Antineutrinos: Fact, or a Myth Perpetrated by the Right?

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Postby barfle » Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:29 am

Shapley wrote:Nonetheless, it is interesting, and leads me to believe that scientists are closer to finding God, even if they won't recognize him when they do.

I believe what this shows is that one more occurrence that some claim to be evidence of intelligent design turns out to be more common than was originally thought. No miracles necessary.

Of course, if you're right about "finding God," it will certainly surprise almost everyone who claims to know something about the topic.
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Postby Shapley » Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:54 am

I actually believe it is indicitave that some scientists have too much faith in their computer models. Faith? That's an interesting concept!

I realize that it is not possible to actually observe occurances on the surface of the Sun, so computer models are created to simulate the conditions there. However, the term GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) is applicable. Computer models are only as good as the program and the input. There is no indication from the article that it has been observed anywhere except the computer model.

The scientists admit they only brought it up to renew debate on the definition of life. I won't deny that the definition could use some dusting up, but I don't think simulations on a computer screen will meet the definition, no matter how devoted role-playing gamers get attached to their avatars. :D

One of the problems with the theory of evolution has always been that life has never been observed as evolving from non-life. According to the Bible, however, man was created from dust, i.e., from non-life. If life can form from formless plasma then we have, perhaps, found the furnace of creation. It does not disprove the existence of God, but rather, perhaps, provides insight into the tools in his workshop.

There are scientists working fervently to prove that there is no God. All I'm asking is whether those scientists will be willing to admit their error if the summation of the evidence proves otherwise. It seems to be no more than they are asking of us if the summation of the evidence leans in their favour. I believe they are as fervent a set of believers as any religious zealot.

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Postby navneeth » Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:26 am

Shapley wrote:I actually believe it is indicitave that some scientists have too much faith in their computer models. Faith? That's an interesting concept!


A computer model is just that, a model. No one's taking anything on faith, it's there just to look at possibilities. It could be right or it could be wrong.


I realize that it is not possible to actually observe occurances on the surface of the Sun,


Right. Sunspots and prominences are just make-belief.

There are scientists working fervently to prove that there is no God. All I'm asking is whether those scientists will be willing to admit their error if the summation of the evidence proves otherwise. It seems to be no more than they are asking of us if the summation of the evidence leans in their favour. I believe they are as fervent a set of believers as any religious zealot.


"Scientists" working to disprove the existence of God are wasting their time. No serious scientist would do that. Well, if you are referring to Dawkins, I guess he's presenting enough arguments to remove the need for a God. [I haven't read his book yet, though.]
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Postby Shapley » Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:51 am

Right. Sunspots and prominences are just make-belief.


I mean that we are not able to make observations while standing, sitting, or floating, on the Sun's surface which would seem to be necessary to make observations on the microscopic level, such as those needed to observe the formation of DNA-like strands of plasma. Observing sunspots from 93,000,000 miles away does not allow this type of observation, unless our telescope technology has advanced much farther than I am aware.

Yes, Dawkins is the one who seems to be making the most noise about it. Hitchen's has written a book being praised by Dawkins, but Hitchens is a journalist not a scientist. Dawkins is a scientist, although most of the attention he garners is now focused more on his atheism than his science.
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Postby navneeth » Wed Aug 15, 2007 12:18 pm

Shapley wrote:I mean that we are not able to make observations while standing, sitting, or floating, on the Sun's surface which would seem to be necessary to make observations on the microscopic level, such as those needed to observe the formation of DNA-like strands of plasma.


I suppose a form of spectroscopy [or a similar method] will allow us to check whether the structure of the dust particles of interstellar space under these conditions forms a double-helix or not. After all, astronomers didn't have travel to the stars to check whether its made of the same stuff that we know (and didn't know) from the lab.
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Postby barfle » Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:00 pm

Shapley wrote:I actually believe it is indicitave that some scientists have too much faith in their computer models. Faith? That's an interesting concept!

Computer models, to be useful, have to have been tested with real-world data and the results have to correspond with the observations. That's a little different than religious faith, which is, I believe, what you refer to.

Shapley wrote:I realize that it is not possible to actually observe occurances on the surface of the Sun, so computer models are created to simulate the conditions there.

As I noted, the computer models are tested against real-world observations, then used in "what if" scenarios. Building a virtual sun is a lot easier than building a real one, particularly with the limited amount of material we have to work with on a single planet.

Shapley wrote:However, the term GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) is applicable. Computer models are only as good as the program and the input.

Certainly true, but I believe I have addressed this twice already.

Shapley wrote:There is no indication from the article that it has been observed anywhere except the computer model.

But now there's a reason to look for it. Einstein once said "If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called 'research.'"

Shapley wrote:The scientists admit they only brought it up to renew debate on the definition of life. I won't deny that the definition could use some dusting up, but I don't think simulations on a computer screen will meet the definition, no matter how devoted role-playing gamers get attached to their avatars. :D

They're not saying the simulation is alive. They are saying that the simulation gives a result quite similar to an aspect of life as we understand it. And they didn't do the experiment to question life, they published the paper to start the discussion and refine the definition. My guess is that the line will be called arbitrary by some for as long as human beings are around to argue the topic.

Shapley wrote:One of the problems with the theory of evolution has always been that life has never been observed as evolving from non-life.

In order for life to evolve, life has to exist first. The science of evolution does not address the origination of life, because it is a far, far different study than how mutation and natural selection modify life over generations. You may speculate on the science of abiogenesis all you like, but evolution is an observed fact. And you even admit that you're not all that sure about the definition of "life."

Shapley wrote:According to the Bible, however, man was created from dust, i.e., from non-life. If life can form from formless plasma then we have, perhaps, found the furnace of creation.

If life can form from formless plasma, then it is a natural occurance, and no miracles are required.

Shapley wrote:It does not disprove the existence of God, but rather, perhaps, provides insight into the tools in his workshop.

I don't see that any such attempt is being made

Shapley wrote:There are scientists working fervently to prove that there is no God.

There are scientists who claim that their research shows that the stories of Jehovah, the god of Abraham, are full of contradictions. But attempting to prove scientifically that there is "no God" is folly. Science deals with what is natural. Gods, by definition, are supernatural and beyond the realm of scientific research.

Shapley wrote:All I'm asking is whether those scientists will be willing to admit their error if the summation of the evidence proves otherwise.

If, as you suggest, this computer model is observed in reality, what it will mean is that the double-helix structure happens naturally, and no divine intervention is necessary. I'm not sure how that goes either for or against any particular definition of "God."

Shapley wrote:It seems to be no more than they are asking of us if the summation of the evidence leans in their favour.

They don't seem to be asking you for anything except the chance to pursue the subject wherever it may lead.

Shapley wrote:I believe they are as fervent a set of believers as any religious zealot.

What do you base this on? Certainly nothing in the article mentions God or religion.
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Postby navneeth » Wed Aug 15, 2007 2:02 pm

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/30833
While these specific simulations have not been verified in the laboratory, experiments by other researchers on other dust-plasma systems have revealed the emergence of simple helical structures.

As for finding inorganic life in dust clouds surrounding nearby stars, the researchers say this could be done by looking for changes in infrared light from distant astronomical objects as it passes though a cloud of spirals – a measurement that could in principle be done with NASA’s Spitzer space telescope.
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Postby Shapley » Wed Aug 15, 2007 2:12 pm

I've made no comments regarding the beliefs of these researchers, or where they are going with this research except to comment that they hope the research will open dialogue on the definition of life. I think that is a reasonably accurate statement based on the article.

I posted the link in this thread since it seemed, in my wandering and questioning mind, to continue the discussion of science vs. God. I did not and do not suggest that the researchers considered that a part of their plan. But when you deal with issues of defining life, you take a step into that quagmire. I was merely bringing this into the dialogue, as it seemed a natural extension thereof.

This thread, which is only half-serious to begin with, has dealt with the concept of the existence of particles which can only be taken on faith. I have used that concept, again only half-seriously, to speculate that those particles are related to God, being both omnipresent and taken on faith. I posted the link because it connects with the overall discussion of the thread, but I did not attempt to impugn the integrity of the researchers nor to question their motive, I merely questioned their interpretation of the observed results, as well as pointing out that the results occured in 'virual nature', not in nature.

Computer models are useful, but they are still models, not reality. That the researchers may have observed the beginning of a potential 'virtual life' is an interesting thing, but it is useful only, as they state, for opening dialogue.

I didn't even challenge the theory of evolution, since I have long accepted that evolution is a fact of life. I also don't believe that evolution is contrary to religion. This finding does not seem to equate to evolution, except that it seems to provide a beginning-of-life point from which evolution can begin. If DNA can be formed from plasma, and maintained in form once it leaves the furnace then, perhaps, we have found a methodology from which man can be formed from dust, or an amoeba from seeming nothingness.

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Postby navneeth » Wed Aug 15, 2007 2:29 pm

Shapley wrote:If DNA can be formed from plasma, and maintained in form once it leaves the furnace then, perhaps, we have found a methodology from which man can be formed from dust, or an amoeba from seeming nothingness.


:shock:

It's a double-helix, not DNA!
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Postby Shapley » Wed Aug 15, 2007 2:41 pm

The article says if forms "DNA-like double helixes". It also indicates that the double-helixes behave like DNA, and are capable of 'evolving' into structures suitable for survival in the plasma. However, there will be no life without DNA so, if the discussion they wish to open is to be about defining life, we have to assume that these helixes can possibly form into actual DNA. At least that's my interpretation based on the articles continued reference to DNA and DNA-like structure.

A double-helix can be formed from something as simple as Christmas ribbon, and through the simple act of pulling two strands of ribbon across the blade of a pair of scissors (is there such a thing as a single scissor?), but I don't think anyone suggests that Christmas ribbon requires us to re-evaluate the definition of life. Double-helixes have also been formed by the construction to two intertwined spiral staircases, with no impact on life's definition. :D

All of which reminds me of this site. Not that it has anything to do with this discussion, it's just a pretty neat site. :)

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Postby barfle » Wed Aug 15, 2007 3:34 pm

Shapley wrote:I posted the link in this thread since it seemed, in my wandering and questioning mind, to continue the discussion of science vs. God.

The only time there is a "science vs. God" debate is when someone's interpretation of scripture goes contrary to scientific findings. Science is not the enemy of God. It is, however, the enemy of ignorance and superstition.

Shapley wrote:I didn't even challenge the theory of evolution, since I have long accepted that evolution is a fact of life. I also don't believe that evolution is contrary to religion.

You said there was a problem with evolution, but for a reason that is clearly disconnected from evolution.

Shapley wrote:This finding does not seem to equate to evolution, except that it seems to provide a beginning-of-life point from which evolution can begin. If DNA can be formed from plasma, and maintained in form once it leaves the furnace then, perhaps, we have found a methodology from which man can be formed from dust, or an amoeba from seeming nothingness.

It's a long ways from self-forming dual helical structures to DNA. But, as I noted, it appears that such things obey known laws of physics, so it doesn't take a miracle for them to happen.

I have no idea where this research will lead. Most research ends up at a dead end - nothing useful to find. That doesn't mean it's not valuable in itself. Learning that you're on the wrong track often leads to unforeseen discoveries, and knowledge increases. I believe it was Asimov who said something like "Science is not the 'AHA' moment. It's the 'Hmmm, that's strange' moment."
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Postby Shapley » Wed Aug 15, 2007 4:05 pm

You said there was a problem with evolution, but for a reason that is clearly disconnected from evolution.


True. I should have said that there is a problem with the 'science vs. creationism' argument, since evolution also requires a point of creation, whether that creation occurs by the hand of God or an act of chance is irrelevant to the subject of evolution.

Since we've mentioned Dawkins alright, since I've mentioned Dawkins, and Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist who spends his time debunking creationism, I think the two are not so disconnected as it may seem, at least as the discussion is commonly framed. It is the creationists that criticize evolution, and the evolutionists that criticize creationism, for the most part. As I've said, I don't consider the two to be contradictory, but I don't take creationism at its extreme, which requires that all things were created exactly as they are, never to change (Noah would have needed a really, really big boat, if that were the case). I've never heard an evolutionist's explanation of the origin of life, only how life evolves from other life. I do consider that a problem if one is trying to say that one exists to the exclusion of the other. One provides a possible origin, while the other offers an explanation of what follows.

I believe I explained my view of creation, evolution, and God elsewhere on this board, with a God who created the world and then threw the switch to let it run in 'auto', only occassionally switching back to 'manual' mode when he needs to tweek the system.

I still say the random creation of double-helixes is not big deal. I think this is why the article specifically refers to them as 'DNA-like double helixes'. I don't know if this is how the scientists referred to them, or if this was journalists embellishment. I think the use of the DNA reference indicates that the author believes there is more here than a couple of Christmas ribbons getting tangled one into the other. The article refers to the helixes 'evolving', not changing or modifying, but evolving, indicating an attribute of life, since non-life does not evolve.

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Postby piqaboo » Thu Aug 16, 2007 10:44 am

"Science is not the 'AHA' moment. It's the 'Hmmm, that's strange' moment."
Amen! :lol:
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Postby Shapley » Thu Aug 16, 2007 11:05 am

Image

Image

Image
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Postby analog » Thu Aug 16, 2007 9:21 pm

http://www.space.com/.%20scienceastronomy/060315_dna_nebula.html.

Magnetic forces at the center of the galaxy have twisted a nebula into the shape of DNA, a new study reveals.

The double helix shape is commonly seen inside living organisms, but this is the first time it has been observed in the cosmos.

"Nobody has ever seen anything like that before in the cosmic realm," said the study's lead author Mark Morris of UCLA. "Most nebulae are either spiral galaxies full of stars or formless amorphous conglomerations of dust and gas-space weather. What we see indicates a high degree of order."



Image

Carl Jung and Wolfgang Pauli got together in 1930's. One thought up synchronicity, the other neutrinos.

Mere coincidence?
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Postby OperaTenor » Fri Aug 17, 2007 12:03 am

Image

Brownie points for whoever can guess correctly where that stairway is located. I've been up and down it.
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Postby Shapley » Fri Aug 17, 2007 7:57 am

It's named the Simonetti Staricase, and it is located in the Vatican Museum, in Rome.

Ain't Google a wonderful thing.
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Postby GreatCarouser » Fri Aug 17, 2007 8:00 am

OperaTenor wrote:
Brownie points for whoever can guess correctly where that stairway is located. I've been up and down it.



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Postby OperaTenor » Fri Aug 17, 2007 8:03 am

Shap gets it, even though he got the Google assist.

The steps are graded, not level, and notice how they tighten up as the staircase descends.
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Postby Shapley » Fri Aug 17, 2007 8:12 am

The steps are graded, not level, and notice how they tighten up as the staircase descends.


That would be the opposite of the staircase in the Statue of Liberty, which tightens and narrows as you approach the crown. At the base they seem to be a standard spiral staircase, at the crown the steps are only wide enough for one foot at a time. I'm not sure if they steepen as they ascend, or if they only seem that way because of the change in width.

You're up early this morning, BTW. Trying to get chores done before the midday heat sets in? :)

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Last edited by Shapley on Fri Aug 17, 2007 8:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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