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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Creation Science - Are commenters deceptive? Part one.

Comments, we have comments! Let's start with scohen, always glad to hear from him! I don't think scohen means to be deceptive but you will see that he is certainly confused! My remarks will be in blue!

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scohen said...

Radar,
I LOVED this article. I haven't laughed this hard in a long time. Please, post more like this --you made my day.

Judging by what you will say later on, must be nervous laughter!

Just to show I was paying attention, your argument can be re-stated as: "God is not deceptive, he just went to great lengths to deceive us."

You are missing the point so far, since I was explaining why there was no deception whatsoever....we are not off to a good start here, I am afraid. The primary point was that God created the light first and then the sources of the light so that said light would be continue to shine. Not a tough concept, is it? I mean, either he has raging balls of fire placed millions of miles away to do the job, or he would have had to make a much smaller and less spectacular Universe. Keep in mind that I am quoting from the Book of Genesis, written a few thousand years earlier, not making things up out of whole cloth.

Then you go for the one-two punch of "A secular view of light years/the speed of light" and then the comment about the light the size of Cleveland. That's one hell of a light!

Well, if he was putting in track lights and a drop ceiling instead of stars, the lights bulbs would have to be pretty big, right? Did you not detect just a hint of sarcasm??

Do tell, what's the theistic speed of light? Does that mean if you measure the speed of light, it will be different than if I measure it? Does light have a Jewish speed, a Christian speed and an Atheist speed?

I didn't say there was a theistic speed or even a school zone speed of light. Now you are making things up. Sleight of verbal hand? (Hmmm, or verbal sleight of hand? Or, since it is weak thing to do, maybe slight of hand? Hey, now I get to laugh!)

Unfortunately, your science is flawed (natch).

1. The speed of light in a vacuum is constant.

In a vacuum. Hmmm. So it is a constant only under certain controlled circumstances. That isn't much of a constant, is it? If the value for pi is only true in the Northern Hemisphere, is it really a constant?

2. Moving outwards from a single point doesn't prevent collisions. They happen ALL the time, from things falling into black holes to stars smashing into one another to entire galaxies colliding. Get a telescope and see for yourself, it's quite fascinating.

Moving outward prevents most collisions. If you think things get dicey sometimes now, imagine if everything was moving towards the middle rather than away??? Hmmmm?


We now have observed that the speed of light is not a constant and that the average rate of the speed of light may well be decaying.

No, we have not. This is totally false, and if you can actually show this to be true, you'll win the Nobel prize.

I can point you to scientists who are researching this very idea, actually. Article link:

Speed of light slowing down?

Or how about this one, an entire page full of links on the subject? There are a good number of scientists who wonder if the speed of light is, indeed, slowing down and are looking to see if that speed can be plotted on a standard decay curve. Say what you like, we know that the speed of light can be varied and there are those that suspect that it is not a constant at all.



Light can seem to move faster than it should in certain situations and other times, slower.

Again, this statement is totally incorrect. Light behaves exactly as predicted, every time. It might less rapidly in one medium than in another, but we expect that to happen. For even more fun, particles can exceed the speed of light in the medium in which they travel, which produces cherenkov radiation. However, the speed of light in a vacuum is constant, unchanging, and can be thought of as the galactic speed limit. C: It's not just a good idea --it's the law.

This is funny. I say it moves faster or slower in some situations and you say, no, it moves faster or slower in some situations....Huh? It depends on what the meaning of "is" is? Your statement seems to be that, after we find a situation in which the speed of light varies, we note it so it is then expected going forward and therefore having noted it, we can predict the variation? So? My statement remains true and unchallenged.


The study of Quantum physics has thrown the Newtonian view of the Universe into the corner,

Not true at all, quantum physics only applies to very small things. Newtonian motion (with the added corrections of relativity) predicts the movement of the planets, galaxies and galaxy clusters very well.

Hahahahaha! You did it again! We used to call them, "Newtons Laws", but how about now? Newtonian physics is used as a way to estimate such things but cannot be used with complete precision because, as you said, the "added corrections of relativity" come into play. Because quantum physics has displaced newtonian physics, as I said. I am beginning to think that when you say "no", you mean "yes!" (I do hope you explain this personal quirk to the girls you date before you go out with them, you know, to avoid any legal issues down the road?)

there are fuzzy areas between particles and waves and odd relationships between operations and the observation of those operations.

And this affects galaxies, planets and large quantities of light how? Do they change if we observe them? Can a galaxy act like a particle or a wave? Can you perform the two-slit experiment with a galaxy? A human? A mosquito?

No, you can't.

..and you cannot get a cup of coffee for a quarter anymore, either. I have no idea why you want to mention the two-slit experiment (but I heartily approve of trying it on any and all mosquitoes! Especially those in residence locally). Oh, mentioning the double-slit experiment takes the focus off of the real issues. Cool. The point is simply that scientists keep getting surprised by new discoveries about the Universe, while the account of the creation of said Universe, written thousands of years ago, continues to be a logical, albeit supernatural, solution. If Genesis was written by a couple of unschooled, sheep-herding priests back in the day, man, they sure knew an awful lot about science!


The nature of the Universe is a continual surprise to those who study it.

That's absolutely true. Gotta love astrophysics and astronomy. That said, it's being open to new ideas, making observations coming up with hypothesis and having them confirmed or discarded that's interesting. These disciplines do not continually hammer a square peg into a round hole and declare that they're correct (all the while discarding evidence that contradicts their hypothesis).

And that's the big problem here, you start out with a hypothesis and discard, question or ignore evidence that disagrees with it, rather than simply realizing that your initial hypothesis is wrong. It's too bad really, the universe is a fascinating, beautiful place, and the fact that it's at least billions of years old is readily apparent.

Well, I certainly hope that you don't think your comments proved how I am wrong and you are right! You claim that the speed of light never changes and then mention ways in which we have observed it to change. You declare that Newtonian physics is still in place even as you admit it has been replaced/augmented because of discoveries related to relativity. You fail to directly address even one of my hypotheses and then claim that you've contradicted them!
No one human living today, not schohen, not radar, can go back in time even a thousand years to make observations of that time. We must depend on historical data. There is very little historical data that can be found beyond that time frame and there is absolutely none beyond maybe 4,000 years. So all dates and times beyond that point are completely speculative. scohen, you have no chance of proving that the Universe is 15 billion years old except perhaps in your own mind.

Perhaps you can go back to my post and actually address my hypotheses and show me where I have gone wrong rather than disagree with me while conceding my points? Or, perhaps my points cannot be disproven? Then we go back to the idea of presupposition and worldview again, don't we? My worldview can beat up your worldview!

I suggest that there was an Observing God at the time of the creation of all things, and He has given an account of creation in the Book of Genesis. The Bible isn't meant to be a scientific textbook, granted, but once scientists knew that if they speculated upon something that was refuted in the Bible, they were on the wrong track. Now, secular scientists almost seem to go to the Bible in order to make sure they are moving in the opposite direction.
Lava
If God just placed immovable objects in the heavens, gravity would begin to work upon them and eventually the stars would begin heading towards the nearest neighbor.

This makes me think of the Homer Simpson quote "could Jesus microwave a burrito so hot that he himself could not eat it?"

If God placed immovable objects, would they not be immovable?

But God decided to create things THIS WAY. He invented gravity, for instance, and a Universe full of moving objects. If you are asking me, or telling me, that God could have done it a different way, I agree. How does that make a point, though?

if God was going to make this massive Universe as it is, how else would he deal with the light question? Hmmm?

God could have set forth the events of the big bang.

God could have. He could have created Godzilla and set him loose in Tokyo. But He told us in Genesis how He did it and somehow He seemed to have forgotten that Big Bang thing and all those billions of years....or, more plausibly, they didn't happen.

Mazement

Mazement said...

But God wanted to present to us a massive, incredible, awesome Universe as a way of trying to illustrate how awesome and magnificent the Creator of said Universe really is.

Here's the Wikipedia article on Supernova 1987a.

Basically we got to see a star explode. There were a lot of fancy pyrotechnics, and neutrino bursts and stuff. I didn't get to see it because it was in the Southern hemisphere, sigh.

The star was 168,000 light years away. So if the universe is only 6,000 years old, the star never existed, and the explosion never happened. It was a fake; a mirage. If God had teleported Adam to that location, all he would have seen was a dust cloud that looked to be 162,000 years old. (That's assuming that point in space even exists. If the Universe ends within the next 162,000 years, then nothing that has ever existed in that place can have any effect on Earth.)

Any chance God had a reason to create that light and that image? I'm just asking...because you seem to be unable to discern the reason He'd do it. Perhaps you and I would have to be closer to the Mind of God to even understand why? I mean, an ant cannot fathom why God designed a planet upon which rain falls, while man finds it to be a plausible and necessary occurence.

I dunno. I'd be impressed by a God who wanted to create a vast magnificent Universe that was billions of years old and billions of light-years across.

Good. I am similarly impressed.

And I'd be just as impressed by a God who chose to create a smaller, shorter-lived universe, especially if it were a really intricate one. (Size isn't everything!)

Hmm. Okay, so far you say you are predisposed to be impressed by a Creator God?

But what about a God who chose to create a small universe, and then set up a facade to make it look like it was bigger and older than it really was? Well, I'd still be impressed...I can't create any kind of universe...but I'd be a little suspicious, too. Especially if He started asking for money or favors.

Tell you the truth, if I could completely understand God it would make him way too much like me and not nearly awesome enough to be God. It makes sense that God would do things in ways that were at times incomprehensible to us. If I have to understand God to believe in Him then I am in serious trouble. However, He gave us written Words to help us understand Him to an extent, He didn't want us to be ignorant of Him. I therefore choose to believe those Words and I base my worldview upon them. Hence, I am not only impressed by the Creator God, I am not in the least suspicious of Him!
Creeper/Anon

This post is already too long. I'll start with Creeper's comments next time!

8 comments:

scohen said...

Radar,
The short story is you should have paid more attention in science class. The long story is below.

"Did you not detect just a hint of sarcasm??"

Yes, the light thing (and that I used to live in Cleveland) was funny --hence the laughter .

Speed of light in a vacuum:
"That isn't much of a constant, is it?"

You know space is a vacuum, right? It's *very* much a constant --it even has its own letter, C. Again, if you want the Nobel prize, prove that light is decelerating.

"Moving outward prevents most collisions. If you think things get dicey sometimes now, imagine if everything was moving towards the middle rather than away??? Hmmmm?"

You're ignoring gravity. Objects moving any which way will attract one another due to their mass. Also, if everything is moving due to the initial explosion, in a local area, there will be near zero relative motion, negating your claims.

As an aside, you know that when the big bang happened, matter didn't exist --it had to congeal from energy. It took hundreds of thousands of years for atoms to form.

Your world net daily post is laughable, they compare experimental results obtained in the 1700s and 1800s to today's results. Can you imagine a cause other than light slowing down for the difference in results? Better equipment maybe? Could 250 years of improving technology *possibly* yield better results? Please, you're smarter than this. Furthermore, this trend should continue --why don't we see any numbers at all from the 20th century? We go directly from 1877 to 2004. As for the statistical claims, how can a modern statistician possibly eliminate all sources of error from 250 year old experiments to justify a 99% confidence interval?

"Say what you like, we know that the speed of light can be varied and there are those that suspect that it is not a constant at all."

And there are those that believe that the earth rests on the back of a turtle. And there's even that time cube guy. The speed of light in a vacuum is constant, and all the fist pounding and appealing-to-the-masses will not make it vary.

"Your statement seems to be that, after we find a situation in which the speed of light varies, we note it so it is then expected going forward and therefore having noted it, we can predict the variation?"

Or we measure the properties of the material and predict what the speed will be. That's the science part. Do you honestly think that when scientists slow down light, they just randomly pick a material to pass it through and have no idea what its effects will be prior to the experiment?

"We used to call them, "Newtons Laws", but how about now?"

We still call them Newton's laws. They still work --just not near light speed. You can still use Newton's laws to land a man on the moon. It's also important to note that relativity is not quantum physics --you seem to be conflating the two.

"I have no idea why you want to mention the two-slit experiment"

I did it to illustrate that quantum physics doesn't apply to large objects, and how it has not, as you put it, displaced Newtonian physics. If anything Einstein displaced Newtonian physics (Most people will say it was a correction, but whatever). Incidentally, passing all the mosquitoes through a slit won't do a damn thing to the mosquitoes --they'll fly out the other side. A photon, on the other hand will behave *very* differently.

"If Genesis was written by a couple of unschooled, sheep-herding priests back in the day, man, they sure knew an awful lot about science!"

I (and science if I may be so bold) beg to differ.

"The point is simply that scientists keep getting surprised by new discoveries about the Universe"

That's true, and is why science is so fun. It's also worth noting that when analyzed fully, many of these "surprises" happen to fall right in to existing theory, and when they don't science changes to match reality. Your story, on the other hand has been provably wrong for hundreds of years.

scohen said...

I saw this tidbit that I forgot:

"No one human living today, not schohen, not radar, can go back in time even a thousand years to make observations of that time"

Despite the funny spelling of my name, your premise simply wrong. Looking through a telescope allows us to observe the past. So you, I or anyone else can make observations of what it was like millions of years ago.

P.S. Are you back to your old habit of rebutting comments in separate posts? If so, count me out of this "discussion".

Anonymous said...

"If Genesis was written by a couple of unschooled, sheep-herding priests back in the day, man, they sure knew an awful lot about science!"

If this came from another source, I'd say you're being sarcastic, but sadly it appears that you're not. Well they sure knew how to be vague, too. And how would you scientifically support their (alleged...) assertion that it is possible for an object to give off light before it has even come into existence? That seems like a rather major mistake that someone who doesn't know a lot about science would make.

It does, however, fit in perfectly with someone who is happy to take complete and utter magic on board any time an inconvenient inconsistency rears its ugly head.

As for Setterfield's ponderings, looks like even the ICR (Institute for Creation Research - a creationist outfit you may have heard of) isn't happy to support them:

In a non-weighted least squares fit, every data point has equal weight in determining where the best fit straight line should be drawn through the data. For a data set consisting of measurements having error bars of varying lengths, it is not appropriate to give every data point equal weight as Norman and Setterfield have done. It is standard practice to weight the data points in inverse proportion to the size of their error bars. That is, data points with large error bars (greater uncertainty), have less impact on where the best fit straight line should be drawn than do data points with small error bars. This is especially important for the current data set, since the reported error bars range from ± 20,000 km/s to ± 0.0003 km/s.

When I analyzed the entire data set of 163 points using the standard, weighted, linear least squares method, the decay of c was determined to be:

decay of c = 0.0000140 ± 0.0000596 km/s/year.

This result says pretty plainly that there is no discernible decay trend in the data set presented by Norman and Setterfield.


I don't know, Radar - would you say these guys are part of some secular conspiracy?

-- creeper

P.S. scohen - Radar is simply in the habit of running away from as well as misrepresenting arguments he can't properly address, and there are many of those. If he consistently evades responding to very clear inconsistencies in his stance, he is simply conceding the point.

Anonymous said...

By the way, Radar, do you know yet when you might have time to get to the arguments to support your assertion that using ice cores to try to determine the age of the earth is based upon starting suppositions?

Meanwhile, I thought I'd point out a couple of minor mistakes in your post (not that there aren't any other major ones, mind you, but minor ones take less time to make clear to you - or at least to any other people who might stumble on this blog):

You are missing the point so far, since I was explaining why there was no deception whatsoever....we are not off to a good start here, I am afraid.

You didn't explain that there was no deception at all. On the contrary, you made it crystal clear that there was deception, and then you went on to explain the motivation for the deception...

... even though the motivation you named is inconsistent with an omnipotent being.

Maybe you want to call that a good start, but let's be clear that deception is deception.

"This is funny. I say [the speed of light] moves faster or slower in some situations and you say, no, it moves faster or slower in some situations."

You're very clearly misrepresenting the nature of the argument that scohen was addressing. You didn't just say that the speed of light moves faster and slower in some situations, you said:

Light can seem to move faster than it should in certain situations and other times, slower.

Did you mean something other than "than predicted" when you said "than it should"? Because scohen rebutted that statement pretty effectively. Not a matter of "what the meaning of 'is' is" at all. You were plainly wrong, simple as that.

"Perhaps you can go back to my post and actually address my hypotheses and show me where I have gone wrong rather than disagree with me while conceding my points? Or, perhaps my points cannot be disproven? Then we go back to the idea of presupposition and worldview again, don't we? My worldview can beat up your worldview!"

Lovely. Once the literal interpretation part of your worldview rises beyond the conveniently unprovable, maybe it can "beat up" other people's worldviews (lovely image, by the way). As it is, the literal interpretation of Genesis (which I emphasize is not a prerequisite for Christianity at all) requires dismissing large parts of science... which is why you can't partake of global warming criticism as you would wish. You deny the basis of that exact criticism.

But more about that once you actually address ice cores and tree rings in a way that actually supports YEC. Looking forward to that...

-- creeper

Mazement said...

Any chance God had a reason to create that light and that image? I'm just asking...because you seem to be unable to discern the reason He'd do it. Perhaps you and I would have to be closer to the Mind of God to even understand why? I mean, an ant cannot fathom why God designed a planet upon which rain falls, while man finds it to be a plausible and necessary occurence.

That's certainly a valid position, if you assume that God wants to be incomprehensible to us.

But that's not what you believe, is it? Christianity teaches that God is interested in us in a way that He isn't interested in ants, and that He wants us to be happy.

Now: Assume for the sake of argument that in order to be truly happy, we have to believe that the Universe is 6,000 years old.

On the one hand, we've got all these observations that fit together consistently and all point towards a much older age. Certainly the observations could be misleading...but it's odd that they're consistently misleading; that we can estimate the age of something using two different methods and come up with the same results both ways.

On the other hand, we've got the Bible, which started out as oral tradition, eventually got written down by human beings, and then was copied and re-copied by hand for generations while being translated into different languages. It seems like there's a risk of error. Certainly God could have intervened in the process and made sure that nobody made ever any mistakes. (But He's certainly been more than willing to let humans screw things up in every other situation!)

I don't know. If God wants us to believe that the Universe is 6,000 years old, then creating the illusion of a 168,000-year-old event seems like a bad idea. Sure, it gives us an example of what a supernova looks like, so we'll know what to expect if one happens to a nearby non-illusionary star. But surely there were less misleading ways to communicate that?

Anonymous said...

Radar, after having been challenged on just about everything you've posted the last few weeks and being unable to respond with any factual arguments, you've been quite mum.

I suspect that is the normal response to having a rug pulled out from under one's self, eh?

-- creeper

Lava said...

Creeper-

We don't need proof. We have the bible. Well...more of an interpretation of the bible.

cranky old fart said...

Guess this blog has come to a grinding halt.

Sad to see, just when things had veered back into Creationist craziness.....