Thursday, January 18, 2007

On Stellar Formation

Over at Reasonable Kansans, ForTheKids (FTK) and I have been having a bit of an ongoing discussion. Overall, it doesn't really pertain to anything I've been discussing here and in the meantime, it's grown into an exceptionally long discussion.

However, during the course of it, I pointed out the similarity of our understanding of common descent to the understanding of stellar evolution within my own field. In both cases, we cannot watch the entire process unfold in real time. Creationists frequently claim that because of this, we cannot hold the fossil record as being trustworthy. It's full of gaps.

Yet while this is freqently claimed, rarely do we hear creationists argue against other sorts of processes we understand via snapshots of history. Instead, they hypocritically harp on evolution. But as FTK pointed out, some are awfully fond of gaps.

Originally, I was going to debunk that article in my response to her, but I figure that it's worth posting here as well. So let's look at a few of the major points.

WARNING! This is going to be a very long post... Here we go:
Evolutionists claim that stars form from swirling clouds of dust and gas. For this to happen, vast amounts of energy, angular momentum, and residual magnetism must be removed from each cloud. This is not observed today, and astronomers and physicists have been unable to explain, in an experimentally verifiable way, how it could happen.
First off, evolution and cosmology are two distinct fields and are wholly unrelated. Their conflation of the two does not impress me.

Regardless, the claim that energy must be lost is absolutely true. However, the claim that we do not observe such things is a blatant lie. Newly forming stars are able to shed this excess energy in numerous ways, the most prominent among them being mass outflow in both the form of stellar wind as well as jets. Many stars in regions which are forming new stars have been observed with precisely such properties.
If [O class] stars evolved, they should show easily measurable characteristics such as extremely high rates of rotation and enormous magnetic fields.
This statement is pulled out of thin air with no justification or reasoning I can find. This would be like me saying "If the bible is true, then pigs should fly."

Since it makes no sense, I can't properly address it.
Instruments which could detect dust falling into and forming supposedly new stars have not done so.
Another outright lie. Perhaps due to the fact that they are (presumably intentionally) using horribly outdated sources (they cite two, from 1990 and 1985 respectively). With the advent of the Hubble telescope, we have directly observed infalling matter into protostellar disks (NOTE: Several of those images also show the matter outflows which carry off the excess energy I mentioned earlier).
We have seen hundreds of stars die, but we have never seen a star born.
When stars die, it's frequently a rather dramatic and messy process. Occasionally, it's very bright as is the case with supernovae. It can also happen very rapidly (on the order of a few days) in such cases. Even if we don't get the dramatic event of the supernova, we'll still see a leftover mess of the supernova remnant, or, for lower mass stars, a planetary nebula. Thus, bright things, that make big messes that have clearly defined times will tend to stick out.

This is not the case for star formation. Stars form inside nebulae, enshrouded in dust and gas. Thus, the process is somewhat hidden from us. The process also takes a much longer time than the death of a star. As such, it's difficult to define a time when a star is "born". We've seen things that are forming into stars. We've seen stars that are formed. We've seen fuzzy things that are somewhere inbetween. But the birth of a star is not like flicking on a light switch. Furthermore, when the process is complete, there's not as much of a mess left behind. The excess gas is not being superheated by shock waves and glowing brightly for us to easily identify newly formed stars.

As such, it's not surprising we see stars dying with far more frequency than we observe stars being born.
Also, stars are found where astronomers agree they could not evolve, near the center of our galaxy. These short-lived stars orbit a massive black hole, where gravity is so strong that gas and dust clouds could never evolve into a star.
True enough, but this makes the horrible assumption that stars stay where they're formed. This animation clearly shows they don't. Stars can inevatably form further out and migrate in due to gravitational perturbations.
Nor could stars have evolved in globular clusters
Good thing that we don't see stars being born in globular clusters.
Wind and radiation pressure from the first star in the cluster to evolve would have blown away most of the gas needed to form subsequent stars in the cluster.
This would presume that the first star would instantly sweep out all gas, before others could form. Given that interstellar clouds we see forming stars today are tens to hundreds of light years across, this is an amazingly absurd claim. If the claim were true, we should not even see newly forming open clusters. Yet we do with the Pleaides, the orion nebula, the Tarantula nebula, or the Eagle nebula. The fact that we see such things forming numerous stars from the same cloud demonstrates how hollow that claim is.

It should also be noted that globular clusters we see today are not as they would have been when they first formed, billions of years ago. The clusters would have been much larger and spread out. As they orbit the galaxy, they would undergo tidal stripping. When this happens, outlying stars are pulled off while stars that remain are pulled in even closer. As such, the density of globular clusters is not indicative of their initial density.


Great. So now that each of their points has been rather trashed, let's take a look at those sources. As has been pointed out by many, such as Barbara Forrest in Creationism's Trojan Horse, creationists have a huge pension for using outdated material. In fact, creationists (including Intelligent Design proponents) barely use cite sources published in the past 7 years, than they do ones 20 years old or more (p. 43). Meanwhile, reputable scientific journals cite nearly 3 times as many recent sources as they do old ones.

But if you don't believe it, then check out the outdated citations list these guys cited.

The first one is from 1986 and, as I pointed out was long before the Hubble was launched, which added tremendously to our knowledge. Gee. I wonder why they're forced to quote mine from outdated material.

Their second source is recent, being from 2004. However, this source is in no way being used to support a claim. Rather, it is merely used to define a term.

The third citation again, makes use of old sources in ever to ignore newer knowledge.

The fourth citation has two parts. The first is an article from Science from 1990 and consists of a rather vague quote. I strongly suspect it's taken out of context, but given that I do not have the full text, I cannot verify that at this time. However, the abstract seems to directly contradict the claims of the creationist source by saying,
Fueled by this new knowledge, a comprehensive empirical picture of stellar genesis is beginning to emerge, laying the foundations for a coherent theory of the birth of sunlike stars.

The other half of the fourth citation is again, horribly outdated and falsified by more recent observations.

The first source in #5 is another classic example of quote mining. It claims that the authors are dumbfounded at how stars exist near the center of the galaxy, yet in the article several explanations are given and subsequently overlooked.

I suspect the second is the same situation. The quoted scientist says "[stars] appear to be too young to have moved there from farther out." Key word there is "appears". Frequently in literature, such things are given as a narrative device to lead into the explanation. I'm not hunting down the full article now to verify it, but given the dishonesy we've already seen exhibited, I'm fairly confident in my assertion.

The third part of citation #5 is, again, horribly outdated and not worth consideration.

The last, again is from a recent article, but again, misstates the author's point. Still on the topic of young stars near black holes, the creationist fails to mention that in most galaxies, we see precisely what we expect to. It's only in the Andromeda galaxy that the author talks about there being this odd concentration. But given the rather strange condition that exists in Andromeda (with it having 3 massive black holes), it is likely that there are other processes which, although undiscovered, account for the presence of such young stars.

Citation number six is another textbook example of quote mining. The author claims that no convincing explanations for globular clusters yet exists as the first sentence to the entire paper looking at forming clusters to determine a reason.

The seventh citation is incomplete listing only an author and page number. No date, nor relevant quote is given.

For the last set of citations, it can easily be seen from the quotes given that the creationist authors are horribly overstating the sources they cite. All the quotes given say something to the effect of "We don't understand it." Yet the creationists somehow interpret this as "it defies the laws of physics." I, again, suspect it's more quote mining, but I'm quite tired of checking.


So what's the moral of all this? Speaking from five years of experience looking at creationist material, I'll say this is absolutely nothing shocking. They find a theory they don't like, take an outdated model of it, existing before much of the relevant data was accumulated, and where they do use "current" sources, they're typically out of context quotes. I've seen FTK cite this same, dishonest website in other posts and, although I didn't spend the time tearing it apart there, I found it similarly laden with intellectual dishonesty. In talking with FTK in a fair number of threads and having met her briefly in person, I know she's not an evil bible thumping young earth creationist that hates science. She's genuinely interested in these topics, and as her choice in references shows, it looks like she's a bit too trustworthy of sources telling her what she wants to hear.

Then again, it's hard not to. But since we've now seen just how intellectually bankrupt this source is, I would expect that FTK would discontinue use of such a worthless source. Time will tell of course.

144 comments:

ronan said...

Good post. One small correction: your use of 'pension' should be 'penchant'.

mollishka said...

A working model for explaining the presence of young stars at the Galactic center would almost certainly involve actual star formation near the SMBH ... we see stars there that are simply too young to have all reasonably migrated inward. One theory is that there is/was somehow a cold, (physically) thin disk of orbitting gas and dust and that stars formed out of this ... one piece of evidence for this is that there appear to be stars orbitting in "rings" about Sgr A*.

Also, the Milky Way and possibly Andromeda are the only two galaxies we can actually examine at high enough resolution to study stellar populations within 1 parsec of a SMBH.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps nobody to this day has ever witnessed a new star appearing. This is because when gas is pushed together, the repulsive (repellant) force causes it to push apart and it could never compact enough to ever form a star. Stars may die, but I don’t believe that more are being born aside from the stars that G-d created in the beginning.

Jon Voisey said...

Physics calls you a liar mate.

Anonymous said...

Is that the best you can do is call me a liar? how about trying to refute what I wrote.

Anonymous said...

Scientific theory tells us that a star is born when atoms are squeezed under enough pressure for their nuclei to undergo fusion. Than the forces of gravity compress these atoms in the gas cloud until the fusion reaction begins exerting an outward pressure until it bursts. This they theorize as star birth. However this has never been witnessed. Rather what we do observe is that ALL stars are the result of a "BALANCE" of forces. Therefore the forces would never allow the supposed theory to compact enough to ever form a star. As long as the inward force of gravity and the outward force remain equal, the star remains stable and does not decay.

Jon Voisey said...

how about trying to refute what I wrote.

I did a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry I don’t see adequate enough evidence on your site here that is satisfying. Can you kindly respond to my posting about the "BALLANCE" of forces not allowing for star birth.

Jon Voisey said...

I like how you managed to both see my response, read the entire article, and respond in 7 minutes. I don't think you actually read it. Come back when you have and have the basic knowledge to understand it. You don't even sound like you could pass high school physics given you're ignoring some pretty fundamental points (say, like, conservation of energy) to make your argument.

The same arguments I used in that post concerning the source of the energy also applies to a collapsing cloud.

Anonymous said...

Either I'm not reading in the right place because I cant find where you talked about conservation of energy or a collapsing cloud?

Can you kindly point this information out to me.

And I don’t appreciate comments like "you don’t even sound like you could pass high school physics".

I'm surprised you have a web site with the low tolerance of patience that you have. Maybe your trying to start an argument with me because I tipped you off that I was a creationist?

Can you please kindly direct me to this information instead of spinning the conversation to your benefit.

Jon Voisey said...

The important part is right here:

Perhaps the largest reason we know stars evolve, is because stars shine.

Evolve in this sense, obviously meaning change. The collapse to form a cloud is part of that and as I already said, the same arguments apply. The only differences are that instead of a star, we're talking about a cloud. Instead of emitting in the visible, it's blackbody emission is in the infrared. So again, the same issues apply. Energy is being lost. If there's no way to make it up (like say, sustainable fusion) then there's nothing to stop it from collapsing. There is no "balance". It's an unstable system.

But you're right. I don't have much tolerance or respect for you. I don't tend to have it for people that make arrogant claims without even a basic understanding of something that was solved over 100 years ago. Seriously, that's even worse than Hovind's out of date knowledge.

So while you may not "appreciate" me questioning your intelligence in this manner, I don't appreciate you making pathetic arguments from ignorance. As the saying goes, "I'll be nicer when you be smarter."

Anonymous said...

Its quite the opposite. I feel you are the ignorant one here �all around�. Angry astronomer, your anger has overcome you.

Stars do not evolve just because they shine! The main alternative explanation to fusion is called �solar collapse�. If each star is slowly contracting, great amounts of energy would be released all the time. But there is a reason why scientists dare not accept solar collapse as the cause of sun and star shine. This would mean the universe is much younger than theorized. It would also mean that the earth is much younger! The long-age framework of modern evolutionary theory requires hydrogen explosions as the fuel, instead of solar collapse. Nuclear fusion will give billions of years for a star�s life, solar collapse only a few million years.

Firstly, and let me say that I�m completely fully aware of all the science you�ve just mentioned and I find it rather boorish that you say this information was solved over 100 years ago. IT WAS NOT, and still isn�t! (that�s obviously why I�m still asking the questions).

What you are describing is DECAY! Everything is in a state of decay as the laws of �thermodynamics� apply to all things. The only real change ever observed in stars are supernovae, which definitely quality as decay. But as far as stellar evolution in terms of star birth and ongoing development, has never been directly observed.

Yes we continue to hear the usual reports that the reason we don�t see star birth is because they are hidden in clouds of gas and dust. This element is partially true, some stars are hidden in clusters of gas. And this is where such divergent fields as interferometry, spectography, chemistry, geometry and trigonometry all come together in astronomy to help us understand what we are seeing in the world around us. However even these sciences are not fail proof, or reliable sources, nor do they paint the full picture. What these fields like interferometry and spectography reveal is that (hypothetically) young disk systems show up as red, while (hypothetically) more evolved stars, show up as blue. However, this still does not equate to star birth in any shape or form. How can this positively be proven from more than several hundred light years away? This again is just theorizing. The scientists (as well as yourself) should make that point a bit more clear to those who might draw the wrong conclusions. Red and blue colors may shed some light on some aspects, but in no way does it get a free pass to push whatever theory they are currently running with as fact.

Additionally, there is no physical mechanism in the vacuum of outer space to compress gas into a ball. A cloud of hydrogen gas must be compressed to a small enough size so that gravity can dominate it. For example, our own sun is a stable sphere of gas. But what force could initially press it into a ball? Scientists have no answer. Experiments indicate that it would be next to impossible for floating gas molecules out in space to clump together. There is nothing to compress it. How could the stars evolve from floating gasses? Gravity is not a sufficient mechanism to do this. What am I even saying, nobody even knows what gravity truly is!?

The fact remains that no scientist or astronomer has ever in the history of humankind ever observed the birth or formation of a star. I resent the report that the Universe is a place where stars are being born. What we are witnessing is death and decay.

Jon Voisey said...

But there is a reason why scientists dare not accept solar collapse as the cause of sun and star shine.

Thanks for proving me right. You hadn't read the link in which I explicitly stated why that argument is rejected. It's not just because the timetable doesn't fit. It's because it still can't account for the 4x10^26 Joules/second. The physics just says no.

It's also quite apparent you have no idea what the second law of thermodynamics actually states. It says nothing about "decay". Nor does it say anything about "order" or "disorder" so don't even bother going there. Those are just analogies that break down even under common applications. Try again.

What these fields like interferometry and spectography reveal is that (hypothetically) young disk systems show up as red, while (hypothetically) more evolved stars, show up as blue.

No. You have it completely backwards. Young systems are blue. Old systems are red.

However, this still does not equate to star birth in any shape or form.

Yes it does. Because we know that young stars are blue, and they're predominantly found in nebulae. Thus, nebulae are at the very least, in some way, connected to the young stars. Additionally, we see that these young stars have the same chemical makeup as the nebulae they're in. Doesn't take much to put two and two together...

Unless you're a creationist.

there is no physical mechanism in the vacuum of outer space to compress gas into a ball.

You mean aside from random density fluctuations? Or gravity waves? Or shockwaves from other supernovae? Gentle pressures from expanding planetary nebulae?

It doesn't take much before gravity takes over until some sort of really good energy system (read: fusion) can support it.

But what force could initially press it into a ball? Scientists have no answer.

Yet another creationist that has to deny gravity.

What am I even saying, nobody even knows what gravity truly is!?

That doesn't keep us from knowing how it operates. Cute argument from ignorance though.

The fact remains that no scientist or astronomer has ever in the history of humankind ever observed the birth or formation of a star.

Which I've already covered. But you just feel free to hide behind non sequitors. Just makes you look stupid.

Anonymous said...

I realize that you must maintain integrity on your site. As a measure of control you must mock me and make me look stupid. Therefore I will not push the subject any further. However thank you for correcting that young stars are suggested to be blue when viewed through the eyes of interferometry and spectography and old stars red.

What you fail to realize is that there is more evidence for creation than there is for evolution of any sort. Everything that evolution suggest is all in THEORY. However, here we are on this tiny planet in a vast Universe and still nobody can PROVE otherwise how life started.

With no proof, do you realize that all your THEORIES are just based on FAITH.

Have a nice day.

Jon Voisey said...

However thank you for correcting that young stars are suggested to be blue when viewed through the eyes of interferometry and spectography and old stars red.

Interferometry has nothing to do with the color or age of stars. You're just trying to use big words to make yourself sound smart, aren't you?

The two measurements that deal with color are spectography and photmetry. Perhaps you should go read about it.

there is more evidence for creation than there is for evolution of any sort

No. There's really not. All their "evidence" is based in bad logic, bad science, and outright lies.

Everything that evolution suggest is all in THEORY. However, here we are on this tiny planet in a vast Universe and still nobody can PROVE otherwise how life started.

With no proof, do you realize that all your THEORIES are just based on FAITH.


And when all else fails, creationists resort to equivocations. Chalking up one more logical fallacy for you buddy.

Anonymous said...

I wasn’t going to come back here to see if you responded, however I fell victim again…

FYI, Interferometry has everything to do with astronomy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interferometry

Yes there is more scientific proof of creation than there is for evolution. And aside from the scientific observations, there is one frankly honest observations that is not based on lies or theories, but based on logic. This logic happens to be that the Bible itself tells us that G-d single-handily created the Heaven the Earth and the stars.

Genesis 1:1 - In the beginning G-d created the heaven and the earth.

Genesis 1:16 - G-d made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.

Anonymous said...

Oh and another thing, spectral studies reveal that stars are all chemically similar, even for stars that are different ages. But this is not logical because as a star ages, its elements should change, but this does not happen. Why is that?

Jon Voisey said...

FYI, Interferometry has everything to do with astronomy.

I never said it didn't. Only that it didn't have to do with star colors. Are your literacy skills as bad as your science understanding?

And aside from the scientific observations, there is one frankly honest observations that is not based on lies or theories, but based on logic. This logic happens to be that the Bible itself tells us that G-d single-handily created the Heaven the Earth and the stars.

Sorry. "Bible sez so" is not evidence.

spectral studies reveal that stars are all chemically similar, even for stars that are different ages. But this is not logical because as a star ages, its elements should change, but this does not happen. Why is that?

Do you know enough about stellar workings to know that the fusion (which is creating the new elements) doesn't occur at the surface? It only occurs in the cores of stars which we can't measure the elemental abundances of. However, when convection occurs, we can test models and theories. I wrote an entire post on this topic already, specifically noting that Lithium and Carbon abundances change with age in perfect accordance with theory.

Phil Plait, The Bad Astronomer said...

anonymous, "stellar collapse"? Really?

I have one word for you: neutrinos.

OK, I lied, I have more words. Not only does gravitational contraction not explain neutrinos, it's because we understand fusion enough that we knew the Sun wasn't producing enough neutrinos. This led to investigation, which showed that the Sun is producing the right number, but neutrinos oscillate, changing their flavor on their way here from the Sun.

This discovery was a triumph of physics. It also completely crushes any idea that fusion is not taking place in the cores of stars.

And not all stars are chemically similar. Where did you get that idea? In general, the fusion products stay near the core, but in some stars (like convective red giants) they do make their way up.

Seriously, you really need to do some basic research before claiming that all of physics is wrong.

Anonymous said...

Lithium and Carbon abundances change with age... this is not reliable evidence. This is still a non-observable science. Can that which cannot be observed be considered a science?

Not that’s it reliable evidence either, but just used as an example. Are you aware that the core of our sun produces deuterium from hydrogen fusion at 5 million degrees K. The heat is transferred from the core by convection currents so it could reach surface in days, not a million years. It also leads to an age for the sun which is much younger based on the deuterium/hydrogen ratio of the local interstellar medium of only 6,000 - to roughly 12,000 years (at max).

((I never said it didn't. Only that it didn't have to do with star colors. Are your literacy skills as bad as your science understanding?))

Well if you weren’t trying so hard to spin your words maybe I wouldn’t fall into your literary trap. Which let me tell you is a childish immature strategy on your part.

It should interest you in what the Bible says because more evidence is coming to pass that sheds light on creation rather than evolution. The Bible also happens to be the most influential document that has inspired many famous scientists - like Einstein himself, and many many others. It had even inspired the "atom".

Well what would you know about such things anyways?

Jon Voisey said...

This is still a non-observable science.

Oh but it has been observed! It fits perfectly with the predictions made by models. When models make predictions that are confirmed by observations, that's good science.

our sun produces deuterium from hydrogen fusion at 5 million degrees K.

Wrong again. Deuterium is destroyed at high temperatures in fusion reactions. This also matches with an old universe since distant stars have more deuterium in their spectra.

The heat is transferred from the core by convection currents so it could reach surface in days, not a million years. It also leads to an age for the sun which is much younger based on the deuterium/hydrogen ratio of the local interstellar medium of only 6,000 - to roughly 12,000 years (at max).

You're speaking gibberish mate.

Well if you weren’t trying so hard to spin your words maybe I wouldn’t fall into your literary trap.

What? Let me quote exactly what I said: "Interferometry has nothing to do with the color or age of stars."

It takes a lot of spinning to get from "color or age" to "astronomy". And it's certainly not on my part.

more evidence is coming to pass that sheds light on creation rather than evolution.

[Citation Needed]

[The bible] had even inspired the "atom".

Not really. Greek philosophers had proposed the idea of the atom long before the bible was even composed.

what would you know about such things anyways?

There's that silly assumption that atheists don't know the bible. Of course, if you actually talked to an atheist instead of making bigoted assumptions as you do, you might realize that many atheists are so because they have read the bible. I certainly have. I used to be a Christian.

Anonymous said...

((Oh but it has been observed! It fits perfectly with the predictions made by models. When models make predictions that are confirmed by observations, that's good science.))

It works out because you want it to. It could be numberious things that mimic these reations. Still, this is not reliable science. Keep in mind that everything we are being told, taught and led to believe as fact is simply not fact at all. It is only the current theory and thought of the day, which historically is/has often shown not to be true. And as such, there are no such things as facts, everything is simply an opinion based on the information we have at the current time.

However in no way am I cutting you down for the knowledge that you have obtained. This certainly is a good thing and I much appriciate your replies to me even though they are a bit snotty.

((Not really. Greek philosophers had proposed the idea of the atom long before the bible was even composed)).

Wrong! The Bible was around long before. It was the Greek phiosopher that got the idea for the atom from the Bible.

Jon Voisey said...

It could be numberious things that mimic these reations.

The same could be said of all science. You never actually prove something. You only show that the model is concordant with the evidence. Models that line up are assumed to be accurate. Ones that don't, aren't.

The Bible was around long before.

The bible we know wasn't compiled until a few hundred AD. Some of the books of the bible were around prior to that, but not compiled into the Bible. They were just random scripture at that point.

The notion of the atom came from Leucippus of Miletus around 450 BC. That's well before the bible was canonized and also before the NT was even written!

Nicole said...

(I totally apologize if this appears twice. Please delete one of them if it does. Especially the one where I spell Jon's name wrong -- sorry!)

Reality PWNS Mythology

Anon, I'm curious as to what your definition of "real science" is. Surely you don't expect the spiritual writings of an ancient culture to be regarded as science? Unfortunately for that kind of idea, science is not a system that relies on authoritative texts. Texts are used to educate in science, but are frequently updated and changed as new evidence is found and models are improved. It is true that it is difficult if not impossible to "prove" something, but science allows, as Jon has already pointed out, better and better models that bring us closer to physical truth. And be aware of the difference between the colloquial use of theory and the term "scientific theory"... the latter describes a well-tested and verified model of the universe with all of the available data that we have. What you fail to realize is how astronomy has boomed in the last century, and how we have expanded our understanding of the universe many-old through new technologies and windows into the electromagnetic spectrum!

Other random things I'd like to respond to from the post and comments:

"We've seen things that are forming into stars. We've seen stars that are formed. We've seen fuzzy things that are somewhere inbetween. But the birth of a star is not like flicking on a light switch."

That is true. Over the time scales that stars live (billions of years) a mere "flick of a light switch" on this scale is something like thousands of years. The turning on of a star is not so violent as a supernova. And, the Spitzer Space Telescope has helped astronomers make tremendous strides in observing and understanding stellar birth.

"Good thing that we don't see stars being born in globular clusters."

But we do see globular clusters being born!

"This they theorize as star birth. However this has never been witnessed."

False. As mentioned in the post, we've seen all things leading up to stars. There are various stages for these protostars, and we see material falling inward as well as the jets of material spewing outward in an attempt to shed angular momentum. (And yes, that link talks about interferometry. B/c the VLA rocks!)

"But there is a reason why scientists dare not accept solar collapse as the cause of sun and star shine."

In addition to Jon's response that basic physics refutes this possibility, it was a problem at one time because the Earth had evidence of being billions of years old, and nuclear fusion had not yet been discovered. So this slow collapse was the best mechanism for powering the sun at the time, and scientists knew they had gotten something wrong somewhere... but at least they admitted it. Enter fusion.

"I find it rather boorish that you say this information was solved over 100 years ago. IT WAS NOT, and still isn't! (that's obviously why I'm still asking the questions)."

It's perfectly understandable that although science has solved the problem long ago, that most people are still learning it, and have to ask questions along the way. But questions and accusations are two different things.

"Yes we continue to hear the usual reports that the reason we don't see star birth is because they are hidden in clouds of gas and dust."

Only in the optical. We can now see through the gas and dust using infrared and radio astronomy.

"What you fail to realize is that there is more evidence for creation than there is for evolution of any sort. "

I'm still awaiting this evidence. I have been let down time and time again.

"And not all stars are chemically similar. Where did you get that idea? In general, the fusion products stay near the core, but in some stars (like convective red giants) they do make their way up."

And something else to add to this. There are stars that can be identified as originating in a older population which have less "metals" (things other than hydrogen and helium) than newer stars. This chemical evolution tells us how the galaxy formed and evolved as a whole.

Okay, and lets face it, I'm an extragalactic type of girl, so let's expand our picture a bit now. We've mostly been talking about stellar systems that we can resolve, that is, systems within our galaxy. Now let's integrate up all that light and pretend we can see the galaxy from far away, but can't resolve individual stars. Put that galaxy through different stages of star formation, star bursts, and quiescence. Now, when we look out into the universe, we can actually SEE galaxies at various stages of star formation just like this. Knowing that we are "looking back in time" as we look further away (please don't tell me light isn't moving at a constant speed) we can actually watch galactic evolution. The beauty of science is that we can start to see all the pieces of the cosmic puzzle fit together into a nice, workable model that describes... well, everything. In order to take it down, there are a lot of very good pieces of evidence that consistently fit together that need to be taken down and reorganized with a better explanation. Sometimes that happens. However, "God did it" isn't a very good explanation.

You can poke at what you think to be gaps, or even real gaps, in our knowledge, but none of that validates a YEC view of the universe.

Phil Plait, The Bad Astronomer said...

Um, anonymous, Democritus died in 370 BC, and he came up with the idea for atoms. Are you claiming the Bible was written before the birth of Jesus?

Jason said...

"Are you claiming the Bible was written before the birth of Jesus?"

They must have used clairvoyants

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the replies. I much appreciate them. However, there is still much to be learned about the stars and the Universe at large. Science alone does not do justice at answering all the questions. It is my theory that science, astronomy and new technological discoveries about how things work and their purposes for working will eventually reveal their true intentions and conduct us through the whole range of nature until we arrive, at length, at G-d.

The Bible my dear friends has been around much longer than anyone realizes. But I cant go into all that right now, there is just to much information. But please keep searching for yourselves.

viggen said...

It should interest you in what the Bible says because more evidence is coming to pass that sheds light on creation rather than evolution.

My friend, do you even know what "evolution" you are fighting against? How can you make this claim when you do not even realize what the subject of the argument is? There has not been even one claim about Evolution made in this whole discussion: everything here is Astronomy and Astrophysics. As a Biophysicist, I find your inability to locate your target rather pitiful. I recommend heartily to you that you spend a wee bit of time learning about the Theory of Evolution before you hop onto an astronomy site claiming that the Bible sheds more light on creation than evolution.

Also, Jon, I appreciate you keeping up this Blog, I've read a lot of interesting little blurbs here.

Anonymous said...

In terms of evolution, I was refering to steller evoltion. But all evolution is evolution in the same shape and form isnt it.

I would be interested is asking some question just to see how they are answered being that I am in the the ravenging cage of lion evolutionists.

Here they are:

What sort of physical mechanism is there in the vacuum of space to compress gas into a ball to form a star?

How can A cloud of hydrogen gas be compressed to a small enough size so that gravity can dominate it?

What force initially press our sun into a ball?

How can floating gas molecules out in space clump together when there is nothing to compress it?

Isnt it true that gas clouds expand, they do not contract? So if they don’t contract how could they form stars? And how could the stars evolve from floating gasses?

Jon Voisey said...

What sort of physical mechanism is there in the vacuum of space to compress gas into a ball to form a star?

I already listed several. Since you aren't paying attention, I'll post them again: random density fluctuations, gravity waves, or shockwaves from other supernovae, gentle pressures from expanding planetary nebulae, the inherently non-homogeneous structure of the universe as revealed by COBE and WMAP.....

How can A cloud of hydrogen gas be compressed to a small enough size so that gravity can dominate it?

It doesn't really have to be compressed much at all. Just a minor overdensity and a method of radiating away the energy that would have just been gained from that tiny bit of compression (such as IR light carrying it away) and gravity takes over. It's still extremely diffuse at this point but gravity is a long range and strong force on those scales. This is the whole point of the Jeans limit calculation you've obviously never looked at.

What force initially press our sun into a ball?

Gravity. It could have been any one of the forces I list earlier that created the initial overdensity, but again, it didn't have to be much. You seem to be under the delusion that it has to be compressed to stellar size and density before gravity starts working.

How can floating gas molecules out in space clump together when there is nothing to compress it?

Because particles have mass. Thus, they attract one another via gravity.

Isnt it true that gas clouds expand, they do not contract?

It depends on the situation. If you're pumping energy into the system, then yes, it will expand. If it's losing energy, it will collapse. This is high school physics/chemistry here...

In general, there's a balance where the particles interact so infrequently in the low density environment that they're radiating as fast as energy's being sent through the medium so neither happens. They just sit around. Until something destroys that balance that is...

Anonymous said...

Ok, now for all these things to happen they need another interacting force. But where did the initial force come from? Even if you say the big bang... what caused the big bang?

You simply cannot make nothing appear out of nothing. There had to be a disigner with a specific intention.

What created the atom?

Nicole said...

"Ok, now for all these things to happen they need another interacting force."

Okay, so you are ready to accept the scientific evidence for stellar evolution? Yay! I mean, really I doubt that you will. And even if you did the first time we come to a gap in our physical knowledge and evidence, you insert a god...

"But where did the initial force come from? Even if you say the big bang... what caused the big bang?

You simply cannot make nothing appear out of nothing. There had to be a disigner with a specific intention."

So first I assume you meant to say "something out of nothing." I can go one further and ask, but what created the designer? You quickly get into an infinite regression here. Or "turtles all the way down."

So the logical fallacies here are:

1) Inserting god in the first available gap in our knowledge of the universe. History has shown that those gaps seal up really well without divine intervention.

2) Starting the "who created the creator?" argument. I rather like this answer: http://www.reason42.com/2006/06/06/what-created-the-big-bang/

Anyway, to simply state that you can't get something out of nothing (but the Big Bang created SPACE AND TIME AND PHYSICS so try and wrap your head around that... it's tough!) and therefore intelligent designer is necessary... that's a leap of faith. There is no good argument for that as opposed to a senseless fluctuation in the "nothingness" that made a universe. We're only beginning to probe the major constituents of the universe as it is today, that is, dark matter and dark energy, so we have lots more to learn on this topic.

It's OKAY to say that we don't know everything. Really! It doesn't cheapen our existence to say so.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, our conversation started with star birth which to date has never been satisfactorily seen or proven.

Secondly, no I still dont except stellar evolution. I strongly sense its all about decay.

And thirdly, if we cant witness star birth rather only decay, that leaves open the door to yet another element - G-d and His written word which tells us that He single-handedly created the earth, heaven and stars (as captioned above). This is just like your "Lithium and Carbon abundances" that change with age in perfect accordance with theory. Likewise, so does G-ds word fit perfectly in accordance with written word. We cant seem to witness star birth and this may be because, NO NEW STARS ARE ACTUALLY BEING BORN.

We'll just have to keep watching the stars... Like I said earlier, it is my theory that science, astronomy and new technological discoveries about how things work and their purposes for working will eventually reveal their true intentions and conduct us through the whole range of nature until we arrive, at length, at G-d.

Good by, thanks for the nice chat. Maybe I'll come by and visit again.

Ibid said...

it is my theory that science, astronomy and new technological discoveries about how things work and their purposes for working will eventually reveal their true intentions and conduct us through the whole range of nature until we arrive, at length, at G-d.

Just to pick nits... that's not technically a theory.

Nicole said...

I'm reminded of an old saying... something about leading a horse to water...

Jon Voisey said...

star birth ... has never been satisfactorily seen or proven

Only to someone that clearly doesn't even have a high school level science understanding, literacy problems, and ignores evidence.

its all about decay

Which was based in your argument from the second law which I already demonstrated was wrong.

if we cant witness star birth rather only decay, that leaves open the door to yet another element

No it doesn't. That's called an argument from ignorance and it's a logical fallacy. Until there is actual observations on which to base something, it's not a theory. It's not a hypothesis. It's not worthy of consideration.

We cant seem to witness star birth

We only witness a huge number of things that we shouldn't observe if no new stars were being formed.

Neither have we witnessed the entire life of a redwood tree since they have been around far longer than anyone alive, but that doesn't mean that magic happened and they came fully formed. Basic natural laws still apply.

that's not technically a theory.

In fact, it's not even wrong.

Marc said...

Wow, denying gravity. I think Ive seen everything now.

Who cares if the bible mentioned atoms; theyre huge and boring. To be impressive it needs to give us a TOE. Before we find it ourselves.

Barely impressive would be a complete standard model. Oh, thats right, g-d didnt learn about that stuff till 1967.

Hell, Ide be happy[1] if Joshua commanded the _earth_ to stop and the sun and moon were stopped in the sky.



[1] Not really. But it would be pretty cool.

Anonymous said...

Is the Milky Way running out of gas? And what happens when all the gass is gone, are we just gunno go piffffft?

Jon Voisey said...

The universe is running out of gas. The Milky Way is no exception. We've still got billions of years left, but observations confirm that star formation was much higher in the past for most galaxies, not only due to things being closer together to interact more, but just more raw materials available.

viggen said...

In terms of evolution, I was refering to steller evoltion. But all evolution is evolution in the same shape and form isnt it.

Then why are you people so eager to stick in a division between "micro" and "macro" evolution if you are otherwise so willing to lump all evolution together? Deny evolution occurs, except for the kind that has been measured and can't be explained away, then otherwise lump biological evolution together with stellar evolution? Explain to me why this isn't a double standard. The theories are not related beyond the fact that they are both science and do not contradict one another.

I'm less impressed with your ability to find your target. If you want to deny Change altogether, I would suggest you start by explaining how you spontaneously spawned into adulthood and won't get gray hair or wrinkles. The commonly observed process of Growing Up, rather Personal Evolution, is about as related to Stellar Evolution as Biological Evolution is. In fact, Personal Evolution has a greater semblance to Stellar Evolution than Biological Evolution does. Care to start explaining how you can deny all three as "It's all Evolution, innit?"

By your own standard of "it's all evolution" how can you explain why you haven't said "thee" or "thine" anywhere in your argument? More to the point, why aren't you speaking to me in Latin? But --wait for it-- that's all Language Evolution, which certainly hasn't been observed and could never possibly happen. It is all Evolution isn't it? In fact, if I brought up the word "faggot" you would be offended for a totally different reason than my concern that it is one possible evolution of dead wood in a bundle to support the burning of heritics like me by prayer ridden zealots like you. Oh wait, you mean to say the church doesn't burn witches anymore? That couldn't be an Evolution could it? But I thought you said there is no Evolution...

If you wanna lump apples with oranges and call them nectarines, I can go on.

Anonymous said...

So than, that does quality as decay? Complete eventual decay, even if we still have billions of years left all gass will be eventually gone and our Universe will go piffffft.

Case closed! Logic dictates (as well as the math) that if there is less and less gas than that would certainly hinder star birth.

Jon Voisey said...

Logic dictates (as well as the math) that if there is less and less gas than that would certainly hinder star birth.

Yes. And not only logic, but evidence. I even pointed this out!

But "less and less" does not equal "none" at the current point in time as you're claiming. So you've kinda just defeated your own argument. :(

Anonymous said...

My dear friend if I have defeated logic (which shows good math), than just as well so have you concerning all logical theories pertaining to astronomy.

When you say "current time" - all your theories arent based in current time either.

If as you say that "less and less" does not equal "none". What than does it truly mean?

What else can it mean? If there is no gas left, than what???

Are there any current theories for this?

Jon Voisey said...

....

You're just talking nonsense.

Sorry anon. You've embarrassed yourself enough. Any further gibberish like this is just going to be deleted. This crap is just so pathetic that it's not even worth laughing at anymore.

Nicole said...

It's not decay it's... wait for it...

wait for it...

...

GALACTIC EVOLUTION!

Thomas Siefert said...

"I'm reminded of an old saying... something about leading a horse to water..."

I'm reminded of my sister when she was five, hands on ears going "LALALALALALALA".

Eric Aitala said...

Wow...

Mr Anonymous really does not have a clue, does he?

Its been a while since I have seen someone so inept at understanding even basic science.

Eric Aitala

Les said...

I have to admit that was some of the funniest Creationist nonsense I've read in awhile.

Kajivar said...

I was totally waiting for the anon to insist the sun orbits the earth, too.

Todd said...

Wow...

"If as you say that "less and less" does not equal "none". What than does it truly mean?

What else can it mean? If there is no gas left, than what???"

This just boggled my mind. So, by this logic, if I withdrew, say, $100 from the ATM two days ago, and spent $5 yesterday, $5 the day before that, another $5 today, and continue doing so each day in the future, I would have less and less money in my pocket, therefore I have no money today????

Just...wow...

slashnull said...

It had even inspired the "atom".

Does anyone know what the supposed reference to the atom in the bible is? Or at least what the inspiration is supposed to be?

RayCeeYa said...

Its been a while since I have seen someone so inept at understanding even basic science.

For me it's been about three or four days. One of my liberal non-creationist friends was trying to convince me of the practicality of a water powered car.

Sorry Peter, in this universe we obey the laws of thermodynamics.

Just goes to show what a sad state American science education has reached.

IBY said...

@slashnull
I don't know, but I have read all of the old testament, and there sure isn't any mention of something so small that it can't be split (of course, now we know there are structures within the atom).

Cory said...

Truly enjoyed that ownage.

Paul said...

Just found this from Phil's site and I just have one thing to add...
***clap***

Matt said...

The theory of Gravity is now known as Intelligent Falling.

Seriously, how long is this going to go on for?

First of all, Anonymous posters...please.

Secondly, from reading all of these posts, this person is not listening to you replies or thinking about anything you are saying, you cannot convince against conviction.

Anon, please stop trying to use science to prove your faith. Doesn't that seem contradictory to you? I have had these arguments with christian friends of mine who want ID taught in schools. I told them I wold agree to it if they would agree to abandon their faith if the evidence does not support it, just like every worthwhile scientist would not use a theory that wasn't supported by evidence and observation.

of course, that's not gonna happen...

Lore_Weaver said...

I've had a similar big bang discussion with a creationist. I wasn't as clever as Nicole's reference above though.

I kinda jumped into meta-physics a bit and made an un-cited claim that "time didn't really exist before the big bang" and that the "big bang" created space-time.

This didn't really fly with the creationist. In his mind, the beginning still had to have a reason to begin.

meh, I do know one thing though! Dividing by zero is epic phail.

Rev. BigDumbChimp said...

anonymous.

You of anyone I've ever run into needs to read this.

Then you need to continue to educate yourself on what a theory means in science. You obviously have zero idea.

Ryan S said...

Phil Plait said "Um, anonymous, Democritus died in 370 BC, and he came up with the idea for atoms. Are you claiming the Bible was written before the birth of Jesus?"

No, I think he is just starting to realize how plagiarized the bible is.

Oh, and thanks Phil for linking me to this blog, excellent site!

Helioprogenus said...

One thing that has gone unmentioned here is the existance of Brown Dwarfs. Anonymous stated through his/her faulty creationist logic that we've never actually seen stars at their moment of birth, and wouldn't accept the fact that they're enshrouded in dust and difficult to directly measure. Yet, we know from measuring t-tauri stars that they fit within our theoretical assumptions of what a relatively new star's (on the main sequence) physical properties (spectrum, intensity, etc.) should be. In fact, this information has been known since Victor Ambartsumian, the pre-eminent Soviet astrophysicist's, time. His studies of stellar associations and open clusters further revealed the progression of stellar evolution (for those of the creationist persuasion, we're not speaking of biological evolution but the physical processes that proceed through time in stellar systems).

As for Brown dwarfs, their existance had been theorized by stellar models before there was direct evidence, and yet, just as the scientific method has consistently shown, the predictions came verified. Speaking of which, what would the purpose of a Brown Dwarf, a failed star, be if god had created it? Why would he create a failed star? It's similar to vestigial structures in biological organisms. What would the purpose of an occular depression and eye spot be in certain species of cave fish if god had created them? We know they're non functional, and the only rational explanation would be if those fish had descended from fish with fully functional eyes. Similarly, for a theory to explain the varieties of stars in the universe, their physical properties and association with other such stars, we need to find a rational explanation. God created them doesn't do these observations justice. If we had listened to you creationists, our current understanding of the universe would be limited to some vague, poorly constructed legendary tales from obscure, backwater regions of the Middle East thousands of years prior to our present day. If you want to live your life based on a poorly written, archaic book, where you can pick and choose the passages that have meaning to you depending on your changing sensibilities, then go ahead. But never assume that you're going to prove, through your faulty logic and reasoning, that we need to embrace some poorly constructed, pieced-together, mythology.

Drunk Vegan said...

"Stars may die, but I don’t believe that more are being born aside from the stars that G-d created in the beginning."

Okay, so who is your God exactly?

The God of Entropy?

It seems to me you are a narrowminded rube who limits God to one who created everything, poof, in a single instant, and did not create an active, living universe that evolves and changes.

Does that make any sense at all?

Why would God only let stars die, never let new ones be born?

By your logic it is insane to believe that God is allowing new humans to be born. We're all delusional - the only humans that exist are the ones that God created in the beginning.

Bryan said...

What a fantastic conversation. It embodies the frustration of a scientist trying to explain to a person that IS able to express themselves rather well with the written word. But seemingly unable to understand the basics of physics. Wow I truly feel sorry for anonymous… Also after looking at the conversation it looks like anon left the conversation at 7/22/2008… Because the rest after that was not as verbose and the logic was nonexistent.

jan roque said...

I wonder how those who believe in a static Universe, created by an artificial, human invention as God is, argue against FACTS, like red shift...

cbv said...

All I can think of is: Holy Facepalm.

DrKnow said...

What a tour de force of Crap. This is a great read for developing critical thinking skills. One has them (Jon) and one who lacks them (Anon).
This was a classic exchange revealing how a true believer will never alter their views regardless of the vast wealth of scientific evidence showing they are way off track. DOGMA! I feel sorry for someone trapped by their unalterable view of the world based on 2000 year old stories written by superstitious and naïve humans. Jon, great patience to put down this drival so well. The Irish in me would have taken over and early on and I would have just wanted to punch Anon’s lights out. I know I know the bible says patience is a virtue. I have a THEORY on that…

Lawrence said...

Actually, I got a real chuckle out of his expressed idea that the Bible is "older than you can imagine" or something to that effect - so he also seems to want to deny history as well.

While I've met some fairly Out-There individuals in the past, this guy really takes the cake.

Don said...

This is to anonymous..

Just something to think about. If you must have a belief in a higher power to have created the earth and everything how about this theory. say it was created but the creation was the big bang. that is the starting "particle" could have been a designed "seed" that would evolve to give us the universe we see today. Think of it as a grand experiment to see what comes out the work started 13.4 B/Yrs ago. Personally, I am proud to follow all the hard working discoverers in the sciences and see what wonders are around us and look forward to what will be revealed next.

richard said...

You are all too kind. Anon does not misunderstand any of this. He has made no attempt _at all_ to understand it. He's simply a religious troll who for his own reasons (which I will never understand) argues endlessly in bad faith. He needs treatment, not education.

John B. Sandlin said...

Quick comment then a couple of questions: The "Moses" stories of the old testament (that would be Genesis and Exodus) likely were first put down in writing between 1000 B.C.E. and 750 B.C.E., but were extensively revised around 450 B.C.E. So the stories probably do predate most of the Greek philosophers. However, I'm not aware of any definitive physics or chemistry in the books (heck, they even got PI wrong).

Now, let's assume for a moment that fusion doesn't happen... How bright would a star the size of the sun be based purely on the energy created by gravitational compression?

Also, (back to fusion working) when the break over does occur between a failed star like a brown dwarf and a fusion powered star just a little larger (at whatever point fusion starts), is the star much brighter than the slightly smaller failed star, or is it part of a smooth curve up to full fledged fusion furnace like our sun?

Finally, someone might point out that even the very distant objects of the Oort, at something over a few trillion miles from the Sun, are still gravitationally bound to our solar system, and some of those objects in the Oort cloud are more than one light year from the Sun.

Oh, I just did. AND... our sun is gravitationally bound to the core of our galaxy some 50,000 light years from the center. Gravity really could, over time, pull a large, slightly non-uniform density cloud into balls of gas... that ignite and become stars.

JBS

John B. Sandlin said...

I left out that the Milkyway is gravitationally bound to our local group - which is millions of light years across. So, even a gas cloud millions of light years across would eventually probably collapse on itself unless it were really really really uniformly dense. Actually, it would likely collapse into several regions of millions of clumps... and so on.

JBS

Daniel said...

Anonymous said.......

"I realize that you must maintain integrity on your site. As a measure of control you must mock me and make me look stupid. "

You do that all by your self, stop being arrogant.

wanglese said...

One wonders if the Creationists actually understands how to independently derive the value of Pi for instance. Had he been able to do so, he could verify the value for himself, then go further and understand the actual physics. It might be a long road, but he'd get there.

BTW, I came from Bad Astronomy. Cool blog you have, now in my favourites, and I expect to learn lots :-)

John B. Sandlin said...

OK, one more thought...

If stars were lit by gravitational compression only, what would cause them to explode when they get old? Shouldn't they just continue to cool off? How does a creationist explain that? Does god stick a match under the dying star for one last big burst of light?

JBS

Nick Patrick said...

What we have seen in the arguments and accusations by Anon is precisely what I fear at the very core of my severely mortal consciousness. The misappropriation of good science to be applied with bad logic and half-understandings in a blatant attempt to sway public opinions of pure-hearted scientists chasing knowledge and understanding. Wielding bad science in one hand and god in the other, these professors of incongruence vomit their ilk to the masses, inevitably giving us such despicable phrases as "Ignorance is bliss."

Anon, hiding your head in the sand and praying for an omnipotent being to take care of things for you is insanity. Actively encouraging others to join you is criminal. A crime against the well being of the human race.

For those of you that have followed my comment thus far, thank you. I don't use large words to confuse you, but to weed out and deter those that would not have understood anyways.

NBP

John B. Sandlin said...

Wanglese,

You know, it isn't even difficult to experimentally get a decent approximation of PI... just make a 1 unit diameter wheel with a mark on it, and on a flat surface with the mark down at some starting point roll it one turn and then measure back to the starting point. You'll get 3 1/7 (or 22/7) units. That ought to be good enough for people in biblical times.

And certainly better than 3.

JBS

jdmuys said...

My very tiny drop of European perspective on this amazing American conversation.

First off, while I completely understand why your tone was so exasperated, you still gave the impression to be the most impolite, and meanest of the two. This definitely weakened your position.

I read in awe, wondering how such a exchange could even take place: the debate between the scientist and the cave man. Nothing even remotely similar could have happened on this side of the pond. Perhaps this is because creationists don't have *any* share of voice over here. Or, I'd rather believe this is because we don't have any.

As for me, I was raised as a christian (roman catholic), and educated as a scientist (maths, physics, and then CS), and to me these two aspects of my life *never* collided against each other. They are completely orthogonal. My religious faith (if any) doesn't try to fill in where my scientific understanding of the world fails me. Nor can any piece of science prove or disprove a god in any way.

I had the opportunity to discuss these kind of issues with theologists (roman catholic), and they agreed with this assessment: science and religion don't have anything to do against each other. They can coexist in piece.

Then again, nobody wants to teach creationism in my children science classes. Only in America could this happen (or maybe Iran?). Through this, the USA give a sad impression, one of a very retarded country, with a small but vocal, enlightened scientific minority.

Jean-Denis, from old France (and sorry for my imperfect English).

Brent said...

Sorry Jdmuys but just because some theologists say that science and religion are "non-overlapping magisteria" doesn't mean they are. It just means that they think/want them to be.

BTW
the·ol·o·gy (th-l-j)
n. pl. the·ol·o·gies
1. The study of the nature of God and religious truth; rational inquiry into religious questions.

What a joke!!!!

Jon Voisey said...

Hi jdmuys. First off, your English is perfect. If you wouldn't have said anything, I wouldn't have had any idea that it's not your native language.

In regards to your comment on my tone, it's an issue that I've stopped to consider several times in the six years I've been discussing this topic.

The issue is this: If we stop to be polite to people that make a complete mockery of rational and logical thinking, then it lends credibility to their case. Otherwise we wouldn't be listening to it.

However, if we are forthright enough to call their position what it is (complete bullshit) then we're seen as overly antagonistic and trying to bully our way to truth.

So essentially, we're damned if we do, and damned if we don't.

I don't think that there's any "right" answer that anyone will agree on. The strategy I've adopted is the one I stated earlier: "I'll be nicer when you be smarter."

The essential idea of this is that I will meet the intellectual level of those I'm discussing matters with. With anon here, his arguments were so incredibly devoid of even a basic understanding of high school physics, that there was nothing to actually discuss and all I could do was question his intelligence and education. When s/he began reciting things that were a bit more technical and trying to make actual arguments (as flawed as they were) I responded in kind. When anon threw even that away and just started spouting gibberish, I abandoned any further pretense of conversation and stated I will delete any further posts along those lines (which I did).

mandydax said...

@Jean-Denis:

I can't agree with you about the orthogonality of religion and science. As Brent said, the concept of non-overlapping magisteria is really just a get-out-of-jail-free card for god. I don't see any reason that anything should be immune to scientific and logical scrutiny. That's really an aside, however.

The ploy that "Anonymous" used was to try to "kill us with kindness." His (or her) arguments were so devoid of merit and so full of logical fallacies, inaccuracies, and (probably) outright lies, that if he did not appear to be the most polite of people, he'd have been immediately been branded a troll and likely summarily deleted.

Jon and the other science and skeptical bloggers I read tend to have to put up with a variety of trolls, who come to the posts and comment that they don't believe what was posted and ask inane questions that they have no interest in hearing the answers to. They're like an itch that, if scratched, only becomes worse. Continue scratching, and eventually you bleed. That is their goal, really. They want to be an annoyance to the bloggers, to waste their time, and to waste space in the comments section.

The reason that "Anonymous" appears to be the more polite and less mean of the two is simply to illicit that response from people like yourself who read the post and comments. "Anonymous" reminds me so very much of the character Dolores Umbridge from the fifth book in the Harry Potter series, using a sweet as honey persona to cover a venomous and zealously horrid demeanor.

BTW, your English is extremely good. As Jon said, if you hadn't mentioned it, we wouldn't have know.

Mandrellian said...

Nice pwnage Jon & everybody, thank you :)

Now, can someone please explain to me (a) why so many of these creo-bots post as "Anonymous" (and continue to do so even until the end of a lengthy & detailed discussion) and (b) insist on attempting to use science to debunk science? It'd be hilarious if it wasn't so bloody stupid.

Anonymous said...

I'll have you know that you can compress propane gas until it becomes a liquid, any gas for that matter, but you can't compress hydrogen or helium into a liquid!

Quantum_Flux said...

Oh yeah anonymous, what do you think about Barnard's Fusor where deutorium and tritium are compressed into helium and a neutron?

Quantum_Flux said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quantum_Flux said...

Liquid Hydrogen

Cusp said...

>I'll have you know that you can compress propane gas until it becomes a liquid, any gas for that matter, but you can't compress hydrogen or helium into a liquid!

Hydrogen and helium are "any gasses"

Mandrellian said...

"Anonymous", yet again. Can you creationists please choose names? It would make it a lot easier to distinguish between the authors of each particular piece of ignorance.

You should also realise that science isn't like the bible: you can't choose to believe the things you like and discard the stuff you disagree with.

Feeves said...

No liquid helium? It's a wonder how an MRI works. . .

Gaz said...

" but you can't compress hydrogen or helium into a liquid!"
Jupiter seems to do a pretty good job.

Dunwitch said...

From Bad Astronomy - nice blog, I'm bookmarking.

I think many of the arguments put forth by the creationists are either randomly googled from the void in a frantic attempt to appear credible, or begin as real (but old) science but are repeated again and again within the creationist culture until their original meanings are lost or perverted.

Sadly, the poster from France had a point, in that it is very odd how such a neolithic world view can be so prevalent here. The problem is that, sad to say, scientists here are too damn nice. Most American scientists and rationalists, when confronted with idiocy, simply pat the idiot on the head and give them a sweet and tell them to go about their business.

It's refreshing to hear some wailing and gnashing of teeth about this. Being polite and rational in the face of this kind of high-magnitude bonkerdom is a tacit approval and only encourages more of the same. Somebody has to say NO.

Electro said...

I tried reading all of these comments before posting but only got thru 1/2 an hours worth before brain dystrophy set in.

Re: Anon.

Any person who continues to push their personal fantasies about the nature of nature, even in the face of numerous politely intended references to well researched and empirically verifiable sources, is someone who really needs to go out, have a beer and argue to your hearts content with your bartender about whether the heavy elements in your drink were created by your god or are natural by-products of predicted and observed stellar processes. He gets paid to listen to your nonsense, we dont.

If your education doesnt reach far enough to present an informed counter point(as mine frequently doesnt)then try just sitting back and absorbing some of the wisdom our co-commenters are offering, instead of throwing out the first strawman that pops to mind in the hopes of antagonizing otherwise well intentioned people into debating your version of the bible.

May I be smote with a Noodly Appendage for even passing comment on this.

jdmuys said...

I get all the reasons why you adopt that tone, and they are good points (I still don't like assimilating ignorance and lack of intelligence). But all this begs the question:

Why are you having such a debate online - publicly?

I doubt it is because you have any hope to convince "Anonymous".

And "the rest of us" don't need any convincing.

I suppose then that it is because you have hope to convince casual readers, who might be otherwise fooled by the flawed arguments of creationists, for a lack of scientific knowledge.

In that case, why do you think you might be more convincing to them by being mean and impolite with the OP right from the start? It would appear to me you are weakening your point to them.

(Unless asked for, I will not argue further about orthogonality of science and religion, because it's a different question. I simply note that my personal experience is that it worked for me, and it seems to work for the catholic church. Which doesn't mean I agree with the catholic church on everything).

Pieter Kok said...

I too came here via Bad Astronomy, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This wasn't so much an exchange of ideas, but rather a shredding. Christians: 0, Lions: 100. Until Anonymous decided to start all over again with the same nonsense. The entertainment value notwithstanding, once it becomes clear that a poster is not interested in exchanging ideas I think it is perfectly reasonable to ban them from commenting.

It is one of the less fortunate side effects of the internet that it allows the crazies to organize themselves and become a vocal group.

matt said...

It works out because you want it to. It could be numberious things that mimic these reations. Still, this is not reliable science. Keep in mind that everything we are being told, taught and led to believe as fact is simply not fact at all. It is only the current theory and thought of the day, which historically is/has often shown not to be true. And as such, there are no such things as facts, everything is simply an opinion based on the information we have at the current time.
Please sir, go one step further and acknowledge that your Bible follows this problem. You have no real evidence otherwise.

Tim said...

Okay as an astronomer with a specialty on star formation, i do feel a need to do a bit of explaining (and get back to the physics.

-------------
What sort of physical mechanism is there in the vacuum of space to compress gas into a ball to form a star?

How can A cloud of hydrogen gas be compressed to a small enough size so that gravity can dominate it?

What force initially press our sun into a ball?

How can floating gas molecules out in space clump together when there is nothing to compress it?

---------

Okay, I feel the need to get back to the physics here again. the answers to ALL these questions is gravity, even with Newton physics you can get quite close to the answer.

First. Gravity is a weird force, since it appears so weak in normal day life. You can't even lift the tiniest scrap of paper with your own gravity.

However, all forces become weaker with distance. The trick is that all forces except gravity become weaker with incredible factors.

Gravity becomes weaker, true, but falls off the least of all forces. In astronomy it is by far the strongest force.

Secondly, it all adds up. A solar mass of material can pull quite some material to itself.

And now comes the third trick (still only Newton) - it doesn't matter how dense a material is, the same amount of mass within a volume will excert the same amount of gravity at a set radius of that volume.
This basically means that if you move to 1 lightyear from the Sun, it doesn't matter if all the mass is in the Sun or if all the matter is spread in a cloud with a volume of 1 lightyear


And for Fourth: if there are zero other forces, material will move towards the source of gravity.

- voila you have infall in gas clouds It doesn't matter how dense the gas actually has to be.



------------------------

Isnt it true that gas clouds expand, they do not contract?

------------------------


Okay there is a force that can counteract contracting clouds and actually makes it expand. It is a balance with the pressure of a cloud.

Pressure is seen to be temperature dependent. Warm gas exerts more pressure than cold gas.

Nothing is different in star formation.
Warm clouds expand, and cold clouds contract until the balance is reached

--------------

So if they don’t contract how could they form stars? And how could the stars evolve from floating gasses?

--------------

Now comes the ultimate trick of these clouds : self-cooling.
As soon as a cloud contracts, it begins to cool itself, since it radiates energy. It is found extensively that it actually radiates more energy away than is converted into heat from its own collapse. And that is just the energy from the observed light in all frequencies.

Okay RECAP:
So once a cloud of gasses starts to collapse (numerous reasons, have been listed by Jon, but we have observed clouds that have just started to collapsing, on time scales of a 1,000 years or so.) it will start to collapse more and more the only force it feels is the gravity from the rest of the cloud (which doesn't matter at which density it is). Pressure may rise from the heat produced by this infall, but this is radiated away 100 % (and even more) by simple light from these clouds (don't forget spectroscopy, line radiation can sometimes take the bulk of the cooling)

BTW this has absolutely nothing to do with timescales.
In our own Milky Way Galaxy we directly see such stars form over a period of 1,000 years. We see stars that CANNOT be older than 1,000 years (since they would be just clouds of gas) and we stills ee them changing over years (and yes, observations over the last twenty years have seen them physically change)


Star formation is a switch, similar to a supernova. However, it is a few ten thousand years instead of a moment.
But on a lifetime of billions of years that is still a moment.

cbv said...

Jean-Denis wrote:
[T]he debate between the scientist and the cave man. Nothing even remotely similar could have happened on this side of the pond. Perhaps this is because creationists don't have *any* share of voice over here. Or, I'd rather believe this is because we don't have any.

Alas, you're wrong here. They already have a voice and they already are trying to push into the field of (school) education.

I do not know how it goes in France, but I do know about Germany.

There are several Ministers (Secretaries, for our American friends) of Education that try to introduce ID-iocy to the boards, for the (and I quote) "striking similarity to the theory of Evolution" (Karin Wolff, Minister of Education, Hesse state).

It's beginning. They are just not very vocal ... yet.

JediBear said...

Some mysteries are impenetrable to science. Science is a useful tool but, like all tools, it has limits.

Scientific theories are not truth-evalulable, and all of science is ultimately based on (good!)guesswork and (useful!) logical kludges (like our good friend Occam's Razor, however the kids are spelling that these days. Strictly speaking, the Principle of Parsimony is wholly arbitrary. It also has its uses.)

The chances are that everything we think we know about the universe right now is wrong. As wrong as Einstein, Newton, Copernicus, and Aristotle.

So then the only value in a naturalistic theory (and the only reasonable way to evaluate it) is if it is of use. The way (for example) Newton's still good enough to predict the motion of a projectile within certain constraints. Despite, you know, actually being wrong.

All of this feeds into how faith can be orthagonal to science. Faith is, by definition, impenetrable to the methods of science. Faith does not discard outlying data points, or non-reproducible results (indeed, why should GFTW act in the same way twice?) Faith does not demand the simplest explanation that fits the facts, but rather uses a different wholly arbitrary method to select between equally viable models. Concepts like God, Fate, The Soul, or The Afterlife, cannot be evaluated in terms of truth or falsity, as by definition neither is demonstrable for any such concept.

Like Science, Faith can discard what is clearly wrong and cling to what is useful (and incidentally may yet be right.) Many people find faith useful. It is not necessary in order for me to lead a reality-based life to assume that nothing metaphysical exists. It may not, in my case, even be useful.

So if talking to my Invisible Sky Daddy gives me peace or joy or inspiration, I can't see a single thing wrong with it.

It's worth noting that the Bible's definition of pi=3 isn't exactly wrong. That is, it's not inaccurate it's just imprecise. If you round pi to an integer value, it becomes 3, which is actually a fair enough approximation for many purposes. Especially if, like many early mathematicians, you don't understand fractions.

Geomancer said...

Yet another arrivee from BA. Unsurprisingly, I found a great post with a number of good comments (and the usual schlock from the religinuts). I'm all too familiar with that garbage, as a paleontologist...but I'm starting to ramble so I'll get to my point.

I just wanted to say something about tone. Obviously, whatever tone you take opens you up to criticism as mentioned above: too nice opens the doorway, too mean and you lose footing. The reasons why people prefer one tone or another are generally very good (as they are here), and I think both are necessary.

Angry, aggressive, mean tones will rarely convince an opponent to change sides...but that's not really the point. Instead, the anger serves to rile up our side. It's an important motivational tool (one that has been used quite effectively throughout history for all sorts of reasons). Not all are diplomats, nor should they be. In my opinion, both firebrands and diplomats are necessary in any conflict.

When it comes to blogs, of course, there's always the possibility that tone has nothing to do with intended effect on the audience and everything to do with providing the poster an emotional outlet.

Grand Lunar said...

"The Bible my dear friends has been around much longer than anyone realizes."

Sounds like this person is confusing the Bible for The Matrix.

Ren said...

I came over from Bad Astronomy hoping to find some life-changing, mind-altering, belief-shattering post to definitively sway me one way or the other on matters universal... Instead, I found the same old arguments from both sides, rehashed and reheated, served with some warm mayo on a stale piece of bread. You all should just agree do disagree and let each other be.

Creationists, Evolutionists, and Atheists are getting boring.

Pieter Kok said...

Ren, I would be very happy to let creationists be, but they are trying to force their religious pseudo-science into our class rooms. Not just in the US, but increasingly in Europe too.

Won't somebody please think of the children!

Ren said...

Pieter,
We, humanity, got along just fine with and without pseudo science. There's nothing new under the sun. Your apprehensions about their activities are as justified as their apprehensions over "secular progressives". And we keep revisiting these issues time and time again, generation after generation. In any case, this is not the medium to air-out a debate between us... How about you shoot me an email and we can discuss further? rfnajera [at] gmail [dot] com

jdmuys said...

I am saddened, yet not surprised, by the recent inroads of creationism in Europe. After all, everything American eventually finds a way over here, from Coca Cola to creationism...

For the time being, France seems to be spared: I haven't heard a single voice here suggesting teaching ID or any such non sense in science classes. Actually, I haven't heard a single voice suggesting teaching evolution either, nor gravity. In science classes, up to university level or so, only facts are taught, which include gravity and evolution, as a simple matter of course.

Why does France seem to be spared? Perhaps this is because Yves Coppens (discoverer of Lucy) is so well known, and so evolution is a commonly accepted fact.

Perhaps also this is tied to the very strong tradition in France of separation of church and state. The strength of this tradition is hard to depict. We even have a word for the very idea: "laic" (adjective) or "laïcité" (noun). Google translates these words to "secular" and "secularism" respectively, but these are poor translations, as French also has "séculier" and "sécularisme" which aren't synonyms. So for the sake of this post, I will use the neologisms "laic" and "laicism" to try and convey what they represent here.

The French state here is deeply "laic". This means it must not in any way have any of its decision process, or administrative organization, influenced by any religious consideration. There are many consequences, a few of which are:

• Swearing by the Bible would be totally unacceptable for the French president.
• Any mention of religious affiliation is forbidden on any official form or document
• No sign of religious affiliation must be present in any public place. So no cross on the walls in public schools for example.
• Even further, no sign of religious affiliation is allowed in public places from civil servants or even from anybody. This means that a jewish doctor in a public hospital cannot wear a cap, or a nurse a muslim scarf. This also means pupils in schools cannot wear visible religious signs. Girls refusing to remove their muslim scarf are systematically expelled for instance. Very discrete signs such as small pieces of jewelry (eg David's stars) are only tolerated.

This may be seen as going to far. And indeed sometimes it does. For example, a worker union sued the French Region (≈ state) Vendée, which has a strong religious old history, because it's logo is a cross on top of a heart. They lost. A number of years ago, the government wanted to stop funding private schools, using laicism as an argument. Facing strong protests, it backed off, because the freedom to choose one's children's school was deemed more important (and everybody pay taxes, even private schools parents).

Laicism is very dear to the hear of the French. Any attempt to relax it or do anything which might remotely contradict it will face very strong opposition.

So maybe laicism protects us (temporarily) from creationist delirium.

If and when creationists want to introduce ID in the French science curriculum, they'll be rocked and shaken...

Kimpatsu said...

...have a huge pension...
It's probably bigger than I manage to save. But I think you meant "penchant".

Anonymous said...

All of you really should use SpellCheck b4 you post! In a very complex series of arguments it is disconcerting to see simple words incorrectly spelled. It sort of says that the author not only doesn't know what he is talking about, but also is unable to grasp the simple specifics of language! Sort of detracts from the message.

earthandbeyond said...

Wow. Just wow. I also came here from Bad Astronomy. Bookmarking, and even adding a link from my blog. The anon creationist seems to be lacking in logic. The problem with many people is that they will not listen to scientific evidence, and just claim it was created that way, since they don't understand one shred of the science involved.

Ren said...

I recommend Firefox, with its included spell check for text boxes and online forms.

I also recommend that we all take a breather and think really hard about what we want to write.

The Yorkshire Sceptic said...

Just wondering. Has anyone come up with a repeatable scientific experiment with verifiable results, and preferably peer reviewed, that proves the existence of any sort of god?

Ren said...

@Yorkie Sceptic:

God, I hope not (no pun intended). The confirmation of God's existence would end faith. The confirmation of non-existence would only make it... well... faith.

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

ScottE said...

Often, when arguing with creationists that raise the Bible (or glom onto it for whatever reason in support of their arguments), I wonder what they make of this.

Steven Raine said...

Umm... Been trying to leave my comments so far without luck. I think? Not appearing on myscreen anyhow. One last try.

-----------------
Been ages reading through these comments. A few minor points of my own :

- Brown Dwarfs - I think of them not so much as "Failed Stars" but rather as really, really successful Jupiters! ;-)

- Stars turning on & examples of very young stars : T-Tauri, RW Aurigae (Each the prototype of an eponymous class of variables), pre-main sequence stars are known -I think James Kaler's excellent stars website (star of week, Professor Emeritus, Illinois Uni.)website has some examples of these. If memory serves right one of the components of Shaula (Beta Scorpii) is a star in the process of forming. Epsilon Eridani, Denebola, Beta Pictoris,
Fomalhaut & Vega are all known to be very young - the last three there (plus Denebola) all have had protoplanetary disks of matter detected around them.

(Kaler's website has details on
all these stars for more.)

- Very early on there was something about type O stars spinning very rapidly and having huge starspots. Yes they do. Well I know they spin rapidly and have extreme stellar winds anyway, not 100 % sure about starspots as their surfaces may be radiative rather than convective in nature ...

- Think I recall reading the reason nuclear fusion was essential for astronomers was that
gravitational contraction was calculated as lasting far too short a period of time - mere centuries or only a few thousand years at odds with known geology.
More than that though -even the contraction model meant drastic changes in the Sun from a very large and nearby surface (too much heat?) down to too little heat too far away ..

-Theory, theory theory - who knows what that word means to different people now. It has a scientific use which is valid and used by many in the educated or rational-minded community and a "common usage" which basically
means "guess." We have a problem here in language. What "theory"
means to the lady on the street is the latter & the average bloke just doesn't really understand why we call what they consider "guesses" (from using their understanding of that T word)
to be "facts." Its hard to get round this because "theory" has been so badly shifted in meaning for so long. Perhaps we need to call it the Law of Evolution instead?

Tags - 'Anonymous' you can use any tag you like - be creative, you
believe in creation right? The internet is anonymous, its one of its strengths /weaknesses. Call yourself 'Fried Blue Chicken' or whatever if you wish - but to just use 'anonymous' is well pretty lame and verging on cowardly.

Finally, Thanks Angry Astronomer, I'm another from the Bad Astronomers blog. Hope this posts okay at your site ...

Steven Raine said...

Umm... Been trying to leave my comments so far without luck. I think? Not appearing on myscreen anyhow. One last try.

-----------------
Been ages reading through these comments. A few minor points of my own :

- Brown Dwarfs - I think of them not so much as "Failed Stars" but rather as really, really successful Jupiters! ;-)

- Stars turning on & examples of very young stars : T-Tauri, RW Aurigae (Each the prototype of an eponymous class of variables), pre-main sequence stars are known -I think James Kaler's excellent stars website (star of week, Professor Emeritus, Illinois Uni.)website has some examples of these. If memory serves right one of the components of Shaula (Beta Scorpii) is a star in the process of forming. Epsilon Eridani, Denebola, Beta Pictoris,
Fomalhaut & Vega are all known to be very young - the last three there (plus Denebola) all have had protoplanetary disks of matter detected around them.

(Kaler's website has details on
all these stars for more.)

- Very early on there was something about type O stars spinning very rapidly and having huge starspots. Yes they do. Well I know they spin rapidly and have extreme stellar winds anyway, not 100 % sure about starspots as their surfaces may be radiative rather than convective in nature ...

- Think I recall reading the reason nuclear fusion was essential for astronomers was that
gravitational contraction was calculated as lasting far too short a period of time - mere centuries or only a few thousand years at odds with known geology.
More than that though -even the contraction model meant drastic changes in the Sun from a very large and nearby surface (too much heat?) down to too little heat too far away ..

-Theory, theory theory - who knows what that word means to different people now. It has a scientific use which is valid and used by many in the educated or rational-minded community and a "common usage" which basically
means "guess." We have a problem here in language. What "theory"
means to the lady on the street is the latter & the average bloke just doesn't really understand why we call what they consider "guesses" (from using their understanding of that T word)
to be "facts." Its hard to get round this because "theory" has been so badly shifted in meaning for so long. Perhaps we need to call it the Law of Evolution instead?

Tags - 'Anonymous' you can use any tag you like - be creative, you
believe in creation right? The internet is anonymous, its one of its strengths /weaknesses. Call yourself 'Fried Blue Chicken' or whatever if you wish - but to just use 'anonymous' is well pretty lame and verging on cowardly.

Finally, Thanks Angry Astronomer, I'm another from the Bad Astronomers blog. Hope this posts okay at your site ...

Scott said...

To start, I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned this as I haven't read through all the posts...I am but human.

One thing that confuses me about Young Earth Creationists is their concept on the size of the universe. If the universe is only 6,000 years old as some say, then it must be a very small place. At this age, the farthest astronomical object we have observed must be only (roughly) 6.47x10^15 m away from us. Thats roughly 880 times the maximum distance of Pluto from the Sun. Also for comparison, Andromeda, the nearest spiral galaxy to our own, is 2.4x10^22m (if I've made mistakes here please correct them).

Now unless they're going to either claim the speed of light is far faster than we've currently assume (or should I say know) or that all the stars and galaxies we can see are the size of tennis balls...they're stuffed.

Again, if anything I've said is wrong, please point it out...no point in being wrong and oblivious...

nighstalker160 said...

Just came over from the BA blog and I'm going to be incredibly lame...

Anonymous: I know the answer to all your questions

42

(Too all those who get the lame reference...I'm sorry. I had to)

Mandrellian said...

Anonymous said...
"All of you really should use SpellCheck b4 you post!"

So...I take it your spellcheck missed "b4"? I LOL in your general direction XD

---

Ren said:

"I came over from Bad Astronomy hoping to find some life-changing, mind-altering, belief-shattering post to definitively sway me one way or the other on matters universal... Instead, I found the same old arguments from both sides, rehashed and reheated, served with some warm mayo on a stale piece of bread. You all should just agree do disagree and let each other be.

Creationists, Evolutionists, and Atheists are getting boring."

Well, I honestly don't know what you expected to find. There's a very good and simple reason atheists and evolutionists are getting "boring" and using the same old arguments against the same old creationist lies - it's because they're RIGHT arguments and they're based on the facts. There are only so many ways to describe what actually happens when you're responding to someone who thinks the universe is 6000 years old.

"Agree to disagree"? A nice sentiment, but this isn't some philosophical hypothetical that's being discussed here: it's observable, verifiable fact versus milennia-old superstition. If you're still on the fence about these topics, maybe you should research some of them away from blog comment threads so you get a clear, unemotional picture of the facts.

"Let each other be"? Please know that, much more often than not, it's the fundamentalist religious commenters like "Anonymous" who trawl blogs like this and start these arguments with their incredible ignorance or even outright hostility toward any fact which disagrees with their bible. Scientific bloggers have better things to do with their time than seek uninformed opinions (often just copy/pasted from Answers In Genesis or some other creationist garbage-peddling website) from superstitious commenters who don't even have the courage to use their names - or any name for that matter.

The problem isn't merely a difference of opinion, like Protestant vs Catholic or Sunni vs Shia. It's Fact vs Superstition, Science vs Magic, Truth vs Falsehood.

cliftoris said...

First, a plug. I came here from lousycanuck.ca

According to the Bible, didn't the star of Bethlehem just sort of magically appear one night? Seems like irrefutable biblical evidence of stellar evolution to me.

Grand Lunar said...

"It sort of says that the author not only doesn't know what he is talking about,"

I think that you're looking the in mirror, Anon.

What the author posts is, in fact, in line with what is known of stellar formation and evolution.
Time and again, you've shown not only an unwillingness to learn these subjects, but also YOUR lack of knowledge of said subjects.
A book such as James Kaler's "Extreme Stars" or Neil Tyson's "Death by Black Hole" are both informative into these subjects.
I find both to be far more insightful than the book you seems to brag about, and even lie about it's origin.

Jason said...

I have a friend with whom I occasionally argue about evolution. Once in a while, the conversation devolves to the point where I'm accused of relying on faith in science. This is true to an extent. I am no polymath. I know a little bit about a lot of things, but I depend heavily upon others to have made discoveries that I cannot independently verify. I have faith that the scientists that have set down what they believe to be the rules by which the universe works, know their stuff, didn't fudge the math, and are open to accept evidence against their own hypotheses, otherwise their theories and rules and laws would not have gained the publicity that they have -- e.g., someone out there would have cried foul and presented evidence to the contrary, at some point or another.

As science is much like the open-source software model, wherein individual changes are contributed to the body of existing work and incremental improvements eventually lead to a larger oeuvre that can stand alone, I trust that science operates in a meritocratous fashion. Likewise, religion is akin to the closed-source software model, wherein one authority creates the entire body of work, and anything that falls outside the body of work is either heretical or evil. This monolithic authority system is likely what provides comfort to those that have faith in their religious dogma -- it is comforting to know that even if you don't know everything about the universe, you can simply say "God did it" and congratulate yourself for a job well done.

This implies that religious folks are incurious. This doesn't seem to be the case in all cases, sadly, or we wouldn't get trolls on science blogs of the ilk of our illustrious Anonymous poster in this thread. (Either they aren't incurious, or they're out amongst the heathen looking to convert. Not terribly palatable, and something like tilting at windmills around here, I'd wager.)

I just don't understand what it is about the pursuit of science that raises the hackles of these types. Why is it that you cannot reconcile the idea that the universe works a certain way, with the idea that "God did it"? And has anyone ever suggested to you (as I saw in a Youtube video recently) that perhaps the Bible was actually created by God specifically to test humankind's ability to believe in "his creation", as opposed to creating the universe in an incredibly deceiving manner where 99% of it is a lie intended to fool you into believing the universe is a certain way, to test your faith in the book?

Bah. I don't usually post my rants on other people's blogs. I usually save them for my own. Apologies for my compatriot's earlier cheap plug, by the way.

Brent said...

The crazy creationists aren't the real scare. Its these doe-eyed moderates that are freakin me out. All this talk about how we should just leave them be and "my belief in a sky daddy doesn't hurt anyone" stuff is weird. The reason we can't allow ID in classrooms is because it is not based on logic and science. This should not be a give and take between secularists and the faithful.

Noam GR, The Angry Artist said...

I hereby propose particle Cr (for Creationism). This mysterious and rare particle is found and emitted by dense bodies wherein the Faith/Logic ratio has passed the critical threshold.

Particle Cr can be detected by its strange effect on Logical Conversations; for it acts upon any such conversation by causing it to remain at a constant angular velocity regardless of what other forces (be it of logic, mathematics, semantics, common sense, etc.) may be added to the system (though if enough Logic is added to the system, particle Cr has also been observed to emit short bursts of A and NS waves [i.e: Cr at Absurdist and Non Sequitur wavelengths]).

... seriously. Reading this whole conversation gave me the spins.

Accurate predictions aren't evidence and numbers don't mean anything? Maybe you can call me on your satellite-signaled cellphone and expatiate on the discovery of Neptune or the decay rates of particles at relativistic speeds or the I'm sure endless other now observable and previously *predicted* textbook examples of how scientists are really conspiring to re-invent the Godgiven laws of the universe for the sinister purpose of... um... because they are evil and spend life times of hard dedicated work just to fool a bunch of miseducated (not uneducated) boors (your word).

I'm not even a scientist and this angers me. It's downright disrespectful and ungrateful. This isn't about people who have trouble understanding or perhaps were taught wrong or are simply ignorant; these are just a bunch of jerks who have nothing better to do but p*ss all over the hard work and sacrifice (let's not forget that there were days when practicing science against the religious grain meant risking your reputation, social status, or in extreme cases: life) of people thanks to whom you can live as you do (and have the chance to learn from them in a public forum like this. Instead of using this as a great opportunity to learn something, you waste their time). If you like the taste of the bread, don't p*ss in the oven.

FYI: 19th century biologists were EXTREMELY reluctant to accept evolution (and countless other now mainstream laws and theories); only after decades upon decades of debate and endless incredible creative and painstakingly carried out experiments (many of them by skeptics of evolutionary ideas!) was evolution finally accepted.

Lastly: yes some scientific trends and theories change (evolve perhaps?)... how exactly does this mean that nothing can be true and everything is unknowable?

When CD's first came out and people bought their favorite cassettes in CD form: just because the quality of the sound changed and the medium was different, were they listening to different songs?

When you add RAM to your computer to improve its performance, does it magically transform your computer into a different computer? Did your computer never exist before you added the RAM?

How does improving a theory or finding new information... you know what. you win. God did it.




---
http://noamgr.wordpress.com

Natalie said...

HAHAHA! 42!!
I think that about sums it up! I also came from BA, this is a great site!

Kevin S. said...

I'm sorry, but you are all wrong about the age of the universe. Randall Munroe clearly shows the Universe and everything we know to have been created in 1970.

Blondin said...

As someone once said (I think it was Johnathan Swift): "You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into."

Diane Turnshek said...

I'm surprised we don't know each other. I spend a lot of time in KS. I teach Astronomy in Pittsburgh (Pitt, CCAC, CMU and St. Vincent). Thanks for a thoughtful discussion.

Anti-Apastate said...

Reading this discussion thread has been a real eye-opener to the misconceptions that exist about the nature of our universe among people of faith as well as secular scientists.

First I would like to address the "evidence" presented by the Angry Astronomer.

He has made much about the "evidence" and "models" that he and his fellow pencil-pushers have constructed from the barest facts. Proper science, if there is such a thing, is done through observation. In regards to the nature of stars, consider how they derive their "facts." They gather tiny particles that no one has ever seen, run the results of these invisible particle-strikes through a computer, and voila, they think they’ve peered into the heart of these enormous balls of light. They believe they’ve discovered the nature of stars—objects so large that they stagger the imagination—by taking a sample of an infinitesimally small portion of that star. That’s like taking a single atom of a pasta dish and presuming that you know what ALL the ingredients are and additionally presuming to be able to know exactly how that pasta dish was prepared.

This is just one example of the hubris of science which has time and time again failed to adequately explain the nature of the universe in a way reasonable people find sensible.

And it is at this point that I address Anonymous.

Anonymous, I think you are much closer to the mark, but you keep trying to counter the logic of these “scientists” with your own logic. I have a feeling that you and I share the same view, and that’s that the nature of the universe is in its essence a miracle!

If anyone doesn’t feel awe at the miracle of nature, then they are seriously deluded. Look at the planets and stars around us, spheres hanging miraculously in the void. Look at life on this planet, all of which is composed of spheres (as in the cells) and strands (our DNA). Everything you see in the universe can be seen as spherical (stars, planets, cells) or strands (DNA, comets, light waves). Anyone with an open heart and an open mind who sees the miracle of existence just gets a sense that it has a creator, and that the creator made it in his own image.

Anonymous, you are also relying far too heavily on the Bible to get your worldview. Think about it, Anonymous, the world WAS created through MIRACULOUS means in the image of that creator, but what is the nature of a Creator that invents a universe that is made up of strands and spheres? It is a Creator who himself is made of strands and spheres, and that is none other than the Flying Spaghetti Monster (peace be upon him).

If the Flying Spaghetti Monster (peace be upon him) were to write scripture, I think it would go something like this:

"And in the Void was the Lord and grand were his spherical meatballs and strand-like noodles. And it came to pass that he reached out his noodly appendage and said: ‘Let Us make the Universe in Our image, according to Our likeness.’ And it was so. And the Lord saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very delicious.”

I hope that I was able to shine some light on the issue, but I don’t hold out much hope for the souls of either the Angry Astronomer or the Bad Astronomer.

Mandrellian said...

LOL

Angry Apostate, I'm actually unsure if your entire post was a sarcastic pisstake or was meant to be entirely serious. Either way, it's damned funny :D

.m.

Noam GR said...

Forget what I said before. What a fool I was!

Thank you, Angry Apastate, for I se the light now!

I see the light!

Rick M said...

Wow that was a big read. I'm with the guy who spent 1/2 an hour before his brain was fried.

Came here from badastronomy & will return.

Man I like science, love the theories of evolution and natural selection - they have such great explanatory power. Biological Science at UNSW was cool.

Am also a bible believing Christian - who doesn't think Genesis 1-2 is trying to say God did it in 7 days. I'd say I'm a theistic evolutionist. Evolution is probably how God did it, but we know about God from his self revelation in Jesus Christ.
(Am sick of Intelligent Design stuff - just makes us Christians look dumb)

Anyway, looking forward to exploring this site more.

Cheers,
Rick

jparr said...

I still want to find out where the "atom" reference in the bible is. I found this interesting link that shows the Qur'an mentions the atoms: link. Clearly as well thought out as the postings of "anon".

But the google searches for the bible and "atoms" lead me to three results: non relevant, biblical prophecies (equidistant letter thingies), and pages that my office web filter won't let me see ("Racism and Hate Groups").

Anyone else have any luck finding the reference?

Scott said...

I find the Skeptics Annotated Bible is usually the best place to look for that sort of stuff (http://skepticsannotatedbible.com). After a quick look I found no mention of atom in the Bible, but it did come up with one mention of atom in the Quran, though it is pretty vague.

Torbjörn Larsson, OM said...

They gather tiny particles that no one has ever seen

Remember, it is done by observation in the experiments. Or do you labor under the misconception that observation means "viewing"? But ultimately our instruments must interface with our senses to make, um, sense.

The other problem with your description of science is that you forget testing. Anyone can 'observe' an optical illusion. But proper testing sort out what is factual and what is not, i.e. what can be a scientific theory explaining the phenomena ("if it is an optical illusion, the circles will measure exactly the same radius") and what can't be ("the left circle looks larger to me").

Rick M said...

Wow that was a big read. I'm with the guy who spent 1/2 an hour before his brain was fried.

Came here from badastronomy & will return.

Man I like science, love the theories of evolution and natural selection - they have such great explanatory power. Biological Science at UNSW was cool.

Am also a bible believing Christian - who doesn't think Genesis 1-2 is trying to say God did it in 7 days. I'd say I'm a theistic evolutionist. Evolution is probably how God did it, but we know about God from his self revelation in Jesus Christ.
(Am sick of Intelligent Design stuff - just makes us Christians look dumb)

Anyway, looking forward to exploring this site more.

Cheers,
Rick

Noam GR said...

Forget what I said before. What a fool I was!

Thank you, Angry Apastate, for I se the light now!

I see the light!

viggen said...

In terms of evolution, I was refering to steller evoltion. But all evolution is evolution in the same shape and form isnt it.

Then why are you people so eager to stick in a division between "micro" and "macro" evolution if you are otherwise so willing to lump all evolution together? Deny evolution occurs, except for the kind that has been measured and can't be explained away, then otherwise lump biological evolution together with stellar evolution? Explain to me why this isn't a double standard. The theories are not related beyond the fact that they are both science and do not contradict one another.

I'm less impressed with your ability to find your target. If you want to deny Change altogether, I would suggest you start by explaining how you spontaneously spawned into adulthood and won't get gray hair or wrinkles. The commonly observed process of Growing Up, rather Personal Evolution, is about as related to Stellar Evolution as Biological Evolution is. In fact, Personal Evolution has a greater semblance to Stellar Evolution than Biological Evolution does. Care to start explaining how you can deny all three as "It's all Evolution, innit?"

By your own standard of "it's all evolution" how can you explain why you haven't said "thee" or "thine" anywhere in your argument? More to the point, why aren't you speaking to me in Latin? But --wait for it-- that's all Language Evolution, which certainly hasn't been observed and could never possibly happen. It is all Evolution isn't it? In fact, if I brought up the word "faggot" you would be offended for a totally different reason than my concern that it is one possible evolution of dead wood in a bundle to support the burning of heritics like me by prayer ridden zealots like you. Oh wait, you mean to say the church doesn't burn witches anymore? That couldn't be an Evolution could it? But I thought you said there is no Evolution...

If you wanna lump apples with oranges and call them nectarines, I can go on.

Jason said...

"Are you claiming the Bible was written before the birth of Jesus?"

They must have used clairvoyants

cbv said...

Jean-Denis wrote:
[T]he debate between the scientist and the cave man. Nothing even remotely similar could have happened on this side of the pond. Perhaps this is because creationists don't have *any* share of voice over here. Or, I'd rather believe this is because we don't have any.

Alas, you're wrong here. They already have a voice and they already are trying to push into the field of (school) education.

I do not know how it goes in France, but I do know about Germany.

There are several Ministers (Secretaries, for our American friends) of Education that try to introduce ID-iocy to the boards, for the (and I quote) "striking similarity to the theory of Evolution" (Karin Wolff, Minister of Education, Hesse state).

It's beginning. They are just not very vocal ... yet.

mandydax said...

@Jean-Denis:

I can't agree with you about the orthogonality of religion and science. As Brent said, the concept of non-overlapping magisteria is really just a get-out-of-jail-free card for god. I don't see any reason that anything should be immune to scientific and logical scrutiny. That's really an aside, however.

The ploy that "Anonymous" used was to try to "kill us with kindness." His (or her) arguments were so devoid of merit and so full of logical fallacies, inaccuracies, and (probably) outright lies, that if he did not appear to be the most polite of people, he'd have been immediately been branded a troll and likely summarily deleted.

Jon and the other science and skeptical bloggers I read tend to have to put up with a variety of trolls, who come to the posts and comment that they don't believe what was posted and ask inane questions that they have no interest in hearing the answers to. They're like an itch that, if scratched, only becomes worse. Continue scratching, and eventually you bleed. That is their goal, really. They want to be an annoyance to the bloggers, to waste their time, and to waste space in the comments section.

The reason that "Anonymous" appears to be the more polite and less mean of the two is simply to illicit that response from people like yourself who read the post and comments. "Anonymous" reminds me so very much of the character Dolores Umbridge from the fifth book in the Harry Potter series, using a sweet as honey persona to cover a venomous and zealously horrid demeanor.

BTW, your English is extremely good. As Jon said, if you hadn't mentioned it, we wouldn't have know.

Jon Voisey said...

Hi jdmuys. First off, your English is perfect. If you wouldn't have said anything, I wouldn't have had any idea that it's not your native language.

In regards to your comment on my tone, it's an issue that I've stopped to consider several times in the six years I've been discussing this topic.

The issue is this: If we stop to be polite to people that make a complete mockery of rational and logical thinking, then it lends credibility to their case. Otherwise we wouldn't be listening to it.

However, if we are forthright enough to call their position what it is (complete bullshit) then we're seen as overly antagonistic and trying to bully our way to truth.

So essentially, we're damned if we do, and damned if we don't.

I don't think that there's any "right" answer that anyone will agree on. The strategy I've adopted is the one I stated earlier: "I'll be nicer when you be smarter."

The essential idea of this is that I will meet the intellectual level of those I'm discussing matters with. With anon here, his arguments were so incredibly devoid of even a basic understanding of high school physics, that there was nothing to actually discuss and all I could do was question his intelligence and education. When s/he began reciting things that were a bit more technical and trying to make actual arguments (as flawed as they were) I responded in kind. When anon threw even that away and just started spouting gibberish, I abandoned any further pretense of conversation and stated I will delete any further posts along those lines (which I did).

DrKnow said...

What a tour de force of Crap. This is a great read for developing critical thinking skills. One has them (Jon) and one who lacks them (Anon).
This was a classic exchange revealing how a true believer will never alter their views regardless of the vast wealth of scientific evidence showing they are way off track. DOGMA! I feel sorry for someone trapped by their unalterable view of the world based on 2000 year old stories written by superstitious and naïve humans. Jon, great patience to put down this drival so well. The Irish in me would have taken over and early on and I would have just wanted to punch Anon’s lights out. I know I know the bible says patience is a virtue. I have a THEORY on that…

Gary Hitch said...

Star formation has never been observed. Period.

Thus theories on how it "might" happen are not empirical evidence as to how it does happen.

The self-styled angry astronomer makes believe he has all the answers but is only parroting the standard party line invented by theorists who speculate and use calculators a lot.

Speculation is part of the scientific process but is not science and is most certainly not proof of anything.
The whole idea of scientific consensus is a crock.
If its science consensus has nothing to do with it.
If it's consensus it's not science at all.
The consensus has been so wrong so many times its absolutely amazing it is still being touted as though it were some kind of evidence of fact.

This whole article is based on current conjecture and on assumptions about the universe.
Those assumptions may be dead wrong, if the past is any indication, scientific consensus is often way off the mark.

As for Darwinian evolution, it is simply impossible without intelligent input and guidance.

Algorithmic information does not and cannot arise without intelligence -by its very definition!
DNA is crammed with algorithmic information. Where did it come from? No stochastic process can create it.
DNA also contains meta-information. That's information on information. Another kind of info that is impossible without intelligence.
Again by very definition.
Code requires a coder - again, by definition. Code is symbolic.
DNA is symbol system. Symbols do not exist naturally. They MUST be created by intelligences.

The coded information in DNA is mathematically identical to the code of languages. No difference. But there is no such thing as language without intelligence.

DNA also contains polyfunctional code. That means its also poly constrained. No natural process can create encoded language that serves polymorphic functionality.

Genetic entropy also rules out Darwinian evolution. Our genome is not evolving as per Darwinists view it i.e. "progressing". Neither is any other genome.

Indeed, our genome is not improving; it is slowly degenerating due to accumulation of near neutral (slightly deleterious) and deleterious mutations. Along the order of 60 to 100 mutations per generation. We will not evolve into something "higher" (another Darwinist useless term).
We most certainly will encounter "mutational meltdown" and then extinction, if nothing changes. That's reality.

Nothing is evolving towards more complex as per more functional or "higher". Nothing.

As for the fossil record is woefully lacking in evidence of any macro evolution and all touted cases are speculative at best since the past is not observable.
All pretended intermediates, are purely speculative and must use circular reasoning even to just presume them!
That is so obvious its amazing Darwinists never see this one simple fact. i.e. One must assume Darwinian theory to be true to even assume something is transitional.

This is not hard. Its called begging the question. A logical fallacy contained in the very foundation of Darwinian ill reasoning.

Darwinism is the greatest scientific blunder of history and molecular biology, biosemiotics and statistical mechanics applied to the genome, are all proving this.

If Darwinism weren't in fact the origins myth of materialists who must defend it at all costs it would have already disappeared under its own fallacies and the "mountains of overwhelming evidence" that risen against it.

Nunya said...

Gary Hitch...awesome post. About time someone stood up to these self serving 'liars in lab coats'. I notice how no one, including this 'angry astronomer' has answered your excellent reply here. Aethesists are by nature self centered. They spend their lives trying to prove THEY are the center of their universe vice their Creator and the world He created.

Daniel Hannah said...

I have to say, there are some arguments in here that are simply inaccurate.
First of all, Cosmology and Evolution are not two completely unrelated fields. Evolution covers a wide range of definitions, not the least of which is Cosmic Evolution(star formation and the Big Bang).
Second, the reason that forming stars should show high rotation rates and strong magnetic fields is because this is the accepted theory behind star formation, as the star forms, the rotation rate slows as the debris around it form larger bodies, with their own gravitational pulls. It is not even justifiable to discredit an observation with a cliche', as you have done.
As many other commenters have also said, there is not a single shred of observational proof that stars form inside nebulae. It is a theory, and will be a theory until inter-galaxy travel becomes a reality. You cannot use the excuse that it is "an accepted theory", because we know that in Copernicus' time the geocentric model was "an accepted scientific theory", and Copernicus was laughed out of the way for his discovery of the Heliocentric System model.
Lastly, you seem very convinced that stars in a galaxy are moving in toward each other, rather than the other direction, as spectral analysis "red shift" infers. Isn't a bounded Universe a Creationist teaching?
So now that each of your points are trashed, let's look at your sources. Oh wait, you don't have any.

Daniel Hannah said...

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and INVISIBLE, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. Col 1:16 In those days, that would cover atomic particles too small for the naked eye, as well as invisible forces like gravity.

Daniel Hannah said...

Well, if you read the Genesis account of creation, light was created three days before the Sun. How can you have light without a source? The answer...you can't.

Kevin Barnes said...

>They spend their lives trying to prove THEY are the center of their universe vice their Creator and the world He created.

What creator?