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Monday, August 08, 2016

Smack my atheist up

In which Stickwick and I tag-team a pair of godless self-appointed wonderboys. First up, DookerT:
On people like Sam Harris. I don't know how anyone can really debunk anything he says, you can just make your own subjective moral arguments of why you think he's wrong and you're right. As far as the final word goes, it's in the eye of the beholder. The Christian will generally see people like Vox as being correct and an atheist might generally agree with Harris . There simply are no certainties in this realm of debate, at least in my opinion.
It's quite easy to debunk much of what he says, as it happens. Sam Harris makes many arguments that are based on objective assertions. They can be, and have been, conclusively debunked by the simple mechanic of showing those assertions to be factually false. There is nothing subjective about it. A very good example can be found in the appendix of On the Existence of Gods.

The ironically named Mr Rational picked the wrong blog to try to dazzle with pseudo-intellectual posturing when he responded to a statement about the Big Bang theory:
You do realize that the current model of cosmology is a creationist theory, do you not?

That statement utterly discredits you.  Creationists may have tried to claim Big Bang/Inflation theory as their own, but it is utterly without theistic implications.  If you are listening to people who claim it does, you are listening to liars.  The left has its own liars telling lies which support its dogmas; if you commit the same errors you are no better than the left.

I am moderately familiar with the theory of inflation (far more than most readers here, I'm certain).  The fluctuations in the temperature of the Cosmic Background Radiation associated with quantum density variations frozen in the cosmic fireball as space expanded too fast for them to reach equilibrium again is predicted by WHAT holy book in WHAT passage, precisely?  If it is fair for Vox to demand a specific list of mutations to turn organism X into organism Y, it is eminently fair for me to demand this specificity in theological claims and pronounce the theology worthless if it fails.
I responded to this myself, by pointing out that a) the Big Bang Theory and expansion were conceived by a Belgian priest, and b) the Big Bang Theory is a necessary, though not sufficient requirement for the Bible to be true, but Stickwick's response is better. She is, by the way, a very well-regarded astrophysicist with a bibliography of published scientific papers on esoteric cosmological matters that is much longer than my list of publications:
I can’t decide if this is the stupidest thing ever said here or the funniest. Others have done a sufficient job explaining to you why this is wrong, but I’ll add one thing. A few years ago, I was present as a Nobel laureate and one of the greatest living physicists explained to a group of non-scientists that the multiverse hypothesis was developed at least in part because of the theistic implications of the big bang.

You’re doing something very annoying, which is attempting to dazzle people with the details of science instead of addressing the heart of the matter. Unless you’re an expert, this is a bad idea, because not everyone is going to be bowled over by your ability to parrot this information. I’m certainly not, because you’ve failed to realize that inflation is not yet a theory with any predictive power. The recent BICEP2 results that supposedly confirmed it were disproven. Inflation is a nice idea, and one that I think is probably correct, but let’s be honest — so far there is no conclusive evidence supporting it.

In any case, it’s absurd to say that the theistic implications of a theory hinge on whether a holy book mentions one particular unproven detail of the theory. It’s like the idiot biologist I talked to who said Genesis was bogus, because out of the dozens of scientifically-testable statements made by Genesis 1, she could find no mention of bacteria. The theological implications of a theory do not hinge on whether it contains every possible detail of the theories of the natural development of the universe, but on whether it says anything that confirms or denies a central tenet of a religion.

As Vox already explained to you, the big bang confirms the first three words of the Bible. The Bible begins with Genesis 1, because, among other things, it establishes God as the sovereign creator of all things. Without this, the Abrahamic religions are meaningless. If the universe is eternal, that’s obviously a big problem for Christianity. Scientists in the 1950s and 1960s understood this very well, which is (partly) why there was so much initial resistance to the big bang and why physicists continue to try to find loopholes in the theory that imply the universe is de facto eternal.
Now, before any atheist gets his panties in a bunch, I hasten to add that I know perfectly well that neither DookerT nor Mr Rational speak for all atheists nor are representative of the best that they have to offer. There are atheists I like, respect, and even admire.

But I think it would be wise for the average Internet atheist to understand that not only are there Christians who are better-educated and more intelligent than they are, but that there are actually more highly intelligent Christians than there are highly intelligent atheists. According to the GSS, in the United States, there are 11.4x more +2SD theists who either know God exists or believe God exists despite having the occasional doubt than there are +2SD atheists who don't believe God exists.

And if you don't understand why that is, you're really not equipped to even enter the lists here.

Labels: , ,

344 Comments:

1 – 200 of 344 Newer› Newest»
Blogger James Dixon August 08, 2016 1:06 PM  

> The fluctuations in the temperature of the Cosmic Background Radiation associated with quantum density variations frozen in the cosmic fireball as space expanded too fast for them to reach equilibrium again is predicted by WHAT holy book in WHAT passage, precisely?

What? Genesis 1:3 isn't clear enough? "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."

Blogger Mr.MantraMan August 08, 2016 1:07 PM  

Stop punching down. I would rather see what the atheists (nothing more than anti-Christian) would do if ISIS or the like would put a death fatwa upon their block heads.

That would be fun

Blogger James Dixon August 08, 2016 1:08 PM  

Incidentally, I believe "Mr. Rational" was recently banned here, assuming it's the same person.

Blogger Tom Kratman August 08, 2016 1:11 PM  

"despite having the occasional doubt"

I'm fairly sure this isn't originally by me, but was, at least, original to me; the greatest faith possibly requires some small degree of doubt. Why? Oh, partly to be as Christlike as mere humans can be, but more because doubt validates works (for those of us not of the sola fides persuasion).

Blogger Student in Blue August 08, 2016 1:11 PM  

Rhetoric Man was the one who was banned, and I believe they're different people. At the very least there was a period of time when they were both commenting.

Blogger residentMoron August 08, 2016 1:11 PM  

A really vile person would facelessly spam the jihadis social media groups and hashtags with instructions to their minions to target the celebrity atheists.

Mayhem will ensue...

Blogger Tom Kratman August 08, 2016 1:13 PM  

"Incidentally, I believe "Mr. Rational" was recently banned here, assuming it's the same person."

A pity, if so; I had some hope still of at least getting through his head that a) intelligence has no necessary bearing on faith or lack of it, and b) he wasn't demonstrating any great intelligence in his manner of insisting upon it.

Oh, well.

Blogger pyrrhus August 08, 2016 1:14 PM  

The Big Bang and subsequent Inflation, as I understand it, were in the form of quantum probability waves, which would not collapse into ordinary matter until observed by a conscious entity. Wonder who that First Observer was.....

Blogger residentMoron August 08, 2016 1:17 PM  

@8

What is the wave-particle duality thing doing when it's not being observed on the micro level? It's some kind of probability distribution, as you say, in an indeterminate state of feline ambiguity.

Posit an observer capable of observing all of spacetime on that level and you have by definition a God.

No?

Blogger natschuster August 08, 2016 1:18 PM  

I thought physics want doing inflation, since they don't haves good candidate for the inflation particle. And you need God to do the big bang itself.
E

Blogger VD August 08, 2016 1:21 PM  

Incidentally, I believe "Mr. Rational" was recently banned here, assuming it's the same person.

No, although he's been instructed to retract his false assertion if he wishes to continue posting here. If he won't, then he's obviously not VP-caliber material.

Blogger James Dixon August 08, 2016 1:25 PM  

> Rhetoric Man was the one who was banned, and I believe they're different people.

Ah, thanks for the correction. I was having trouble keeping them straight. In that case, Mr. Rational actually makes good posts as long as you can keep him away from atheism topics.

> A pity, if so; I had some hope still of at least getting through his head that a) intelligence has no necessary bearing on faith or lack of it, and b) he wasn't demonstrating any great intelligence in his manner of insisting upon it.

I think we both had a few words to say to him on that subject, Tom. :)

Anonymous Roundtine August 08, 2016 1:25 PM  

People I know who believe in X are dumdums, and their arguments are stupid.
Therefore anyone who believes in X is a dumdum, and believes the same arguments.

or more simply

Dumdums believe in X.
I am not a dumdum, so I disbelieve X.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash August 08, 2016 1:25 PM  

Quantum physics is epicycles within the epicycles within the epicycles of the standard model.

Blogger SirHamster August 08, 2016 1:25 PM  

Tom Kratman wrote:A pity, if so; I had some hope still of at least getting through his head that a) intelligence has no necessary bearing on faith or lack of it, and b) he wasn't demonstrating any great intelligence in his manner of insisting upon it.

Echoing SIB @5, I think that's a mix up. Rhetoric Man was banned a while back, Mr. Rational has been commenting the past week and just triggered a Vox "retract or be banned" challenge.

Blogger SirHamster August 08, 2016 1:27 PM  

James Dixon wrote:In that case, Mr. Rational actually makes good posts as long as you can keep him away from atheism topics.



And Global Warming and abortion. Let's see if he can summon the integrity to stay here.

Anonymous Alekhine August 08, 2016 1:31 PM  

"Now, just for fun, I’ll point out that there are in fact passages in Genesis that are consistent with both inflation and the emergence of bacteria."

I'm curious about the bacteria passage. Can you tell us where this is found?

Blogger Ben Cohen August 08, 2016 1:34 PM  

Are these atheists who love science the same people that will call you racist for pointing out differing IQs among the races?

Blogger Snidely Whiplash August 08, 2016 1:34 PM  

He's popped back up on the original thread

Blogger VD August 08, 2016 1:35 PM  

I'm curious about the bacteria passage. Can you tell us where this is found?

Leviticus 11:12, one presumes. Don't eat the shellfish.

Blogger VD August 08, 2016 1:40 PM  

Let's see if he can summon the integrity to stay here.

He retracted. Good enough.

Anonymous Aristides August 08, 2016 1:41 PM  

Are writers among the atheists you like? I've been looking for some reading material from authors of that persuasion but haven't found anything sensible so far.

Blogger residentMoron August 08, 2016 1:43 PM  

Last question. Or first question?

Just for fun. A neat piece of heresy that turns everything upside down but remains a clever story.

Anonymous Rather, Not August 08, 2016 1:46 PM  

Vox, I appreciate disputing the 'disruptive' atheists, other than shooting in the right direction (consistently, including when the going gets rough), what would it take for you to consider a (non-obnoxiously) atheist a friend and ally to the alt right? What incremental hurdle, if any, would their atheism require given the cultural nature of the fight?

Blogger Snidely Whiplash August 08, 2016 1:51 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash August 08, 2016 1:52 PM  

Rather, Not wrote:what would it take for you to consider a (non-obnoxiously) atheist a friend and ally to the alt right? What incremental hurdle, if any, would their atheism require given the cultural nature of the fight?
Many Atheists are alt-Right. Stefan Molyneux, for instance, is an Atheist.
As far as what you could do? Maybe, for once in your intellectual life, stop attacking Christians.

Anonymous 360 August 08, 2016 1:54 PM  

Still waiting for Stickwick's Brainstorm in which she discusses dark matter and the Bible. I think she would be a great Brainstorm guest.

Blogger Caedryn Stonelaw August 08, 2016 1:56 PM  

I have been recently developing thermodynamics as a successful poniard in the defense of the faith, though I will present it for smithing here.

Effectively, all known laws and observations of entropy point to this universe being a dying, but not dead universe. To put succinctly: An infinite universe is infinitely dead. The fact that we exist to observe at all shows that a level of order exists, meaning we cannot have reached the infinite time state of entropy. Meaning that something must exist outside of the current 4 dimensional constraints of the universe.

The one thing I have noticed in using this is that most people seem to think I am claiming that only our sun and our world will grow cold, not all suns and all worlds. I think this makes this a less effective rhetorical attack since the debater is not dialectically capable of processing the argument, but attempts to respond with dialectically cloaked rhetoric. I haven't found a good way to break through this, yet, as the best rhetorical skills I have are all shitposting.

Blogger Brian S August 08, 2016 1:58 PM  

Snidely Whiplash wrote:Rather, Not wrote:what would it take for you to consider a (non-obnoxiously) atheist a friend and ally to the alt right? What incremental hurdle, if any, would their atheism require given the cultural nature of the fight?

Amy Atheists are alt-Right. Stefan Molyneux, for instance, is an Atheist.

As far as what you could do? Maybe, for once in your intellectual life, stop attacking Christians.


This. I wasn't raised religious, so I consider my perspective to be that of an outsider on this topic. What I just don't get is the emotional aspect (generally hate) I see when "atheists" I know (including my own father) talk about Christians. I'm becoming more and more aware of the casual hatred these same people usually direct at "rednecks" to be the same thing, and getting pretty sick of that too.

Blogger residentMoron August 08, 2016 1:59 PM  

"Leviticus 11:12, one presumes. Don't eat the shellfish."

That's a long way from Genesis, narratively speaking.

In the prior thread, Stickwick explicitly wrote "in Genesis".

Blogger tublecane August 08, 2016 2:03 PM  

I think this Mr. Rational person is triggered by the word "creationist " Your assertion that the Big Bang is a "creationist theory" doesn't have to mean all that much. His response is along the lines of shouting down someone who uses the "cultural Marxism" by pointing out that you can't deduce the specific tenet of "repressive tolerance" from the writings of Karl Marx himself. Well, okay.

I have read a few anti-big bang theory books and one of their talking points is that it's bad because it gives aid and comfort to theists (the supposed enemies of Science). You might do well by referring Mr. Rational to such a book. Maybe he'll switch sides and start railing against cosmology as nothing but "intelligent design."

Blogger Whisker biscuit August 08, 2016 2:04 PM  

One fact that exists in this argument that is back up by solid research and a majority consensus on both sides is that Sam Harris was solid and mildly funny in Meet the Parents.

Blogger praetorian August 08, 2016 2:04 PM  

Holy shit, stickwick.

I didn't think it was possible to physically slap the autism out of someone on the Internet, but I've learned many new things this year.

Blogger darrenl August 08, 2016 2:05 PM  

Lol. Nicely done.

Though, I think Aquinas had zero problems with an eternal universe IIRC. That's not as big a problem from Christian theology as one would think.

Blogger Undocumented Pharmacist August 08, 2016 2:06 PM  

What does atheism accomplish? What purpose it serve? Why isn't it enough to say, "I don't believe there is a God."? Why must it be, "There is no God, you idiot!"

Blogger James Dixon August 08, 2016 2:07 PM  

> what would it take for you to consider a (non-obnoxiously) atheist a friend and ally to the alt right?

I don't know where he stands wrt the alt-right, but Dominic Saltarelli has been a welcome commenter here on occasion. He was the one arguing against gods in the debate with Vox, which was published as "On the Existence of Gods" recently: https://www.amazon.com/Existence-Gods-Vox-Day-ebook/dp/B01D64CP6S

Blogger Nick S August 08, 2016 2:08 PM  

Faith in materialism is not an intellectually superior or demonstrably more rational position than faith in theism. An honest atheist that accepts and admits that will have significantly fewer problems here.

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer August 08, 2016 2:09 PM  

I shouldn't be surprised, but I am. I wouldn't have thought that anyone the least bit interested in cosmology and the Big Bang Theory would be unaware that the theory has theological implications (that the universe has a beginning) and that for that reason it encountered considerable opposition when first proposed. And I thought absolutely everyone new that the multiverse was an attempt to explain away the Goldilocks paradox.

Blogger frigger611 August 08, 2016 2:09 PM  

I have seen some people opine that the reference to "slime" in Genesis 2:7 of the Roman Catholic Bible (Douay-Rheims)refers to bacteria or some such basic life form.

"And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth: and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul."

Most English versions of this passage substitute "dust" for "slime."

I find the argument specious - but have heard some try to equate this with man having evolved over a long time from the most basic forms of life, (if you go back far enough).

Blogger Snidely Whiplash August 08, 2016 2:11 PM  

Brian S wrote:What I just don't get is the emotional aspect I see when "atheists" I know talk about Christians. I'm becoming more and more aware of the casual hatred these same people usually direct at "rednecks" to be the same thing, and getting pretty sick of that too.

I for one wouldn't mind so much if they had any basis for it. But most Atheists, particularly the "I F---ing Love Science" types, like Mr "Rational", will tell me what I think, refusing to entertain the idea that I should be the one to explain my thought. They pretend they've made arguments when they've merely, as Stickwick says, tried to dazzle us with some sciency-sounding detail, and tried to derail and disqualify the theists. And they simply refuse to address the actual arguments made.

A few days ago I was into it with Mr "Rational", and I asked him how the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics were violated to allow the creation of matter. He kept retreating to technical jargon on the process and state of the Universe shortly after the Big Bang. He either could not understand a simple question, or he refused to actually answer it. He evidently thought that if he threw enough physics bafflegab out there, it would explain away the existence of physical matter.

Blogger pyrrhus August 08, 2016 2:12 PM  

@9 Yes, that was my drift!

Blogger residentMoron August 08, 2016 2:12 PM  

@28:

Entropy increases is an observed and generally accepted law.

Entropy is now increasing.

If you actually can extrapolate backwards over ~15 billion years, from observations spanning at most several centuries (a nonsense that would be laughed out of any statistics 101 course but is accepted in cosmology and evolutionary biology because reasons) then entropy at the "beginning", at the point of singularity, must logically have been at a minimum. However, neither the initial conditions, nor the inflation stage, appear to qualify as a point of minimum entropy since time is happening and by the law entropy is increasing.

Yet somehow a universe in which entropy **always** increases arose naturally in a condition of minimum entropy.

The very term universe strongly implies "all that exists". That really is the point of the term, it is (or at least, was) a metaphysical claim as much as it is anything but few ever remark on that point. Nothing to see here, move along now.

There is no known mechanism, neither in observation or in theory, by which such a condition may occur. The weaseling about the 2nd law not being a restraint on our biological existence here - because sunshine - is hardly applicable to the whole universe, logically.

Ergo, more universes are required. Stickwick's point about the logical necessity of the multiverse theory is not only about the theistic implications of "In the beginning, God ... ". Although it IS about that.

It is also about entropy and closed systems, and the fine-tuning problem, and a host of other objections besides.

As is opined above, many consider these adjunct speculations to be epicycles on the epicycles of the standard model. I resort to a private joke I share with Einstein's ghost:

"Time will tell."

Blogger natschuster August 08, 2016 2:13 PM  

Gerald Schroeder suggests that when it says "roach elohim" a wind of the Lord in Genesis it is referring to cosmic inflation.

Anonymous Be Not Afraid August 08, 2016 2:13 PM  

I have a PhD in astronomy, and many years ago, gave a presentation at my church about how a Christian could believe in Big Bang cosmology. There's a very nice book about this, "Show Me God," by Fred Heeren, now OOP. Heeren remarks that almost every creation story is inconsistent with the Big Bang, with one very notable exception: "In the beginning..."

I always chuckle when I imagine God trying to explain all this to Moses for the book of Genesis. "Well, of course the Universe came first and the light came second. After all, the opacity of the ionized gas was tremendous, so light couldn't travel until atoms formed. And don't get me started on the magnetic fields. Are you getting all this? What do you mean, you don't know about that? You don't know magnetohydrodynamics? Ionized fluids in magnetic fields... Fluid! F-L-U-I-D. Oh, forget it, just write 'waters.' Nobody's going to get upset about that for a few thousand years, anyway."

Anonymous VFM #6306 August 08, 2016 2:13 PM  

I love this blog. It is a Borgesian library of highly intellectual literary, economic, theological and cultural insight, with the occasional break for an episode of "Ow! My Godless Balls!"

Blogger S1AL August 08, 2016 2:13 PM  

"They pretend they've made arguments when they've merely, as Stickwick says, tried to dazzle us with some sciency-sounding detail, and tried to derail and disqualify the theists. And they simply refuse to address the actual arguments made."

This is why Neil DeGrasse Tyson is on TV. Atheist wannabes eat that crap up.

Blogger pyrrhus August 08, 2016 2:13 PM  

@41 One reason western science has slowed perceptibly is that atheists are extremely close minded about everything, and almost everybody in Academia is either an atheist or pretends to be as tenure protection...

Blogger Snidely Whiplash August 08, 2016 2:16 PM  

Undocumented Pharmacist wrote:Why must it be, "There is no God, you idiot!"
Because, 80% or more of the time, Atheism is a purely emotional reaction. Very few Atheists reach Atheism via reasoned thought.

Check out Mr "Rational"'s posts. In every thread he has to point out how much he hates the Church he was born into, and implicitly one or both of his parents.

Blogger Barry Dickinson, MD August 08, 2016 2:17 PM  

It's all about maturity. Emotional maturity.

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer August 08, 2016 2:19 PM  

This is why Neil DeGrasse Tyson is on TV.

I saw a documentary on Ancient Greece the other day and they had Neil on it. He had one or two lines which I forget because they were inane and obvious. The man is not an historian or archaeologist. He was included because all of the other actual experts were too lightly complexioned and to try to attract some "I love f*ing science" fan boys.

Anonymous JAG August 08, 2016 2:22 PM  

darrenl wrote:Lol. Nicely done.

Though, I think Aquinas had zero problems with an eternal universe IIRC. That's not as big a problem from Christian theology as one would think.


An infinitely old universe is a serious problem logically. Nothing could ever happen in an infinitely old universe because an infinity of time would have to happen before any event that could be named or described took place.

Likewise, the appeals to multiverses or cosmic foam fluctuations are merely kicking the can down the road as the next logical questions would ask how it is that there is an arena where multiverses and cosmic foam fluctuations take place.

Why is there something rather than nothing? That is the main question for us all.

Blogger Nate August 08, 2016 2:24 PM  

Why am I thinking of the black knight from the Holy Grail. ... Probably because the Atheists think they did well.

Blogger residentMoron August 08, 2016 2:26 PM  

And the questions push back to the same unanswerable axioms in both cases.

I don't rail against the ignorant stupidity of atheists on the basis that their opinion differs from mine. As per Vox, there are many serious thinkers who are respectful of dissent, in that very general category.

Why the mutliverse7quantum fluctuation/big bang/expansion/coalescing/soup to nuts materialist model?

[shrugs]

Why God? (Why specifically a God who cares?)

[shrugs]

Neither question is answerable by we who cannot even explain ourselves.

Blogger Lovekraft August 08, 2016 2:32 PM  

Cerebus 289/290 (double issue) entitled "Twinke Twinkle".

Dave Sim lays out various phenomena as they relate to Scripture in Genesis. The short version:

God is content, but the Spirit is restless, nagging Him for its (her?) own creation, just like God has. God warns the Spirit this is a bad idea but the Spirit nags and nags until God relents.

The result is joy but the Spirit soon learns one dire lesson: the Spirit that came out of it now wants to make its own companion/copy.

Multiply this to an unbelievable amount, compressed in a smaller and smaller space until ...

Boom. The big bang.

God is the elder, advising but lovingly allowing free will. The Spirit is the devious one in every atom.

Anonymous patrick kelly August 08, 2016 2:32 PM  

@44 Be Not Afraid: "Oh, forget it, just write 'waters.' Nobody's going to get upset about that for a few thousand years, anyway."

Wow, a believing astronomer with a sense of humor. There must be a God.

Anonymous Rather, Not August 08, 2016 2:34 PM  

Snidely, I didn't intend or note on re-reading any sort of 'attack on Christians' in my question. Could you clarify what I said you reacted to with so much personal hostility?

I think the question of what incremental hurdles those outside of the core (Anglo-Saxon Christian) alt right culture have to clear to be trusted allies is a legitimate one. It is fine if you don't, and Vox is of course welcome to ignore my question in his house, but I'd rather not have it buried in an emotional outburst for no good reason.

Anonymous TS August 08, 2016 2:35 PM  

"Many Atheists are alt-Right. Stefan Molyneux, for instance, is an Atheist."

Which makes sense if you believe this life is all there is and you want to make the most of it. But that would require reason which atheists have in short supply if any.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash August 08, 2016 2:40 PM  

S1AL wrote:You cannot possibly be that unaware of the connection between Christianity and science.

My apologies if I have unfairly maligned you.

It's a simple reaction to how Atheists treat Christians. If you're not that type of Atheist, again, I'm sorry. But if so, I'm also not sure why you would be asking the question the way you did. The alt-Right has a demonstrable history of not particularly caring about a person's theology.

Blogger tublecane August 08, 2016 2:41 PM  

@50-I think I saw the same documentary. Aside from being superficial and SJW-y (it was on PBS), it had noticeably play-acting talking heads. One of them I nicknamed "Dr. Boobies." Why don't they just hire actual actors?

Neil Degrasse Tyson might as well be a voice actor. Morgan Freeman has to die sometime.

Blogger darrenl August 08, 2016 2:42 PM  

@Jag.

See #3 here when Dr. Fraser explains why it's not as big a deal as one would think. He has other articles on it as well

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.ca/2011/07/so-you-think-you-understand.html?m=1

Blogger James Dixon August 08, 2016 2:43 PM  

> A few days ago I was into it with Mr "Rational", and I asked him how the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics were violated to allow the creation of matter. He kept retreating to technical jargon on the process and state of the Universe shortly after the Big Bang. He either could not understand a simple question, or he refused to actually answer it.

Even if he were correct and the big bang did allow for the creation of matter, that still leaves the question of how it allowed for life to be answered.

> Very few Atheists reach Atheism via reasoned thought.

Because those that use reasoned thought on the subject are agnostics. They acknowledge that it can't be proven either way and that there is no basis for a logical conclusion one way or the other.

Blogger Sevron August 08, 2016 2:43 PM  

I had thought it common knowledge that the Big Bang Theory's confirmation was a Big Problem for atheists. If I recall correctly, the guys that did the cosmic background microwave radiation survey, the one that was supposed to show the religious goyim that there was no Big Bang, we're so convinced their results were wrong that they forced their university to pay for a very expensive cleaning of the radio telescope they used to do the survey (it was full of bat shit). The results came back the same anyway.

Anonymous TS August 08, 2016 2:48 PM  

"Which makes sense if you believe this life is all there is and you want to make the most of it. But that would require reason which atheists have in short supply if any."

Instead nearly all atheists go for social/communism which just shows more senselessness. Atheist: "It's different this time! Socialism /communism is bound to work eventually! if you just keep trying and murder enough human beings."

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer August 08, 2016 2:49 PM  

#59

One of them I nicknamed "Dr. Boobies." Why don't they just hire actual actors?

Definitely the same one. My wife made a comment about her being pretty proud of those.

Blogger James Dixon August 08, 2016 2:51 PM  

> Atheist: "It's different this time! Socialism /communism is bound to work eventually! if you just keep trying and murder enough human beings."

Well, they're correct. As long as you acknowledge that enough equates to all.

Blogger SirHamster August 08, 2016 2:51 PM  

residentMoron wrote:Why God? (Why specifically a God who cares?)

[shrugs]

Neither question is answerable by we who cannot even explain ourselves.


On that note, why do we care? We do ... and the claim that we are made in the image of God *fits* the model of a God who cares.

That's not an answer to the question, but sometimes you find a correct solution because it crowds out all of the alternatives.

Anonymous fop August 08, 2016 2:52 PM  

Neither question is answerable by we who cannot even explain ourselves.

With all that we currently know about biological machinery how can anyone in the 21st century still pretend that we might simply be just some kind of lucky accident?

Jesus. I swear we could discover a freakin steam locomotive orbiting Alpha Centauri and these spergatheists would still publish dozens of books and articles about plausible mechanisms for spontaneous locomotive emergence.

Blogger S1AL August 08, 2016 2:52 PM  

@Snidely - I think you used the wrong quote in this thread.

Blogger tublecane August 08, 2016 2:53 PM  

@51-I have noticed recent efforts on the part of pop-science to answer the "why is there something rather than nothing" question (and, by implication, the ex nihilo nihil fit conundrum). Or I should say dodge the question. One proffered answer is that since they've found a lot of little stuff happening in supposedly empty space, "nothing" isn't as nothing-y as we thought. Which doesn't make sense even ignoring the conflation of empty space with nothingness. I read the preface to one book that summarized its argument by a play on words between "nothing," "nothingness," and "no-thing." I forget the particular form it took, but the important thing is that they're arguing on the level of puns. They have little else.

The only promising, or rather least disappointing, line of argument I've read was one proposing a hierarchy of greater and lesser nothingness. For instance, on one rung you'd have a room containing a rug and chair, on another an empty room, then empty space, and eventually actual nothingness. Which merely clouds the issue, but at least doesn't offend my intelligence.

Blogger CM August 08, 2016 2:53 PM  

Belief in something bigger has the ability to expand the mind of a curious person. The non-curious are simply content to not pusue the reaches of the unknown, while the curious stretches evermore into it and revels in the sheer mystery of it.

To believe there is nothing more is to believe that once you have reached full capacity, then there is nothing left to learn. It belittles the universe and stunts creativity.

Blogger Leo Little Book in Shenzhen August 08, 2016 2:56 PM  

"be just some kind of lucky accident?"

If you shine low-entropy light at a planet, you get complex dissipation patterns. Some of which use the internet.

Blogger Caedryn Stonelaw August 08, 2016 3:01 PM  

@42 Thank you for the input. I have gotten the 'what if we are receiving energy from other universes through white holes?' response previously, which I have usually countered with the addition "Infinite universes on an infinite time are infinitely dead. There is has never been a experiment disproving the increase in universal entropy, nor an experiment even hinting at the decrease in universal entropy. Why do you hate science?"

I would agree from a statistical perspective that centuries of data doesn't extrapolate to billions of years, however the armchair philosopher in me says that the raven paradox would lead me to believe that there are no cases in which entropy decreases, leading it to being the claim requiring proof since every energetic experiment ever conducted has demonstrated the opposite. Anecdotes leading to experiments, datum leading to data.

Hell, I've even gotten into the discussion of building an extradimensional measurement devices, lamenting that all current measurement theory effectively states that you must exist in the dimension you are trying to measure.

The multiverse has always appeared to me to be the white flag on the average atheist's flagship. It's even more magical thinking than what they accuse the theists of.

Anonymous EH August 08, 2016 3:04 PM  

Literalists are wrong, but there is metaphorical truth in Genesis. It gives a general outline of the successive types of creatures which is consistent with the succession seen in fossils. Familiarity with the names of ancient peoples indicates that the genealogies in Genesis trace the descent of cultures rather than individual people, explaining the long antediluvian lives. Still, the whole earth was not flooded, ever. No species yet studied has passed through a genetic bottleneck as tight as indicated by the story of Noah's ark - it would be clearly visible in the DNA. Much of the Bible should not be taken literally, indeed cannot be without contradicting other parts of the Bible. Theists who rely on the Bible as an authoritative source in trying to persuade atheists do their cause and truth a great disservice.

On the other hand, the big bang narrative is really quite shaky itself, see Tom van Flandern's The Top 30 Problems with the Big Bang, and atheists who appeal to astrophysics to support their claims are not doing their cause or truth any good either.

Blogger Robert Coble August 08, 2016 3:04 PM  

FWIW: I like Dr. Robert J. Spitzer's New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy It is carefully (and cautiously) argued throughout, while leaving open ultimate certainty.

Part One: Indications of Creation and Supernatural Design in Contemporary Big Bang Cosmology

Part Two: Three Philosophical Proofs for the Existence of God

Part Three: The Transcendentals: The Divine and Human Mysteries

Chapter 3, Part Two, is one of the most careful philosophical arguments I've ever seen for the existence of a single God.

Blogger LurkingPuppy August 08, 2016 3:06 PM  

EH wrote:Literalists are wrong, but there is metaphorical truth in Genesis.
I.e. the Bible is rhetoric.

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer August 08, 2016 3:06 PM  

The multiverse has always appeared to me to be the white flag on the average atheist's flagship. It's even more magical thinking than what they accuse the theists of.

Yeah, it has all of the problems they attribute to theism (no possible scientific proof) with none of the advantages.

Anonymous Rather, Not August 08, 2016 3:07 PM  

TS, In my humble perspective, you have the causation backwards. Atheism is not, definitionally, a belief system; it is merely the lack of God being in the belief system you have or adopt. It is Marxism that leads to atheism, not atheism that leads to Marxism. That is how you can have Randian anti-communist atheists, and communist atheists duking it out...atheism is the end product result of believing something else. That they agree on atheism is a mere coincidence, and irrelevant to all of the ways in which those philosophical systems clash. Stefan being atheist does not bias him towards becoming Marxist.

Blogger residentMoron August 08, 2016 3:07 PM  

@66

Thanks! That was a response I did not expect.

@67

Oh indeed, and I agree wholeheartedly. But I don't take offense because a man has not reached the same conclusions as I. We all start in different places and our final destiny is not known to any of us until after we're dead.

I was raised in a Christian home, but it took me a long time to become a Christian. Yes, I was a dickhead during that time, but God did not abandon me. (Of course, I'm still a dickhead distressingly too frequently, but I'm not a perfectionist either. Another time maybe.)

I will, on the other hand, not commune with he who insists that everyone who doesn't agree with him is, therefore, ignorant, stupid, crazy, or evil - as various new atheists do.

It's not their conclusions that offend me; it's their unwarranted arrogance and deliberate dickheadedness.

Blogger residentMoron August 08, 2016 3:08 PM  

@73

Small gods.

Blogger John Regan August 08, 2016 3:09 PM  

Big Bang might be compatible with Christianity, but I think there are two caveats: it could have happened much more recently than the 80 billion years or whatever it is "science" is currently claiming.

And, it was not the creation. It was the fall.

Blogger Leo Little Book in Shenzhen August 08, 2016 3:10 PM  

Atheists complain about metaphorical language in the Bible with one breath and call it bullshit in the next.

Blogger SirHamster August 08, 2016 3:14 PM  

Leo Little Book in Shenzhen wrote:"be just some kind of lucky accident?"

If you shine low-entropy light at a planet, you get complex dissipation patterns. Some of which use the internet.


Cosmic EZ-Bake Oven.

Anonymous Sensei August 08, 2016 3:16 PM  

@71 If you shine low-entropy light at a planet, you get complex dissipation patterns. Some of which use the internet.

Neal Stephenson, is that you?

Blogger residentMoron August 08, 2016 3:19 PM  

Leo,

That's not even a problem. The scriptures don't deal with those uninterested in God, except in passing. Their fate is obvious and unremarkable.

The central theme of scriptural history is a conflict between an actual God and a pretender to God-hood. Between actual followers of the actual God, and those who claim to be following the true but are actually following the false.

Yes, we're told that "the fool has said in his heart that there is no God", but we are repeatedly warned that false Christs will arise among us, and false prophets will bring false gospels, as wolves among the flock.

Christians claim scripture as inspired by a God who calls himself creator but cannot create because science, who can't handle simple Chaldean vocabulary, who is ignorant of variant frames of reference, who cannot count.

It is Christians who swallow a camel and strain at a gnat, that are our major problem.

As Vox has often pointed out, when a few Christians get serious that God means exactly what he says, that a man will rise from the dead, then all the pagans and atheists in the world are powerless before the church.

When Christians let the pagans and atheists lay the foundations of our faith, invite them into the church to instruct us on what is real, then we're following false prophets to worship a false God.

I can't do it. It doesn't matter what intellectual respectability the world offers in return for it, I won't do it.

Blogger Noah B August 08, 2016 3:29 PM  

Well, they're correct. As long as you acknowledge that enough equates to all.

Complete equality at long last.

Blogger CM August 08, 2016 3:31 PM  

I love this comment.

Blogger Leo Little Book in Shenzhen August 08, 2016 3:34 PM  

Moses' first nine plagues were of plausibly natural origin. The 10th wasn't.

Float like a butterfly effect; sting like a Higher Being.

Blogger dienw August 08, 2016 3:36 PM  

@7
a) intelligence has no necessary bearing on faith or lack of it...

I do not see how it could be otherwise; for God uses the weaker vessels.

Anonymous fop August 08, 2016 3:43 PM  

@78

I'll drink to that. One dickhead to another.

Blogger dienw August 08, 2016 3:52 PM  

residentMoron wrote:"Leviticus 11:12, one presumes. Don't eat the shellfish."

That's a long way from Genesis, narratively speaking.

In the prior thread, Stickwick explicitly wrote "in Genesis".


The concept of clean and unclean animals would satisfy the bill: IIRC, with exceptions of life-cycle, all of the clean animals are herbivores. I think I heard the explanation of this from one of Walter Vieth's videos.

Blogger Johnny August 08, 2016 3:53 PM  

What makes me skeptical of the Big Bang Theory is that it resembles Genesis. Humans dislike the concept of an endless universe and we want time to have a starting point. The reason we know this is because it is a characteristic of paganism. Primitives who have nothing to go on but their imagination will come up with a creation story that has a beginning, and if they are sophisticated enough to imagine a universe it will be finite.

What I suspect is that the information is simply not compelling, thus the modern scientific community is doing just what the pagan did, imagining a universe that is emotionally satisfying, finite and with a start.

Anonymous Stickwick August 08, 2016 4:02 PM  

I just want to point out that I’m walking back my initial claim about inflation just a bit. My follow-up comment to Mr. Rational:

Yes, [inflation did successfully predict variations in the CMB], in the sense that, had the COBE experiment back in the ‘80s found a different pattern of variations for the CMB, it would have ruled inflation out. I’m going to walk back my statement that inflation does not yet have predictive power, because it did make one significant quantitative prediction that is consistent with observation. However, it is not yet at the point evidentially where it is established theory, especially since it suffered a major setback with the BICEP2 results two years ago. Its main power rests in its ability to post facto explain some major “problems” in big bang cosmology, but you have to remember that this is also how conspiracy theories work, and most conspiracy theories are junk. Personally, I like inflation and think some form of it is probably correct; however, it is not at the point scientifically where anyone should be using it to try to score points in a philosophical discussion.

The problem with BICEP2 is that it took measurements at a single frequency, and the signal it detected could not be distinguished from the signal you’d get from dust in our own galaxy. Worse, a combined analysis of data from the BICEP2, Keck Array, and Planck experiments seems to have ruled out 95% of simple inflation models. It hasn’t killed inflation dead — as Alan Guth points out, the general idea of inflation is still alive — but, this setback is sufficiently serious that, again, you should be very circumspect about using it in philosophical discussions.


It’s ironic that someone who calls himself Mr. Rational relies on rhetoric more than dialectic. Instead of making the ridiculous assertion that big bang theory has no theological implications, Mr. Rational should have asked what the implications were and gone from there. And while it’s perfectly legitimate to ask if Christian scripture mentions anything about modern cosmology, it’s just rhetorical dopiness to insist that theological significance means scripture must specifically mention one particular aspect of a cosmological model that hasn’t even been established yet.

Anonymous Stickwick August 08, 2016 4:08 PM  

Alekhine: I'm curious about the bacteria passage. Can you tell us where this is found?

Sure, but first note that I said consistent; I’m not going to claim that anything in Genesis specifically says “bacteria.” The relevant passage is Gen. 1:11, which mentions the emergence of plant life very shortly after the appearance of liquid water on the surface of the earth. The very first plant life to appear on earth was single-celled bacteria and algae. Also, as Vox points out, Leviticus tacitly acknowledges the existence of bacteria.

360: Still waiting for Stickwick's Brainstorm in which she discusses dark matter and the Bible. I think she would be a great Brainstorm guest.

I’ve got one big project I need to finish, and then once the Dark Stuff booklet is written, I’ll ask Vox if we can set up the Brainstorm.

Johnny: What I suspect is that the information is simply not compelling, thus the modern scientific community is doing just what the pagan did, imagining a universe that is emotionally satisfying, finite and with a start.

It’s the complete opposite. As far as I can tell, the Abrahamic religions and their offshoots are the only religious traditions that hold to a universe that’s finite and linear in time. All pagan religions incorporate cyclical time into their traditions, because: a) that’s what you would intuit from simple observation of nature; and b) it’s more emotionally satisfying than something that merely begins and ends for all time.

Blogger residentMoron August 08, 2016 4:10 PM  

"It’s the complete opposite. As far as I can tell, the Abrahamic religions and their offshoots are the only religious traditions that hold to a universe that’s finite and linear in time. All pagan religions incorporate cyclical time into their traditions, because: a) that’s what you would intuit from simple observation of nature; and b) it’s more emotionally satisfying than something that merely begins and ends for all time."

And Peter anticipated that idea nigh on 2000 years back, when he wrote:

And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

Anonymous Be Not Afraid August 08, 2016 4:11 PM  

The idea that universes are always being created and inflating, and so we lucked out and are in the only one which has the physical properties compatible with life, smacks of a desperate attempt to avoid the (for the atheist) catastrophe of the anthropic principle. The more we learn about science, the more obvious it is that pretty much any deviation of the physical laws and physical constants from their present forms and values would have resulted in a universe in which life (as we know it, Jim!) would not be possible. So, postulate a near-infinite number of universes, most of which would not have allowed the existence of life, so we can be in maybe the only one that does. This is, of course, unprovable. Scientists are like Mulder in X-Files with his "I want to believe" poster, but printed at the bottom in tiny words, "But not in God." Infinite universes, always being born over infinite times... it's turtles all the way down.

There's a vicious anti-religious sentiment in science. IIRC, a survey from several years ago now showed somewhere around half of scientists considered themselves religious, but the percentage was far smaller among the "big names." Two hypotheses immediately suggest themselves: either only the less good scientists are religious, or there's a hive-mind in which the "big names" simply don't let devoutly religious people into the club. You don't need a conspiracy, just preferences.

It's really not hard to have a theology that allows faith in God and Christ and the Spirit to coexist with a belief in physical law. Whenever I think of miracles, I remind myself that the author of the nature's laws made probability a central feature; and while Einstein said he could not believe God played dice with the universe, I believe God plays with loaded dice. Most of the time, probability plays out in the normal way; but sometimes, on rare occasions, an event so unlikely as to be miraculous occurs, when God swaps out the dice for a roll or two.

Thinking as I type, perhaps we could view the much more common miracles as described in the Old and New Testaments vs our world today as a sort of uncertainty principle in action. The less faith you have in miracles, the more skeptical you are, the fewer you'll find.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash August 08, 2016 4:17 PM  

Johnny wrote:Humans dislike the concept of an endless universe and we want time to have a starting point. The reason we know this is because it is a characteristic of paganism.

Please explain the Great Wheel of Buddhism
Please discuss the Hindu concept of Days of Brahma

What I suspect is that the information is simply not compelling, thus the modern scientific community is doing just what the pagan did, imagining a universe that is emotionally satisfying, finite and with a start.

What you suspect is an obvious lie. The standard concept of the Universe before the discovery of the Cosmic Background Radiation was the so-called Steady State Universe, in which particles, spontaneously created from what we would today call zero-point energy counter balanced the loss of mass to fusion reactions. Physics was dragged kicking and screaming to the Big Bang theory. In fact "Big Bang" was initially a sneer aimed at proponents of the theory.

Please don't come here to discuss concepts that are literally over your head.

Anonymous Stickwick August 08, 2016 4:18 PM  

...the modern scientific community is doing just what the pagan did, imagining a universe that is emotionally satisfying, finite and with a start.

Also, this shows just how little non-scientists understand the scientific way of thinking. Many scientists HATED (and continue to hate) the big bang precisely because it is emotionally unsatisfying. As cosmologist Michal Heller points out in his book, Ultimate Explanations of the Universe, it's not just its consistency with Genesis, it's the scientific and philosophical messiness of a beginning that irks many scientists. The late biologist, John Maddox, who was editor of the ultra-prestigious journal, Nature, spoke for many scientists when he called the big bang "philosophically unacceptable." It is to their credit that most scientists accept the big bang on the weight of evidence in spite of their hatred for it.

You are correct when you compare some scientists with pagans, but it is in their desire to return to the comfort of the eternal, not the embrace of the

Anonymous Stickwick August 08, 2016 4:19 PM  

...not the embrace of the finite.

Blogger John Wright August 08, 2016 4:23 PM  

@35
" What does atheism accomplish? What purpose it serve? Why isn't it enough to say, "I don't believe there is a God."? Why must it be, "There is no God, you idiot!""

Speaking as a recovered atheist, I can answer from personal experience. Atheism services and stimulates the pride, producing a feeling of vainglory, which is addictive and pleasing. One sees oneself as the only clear eyed adult in a madhouse of children who all believe in a fable less factual than Santa Claus.

And since normal, traditional morality is also flung overboard by atheism, one is left with the choice to base ones life on duty, and be a melancholy but doomed badass, like Achilles, or to live for ones own self interest, like Alcibiade

Atheism gives rise either to a self satisfied pagan harshness of character, as stoicism, or to a postchristian softness and decay of character, as hedonism. Either way, one gets to sleep with one's harlots without fear of divine judgement.

Blogger Azimus August 08, 2016 4:26 PM  

Bless you, Stickwick. You are obviously thrice gifted: intelligence, communication skills, and a passion that the Truth should be revealed.

Blogger Mr. B.A.D. August 08, 2016 4:28 PM  

I love Stickwick

Blogger John Wright August 08, 2016 4:29 PM  

@53
' Neither question is answerable by we who cannot even explain ourselves.'

Rather, the second question is not answerable with divine help. When and if what God knows is revealed to man, man knows what is otherwise hidden amd beyond reach.

Anonymous Stickwick August 08, 2016 4:30 PM  

It is all for the glory of God and in His service, Azimus.

Anonymous Trevor163 August 08, 2016 4:31 PM  

"theists who either know God exists or believe God exists "

There are none of the former, only the latter.

If you don't agree with this, then try to dispute the following: I know that the god referred to in the Abrahamic Faith's is nothing more than a three legged gay squirrel living under a bridge in St. Louis Missourri.

Blogger Mr. B.A.D. August 08, 2016 4:38 PM  

There are plenty of the former. People who've encountered God. John Wright is one. But his only proof is his word, just as I can only prove that I own a TV by saying as much.

Blogger Mr. B.A.D. August 08, 2016 4:38 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash August 08, 2016 4:39 PM  

Trevor163 wrote:I know that the god referred to in the Abrahamic Faith's is nothing more than a three legged gay squirrel living under a bridge in St. Louis Missourri.
That is specifically called a lie. You "know" no such thing. You claim to know such a thing, but you know the claim is a blatant and obvious lie.
There is no need to refute it.

Blogger weka August 08, 2016 4:40 PM  

@102. When someone can produce a clear understanding of the mind body problem, or the pathophysiology of psychiatric illness (hint: the answer is not in neuroanatomical changes or Genome Wide Arrays. These are now adequately powered and have negative results) then we may be able to understand ourselves.

I don't think we ever will be able to.

I quoted Stickwick this morning at my place, great work, but we have difficulty with this and extrapolate to the human condition? Bacteria and Oranges, folks.

Anonymous Be Not Afraid August 08, 2016 4:41 PM  

@99
"Atheism services and stimulates the pride, producing a feeling of vainglory, which is addictive and pleasing. One sees oneself as the only clear eyed adult in a madhouse of children who all believe in a fable less factual than Santa Claus. "

Well said, John. But the emptiness in them gnaws. I know, I was one, once, also. I'm reminded of 1 Corinthians 13:11, "When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me."

Blogger residentMoron August 08, 2016 4:45 PM  

@102

Thank you, Mr Wright.

Anonymous Trevor163 August 08, 2016 4:50 PM  

"There are plenty of the former. People who've encountered God. John Wright is one. But his only proof is his word, just as I can only prove that I own a TV by saying as much."

Surely there is a difference between a claiming something and knowing something.

Mr. Wright believes in God. He does not know god exists. Similarly, no one knows what happens upon death. We only believe what happens after death of the body.


"That is specifically called a lie. You "know" no such thing. You claim to know such a thing, but you know the claim is a blatant and obvious lie."

I could say the very same thing and with as much justification about Mr. Wright's claim to know there is a god.

Anonymous Trevor163 August 08, 2016 4:52 PM  

"Well said, John. But the emptiness in them gnaws."

The emptiness caused by the belief if not an indictment of the validity of the belief.

Anonymous bub August 08, 2016 4:53 PM  

Was the resurrection a decrease in entropy?

Blogger Mr. B.A.D. August 08, 2016 4:55 PM  

No, Wright encountered God. He went from being a typical atheist who was completely sure that there was no God to a devout theist who is completely sure that there is a God. He is more sure of this than everything else and has staked his entire career, family, and reputation on it. Just as if you had met Bill Murrey in person, that you would know he existed and not just believed he did.

Blogger Mr. B.A.D. August 08, 2016 4:56 PM  

No, Wright encountered God. He went from being a typical atheist who was completely sure that there was no God to a devout theist who is completely sure that there is a God. He is more sure of this than everything else and has staked his entire career, family, and reputation on it. Just as if you had met Bill Murrey in person, that you would know he existed and not just believed he did.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash August 08, 2016 4:58 PM  

Trevor163 wrote:Mr. Wright believes in God. He does not know god exists. Similarly, no one knows what happens upon death. We only believe what happens after death of the body.
You misunderstand what knowledge is.

Mr Wright knows there is a God because he has met Him. He knows God exists in the same way you know that your high school principal exists.

You might claim that is a lie, or an hallucination or a trick of the light, but your objection has no effect on Mr Wright's knowledge of the matter. If I were to claim that your "knowledge" of your high-school principal is merely the effect of a bad bit of beef, my objection would have no effect on your knowledge of the man.

Anonymous Bz August 08, 2016 4:58 PM  

And then there are those thinkers who posit that the universe is a simulation ... Keep squirming, as my friend would put it.

Blogger Unknown August 08, 2016 4:59 PM  

Modern cosmology is a lie. The plasma or electric universe is how the universe really works.

Blogger Unknown August 08, 2016 4:59 PM  

Modern cosmology is a lie. The plasma or electric universe is how the universe really works.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash August 08, 2016 5:03 PM  

Unknown wrote:Modern cosmology is a lie. The plasma or electric universe is how the universe really works.
I'm holding out for Aether

Anonymous Stickwick August 08, 2016 5:08 PM  

Unknown: Modern cosmology is a lie. The plasma or electric universe is how the universe really works.

Irrespective of the merits of modern cosmology, the electric universe is, as Sheldon Cooper would put it, hokum.

Blogger Mike Farnsworth August 08, 2016 5:11 PM  

Surely there is a difference between a claiming something and knowing something.

Mr. Wright believes in God. He does not know god exists. Similarly, no one knows what happens upon death. We only believe what happens after death of the body.

"That is specifically called a lie. You "know" no such thing. You claim to know such a thing, but you know the claim is a blatant and obvious lie."

I could say the very same thing and with as much justification about Mr. Wright's claim to know there is a god.


Let me ask you this: how do you know there are atoms? Have you seen them yourself? Are all the things that we do with science and technology that rely on the assumption of the existence of atoms just posturing and lies?

You misunderstand the process of moving from belief to knowledge. There are experiences that will move your faith from being tiny, to bigger, to quite complete (i.e. knowledge). Pretty soon, it's just not even a question, even though it's hard to explain to others how it all adds up.

I've had experiences that make it extremely clear to me that God exists and that Jesus Christ is our savior. I can attempt to explain why my confidence is so strong, but without you experiencing it for yourself it'd be a bit like trying to explain what salt tastes like. You just have to swallow your pride, exercise a little faith, and try it.

Those who stay atheist just can't swallow their pride.

Blogger lowercaseb August 08, 2016 5:11 PM  

Snidely Whiplash wrote:Unknown wrote:Modern cosmology is a lie. The plasma or electric universe is how the universe really works.

I'm holding out for Aether


...but only within the crystal spheres that encapsulate the heavens...outside is naught by Phlogiston.

Blogger Mastermind August 08, 2016 5:12 PM  

" Also, as Vox points out, Leviticus tacitly acknowledges the existence of bacteria."

Leviticus does no such thing. Jewish dietary laws were not about physical sanitation but ritual purity. Someone completely covered by leprosy, for example, were called "clean" even though it's obvious to any idiot that they are not physically clean. They were however, ritually pure. Same with things like shellfish, shrimp, etc. Because they live on the bottom of the sea, they are similar to both sea and land animals. This results in ritual impurity which would be imparted on the person eating them. The purpose of ritual purity was to more closely adhere to what they believed was God's ideal for the world, not to stay healthy. Any health benefits derived from it are purely incidental.

Blogger Noah B August 08, 2016 5:15 PM  

I was just reading one of these "electric universe" websites just last week. It's crazy stuff and brushes aside the key concept of Lorentz invariance while claiming that gravitational field propagation is instantaneous. I can't decide if the author genuinely believes this crap or is just trolling people.

Blogger Caedryn Stonelaw August 08, 2016 5:18 PM  

bub wrote:Was the resurrection a decrease in entropy?

I would say yes, but in God all things are possible. The rules of our universe are not his rules and in keeping with a sporting spirit, he may have extinguished a star to provide life to Lazarus. It is a much greater feat to save my soul than it is to rearrange energy, so I don't try and see how the sausage is made in that case, nor would I ever be able to.

Anonymous Forrest Bishop August 08, 2016 5:23 PM  

Stickwick wrote:Many scientists HATED (and continue to hate) the big bang precisely because it is emotionally unsatisfying. As cosmologist Michal Heller points out in his book, Ultimate Explanations of the Universe, it's not just its consistency with Genesis, it's the scientific and philosophical messiness of a beginning that irks many scientists. The late biologist, John Maddox, who was editor of the ultra-prestigious journal, Nature, spoke for many scientists when he called the big bang "philosophically unacceptable." It is to their credit that most scientists accept the big bang on the weight of evidence in spite of their hatred for it.

I hate the Big Bang theory too, really hate it, but not for the reasons above. It does not add up, nor does it predict. Its theorists (e.g. Gamow) did not correctly predict the CMB temperature, contrary to the BB lore. There are at least 50 different, major problems with this theory, see van Flandern's work, Halton Arp's on intrinsic red shift and quasar statistics, Stephen Crothers on the gross mathematical failings of GR, etc.

One important example: when we look out across space, we are perceiving a two-dimensional, still image. For distant galaxies, out past a few million light years, we have not been able to determine their transverse velocity components in the short time we have been observing them. It is like a freeze-frame view.

The 'expansion of space' idea is based on less than 1/3rd of the required velocity data, the component parallel to our line of sight. Even if the Doppler effect was the only contributor, it can't account for transverse motion, motion in the plane perpendicular to our line of sight. Those velocities could be just as large as the imputed expansion velocities for all we know.

Now run the tape backwards. Imagine all of the velocities of all of the galaxies are exactly reversed. Because we don't know what those velocities actually are, we cannot know that the galaxies would condense back to a single point. Maybe the galaxies just pass by each other in various ways and at various times. We don't know either way, so we can't simply declare the BB theory to be correct.

Another argument. From QM/QED theory, the vacuum of space is said to be filled with zero-point energy, at an energy density of such and such. From BB theory, space is said to be expanding, with new space created ex nihilo in between the galaxies, a form of continuous creation which belies the instantaneous creation of the BB itself.

Where does the zero-point energy come from to fill the newly expanded space? If instead the energy density is falling, where are the time-dependent equations for the physical constants, or whatever is supposed to couple them? For that matter, where does Dark Energy and Dark Matter come from? Can a theory that relies on 95% no-see-umms still be called a theory? Etc.

Blogger tublecane August 08, 2016 5:25 PM  

@124-Do you really believe that "purely incidental" part, or is it just something you say?

Anonymous SaltHarvest August 08, 2016 5:32 PM  

Ron Winkleheimer wrote:This is why Neil DeGrasse Tyson is on TV.

I saw a documentary on Ancient Greece the other day and they had Neil on it. He had one or two lines which I forget because they were inane and obvious. The man is not an historian or archaeologist. He was included because all of the other actual experts were too lightly complexioned and to try to attract some "I love f*ing science" fan boys.


The pill goes down easier with the right sorts of placebo ingredients.

Anonymous r August 08, 2016 5:32 PM  

Of course, if you're a simulationist, you've already conceded the necessity of God and are just haggling over how great God is.

Blogger wrf3 August 08, 2016 5:35 PM  

Trevor163 wrote:Similarly, no one knows what happens upon death.
Oh, my. And you can prove this, how, exactly?

Jesus claimed to know what happens upon death. In fact, He said, "In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going." [-- John 14:2-4].

Who should I believe? You, or Jesus? Why?

Blogger tublecane August 08, 2016 5:37 PM  

@127-I would add that though Official Science accepted the Big Bang Theory grudgingly, that doesn't mean we oughtta count the adherence of its true believers now as lending special credibility. Because generations have grown up under it, believing in nothing else. You might say for some of them not even being aware of anything else, except as fringe theories and objects of derision.

It isn't really the weight of evidence that convinces them. They believe in it because that's how they've been taught. You don't get to specialize in it without learning it, and you don't as a rule learn anything else. Your career depends in large part upon believing in it.

Which doesn't mean you have to like the "philosophical implications." Scientists nowadays don't learn Mich about philosophy, nor do they seem to have much of an interest in it. So that part is no great obstacle. The theological implications of the Big Bang Theory trouble then in the same manner it troubles journalists, for instance, except that journalists are stupider.

Blogger Jim Carroll August 08, 2016 5:46 PM  

According to the GSS, in the United States, there are 11.4x more +2SD theists who either know God exists or believe God exists despite having the occasional doubt than there are +2SD atheists who don't believe God exists.

If I'm interpreting this correctly, along with the chart you linked to, and assuming this +2SD theists point is on the theists distribution while the +2SD atheist point is on the atheist chart, then it looks like the IQ of the +2SD theist is much lower than the +2SD point for the atheist.

Therefore, given a specific high IQ, rather than a +2SD point that's relative to the different distributions, it looks like there ARE more high intelligent atheists than theists.

Of course, any of the observations can be mistaken; willing to be set straight.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash August 08, 2016 5:50 PM  

tublecane wrote:except that journalists are stupider.
A sentence fragment with universal applicability.

Journalists are like the retarded in their love of Special Olympics, except that journalists are stupider.

Kardashians love being on TV and love being talked about, much like journalists, except journalists are stupider.

Journalists and Mexican peones are similar in their love for corrupt, authoritarian Big Man politics, except journalists are stupider.

It works every time!

Blogger Snidely Whiplash August 08, 2016 5:53 PM  

Jim Carroll wrote:Of course, any of the observations can be mistaken; willing to be set straight.

Read the sentence straight.
There are 11.4x as many smart Theists as there are smart Atheists. No special sampling, no tricks with stats.

Blogger Jim Carroll August 08, 2016 6:01 PM  

@135 Snidely Whiplash, maybe - which is why I asked. But it can still be a simpler form of: there are 11.4 times as many theists that are +2SD on the theist distribution (I'm assuming % wise) than there are atheists that are +2SD on the atheist distribution... which is what both the text and the graph seem to illustrate.

So are there (for example) twice as many (%-wise) theists that have a 130 IQ than there are atheists?

Blogger Jim Carroll August 08, 2016 6:03 PM  

Again, I'm a Christian and would personally love to file away this information for future retrieval - I just want to make sure I understand it first.

Anonymous Stickwick August 08, 2016 6:24 PM  

Mastermind: Leviticus does no such thing. Jewish dietary laws were not about physical sanitation but ritual purity.

Nobody said they weren’t about ritual purity, but I don't see any reason to think they weren’t about both.

Forrest Bishop: There are at least 50 different, major problems with this theory, see van Flandern's work, Halton Arp's on intrinsic red shift and quasar statistics, Stephen Crothers on the gross mathematical failings of GR, etc.

Never heard of van Flendern, but Arp is wrong about redshift and quasars. Stephen Crothers is an angry weirdo who goes out of his way to contact physicists — including me — to rant about his obsessions. I have seen no evidence to suggest that he’s credible.

I admired Arp when I was a freshman physics student, and emailed him for advice on how to navigate the field as a skeptic of conventional cosmology. He gave me very good advice — he said I had to master established physics before I could reject it. So, I studied hard, and to my surprise found that 99% of my objections were overcome simply by having a better grasp of the material. It was ironic, considering the source of the advice. Arp is still well regarded in my field for the good work he did, but nobody pays attention to his claims about redshift and quasars, because it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. My sense is, as an atheist, Arp was subject to the same philosophical prejudices as Geoffrey Burbidge, another brilliant atheist who was skeptical of the big bang for reasons that just don’t hold up.

Blogger VFM #7634 August 08, 2016 6:26 PM  

but that there are actually more highly intelligent Christians than there are highly intelligent atheists.

And the ratio will only grow, since intelligent atheists are going extinct.

Blogger SirHamster August 08, 2016 6:28 PM  

Jim Carroll wrote:If I'm interpreting this correctly, along with the chart you linked to, and assuming this +2SD theists point is on the theists distribution while the +2SD atheist point is on the atheist chart, then it looks like the IQ of the +2SD theist is much lower than the +2SD point for the atheist.

Therefore, given a specific high IQ, rather than a +2SD point that's relative to the different distributions, it looks like there ARE more high intelligent atheists than theists.


You are not interpreting correctly.

+2SD refers to the IQ. +2SD IQ atheist and theist share the same IQ. You cannot get lower IQ for the +2SD theist.

The chart graphs a normalized distribution where 3.5% of theists are +2SD IQs, and 17~% atheists are +2SD IQs.

But in absolute quantity, atheists are a very small chunk of the total population, so given a person with +2SD IQ, he's still much more likely (11:1) to be a theist than an atheist.

Blogger Bard August 08, 2016 6:30 PM  

What would it take for someone to believe you had an encounter with God? Your testimony and first hand account won't sway them. You can't produce a second or third witness. You can try and tell them, but they won't listen. Sometimes it is just a gift for you and you can understand why this side of the mirror.

Blogger Jim Carroll August 08, 2016 6:31 PM  

@140 SirHamster, thanks.

Blogger Bard August 08, 2016 6:31 PM  

Can't understand

Blogger Bard August 08, 2016 6:33 PM  

Can't understand

Blogger clk August 08, 2016 6:33 PM  

We should avoid attempting configuring our science theory to fit our theology.... the science will lead were it leads and nothing that is found in science would effe t negatively my beliefs in God...in fact, it is my understanding of the complexity of the universe that help validate in my mind my belief in a Creator...

To known creation is to know the Creator.

Blogger Jim Carroll August 08, 2016 6:40 PM  

@140 SirHampster, +2SD refers to the IQ. +2SD IQ atheist and theist share the same IQ. You cannot get lower IQ for the +2SD theist.

Sorry, I re-read you. The graph shows 2 different distributions. One for theists and one for atheists. It's pretty clear the +2SD point for the two graphs is dramatically different - the atheist distribution's +2SD point is WAY further out (at a much higher IQ) than the more normally distributed theist one.

If what you're saying is that all references to +2SDs are w.r.t. the overall population (not shown in either graph but probably pretty close to the theist one given that atheism is a low population aberration) then, okay.

Blogger VD August 08, 2016 6:40 PM  

assuming this +2SD theists point is on the theists distribution while the +2SD atheist point is on the atheist chart

There is your error. They are on the same distribution.

Blogger Jim Carroll August 08, 2016 6:42 PM  

@147 VD, thanks. That's what I was looking for.

Anonymous Forrest Bishop August 08, 2016 6:46 PM  

Noah B wrote:I was just reading one of these "electric universe" websites just last week. It's crazy stuff and brushes aside the key concept of Lorentz invariance while claiming that gravitational field propagation is instantaneous. I can't decide if the author genuinely believes this crap or is just trolling people.

There's the good, the bad, and the ugly at the various Electric Universe and plasma cosmology sites, just as there is within mainstream academia. The transmission of the force of gravity, both in theory and in practice, has to be instantaneous, or very nearly so, otherwise the planets would spiral into the Sun. This is made explicit in Newton's vector-valued law of gravity, F = GmM/r^2. Notice there is no time dependence, the force vector F is along the instantaneous line (r) between the two bodies regardless of their velocities. See Tom van Flandern's "The Speed of Gravity". The speed of the force of gravity is muddied by the gravity wave proponents, who sometimes say the 'wave' moves at lightspeed. http://www.ldolphin.org/vanFlandern/gravityspeed.html

Blogger Mastermind August 08, 2016 6:46 PM  

"Nobody said they weren’t about ritual purity, but I don't see any reason to think they weren’t about both."

The fact that a contagious person could be declared clean (and thus free to infect others) isn't a reason to think they weren't about both?

Blogger SirHamster August 08, 2016 6:51 PM  

Jim Carroll wrote:Sorry, I re-read you. The graph shows 2 different distributions. One for theists and one for atheists. It's pretty clear the +2SD point for the two graphs is dramatically different - the atheist distribution's +2SD point is WAY further out (at a much higher IQ) than the more normally distributed theist one.




Re-read VD's paragraphs underneath the graph.

As you can see, the two most common types of atheists are the High Church atheists with +2SD IQs (128+) and Low Church atheists with -2SD IQs (65-72). Note that the Low Church atheists actually outnumber the High Church atheists, 22.9 to 17.2 percent. This will surprise no one who has read TIA; as I noted there, we can observe a similar phenomenon at work in the Democratic Party membership.

Now, the statistically naive might look at this chart, note that the +2SD theists only account for 3.5 percent of the theistic population, and assume that this means there are more highly intelligent atheists than highly intelligent theists. This is not the case. As it happens, there are 11.4x more +2SD theists who either know God exists or believe God exists despite having the occasional doubt than there are +2SD atheists who don't believe God exists.


+2SD IQs is referring to a 128+ IQ, a point on the horizontal axis of the graph. The atheist y-axis value there is 17.2%, and the theist y-axis value is 3.5%.

You were talking about a different kind of +2SD than what VD was talking about.

Anonymous Forrest Bishop August 08, 2016 6:59 PM  

Stickwick wrote:Forrest Bishop: There are at least 50 different, major problems with this theory, see van Flandern's work, Halton Arp's on intrinsic red shift and quasar statistics, Stephen Crothers on the gross mathematical failings of GR, etc.

Never heard of [van Flandern], but Arp is wrong about redshift and quasars. Stephen Crothers is an angry weirdo who goes out of his way to contact physicists — including me — to rant about his obsessions. I have seen no evidence to suggest that he’s credible.

Arp is still well regarded in my field for the good work he did, but nobody pays attention to his claims about redshift and quasars


Plenty of people pay attention to Arp. My friend Steve Crothers can be pugnacious, but it is almost always a case of hitting back twice as hard and in response. Here is some evidence of his credibility- http://www.sjcrothers.plasmaresources.com

Blogger Noah B August 08, 2016 7:03 PM  

This is made explicit in Newton's vector-valued law of gravity...

This is more of "the ugly" then. We now have huge amounts of key data that Newton didn't have, a historically noteworthy one being detailed measurements of Mercury's orbit showing Newton's law of gravity to be inaccurate.

Anonymous Forrest Bishop August 08, 2016 7:20 PM  

Noah B wrote:This is made explicit in Newton's vector-valued law of gravity...

This is more of "the ugly" then. We now have huge amounts of key data that Newton didn't have, a historically noteworthy one being detailed measurements of Mercury's orbit showing Newton's law of gravity to be inaccurate.


Not quite. The precession of the major axis of Mercury is a tiny perturbation on Newton's gravity, not a replacement. Einstein reduces to Newton in the limit, they say. There are other explanations for the precession which appear to fit the facts better anyways. Please read "The Speed of Gravity" before jumping to conclusions. General Relativity doesn't change this fact- the speed of gravity is instantaneous in that theory as well.

Blogger Jim August 08, 2016 7:21 PM  

@151, SirHamster Ha! Thanks. Sorry for making you waste your time. I should have just read the original text more carefully.

Anonymous Mr. Rational August 08, 2016 7:23 PM  

James Dixon wrote:Genesis 1:3 isn't clear enough? "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."
Except there was light the instant there was anything else, and then the whole universe went dark 300,000 years later and stayed that way for a while.  There was light billions of years before there was an Earth, there are no waters in space, there may very well have been no waters on Earth for quite a while after its formation, stars came long before there was the first living thing on Earth, etc. etc. ad nauseam.

Mr.MantraMan wrote:I would rather see what the atheists (nothing more than anti-Christian) would do if ISIS or the like would put a death fatwa upon their block heads.
Until they do that to somebody who finds a mosque and puts the fear of ANFO into them.

Student in Blue wrote:Rhetoric Man was the one who was banned, and I believe they're different people.
Your belief is correct.

Ben Cohen wrote:Are these atheists who love science the same people that will call you racist for pointing out differing IQs among the races?
Not this one.  The only reason I started reading here is because VP is on the blogroll of SBPDL, and if you have a good eye you can figure out who I've been trolling (not there) for laughs (but if you figure it out keep it to yourself and don't spoil the fun).

Caedryn Stonelaw wrote:I have been recently developing thermodynamics as a successful poniard in the defense of the faith
As someone who's made some study of thermogoddamnics, you're just plain incoherent.

Brian S wrote:What I just don't get is the emotional aspect (generally hate) I see when "atheists" I know (including my own father) talk about Christians.
After enough badgering by any group, you'd have negative emotions toward them too.  You don't say where they grew up, but imagine not being a Baptist in the deep South.

@31 Not likely.

@40 When it's obvious that you don't really understand what you're saying, trying to argue you out of it is pointless.

@44 A God with such a short time horizon?

residentMoron wrote:If you actually can extrapolate backwards over ~15 billion years, from observations spanning at most several centuries (a nonsense that would be laughed out of any statistics 101 course but is accepted in cosmology and evolutionary biology because reasons)
What do you mean, "extrapolate"?  We can see many billions of years back in time by looking at very distant objects.  We can examine rocks formed on Earth which are a substantial fraction of the age of the universe.

somehow a universe in which entropy **always** increases arose naturally in a condition of minimum entropy.
Actually, if you consider the conditions of the Big Bang it was very close to a thermodynamic equlibrium fluid—a maximum entropy condition.  What happened after that was the rampant expansion of space.  All that entropy got spread out.  Like expanding humid air until suddenly you get a second, low-entropy phase of water droplets, the net entropy goes up while the local entropy goes down.

In the words of some wag, "I am, therefore the universe expands."

Blogger Noah B August 08, 2016 7:24 PM  

General Relativity doesn't change this fact- the speed of gravity is instantaneous in that theory as well.

Totally false.

Anonymous Stickwick August 08, 2016 7:29 PM  

Mastermind: The fact that a contagious person could be declared clean (and thus free to infect others) isn't a reason to think they weren't about both?

I'm not interested in getting deeply into a debate on this, since it's tangential to the main discussion, but it just seems obvious to me. Someone with raw flesh is declared unclean, but once he no longer has raw flesh and is ritually cleansed, he is no longer unclean. I don't see how that's inconsistent with the idea that the laws in Leviticus incorporated knowledge of bacteria to be applied within the practical limitations that existed at the time. Many of the other Levitical laws have obvious practical applications and therefore don't exist for the sole purpose of setting the Jewish people apart. Why would the dietary laws, or any other laws, be an exception to that?

Blogger residentMoron August 08, 2016 7:35 PM  

If you're a scientist, Bard, you do the experiment.

"Taste and see ... "

"Prove me now ... "

People unwilling to do the experiment, under the specified conditions, who still want to be called scientists?

Not convincing, is it?

Blogger SirHamster August 08, 2016 7:44 PM  

@155:

You're welcome. It's fun to me, no worries.

Blogger Rusty Fife August 08, 2016 8:04 PM  

Caedryn Stonelaw wrote:I have been recently developing thermodynamics as a successful poniard in the defense of the faith, though I will present it for smithing here.

Effectively, all known laws and observations of entropy point to this universe being a dying, but not dead universe. To put succinctly: An infinite universe is infinitely dead. The fact that we exist to observe at all shows that a level of order exists, meaning we cannot have reached the infinite time state of entropy. Meaning that something must exist outside of the current 4 dimensional constraints of the universe.

The one thing I have noticed in using this is that most people seem to think I am claiming that only our sun and our world will grow cold, not all suns and all worlds. I think this makes this a less effective rhetorical attack since the debater is not dialectically capable of processing the argument, but attempts to respond with dialectically cloaked rhetoric. I haven't found a good way to break through this, yet, as the best rhetorical skills I have are all shitposting.


It's not all that new. It is the reason The Flying Spaghetti Monster was thought up; argument of the absurd. I embrace the FSM in discussions to defuse the emotional charge and get people onto the first step that there is natural (inside the universe) and supernatural (outside the universe).

The other atheist response is the perpetual universe generator (PUG); which you've just demonstrated is supernatural gobblygook.

Anonymous Stickwick August 08, 2016 8:52 PM  

Forrest Bishop: Plenty of people pay attention to Arp. My friend Steve Crothers can be pugnacious, but it is almost always a case of hitting back twice as hard and in response. Here is some evidence of his credibility- http://www.sjcrothers.plasmaresources.com

Who in the scientific world pays attention to Arp?

As for Crothers, I doubt it’s a case of the tortured soul of the misunderstood genius. He contacted me out of nowhere to announce that my work was nonsense, because there’s no such thing as black holes. What had I ever done to him that warranted this “punching back twice as hard” besides publish my work? He seems to sit on arXiv waiting for any papers that have “black hole” in the title so he can fire off his grumpy missives. Look at the way he communicates on his website — it’s saturated with hostility and anger. None of this proves Crothers is wrong, but in terms of Occam’s Razor, you start to suspect that the simpler explanation — that he’s the one making mistakes and is also an exceptionally difficult person to work with — is more likely than the explanation that the physics community is conspiring against him.

I will note that Crothers thinks Hilbert — the greatest mathematician who ever lived — made a mistake in his math, and for some reason the entire physics community is either too stupid to realize it or for some reason is suppressing the One True Truth that only Crothers sees. People can fudge data and get away with it for a while, but they can’t fudge math. Again, the more likely explanation is that Crothers is the one who made errors, which is what other physicists are pointing out. GR is not my specialty by any means, but it appears Crothers’ big complaint is that there are no solutions in certain scenarios to the Einstein field equations. What he really seems to mean is that there are no analytical solutions, and to that everyone rightfully says a big so what? That’s been known for a long time, which is why there have been efforts to find numerical solutions (some of which have informed my own research on merging black holes). There are plenty of other scenarios in physics where there is no known exact solution, which is why we have an entire subfield of physics devoted to finding numerical solutions — computational physics.

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus August 08, 2016 8:55 PM  

I still say Stickwick's a good egg.

Blogger natschuster August 08, 2016 8:59 PM  

RE: Bacteria

In Deuteronomy it says that soldiers on campaign were to be issued a shovel. They were to leave the camp and bury their excrement. The Torah knew about hygiene.

Blogger Dean Esmay August 08, 2016 9:37 PM  

I would question whether the universe has to have had a beginning for the Bible to be true. Although it seems apparent that it did have a beginning. And it also seems likely that the old Steady State theory was preferred at one time for the same reason Multiverse theory is now--paranoid atheists wanting to avoid running into God. Which went from an annoying habit to a downright pathological impulse the last generation or two.

"The universe has always been here" is an old theory. Aristotle, who believed in God, thought the universe had probably always been here. After Christ, Christians contended with such arguments, and debated them. Some came down on the "Genesis is clear on this matter" and others, well-respected (e.g. Augustine of Hippo, hardly a noted liberal), said it would be foolish to try to force the scriptures to match science or vice versa; if we know something through science suggesting we're misreading the scriptures, go back and re-read them, maybe we just misinterpeted them, or were too hung up on one particular interpretation of something that isn't even of the ultimate importance. The scriptures are infallible we're not.

I can think of ways a universe without a beginning can be jibed with Genesis, although I don't feel compelled to try. God's outside Time and Space, and "the beginning" could be as simple as "the time he chose to begin to shape this part of the universe and the Earth." That's just one, I could dig deeper, I know there are analyses of Genesis by many early Christians who were talking about this and by the way they didn't sound much different than today.

Blogger Lazarus August 08, 2016 9:45 PM  

Dean Esmay wrote:I can think of ways a universe without a beginning can be jibed with Genesis, although I don't feel compelled to try.

For your own credibility, I adjure you.

Otherwise, you have just blathered your way into irrelevance.

Blogger Lazarus August 08, 2016 9:53 PM  

Stickwick wrote:I will note that Crothers thinks Hilbert — the greatest mathematician who ever lived — made a mistake in his math, and for some reason the entire physics community is either too stupid to realize it or for some reason is suppressing the One True Truth that only Crothers sees. P

For some reason, a guy at the local library gave me a 4 page dissertation proving Einstein was wrong about relativity.

I think I still. have it somewhere. It was bound in a plastic envelope with a plastic spine like information you used to get from financial advisers before the 1st crash.

Now we have the internet for crazy.

All this we owe to the miracle of technology.

Blogger Lazarus August 08, 2016 9:56 PM  

natschuster wrote:RE: Bacteria

In Deuteronomy it says that soldiers on campaign were to be issued a shovel. They were to leave the camp and bury their excrement. The Torah knew about hygiene.



Still not Genesis.

But, a study of microbes illuminates the fact that for all the types of life created, microbes are required for their success, hence, a simple extrapolation assumes microbes in Genesis.

Anonymous VFM #6306 August 08, 2016 10:03 PM  

Studying "Thermogoddamnics," Mr. Rational?

That's a bit ironic.

The fact that you don't realize that there most certainly was water in space (as - on this planet alone - 2001 Australian discoveries of zircon crystals dating back circa the Hadeon era now indicate) you are simply arguing from semi-ignorance.

You just don't know what you don't know.

Blogger the bandit August 08, 2016 10:04 PM  

Mastermind wrote:"Nobody said they weren’t about ritual purity, but I don't see any reason to think they weren’t about both."

The fact that a contagious person could be declared clean (and thus free to infect others) isn't a reason to think they weren't about both?


Wait, I must have missed something in my reading of Leviticus. When did anybody establish as a "fact" that a contagious leper could be declared clean? Please cite the relevant chapter & verse and medical details, for my benefit. Thanks.

Anonymous Stickwick August 08, 2016 10:05 PM  

Lazarus: Otherwise, you have just blathered your way into irrelevance.

Aquinas, while acknowledging that the Bible states there was a beginning, shows that you can still explain an eternal universe that is caused by God by invoking the image of a foot eternally making a footprint in the sand. The footprint in the sand would not be there without the foot, even if there was never a time when there was no footprint. Thus, the universe would not exist without God as the cause, even if it there was not a time when the universe did not exist.

Blogger Caedryn Stonelaw August 08, 2016 10:08 PM  

@156

So when all matter and energy is spread across an infinite space, what is the available energy of a given cubic inch? Your example demonstrates a very loose understanding of thermodynamics as a practical endeavor or, at the very least, short time preferences for the discussion.

@161 Thanks, Rusty. And you're right, its not a very new approach, but its new to my toolbox. I'll have to think about how to agree and amplify to defuse the emotional reaction. Also, I think you're right in getting the opponent to start thinking in a natural vs supernatual context. I'll try to incorporate the approach into future discussions, for what little I am able to do.

Anonymous Stickwick August 08, 2016 10:08 PM  

Titus: I still say Stickwick's a good egg.

I'm flattered you think so, even after you found out I'm a chick. ;^)

Anonymous Forrest Bishop August 08, 2016 10:41 PM  

Stickwick wrote:Who in the scientific world pays attention to Arp?

All of the Scientists in Scientific World pay attention to Halton Arp, by definition.

Stickwick wrote:As for Crothers... He contacted me out of nowhere to announce that my work was nonsense, because there’s no such thing as black holes.

Did not know that. Was his initial contact hostile? Black holes have never been seen, by definition. The black-hole math is erroneous as far as I can take it, which is not to Crothers' level but close enough to understand the bulk of his arguments.

Stickwick wrote:None of this proves Crothers is wrong, but in terms of Occam’s Razor, you start to suspect that the simpler explanation — that he’s the one making mistakes and is also an exceptionally difficult person to work with — is more likely than the explanation that the physics community is conspiring against him.

The Physics Community does not conspire, specific people do, some of whom have a physics education, and mostly as an evolved conspiracy. It isn't necessary to bring Crothers up at all in the analysis of his arguments.

Here are his replies to Sharples- http://www.sjcrothers.plasmaresources.com/critics.html

Stickwick wrote:Crothers thinks Hilbert — the greatest mathematician who ever lived — made a mistake in his math, and for some reason the entire physics community is either too stupid to realize it or for some reason is suppressing the One True Truth that only Crothers sees. People can fudge data and get away with it for a while, but they can’t fudge math.

It doesn't take much more than pattern recognition to see where Hilbert goofed his black hole solution, the one that is mis-attributed to Schwartzchild. It doesn't matter what Crothers thinks- Hilbert screwed up. Others pointed this out decades ago. Some of these are linked on Crothers front page.

Math is eminently fudgeable, all the time and all over the place. It looks great on paper, with all those curlycues and Greek letters flying around like chicken entrails, but each step is an opportunity for a fudge. There's the "sleight of variables" gambit used by Einstein for Special Relativity, the "re-definition definition, the "slick substitution", the "coordinate bait & switch", the "argumentum infinitesimalum", the "imaginary, yet too complex for thou plane", and so on. Even the algebraic Rule of Signs is a fudge.

Blogger Mike Farnsworth August 08, 2016 11:01 PM  

The rule of signs is a fudge? It simply provides an upper bound on the number of real roots, which is very useful thing to have. That's very tasty fudge indeed.

Blogger Rusty Fife August 08, 2016 11:12 PM  

Caedryn Stonelaw wrote:Also, I think you're right in getting the opponent to start thinking in a natural vs supernatual context. I'll try to incorporate the approach into future discussions, for what little I am able to do

Because supernatural isn't science; it's story telling. The proof is that they haven't even dreamed up an experiment to falsify the narrative.

Blogger Rusty Fife August 08, 2016 11:15 PM  

@176

BTW, they'll swallow that line all the way down. It's a trap.

Blogger Kristophr August 08, 2016 11:32 PM  

Science only deals with the quantifiable and observable universe. It does not even touch on matters of belief, as that is not its job. If some believer wants to use current theory to bolster belief, it should not be a concern to a scientist.

Atheists who fret about belief only show that they aren't confident atheists.

Anonymous Forrest Bishop August 08, 2016 11:35 PM  

Mike Farnsworth wrote:The rule of signs is a fudge? It simply provides an upper bound on the number of real roots, which is very useful thing to have. That's very tasty fudge indeed.

The upper bound on real roots is a non-exclusive side effect of the rule-of-signs fudge. For reference, The Rule of Signs states that

1) A positive number times a positive number = a positive number.
2) A positive number times a negative number = a negative number. (plus commutation)
3) A negative number times a negative number = a positive number.

The fudge is in 3); it breaks symmetry. The 'positive operator' (the plus sign) is a neutral actor. The 'negative operator' (the minus sign) acts like a flop-flop. It is playing an active role where the positive operator is playing a neutral, disinterested role.

Problems arise when this sort of math fudge is applied in mathematical physics, which purports to describe the world. In particular, there is no such thing as a negative direction in space. The Cartesian/Euclidean frame of reference is compromised from the outset. Ask the framer for a negative-eight-foot stud just to see how fast you can get booted off the jobsite.

A different, symmetric rule could be

3b) A negative number times a negative number = a negative number.

Anonymous Trevor163 August 08, 2016 11:45 PM  

"Mr Wright knows there is a God because he has met Him. He knows God exists in the same way you know that your high school principal exists."

Except I can sit Mr. Wright down with my high school principle who will discuss with him the first moment I realized he existed. Can Mr. Wright sit me down with the god he knows exists and allow us to have this same conversation?

We are talking about a different kind of "knowing". But you knew that.

Blogger residentMoron August 08, 2016 11:50 PM  

Stickwick

Are you aware of incidents where NASA has refused to examine various anomalous red-shift bodies?

Arp and others have described his in the past. I don't have the documents here (I'm traveling in Australia on business, just down the road from Mt Stromlo) but I can give you the references in mid September if you like.

We have disagreed on this matter previously but I have to say I've been impressed by your theology in this thread. For my money, nothing in scripture is incidental. We may not apprehend the import of every word, but every word is vital in my opinion.

Man does not live by bread alone etc

Blogger Snidely Whiplash August 09, 2016 12:32 AM  

Trevor163 wrote:Except I can sit Mr. Wright down with my high school principle who will discuss with him the first moment I realized he existed. Can Mr. Wright sit me down with the god he knows exists and allow us to have this same conversation?
My high school principal is dead. Yours will be sme day too. What then?

Blogger D. G. D. Davidson August 09, 2016 12:33 AM  

It may be worth noting that even if the universe is eternal, it would still logically require a first cause. St. Thomas addresses this point. Because he did not anticipate the discoveries of today's physics, he expects that whether the universe is eternal or not cannot be known, as it is not approachable by logic or (in his day) by empiricism. He takes the supposition that universe is not eternal as a matter of faith, but nonetheless effectively argues that even an eternal universe would require a logically prior first cause even if that cause were not temporally prior.

In other words, even if the universe were eternal, it would be make no difference to the arguments for God's existence from natural theology.

Blogger D. G. D. Davidson August 09, 2016 12:40 AM  

@116 Snidely Whiplash

This may be true of the popular use of the word knowledge, but in philosophy the word is typically reserved for knowledge of that which is true. If I walk into a dim room and see a coil of rope which I mistake for a snake, and draw back from it, I do not have knowledge; rather, I am in error because I have misidentified the object before me.

Knowledge does not always come from empirical observation, of course, but also from logical deduction. I believe Mr. Day is correct in stating that one can have knowledge that God exists, as it can be demonstrated logically that contingent beings require a necessary cause.

Anonymous Stickwick August 09, 2016 12:43 AM  

Forrest Bishop: All of the Scientists in Scientific World pay attention to Halton Arp, by definition.

I have no idea what Scientific World is.

Was his initial contact hostile? Black holes have never been seen, by definition.

His initial contact was consistent with the grumpy, persecuted tone he takes in his public writing.

So, lemme ask you. What do you think accounts for Sgr A*? The recent LIGO detections?

Here are his replies to Sharples- http://www.sjcrothers.plasmaresources.com/critics.html

“My malicious, gormless critics.”

My weakness here is that I’m not a specialist in relativity, so I’m not qualified to assess the validity of the details of Crothers’ debates with others. I have to rely on other indicators to determine how likely it is that he’s correct. What I’m noticing is that the way he addressed me several years ago is part of a consistent pattern that has continued through the years. I waded through an online conversation between Crothers and his critics, including Sharples. They raised valid concerns and were civil and patient as they repeatedly pointed out what they saw as serious mistakes. Crothers responded by evading their questions and assuming the posture of the persecuted by accusing them of being insulting. Whether or not he is in reality a crackpot, I don’t know, but he behaves like one. I would think someone who is as confident as he claims to be would answer questions directly and not worry so much about perceived insults. Combine this with his association with the easily disproved EU stuff, and I just can’t take him seriously.

Anonymous Forrest Bishop August 09, 2016 12:50 AM  

D. G. D. Davidson wrote:even if the universe were eternal, it would be make no difference to the arguments for God's existence from natural theology.

Agreed, with the exceptions that "eternal" and "universe" are concepts beyond our ken. The one requires an understanding of time, the other an understanding of space and all in it. The finite cannot accommodate the infinite. We can point at them but that doesn't mean we know them. This is made explicit in Time's Arrow, a highly un-recommended book, where time becomes a math variable, "t". At any rate, the Big Bang is unneeded baggage.

Anonymous Mr. Rational August 09, 2016 1:09 AM  

Ron Winkleheimer wrote:He was included because all of the other actual experts were too lightly complexioned and to try to attract some "I love f*ing science" fan boys.
There's a reason I don't watch TV and will never do business with Capital One.

@51 That's called a "non sequitur".

James Dixon wrote:Even if he were correct and the big bang did allow for the creation of matter, that still leaves the question of how it allowed for life to be answered.
If the properties of matter didn't allow for life, you wouldn't be here to ask the question.  It is a necessary condition for your existence.  For all we know, the universe is cyclic and we are in one of the cycles that allows for life.  Whether the life-allowing fraction is large or small, it only takes one for us to be here pondering it.

Sevron wrote:I had thought it common knowledge that the Big Bang Theory's confirmation was a Big Problem for atheists. If I recall correctly, the guys that did the cosmic background microwave radiation survey, the one that was supposed to show the religious goyim that there was no Big Bang, we're so convinced their results were wrong that they forced their university to pay for a very expensive cleaning of the radio telescope they used to do the survey (it was full of bat shit).
That's a creatonut conspiracy theory.  In reality, the CBR was discovered accidentally by two researchers at Bell Labs who were working on passive communications satellites.  They were concerned because the background noise level in their system was 100 times what their helium-cooled amplifier should have given them, and they wanted to make sure that they hadn't screwed something up (typical engineers).

You would know this if you had read even ONE thing about the subject that wasn't from creatonuts.  That is how badly siloed your information sources are.

TS wrote:Instead nearly all atheists go for social/communism which just shows more senselessness.
Given the hostility I get from the right, I suspect it's more "forced leftward" than "trend leftward".

"It's different this time! Socialism /communism is bound to work eventually! if you just keep trying and murder enough human beings."
"Great idea.  Wrong species!" — E. O. Wilson

fop wrote:With all that we currently know about biological machinery how can anyone in the 21st century still pretend that we might simply be just some kind of lucky accident?
Today's biological machinery is the result of literally billions of years of refinement.  My question to you:  with what we currently know about abiotic organic chemistry, how can you be certain that abiogenesis of just ONE slow, barely-viable living thing did not kick-start the whole mess?  With nothing else to eat it and a world-full of organic molecules, its progeny would take over by default.  Any error in reproduction would have the potential to produce something better.

I swear we could discover a freakin steam locomotive orbiting Alpha Centauri and these spergatheists would still publish dozens of books and articles about plausible mechanisms for spontaneous locomotive emergence.
Maybe if you, you know, realized that steam locomotives are built by humans....

Anonymous Forrest Bishop August 09, 2016 1:10 AM  

Stickwick wrote:Forrest Bishop: All of the Scientists in Scientific World pay attention to Halton Arp, by definition.

I have no idea what Scientific World is.


It is found here: "Who in the scientific world pays attention to Arp?"

Stickwick wrote:So, lemme ask you. What do you think accounts for Sgr A*? The recent LIGO detections?

There are no legit LIGO detections, either in the recent claim of "first gravity-wave" or in the previous claims of "first gravity wave". It's like how many times can OBL be killed just ahead of a funding request? The declared sensitivity is beyond the limits of our technology, ergo bs. It's like the Higgs Boson ("The God Particle") charade. Much more interesting than the LIGO clown parade are the long-term Sgr A* IR observations by the Germans. But where are the Einstein Rings?

I, yea I, do indeed have a story about Sag A*. In my mercy I'll spare you the details.

Anonymous Mr. Rational August 09, 2016 1:12 AM  

@77 Exactly!  Thanks for summing that up.

Surprisingly on-topic SMBC comic today.

Stickwick wrote:It’s ironic that someone who calls himself Mr. Rational relies on rhetoric more than dialectic.
Something I learned from Vox:  you can't use dialectic with rhetoric-speakers.  It has served me well.

Be Not Afraid wrote:The more we learn about science, the more obvious it is that pretty much any deviation of the physical laws and physical constants from their present forms and values would have resulted in a universe in which life (as we know it, Jim!) would not be possible.
Yet one of the favorite creatonut "theories" which attempts to explain how we could be seeing objects billions of light-years away in a universe just a few thousand years old postulates radical changes in fundamental physical constants such that the speed of light has decreased by a factor of millions over the span of its abbreviated existence.  Oh, life as we know it also had to be not just possible but comfortable over the entire span.

There's a vicious anti-religious sentiment in science.
There's a vicious anti-science sentiment in many strains of Christianity, as well as Islam.  It's gone from "I didn't come from no monkey" to "scientists are lying about the speed of light (and thus the age of the universe)" and lately to "humans cannot cause climate change".  It's the fallacy of the argument from consequences.  Just as leftards want to be protected against evidence of human biodiversity (and inherent INequality), the right wants to be protected from evidence against its religious tenets.

Snidely Whiplash wrote:The standard concept of the Universe before the discovery of the Cosmic Background Radiation was the so-called Steady State Universe, in which particles, spontaneously created from what we would today call zero-point energy counter balanced the loss of mass to fusion reactions. Physics was dragged kicking and screaming to the Big Bang theory.
That was before telescopes could see far enough away (and into the past) to verify that things really WERE different then.  Science learned things!  Why can't you?

In fact "Big Bang" was initially a sneer aimed at proponents of the theory.
It is ironic, but the acceptance of the evidence proves the bona fides of the people of science.

John Wright wrote:Atheism services and stimulates the pride, producing a feeling of vainglory, which is addictive and pleasing. One sees oneself as the only clear eyed adult in a madhouse of children who all believe in a fable less factual than Santa Claus.
So you say... now.  The reality, of true-believers in claims differing only on seeming trivia (for which there is no testable evidence to settle the questions) who have nevertheless fought to the death over them, ought to inspire shame and contrition in the theist.  Instead, they double down against those who reject theism until it grows up.

since normal, traditional morality is also flung overboard by atheism
Not true; it just insists that morality be based on more than "because X said so".  There is a lot of wisdom in history, and a lot of BS too.  The trouble is winnowing the first from the second.

I'm knocking off at #100, going to bed and picking up in the morning.

Anonymous Stickwick August 09, 2016 1:21 AM  

residentMoron: Are you aware of incidents where NASA has refused to examine various anomalous red-shift bodies?

NASA doesn’t decide how to allocate telescope time; that’s decided by telescope allocation committees, which are made up of individual volunteers from the scientific community, i.e. people like me. I know what goes on in TACs, and have seen nothing to suggest any coordinated attempts to deny someone telescope time just because he's challenging the status quo.

Arp and others have described his in the past. I don't have the documents here (I'm traveling in Australia on business, just down the road from Mt Stromlo) but I can give you the references in mid September if you like.

Feel free to give them to me, but I can probably guess what happened. Telescope time at the big facilities is limited, competition is extreme, and TACs have to decide how to best allocate their resources. Myself, I’ve been turned down three years in a row for time on the VLA, and my project is squarely in the mainstream of extragalactic research. There's just too much competition, so TACs have very high thresholds for determining what projects get allocated time. I’m fairly certain Arp was refused access to investigate his "anomalous redshift bodies" for the simple reason that it wasn’t seen as a prudent use of telescope time. His objections to the cosmological interpretation of redshifts are easily answered, so there’s no way a TAC at a major facility could justify allocating him time. Keep in mind, observations of these bodies of his almost certainly already exist. I would love to know which bodies you’re alluding to, because I am currently in possession of over 100,000 quasar spectra, and would bet you $10 those bodies are in my data sample.

Anonymous Stickwick August 09, 2016 1:25 AM  

Forrest Bishop: There are no legit LIGO detections, either in the recent claim of "first gravity-wave" or in the previous claims of "first gravity wave".

Oh, Lord, how did I know you were going to say this. And of course you're going to spare me the details of what you think of Sgr A*. For mercy's sake. I think we're done here.

Blogger joe b August 09, 2016 1:26 AM  

longest thread here that I've read so far. thanks to all for contributions to mostly civil discussion. you all make the world more interesting.

Blogger joe b August 09, 2016 1:30 AM  

longest thread here that I've read so far. thanks to all for contributions to mostly civil discussion. you all make the world more interesting.

Anonymous Forrest Bishop August 09, 2016 1:40 AM  

Stickwick wrote:Forrest Bishop: There are no legit LIGO detections, either in the recent claim of "first gravity-wave" or in the previous claims of "first gravity wave".

Oh, Lord, how did I know you were going to say this. And of course you're going to spare me the details of what you think of Sgr A*. For mercy's sake. I think we're done here.


Lord, the above is not an argument. What tiny little I happen to theorize in unpublished work is neither here nor there. The recent LIGO science-by-press-release would not stand up in court. What do you say about the argument presented above-

Forrest Bishop wrote:The 'expansion of space' idea is based on less than 1/3rd of the required velocity data, the component parallel to our line of sight. Even if the Doppler effect was the only contributor, it can't account for transverse motion, motion in the plane perpendicular to our line of sight. Those velocities could be just as large as the imputed expansion velocities for all we know.

Now run the tape backwards. Imagine all of the velocities of all of the galaxies are exactly reversed. Because we don't know what those velocities actually are, we cannot know that the galaxies would condense back to a single point. Maybe the galaxies just pass by each other in various ways and at various times.


Answer that one and I'll gift you with what I think about both Sag A* and Sgr A*.

Anonymous TS August 09, 2016 2:01 AM  

"Given the hostility I get from the right, I suspect it's more "forced leftward" than "trend leftward".

So you are forced into socialism/communism because of "hostility" from the right? So because of so-called "hostility" which BTW many of your fellow atheists engage in or do you deny that too? You are forced into a political ideology that results in the greatest mass murders of the human race in history as well as real time, lower the quality of life in the process as well as destroys the environment in the process?

Wow didn't know peer pressure was so powerful. You would think with all the destruction that socialism/communism causes you could buck up a little.

Anonymous TS August 09, 2016 2:02 AM  

"Great idea. Wrong species!" — E. O. Wilson

Non Sequitor

Anonymous Eric the Red August 09, 2016 2:03 AM  

Screw Darwinism and anyone who believes in it, then backs-in some cherry-picked just-so stories to support their rationalizations.

They don't seem to get it yet, nor will they ever get it, because it's a matter of stubborn unacknowledged faith...

Darwinism is a set of simplistic macro assertions erroneously applied to complex micro processes.

Blogger LurkingPuppy August 09, 2016 2:53 AM  

Snidely Whiplash wrote:I'm holding out for Aether
See Robert Brady's recent papers co-authored with Ross Anderson. They made testable (and practically important) predictions about quantum mechanics based on what they later identified as a century-old aether theory.

Noah B wrote:This is made explicit in Newton's vector-valued law of gravity...
This is more of "the ugly" then. We now have huge amounts of key data that Newton didn't have, a historically noteworthy one being detailed measurements of Mercury's orbit showing Newton's law of gravity to be inaccurate.

One of the items in a packet of ‘dissident physics’ excerpts which Forrest linked to here a while back stated that the only piece of General Relativity which is needed to accurately predict Mercury's orbit is that the force of gravity propagates at the speed of light. And here he is claiming that GR doesn't do that. Sad.

Forrest Bishop wrote:3) A negative number times a negative number = a positive number.
The fudge is in 3); it breaks symmetry.

Problems arise when this sort of math fudge is applied in mathematical physics, which purports to describe the world. In particular, there is no such thing as a negative direction in space.
A different, symmetric rule could be
3b) A negative number times a negative number = a negative number.

Okay, you're full of shit. Multiplication satisfies the ‘distributive property’ with respect to addition: (a+b)*c = (a*c) + (b*c). Your ‘different, symmetric rule’ would break that property spectacularly: -4 = (-2)*(-2) = (3 + (-5))*(-2) = (3*(-2)) + ((-5)*(-2)) = (-6) + (-10) = -16, but -4 is not equal to -16.

Blogger rho August 09, 2016 3:04 AM  

Forrest Bishop wrote:Problems arise when this sort of math fudge is applied in mathematical physics, which purports to describe the world. In particular, there is no such thing as a negative direction in space. The Cartesian/Euclidean frame of reference is compromised from the outset. Ask the framer for a negative-eight-foot stud just to see how fast you can get booted off the jobsite.

You've context-switched from axioms to analogy; don't think we didn't notice.

I've followed the Plasma/Electric/whatever cosmologies a bit. It's interesting reading, and I recommend it if you have the time. If you do study up on it, I also recommend looking into Young Earth Creationism. They have similar arguments that hang together in their own way. (Persecution is big, and often cited as proof. I blame that asshole Galileo for this.)

Forget Stickwick, I would love to read your ideas about Sagittarius A. Write it up and post a pastebin link.

Mr. Rational wrote:Except there was light the instant there was anything else, and then the whole universe went dark 300,000 years later and stayed that way for a while.  There was light billions of years before there was an Earth, there are no waters in space, there may very well have been no waters on Earth for quite a while after its formation, stars came long before there was the first living thing on Earth, etc. etc. ad nauseam.

I suspect that we will never find adequate evidence for you from our up-to-4000 year old manuscripts translated from dead languages. That's cool. But for what it's worth, fifty years ago, Richard Feynman thought that our public school textbooks were piles of shit too.

Humans are uniquely bad at recognizing obvious patterns.

Anonymous Stephen J. Crothers August 09, 2016 3:29 AM  

Stickwick said: “Stephen Crothers is an angry weirdo who goes out of his way to contact physicists — including me — to rant about his obsessions. I have seen no evidence to suggest that he’s credible.”

Your opinion of me has no relevance. Only scientific facts are relevant. As for evidence to my credibility, perhaps that's because you have not studied any of my papers and thereby speak from ignorance. As for being “angry”, surely you jest. I laugh at cosmologists all the time. Here is an example:

Crothers, S.J., General Relativity: A Case Study in Numerology
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBorBKDnE3U

Stickwick said: “As for Crothers, I doubt it’s a case of the tortured soul of the misunderstood genius. He contacted me out of nowhere to announce that my work was nonsense, because there’s no such thing as black holes.”

I would have sent you something to study that proves that black holes do not exist, as I always substantiate my charges. Clearly, you did not take advantage of the opportunity to study my references.

Stickwick said: “I will note that Crothers thinks Hilbert — the greatest mathematician who ever lived — made a mistake in his math, and for some reason the entire physics community is either too stupid to realize it or for some reason is suppressing the One True Truth that only Crothers sees. People can fudge data and get away with it for a while, but they can’t fudge math.”

This reveals with certainty that you have not studied my papers. Hilbert committed a major mathematical blunder. The physics community does not realise it because it commits the very same blunder in blindly following Hilbert. The mathematical theory of black holes violates the rules of pure mathematics. It is therefore false. The proof is in my papers, but you chose not to study any of them.

Stickwick said: “GR is not my specialty by any means, but it appears Crothers’ big complaint is that there are no solutions in certain scenarios to the Einstein field equations. What he really seems to mean is that there are no analytical solutions, and to that everyone rightfully says a big so what? That’s been known for a long time, which is why there have been efforts to find numerical solutions (some of which have informed my own research on merging black holes).”

What I have said and what you say I said are very different. If you are so hell-bent on refuting me then the first place for you to start is my arguments, not what you say I said.

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