been on to something similar to the HeLa cell contamination issue.




Blogger SirHamster April 14, 2016 1:11 PM  

@130 Philip, @134 Paradigm

Thanks, good to know. Dad had heart disease, so that will be a future consideration.

And it's funny to boot. It's medical fashions, on a century long duty cycle.

I wonder what medical science in 200 years will say is effective/ineffective compared to now?

Anonymous Mr. Rational April 14, 2016 2:59 PM  

Phillip George wrote:Mr Rational, it strikes me as quite immoral what you just said.

It doesn't matter if students can understand the mathematics, equipment limitations, error bars, alternative paradigms.

Nothing should be presented as anything other than pure speculation if it cannot be demonstrated.

It's IMMORAL for you to deny that these things have indeed been demonstrated.  It is bearing false witness.

Why does angular momentum work?
Straightforward if non-intuitive extrapolation of linear momentum.  It takes a bit of calculus to get it across to most people.

What is gravity?
Beats me.  I bought Misner, Thorne & Wheeler with money from a summer job back in my teens.  I don't have the math chops to understand Riemann tensors.

Know what I don't do?  I don't call them liars because I haven't done the homework to understand it.

As an evolutionist you have, apparently lead thousands of people astray "apparently" being the qualifier.

You teach, life from non life, abiogenesis as a fact and have demonstated it exactly, nil times.
We get the building blocks of life from abiotic chemistry.  The Miller-Urey experiment has been demonstrated thousands of times.  We even get them in ice; put a solution of ammonium cyanide in a freezer for 20 years and you'll have amino acids when you take it out.  There are amino acids in some meteorites.  It is undeniable that it doesn't take life to make the basics from which life is made.

Self-replicating RNA strands have been made in the laboratory, IIUC.  How far does it have to go before you'll admit that it's at least as alive as a virus?

With or without mathematics you shouldn't gloss over your ignorance simply because you are a teacher of people who don't understand.

cheers, in Jesus Christ the Judge of the Living and the Dead.

And there goes the REAL reason for your position.  You aren't resting on logic; anything that does away with the need for a creator shakes your faith as badly as the falsity of human equality shakes liberals', if not worse.  It threatens your very concept of being.

That's not my problem.

Blogger wrf3 April 14, 2016 4:02 PM  

Mr. Rational wrote:It threatens your very concept of being.

That's simply not true -- at least for some of us. I was an atheist. I'm now Christian. I could go back if I had to.

That's not my problem.

What is your problem is the faulty logic that states that randomness does away with the need for a creator. You're still stuck with the lack of an explanation for the law of large numbers and the subsequent explanation for why the probabilities are the way they are. You have to retreat to "just because", the anthropic principle, or the multiverse. What's your poison?

Blogger David Gudeman April 14, 2016 4:18 PM  

Mr. Rat, 120 years ago, scientists thought the atom was a tiny indivisible object. Rutherford proved that they were wrong. So instead of radically rethinking their assumptions, they just invented even smaller indivisible objects. This was the beginning of the trend I was criticizing.

The missing energy in beta decay is a theoretical problem caused by failure of a theoretical model to predict observation. It is not itself an observation.

The "observations" of particles in deep places is also a theoretical observation.

All of this is well known to anyone who has read anything in the philosophy of science. I think your intemperate shouting about my ignorance is just projection on your part. At some level you know that this conversation is over hour head.

Blogger wrf3 April 14, 2016 4:57 PM  

David Gudeman wrote: I think your intemperate shouting about my ignorance is just projection on your part..

No, you really are ignorant.

Your complaint about the structure of the atom is similar to that of a child who thinks that a baseball is a solid object. That's certainly how it appears on the outside. But if you peel it back, you find an outer leather cover, then windings of yarn, with a rubber or cork center.

It was Leucippus and Democritus who developed the atomic theory circa 400 B.C. But, unlike taking a baseball apart, it takes incredibly specialized equipment to do the same thing with atoms. It has taken decades and billions of dollars to build the Large Hadron Collider and we still need one that capable of higher energy collisions.

As to the missing energy in beta decay, we know that conservation laws are due to symmetries in the universe (Noether's Theorem). Energy is conserved. We can tell from the reactions of things where the energy is known that something was missing during beta decay. Neutrons were decaying to protons and electrons and something else that was carrying off missing energy. Those things were found in 1956, earning the researchers the Nobel Prize.

What part of this do you not think is right? More importantly, why?

Blogger Phillip George April 14, 2016 7:22 PM  

It's IMMORAL for you to deny that these things have indeed been demonstrated. It is bearing false witness.

You aren't just wrong but stunningly wrong.

and per the Einsteinesque thought experiment, vitamize and Pasteurize every living thing on earth. Put them into whatever container at whatever dilution you choose using whatever diluent You will never get a living cell from that admixture.

You 'extrapolate' from replicating RNA into the lunatic anti entropy
science fantasy called evolution.
You have led how many tens of thousands of people astray without one demonstration of your wild conjecture.

Pasteur stands on evidence, You are a science fantasist.


And the "Mr Rational" mono gram is "rich".
Karl Popper, you are not.

You are though, average, to what's out there. Very very average.

Blogger Phillip George April 14, 2016 8:04 PM  

Let me explain the science for you/

When something dies it remains reliably dead. Caterpillar metamorphosis is not 'death'.
Reliably dead has been demonstrated a trillion times over. Pasteur the genius got it right. So right if you open a tin of something in date and get gastroenteritis you can reliably sue the manufacturer.
The science is settled. Dead means dead. Entropy works well.

But hang on in there. Your "science" says, "no wait, stuff is coming to life from yonder dead stuff" Just watch, I took a living cell, removed some components and examined them. I made life.

Yes, you ripped people off. You in a personal responsibility sort of a way. You, with your true name, written all over it forever.

Blogger David Gudeman April 14, 2016 9:19 PM  

Wfr3, I don't know what complaint you think I made about the structure of the atom. I said that before 1900 or thereabouts physicists thought the atom was structureless. When this was proven wrong, instead of giving up the atomist assumption, they invented new atomic thingies called subatomic particles. When their commitment to that set of theories ended up causing problems, they had to come up with particles that were even MORE elementary. I'm not complaining about the structure of the atom; I'm complaining that when experiment shows that current theory is completely wrong they always doubled down on the assumptions that led to the completely wrong theory.

I know why the neutrino was postulated. I've described those reasons twice now. I just described it in more direct and less theory-laden language. The custom in physics is to assume all of the theoretical baggage, so when someone makes the theory explicit you are confused.

So let me clear it up for you: no one in this conversation has said anything I haven't already read a dozen times. Since I already know all the stuff you have tried to instruct me on, I can't be the ignorant one here.

You, on the other hand, have failed to grasp some points that would be fairly unremarkable to anyone with a background in the philosophy of science. The fact that you failed to grasp the points rather than merely disagree is apparent because your responses completely miss the point. My point is that your "observations" are theory-laden and you respond within the same theory-laden paradigm that I've just questioned. It's as you were arguing that the butler shot the victim with the gun and I said that there is good reason to think the victim was stabbed rather than shot and you come back with "You are so ignorant! The butler's fingerprints were on the gun!" Well I know that, dipshit, but if the victim wasn't shot then it's not relevant.

If your theories are all wrong then the missing energy did not have to be carried off by a particle.

Blogger David Gudeman April 14, 2016 9:19 PM  

Wfr3, I don't know what complaint you think I made about the structure of the atom. I said that before 1900 or thereabouts physicists thought the atom was structureless. When this was proven wrong, instead of giving up the atomist assumption, they invented new atomic thingies called subatomic particles. When their commitment to that set of theories ended up causing problems, they had to come up with particles that were even MORE elementary. I'm not complaining about the structure of the atom; I'm complaining that when experiment shows that current theory is completely wrong they always doubled down on the assumptions that led to the completely wrong theory.

I know why the neutrino was postulated. I've described those reasons twice now. I just described it in more direct and less theory-laden language. The custom in physics is to assume all of the theoretical baggage, so when someone makes the theory explicit you are confused.

So let me clear it up for you: no one in this conversation has said anything I haven't already read a dozen times. Since I already know all the stuff you have tried to instruct me on, I can't be the ignorant one here.

You, on the other hand, have failed to grasp some points that would be fairly unremarkable to anyone with a background in the philosophy of science. The fact that you failed to grasp the points rather than merely disagree is apparent because your responses completely miss the point. My point is that your "observations" are theory-laden and you respond within the same theory-laden paradigm that I've just questioned. It's as you were arguing that the butler shot the victim with the gun and I said that there is good reason to think the victim was stabbed rather than shot and you come back with "You are so ignorant! The butler's fingerprints were on the gun!" Well I know that, dipshit, but if the victim wasn't shot then it's not relevant.

If your theories are all wrong then the missing energy did not have to be carried off by a particle.

Blogger wrf3 April 14, 2016 10:50 PM  

David Gudeman wrote:Wfr3, I don't know what complaint you think I made about the structure of the atom.

You complained that the initial theory about the structure of the atom was that it was without structure.

I said that before 1900 or thereabouts physicists thought the atom was structureless. When this was proven wrong, instead of giving up the atomist assumption, they invented new atomic thingies called subatomic particles.

But they had no good reason to change the basic idea. At one level, treating the atom like a baseball is a perfectly fine thing to do. Good grief, one of my children pushes around atoms as part of his research.

When their commitment to that set of theories ended up causing problems, they had to come up with particles that were even MORE elementary. ... I'm complaining that when experiment shows that current theory is completely wrong they always doubled down on the assumptions that led to the completely wrong theory.

You're wrong in stating that the current theory was completely wrong. It's no more wrong than Newtonian mechanics is completely wrong. Refinements to a theory don't negate the theory. It's pretty impressive that researchers at IBM were able to spell out "IBM" using Xenon atoms.

I know why the neutrino was postulated. ... The custom in physics is to assume all of the theoretical baggage, so when someone makes the theory explicit you are confused.

To what theoretical baggage are you referring? Conservation of energy? The existence and amount of energy in electrons? The existence and amount of energy in protons? Production of neutrinos and positrons in nuclear reactors?

Since I already know all the stuff you have tried to instruct me on, I can't be the ignorant one here.

Suppose I grant that you know all that you claim to know. Something is still wrong. I suspect it's a misunderstanding of how observations create theory and how theory leads to observations. But given your ambiguity as to what you think is wrong, it's hard to pinpoint now.

The fact that you failed to grasp the points rather than merely disagree is apparent because your responses completely miss the point. My point is that your "observations" are theory-laden and you respond within the same theory-laden paradigm that I've just questioned.

Of course. A theory is nothing more than a description of why we observe things the way we do. Good theories match what we see, bad theories don't. But theories also have domains in which they are valid. No one should be bothered that atoms were found to be composed of protons, neutrons, or electrons. Or that protons and neutrons were found to be composed of quarks. It wouldn't at all surprise me to find that quarks and electrons are composed of open and closed strings vibrating in multiple dimensions.

It's as you were arguing that the butler shot the victim with the gun and I said that there is good reason to think the victim was stabbed rather than shot and you come back with "You are so ignorant! The butler's fingerprints were on the gun!" Well I know that, dipshit, but if the victim wasn't shot then it's not relevant.

Sure. But I've got the bullet wound and the coroner reports no stab wounds. Furthermore, forensics shows that the bullet which was recovered from the body came from that gun. And while the Butler's fingerprints were on the gun, there was no GSR on his hands, and his alibi that he was in the kitchen polishing the silver at the time of death checks out.

If your theories are all wrong then the missing energy did not have to be carried off by a particle.

Of course. And if the moon were made of green cheese and we had a pot big enough, we could have fondue.

Blogger David Gudeman April 15, 2016 1:15 AM  

wrf3 wrote:You complained that the initial theory about the structure of the atom was that it was without structure.
Once again, I wasn't complaining about the original theory of the structure-less atom; I was complaining that when the original theory was shown to be wrong, the response to it was to double down on the assumptions that had led to that theory in the first place. I was complaining about the physicists's response to new evidence, not to the original theory.

wrf3 wrote:But they had no good reason to change the basic idea.
Did they have no reason to change the basic idea? Well that depends on why they came up with that basic idea in the first place, doesn't it? The evidence for an indivisible atom was basically this:
1. the thought experiment: "what happens if you keep dividing a bit of matter into smaller and smaller pieces? Do you eventually reach a smallest piece or does it go on infinitely?
2. The fixed ratios of chemical compounds could be explained by assuming little pieces that only fit together in certain combinations.

These weren't very good reasons to begin with--in fact they contradict each other because if two objects can only fit together in certain ways then it must be because they have a shape and if they have a shape, they have distinct parts. There were physicists at the time who agreed with me (Ernst Mach and Pierre Duhem that I know of).

The discovery that all of the mass is concentrated in a tiny volume completely blew up reason 1. They now had reason to believe that whatever this unit of matter was, it wasn't at all like the matter that they were familiar with, so they should have given up ideas like "smallest possible piece of stuff". Instead, they just reduced the size. Even worse, no one ever really believed in the Bohr Model because it violated the known laws of electrodynamics. But they were so wedded to this idea that matter at the bottom scale had to be essentially the same as matter at observable scale that they pretended to believe it because the alternative--a micro reality that they had no visual model of--was too painful. Then, ironically, quantum mechanics came along and they were forced to give up their visual model anyway. But they still had a mathematical model and they would not give that up, no matter how many contradictions and paradoxes it spawned.

Good theories match what we see, bad theories don't.
This is the mythology of science. There are an infinite number of theories that match what we see and an infinite number that don't. Furthermore, at any given time, through the entire history of science, science has known observations that contradicted the accepted theories.

Science is full of such mythology about itself. If you want to broaden your mind, I suggest you read Kuhn's "Structure of Scientific Revolutions" and Pierre Duhem's "The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory". In reading Duhem, you have to be careful because he often talks about "what physics is" when he really means "what physics should be". He's very French.

I haven't read this article, but the on-line Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is usually pretty good, so try this also:
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/science-theory-observation/

Anonymous Mr. Rational April 15, 2016 2:49 AM  

wrf3 wrote:You're still stuck with the lack of an explanation for the law of large numbers and the subsequent explanation for why the probabilities are the way they are. You have to retreat to "just because", the anthropic principle, or the multiverse.
You have no idea what the Law of large numbers is.  It is about averages.  A self-replicator is an extreme possibility, but it only has to arise once because it then takes over by self-replication.  The more events you have, the greater the likelihood that one of them will be at a particular extreme.  Take the roulette wheel; if you spin it an infinite number of times, the odds of having any finite number of sequential hits on 20 red is unity.

Let's suppose that, on the primordial Earth, life had a 50% chance of arising somewhere in any given period of 1000 years.  So out of roughly 360 trillion square meters of water (land being inhospitable at the time), the chance of life arising in any particular one was about 1.4e-18 per year.

The chance of life arising somewhere on Earth in 1 million years: 1-(0.5^1000)... as effectively certain as you can be.

As a WAG the amount of lab space and time devoted to abiogenesis research doesn't rule out probabilities as high as 1e-6 per square meter per year, yet a trillionth of that probability is more than sufficient to guarantee that earth would have life.  Of course, a random self-replicator is far more likely to be flawed than perfect, and every inexact copy that still self-replicates is certainly different if not necessarily better... so you wind up with a whole host of varied and eventually competing self-replicators.  Voila, evolution.

What is your problem is the faulty logic that states that randomness does away with the need for a creator.
Randomness explores possibilities without any need for design or intent.  Humans infer intent even when it's not there.  It's a defect of our evolved heuristics, if a pro-survival error can be called defective in its proper context.

Formal logic is a method for working around the defects in our innate heuristics.  You should use it more, not just against embarrassments like @150.

Phillip George wrote:It's IMMORAL for you to deny that these things have indeed been demonstrated. It is bearing false witness.

You aren't just wrong but stunningly wrong.


When you are, through either ignorance or malice, saying wrong things about the statements of scientists about matter, about biology, or anything else, and ascribing faulty motives to them, you are bearing false witness.  You are lying and slandering.

Anonymous Mr. Rational April 15, 2016 2:53 AM  

Phillip George wrote:Let me explain the science for you/
Talk sense to a fool, and he calls you foolish.

When something dies it remains reliably dead.
Viruses don't.  Viral DNA has to be denatured or it can be picked up and expressed by random cells.  Besides, we aren't talking about the results of several billion years of evolution here; we're talking about the first primordial replicator.

Pasteur the genius got it right. So right if you open a tin of something in date and get gastroenteritis you can reliably sue the manufacturer.
At even one chance in ten-to-the-minus-eighteenth per square meter per year, we probably wouldn't have had the first container of canned food re-develop life of any kind yet, let alone a pathogen able to infect humans.  A pathogen evolved de novo wouldn't trace back to the manufacturer anyway.  None of this is hard to understand, except for people like you who work to NOT understand it.

Your "science" says, "no wait, stuff is coming to life from yonder dead stuff" Just watch, I took a living cell, removed some components and examined them. I made life.
The RNA self-replicators in the laboratory do not resemble living cells in the least, and certainly do not derive from them.  Your straw-man is pathetic.

Yes, you ripped people off. You in a personal responsibility sort of a way. You, with your true name, written all over it forever.
I had to quote this just because of the incoherence and sense of inchoate rage in it.  "Personal responsibility" for what, exactly?  Holding you to standards of reason and evidence (thus hurting your faith)?  I'm PROUD of that, just I'm proud of doing it to leftards.  I'd write my "true name" all over it if I didn't expect cowards on both sides to come after me IRL to keep me from speaking.

I'm not looking for personal rewards or recognition for it either.  It's enough to be doing the right thing.

Blogger Phillip George April 15, 2016 3:51 AM  

Yes, you are proud. And missing the point.

Having extrapolated off the page into never never land, creating evidence ExNihilo.


but all of this is just "discovery" isnt it? "What have you got" type pre hearing discovery.

And you've shown me the best you've got. As for me I try to self refute every day of the week. And Abiogenesis is for fools.

The best evidence for the book of Genesis isn't the fossil record, genetic entropy, sedimentary rock nearly everywhere etc etc, it's Jesus quoting Genesis - and it's people such as yourself being "proud" in exactly the manner you have right here on this page.

Pasteur 1, Mr Rational 0 remains the score.

Blogger Phillip George April 15, 2016 4:02 AM  

See, rhetorically that's the appeal to Authority argument.
Peter, Jesus' friend Peter, purportedly crucified upside down put it thus
"For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God"

And I also suggest the challenge, In any laboratory starting with nothing but inorganic chemicals, try making and folding one functional protein? Surely there's money in a good demonstration of something so primitive, simple, self assembling, and easy. Good money to be made.

didn't get that either I don't suppose.

Blogger wrf3 April 15, 2016 10:46 AM  

Mr. Rational wrote:wrf3 wrote:You're still stuck with the lack of an explanation for the law of large numbers and the subsequent explanation for why the probabilities are the way they are. You have to retreat to "just because", the anthropic principle, or the multiverse.

You have no idea what the Law of large numbers is.


Since I happen to have a degree in math, yes, I do know what it is. The point is that you focus on the randomness of one event and miss that randomness has certain well-defined behaviors. You exclude "purpose" at one point on the basis of randomness, yet ignore it at another (the existence of the law of large numbers).

The chance of life arising somewhere on Earth in 1 million years: 1-(0.5^1000)... as effectively certain as you can be.

Only if one accepts your a priori probability guesses. In actual fact, you have absolutely no idea what the actual probability is. But that's not what this argument is about. At least not with me.

What is your problem is the faulty logic that states that randomness does away with the need for a creator.

Randomness explores possibilities without any need for design or intent.

That's certainly your _claim_ but you're assuming your conclusion. The law of large numbers can be argued to be intent. The arrangement of the universe in which randomness works is no different than a computer algorithm in which randomness works.

Humans infer intent even when it's not there.

One can also claim that one can ignore intent even when it is there. This famous experiment shows that some people see intent, while others don't. What's the correct answer? Clearly, there was intent there.

It's a defect of our evolved heuristics, if a pro-survival error can be called defective in its proper context.

Why is a pro-survival adaptation an error instead of the universe trying to tell us something about itself?

Blogger wrf3 April 15, 2016 11:08 AM  

David Gudeman wrote:Did they have no reason to change the basic idea?

The success of explaining various aspects of chemistry and behavior of gases were good reasons to keep it, especially absent a competing theory.

These weren't very good reasons to begin with--in fact they contradict each other because if two objects can only fit together in certain ways then it must be because they have a shape and if they have a shape, they have distinct parts.

Except that reasoning seems to work at a smaller level. Unless you want to grant the possibility of string theory, or propose something else, things like electrons and quarks appear to have no internal structure. But maybe the great great grand offspring of the LHC will show us otherwise.

But they still had a mathematical model and they would not give that up, no matter how many contradictions and paradoxes it spawned.

Are you proposing that we give up the standard model? If so, do you have a suggestion as to what will replace it?

Good theories match what we see, bad theories don't.
This is the mythology of science. There are an infinite number of theories that match what we see and an infinite number that don't. Furthermore, at any given time, through the entire history of science, science has known observations that contradicted the accepted theories.


It isn't a "myth". Scientific theories are just glorified curve fitting. Some theories underconstrain the data; some overconstrain; some appear to get it right. You go with the ones that appear to get it right, until more data comes in.

Shall we give up the atomic theory of baseballs, because they aren't all of one piece?

Blogger Phillip George April 15, 2016 8:05 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Phillip George April 15, 2016 8:07 PM  

wrf3 - you might like to skim this very recent synopsis at Creation.com
As far as I can see random and mutation are in themselves extremely difficult words to define
epigenetics and modularity in regulation of genetic expression/ "novelty in latent potentials" seem to have destroyed previous models.

thanks for keeping this up

http://creation.com/beneficial-mutations-real-or-imaginary-part-2?utm_source=streamsend&utm_medium=email&utm_content=26472113&utm_campaign=Why%20are%20elephants%20losing%20their%20tusks%20-%20AU

Blogger David Gudeman April 15, 2016 8:39 PM  

wrf3 wrote:Are you proposing that we give up the standard model? If so, do you have a suggestion as to what will replace it?

I'm proposing that you stop regarding the standard model as true and relegate it to it's proper status: a mathematical tool for predicting the outcome of certain events. When some outcome doesn't agree with the standard model, don't freak out and decide you need another force or another particle; instead just note that the model doesn't apply to that experiment.

A horrendous amount of intellectual productivity has been squandered in the game of trying to find one theory to rule them all because of the false belief that their model is true rather than being merely useful.

Blogger David Gudeman April 15, 2016 8:39 PM  

wrf3 wrote:Are you proposing that we give up the standard model? If so, do you have a suggestion as to what will replace it?

I'm proposing that you stop regarding the standard model as true and relegate it to it's proper status: a mathematical tool for predicting the outcome of certain events. When some outcome doesn't agree with the standard model, don't freak out and decide you need another force or another particle; instead just note that the model doesn't apply to that experiment.

A horrendous amount of intellectual productivity has been squandered in the game of trying to find one theory to rule them all because of the false belief that their model is true rather than being merely useful.

Anonymous Mr. Rational April 16, 2016 2:14 PM  

wrf3 wrote:Suppose I grant that you know all that you claim to know. Something is still wrong. I suspect it's a misunderstanding of how observations create theory and how theory leads to observations. But given your ambiguity as to what you think is wrong, it's hard to pinpoint now.
It's pretty simple, actually:  he demands The Complete And Final Truth™.  That's what he claims to have, and insists that science is a "false god" because it doesn't even claim to be complete or final.  That's why he's all over me for "personal responsibility"; he sees it as a threat to people's souls, including his own.  I see people like him as threats in general, because they get as exercised over simple, logical questions as a triggered feminazi.

I like to ask Biblical literalists of his ilk precisely where those "windows of heaven" (Genesis 7:11, KJV) from which the Great Flood issued have been found.  Drives 'em bonkers.

David Gudeman wrote:I was complaining that when the original theory was shown to be wrong, the response to it was to double down on the assumptions that had led to that theory in the first place. I was complaining about the physicists's response to new evidence, not to the original theory.
No, you dipstick.  The gold foil/alpha particle experiments were probing things that had never been looked at before.  When experimental evidence showed that there was a very small, highly-charged nucleus in the atom rather than a large and relatively diffuse positive charge, theory was updated to be consistent with the available facts.  This still yielded no information on the structure of the nucleus, so theory based on data had to wait until data was available.

they contradict each other because if two objects can only fit together in certain ways then it must be because they have a shape and if they have a shape, they have distinct parts.
There you go again, betraying your misconceptions; obviously you think of atomic-level things as solids like building blocks.  No wonder you're so wrong all the time.  Hint, molecules aren't really like ball-and-stick models either.

they should have given up ideas like "smallest possible piece of stuff". Instead, they just reduced the size.
They were measuring the size (specifically, the interaction cross-sections of alpha particles and gold nuclei).  It was the first time anyone had found a way to do that, which is a laudable achievement... but all you have is disdain.

Anonymous Mr. Rational April 16, 2016 2:15 PM  

Phillip George wrote:Yes, you are proud. And missing the point.

Having extrapolated off the page into never never land, creating evidence ExNihilo.

You'd think that an adult with some reading ability (not even any real science education, just the ability to look things up in an encyclopedia) could understand the implications of the Miller-Urey experiment, which produced amino acids, nucleic acids and a host of other organic molecules from nothing more than ammonia, methane, carbon dioxide and water.  Oh, and a source of energy to create disequilibrium conditions.  Characterizing this as "ex nihilo" is so grossly wrong, it's hard to think of anyone who could claim it as a rational human being.

Actually, it's impossible.  As of this moment, I am done trying to deal with you as one.  You are too stupid, irrational and dogmatic to have any sort of discussion with you, and the Dunning-Kruger effect prevents you from realizing it.  If you don't want me to be "responsible" for you losing whatever it is that you value so highly (your intellectual cherry?), you are welcome to retreat to your fundamentalist "safe space" at creation.com; this forum is too deep for you.

Blogger Phillip George April 17, 2016 3:36 AM  

Mr Rational. As I said you showed me "what ya got".

Ever heard of toxic racemic mixtures?

sorry old boy, chum, buddy, Miller Urey is a dead duck.

And i still don't think you have a clue. but it was fun while it lasted.

Blogger Phillip George April 17, 2016 3:46 AM  

ps.
and it is just one ps.

When you mentioned Miller Urey, was when I knew you have nothing.

Anonymous Mr. Rational April 17, 2016 9:15 AM  

Phillip George wrote:Ever heard of toxic racemic mixtures?

sorry old boy, chum, buddy, Miller Urey is a dead duck.

Ever heard of halophiles?  Ever heard of acidophiles?  Thermophiles?  Dienococcus radiodurans?  There's almost nothing that's toxic to one thing that isn't tolerated or even required by something else.

You have to be a special kind of stupid to think that life that arises in a mixture of stereoisomers is going to find it toxic, but we've long since proven that you repeat dogmatic assertions that you cannot analyze for logical consistency.  You are not a thinking person, you are a sheep.

Anonymous Mr. Rational April 17, 2016 5:12 PM  

wrf3 wrote:Mr. Rational wrote:

You have no idea what the Law of large numbers is.


Since I happen to have a degree in math, yes, I do know what it is. The point is that you focus on the randomness of one event and miss that randomness has certain well-defined behaviors. You exclude "purpose" at one point on the basis of randomness, yet ignore it at another (the existence of the law of large numbers).

Going to Brittanica, the Law of large numbers:  "the theorem that, as the number of identically distributed, randomly generated variables increases, their sample mean (average) approaches their theoretical mean."  Dartmouth's page is consistent.

Perhaps there's something I've missed, but the delta between sample means and theoretical means appears to be irrelevant to any question regarding abiogenesis.  We are talking about an event or series of events which is very unlikely, so the probability of extreme events and the number of trials is the relevant measure.  What matters is if a self-reproducing system can arise which stays ahead of the entropic forces breaking it down again; as I said before, this only has to happen once.  If you say otherwise, give details instead of hand-waving.

The chance of life arising somewhere on Earth in 1 million years: 1-(0.5^1000)... as effectively certain as you can be.

Only if one accepts your a priori probability guesses. In actual fact, you have absolutely no idea what the actual probability is.

The point was to show that absolutely minuscule individual probabilities, over a very large number of trials, can produce extremely low-probability results at least once.  If the floor for the certainty of the abiogenesis of life is as high as 1.4e-18/m²/yr in a primordial soup environment, it's very unlikely that we would have been able to produce it in the lab but a certainty that it would have occurred naturally given a whole planet.  Thus, the failure to produce anything in the lab is not a difficulty for the hypothesis.



What is your problem is the faulty logic that states that randomness does away with the need for a creator.
The need for a Creator is psychological, not scientific.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2016 April 17, 2016 7:03 PM  

You got nothing.

At least, and you still don't get it, Francis Crick was honest enough to reach for pansepermia when the preponderance of data/ observational fact had destroyed chemical evolution/ abiogenesis.

Tell me the name of exactly what lives in the Miller Urey condensate?

You are wrong not just in this lifetime but the next. Your inheritance is blown. Your life is this blog. Dust to dust, ashes to ashes. God is not mocked friend. You own your words.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2016 April 17, 2016 7:18 PM  

… scientists would discover the self-replicating molecule that had triggered the great saga of evolution … . [and] the discovery of the first genetic material [will] legitimize Millers’ field. “It would take off like a rocket,” Miller muttered through clenched teeth. Would such a discovery be immediately self-apparent? Miller nodded. “It will be in the nature of something that will make you say, ‘… How could you have overlooked this for so long?’ And everybody will be totally convinced”.

this is your man, a wannabe rocket scientist.
Religiously hopeful to the very core of him.
"We will find evidence for our theory - it will happen"

"It will be" No it won't Stanley, but Mr Rational will ride your train till it doesn't ride no more.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2016 April 17, 2016 7:45 PM  

Hey, I just learnt something. Stanley Lloyd Miller is dead.

“It will be in the nature of something that will make you say, ‘… How could you have overlooked this for so long?’ And everybody will be totally convinced”.

Perhaps we should call this the Stanley Miller Prophecy. Perhaps Stanley is a Prophet of the Holy Order of Sacred Scientism and Sophists.

Perhaps we could sacrifice a few fetuses to an effigy of Stanley to make his prophecy come to pass.

I promise we'll do an effigy of you once your gone to Mr Rational.

Oh, and yes typo above, panspermia. Like the Prometheus movie - except the Real Maker of Heaven and Earth won't be so inept at wiping out His created things.

Blogger Eric Atkinson April 18, 2016 2:15 AM  

You can talk smack about science if you want to but I work at a $1,000,000,000 facility that makes $20,000,000 per week worth of a biologic drug that could not exist without the fundamentals of the theory of evolution being correct, repeatable, and falsifiable. And the drug cures people that would have died five years ago before the phase three tests.
Money talks,bullshit walks.
If you got you some science, you don't need no damn faith.
Science can be abused like the SJW do, but when you make a product that does what it claims to do one hundred percent of the time, well if you argue about the science that makes that product possible you are being wilfully ignorant.

Anonymous Mr. Rational April 18, 2016 6:35 AM  

wrf3 wrote:Mr. Rational wrote:

You have no idea what the Law of large numbers is.


Since I happen to have a degree in math, yes, I do know what it is. The point is that you focus on the randomness of one event and miss that randomness has certain well-defined behaviors. You exclude "purpose" at one point on the basis of randomness, yet ignore it at another (the existence of the law of large numbers).

Going to Brittanica, the Law of large numbers:  "the theorem that, as the number of identically distributed, randomly generated variables increases, their sample mean (average) approaches their theoretical mean."  Dartmouth's page is consistent.

Perhaps there's something I've missed, but the delta between sample means and theoretical means appears to be irrelevant to any question regarding abiogenesis.  We are talking about an event or series of events which is very unlikely, so the probability of extreme events and the number of trials is the relevant measure.  What matters is if a self-reproducing system can arise which stays ahead of the entropic forces breaking it down again; as I said before, this only has to happen once.  If you say otherwise, give details instead of hand-waving.

The chance of life arising somewhere on Earth in 1 million years: 1-(0.5^1000)... as effectively certain as you can be.

Only if one accepts your a priori probability guesses. In actual fact, you have absolutely no idea what the actual probability is.

The point was to show that absolutely minuscule individual probabilities, over a very large number of trials, can produce extremely low-probability results at least once.  If the floor for the certainty of the abiogenesis of life is as high as 1.4e-18/m²/yr in a primordial soup environment, it's very unlikely that we would have been able to produce it in the lab but a certainty that it would have occurred naturally given a whole planet.  Thus, the failure to produce anything in the lab is not a difficulty for the hypothesis.



What is your problem is the faulty logic that states that randomness does away with the need for a creator.
The need for a Creator is psychological, not scientific.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2016 April 18, 2016 7:14 AM  

well, his soul ain't on my hands.
see, I tried to do "something"

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2016 April 18, 2016 7:28 AM  

http://www.naturalblaze.com/2016/04/disturbing-researchers-finally-confirm-that-cancer-is-a-purely-man-made-disease.html

more evidence man is recent to earth.
Genetic entropy.
DNA damage is accumulating. Bottlenecks won't help.

Anonymous Mr. Rational April 18, 2016 9:44 PM  

wrf3 wrote:Mr. Rational wrote:

You have no idea what the Law of large numbers is.


Since I happen to have a degree in math, yes, I do know what it is. The point is that you focus on the randomness of one event and miss that randomness has certain well-defined behaviors. You exclude "purpose" at one point on the basis of randomness, yet ignore it at another (the existence of the law of large numbers).

Going to Brittanica, the Law of large numbers:  "the theorem that, as the number of identically distributed, randomly generated variables increases, their sample mean (average) approaches their theoretical mean."  Dartmouth's page is consistent.

Perhaps there's something I've missed, but the delta between sample means and theoretical means appears to be irrelevant to any question regarding abiogenesis.  We are talking about an event or series of events which is very unlikely, so the probability of extreme events and the number of trials is the relevant measure.  What matters is if a self-reproducing system can arise which stays ahead of the entropic forces breaking it down again; as I said before, this only has to happen once.  If you say otherwise, give details instead of hand-waving.

The chance of life arising somewhere on Earth in 1 million years: 1-(0.5^1000)... as effectively certain as you can be.

Only if one accepts your a priori probability guesses. In actual fact, you have absolutely no idea what the actual probability is.

The point was to show that absolutely minuscule individual probabilities, over a very large number of trials, can produce extremely low-probability results at least once.  If the floor for the certainty of the abiogenesis of life is as high as 1.4e-18/m²/yr in a primordial soup environment, it's very unlikely that we would have been able to produce it in the lab but a certainty that it would have occurred naturally given a whole planet.  Thus, the failure to produce anything in the lab is not a difficulty for the hypothesis.



What is your problem is the faulty logic that states that randomness does away with the need for a creator.
The need for a Creator is psychological, not scientific.

Blogger wrf3 April 19, 2016 6:57 PM  

Mr. Rational wrote:Perhaps there's something I've missed, but the delta between sample means and theoretical means appears to be irrelevant to any question regarding abiogenesis.

Yes, you missed it. The issue isn't about abiogenesis at all. The issue is why the universe a) has the law of large numbers to begin with and b) why the probabilities are the way they are. Had you understood the issue, you would have answered the question about whether your poison of choice is the multiverse, the anthropic principle, or "just because."

What is your problem is the faulty logic that states that randomness does away with the need for a creator.

The need for a Creator is psychological, not scientific.


The rejection of a Creator is also psychological, not scientific. I was reminded of that fact several months ago when my wife and I, along with some friends, visited a fiber fair. There were sheep which were waiting to be judged in one section. One owner had taken the animal out of its cage and tried to put a leash on it. It bucked and complained -- just like humans do. The same evolutionary principle that caused resentment of outside control.

So you aren't as "rational" as you claim to be. You look at randomness and assert "no purpose" but miss the environment in which allows the randomness to work; you selectively cite the need for a Creator as psychological, but conveniently ignore that the rejection of a Creator is also psychological.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2016 April 20, 2016 2:27 AM  

Sorry Eric, with no reference to the drug/ pharmaceutical your assertions, are, your assertions. Glad you have a day job but contributions to philosophy and epistemology - you haven't made here.

macro morphic entropy lowering information adding evolution is a Myth, defying the known laws of physics and all laboratory observations in biology.

If abiogenesis could be done, you would have done it.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2016 April 20, 2016 2:57 AM  

....not a difficulty for the hypothesis.

this is fantastic. The fact that something can't be elevated from hypothesis to thesis isn't a problem for the hypothesis.

the fact that your hypothesis will never be tested then isn't a problem for your hypothesis.

this might as well be a definition for religion.

my hypothesis in reply is that you are eternally wrong. Not mistaken, but wrong.

And as a mathematician you claim to "educate"?

"stupefied by relativism;
blinded by science [falsely so called];
so sinks the Western World"

So are you Aspergers? Not being mean, more like clinical.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2016 April 20, 2016 3:04 AM  

Hypotheses -- What specific conditions or relations do you aim to test or evaluate in your research. Any research that does not include a method for hypothesis testing should not claim to test hypotheses. A hypothesis statement must be specific enough that it is testable by the methods you choose, and also it should be falsifiable -- i.e. it is clear what evidence might prove the hypothesis false, and such evidence should be plausible and possible.

So Vox, given your work on Irrational Atheists,, have I been talking to a moron?

If something has no falsifiable test it is an article of faith. Like nearly all Economics.

Irreducibly complex chaotic systems can never be modeled with predictive certainty. It's life on earth.

Blogger Phillip George April 20, 2016 4:33 AM  

Christianity owns science and it owns the legal system.
Of course I could write a dozen books on that topic but I don't need to.
Suffice to say the West is a people sleepwalking towards the cliff.

Anonymous Mr. Rational April 21, 2016 4:19 AM  

wrf3 wrote:

Yes, you missed it. The issue isn't about abiogenesis at all. The issue is why the universe a) has the law of large numbers to begin with and b) why the probabilities are the way they are. Had you understood the issue, you would have answered the question about whether your poison of choice is the multiverse, the anthropic principle, or "just because."

The law of large numbers is a mathematical principle; there is no universe that will not have it, any more than any universe will not have the same value of pi.  As for the probabilities, I showed you the gulf between laboratory reproduction and likelihood of occurrence on an entire planet.  You have evaded rather than actually responding to it.  You lose the logical argument on that point alone; rhetorical posturing is empty.





The rejection of a Creator is also psychological, not scientific. I was reminded of that fact several months ago when my wife and I, along with some friends, visited a fiber fair. There were sheep which were waiting to be judged in one section. One owner had taken the animal out of its cage and tried to put a leash on it. It bucked and complained -- just like humans do. The same evolutionary principle that caused resentment of outside control.

So you aren't as "rational" as you claim to be.

You equate humans with sheep.  No better refutation of your case can be made.

You look at randomness and assert "no purpose" but miss the environment in which allows the randomness to work; you selectively cite the need for a Creator as psychological, but conveniently ignore that the rejection of a Creator is also psychological.


Randomness has no purpose by definition.  What matters is not if randomness has a purpose, but what it can do.  You refuse to look at that, because of what you are afraid you will find.

If abiogenesis could be done, you would have done it.
Bloody hell, you idiot.  I give you a statistical proof that the laboratory has thus far been incapable of exploring the possibilities that a planet can, and from this you claim victory.  Over what?

I am certain that we are talking cross-wise to each other, but my purpose is not to convince you but to make that clear to third parties.

Blogger wrf3 April 21, 2016 2:28 PM  

Mr. Rational wrote:The law of large numbers is a mathematical principle; there is no universe that will not have it, any more than any universe will not have the same value of pi.

a) why?
b) prove it.

The rejection of a Creator is also psychological, not scientific. I was reminded of that fact several months ago when my wife and I, along with some friends, visited a fiber fair. There were sheep which were waiting to be judged in one section. One owner had taken the animal out of its cage and tried to put a leash on it. It bucked and complained -- just like humans do. The same evolutionary principle that caused resentment of outside control.

So you aren't as "rational" as you claim to be.


You equate humans with sheep.  No better refutation of your case can be made.


Really? Describing similar evolutionary traits refutes my case? I'm not making use of any principles that you don't hold as true. The expression of dismay is not a rational refutation.

You look at randomness and assert "no purpose" but miss the environment in which allows the randomness to work; you selectively cite the need for a Creator as psychological, but conveniently ignore that the rejection of a Creator is also psychological.

Randomness has no purpose by definition


So it's an article of faith on your part, then? An alternate, equally rational view, is that God uses randomness to accomplish His purposes.

What matters is not if randomness has a purpose, but what it can do.  You refuse to look at that, because of what you are afraid you will find.

Hardly. I've written evolutionary algorithms. I know what they can do. I also know that randomness doesn't work outside of a framework. That's what you refuse to look at, because you're afraid of what you'll find. Humans have evolved to dislike outside control and God is the ultimate outside control.

Blogger Phillip George April 21, 2016 8:20 PM  

What isn't laboratory science isn't laboratory science.

"I give you a statistical proof "

No, you've made wildly conjectural statements, that might be called fraud in another place.

Given the title of the banner: "The Intrinsic Unreliability of Science" you are almost a caricature of the topic. A perfect example.

You are, as Jesus said, the blind leading the blind.

As for any broader discussions of science, epistemology, philosophy of science, natural philosophy, Theology, you don't seem to be "up to it".

By no means did I exhaustively deconstruct your contribution here. Not at all. A clinical forensic sort of rebuttal hasn't been made.

Suffice to say that in an oblique discussion of abiogenesis you referred things that are already alive, as if to explain something about reversals in entropy. I doubt you even noticed what you had tried to do. A plane is made entirely from things that don't fly. A fairly typical plane can be bisected along any axis and will remain a non flying collection of bits that don't fly. If you bisect any cell it will remain a collection of non living bits forever. The fact that no-one has reverse engineered life is the fact at point. While it would be entirely possible to build a plane with two flyable planes concealed withing its hull this is not how cells are designed - with the emphasis on design - as in, by The sentient omniscient intelligence, Whose Only Son Jesus proved Himself to be. History should be referenced at least once in any discussion of science.

Anonymous Mr. Rational April 23, 2016 4:38 PM  

wrf3 wrote:a) why?
Same reason it's true in THIS universe.  Arithmetic doesn't change, and neither does Euclidean geometry; if there's no such thing as flat space in some Bizarro universe, then pi will still exist in theoretical geometry.

b) prove it.
You've got a lot of gall demanding that, after you've repeatedly evaded my request for you to show me how a theorem about distribution means has any relevance to the probability of events out on the tails.  You first.



Really? Describing similar evolutionary traits refutes my case? I'm not making use of any principles that you don't hold as true.

You're saying that the discomfort of a herd animal separated both from its kin and its familiar surroundings is the same as felt by a human being led by a collar where he might otherwise have gone unbidden?  Completely different causes.



So it's an article of faith on your part, then? An alternate, equally rational view, is that God uses randomness to accomplish His purposes.

Occam's razor says "why postulate God if randomness does the job alone?"  I think this is why you refuse to address the LOLN question.



I've written evolutionary algorithms. I know what they can do. I also know that randomness doesn't work outside of a framework. That's what you refuse to look at, because you're afraid of what you'll find. Humans have evolved to dislike outside control and God is the ultimate outside control.


The framework for abiogenesis is organic chemistry.  We know you can get organics without life to create them.  This doesn't prove that organics just got together and created life, but it's awfully suggestive.  So's the known existence of self-replicating RNA strands.

Last, the existence or non of deities does not mean that there aren't better and worse ways to live, tradeoffs between the self and society, and strong vs. weak time preference.  It also doesn't mean that there aren't broken people, or that any truly un-broken people really exist.  You can call that original sin if you want.  What it DOES mean is that somebody pushing a centuries-old just-so story of origins, cosmology and morals, even if it's time-tested, can still have a lot wrong including and especially the putative causes.  For examples of "successful but grossly wrong", see Islam and LDS.

Blogger wrf3 April 24, 2016 3:32 PM  

Mr. Rational wrote:Same reason it's true in THIS universe. Arithmetic doesn't change, and neither does Euclidean geometry; if there's no such thing as flat space in some Bizarro universe, then pi will still exist in theoretical geometry.
Ok, now notice what you've done. You've said that π exists in all possible universes. So what is the nature of its existence? It clearly doesn't depend on the arrangement of this universe, by your own admission. Furthermore π, being irrational, is infinite in extent, while this universe is finite. So now you have something which exists independently of a particular universe and exists in in some way that differs from the finiteness of our universe. So perhaps you can begin to see why the atheist philosopher and mathematician, Bertrand Russell, wrote: “The world of universals, therefore, may also be described as the world of being. The world of being is unchangeable, rigid, exact, delightful to the mathematician, the logician, the builder of metaphysical systems, and all who love perfection more than life. ” [-- “The Problems of Philosophy.”]

How do you, an atheist, explain this world?

You've got a lot of gall demanding that, after you've repeatedly evaded my request for you to show me how a theorem about distribution means has any relevance to the probability of events out on the tails.

It's clear that you haven't understood the issue at hand. I'm not denying that a perhaps more-than-wildly-improbable event happened, resulting in the existence of the first self-replicating molecule. I can even suppose the equally wildly improbable event of that molecule actually being able to reproduce, instead of being torn apart in a hostile environment. Improbable things can happen. But reversion to the mean also happens. Random events don't exist outside of a framework -- whether it is the selection code in a software genetic algorithm, or the framework of organic chemistry. It is this framework that allows randomness to produce something. It is the existence of this framework, not unlike the existence of Russell's "universals" that I'm asking you about.

You're saying that the discomfort of a herd animal separated both from its kin and its familiar surroundings is the same as felt by a human being led by a collar where he might otherwise have gone unbidden? Completely different causes.

What I'm saying is that if you're going to use evolutionary psychology to show that belief in God is an adaptive mechanism, I'm going to use evolutionary psychology to show that denial of God is also an adaptive mechanism. You can _claim_ that these are completely different causes but: a) shared common ancestors, b) reversion to the mean is going to produce shared traits, and c) man is a herd animal, as much as he may not want to admit it, and d) the dislike of outside control is just as evident in humans, even if via introspection, as it is in other animals, even if it might not be as strong in some species as it is in others.

[continued...]

Blogger wrf3 April 24, 2016 3:33 PM  

Mr. Rational wrote:Occam's razor says "why postulate God if randomness does the job alone?" I think this is why you refuse to address the LOLN question.
First, randomness isn't alone. It exists inside a framework. Without that framework, randomness doesn't accomplish anything.
Second, you're misapplying Occam's razor. Occam's razor only applies to two systems that give the same answers to the same questions. Since atheism and theism give different answers to the same questions, the razor doesn't apply.
Third, I don't understand your abbreviation, "LOLN".

Last, the existence or non of deities does not mean that there aren't better and worse ways to live,
According to who? For example, theism is clearly an evolved survival trait. By denying the existence of a deity, you're clearly fighting against millions of years of selection. One could argue that you're being discivic as well as disagreeing with what the universe has accomplished. (There's that rejection of outside control again).

What it DOES mean is that somebody pushing a centuries-old just-so story of origins, cosmology and morals, even if it's time-tested, can still have a lot wrong including and especially the putative causes.  For examples of "successful but grossly wrong", see Islam and LDS.

And so we're back to the topic at hand, namely, "the basic unreliability of ..." Some scientists get it wrong. I'll be ecstatic the say scientists stop saying that quantum entanglement allows faster than light communication. Or that hidden variable theories exist. You want to keep science, even though scientists get things wrong; but throw out all religion, because some people get religion wrong. You like science, because you think it doesn't exert outside control on your behavior, but reject religion because it does.

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