Creationism and other anti-science movements

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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#151

Post by Tiredretiredlawyer » Fri May 26, 2017 11:33 am

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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#152

Post by Slartibartfast » Mon May 29, 2017 12:13 am

rpenner wrote:To begin with, a statement from Wednesday:
Slartibartfast wrote:The big bang is built on assumptions and hasn't made testable predictions that have been confirmed like general relativity.
was simply wrong on the point of testable predictions.

To equate confidence in the Big Bang with confidence in general relativity is ridiculous on its face. GR is confirmed millions of times each day (every time GPS is used) while the Big Bang seems to have a lot of changes made to fit new observations over the years. Not a flaw, in and of itself, but not a virtue either. Dark matter, dark energy, inflation... none of these were in LeMaître's original theory. As I understand it, the original cosmic background radiation measurements were significantly different than the theory predicted until some tweaks were made. The light element abundance still doesn't have a good fit as you've noted.

Compare this with general relativity which has made prediction after prediction from the start and been bang on. In my opinion, the Big Bang is a dubious hypothesis which has been repeatedly propped up with epicycles and post-diction and terribly oversold. Now, no one need share my opinion, but what is not opinion is that, if you look at a list like "evolution", "general relativity", "quantum mechanics", and "the Big Bang"... in the words of Sesame Street, "one of these things is not like the other, one of these things does not belong".


On being built on assumptions, that is a technically correct description, but is in no way a flaw.

Correct, I should have said "dubious assumptions" or some such. Specifically, the whopper of an extrapolation from our cool, clumpy universe to a hot, homogeneous one.

All physical theories are predicated on assumptions because the underpinnings of reality are unknowable. At best we can describe the behavior of observable phenomena and when the predicted behavior of reality is at odds with our observations of reality we are led to believe there is something wrong with our assumptions or our chain of reasoning.

Except that isn't really what happened in the evolution of the Big Bang theory, is it? Instead of questioning the basic assumption, new assumptions were added or parameters were "tweaked" to better fit new observations. One of the big problems with this type of methodology is that, in the absence of high standards of self-criticism, fixes for new problems can "unfix" old ones.

Extreme examples of this are conspiracy theorists who, after barreling down the slippery slope in a rocket sled, have numerous mutually contradictory claims. Reason enough, in my opinion, to treat the Big Bang with a healthy dose of skepticism until it produces in a rigorous scientific fashion.


So I started by laying out the assumptions of the Big Bang model.
rpenner wrote:Assumptions: The laws of physics, whatever they may be, are the same everywhere and everywhen. At large scales, the distribution of matter is the same everywhere. General Relativity is a good summary of the behavior of space, time and gravity. Relativistic Quantum Physics (later the Standard Model of Particle Physics) is a good summary of the behavior of matter and energy.
Foggy took issue with the first of these, where I clarified by “laws of physics” I meant the behavior of the physical universe, not the incomplete human understanding of the same.

I accept your distinction. As an aside, Foggy included "the laws of mathematics" as being the same everywhere and everywhen. I disagree with this philosophically as mathematics is an abstract logical framework and exists in our minds (and on our computers) which is where its application to the universe happens. It is important to remember that mathematics is not a science, but rather an art essential to rigorous quantitative science. Well, important to a mega-math weenie like me, anyway.

Slartibartfast took issue with the second of these, the “Cosmological Principle”, nakedly asserting:
Slartibartfast wrote:There is no evidence of a scale at which distribution of matter is uniform. In fact, in all the scales we have observed (sub-atomic, human, solar system, galaxy, galactic cluster and up to galactic filaments) matter is decidedly clumpy. This is a very dubious assumption, in my opinion.
Hmm... I "nakedly assert[ed]" that, in all the scales we're aware of (several of which I listed), matter is clumpy --
evidence you doesn't dismiss -- and, based on that, the assumption of a homogeneous precursor state is dubious. That seems about as naked as early 19th century women's beach attire.


“What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence” — Christopher Hitchen, 2003.

Mote. eye. beam.

Is there a scale at which matter is homogeneous that we have observed? There are certainly many that are not. Who is making an assertion without evidence?


Our edumacated IAALs may recognize this as an expression of “Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.” but that would be breaking with my attempt to reframe this discussion as a meeting of the minds.

Don't worry, Slarti can keep up. You might find out that I've got a lot more game than you realized. Here's a suggestion towards a meeting of the minds: if you don't understand why my position is completely rational TO ME, then you don't understand my position. Don't worry, I spend a lot of time trying to understand your position too. also.*
Off Topic
* I use one space after a period before "too" and after "also" and also two after a sentence. And after "too" and before "also" too. also. And I don't care what the editor does to it. So there!

OXFORD COMMA FOREVER!



The clumpiness of humans and smaller is accounted for by electromagnetism which gives rise to chemistry and biology.

And if electromagnetism is still in play at galactic and larger scales?

The clumpiness of planets and larger is accounted for by gravity.

Which is fine if you have the time to wait for it. Which the Big Bang theory does not.

But a predilection towards clumping doesn't mean that the universe is clumpy at all scales.

No, but it certainly isn't evidence of a non-clumpy scale.

If the universe started out mostly uniform then at very large scales it should still be mostly uniform in a precise statistical sense.

Which turns out not to be the case. The universe seems to be a web of filaments surrounded by voids. But you used the words "precise statistical sense". So please tell us what this precise statistical sense in which the universe is still "mostly uniform" in is. Don't worry, the math wont go over my head.
:towel:


Partly Slartibartfast has been led astray here by a vocal opposition to standard cosmology.

Assuming that I've been confused by fast-talking contrarians rather than been exposed to new ideas and come to my own reasoned conclusions might not be the wisest strategy.

Just sayin'.


We see (indirect and poorly sourced) reference to one alleged inhomogeneity, the so-called “Hercules–Corona Borealis Great Wall”:
Slartibartfast wrote:for them to grow to 3 gigaparsecs in the time that the universe has existed according to the Big Bang theory there would have had to have been more than "little fluctuations" in the density.
Slartibartfast wrote:it isn't enough to account for the formation of structures 3 gigaparsecs across in 14 billion years
As this isn't a case of a single or a few large scale structures but a whole hierarchy of them, I didn't feel identifying a particular one was important so I merely used the dimensions of the biggest one (according to Wikipedia). All of them need to be explained in the context of the Big Bang. Even better, the Big Bang theory should have predicted them before we found them. It didn't.

Here we see the assertion that the Hercules–Corona Borealis Great Wall is a “structure” which is misleading. It is neither held together by gravity, nor formed via propagation along its length.

Yet you said above that, on large scales, matter was made "clumpy" by gravity. In other words, things like galaxies (and larger) are held together by gravity. Which is it?
At this point rpenner throws out a bunch of links, which means I've got some reading and thinking to do before I can reply. While I don't know at this point how those technical arguments are going to change my mind, they are unlikely to allay much, if any, of the skepticism that I have expressed above. I believe that the Big Bang enjoys a place in the popular perception of science that it does not deserve on its merits. While, in and of itself, you might not think that is a big deal (I kind of do), our ability to triage significance and credibility has been under assault with propaganda and false equivalences for decades and science is where we have to hold the line.

rpenner,

You seem to think that I'm caught up in woo or have hastily conceived or naive assumptions that are clouding my judgement. Whether or not I am right or wrong, nothing could be further from the truth. I have been considering these ideas for a quarter century and, after 10 years of graduate study in mathematics, 5 years of postdoctoral research as a mathematical scientist, and the last 7 years of working to commercialize scientific innovation, I think I can claim some expertise regarding the philosophy of math and science. Too, also, I've discovered a new phenomenon (biological heterodyning), worked with a Nobel laureate (Aziz Sancar), and am currently working on a project to help pharmaceutical companies develop drugs to make chemotherapy and radiation more effective in treating cancer. In other words, while I have always thought what I say should stand (or fail) on its own merits, it isn't because I can't claim credible and relevant authority in the field of mathematical science (among others).

I certainly can't stop you if you choose not to take me seriously, but I doubt that will serve you well even if I'm totally off base and, on the off chance I know what I'm talking about, it could backfire. You've already shown an unreasonable confidence in the Big Bang (by comparing its credibility to general relativity) and little interest in understanding my objections which are both significant and legitimate (at least in my expert opinion), but I'm hoping you'll rethink that as I care more about an interesting conversation than I do winning or losing.

Fundamentally, I am arguing that the Big Bang theory is bad science. It is based on an extreme extrapolation (from clumpy to homogeneous), was developed with a very dubious methodology (with three separate completely hypothetical entities), has been repeatedly adjusted to fit observations (COBE and light element abundance), and has been oversold to the general public (to the point where it is used as a measure of scientific literacy). These issues are all the more dangerous for a scientific field with no laboratory experimentation to temper its theory. Even if the Big Bang theory is precisely correct, it would still be bad science for all of these reasons and I hope to see it falsified or at least discredited in my lifetime.


"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."
---Sun Tzu (quoting Thomas Jefferson)
nam-myoho-renge-kyo---Thomas Jefferson (quoting Slartibartfast)

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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#153

Post by rpenner » Mon May 29, 2017 9:05 am

rpenner wrote:To begin with, a statement from Wednesday:
Slartibartfast wrote:The big bang is built on assumptions and hasn't made testable predictions that have been confirmed like general relativity.
was simply wrong on the point of testable predictions.
Slartibartfast wrote:To equate confidence in the Big Bang with confidence in general relativity is ridiculous on its face.
First of all, that's the fallacy of goal shifting since you cited my passage where I was contradicting your claim that the Big Bang model “hasn't made testable predictions that have been confirmed”. Second of all, to ridicule a theory which is in textbooks that you don't understand is the height of hubris. Textbooks like Misner, Thorne and Wheeler's Gravitation (1973) which covers then standard cosmology theory in chapters 27-29 (pp. 703-799). This dates back to the second golden age of General Relativity, when it was again being tackled as a serious academic subject. GR controls how space-time evolves based on the content of the space-time and back then the observational data was completely terrible compared to that of today. But there are gems of predictive cosmology from them. One of these predictions is that for certain cosmologies, like the ΛCDM model, the expansion of the universe will mean distant objects will have a minimum angular size near a redshift of z=1.5.
https://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0109047
https://arxiv.org/abs/1609.05476
Slartibartfast wrote:GR is confirmed millions of times each day (every time GPS is used) while the Big Bang seems to have a lot of changes made to fit new observations over the years. Not a flaw, in and of itself, but not a virtue either.
The Big Bang is not a theory like GR or evolution, but a model from initial conditions like which phylogenetic tree is the most parsimonious description of human origins. The problem is that we are still building the tools to get the best pictures of the evidence. As an outsider, you have insufficient respect for the work needed to gather the traces of evidence used to build the distance ladder to the realm of hundreds of megaparsecs and have substituted your judgment for that of experts.
Slartibartfast wrote:Dark matter, dark energy, inflation... none of these were in LeMaître's original theory.
Matter and Dark energy were in Einstein's 1916 GR. Thus they were in the Friedmann/ LeMaître's original cosmology (equations 27.39a/27.39b of Gravitation ). Dark energy covers non-clumpy stuff but since it has pressure/energy equation of state given by a parameter indistinguishable from w = −1, the Dark Energy of modern cosmology is phenomenologically indistinguishable from a non-zero value of Einstein's 1916 General Relativity.
Slartibartfast wrote:As I understand it, the original cosmic background radiation measurements were significantly different than the theory predicted until some tweaks were made.
If you are going to quibble with the evidence then at a minimum a specific citation of a claim is required. The CMBR is super-isotropic today in very good agreement with a thermal spectrum.
Slartibartfast wrote:The light element abundance still doesn't have a good fit as you've noted.
It fits helium-4 and deuterium, which are important light isotopes. The Lithium problem may be no more than a universe that is hostile to Lithium and our understanding of stellar interiors is incomplete enough to permit this.
https://academic.oup.com/mnras/article/ ... s-from-pre
Helium-3 remains unconstrained by observation.
http://pdg.lbl.gov/2016/reviews/rpp2016 ... thesis.pdf
Despite the lithium problem, the overall concordance remains remarkable: using only well-established microphysics we can extrapolate back to t ∼ 1 s to predict light element abundances spanning 9 orders of magnitude, in approximate agreement with observation. This is a major success for the standard cosmology, and inspires confidence in extrapolation back to still earlier times.
Slartibartfast wrote:Compare this with general relativity which has made prediction after prediction from the start and been bang on.
Historically untrue. The precision tests of starlight bending were actually quite technically challenging and disputed originally. Early claims of gravitational wave detections were wrong. Before Schwarzschild gave his 1916 solution, Einstein despaired and worried that no one would ever be able to solve analytically the equations of GR. Then he pooh-poohed the idea of black holes and tried to throw out the cosmological constant. Further development of the predictions of the theory lay fallow for decades until it picked up again in the 60's and 70's.

But you are doing an apples and oranges comparison of a physical theory which is a communicable precise framework for predicting the behavior of observable phenomena over a wide domain of applicability versus a physical model with is a description of one particular set of initial conditions leading to an evolution of state following the frameworks of one or more applicable physical theories. You are comparing Newton's law of gravity where necessarily we are allowed many bites of different apples to a forensic expert's after-the-fact determination of whether a particular man fell from a window or was pushed.
Slartibartfast wrote:In my opinion, the Big Bang is a dubious hypothesis which has been repeatedly propped up with epicycles and post-diction and terribly oversold.
In science court or in regular court, you are not entitled to voice that opinion as testimony.
Slartibartfast wrote:Now, no one need share my opinion, but what is not opinion is that, if you look at a list like "evolution", "general relativity", "quantum mechanics", and "the Big Bang"... in the words of Sesame Street, "one of these things is not like the other, one of these things does not belong".
Nonsense. For one "evolution" means both "the theory that natural selection will lead to changes in traits in a population over time" and the messy history of life on Earth in a pattern of common descent with modification. The details of the latter are much more analogous to the Big Bang model where we have the question of the history of the universe.
rpenner wrote:On being built on assumptions, that is a technically correct description, but is in no way a flaw.
Slartibartfast wrote:Correct, I should have said "dubious assumptions" or some such. Specifically, the whopper of an extrapolation from our cool, clumpy universe to a hot, homogeneous one.
Wrong. You accepted GR and relativistic quantum physics as good approximations of the behavior of physics, so the only acceptable extrapolation is whatever those theories tell us it is. Big Bang cosmology is a staple of textbooks and review articles for both particle physics and GR.
http://pdg.lbl.gov/2016/reviews/rpp2016 ... mology.pdf

Why is it everywhere? Because of parsimony. Lots of predictions are made in detail which conform with what is observed.
rpenner wrote:All physical theories are predicated on assumptions because the underpinnings of reality are unknowable. At best we can describe the behavior of observable phenomena and when the predicted behavior of reality is at odds with our observations of reality we are led to believe there is something wrong with our assumptions or our chain of reasoning.
Slartibartfast wrote:Except that isn't really what happened in the evolution of the Big Bang theory, is it?
Well, I was talking about GR and Quantum Field Theory, actually.
Slartibartfast wrote:Instead of questioning the basic assumption, new assumptions were added or parameters were "tweaked" to better fit new observations.
This is just you being immune to new information. Your burden is to write a solution to the equations of GR where the universe is not expanding from a hotter, denser, more uniform state and to show that solution is a better model than the Big Bang model. It's not enough to quibble about what you don't like about a theory or model, you have to produce a better one if you wish to advance science.


We've got a hotel room with a dead man with a hole in his chest next to a broken window, and a pistol with one round missing from the magazine next to the door and you the uncredentialed outsider accusing the cops of leaping to hysterical conclusions when they suspect murder rather than cardiac disease.
Slartibartfast wrote:One of the big problems with this type of methodology is that, in the absence of high standards of self-criticism, fixes for new problems can "unfix" old ones.
Where is the evidence that what you suggest is a problem?
Slartibartfast wrote:Extreme examples of this are conspiracy theorists who, after barreling down the slippery slope in a rocket sled, have numerous mutually contradictory claims. Reason enough, in my opinion, to treat the Big Bang with a healthy dose of skepticism until it produces in a rigorous scientific fashion.
You seem to be off on a wild tangent.



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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#154

Post by rpenner » Mon May 29, 2017 9:34 am

Slartibartfast wrote:Fundamentally, I am arguing that the Big Bang theory is bad science.
If purity of scientific process is what you require, it is completely unacceptable for you to cite Eric J. Lerner OR to hold an opinion on the Big Bang model until you are up-to-date in General Relativity, nuclear chemistry, observational cosmology, etc.
Slartibartfast wrote:It is based on an extreme extrapolation (from clumpy to homogeneous),
Nonsense. The behavior of gravity is always in favor of a clumpy future, so the past must be less clumpy. Clumpy solar system used to a much less clumpy cloud of interstellar gas and dust. Moreover, as we look to distant galaxies we are looking at the distant past due to the finite propagation speed of light. Finally, the CMBR is BACKGROUND -- further away than the furthest galaxies and exceptionally uniform. And as a clencher, the statistical description of the galaxies in various surveys shows that they are not statistically clumpy at the scale of 200 Mpc and above. True you can find patterns in noise if you have a lot of it and you can make patterns in noise by playing connect-the-dots, but that's not the same as saying the universe doesn't have large-scale homogeneity.
Slartibartfast wrote:was developed with a very dubious methodology (with three separate completely hypothetical entities),
Cold Dark Matter, a Cosmological Constant and what else?
Slartibartfast wrote: has been repeatedly adjusted to fit observations (COBE and light element abundance),
The basic idea of the Big Bang model of cosmology haven't changed since the 1920s. What's changed was the precision of observational cosmology and knowledge of the physics of matter. They same thing happened in particle physics with a sea change in the promulgated lifetime of the neutron, but you didn't see people have a crisis of faith in the existence of atoms, did you?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_Ba ... 130321.jpg
http://pdg.lbl.gov/2016/reviews/rpp2016 ... -plots.pdf
Slartibartfast wrote:and has been oversold to the general public (to the point where it is used as a measure of scientific literacy).
Nothing wrong with popular science media parroting facts and models in every applicable graduate-level textbook. What's pathetic is Eric J. Lerner writing a pop-science book filled with outright falsehoods to promote a bunch of unrelated speculative scenarios which don't exist as viable entities in any review article or textbook.
Slartibartfast wrote:These issues are all the more dangerous for a scientific field with no laboratory experimentation to temper its theory.
You again confuse theory (GR, Quantum Field Theory, Newtonian mechanics) with models (forensic findings, engineering of a particular vehicle, the ΛCDM cosmology) which are necessarily predicated on the former.
Slartibartfast wrote:Even if the Big Bang theory is precisely correct, it would still be bad science for all of these reasons and I hope to see it falsified or at least discredited in my lifetime.
Every bit of your motivation is revealed to be anti-scientific hogwash. You admit you have no falsification or discrediting of it today, some 25 years after Lerner's ridiculous book.



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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#155

Post by Tiredretiredlawyer » Mon May 29, 2017 9:52 am

Jez wrote:These types of discussions are why I love this board. I'll be over here in the corner swooning like a fan girl, even if I only understand about 5% of the discussion.
:lovestruck:
:thumbs: :thumbs:


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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#156

Post by Sterngard Friegen » Mon May 29, 2017 10:09 am

One of the most interesting lunches I ever had was with rpenner at the Sagebrush Cantina where he scisplained to me why tiny black holes created by mankind could not pose a threat to the existence of earth. That reassured me greatly.



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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#157

Post by Sam the Centipede » Mon May 29, 2017 6:12 pm

Sterngard Friegen wrote:One of the most interesting lunches I ever had was with rpenner at the Sagebrush Cantina where he scisplained to me why tiny black holes created by mankind could not pose a threat to the existence of earth. That reassured me greatly.
A few years ago, among the possessions of a late family member, I found a 1960s book called (I think) Black Holes; anyway it was a collection of sci-fi short stories on that theme. In the editor's introduction to one fable there was a short pop-sci explanation of the impossibility of persistent miniature black holes apologetically prefacing a story about exactly that and the potential for catastrophe; the story had been written before the impossibility had been elucidated.

I don't think I had ever worried or wondered about the possibility of devastation from manufactured black holes because I assumed that either (a) they would be impossible to manufacture for some deep reason, or (b) if they could be created easily, then plenty must have arisen naturally (because the sun and earth are mightier than our puny machines) and for some good reason those were not a problem.

Fundamental physics does have a rather neat pattern of closing all its loopholes so they whole thing hangs together without nasty paradoxes.

And I am impressed at how much structure astrophysicists can describe when their source material is so far away and wholly unavailable for experimentation, for example teasing out the probable nature of quasars, etc.



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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#158

Post by Slartibartfast » Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:43 pm

rpenner wrote:"I think Slartibartfast is coming at this with the wrong attitude."

"was simply wrong"

"Slartibartfast took issue with the second of these, the “Cosmological Principle”, nakedly asserting"

"Slartibartfast gives no evidence"

"Slartibartfast is not reasoning based on the stated assumptions but some hidden ones. And Slartibartfast is being mislead."

"This is the fallacy of reasoning by bad analogy."

"If all Slartibartfast is motivated by is a philosophical distaste of the present universe having a finite age then his quest is being motivated by considerations which aren’t readily scientifically communicable."

"Too Late. Slartibartfast has already accepted my postulates."

"If Slartibartfast can't solve them for a-dot and a-dot-dot being both zero (and consistent with reality) then he must accept the universe is expanding."

"And the idea has zero observational support and also zero agreement on what the model actually it. It is wishful thinking, not a scientific hypothesis."

"Slartibartfast commits the Fox News fallacy by not naming them."

"Also, Slartibartfast is using the standard of mathematical implication, which is not the standard in science."

"That’s a baseless lie as anything said about the Federal Sentencing Guidelines by a television newscaster."

"Willfully ignorant self-righteous pontification advances none of your goals."

"That’s easy. Slartibartfast is welcome to pay for the attendees and judges. But don’t expect people with knowledge to talk to the peddlers of woo for free."

"that's the fallacy of goal shifting"

"But you are doing an apples and oranges comparison"

"In science court or in regular court, you are not entitled to voice that opinion as testimony."

"Nonsense."

"Wrong. You accepted GR and relativistic quantum physics as good approximations of the behavior of physics, so the only acceptable extrapolation is whatever those theories tell us it is."

"This is just you being immune to new information."

It's not enough to quibble about what you don't like about a theory or model, you have to produce a better one if you wish to advance science.

Nonsense.

You again confuse theory... with models

Every bit of your motivation is revealed to be anti-scientific hogwash.

rpenner,

You've done a lot of assuming about my motives and my positions and said a bunch of stuff very critical of what I wrote including calling me a liar. In the middle of all of that, I said this:
Slarti wrote:In any case, I'm eager to learn arguments that challenge my preconceptions -- that's exactly what I'm trying to do here and I appreciate how willingly and ably you've risen to the challenge. At a conference I was at in February, an NIH researcher commented that the most exciting thing in science is finding out that you are wrong (because that means you are about to learn something). I'll give you every chance you want to convince me that I need to learn something, but you'll have to earn that by understanding what my position is so you can attack its merits (this is not to suggest that you aren't doing this, only that you haven't completed the process yet---and vice versa). And, as Gregg said in another thread, you must assume the possibility that, despite what you know, I may actually be right.
Now, that presented you with a golden opportunity. Had you taken the time to understand my (or Eric Lerner's) arguments and given plausible rebuttals and admitted where those arguments were plausible as well, had you simply made a case that I wasn't expert enough to counter, I would have admitted that (I'd rather demonstrate my integrity than be right) and you could have declared victory (and so could I) and walked away.

Instead, you chose to misrepresent and insult me, totally dismissing the possibility that I was both honest and rational. You didn't take the time to show you had even considered my (or Eric Lerner's) points before dismissing them as "twaddle" in the midst of shaming me, scolding me, and telling me that I have no right to voice my opinion because I'm not current on half a dozen topics or I'm not entitled to testify in "science court" or "real court" or because it contradicts something in chapter who cares of some textbook or because I'm an "outsider" or because my sole motivation is "anti-scientific hogwash". I'm not going to defend myself from your assertions without evidence and straw men, but let's take a look at what you said about Dr. Lerner:
rpenner wrote: "At best,

At best, Dr. Lerner is a visionary scientist working on transformative technology that will bring cheap, clean power to the world by 2030. And he'll revolutionize cosmology too. also. At worst, he has started a company and raised $5 million with which he has significantly advanced fusion research and achieved the 2nd best yield of any current fusion attempt in terms of the ratio of power generated to power consumed -- the best if you prorate it based on money spent. It's clear that you are prejudiced against Dr. Lerner who, at the very least, is doing everything he can to advance potentially world-changing research. How many cosmologists can say as much?

Eric J. Lerner is a self-promoting

Yeah, there's a word for that: "entrepreneur". It's generally considered a good thing. Maybe you just don't like him advocating a scientific theory you disagree with. Which seems odd to me -- I've always prized people who give me brutally honest criticism.

dilettante

That's right, his day job is doing research that is far more important than cosmology. And is still able to hold his own against cosmologists in their own field. A pretty impressive "dilettante", in my opinion.

engaged in a bloviating Gish Gallop.

He presented scientific evidence that a theory you seem to find sacrosanct is wrong. If it was a "Gish gallop" as you say, then it should be easy, after the fact, to expose all of the lies. Yet, as we will see, the cosmology community was unable to do that.

His explanations in the quoted block are nonsense.

You know, in the early days of the birther movement we said things like that. And then we launched into detailed explanations of why birther theories were nonsense. In other words, you wont even show Mr. Lerner (or me) the same respect that we routinely showed to birthers back in the day. Good to know.

His statistical analysis is wrongheaded.

What is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

I wish I were Australian, so I could tell you plainly what I think of Lerner."

What is plain to me is that your opinion of him has no value.

"If purity of scientific process is what you require, it is completely unacceptable for you to cite Eric J. Lerner OR to hold an opinion on the Big Bang model until you are up-to-date in General Relativity, nuclear chemistry, observational cosmology, etc."

By that logic, it is unacceptable for you or any cosmologist to hold an opinion on any of Dr. Lerner's papers as you don't have the requisite knowledge of plasma physics. Personally, I believe in the heterogeneity of the scientific process -- I think (and there is research to back this up) that the more areas of expertise included in a research group the better.

More to the point, it is completely unacceptable for you to tell me when I am and am not able to express any opinion I hold. But it is very telling the lengths you'll go to protect the Big Bang from criticism.


"Slartibartfast refers to section II/A of http://www.bigbangneverhappened.org/p27.htm also by Eric J. Lerner.

It is twaddle."

Is it now? Your "refutation" of these arguments consisted of four links. The first one is a rebuttal to Dr. Lerner's book The Big Bang Never Happened by a Dr. Wright of UCLA. Fair enough. However, if you had taken the claims made in the book seriously you might have done the minimal amount of due diligence to find Dr. Lerner's reply which shows most of Dr. Wright's points to be either misunderstandings of plasma physics or simply straw men that were irrelevant to the claims being made. Despite having a decade to reply, Dr. Wright doesn't seem to have done so, nor does rpenner seem to know any valid arguments against the points being made by Dr. Lerner.

The other three links were about his company, Lawrenceville Plasma Physics and his crowdfunding efforts for his fusion research which raised almost $200,000 two or three years ago. The articles say many positive things about LPP, although they are ultimately skeptical that a small, publicly funded company can successfully pursue fusion research. If you look on the company's website (link above), you can find a series of six videos explaining the status of the project as of April of this year. Apparently they have now raised over $5 million, achieved two of the three benchmarks needed for fusion (temperature and containment time) and plan on making the third (density) later this year. The technology might not pan out, but Dr. Lerner has done a great job of trying to commercialize it. After looking at rpenner's links I've got an even higher opinion of Dr. Lerner and his work than I had before.


"What's pathetic is Eric J. Lerner writing a pop-science book filled with outright falsehoods

Another unsupported charge which may be dismissed without evidence.

to promote a bunch of unrelated speculative scenarios which don't exist as viable entities in any review article or textbook."

If you had actually read his book, you would know that there are three main sections: an exploration of the history and philosophy of the Big Bang, as Dr. Lerner sees it, which I found interesting but was ultimately Dr. Lerner's opinion, presented as such; a layman's explanation of the physics behind the evidence against the Big Bang; and other possibilities besides the Big Bang -- all of which, he noted, had problems of one kind or the other (but less serious than those of the Big Bang). In addition, he has published articles on cosmology in respected peer-reviewed astronomy and plasma physics journals. Your claim of "unrelated speculative scenarios" and requirement of a "review article or textbook" seem like attempts to artificially restrict the scope to exclude perfectly reasonable examples that contradict you.

Anyway, I think everyone gets the idea. Rpenner doesn't seem to see a need to address the merits of Dr. Lerner's claims or to judge him objectively.
One other point where rpenner demonstrated not just a lack of knowledge but the arrogance and lack of awareness necessary to ignore the fact that what he was saying was completely wrong.
rpenner wrote:
Slartibartfast wrote:I've pointed the shortcomings of this "fit" out above, but too, also, as a mathematical modeler, I am very wary of top-down models with lots of parameters that aren't based on well-established laws of physics. It is, in my (in this case expert)
opinion, something that should be viewed with much skepticism, especially when theory has gotten out so far ahead of experiment.
I’m not talking “fit” — I’m talking parsimony. The six-parameter ΛCDM model is bottom-up. 2 free parameters for the content of the universe. 2 free parameters for the primordial noise spectrum. 1 parameter for details of the plasma as the universe was becoming transparent to visible light for the first times and 1 for where (when) we are now. Moreover as an outsider, neither Slartibartfast nor Eric Lerner is in a position to provide better answers. They are carping from the stands instead of doing physics better.

Like Dr. Lerner, I work on important science so while I might be just a "dilettante" in cosmology to rpenner, for the past 7 years I've been working to get my ideas tested in a much more intense and demanding crucible than peer-reviewed science: the market. In my opinion, rpenner's failure to address honest criticism of cosmology and explain how it was fallacious speaks volumes.

Part and parcel with that is your knee-jerk assertion that the ΛCDM model is bottom-up. Now, clearly you have no respect for me, so you may have just figured that whatever I said must be wrong and this was one small point in a legion of crap you were throwing at me (curious for someone who accuses Eric Lerner of a "Gish gallop") that wouldn't be noticed. Unfortunately for you, I'm working on a plan to help pharmaceutical companies develop drugs to make cancer treatment more effective that centers around bottom-up modeling and there is no way I'll let an absurd statement like that stand.

The ΛCDM model is a classic top-down model. It is what I like to call a "correlative" model because these models are frequently based on some sort of correlations observed in the data which are used to make predictions. You can see that it is a top-down model just from the parameters: they all represent some global value that applies to the model en masse rather than to individual components or small groups of components. Another example of this type of modeling would be polling/poll aggregation models or actuarial tables.

While this type of modeling is certainly valid and often provides accurate predictions and even insights into the science, ultimately you get out of it what you put into it -- in other words, the model will never exhibit any behavior that wasn't "programmed" into it, just allow you to see patterns in and ramifications of what you knew already. Predictions made by this sort of model tend to confirm the model's plausibility rather than its favorability with respect to other models.

Bottom-up modeling, also known as systems modeling, on the other hand, starts with the individual components and how they interact with each other. I call this "causal" modeling because you are modeling the causes rather than the effects like you do in correlative modeling. An example of this would be my work in modeling the protein-protein interactions involved in biochemical pathways. In systems modeling, parameters are mostly local: the size of a compartment, the rate of a chemical reaction, the concentration or quantity of a given species.

In this type of modeling the behavior of the system emerges from the interactions between the elements, often yielding testable predictions that, if confirmed, provide strong evidence that the model correctly describes the functioning of its components. This type of model can, for instance, be used to determine the effect of various combinations of chemicals (drugs) on a biochemical pathway. This can be used to focus physical testing on the pathways most likely to yield positive results reducing the expense of pharmaceutical development.

As you can see these two types of models are philosophically and functionally different and not easily confused by someone who knows what they are talking about.

Slartibartfast wrote: instead we have belief in the Big Bang being viewed as evidence of scientific literacy and Vera Rubin's work being hailed (in numerous obituaries) as having confirmed the existence of dark matter.


Which is a just a[nd] proper result.

So you think it is appropriate to misrepresent the significance of a scientist's work and imply that she subscribed to a theory that she was actually skeptical about?

That sounds neither just nor proper to me.
I'd go through your entire post and deconstruct every single argument you've made, but my father died last night and so I don't have the time for your twaddle right now and in the future will be trying to use my time and resources to further science that can actually make a difference in people's lives, just like Eric Lerner. In the end, your judgement of us is meaningless, as we have decided to test ourselves by the far more stringent standards of the market and, succeed or fail, can rest assured that we have tried our utmost in the pursuit of a worthy cause.

If your intent was to make me even more skeptical of modern cosmology, you have accomplished your mission. Clearly you took my comments very personally and I'm sorry I wasn't more circumspect, but I was giving my honest opinions and it was you that chose not to show me the basic respect of taking the time to understand my arguments and consider the possibility that they might be true. So long as that remains the case, your claim to be seeking a meeting of the minds is hollow and empty and if you can't face the possibility that your hypothesis is false then science might not be the field for you.


"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."
---Sun Tzu (quoting Thomas Jefferson)
nam-myoho-renge-kyo---Thomas Jefferson (quoting Slartibartfast)

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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#159

Post by Sterngard Friegen » Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:09 pm

Condolences Slarti on the passing of your Father. :geezertowel:



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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#160

Post by Slartibartfast » Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:13 pm

Sterngard Friegen wrote:Condolences Slarti on the passing of your Father. :geezertowel:
Thanks. I'll write about it on my thread when I get a chance. At least now I get to do what you told me to do when I had the chance. Thanks for that advice too. also.

:towel:


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nam-myoho-renge-kyo---Thomas Jefferson (quoting Slartibartfast)

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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#161

Post by TollandRCR » Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:22 pm

It seems that there is a real problem with a theory that changes a lot. Given that, I think you should turn all of cosmology over to sociologists. We are well accustomed to such a situation. :doh:


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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#162

Post by Tiredretiredlawyer » Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:50 pm

My condolences, Slarti.


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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#163

Post by rpenner » Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:32 pm

Certainly we are all here for you and sympathetic for the loss of your father.



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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#164

Post by Reality Check » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:32 pm

rpenner wrote:Certainly we are all here for you and sympathetic for the loss of your father.
Yes, I also send my condolences.


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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#165

Post by RVInit » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:09 pm

Slarti :bighug: :bighug: :bighug:


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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#166

Post by Foggy » Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:19 am

Condolences, Slartibartfast. :bighug: :bighug: :bighug:


Karma is a bitch." - Jomas Thefferson

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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#167

Post by Volkonski » Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:35 pm

:roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

Flat-Earthers Gather at First Conference

https://www.livescience.com/60972-flat- ... rence.html
The first-ever 2017 Flat Earth International Conference (FEIC) was held in Raleigh on Nov. 9 and 10, featuring some of the big names in round-Earth denial. Among the speakers were Darryle Marble, who once took a level on a plane to "prove" the Earth doesn't curve; Mark Sargent, the creator of the Flat Earth Clues YouTube Series, who believes all life is enclosed in a "Truman Show"-like dome structure; and Jeran Campanella, a YouTube and online radio personality, who makes flat-Earth, 9/11 Truther and other conspiracy theory videos. [7 Ways to Prove the Earth Is Round]

The conference was hosted by Kryptoz Media, which produces DVDs and other media arguing that "scientism" is an agenda designed to keep people from God, and the Creation Cosmology Institute, an organization with little online footprint except a now-deleted YouTube channel.  

The conference featured talks such as "NASA and Other Space Lies," "Flat Earth with the Scientific Method," "Waking Up to Mainstream Science Lies" and "Testing the Globe." The conference organizer, Kryptoz Media's Robbie Davidson, is a Christian creationist, and that philosophy emerged in sessions such as "Flat Earth & The Bible" and "Exposing Scientism," the latter of which decried evolution and the Big Bang theory of the universe's origin.

Flat-Earthers believe that Earth is not a globe, but a flat plane. Beliefs on how the "true" globe is laid out vary, but many YouTube personalities who push the conspiracy theory say that the planet is a disc surrounded by an ice wall. Flat-Earthers argue that NASA and other scientific agencies digitally fake pictures of the globe from space and that there is a vast conspiracy to keep the truth of the flat Earth from the public
.


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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#168

Post by TollandRCR » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:03 pm

Jez wrote:
Thu May 25, 2017 6:10 pm
These types of discussions are why I love this board. I'll be over here in the corner swooning like a fan girl, even if I only understand about 5% of the discussion.
:lovestruck:
There may be scientific progress in the above discussion. I love the irony given the topic title.


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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#169

Post by Suranis » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:43 pm

I honestly don't know if these guys are serious or not, or just big fat trolls. Its probably a mix of the two.


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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#170

Post by GreatGrey » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:45 pm

The Bible Museum opens...



I wished them the same success as Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter.


I am not "someone upthread".
Trump needs to be smashed into some kind of inedible orange pâté.

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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#171

Post by RoadScholar » Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:59 pm

Suranis wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:43 pm
I honestly don't know if these guys are serious or not, or just big fat trolls. Its probably a mix of the two.
I thought they were probably smart people gulling stupid people until reading above about the Creationist connection. Now I fear they may really subscribe to this lunacy.

The way Poots abuse the Constitution is small potatoes next to the way Fundies abuse the Bible. Especially the Old Testament, which isn’t even their Book to abuse. :fingerwag:


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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#172

Post by RTH10260 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:06 pm

Volkonski wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:35 pm
:roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

Flat-Earthers Gather at First Conference

https://www.livescience.com/60972-flat- ... rence.html
The first-ever 2017 Flat Earth International Conference (FEIC) was held in Raleigh on Nov. 9 and 10, featuring some of the big names in round-Earth denial.
:snippity:
.
Do we get a firsthand BOTG report from the local undercover Rooster :?:



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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#173

Post by Suranis » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:13 pm

The Creationism angle is really puzzling though, as even from a literalism perspective the Bible does not actually say that the Earth is flat. All it has is one passage where God stationed Angels at the 4 corners of the earth which some people (generally Muslims, Atheists, and those who don't like Christianity) interpret as the Bible saying the earth is a square, which is ludicrous. That's it. It would be pretty silly, as no-one actually believed the Earth was flat in the middle ages. A small minority did insist the earth was flat in early Christianity, but St Augustine and others mocked the shit out of them as the mathematical proof had been available for 600 years.

You Americans are crazy.


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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#174

Post by Sterngard Friegen » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:19 pm

Well, a large percentage of Americans believe the Bible is the literal Word of God. So I agree with you with the qualification that it's lots, not all.

You'll have to excuse me now. I have to feed the elephants and turtles holding up the Earth.



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Re: Creationism and other anti-science movements

#175

Post by RoadScholar » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:37 pm

I think the Flat Earth thing is not explicit in Scripture but inferred from Heaven always being “above” and Hell “below.”

Four corners? So, earth is not even a pizza pan but a mere cookie sheet? Crimini! The very thought!


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