Tag Archives: Physics

Jeffrey Epstein, Lawrence Krauss, and The Inequity Of Justice

Jeffrey Epstein —media mogul and sex offender — has a loyal friend, perhaps too loyal. If you have big names like Lawrence Krauss —physicist and sometimes skeptic–on your side, and you have enough money and influence, you can wriggle your way out of hard trouble and into soft justice. Epstein received only 18 months for paying to have sex with numerous underage girls. Some of his other friends who sang his praises prior to his arrest included President Bill Clinton, billionaire clown Donald Trump, and Duke of York Prince Andrew. The inequity of the justice system is always disgusting to behold. To contrast, radio talk-show host Bernie Ward was sentenced to 7 years in federal prison for “downloading graphic images of child sex and distributing them on the Internet.”

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Creationist Hides Behind Boy Genius

First, a cutesy news story appears about an autistic boy genius named Jacob Barnett, who possesses a precocious knowledge of mathematics and who disagrees with aspects of the Big Bang Theory.  Then, Glenn Beck latched on to him like he’s a sign from god. In turn, a website — The New American— parasitically clings to the story in a way only a conservative rag could –it declares that Jacob’s work is somehow going to prove Biblical creation by disproving the Big Bang. And apparently, there’s no need for writer Raven Clabough to check her facts as to who first proposed the idea for an expanding universe. She just likes to shoot from the hip.

Christians worldwide should applaud Jacob’s intent to disprove one of the many theories put forth by atheists to explain away the Biblical creation. According to astronomer Paul Steidl, “The big bang was invented specifically for the purpose of doing away with the creation event. An astronomer would laugh at the naivety of anyone who chose to equate the two events.” [my emphasis]

I think Monsignor George Lemaitre, the Catholic priest and astrophysicist who first put forth the “hypothesis of the primeval atom”, which became the Big Bang Theory, would disagree about atheism’s contribution. And Fred Hoyle, the astronomer who gave the Big Bang its pejorative name, would also have to object on the grounds that one of the reasons he and some of his colleagues disliked the Big Bang Theory was because it sounded too much like a creation myth.

(And I was unable to find any source for an astronomer named Paul Steidl. I did, however, find the name linked with The Creation Research Society and its numerous, pseudo-scientific booklets on why astrophysics “supports” Biblical creation.)

A creationist like Raven Clabough pinning her hopes on a child by twisting his words and misinterpreting his intentions is pretty pathetic. A creationist having to rewrite history to do it makes it doubly so. And she shouldn’t bank on Jacob disproving the Big Bang just yet. In his own words he makes an obvious error:

“Otherwise, the carbon would have to be coming out of the stars and hence the Earth, made mostly of carbon, we wouldn’t be here. So I calculated, the time it would take to create 2 percent of the carbon in the universe, it would actually have to be several micro-seconds. Or a couple of nano-seconds, or something like that. An extremely small period of time. Like faster than a snap. That isn’t gonna happen.” [my emphasis]

If I remember correctly, less than one tenth of a percent of the Earth’s crust is carbon. Sorry, but as brainy as Jacob is, his parents should know better than to place this kind of pressure on him or to let him be around creeps like Glenn Beck.  They should take a lesson from Fleischmann and Pons, the two chemists who prematurely announced to the world in 1989 their “discovery of cold fusion.” Boasting before the evidence is in equals colossal embarrassment.

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Filed under Atheism, Christianity, Creationist Of The Month Club

CNN Fails, Yet Again

CNN has put up a poll asking readers if they think time travel will one day be possible. And they qualify the results by stating that “this is not a scientific poll.” And here I was thinking the interns at CNN were all part-time physicists. Boy, do I feel ignorant. For tomorrow’s poll, I suggest the question – Will broadcast news ever recruit talent directly from high-school newspapers? But I’m also left wondering what would have happened if the readers had mistaken it for a ‘real’ scientific poll. Pandemonium, perhaps? I guess we’ll never know.

Will time travel be possible some day?

This is not a scientific poll
No 70% 21922
Yes 30% 9214
Total votes: 31136
This is not a scientific poll

//

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The Universe, Religion, and Radio Signals

If you haven’t heard Paul Harvey or Paul Harvey Jr. on the radio, then I envy you your ignorant bliss, for they both sound like a drunken Jimmy Stewart from the movie Harvey. The father and son “newsmen” do a short, cornball show covering the gamut, from world politics to folksy stories of small town America. The Harvey’s “reporting” style is reminiscent of old-time radio; imagine a man wearing a fedora, with one hand clasped over an ear, speaking into a enormous, chrome plated microphone. During their syndicated broadcast they shift seamlessly from important news stories to sales pitches for delicious buttery spreads to tales of conservative family values. I think Dude Lebowski might say the Harvey’s are out of their element, by about five decades.

Well, Thursday morning I woke up to Paul Harvey Jr. talking complete gobbledygook about the latest astrophysics and why it reestablishes the earth as unique in the universe. Have a listen, at least to the first 3 minutes.

Science texts for four centuries have insisted that the earth is nothing special in the universe“. No. Copernicus’ heliocentric model was just a technical detail about earth’s position in the solar system. It didn’t say anything about its status or importance in the universe. Although, based on a lack of distinguishing features, it’s not unreasonable to conclude that our solar system isn’t particularly special. After all, there are billions of galaxies each with billions of stars, as Carl Sagan might point out. But that’s not going to stop a theist from grasping at straws.

Inexplicable phenomenon“, “Dark energy“, “Dark matter“, “Dark flow“, and “Confounded. Leave it to a gullible fool like Harvey Jr. to invoke the god-of-the- gaps argument; if scientists don’t understand something then it must be supernatural. i.e. I don’t know how David Copperfield did an illusion, therefore it’s must be real magic.

Those dark forces… the infinitely vast reality that exists beyond it [the universe]“. Harvey Jr. thinks dark energy and dark matter exist beyond the universe. I didn’t know science could see that far.

Accepted without question“. Scientists interrogate each other into submission because science is a method of investigation, which cannot be done without asking questions. Religious faith is loyalty to an idea regardless of the evidence. Don’t theists typically balk at Q&A sessions?

The earth alone exists in a cosmic bubble“. Give a layman a little physics and he’ll twist and turn it into an Easter pretzel. It’s Harvey Jr. who exists in a intellectual bubble.

My advice is not to get your science news from giant invisible white rabbits named Harvey or credulous radio personalities.

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Top 15 Creation Science Fair Projects

Top 15 Creation Science Fair Projects

15. Sexual Selection: Observations on the blond girl next door
14. My mom’s purse and the 2nd law of thermodynamics
13. The Grand Canyon: It’s smaller than it looks
12. Human vs. parrot IQ test – How Mr. Crackers cheated
11. Practicing Social-Darwinism for fun and profit
10. Bible College Cut & Paste Research Techniques
9. Viagra and the irreducible complexity in my pants
8. The geology of baking soda volcanoes
7. SPF 13: The Devil’s Number
6. Peer Review, Schmear Review: My friends suck
5. Praying For An “A+”, Without Really Trying
4. Abiogenesis in the Pillsbury Dough Boy
3. Spanking the monkey: Literally!
2. That evil Charles Darwin: An Unbiased Review
1. Noah’s Ark: Cargo Ship or Luv Boat?

When I wrote this silly list, I had no idea that the reality of creation science education is stranger than my fiction. I was shocked to discover an actual entry, from a 2001 creation science fair, “Women Are Designed For Homemaking”. It was an 8th grade boy’s project. I’d be interested to know if his mother or father had a hand in the work.

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Defeating Darwinism In 4 Easy Steps… Not

I enjoy reading PZ Myers’ blog Pharyngula, because he digs up the worst right-wing religious nutbars. And I get to comment on them, too. He found Bryan Fischer, a truly deluded fool. And hungry for more creationist foolery, I sifted through Fischer’s garbage – I mean archive – and went straight for his article on Deafeating Darwinism in 4 Easy Steps. Prepare to gag on the smell:

What follows is a straightforward, 4-step refutation of the theory of evolution. They’re easy to remember, and make a nice little cadence when spoken with a little rhythm: First Law, Second Law, Fossils and Genes. Armed with this truth, go forth and conquer.

Not even an encouragement to read a book or two? Just memorize these 4 things and regurgatate them at anyone who accepts evolution? Sadly, there’s more:

[E]volution teaches that everything that exists is the product of the random collision of atoms, this logically includes the thoughts I am thinking about evolution.

Ah. The ubiquitous “evolution is random argument”, reduced now to the atomic level. Does Fischer even know the difference between biology and physics? Now Fischer’s 4 steps in brief:

First Law of Thermodynamics.This law (note: not a theory but a scientific law) teaches us that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed…. What this means, then, is that science simply has no explanation for the most basic question that could possibly be asked: why is there something rather than nothing? Intelligent Design advocates have an answer to this question; evolutionists do not.

Second Law of Thermodynamics. This law (note: not a theory but a law) teaches us that in every chemical or heat reaction, there is a loss of energy that never again is available for another heat reaction… This law teaches us, then, that the universe is headed toward increasing randomness and decay… But what does the theory of evolution teach us? The exact opposite, that the universe is headed toward increasing complexity and order. You put up a theory against my law, I’m going to settle for the law, thank you very much.

Fossils. What the fossil record teaches us, in contrast to the theory of evolution, is that increasingly complex life forms appear fully formed in the fossil record, just as if they were put there by a Creator…. Evolutionists are at a total loss to explain the Pre-Cambrian Explosion… Thus the fossil record is a powerful argument for the existence of an Intelligent Designer while at the same time being fatal for the theory of evolution…. Intelligent Design theory has an explanation for the fossil record; evolution does not.

Genes. The only mechanism — don’t miss this — the only mechanism evolutionists have to explain the development of increasingly complex life forms is genetic mutation… The problem: naturally occurring genetic mutations are invariably harmful if not fatal to the organism.

Bryan Fischer repeatedly makes a distinction between a “law” and a “theory”, as he sees it. He thinks a law is somehow superior. He then contradicts himself by proclaiming the power of “Intelligent Design theory”. ID isn’t even worthy of the title of theory. If it is, then every marijuana induced epiphany is a law.

The 1st law of thermodynamics seems to contradict a creator. If matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed, then how did a creator create them? How does ID answer this question? Magic? Anyway, it has nothing at all to do with Darwinian Evolution. But in Fischer’s mind there seems to be a connection.

The 2nd law of thermodynamics is an old creationist argument, easily disposed of. Basically, the earth is not a closed system. It receives energy from the sun. And no biologist ever said that the universe is becoming more complex. Fischer is just pulling arguments out of his ass, or someone else’s ass.

What Fischer doesn’t know about the fossil record wouldn’t fit in the Grand Canyon. Creationists never actually discuss the fossil record, they only discuss what they think the fossil record is. The two are light-years apart. Their fossil record is a caricature. Enough said.

Finally, most mutations are completely neutral, not harmful. Except for the ones Fischer’s mother accumulated prior to his birth.

I really do believe that creationist nutbars like Bryan Fischer are deeply afraid of science. It’s the only explanation for their complete ignorance. They stay so far away from it that not even a kernel of truth rubs off on them.

www.TheDarwinReport.com

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Physicist Freeman Dyson On Religion – Part 1

Freeman Dyson

Star Trek fans will remember the episode of TNG titled Relics in which Scotty helps the Enterprise escape from inside a Dyson Sphere. The concept of a Dyson Sphere was lifted from physicist Freeman Dyson, who speculated that an advanced alien civilization, somewhere in the Universe, would encompass a star within a sphere and live on the inside surface of the sphere. It’s a fantastical idea.

Well, recently I finished reading Freeman Dyson’s book of essays (book reviews actually) called The Scientist as Rebel. And overall I found Dyson’s writing to be unsophisticated, a bit trite, and super apologetic, where religion is concerned. A perfect example is the last essay in the collection, Religion From The Outside, which is a review of philosopher Daniel Dennett’s book Breaking The Spell.

Dyson cites T.H. Huxley (an agnostic), who sat on England’s education commission. Huxley said, “Every child should be taught the Christian Bible as an integral part of English culture”.

Dyson then writes, “In recent times the scope of religious instruction in England has been extended to include Judaism and Islam. As a result of this policy, no strong antagonism between religious parents and the public schools has arisen, from 1870 until the present day. The teaching of religion in pubic schools coincided with a decline of religious belief and a growth of religious tolerance. Children exposed to religion in public schools do not as a rule take it seriously.”

Dyson fails to take into consideration the continuous flow of immigrants from Islamic countries into the UK, which prevents Islam from becoming pacified like Christianity. This results in a conflict between Islamic parents and the UK public schools. Many Islamic schools and Islamic communities in the UK do, in fact, try to keep their students separated from Western ideas, which include secularism. Therefore, Freeman Dyson seems to be out of touch with reality when he claims that  “Children exposed to religion in public schools do not as a rule take it seriously.” Some of them take it very seriously. 

Many UK Muslims suffer from the same delusion as American Christian fanatics, that their religion is the only true religion, and that the whole world needs conversion.

Some physicists suffer from a similar ailment, which causes them to think physics is the only true science. Too bad. If physicists only studied biology a little closer, perhaps some of them would understand humans behavior better.  

www.TheDarwinReport.com

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