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.'"
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.
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.