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Thursday, June 26, 2008

CALCULUS SMALCULUS AND OTHER THOUGHTS

Calculus - not my cup of tea. I am a math guy, compute numbers in my head easily when they are simple things like 27 times 15 or so on. But I have not be mute just because there was a calculus question. I have an answer near the end of this column.

Those of you not in the Midwest United States may not realize that much of the country is in a state of emergency with widespread flooding and damages that far exceed what happened to New Orleans during Katrina. It has not hit me so hard but has certainly impacted my business and some of my friends, including my calculus expert.

I also had a medical emergency. I have had the pleasure of surviving two major accidents, one of which probably should have left me dead. In fact, the ambulance attendants couldn't believe I was not only alive but walking around. Was it a miracle of God or a happy coincidence?

The first accident was a challenge to me and I worked my butt off in therapy and at the gym until I could do everything I had before, albeit with a constant companion known as pain. I probably will never have a waking moment without pain unless and until God really does do a miracle to heal all the nerve damage.

The second accident left me with more pain and more damage and now there are things I cannot do. In part because of that I now take ten pills each day by prescription and, well, a change in medication caused me to have a terrible time for awhile early this month. My very fine doctors figured things out and, for the first time in maybe three or four weeks I feel relatively normal and am posting again. For awhile I couldn't sleep and yet had no energy and felt depressed enough so that I felt like I wanted to kill myself to end the misery if I didn't trust God and love my family...and also because it would seem to be a very cowardly thing to do to anyone who cared about me. But that is how bad it got. A bad combination of drugs can be exceedingly dangerous.

No, I don't believe that if I pray God will heal me. He might heal me. He can heal me. But in the overall scheme of things, His goals and plans revolve around the entire population of the earth and the entire stretch of time and not around me. He is not required to obey me. So I did not despair when prayer didn't take me out of my misery. Frankly, knowing that He was listening to me and sensing His presence was a big help.

Again, I was always able to pray and believe God would help me. I have a great wife and family to support me. Thus, I remain among the living and breathing and perhaps even among the productive members of society. I am working again, anyway.

I remembered during this time that I had fallen out of the habit of asking God to heal all these medical conditions I have at their roots, to fix the broken and dead and severed nerves and spinal discs and tendons and muscles and bones in my back and shoulder, to just miraculously heal me. I have begun to do that again. He may do it and it doesn't hurt to ask. Yes, all of you anti-God guys go ahead and scoff. He did heal my daughter of what was supposed to be a fatal heart defect and she is now a mommy so I am not going to limit God.

It's funny now how good I feel after being in such a deep black hole. I felt like taking on all sorts of subjects. For instance, was the real first progressive rock album The Court of the Crimson King? Could the Beatle's Revolver actually be the first? Or do you give Genesis the credit?

Is Mastedon the first great Progrock Christian band? Was Larry Norman the first Christian rocker, or do you prefer the first successful band, Petra?

When healthy, was Mickey Mantle the best player ever? Has Greg Maddux gotten more outs with less "stuff" than any pitcher in history? Has using "the clear and the cream" made Barry Bonds an untouchable in major league baseball and is that for the best?

Why are there so many boneheads who don't want to drill for oil in one tiny patch of ice-and-snow in the northernmost part of the vast ANWR preserve? We've had no oil platform disasters in the Gulf of Mexico despite lots of hurricanes and yet some folks fear offshore drilling. Do they really want the United States to enter into a 1920's-style depression? Don't they understand that the PROMISE of new supply takes down the speculator's prices?

For that matter, why aren't we building nuclear power plants and putting up windmill farms as fast as we can build them? Those are alternative energy sources, aren't they?

We need to use the coal and oil when can get our mitts on now while at the same time working on new energy sources. But to destroy our economy before the alternative resources are available is national suicide.

How dumb do the politicians really think we are? When Chris Dodd says he didn't think his "special" relationship with a mortgage company wouldn't favor him economically, does he think we believe it? Are we supposed to think that there is no quid pro quo involved when politicians cozy up to Countrywide? Are we supposed to believe that drilling for oil right now will not help us just because some guy in a suit says so? Good grief! Yeah, and Cuba has a great medical system. Tell me another one. Like Dennis Hastert just accidently bought up all that land around the are where the Prairie Highway is to go and worked his butt off to get that highway approved by the government so he could make millions on the deal.

Yep, Democrats and Republicans alike pull stuff like that...investing in ethanol plants and then pushing for mandatory ethanol use in cars. Pushing the idea of carbon offsets and then investing heavily in carbon offset companies.

I think we should vote for every congressman and senator who will agree to vote for the abolition of earmarks. If I was President I would tell the world that I was vetoing every bill that had an earmark and I would stick to it through hell and high water.

Can you believe the US Supreme Court could only vote 5-4 in favor of upholding the Second Amendment???!!! It should have been unanimous! But then, they just decided to give habeus corpus to foreign war criminals, so I shouldn't be surprised. This court is a disaster and God help the country if Obama is elected and gets one or two more anti-constitution types added in.

Why is it that Haditha was a headline for several days in the major news media when the charges against our Marines were made, and now you don't hear a whisper or read a story about it as one by one the Marines are exonerated in military courts?

How come the improving conditions in Iraq since the surge get short shrift in the news? Is Obama afraid to visit there because he doesn't want to know the truth, or because he is afraid the military would be hostile (in a polite way) to his presence?

~~~~~~~

Anyway, I do have a young friend who has a full scholarship to one of the most prestigious engineering schools in the world, is in the honor society there and is of course on the high dean's list. I trust his judgment and he did look at and review the calculus problem.

"Sorry its taken me so long to get back to you, I had to think this over a bit, as far as his calculations are concerned, the second part where he takes the integral, his math is correct, and it makes sense What the commenter said that has me wondering is the part where the original guy just states the rate in change of time on earth compared to the cosmos is 10^-13, not sure where he got that number from, it could very well be true, but he would have to explain how he got that number"

I suppose schohen was concerned about the semantics, so to speak, of the problem but apparently it is sensible and works mathmatically. I never meant for that particular equation to an important part of the article and it still isn't, but there you go. A guy who knows calculus disagrees with scohen. I think that shows me that the original poster was not lying, he just does his calculus in a way that scohen doesn't like but an engineer can understand.

~~~~~~~~

The hue and cry over my absence is understandable, but everyone take a chill pill. Sometimes when someone is not in contact it is because of an emergency or health issue. For those of you who considered that possibility and either prayed for me or thought kindly of me, thanks!

19 comments:

scohen said...


I suppose schohen was concerned about the semantics, so to speak, of the problem but apparently it is sensible and works mathmatically. I never meant for that particular equation to an important part of the article and it still isn't, but there you go. A guy who knows calculus disagrees with scohen. I think that shows me that the original poster was not lying, he just does his calculus in a way that scohen doesn't like but an engineer can understand.

Would your engineer guy care to comment on how you can measure the growth of a constant? Integrals measure growth, and as such you cannot integrate a constant. I have three PhDs, a MS in Mathematics and a host of engineers agreeing with me. It's not semantics, it's wrong. If you would like to put me in touch with your engineer, I'd be more than happy to have a discussion with him on a higher level.

Taxandrian said...

I agree with scohen.

Radar, could you please ask your friend to post a comment here and explain why he thinks the calculus used by Harnett is correct?
I've done calculus aeons ago and have forgotten everything about it, but as far as I know one can apply mathematical functions in only one correct way, like one does not use the '+' function to multiply numbers. Yet here it seems there are opinions on the use of a mathematical function that are diametrically opposed.

If you trust your friend's judgement, like you state, you will certainly have no problem asking him to defend his position here. And if he is sure he is right, he will have no problem whatsoever doing so, I assume.

Radar, I might be wrong here, but it seems a bit as if you really would like to see this calculus thingy disappear, and want to brush it off as quickly as possible. However, this IS a serious issue, as it deals with credibility.

So, please ask your friend to explain his position here, so all of us can learn from this.

Thanks in advance,
Tax

radar said...

Let's break this down, then. What exactly is the constant in question. Can you defend the position that it is absolutely a constant? Why does the math work if you are right?

And for all of you who read these posts, keep in mind this is all about a very small portion of a larger article that I included simply to demonstrate that there were several differing positions out there. I never said I believed Hartnett was right nor was his paper a main thrust of the posting. Once again, we are spending a great deal of time chasing down a rabbit trail...because even if Hartnett was wrong, well, at best only one of the thousands of scientists who have different opinions on the subject can be right.

I will tolerate a bit of this rabbit trail stuff, but frankly it seems to me that it is a ruse to take the focus away from the main point of the post, which is antithetical to scohen's point of view.

scohen said...

Radar,
dt/dt0 is the constant, since:
dt = 1
and dt0 is 10^-13

so... we have 1/10^-13 which is the same as 10^13, as evidenced by the math immediately to the right of the second equals symbol.

Somthing that would not be constant would be 5x or 4x^2, but in the above, we only integrate 10^13

...because even if Hartnett was wrong, well, at best only one of the thousands of scientists who have different opinions on the subject can be right.


Yes, but you didn't post one of the thousands of scientists who have opinions (the speed of light is an opinion now?), you posted Hartnett, and he's used special symbols to fool you --and that's what I have said all along.

What's telling/interesting is later on, to the right of the integral, he just multiplies the two numbers together. Why didn't he just do that in the first place? Indeed, the result of the integration would be *exactly* the same thing as multiplication --so why bother writing it as an integral?

I'm also quite amused that now you're classifying this as a "rabbit hole" when you put this paper on your blog as evidence of science. Now I am taking it apart using science, math and common sense and it's suddenly a rabbit hole? This smacks of the whole morris affair.

I still would like to talk to your engineer, as he's someone you trust.

P.S. By the way, when are you going to come to San Francisco so I can buy you a beer (assuming that it's not insulting of me to presume you drink)?

scohen said...

Darnit, I meant Morowitz, not Morris.

I should have known, Morris wasn't sufficiently Jewish. In my head I was thinking Dr. Jewburg.

p.s. I'm jewish, so don't say I'm anti-semetic.

radar said...

Thanks, scohen. You and my source agree to the extent that the math does work but the notation itself is wrong. At first I didn't get the idea but between you and him I do now. It does make Harnett look foolish, however. Perhaps that is why he had no response to my inquiries. My friend just corrected the mistake and worked the math out to see if it was comprehensible, which he says it is if you accept Hartnett's assumptions, which he questioned. But I didn't really get the jist of the issue until now.

In any event, Hartnett was wrong, you spotted it, three pointer from the top of the key for scohen...swish! I will not post anything else from Hartnett until he corrects/explains his mistake. His error, now that I understand it, was one a thoughtful scientist would not/should not make.

The rabbit trail thing is because that Hartnett was a small sidebar to the post rather than the main subject. I could have left him out altogether.

Yes, there is some controversy over whether the speed of light truly is a constant and whether it has changed. I personally don't find the subject that compelling without more evidence.

Yes, if I do come to SF again I would be more than happy to have a beer with you. In fact, in honor of your triumph over Hartnett, it will be on me.

Anonymous said...

The title of this post really says a lot. I don't consider this topic a rabbit trail at all- mathematical and logical underpinnings to arguments are really the core and substance of the arguments.

Radar, I understand your wanting to downplay this- i know you don't want this "scientist" with all his degrees and qualifications and who misuses, misunderstands, or some other mis-somethingelses math within his argument to reflect poorly upon creation "science". The fact that this hasn't been caught/exposed before by other creationists, though, is interesting. Isn't that what something called peer review is supposed to do? I guess we know why this wasn't published in a reputable science journal.

~lava

cranky old fart said...

It never ceases to amaze me how religious types are quick to attribute all the good stuff that happens to God, and attribute all the bad stuff to natural causes or coincidence.

For every "miracle" baby who survives a tornado, there are thousands who die hideous deaths in other disasters, natural and otherwise. But somehow, God was only involved in the good stuff.

Isn't it just as likely that God caused you to have these two accidents, as his having "saved" you?

Or isn't it even more likely that, to coin a phrase, s**t happens?

Anna Lemma said...

That integral says absolutely nothing. Your "scientist" is either deliberately putting in fake "Math" in order to fool those who don't understand basic calculus or else he is no expert.

Like others have said before, an integral measures growth. This can be growth over time (t) or an an area or volume bounded by curves. The value represented by an integral is the area bounded by a function on the x axis (simple example) from an starting and ending point defined on the Y or t axis. That integral does not have a function over x defined in it,therefore there is nothing to integrate. The integral is meaningless.

Why do you take something as true, when when you know nothing about it? Do you just accept something as true without checking it out if it agrees with your conclusions? Do you know this is the opposite of how science is done?

I'm really curious about why so many who support creationism fall into this pattern. First they support nonsense if it agrees with their already determined conclusions or is written of spoken about by an "authority. Then when the nonsense is pointed out, they backpedal and claim ignorance. I see this pattern over and over. I'm curious about why this occurs.

radar said...

Anna,

I am no calculus expert, and you can see we all agree the formula is wrong, so what is your beef? It was always a side issue anyway. Since I post on a large number of issues it is insane to think that I have a doctorate in every field of science and math and therefore can catch every single error out there.

Most evolutionists are strangely quiet concerning the vast majority of my posts because there is no "gotcha" and they really have no rebuttal.

If "those who support creationism" are so idiotic, what do you say when those who support evolution continue to add the Haeckel embryo chart into curriculum, or the Miller-Urey experiment? How about the fact that even the latest furor about a possible proof of evolution turns out to be yet another case of information loss rather than gain?

"Why do you take something as true, when when you know nothing about it? Do you just accept something as true without checking it out if it agrees with your conclusions? Do you know this is the opposite of how science is done?"

Answer: Are you a believer in evolution? Then I think you should answer that question about yourself first.

scohen said...

"Since I post on a large number of issues it is insane to think that I have a doctorate in every field of science and math and therefore can catch every single error out thereSince I post on a large number of issues it is insane to think that I have a doctorate in every field of science and math and therefore can catch every single error out there"

Radar, we go back a while, and you know that I have no doctorates in *any* field (though I do have what I would term very good domain knowledge in computer science and the Internet). However, I was able to spot the error and you were not. Perhaps it's because I approached it with a critical eye and that I have sufficient math education (a total of seven undergrad-level classes --nine if you count stats) to spot it. What I think happened here is that I was looking for an error, and you were looking for something to bolster your argument, and were entirely uncritical.
Or, perhaps you just didn't have the tools to make the proper judgment.

The fact is, I haven't been around in a while, and it really has nothing to do with the strength of your arguments. It has everything to do with the fact that you refuse to learn much of anything about anything. We've had extensive discussions on what evolution *is*, yet there you go again saying it encompasses abiogenesis and cosmology. Heck, you've reverted to calling it Darwinism. Personally, I don't find it worth my time to argue the tedious details when you just don't make any progress.

You're going to trot out Hackel and Miller-Urey? Seriously? Why not bring up Piltdown man? Hackel's drawings haven't been used in anything but a historical context in decades. If you are pointing out that science is a device of fallible men, then you are right. You must also admit that both Hackel and piltdown man were also *exposed* by science. As for miller-urey, it's not like it's been totally discredited. But I digress, we've been over and over and over and over this before. It's tedious, it's boring, and it's up to you to do some research and learn that admitting the truth that the universe, the earth and the human race are older that 6000 years doesn't affect your faith one bit.

Anonymous said...

one last thing I thought I should comment one...

Can you believe the US Supreme Court could only vote 5-4 in favor of upholding the Second Amendment???!!! It should have been unanimous! But then, they just decided to give habeus corpus to foreign war criminals, so I shouldn't be surprised. This court is a disaster and God help the country if Obama is elected and gets one or two more anti-constitution types added in.

The second amendment has 2 clearly plausible interpretations and no clearly correct interpretation. The majority opinion and the dissent are both pretty convincing, if you get a chance to read them. To think it should have been unanimous is a little silly Radar.

What should happen with foreign war "criminals"? I don't know if I completely agree with that decision, but I clearly don't agree with the Bush administration's actions in what they were doing with detainees. Should incarcerating detainees in off shore prisons be a loophole for providing rights? Really, I don't know the answer to this.

And in your last sentence you bring up a good point- one of the more important, not talked about issues is supreme court appointees. The Right has stocked the court with some young justices (3 under 60), and the Left has some aging justices. If another conservative justice or two is appointed, there will be a massive change in constitutional jurisprudence for the next 20 years or more.

~lava

Anna Lemma said...

If "those who support creationism" are so idiotic, what do you say when those who support evolution continue to add the Haeckel embryo chart into curriculum, or the Miller-Urey experiment? How about the fact that even the latest furor about a possible proof of evolution turns out to be yet another case of information loss rather than gain?

When did I say anyone was "idiotic"? Why so defensive? All I said was that I see people who support creationism take information that supports their viewpoint without checking it first. I'm sure people without a science background on both sides of the issue do the same thing sometimes.

I am no calculus expert, and you can see we all agree the formula is wrong, so what is your beef? It was always a side issue anyway. Since I post on a large number of issues it is insane to think that I have a doctorate in every field of science and math and therefore can catch every single error out there.

But what I've noticed is that those who take the denial position against scientific findings seem to have the same form of argumentation. They take the arguments that support their position without critically thinking about them. Then when it it demonstrated that there are errors in those arguments, they claim ignorance. And claim "Well, I don't know what I'm talking about, so I can say whatever unsupported nonsense I want to." Do you do this with everything you say? I don't mean to be rude, but I'm curious about why people do this.

Do you really believe your arguments enough to research them and support them? After all, I'm only a mathematician, but I've studied some biology and genetics enough to know that evolutionary biology is well supported by the evidence and scientific consensus.

As for the other nonsense about Haeckel, even I know that the Haeckel diagrams have not been used for over 70 years. Unlike religious thinking, science changes as more is known about the world. As for the Miller-Urey experiment, all it showed was that complex amino acids could develop on their own.

And as for the comments on "information loss" please define "information". I have a genetic disease called Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT)caused by a duplication in a gene that builds the myelin which shields the nerves, causing progressive peripheral and sensory nerve damage.

If you define "genetic information" as the amount of molecular components that compose a gene, then clearly there is more "information" in my case, not less. You really should read more general science from reputable sources.

radar said...

Anna, I am quite sorry for your condition. I, too, have a nerve condition caused by a severe injury to my back that cut into my spinal column and either deadened or dulled nerves from the bottom of my right foot all the way up my leg. I do hope that there may be a cure or at least a partial remedy found that eases your condition.

No, Haeckel is not out of all the textbooks and museums yet, let alone for 70 years. Sorry.

No, information is not a matter of amount. Information is organized, intelligent as it were. Mutation is the blurring or mutilation or loss of the original information.

~~~~~~~

scohen, it is you who is unable to learn anything from my site. I am impressed that you take the time to scour articles for mistakes. But then you never learn from the 99.9% of the information that you have no way to refute.

Pure naturalistic materialism allows for no God. There must be abiogenesis. There must be an explanation for the advent/existence of all things that is in no way supernatural. You can try to keep evolution in a box apart from these areas but that does not satisfy the purist.

I know that you cannot offer any proof that the world is older than 6-7,000 years, only evidences that you believe support your case. I have evidences to support my case. Ad nauseum, neither of us is able to go back in time to test our suppositions. No systems have been measured long enough to be sure of their long-term accuracy, especially when we cannot determine what variances in conditions may have been in place two or three or six thousand years ago.

We can measure the speed of light and then suppose that the Universe must need be many billions of years old if we so choose. Then again, if we believe the Bible is an historical book, Adam must have been created as an adult and God could certainly have created the Universe as an "adult" as well.

So when we look at evidences that involve the idea of long or short ages, we cannot remain in testable territory. However, the behavior and pattern of living things today can be studied and tested and measured. I do say that by that standard, creationism certainly explains life far, far better than any form of darwinism.

radar said...

Lava,

I cannot know what to tell you concerning the detainees, since they are prisoners of war. If we are not to treat them as such, will we then cause our troops to read enemy soldiers their Miranda rights before engaging in a firefight? Must we really go down that path?

How are soldiers fighting the enemy supposed to see this situation? It is more dangerous for a soldier (and I am a soldier from a family with a long history of military service) and I can tell you that taking prisoners is very often more dangerous than simply shooting the enemy until they are all dead. Despicable sorts like Murtha to the contrary, our troops are wonderfully apt to do what they can to take prisoners and protect civilians rather than just shoot the place up whenever possible. The Supreme Court is, in effect, flanking them on the field of battle by making it easy for enemy combatants to return to combat/terrorist activities to kill yet again. I believe the number of released Gitmo prisoners who have been captured or killed fighting against us after release is now up to 39?

Did we release German and Japanese and Italian war prisoners during the fighting? Neither should we be forced to release any Gitmo detainees by considering them to have rights as American citizens.

Anonymous said...

Radar, do you really think this war on "terror" will ever end? If not, then prisoners of war are indefinite prisoners, never facing any charges?

Like the war on drugs, the war on terror is bound to go on, basically, for ever. You cannot defeat drugs. You cannot defeat terror. That is because you cannot defeat inanimate objects and feelings. In WWII there was a clear enemy, clear battlelines, and a clear outcome on the horizon(or two clear outcomes- victory or defeat). This is a different kind of war.


~lava

Anna Lemma said...

Anna, I am quite sorry for your condition. I, too, have a nerve condition caused by a severe injury to my back that cut into my spinal column and either deadened or dulled nerves from the bottom of my right foot all the way up my leg. I do hope that there may be a cure or at least a partial remedy found that eases your condition.

Thanks Radar. The condition is fairly mild in most cases, but my uncle has lost both of his feet due to infections in the bones of his feet. The infections progressed because he was unable to feel when the sores started. I also have an aunt who needs a cane to help her walk. Promising treatments include stem cells and gene therapy with viruses.

scohen, it is you who is unable to learn anything from my site. I am impressed that you take the time to scour articles for mistakes. But then you never learn from the 99.9% of the information that you have no way to refute.

Radar, this is called the Gish Gallop. This style of rhetoric consists of throwing out all sorts of wild claims faster than someone can take the time to carefully refute each error. When someone does take the time to start discussing the errors, the Gish Galloper then starts throwing out more wild claims. This way they can keep saying "Well,you didn't refute these new claims,so they must be true."

radar said...

Okay, I refuted the wild claims that Haeckel hasn't been taught for 70 years. It didn't take long.

Go ahead, take your time, go over the cuttlefish article and point out where it Gished or Galloped. I'll wait and not post another article from another site for a day or two, take your time.

~~~~
Anna, On a personal note, I am in trouble with my right leg since I cannot feel the bottom of my foot and large portions of my leg and whenever a sore or injury happens it lingers rather than heals. I have a bad wound right now that just won't go away and, if it gets to the bone, will be trouble.
Despite the fact that we disagree vehemently in some areas, we have an area of agreement. If you pray, pray for my nerve damaged leg and foot and I will pray for your condition to be cured and applied to you. My wife and I do pray together every night and I promise you will be mentioned tonight.

Anna Lemma said...

Thanks Radar.I don't pray because I don't think that any supernatural things exist. But I hope that you take care of yourself. My condition is not currently curable as it exists in my genetic structure. It is a part of what makes me, me.

I don't have the necessary hours available to point out every time you state errors. Part of presenting information to others is to verify what you say and provide evidence to back it up. I try not to make claims that are not backed up with reliable evidence. When someone points out that I'm in error and they give a reasonable reason, then I accept what they say.

When you make a claim then it is up to you to back it up with evidence. This is a basic rule of logical argument. Even if evolution was not true, it would not mean that ID or creationism is true. For either of to those to be true,you would then need verifiable evidence backed up my many studies as evolution has been.