Science vs. Crazy

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Henry Vilas
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Re: Science vs. Crazy

Postby Henry Vilas » Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:48 am

This should get Bishop Ussher rolling in his grave:
Scientists find 800,000-year-old footprints in U.K.

rabble
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Re: Science vs. Crazy

Postby rabble » Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:06 am

I could have sworn the creationists explained all that away by noting that God had put all that evidence there to make it appear that the earth had been around for longer than X thousand years.

I can't remember anyone giving a reason why God would do that. Maybe because she has a sense of humor.

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Re: Science vs. Crazy

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:16 am

rabble wrote:I can't remember anyone giving a reason why God would do that.
There are two stock answers. The first, "God works in mysterious ways", is no answer at all. The second, "to test our faith", is all the evidence I need that God is an asshole, undeserving of worship.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson has an entertaining podcast called StarTalk, which generally sticks to astronomy topics but has taken in a lot more too over the years. Usually his guests are scientists or authors, but on the last episode, his guest was God. Pretty amusing.
http://www.startalkradio.net/show/a-con ... -with-god/
I seem to recall God admits here that he created the fossil record just to fuck with people. My favorite moment was when God explained the existence of other universes. There are 6 total. They're all identical, except that a different Friends star went on to the greatest solo success in each one.

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Re: Science vs. Crazy

Postby kurt_w » Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:38 am

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:My favorite moment was when God explained the existence of other universes. There are 6 total. They're all identical, except that a different Friends star went on to the greatest solo success in each one.

What a waste of entire universes. Surely a genuine deity could find some more worthy objective.

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Re: Science vs. Crazy

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:48 am

kurt_w wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:My favorite moment was when God explained the existence of other universes. There are 6 total. They're all identical, except that a different Friends star went on to the greatest solo success in each one.

What a waste of entire universes. Surely a genuine deity could find some more worthy objective.
Tyson seemed disappointed as well, given the possibilities of alternate universes containing alternate physics. But, y'know, God works in mysterious ways.

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Re: Science vs. Crazy

Postby wack wack » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:09 pm

kurt_w wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:My favorite moment was when God explained the existence of other universes. There are 6 total. They're all identical, except that a different Friends star went on to the greatest solo success in each one.

What a waste of entire universes. Surely a genuine deity could find some more worthy objective.


I just wonder if the Chicago Cubs have won a World Series in any of them in the last 100+ years.

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Re: Science vs. Crazy

Postby Michael Patrick » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:11 pm

wack wack wrote:
kurt_w wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:My favorite moment was when God explained the existence of other universes. There are 6 total. They're all identical, except that a different Friends star went on to the greatest solo success in each one.

What a waste of entire universes. Surely a genuine deity could find some more worthy objective.


I just wonder if the Chicago Cubs have won a World Series in any of them in the last 100+ years.


As a lifelong Cubs fan, I've gotta say that I'm not sure even God can accomplish that.

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Re: Science vs. Crazy

Postby kurt_w » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:34 pm

I do like the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, because it implies that somewhere there is a Kurt W. who is Supreme Ruler of the World and who is also able to wear hats without looking like a doofus.

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Re: Science vs. Crazy

Postby DCB » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:50 pm

In the debate, Ham's explanation is that we can't assume that the same laws of physics applied 6000 years ago. So the potassium/argon ration only looks like 4.5 billion years old, but radioactive decay was all different then.

But as Nye points out there were people around. Wouldn't they have noticed that all the laws of physics were changing? And perhaps remarked on it?

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Re: Science vs. Crazy

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:51 pm

kurt_w wrote:I do like the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, because it implies that somewhere there is a Kurt W. who is Supreme Ruler of the World and who is also able to wear hats without looking like a doofus.
You don't actually need many-worlds to achieve this. You just need a single universe which is infinite in size (as ours may well be) and exists for an infinitely long amount of time (which ours is unlikely to do, I admit, but if we're part of a greater multiverse, this problem mostly evaporates.) Because given an infinite amount of time, anything which can happen -- no matter how unlikely -- will eventually happen. So you just gotta be patient. If you wait long enough, another Earth with another kurt will exist, and he'll be able to wear a hat like nobody's business. Whether that in and of itself will make him Supreme Ruler is debatable, but it's a good start.

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Re: Science vs. Crazy

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:03 pm

DCB wrote:In the debate, Ham's explanation is that we can't assume that the same laws of physics applied 6000 years ago. So the potassium/argon ration only looks like 4.5 billion years old, but radioactive decay was all different then.

But as Nye points out there were people around. Wouldn't they have noticed that all the laws of physics were changing? And perhaps remarked on it?

There are plenty of reasons for believing that the laws of physics have not changed over time (and certainly not in the last 6000 years) but I don't find Nye's argument here particularly convincing. I mean, have you ever read what passed for physics before Galileo or Kepler? Heck, one could make the argument that people did remark on different physics, given just how profoundly wrong Aristotle was (and his physics dominated for centuries.) Maybe he wasn't wrong, he was just describing the physics of his day which, by the time of Newton, had changed enough that a reformulation was necessary. Obviously, I don't actually advocate such nonsense (it's a much simpler explanation that Aristotle and his followers were simply wrong) but it seems like an obvious retort to Nye's comment. No, a better reason to believe that the laws of physics haven't changed over time is that we have the ability to peer into the universe and see what things looked like millions and billions of years ago and nothing we've seen flies in the face of physics as we currently understand it. True, the constancy of the speed of light could have changed, which would throw off our calculations, but there's simply no evidence that this is the case (and lots of folks have looked.)

So, DCB -- is this debate actually worthwhile listening? Is it entertaining? I've been going back and forth on whether I want to invest the time to listen to it. I do love Nye and I enjoy hearing anti-science arguments demolished by reason, but something about this seems to me like it might just be kind of a slog.

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Re: Science vs. Crazy

Postby minicat » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:12 pm

... or, maybe the godbangers are just incorrect.

GODBANGERS!

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Re: Science vs. Crazy

Postby Galoot » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:25 pm

The explanation "God created the Earth to appear old" was pretty soundly rejected by mainstream Christian theologians about 150 years ago. It was called Omphalos, and the theologians didn't take long to realize that this made God into a pretty petty and dishonest character.

Of course, American fundamentalist Christians don't pay attention to such mainstream ideas, they are the whackjobs of all whackjobs. And it is nearly half of the nation.

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Re: Science vs. Crazy

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:51 pm

Galoot wrote:Of course, American fundamentalist Christians don't pay attention to such mainstream ideas, they are the whackjobs of all whackjobs. And it is nearly half of the nation.
Or in Sandi's estimation, only "a few".

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Re: Science vs. Crazy

Postby kurt_w » Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:00 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
kurt_w wrote:I do like the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, because it implies that somewhere there is a Kurt W. who is Supreme Ruler of the World and who is also able to wear hats without looking like a doofus.
You don't actually need many-worlds to achieve this. You just need a single universe which is infinite in size (as ours may well be) and exists for an infinitely long amount of time (which ours is unlikely to do, I admit, but if we're part of a greater multiverse, this problem mostly evaporates.) Because given an infinite amount of time, anything which can happen -- no matter how unlikely -- will eventually happen. So you just gotta be patient. If you wait long enough, another Earth with another kurt will exist, and he'll be able to wear a hat like nobody's business. Whether that in and of itself will make him Supreme Ruler is debatable, but it's a good start.

I don't agree. You could have a single universe that lasts forever, but in which the same events keep happening over and over again (think Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, or me repeatedly debunking the same wrong claims by JH in the climate change thread).

In contrast, the many-worlds interpretation of quantum dynamics really would lead to all possible outcomes.


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