Friday, September 28, 2012

How and Why Neil Degrasse Tyson Went Astray

It seems that every generation needs a new prophet of pseudo-science to carry the sputtering torch forward.  This generation it is Neil Degrasse Tyson.  His message seems fresh and appeals to the indoctrinated but it is the same old nonsense which originated in the Vienna Circle n the early 20th Century.

The Vienna Circle was devoted to positivism, the doctrine that physical science, whose ultimate basis is sensory experience, exhausts what can be known, leaving philosophy to police the tendency of thought to pretend to more knowledge than can be delivered by science.
If you google The Vienna Circle be sure you
get the right one.  This is a picture of the founder
of The New Vienna Circle not The Vienna Circle

The odd thing about this is that the modern priesthood of science claims that without this divorce of  'science' and philosophy, 'scientific' progress is not possible.  That concept is just not valid based on the history of said progress.  For most of history science and philosophy were interrelated and progress was not stymied.  So, why was it necessary to rip them apart?  The answer had nothing to do with progress, it had to do with animosity toward religion.  But, the Circle's premise created a problem for itself.

The physical sciences are rigorous precisely to the degree that they were mathematical, yet mathematics is not a physical science. It is immune to the touchstone of sensory experience that forms the basis of physical science. Because of this positivism threatened to crumble under its own weight.

This is a short introduction.  I will post more soon.  I know I didn't answer the Why question yet about Tyson.  That answer takes positivism as a starting place but it has much more to do with other considerations as well.  The main point you should understand is that most of what you have been told about the necessity for pseudo-science to be separated from philosophy is a lie.  That much of what you have been told about The Middle Ages is a lie, much of what you have been told about the objectivity of science is a lie.

Reference to: A World Without Time by Palle Yourgrau
Revoking the Moral Order; The Ideology of Positivism and the Vienna Circle, by David Peterson

BTW, both Einstein and Kurt Godel were participants in the Vienna Circle however Popper and Wittgenstein were not.  The reason makes for an amusing story given the supposed logical bent of the group.  Popper was not invited because he detested Wittgenstein.  Wittgenstein, on the other hand, had refused the invitation.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Creation in Six Days

Gordon (an atheist) The vast majority of creationists have no idea how and why evolution works. Why we are here is a nonsensical question. To ask that you must first assert that we were placed here  without asking the question who put us here in the first place. Can we know for certain that the spores for life were not sprinkled on earth by a passing alien spacecraft? No, it can not be asserted with certainty, doing so would be foolish. All evidence we have at the current point in time points to the case that life can be created from non-life under the correct conditions*. As for winning the abiogenesis debate, we are not quite there yet, but we are getting closer by the minute.

Arty (Creationist) I might ask you where the creatures in the passing spacecraft came from but I won't belabor that point,  You understand that problem well enough or at least I hope you do.

Gordon:  So, tell me, how many days did it take to create the universe?

Arty: Who knows, the Bible doesn't say.

Gordon: It does so, it says six days in Genesis 1.

Genesis 1:1 Before Time Started
Arty: No, Genesis 1:1 says, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  That means He created everything in the beginning.  The six days don't start running until verse 4.  To ask when the universe was created in a meaningless question.

Gordon:  No it isn't. Science has identified the creation as having taken place nearly 15 billion years ago.

Arty: Define what a year is?

Gordon: 365 days, 24 hours per day.

Arty: Scientifically speaking of course?

Gordon: Of course.

Arty;  Actually, not scientifically. According to a solution Kurt Godel made to Einstein's field equations time is illusionary and Einstein agreed with him saying, ""For us believing physicists the distinction between the past, the present, and the future is only an illusion."

We can take this further and state that things do not become, they simply are. Time is like space. In traveling to Singapore, I do not bring Singapore into existence. I reach Singapore which was there before I started my trip. In the same sense I reach events in the future by displacing myself in time. I do not bring them into being. And if nothing is brought into being, there is no change. And if there is no change, there is no such thing as real time.

Modern cosmology posits that universe expanded from a primordial explosion called the Big Bang. If time had an origin, and a uniform measure, then we are again within the bounds of Newtonian physics and a universal clock, marking time throughout the cosmos. It is everywhere approximately 14 billion years after the Big Bang, and it is that time now.

Sloan Digital Sky Survey Telescope
But a universe proceeding from nothing to nowhere by means of an enthusiastic expansion is only one possibility. There are others - for example: A rotating universe.  In Gödel's conception everything in the universe goes along for the ride. As the galaxies rotate they drag space and time with them. So, just as an expanding universe blows up space and time, a rotating universe turns space and time around in spirals. In that solution, there is no real time.

It seems to me that the cavalier dismissal of creationists theories of the timeline of creation are upended if not destroyed by the very science which the atheist use to attack creationists.

Einstein and Godel
BTW Einstein once said that he went to Princeton chiefly to spend time with Godel.  His exact words, in the original German quote were, ("Um das Privileg zu haben, mit Gödel zu Fuss nach Hause gehen zu dürfen." The privilege of walking home with Godel.

*TAT will address this in a future post.

This has been a vastly simplified introduction to a complex subject.  We can get into the specifics if necessary.

Reference to:

Einstein and Godel, by David Berlinski,  Discovery Magazine, March 2002.
There's Something about Godel, Francesco Berto, 2009
A World Without Time, The ForgottYurien Legacy of Godel and Einstein by Palle Yourgrau
Godel, Escher, Bach, by Douglas Hofstadter.
Is the Universe Spinning? Ray Villard. Discovery News, July 8, 2011.
[A  sample of over 15,000 galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey* - looking northward, above the plane of the Milky www. found that more than half of the spirals were spinning in a counterclockwise direction. The odds of this being purely due to chance are a one in a million. Further, if the whole universe is rotating, then galaxies on the opposite part of the sky, below the galactic plane, should be whirling in a clockwise direction. And according to a separate 1991 study spiral galaxies in the southern galactic hemisphere do just that.]ample of over 15,000 galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey* - looking northward, above the plane of the Milky www. found that more than half of the spirals were spinning in a counterclockwise direction. The odds of this being purely due to chance are a one in a million. Further, if the whole universe is rotating, then galaxies on the opposite part of the sky, below the galactic plane, should be whirling in a clockwise direction. And according to a separate 1991 study spiral galaxies in the southern galactic hemisphere do just that.]

*Kevin's favorite.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Terrible News, Gordon FreeMan spotted near LHC

The Atheist Turtle has recently posted about Bill Nye's comments related to science and humanity's future.  It seems fitting to remind everyone that even those immersed in science are aware that not every scientist has the human race's best interests at heart, nor can science be trusted to remain in the control of benevolent masters.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Bill Nye the Poor Advice Guy

Gilbert: I see the Atheists are at it again, making unrealistic claims about science.

Turtle: They aren't unrealistic claims. Science is the key to humanity's future

Gilbert: Bill's quote is a mishmash of uncorrelated claims.  For instance -How is science the key to our future?  It's true that science and technology have, in the past, produced things that have changed our lives but those changes often result in conflicting results.

TurtleLike what?

Gilbert: Let's take medical advances.  There is no question that technological advances have improved diagnostic abilities but that equipment has driven up health-care costs and encourages physicians to over-use the equipment in order to pay for it.  As result health-care becomes less and less affordable and fewer people have access to it.

Turtle: But people are getting better care.

Gilbert: Some are, but what about society as a whole.  Is it better to have expensive, sophisticated diagnostic equipment that not everyone can afford or less sophisticated equipment with universal access?

Turtle: But as use increases costs go down.

Gilbert: True but then the next thing comes along to replace the obsolete equipment so the costs go back up.

Then Bill says that, "if you don't believe in science you are holding everybody back."  Back from what?  His warning sounds alarming but it is pointless.  Is all scientific advancement good?

Turtle:How can it be otherwise?

Gilbert: What about cloning.  Bill wants science to advance free from 'religious interference' but science is incapable to answering whether cloning, or many other areas of science are good things.

Then Bill says that, "it is fine if you are an adult and want to run around pretending or claiming you don't believe in evolution."  But he just finished saying that if you don't believe in science you are holding everybody back.  Which is it?  Can't he make up his mind? And why is evolution a surrogate for science?

Then he says that, "if we educate a generation who doesn't believe in science that is a recipe for disaster."

What does he mean by, "believe in science?"  That makes no sense.  There is a great deal of lying going on about the relationship of the church and science.  I'm sure that is what is behind his rant but, one cannot "believe in science."  To say that is unthinking. And what 'disaster' is he referring to?

Finally, he alternates between evolution and science.  It seems what he is really promoting is evolution.  In his book The Selfish Gene Richard Dawkins writes, "Intelligent life on a planet comes of age when it first works out the reason for its own existence. If superior creatures from space ever visit earth, the first question they will ask, in order to assess the level of our civilization, is: ‘Have they discovered evolution yet?"

Well, speaking for Christianity, it explains why we are here and to say that aliens would assess our level of civilization based on whether we had discovered evolution is self-serving and just plain wrong.  Civilization refers to relationships and infrastructure, etc.  It has nothing to do with a specific branch of science.

Turtle: But overall, science is a good thing.

Gilbert:  But, un-tempered by religious teaching those advancements pose a potential for disaster as has happened in the past.  G. K. Chesterton wrote, "What modern science fails to realise is that there is little use in knowing without thinking.  Nobody is taking the smallest trouble to consider who in the future will be in command of electricity and capable of giving us the shocks.  With all the shouting about new marvels hardly anybody utters a word or even a whisper about how they will be prevented from turning into the old abuses..."

Can Bill Nye's science guarantee that its discoveries won't be abused.  No, because science can not care.

More to come.