Home » Darwinism, Education » Belief in Evolution No Longer a Metric for Science Literacy at NSB-NSF. YAY!

Belief in Evolution No Longer a Metric for Science Literacy at NSB-NSF. YAY!

There are many biologists and philosophers of science who are highly scientifically literate who question certain aspects of the theory of evolution

John Bruer
National Science Board, National Science Foundation
Lead Reviewer
What Happened to Evolution at NSB

Way to go National Science Foundation. Say it again!, “There are many biologists and philosophers of science who are highly scientifically literate who question certain aspects of the theory of evolution.”

The NCSE of course whines over these developments:

A section describing survey results about the American public’s beliefs about evolution and the Big Bang was removed from the 2010 edition of Science and Engineering Indicators. According to a post on the AAAS’s Science Insider blog (April 8, 2010) and a subsequent report in Science (April 9, 2010; subscription required), although survey results about evolution and the Big Bang have regularly appeared in the National Science Board’s Science and Engineering Indicators, its biennial compilation of global data about science, engineering, and technology, they were absent from the 2010 edition.

NCSE’s Joshua Rosenau decried the decision, saying, “Discussing American science literacy without mentioning evolution is intellectual malpractice ….”

What Happened to Evolution at the NSB

the response

Officials at the National Science Board defended the decision. Louis Lanzerrotti, chair of the board’s Science and Engineering Indicators committee, told Science that the questions were “flawed indicators of science knowledge because the responses conflated knowledge and beliefs.” George Bishop, a political scientist at the University of Cincinnati who is familiar with the difficulties of polling about evolution, regarded that position as defensible, explaining, “Because of biblical traditions in American culture, that question is really a measure of belief, not knowledge.”

HT: www.NCSEweb.org

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97 Responses to Belief in Evolution No Longer a Metric for Science Literacy at NSB-NSF. YAY!

  1. 1

    Wow.

    NSF controls a large portion of government science grants. This is very good news.

  2. 2

    The PDF report also contains this:

    Similarly, Americans were less likely than survey respondents in South Korea and Japan to answer the big bang question correctly: one third of Americans answered this question correctly compared with 67% of South Korean and 63% of Japanese respondents.

    http://news.sciencemag.org/sci.....xcerpt.pdf

    It would have been nicer if a selection of options had been given! Rather then just “right” and “wrong”!

  3. Great news Sal,,,

    But Maybe I ought to write this guy from the article:

    “Jon Miller, a science literacy researcher at Michigan State University who originally devised the question about evolution, disagreed, however, asking, “If a person says that the earth really is at the center of the universe, even if scientists think it is not, how in the world would you call that person scientifically literate?”

    ,,, and ask him to explain in detail why the Earth is at the center of the universe in this video:

    The Known Universe by AMNH
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17jymDn0W6U

    Maybe he, being scientifically literate and all, can explain to me why the earth is not central in the universe even though it is clearly shown to be central in the universe.

  4. 4

    I always thought it was self-evident that the earth would at least be the center of the observable universe. But I’m no physicist so.

  5. 5

    Hans from the link you posted:

    Adults in different countries and regions have been asked identical or
    11 substantially similar questions to test their factual knowledge of science. Knowledge
    12 scores for individual items vary from country to country, and no country consistently
    13 outperforms the others.

  6. bornagain77,

    Maybe he, being scientifically literate and all, can explain to me why the earth is not central in the universe even though it is clearly shown to be central in the universe.

    In order to claim that something is in the center, doesn’t it require knowledge of the boundaries? How do we know if something is physically central without a concept of boundaries in space, given that space is three dimensional (at least), and anything three dimensional as a space cannot have boundaries without there being something else outside of it? I can see how something can be centrally located in a room, but that’s because it has walls, so how is something known to be the center of the universe in the same way?

  7. With regard to “literacy” knowing the consensus is a whole lot different than accepting the consensus.

    And the giants of science never accept the consensus :-)

  8. bornagain77 @3,

    Maybe he, being scientifically literate and all, can explain to me why the earth is not central in the universe even though it is clearly shown to be central in the universe.

    I think Clive Hayden is correct @6 when he says we need to know the layout of the universe to know our position in it.
    We can’t simply say that no matter which way we look in the night sky we see an uncountable amount of stars and therefore, we must be at the center.

    If only one object can occupy the the center of a universe which contains n objects, the odds are (n to 1) against it being us.

  9. 9

    I always understood “the centre of the universe” to be whereever you are, in a way. Remebmer the balloon analogy? It’s intended to be understood in the following way:
    The universe is the surface of the balloon. It is not embedded in anything and the surface of the balloon is everything that exists. It has no “center” for this illustration.

    Now imagine that the balloon is inflated, through an infinitesimal hole. Then the sphere that is the surface expands, and all points on that surface move apart from one another. They not only move apart, but the distance (measured along a great circle joining them on the surface) increases at a rate that is proportional to the distance separating the points. All points see all other points as receding directly away from them. In that sense, any point is the “center”. But in no case is the center to be construed as the center of the ball of which the sphere is the boundary.

    So the view from any point is that it’s in the centre, as everything is receding from it.

  10. Clive Hayden you asked:

    “In order to claim that something is in the center, doesn’t it require knowledge of the boundaries? How do we know if something is physically central without a concept of boundaries in space, given that space is three dimensional (at least), and anything three dimensional as a space cannot have boundaries without there being something else outside of it? I can see how something can be centrally located in a room, but that’s because it has walls, so how is something known to be the center of the universe in the same way?”

    Clive, the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR), in the video, marks the definitive boundary of space/time as we know it in the universe. That is the point at which space/time, along with all energy/matter came into existence. As far as 3-D material reality is concerned there is no “out there” outside of the CMBR.

  11. 11

    bornagain77,
    I’ve not watched the video (no sound!) but could you tell me how far away that definitive boundary of space/time as we know it in the universe is then? I guess you are talking about the edge of the observable universe?

    After all, any part of the universe that is causally disconnected from us cannot be observed, but that does not mean it does not/cannot exist, and in fact no evidence exists that shows that the boundary of the observable universe corresponds to the physical boundary of the universe.

  12. Hans, though you are correct to state that each observer will be central to the universe, the 4-D space time you use for a “complete” explanation is grossly insufficient to explain the 3-D centrality we witness to the CMBR from radically different points of observation in the universe. The solution for the problem, of maintaining centrality from different points of observation, comes in realizing that quantum wave collapse is universal to each individual observer in the universe.

    Of further note, materialism is at a complete loss to explain the centrality we witness for ourselves in the universe with the refutation of the “hidden variable” argument.

    Quantum Measurements: Common Sense Is Not Enough, Physicists Show – July 2009
    Excerpt: scientists have now proven comprehensively in an experiment for the first time that the experimentally observed phenomena cannot be described by non-contextual models with hidden variables. http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142824.htm

    further note:

    The Mental Universe – Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: The only reality is mind and observations, but observations are not of things. To see the Universe as it really is, we must abandon our tendency to conceptualize observations as things.,,, The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy.
    - The Mental Universe

    “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.” Eugene Wigner (1902 -1995) laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Wigner

  13. 13

    bornagain77,

    But of course, that boundary is not really a boundary, and it is contingent on our ability to measure it from where we sit, meaning that from our vantage point we work outwards, and will always consider a circle of our knowledge to be in proportion to our vantage point. Had we been in a different vantage point, the circle would look the same from that different vantage point, like a portrait, that no matter where you stand in the room, seems to be looking at you.

  14. 14

    bornagain77,

    And secondly, the center in medieval thought was considered a position of low regard, like the drain in the middle of a court, it is where all of the trash collects. If you’re thinking that the center means a position of privilege just by virtue of being the center, that just depends on who you ask, and different thinkers have thought differently throughout time on this. I cannot see any objectively necessary value, even metaphysically, on any importance on anything being placed in the center of something. Our heart is not in the center of our chest. I suppose I just don’t understand what’s important in your mind about our planet being at the center of the universe.

  15. Hans you stated:

    “in fact no evidence exists that shows that the boundary of the observable universe corresponds to the physical boundary of the universe.”

    Hans, Since the video shows in living color the “singularity event” of the CMBR, where space-time, matter-energy all came into existence at the same time how can you say,,,,

    “no evidence exists that shows that the boundary of the observable universe corresponds to the physical boundary of the universe”?”"Do you not believe your own eyes” ?

    Since you don’t think the entirety of the observable universe, is sufficient evidence, How about “proof” instead of evidence?:

    Formal Proof For The Transcendent Origin Of the Universe – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4170233

    “Every solution to the equations of general relativity guarantees the existence of a singular boundary for space and time in the past.”(Hawking, Penrose, Ellis) – 1970
    http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9404/bigbang.html

    “The prediction of the standard model that the universe began to exist remains today as secure as ever—indeed, more secure, in light of the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem and that prediction’s corroboration by the repeated and often imaginative attempts to falsify it. The person who believes that the universe began to exist remains solidly and comfortably within mainstream science.” – William Lane Craig
    http://www.reasonablefaith.org.....38;id=6115

    Inflationary spacetimes are not past-complete – Borde-Guth-Vilenkin – 2003
    Excerpt: inflationary models require physics other than inflation to describe the past boundary of the inflating region of spacetime.
    http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0110012

    “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can long longer hide behind the possibility of a past eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.” Alexander Vilenkin – Many Worlds In One – Pg. 176

    Hugh Ross PhD. – Evidence For The Transcendent Origin Of The Universe – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4347185

  16. Clive, what makes the centrality “special”, not just to me but to each of us, is that materialism is in complete failure as to explain the phenomena of centrality adequately from different points of observation in the universe, whereas in Theism it clearly reflects both the omnipotence of God, as well as the extremely special importance God has placed on each of us “observers in the universe. It truly is mind blowing when you realize the extent to which the cause of the “First Mover” is required to explain the “effect” of reality for the centrality of each observer.

  17. I have to ask the question: is it really possible to believe that life can arise by pure chance and still be considered scientifically literate?

  18. 18

    bornagain77

    Hans, Since the video shows in living color the “singularity event” of the CMBR, where space-time, matter-energy all came into existence at the same time how can you say

    Sorry, I don’t see evidence for what you are saying from your links/quotes.

    It does not matter in any case.

    The solution for the problem, of maintaining centrality from different points of observation, comes in realizing that quantum wave collapse is universal to each individual observer in the universe.

    There are variants of quantum theory that do not require observers for the wave to collapse. It seems you are not a proponent of one of those variants.

    Have you chosen the interpertation you have because of the observer requirement, or for some other techincal reason?

    How far do you take the statistical interpretation of Born?

  19. 19

    bornagain77,
    Perhaps it would be easier if you could just tell me how far away that definitive boundary of space/time that you mentioned earlier is?

    And we can take it from there?

  20. Hans, If you cling to any form of a hidden variable argument, which Einstein postulated to remove the need for spooky action, at a distance, it is no use trying to reason with you, since hidden variable has been conclusively refuted. i.e. If you do not accept the formal refutation by empirical science what are my mere words going to do for you to change your mind?

  21. Through use and abuse of hidden postulates, of bold, often ill-founded extrapolations, a pseudoscience has been created. It is taking root in the very heart of biology and is leading astray many biochemists and biologists, who sincerely believe that the accuracy of fundamental concepts has been demonstrated, which is not the case. ~ Pierre Grasse

  22. Clive correction:

    I mistakenly stated:

    “Clive, the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR), in the video, marks the definitive boundary of space/time as we know it in the universe.”

    Whereas the truth is that the definitive boundary to space/time matter/energy goes a few hundred thousand years earlier before the CMBR:

    further note:

    For the first 400,000 years of our universe’s expansion, the universe was a seething maelstrom of energy and sub-atomic particles. This maelstrom was so hot, that sub-atomic particles trying to form into atoms would have been blasted apart instantly, and so dense, light could not travel more than a short distance before being absorbed. If you could somehow live long enough to look around in such conditions, you would see nothing but brilliant white light in all directions. When the cosmos was about 400,000 years old, it had cooled to about the temperature of the surface of the sun. The last light from the “Big Bang” shone forth at that time. This “light” is still detectable today as the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation.
    This 400,000 year old “baby” universe entered into a period of darkness. When the dark age of the universe began, the cosmos was a formless sea of particles. By the time the dark age ended, a couple of hundred million years later, the universe lit up again by the light of some of the galaxies and stars that had been formed during this dark era. It was during the dark age of the universe that the heavier chemical elements necessary for life, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and most of the rest, were first forged, by nuclear fusion inside the stars, out of the universe’s primordial hydrogen and helium.
    It was also during this dark period of the universe the great structures of the modern universe were first forged. Super-clusters, of thousands of galaxies stretching across millions of light years, had their foundations laid in the dark age of the universe. During this time the infamous “missing dark matter”, was exerting more gravity in some areas than in other areas; drawing in hydrogen and helium gas, causing the formation of mega-stars. These mega-stars were massive, weighing in at 20 to more than 100 times the mass of the sun. The crushing pressure at their cores made them burn through their fuel in only a million years. It was here, in these short lived mega-stars under these crushing pressures, the chemical elements necessary for life were first forged out of the hydrogen and helium. The reason astronomers can’t see the light from these first mega-stars, during this dark era of the universe’s early history, is because the mega-stars were shrouded in thick clouds of hydrogen and helium gas. These thick clouds prevented the mega-stars from spreading their light through the cosmos as they forged the elements necessary for future life to exist on earth. After about 200 million years, the end of the dark age came to the cosmos. The universe was finally expansive enough to allow the dispersion of the thick hydrogen and helium “clouds”. With the continued expansion of the universe, the light, of normal stars and dwarf galaxies, was finally able to shine through the thick clouds of hydrogen and helium gas, bringing the dark age to a close.

    Job 38:4-11
    “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched a line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut in the sea with doors, when it burst forth and issued from the womb; When I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band; When I fixed my limit for it, and set bars and doors; When I said, ‘This far you may come but no farther, and here your proud waves must stop!”

    History of The Universe Timeline- Graph Image
    http://www.astronomynotes.com/.....meline.jpg

    As a sidelight to this, every class of elements that exists on the periodic table of elements is necessary for complex carbon-based life to exist on earth. The three most abundant elements in the human body, Oxygen, Carbon, Hydrogen, “just so happen” to be the most abundant elements in the universe, save for helium which is inert. A truly amazing coincidence that strongly implies “the universe had us in mind all along”. Even uranium the last naturally occurring element on the period table of elements is necessary for life. The heat generated by the decay of uranium is necessary to keep a molten core in the earth for an extended period of time, which is necessary for the magnetic field surrounding the earth, which in turn protects organic life from the harmful charged particles of the sun. As well, uranium decay provides the heat for tectonic activity and the turnover of the earth’s crustal rocks, which is necessary to keep a proper mixture of minerals and nutrients available on the surface of the earth, which is necessary for long term life on earth. (Denton; Nature’s Destiny).

    The Elements: Forged in Stars – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4003861

    Michael Denton – We Are Stardust – Uncanny Balance Of The Elements – Fred Hoyle Atheist to Deist/Theist – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4003877

    The Role of Elements in Life Processes
    http://www.mii.org/periodic/LifeElement.php

    Periodic Table – Interactive web page for each element
    http://www.mii.org/periodic/MIIperiodicChart.html

  23. Ba77,

    Even ID proponents and creationists like me would have issues with a geocentric conception of reality.

    I accept we live on Privileged Planet, but I think geocentrism is pushing it.

    The Earth Orbits the Sun by our conventional understanding of how things work.

    One could have a change of coordinate system to make everything geocentric, but it would be mostly useless except for specialized application.

    The reason for Heliocentrism proceeds from the notion of Central Forces of gravity holding planets like earth in orbit. It is a natural coordinate system to conceive of planetary motions.

    It is completely natural to perceive the Earth as orbiting the sun. It is completely normal to attribute “sunrise” and “sunset” to the Earth’s rotation, not some convoluted geometry where we get the Entire Universe to rotate around the Earth every 24 hours.

    Geocentric conceptions of reality don’t enable scientific understanding but would set it back hundreds of years. Heliocentrism works and results in elegant physics.

    I suppose anyone can choose what they regard to be the center of the Universe. Paris Hilton is reputed to act like she’s the center of the universe.

    But the issue with Heliocentrism prevailing over Geocentricism is for good reason. Evolution is another story.

    With respect to the Big Bang, several scientists even at my Alma Mater George Mason (considered the #1 up and coming school by US News & World Report) were Big Bang Dissenters.

    In contrast, you won’t find many defenders of geocentrism with any serious scientific background.

  24. Sal, sorry for not being clear in my post as to the actual subject you were discussing on the other thread,,, my point was not to contest heliocentrism, which I fully accept as perfectly valid in regards to our relative motion in the cosmos, and indeed I would hold anyone very suspect of scientific integrity who maintained the sun revolved around the earth just to support a particular Biblical interpretation, my post was aimed chiefly to point out the obvious fact that the centrality we observe for ourselves in the universe as a whole in regards to the CMBR, regardless of our motion around the sun, brings us full circle from the mediocrity that was derived from Copernicus’s and Galileo’s geocentrism. Indeed we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of the universe again. Just look at the video I linked. I would think that centrality should at least cause some small surprise to the person who has been told, relentlessly, as I was, through his life that we hold absolutely no special place in the universe (Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot comes to mind).
    Though I seem to be having a fairly difficult time convincing people of the necessity for universal quantum wave collapse in order to maintain such symmetric 3-D centrality from different points of observation in the universe, and overcoming people’s tendency to “rest on their laurels” with the expanding 4-D space-time of general relativity, The plain fact that this insignificant nothing of a speck of a “pale blue dot” sits in the middle of the universe speaks loudly and clearly that the mediocrity principle needs to be seriously revisited.

    further note:

    As you pointed out in reference to the Privileged Planet principle, there are other lines of evidence to be brought to bear on this.

  25. correction:

    should read:

    brings us full circle from the mediocrity that was derived from Copernicus’s and Galileo’s heliocentrism.

  26. “Jon Miller, a science literacy researcher at Michigan State University who originally devised the question about evolution, disagreed, however, asking,

    “If a person says that the earth really is at the center of the universe, even if scientists think it is not, how in the world would you call that person scientifically literate?”

    Apologies Ba77 if I misrepresented you, but John Miller appears to be talking about geocentrism, at least that would be a reasonable inference without any other data. Perhaps it would not be a good idea to challenge him on that point but on another that is less subject to misunderstanding.

    I’d challenge Jon for writing such a prejudicial question that insinuated that disbelief in evolution implies illiteracy in science.

    Give him a long laundry list of eminent scientists (including Nobel Laureates like Richard Smalley) who are skeptical of evolution. His line of questioning insults the contribution of these individuals. There is something unethical in this.

    Unfortunatley, I doubt he’ll recant.

  27. Sal, though you are probably right that Jon was referring to geocentrism in particular in this quote of his,,,,

    “If a person says that the earth really is at the center of the universe,”

    ,,,,the fact that he mentioned the entire universe, instead of the solar system, or galaxy, etc.., clearly indicates that he does not fully realize that the Earth, really does sit at the center of the universe from our point of observation.

    The Known Universe by AMNH
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17jymDn0W6U

    He is clearly operating from a basis of the mediocrity principle, which you know full well is in serious jeopardy as a principle just from the evidence gathered for the Privileged Planet.

    Probability For Life On Earth – List of Parameters, References, and Math – Hugh Ross
    http://www.reasons.org/probabi.....h-apr-2004
    http://www.johnankerberg.com/A.....304RFT.pdf

    So I would have no qualms calling his bluff on that statement since even his intent behind the quote is wrong.

  28. Jon Miller, a science literacy researcher at Michigan State University who originally devised the question about evolution, disagreed, however, asking, “If a person says that the earth really is at the center of the universe, even if scientists think it is not, how in the world would you call that person scientifically literate?”

    Jon Miller is scientifically illiterate. He is confusing the notion that the earth is the center of the solar system with the notion that the earth is the center of the universe. The universe is a four-dimensional hypersphere, with every point on its three-dimensional “surface” (curved through the fourth dimension of time) at the center of all around it, just as every point on the two-dimensional surface of a normal sphere (curved through a third spacial dimension) is at the center of all around it. This has all been clearly understood ever since Einstein introduced special and general relativity nearly a century ago.

    As far as polling goes: Any pollster who asks a question like, “Do you believe in evolution?” should be immediately fired for scientific ignorance and incompetence. Such questions are sub-meaningless, and the responses are less than worthless.

  29. bornagain77:

    …my post was aimed chiefly to point out the obvious fact that the centrality we observe for ourselves in the universe as a whole in regards to the CMBR, regardless of our motion around the sun, brings us full circle from the mediocrity that was derived from Copernicus’s and Galileo’s geocentrism. Indeed we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of the universe again. Just look at the video I linked. I would think that centrality should at least cause some small surprise to the person who has been told, relentlessly, as I was, through his life that we hold absolutely no special place in the universe (Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot comes to mind).

    bornagain,

    You are completely misinterpreting the AMNH video. We are at the center of our observable universe, it’s true — but being at the center of our observable universe is not the same as being at the center of the entire universe. The universe as a whole has no center.

    To put it somewhat differently, our observable universe is not the same as the observable universe of someone living in the Andromeda galaxy, which is not the same as the observable universe of someone living a billion light-years away. All three observers are living at the center of their respective observable universes, and find themselves an equal distance from the cosmic microwave background in all directions, but none of them is at the center of the entire universe.

    I think the source of your error is that you’re envisioning the CMBR as coming from a sphere. It doesn’t. The CMBR permeates all of space, and the CMBR that someone living in the Andromeda galaxy sees is coming from a different place from the CMBR that we see, which is coming from a different place from the CMBR that someone a billion light-years away sees.

    For more on why the universe has no center, see this video by Phil Plait.

  30. Jon Miller, a science literacy researcher at Michigan State University who originally devised the question about evolution, disagreed, however, asking, “If a person says that the earth really is at the center of the universe, even if scientists think it is not, how in the world would you call that person scientifically literate?”

    A person is scientifically illiterate if they are skeptical about the mainstream theories of the times, even if they understand the issues?

    So Darwin was scientifically illiterate (SI) when it came to origin of species. “Scientists” at the time thought species originated by other means than NS.

    Georges Lemaître was apparently SI in 1925 in regard to his expanding universe model; “scientists” thought the universe was static. But within 8 years, his critics were SI when his expanding universe model became accepted.

    I guess if I’m Scientifically Illiterate, I’m keeping pretty good company.

    If people like Miller are really interested in what people know about science, they will ask questions that separate knowledge from acceptance of theories. If on the other hand they want to paint skeptics of certain theories as ignorant, they will continue to ask questions that fail to distinguish between disagreement and ignorance.
    They do this at the expense of discovering how much people know. Thus the pollster’s priorities are revealed.

  31. P.S. Thanks Sal for giving credit where it is due: John Bruer does deserve praise for speaking the unpopular truth, that “There are many biologists and philosophers of science who are highly scientifically literate who question certain aspects of the theory of evolution”. In so doing he took a risk, but maintained his integrity. I wonder what would be an effective way to support him, as he doubtless feels some backlash.

    Btw, I just noticed the “Big Bang” in the question to Bruer, “When asked whether people who reject evolution and the Big Bang could be considered to be scientifically literate”. This is ironic in light of the example of Lemaître above… this question actually implies that Lemaître-doubters are SI!
    But I guess they mean the Big Bang as opposed to Creation, rather than the Big Bang as opposed to Einstein’s static universe model that it displaced. If that’s the case, you can doubt scientific theories and still be literate if doing so does not challenge materialism; but if the theories you doubt are seen as important to materialist orthodoxy, you are illiterate. Better send you to a re-education camp.

  32. Wow, the deleted section is actually pretty good: it reveals fairly clearly (though without numbers) that many who don’t agree with the statement “humans developed from earlier animals” do have knowledge of the theory of evolution.

    It also points out, to my surprise, that almost half of US high school biology teachers agree with the statement, “I emphasize that this [creationism or ID, apparently] is a valid, scientific alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origin of the species.”

    (Aside… I’m puzzled by the way some people put “the” between “origin of” and “species”. Is that just a repeated mistake, or is there a justification for it?)

    To clarify what I wrote above about the Big Bang question… the original report says the relevant question was, “The universe began with a huge explosion.” (T/F)

  33. 33

    lars,

    Here is the context of your quote:

    About one-quarter of the teachers devoted at least some time to creationism or intelligent design (18% between 1-2 hours; 5% between 3-5 hours; and 3% between 6-20 hours). Almost half of these teachers agreed with the statement “I emphasize that this is a valid, scientific alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origin of the species.”

    As I read it, half of a quarter is one-eighth.

  34. GilDodgen @28,

    As far as polling goes: Any pollster who asks a question like, “Do you believe in evolution?” should be immediately fired for scientific ignorance and incompetence. Such questions are sub-meaningless, and the responses are less than worthless.

    I think both the questioner and respondent know that the actual question asked is this, “Do you believe in a literal bible/holy book?”
    The responses to me, to a board of education, or to a politician are very significant.

    In the case of ID, it may be an indicator of how well your message is being accepted.

  35. The issue with the Big Bang is that even in secular quarters (not just creationist circles) there is a growing and determined dissent. At my alma mater, 3 scientists dissented, and there are professors at many universities who are dissenting.

    The prestigious society Sigma Xi recently released an article expressing a lot of closet dissent:

    In its original form, an expanding Einstein model had an attractive, economic elegance. Alas, it has since run into serious difficulties, which have been cured only by sticking on some ugly bandages: inflation to cover horizon and flatness problems; overwhelming amounts of dark matter to provide internal structure; and dark energy, whatever that might be, to explain the seemingly recent acceleration. A skeptic is entitled to feel that a negative significance, after so much time, effort and trimming, is nothing more than one would expect of a folktale constantly re-edited to fit inconvenient new observations.

    Modern Cosmology Myth or Folktale

    The general statement of dissent is here:

    http://www.CosmologyStatement.org

    The big bang today relies on a growing number of hypothetical entities, things that we have never observed– inflation, dark matter and dark energy are the most prominent examples. Without them, there would be a fatal contradiction between the observations made by astronomers and the predictions of the big bang theory. In no other field of physics would this continual recourse to new hypothetical objects be accepted as a way of bridging the gap between theory and observation. It would, at the least, raise serious questions about the validity of the underlying theory.

    But the big bang theory can’t survive without these fudge factors. Without the hypothetical inflation field, the big bang does not predict the smooth, isotropic cosmic background radiation that is observed, because there would be no way for parts of the universe that are now more than a few degrees away in the sky to come to the same temperature and thus emit the same amount of microwave radiation.

    Without some kind of dark matter, unlike any that we have observed on Earth despite 20 years of experiments, big-bang theory makes contradictory predictions for the density of matter in the universe. Inflation requires a density 20 times larger than that implied by big bang nucleosynthesis, the theory’s explanation of the origin of the light elements. And without dark energy, the theory predicts that the universe is only about 8 billion years old, which is billions of years younger than the age of many stars in our galaxy.

    What is more, the big bang theory can boast of no quantitative predictions that have subsequently been validated by observation. The successes claimed by the theory’s supporters consist of its ability to retrospectively fit observations with a steadily increasing array of adjustable parameters, just as the old Earth-centered cosmology of Ptolemy needed layer upon layer of epicycles.

    Yet the big bang is not the only framework available for understanding the history of the universe. Plasma cosmology and the steady-state model both hypothesize an evolving universe without beginning or end. These and other alternative approaches can also explain the basic phenomena of the cosmos, including the abundances of light elements, the generation of large-scale structure, the cosmic background radiation, and how the redshift of far-away galaxies increases with distance. They have even predicted new phenomena that were subsequently observed, something the big bang has failed to do.

    Supporters of the big bang theory may retort that these theories do not explain every cosmological observation. But that is scarcely surprising, as their development has been severely hampered by a complete lack of funding. Indeed, such questions and alternatives cannot even now be freely discussed and examined. An open exchange of ideas is lacking in most mainstream conferences. Whereas Richard Feynman could say that “science is the culture of doubt”, in cosmology today doubt and dissent are not tolerated, and young scientists learn to remain silent if they have something negative to say about the standard big bang model. Those who doubt the big bang fear that saying so will cost them their funding.

    Even observations are now interpreted through this biased filter, judged right or wrong depending on whether or not they support the big bang. So discordant data on red shifts, lithium and helium abundances, and galaxy distribution, among other topics, are ignored or ridiculed. This reflects a growing dogmatic mindset that is alien to the spirit of free scientific inquiry.

    Today, virtually all financial and experimental resources in cosmology are devoted to big bang studies. Funding comes from only a few sources, and all the peer-review committees that control them are dominated by supporters of the big bang. As a result, the dominance of the big bang within the field has become self-sustaining, irrespective of the scientific validity of the theory.

    Giving support only to projects within the big bang framework undermines a fundamental element of the scientific method — the constant testing of theory against observation. Such a restriction makes unbiased discussion and research impossible. To redress this, we urge those agencies that fund work in cosmology to set aside a significant fraction of their funding for investigations into alternative theories and observational contradictions of the big bang. To avoid bias, the peer review committee that allocates such funds could be composed of astronomers and physicists from outside the field of cosmology.

    Allocating funding to investigations into the big bang’s validity, and its alternatives, would allow the scientific process to determine our most accurate model of the history of the universe.

    there is a moderate list of signatories like Menas Kafatos at George Mason, Halton Arp (one of Hubbles associates), etc.

    It reminds me of the Darwin debate, the Global Warming debate, etc.

    Even one of my professors of freshman level physics, James Trefil wrote a book which though favorable to the Big Bang had reservations. The issue is the Galaxy formation seemed inconsistent with the Big Bang. In his book, The Dark Side of the Universe

    The problem of explaining the existence of galaxies has proved to be one of the thorniest in cosmology. By all rights, they just shouldn’t be there, yet there they sit. It’s hard to convey the depth of frustration that this simple fact induces among scientists.

    Trefil, The Dark Side of the Universe, p. 55.

    Van Flandern has longer list of Big Bang issues: Big Bang Top 30 Problems. Any one of these is potentially fatal:

    I list just a few, interested readers can see more at Van Flandern’s website:

    1) Static universe models fit observational data better than expanding universe models.

    Static universe models match most observations with no adjustable parameters. The Big Bang can match each of the critical observations, but only with adjustable parameters, one of which (the cosmic deceleration parameter) requires mutually exclusive values to match different tests. [[2],[3]] Without ad hoc theorizing, this point alone falsifies the Big Bang. Even if the discrepancy could be explained, Occam’s razor favors the model with fewer adjustable parameters – the static universe model.

    (2) The microwave “background” makes more sense as the limiting temperature of space heated by starlight than as the remnant of a fireball.

    The expression “the temperature of space” is the title of chapter 13 of Sir Arthur Eddington’s famous 1926 work, [[4]] Eddington calculated the minimum temperature any body in space would cool to, given that it is immersed in the radiation of distant starlight. With no adjustable parameters, he obtained 3°K (later refined to 2.8°K [[5]]), essentially the same as the observed, so-called “background”, temperature. A similar calculation, although with less certain accuracy, applies to the limiting temperature of intergalactic space because of the radiation of galaxy light. [[6]] So the intergalactic matter is like a “fog”, and would therefore provide a simpler explanation for the microwave radiation, including its blackbody-shaped spectrum.

    Such a fog also explains the otherwise troublesome ratio of infrared to radio intensities of radio galaxies. [[7]] The amount of radiation emitted by distant galaxies falls with increasing wavelengths, as expected if the longer wavelengths are scattered by the intergalactic medium. For example, the brightness ratio of radio galaxies at infrared and radio wavelengths changes with distance in a way which implies absorption. Basically, this means that the longer wavelengths are more easily absorbed by material between the galaxies. But then the microwave radiation (between the two wavelengths) should be absorbed by that medium too, and has no chance to reach us from such great distances, or to remain perfectly uniform while doing so. It must instead result from the radiation of microwaves from the intergalactic medium. This argument alone implies that the microwaves could not be coming directly to us from a distance beyond all the galaxies, and therefore that the Big Bang theory cannot be correct.

    None of the predictions of the background temperature based on the Big Bang were close enough to qualify as successes, the worst being Gamow’s upward-revised estimate of 50°K made in 1961, just two years before the actual discovery. Clearly, without a realistic quantitative prediction, the Big Bang’s hypothetical “fireball” becomes indistinguishable from the natural minimum temperature of all cold matter in space. But none of the predictions, which ranged between 5°K and 50°K, matched observations. [[8]] And the Big Bang offers no explanation for the kind of intensity variations with wavelength seen in radio galaxies.

    (3) Element abundance predictions using the Big Bang require too many adjustable parameters to make them work.

    The universal abundances of most elements were predicted correctly by Hoyle in the context of the original Steady State cosmological model. This worked for all elements heavier than lithium. The Big Bang co-opted those results and concentrated on predicting the abundances of the light elements. Each such prediction requires at least one adjustable parameter unique to that element prediction. Often, it’s a question of figuring out why the element was either created or destroyed or both to some degree following the Big Bang. When you take away these degrees of freedom, no genuine prediction remains. The best the Big Bang can claim is consistency with observations using the various ad hoc models to explain the data for each light element. Examples: [[9],[10]] for helium-3; [[11]] for lithium-7; [[12]] for deuterium; [[13]] for beryllium; and [[14],[15]] for overviews. For a full discussion of an alternative origin of the light elements, see [[16]].

    (4) The universe has too much large scale structure (interspersed “walls” and voids) to form in a time as short as 10-20 billion years.

    The average speed of galaxies through space is a well-measured quantity. At those speeds, galaxies would require roughly the age of the universe to assemble into the largest structures (superclusters and walls) we see in space [[17]], and to clear all the voids between galaxy walls. But this assumes that the initial directions of motion are special, e.g., directed away from the centers of voids. To get around this problem, one must propose that galaxy speeds were initially much higher and have slowed due to some sort of “viscosity” of space. To form these structures by building up the needed motions through gravitational acceleration alone would take in excess of 100 billion years. [[18]]

    (5) The average luminosity of quasars must decrease with time in just the right way so that their average apparent brightness is the same at all redshifts, which is exceedingly unlikely.

    According to the Big Bang theory, a quasar at a redshift of 1 is roughly ten times as far away as one at a redshift of 0.1. (The redshift-distance relation is not quite linear, but this is a fair approximation.) If the two quasars were intrinsically similar, the high redshift one would be about 100 times fainter because of the inverse square law. But it is, on average, of comparable apparent brightness. This must be explained as quasars “evolving” their intrinsic properties so that they get smaller and fainter as the universe evolves. That way, the quasar at redshift 1 can be intrinsically 100 times brighter than the one at 0.1, explaining why they appear (on average) to be comparably bright. It isn’t as if the Big Bang has a reason why quasars should evolve in just this magical way. But that is required to explain the observations using the Big Bang interpretation of the redshift of quasars as a measure of cosmological distance. See [[19],[20]].

    By contrast, the relation between apparent magnitude and distance for quasars is a simple, inverse-square law in alternative cosmologies. In [20], Arp shows great quantities of evidence that large quasar redshifts are a combination of a cosmological factor and an intrinsic factor, with the latter dominant in most cases. Most large quasar redshifts (e.g., z > 1) therefore have little correlation with distance. A grouping of 11 quasars close to NGC 1068, having nominal ejection patterns correlated with galaxy rotation, provides further strong evidence that quasar redshifts are intrinsic. [[21]]

    (6) The ages of globular clusters appear older than the universe.

    Even though the data have been stretched in the direction toward resolving this since the “top ten” list first appeared, the error bars on the Hubble age of the universe (12±2 Gyr) still do not quite overlap the error bars on the oldest globular clusters (16±2 Gyr). Astronomers have studied this for the past decade, but resist the “observational error” explanation because that would almost certainly push the Hubble age older (as Sandage has been arguing for years), which creates several new problems for the Big Bang. In other words, the cure is worse than the illness for the theory. In fact, a new, relatively bias-free observational technique has gone the opposite way, lowering the Hubble age estimate to 10 Gyr, making the discrepancy worse again. [[22],[23]]

    (7) The local streaming motions of galaxies are too high for a finite universe that is supposed to be everywhere uniform.

    In the early 1990s, we learned that the average redshift for galaxies of a given brightness differs on opposite sides of the sky. The Big Bang interprets this as the existence of a puzzling group flow of galaxies relative to the microwave radiation on scales of at least 130 Mpc. Earlier, the existence of this flow led to the hypothesis of a “Great Attractor” pulling all these galaxies in its direction. But in newer studies, no backside infall was found on the other side of the hypothetical feature. Instead, there is streaming on both sides of us out to 60-70 Mpc in a consistent direction relative to the microwave “background”. The only Big Bang alternative to the apparent result of large-scale streaming of galaxies is that the microwave radiation is in motion relative to us. Either way, this result is trouble for the Big Bang. [[24],[25],[26],[27],[28]]

    (8) Invisible dark matter of an unknown but non-baryonic nature must be the dominant ingredient of the entire universe.

    The Big Bang requires sprinkling galaxies, clusters, superclusters, and the universe with ever-increasing amounts of this invisible, not-yet-detected “dark matter” to keep the theory viable. Overall, over 90% of the universe must be made of something we have never detected. By contrast, Milgrom’s model (the alternative to “dark matter”) provides a one-parameter explanation that works at all scales and requires no “dark matter” to exist at any scale. (I exclude the additional 50%-100% of invisible ordinary matter inferred to exist by, e.g., MACHO studies.) Some physicists don’t like modifying the law of gravity in this way, but a finite range for natural forces is a logical necessity (not just theory) spoken of since the 17th century. [[29],[30]]

    Milgrom’s model requires nothing more than that. Milgrom’s is an operational model rather than one based on fundamentals. But it is consistent with more complete models invoking a finite range for gravity. So Milgrom’s model provides a basis to eliminate the need for “dark matter” in the universe at any scale. This represents one more Big Bang “fudge factor” no longer needed.

    (9) The most distant galaxies in the Hubble Deep Field show insufficient evidence of evolution, with some of them having higher redshifts (z = 6-7) than the highest-redshift quasars.

    The Big Bang requires that stars, quasars and galaxies in the early universe be “primitive”, meaning mostly metal-free, because it requires many generations of supernovae to build up metal content in stars. But the latest evidence suggests lots of metal in the “earliest” quasars and galaxies. [[31],[32],[33]] Moreover, we now have evidence for numerous ordinary galaxies in what the Big Bang expected to be the “dark age” of evolution of the universe, when the light of the few primitive galaxies in existence would be blocked from view by hydrogen clouds. [[34]]

    (10) If the open universe we see today is extrapolated back near the beginning, the ratio of the actual density of matter in the universe to the critical density must differ from unity by just a part in 1059. Any larger deviation would result in a universe already collapsed on itself or already dissipated.

    Inflation failed to achieve its goal when many observations went against it. To maintain consistency and salvage inflation, the Big Bang has now introduced two new adjustable parameters: (1) the cosmological constant, which has a major fine-tuning problem of its own because theory suggests it ought to be of order 10120, and observations suggest a value less than 1; and (2) “quintessence” or “dark energy”. [[35],[36]] This latter theoretical substance solves the fine-tuning problem by introducing invisible, undetectable energy sprinkled at will as needed throughout the universe to keep consistency between theory and observations. It can therefore be accurately described as “the ultimate fudge factor”.

    Anyone doubting the Big Bang in its present form (which includes most astronomy-interested people outside the field of astronomy, according to one recent survey) would have good cause for that opinion and could easily defend such a position. This is a fundamentally different matter than proving the Big Bang did not happen, which would be proving a negative – something that is normally impossible. (E.g., we cannot prove that Santa Claus does not exist.) The Big Bang, much like the Santa Claus hypothesis, no longer makes testable predictions wherein proponents agree that a failure would falsify the hypothesis. Instead, the theory is continually amended to account for all new, unexpected discoveries. Indeed, many young scientists now think of this as a normal process in science! They forget or were never taught that a model has value only when it can predict new things that differentiate the model from chance and from other models before the new things are discovered. Explanations of new things are supposed to flow from the basic theory itself with at most an adjustable parameter or two, and not from add-on bits of new theory.

    Of course, the literature also contains the occasional review paper in support of the Big Bang. [[37]] But these generally don’t count any of the prediction failures or surprises as theory failures as long as some ad hoc theory might explain them. And the “prediction successes” in almost every case do not distinguish the Big Bang from any of the four leading competitor models: Quasi-Steady-State [16,[38]], Plasma Cosmology [18], Meta Model [3], and Variable-Mass Cosmology [20].

  36. There are many biologists and philosophers of science who are highly scientifically literate who question certain aspects of the theory of evolution

    …but there are so very many more biologists and philosophers of science who consider evolution to be a well-established and heuristically powerful theory. The majority of them think this, not because they are required to in order to participate in their academic endeavors nor because they have atheistic beliefs that leave them no options, but because they are convinced by the concordance between the mass of data and the theory advanced to explain it (along with being the view of a biologist on the ground, this would also be the charitable view for a non-biologist to take as a starting point for real argument).

    When the majority of biologists and philosophers of science share conviction about the strength of a particular theory, this is a strong indication of the merits of the theory. When it is claimed that most scientists think that evolutionary theory provides the best explanation for the origin of biological diversity this is not a consensus argument, as if the scientists just went into a voting booth and pulled a handle with little or no knowledge of the alternative candidates. It is also not a simple argument from numbers (How could millions of consumers be wrong?). This is an argument that relies on the cumulative strength of individual judgements by a large number of highly trained and intelligent professionals. Evolution is an example of just such a well-formed conviction shared by a majority of the scientific and philosophical community. What else besides the well-formed convictions of the scientific community could be used as a standard for scientific literacy?

    So, it is fine for there to be a vocal minority that disagrees with evolutionary theory, but it doesn’t signify much (except that they bear a heavy burden to prove their position).

  37. Sal,
    Save for the inflation part of the big bang model, a part which I find insufficient evidence for, In fact I believe that part of the model may in fact be a “materialistic” post hoc explanation and is brought into severe question here:

    Inflationary spacetimes are not past-complete – Borde-Guth-Vilenkin – 2003
    Excerpt: inflationary models require physics other than inflation to describe the past boundary of the inflating region of spacetime.
    http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0110012

    ,,,I do find the evidence for the creation event itself ( the Big Bang – which is a total misnomer to the highly order event it actually was) to be compelling in its integrity:

    In fact, The narrowing of what was perceived to be a great divide, between “science” and religion, started with astronomer Edwin Hubble’s (1889-1953) discovery, in 1929, of galaxies speeding away from each other, thus indicating a beginning for the universe. This, as well as many other discoveries confirming the Big Bang, has firmly established the universe actually had a beginning just as theologians have always claimed.

    The Scientific Evidence For The Big Bang – Michael Strauss PhD. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4323668

    Evidence Supporting the Big Bang
    http://www.astronomynotes.com/cosmolgy/s7.htm

    As well there are other lines of argumentation that require a transcendent origin for our material reality:

    The Creation Of The Universe (Kalam Cosmological Argument)- Lee Strobel – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3993987/

    Hugh Ross PhD. – Evidence For The Transcendent Origin Of The Universe – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4347185

    Formal Proof For The Transcendent Origin Of the Universe – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4170233

    As well, I agree with the evidence for Dark Energy and Dark Matter and find they inter-mesh extremely well with the Theistic perspective of the Big Bang being caused by God. In fact the models to be most extremely troubled by the evidence for Dark Energy and Matter is the “materialistic models” that require it to be a “random event”. This is because these “transcendent, invisible, Entities” of Dark Energy are some of the most finely tuned parameters to arise out of the Anthropic Principle.:

    Hugh Ross PhD. – Scientific Evidence For Dark Energy – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4347218

    The Mathematical Anomaly Of Dark Matter – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4133609

    Further note:

    Reflection on the quantum teleportation experiment:

    That a photon would actually be destroyed upon the teleportation (separation) of its “infinite” information to another photon is a direct controlled violation of the first law of thermodynamics. (i.e. the entire information content of a photon was “transcendently displaced” from the material universe, in the experiment, when photon “c” transcendently became the transmitted photon “a”). Thus, this is direct empirical validation for the primary tenet of the Law of Conservation of Information (i.e. information cannot be created or destroyed). This conclusion is warranted because information exercises direct dominion of energy, which cannot be created or destroyed by any known material means, yet a photon of energy is destroyed by this transcendent means. Thus, this experiment provides a direct line of logic that transcendent information cannot be created or destroyed. Clearly anything that exercises dominion of the fundamental entity of this physical universe, energy, must of necessity possess the same, as well as greater, qualities. i.e. All information that can exist, for all past, present and future events of energy, already must exist. Another line of evidence, corroborating the primary tenet of the Law of Conservation of Information, is the required mathematical definition for infinite information needed to correctly specify the reality of a photon qubit (Armond Duwell).
    The fact that quantum teleportation shows an exact “location dominion”, of a photon of energy by “a specified truth of infinite information”, satisfies a major requirement for the entity needed to explain the missing Dark Matter. The needed transcendent explanation would have to dominate energy in a very similar “specified location” fashion, as is demonstrated by the infinite information of quantum teleportation, to satisfy what is needed to explain the missing dark matter.

    Colossians 1:17
    He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

    Moreover, the fact that simple quantum entanglement shows “coordinated universal control” of entangled photons of energy, by transcendent information, satisfies a major requirement for the entity which must explain the missing Dark Energy. i.e. The transcendent entity, needed to explain Dark Energy, must explain why the entire space of the universe is expanding in such a finely-tuned, coordinated, degree, and would have to employ a mechanism of control very similar to what we witness in the quantum entanglement experiment.

    Job 9:8
    He stretches out the heavens by Himself and walks on the waves of the sea.

    Thus “infinite transcendent information” provides a coherent picture of universal control, and specificity, that could possibly unify all of physics upon further elucidation. It very well may be possible to elucidate, mathematically, the overall pattern God has chosen to implement infinite information in this universe. This following article powerfully backs up my assertion:

    Is Unknown Force In Universe Acting On Dark Matter?
    Excerpt: It is possible that a non-gravitational fifth force is ruling the dark matter with an invisible hand, leaving the same fingerprints on all galaxies, irrespective of their ages, shapes and sizes.” ,,Such a force might solve an even bigger mystery, known as ‘dark energy’, which is ruling the accelerated expansion of the Universe. A more radical solution is a revision of the laws of gravity first developed by Isaac Newton in 1687 and refined by Albert Einstein’s theory of General Relativity in 1916. Einstein never fully decided whether his equation should add an omnipresent constant source, now called dark energy. ,,Dr Famaey added, “If we account for our observations with a modified law of gravity, it makes perfect sense to replace the effective action of hypothetical dark matter with a force closely related to the distribution of visible matter.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....154644.htm

    “I discovered that nature was constructed in a wonderful way, and our task is to find out its mathematical structure”
    Albert Einstein

    etc.. etc..

  38. Spot,

    Thank you for your comment.

    The fundamental issue is that I think it is inappropriate to measure someone’s scientific literacy with “belief” in the theory of evolution.

    Lack of belief does not necessarily imply lack of knowledge.

    If they want to publish stats in the future, perhaps the questionaire should be modified.

    I want people be knowledgeable about what the theory of evolution says. Whether they believe it is up to them. But belief in a theory should not be equated with knowledge of a theory.

    Sal

  39. spot, consensus may be all fine and well, but as has been pointed out before, when someone is reduced to arguing solely from consensus because he can provide no evidence to withstand scrutiny, then the consensus is wrong and even severely detrimental in the case of Global Warming alarmists who want to shut down industry.

    Consensus science, the first refuge of scoundrels
    “Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.

    “Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science, consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

    “And furthermore, the consensus of scientists has frequently been wrong. As they were wrong when they believed, earlier in my lifetime, that the continents did not move. So we must remember the immortal words of Mark Twain, who said, ‘Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.’”
    http://kevinwrites.typepad.com.....scien.html

  40. “Evolution is an example of just such a well-formed conviction shared by a majority of the scientific and philosophical community. What else besides the well-formed convictions of the scientific community could be used as a standard for scientific literacy?”

    Well then you should be able to defend is well-formed conviction. I understand you are a biologist and it should be easy for someone with those working credentials to do this. Why do you not take a crack at it and be the first one on the planet to do so. Certainly none of the evolutionary biologists we have been exposed to have been able to do so.

    And if you cannot do so, then what does that say about the beliefs of biologists and their well-formed convictions?

  41. Sal,
    Here is a recent cool video from ENV that is somewhat related to the Big Bang issue:

    Roger Penrose on Cosmic Fine-Tuning: “Incredible Precision in the Organization of the Initial Universe”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....inetu.html

    The Physics of the Small and Large: What is the Bridge Between Them? Roger Penrose
    Excerpt: “The time-asymmetry is fundamentally connected to with the Second Law of Thermodynamics: indeed, the extraordinarily special nature (to a greater precision than about 1 in 10^10^123, in terms of phase-space volume) can be identified as the “source” of the Second Law (Entropy).” http://www.pul.it/irafs/CD%20I.....enrose.pdf

    How special was the big bang? – Roger Penrose
    Excerpt: This now tells us how precise the Creator’s aim must have been: namely to an accuracy of one part in 10^10^123. (from the Emperor’s New Mind, Penrose, pp 339-345 – 1989)
    http://www.ws5.com/Penrose/

    i.e.

    initial entropy which plays directly into evolution since:

    “Gain in entropy always means loss of information, and nothing more.”
    Gilbert Newton Lewis

    Thermodynamic Argument Against Evolution – Thomas Kindell – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4168488

    further note:

    The Future of the Universe
    Excerpt: After all the black holes have evaporated, (and after all the ordinary matter made of protons has disintegrated, if protons are unstable), the universe will be nearly empty. Photons, neutrinos, electrons and positrons will fly from place to place, hardly ever encountering each other. It will be cold, and dark, and there is no known process which will ever change things.(heat death of the universe) — Not a happy ending.
    http://spiff.rit.edu/classes/p.....uture.html

    Romans 8:18-21
    I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

    of further interest:

    Refutation Of Oscillating Universe – Michael Strauss PhD. – video:
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4323673

    Evidence For Flat Universe – Boomerang Project
    http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Art.....-flat.html
    http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Art.....megal3.gif

  42. 42

    scordova

    The fundamental issue is that I think it is inappropriate to measure someone’s scientific literacy with “belief” in the theory of evolution.

    Perhaps something less contentious would suffice?

    Perhaps the age of the earth would be a relevant measure.

    I imagine scientific literacy is strongly correlated with belief in an earth that is 4.55 billion years old. Mutiple lines of evidence point to that fact across mutiple disciplines. It’s beyond reasonable dispute.

    I don’t imagine that there is a single person who believes in a 6000 year old earth and who could reasonably be said to be scientifically literate.

    Or am I wrong there?

  43. Actually Hans,

    In your reference to scientific literacy and YEC, I have seen many people I have deeply respected in their scientific integrity that hold to a 6000 YEC scenario, and, contrary to what you believe, they had some fairly strong points of evidence to back their assertion up!!! In fact it took a fairly strong concerted effort to refute just one objection they had raised as to the validity of their viewpoint:

    Do the RATE Findings Negate Mainstream Science? GREG MOORE
    The RATE conclusions are based on a compounded set of assumptions. These assumptions are not derived from empirical data, but from the young-earth view of Earth history. Until the RATE team can demonstrate the validity of these assumptions, the study findings do little to prove the accelerated decay hypothesis.
    http://www.reasons.org/resourc.....eamScience

    Helium Diffusion in Zircon: Flaws in a Young-Earth Argument, Part 1 (of 2)
    http://www.reasons.org/age-ear.....t-part-1-2

    Radiometric Dating Techniques
    Excerpt: The clash between young-earth and old-earth creationists can seem bewilderingly technical at times.
    http://www.reasons.org/age-ear.....techniques

    ,,, Thus Hans though you may scoff that a YECer can even be considered scientifically literate, the point is that some of YECers know their basic scientific principles of trying to establish validity much better than evolutionists do!

  44. 44
    William J. Murray

    Hans Fritzsche,

    I guess it depends on what you mean by “scientifically literate”.

    Do you mean “in agreement with consensus conclusions”?

    Or do you mean “a functioning, practical knowledge of how to conduct empirical experments and parse objective evidence logically towards a rational conclusion”?

    I think that the term “scientifically literate”, like whether or not one is a “real scientist”, is mostly just a means of trying to establish or undermine credibility.

  45. 45

    bornagain77

    Do the RATE Findings Negate Mainstream Science?

    The answer would appear to be “no”.

    Thus Hans though you may scoff that a YECer can even be considered scientifically literate, the point is that some of YECers know their basic scientific principles of trying to establish validity much better than evolutionists do!

    So why do you suppose there is no belief in YEC from scientists who have no predisposition to YEC in the first place?

    Are there any scientists out there who started out from an Old Earth point of view then became convinced that YEC was true, all without a religious conviction driving that?

    Can you name a single atheist who believes in a 6000 year old earth?

    Thought not.

    And I ask again.

    Could you tell me how far away that definitive boundary of space/time is then? You claim it exists, but if you don’t know how far away it is how can you know it exists at all?

    Also how far do you take the statistical interpretation of Born?

    Simple questions if you understand the claims you are making, but if you are just parroting points of view then I don’t expect you’ll be able to address them.

  46. 46

    William

    I guess it depends on what you mean by “scientifically literate”.

    Do you mean “in agreement with consensus conclusions”?

    Is that what scientifically literate means to you? As has already been pointed out science develops by people breaking out of consensus positions.

    So no, that’s not how I define it.

    I think that the term “scientifically literate”, like whether or not one is a “real scientist”, is mostly just a means of trying to establish or undermine credibility.

    Do you hold that the YEC view is credible? That’s one way of assessing scientific literacy if you ask me. The age of the earth comes from mutiple lines of evidence. By all means work to determine the truth of the matter, but do you really think we’re going to discover the earth is 6000 years old next year? The year after?

    In the same way we’re not going to discover that water flows uphill, we’re not going to discover the earth is 6000 years old.

  47. I don’t imagine that there is a single person who believes in a 6000 year old earth and who could reasonably be said to be scientifically literate.

    Or am I wrong there?

    There is a small minority.

    I’m sympathetic to Young Universe, but not conviced. (I had accepted the mainstream before).

    Names that come to mind:

    John Sanford, PhD at Cornell, probably a far more accomplished scientist than Richard Dawkins. At one time all Genetically Modified Organisms were on the planet were the result of his Gene Gun process.

    Walter Brown Air force Academy professor of Engineering and Physics. Received his PhD at MIT in Mechanical Engineering in but 2 years!

    John Baumgardner, PhD published in prestigious scientific journal Nature, Ivy League Grad

    Jonathan Sarfati, PhD, published also in Nature

    Marcus Ross, PhD, featured in New York times.

    A mainstream physics? Look up John Harnett, PhD associate professor at a secular university. He is co-author with Moshe Carmeli who held the Albert Einstein Professor of Physics post in Israel before he passed away.

  48. Ba77,

    The Big Bang was a great benefit to the ID movement because it refuted the notion of an eternal universe. It put strong constraints on the resource avaiable to chance to assemble biological systems.

    The Big Bang had theistic implications as noted by Jastrow.

    The most important issue is that the Big Bang suggested the universe had a beginning.

    If the Big Bang is wrong, it does not necessarily imply the Universe is Eternal.

    There could be other origins models that suggest the universe had a beginning. This should be readily apparent from the laws of thermodynamics. It is unlikely the stars burned forever, thus this strongly suggests the universe had a beginning.

    If the Big Bang is wrong, it had somethings that were right, the most important thing being that the universe had a beginning, and those could be part of a new cosmological model.

    I’m personally partial to the Plasma model.

    Sal

  49. 49

    scordova,
    If those people are, as you say, scientifically literate then the question is why do they believe in YEC?

    Is it because of the scientific evidence? Or something else?

    Can *you* name an atheist who believes in a 6000 year old earth?

  50. Sal,

    Don’t forget Raymond Damadian, the inventor of the MRI and a YEC.

  51. Hans,

    scordova,
    If those people are, as you say, scientifically literate then the question is why do they believe in YEC?

    Is it because of the scientific evidence? Or something else?

    First off, as far as the topic of “literate” vs. “illiterate” this is subject to too much interpretation. What we can measure and properly poll is KNOWLEDGE of the subject matter.

    Is it because of the scientific evidence? Or something else?

    Combination of empirical evidence and belief in the literal reading of Genesis as a viable hypothesis of history.

    Sanford made a very good case for recent emergence of humans. It does not necessarily imply Old Universe, but it’s a start.

    Walter Brown gave his views at
    http://www.CreationScience.com

    Whatever their reasons, in the scheme of things, it is a lesser issue than whether they are right or wrong.

    I would say, as a matter of ethics, it would be improper to label MIT PhD’s and Ivy League professors as “illiterate” merely because their views are offensive to some. Even if they are wrong, they deserve better than to be denigrated publicly in that way.

  52. Hans, as Gil clearly pointed out, there are no edges to space in that:

    The universe is a four-dimensional hypersphere, with every point on its three-dimensional “surface” (curved through the fourth dimension of time) at the center of all around it, just as every point on the two-dimensional surface of a normal sphere (curved through a third spacial dimension) is at the center of all around it. This has all been clearly understood ever since Einstein introduced special and general relativity nearly a century ago.

    When I refer to boundaries of space/time, I am referring to the creation event of the Big Bang which saw the sudden appearance of space-time, energy-matter. as well as to the current “boundary of space-time witnessed in the continual expansion/creation of space/time as we travel into the future.

    In further note space is found to be “flat”,,,

    Evidence For Flat Universe – Boomerang Project
    http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Art.....-flat.html

    Which is a fact which refutes the materialistic postulation of the “recycling” universe and the steady state universe.

    Refutation Of Oscillating Universe – Michael Strauss PhD. – video:
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4323673
    http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Art.....megal3.gif

    Hans, as well it seems you may be stuck on a falsified materialistic interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, in your reference to “statistical” interpretation, even though every variant of the “hidden variable” argument, upon which all materialistic explanations for quantum wave collapse ultimately rest, is now, after years of battle dating back to Einstein, Bohr and going through Bell and Aspect, refuted:

    Quantum Measurements: Common Sense Is Not Enough, Physicists Show – July 2009
    Excerpt: scientists have now proven comprehensively in an experiment for the first time that the experimentally observed phenomena cannot be described by non-contextual models with hidden variables.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142824.htm

    as well,
    In response to Pelagius, to the assertion that all spots in the universe are central, I maintain that 4-D space-time is grossly insufficient to maintain such 3-D symmetry from radically different points of observation in the universe, given that the mass of the universe is now known to be limited to approx. 10^79 atoms. The distortion visited on the problem, for trying to maintain 3-D symmetry with limited material resource, from different points of observation, is to great. Yet since, the hidden variable argument now lies in tatters, I am free to consider the possibility of universal wave collapse to a conscious observer. Thus I find the main fact in what gives the earth its centrality, from our point of observation, is found in the fact that conscious observers are here to do the observing in the first place. i.e.

    “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.” Eugene Wigner (1902 -1995) laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Wigner

    It is in this avenue of investigation that I find this strange congruence of facts:

  53. cont Hans:

    I find it extremely interesting that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its “uncertain” 3-D state is centered on each individual observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that I exist?

    Psalm 33:13-15
    The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men.
    From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth;
    He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

    This is obviously a very interesting congruence in science between the very large (relativity) and the very small (quantum mechanics). A congruence they seem to be having a extremely difficult time “unifying” mathematically (Einstein, Penrose).

    The Physics Of The Large And Small: What Is the Bridge Between Them? Roger Penrose
    Excerpt: This, (the unification of General Relativity and the laws of Quantum Mechanics), would also have practical advantages in the application of quantum ideas to subjects like biology – in which one does not have the clean distinction between a quantum system and its classical measuring apparatus that our present formalism requires. In my opinion, moreover, this revolution is needed if we are ever to make significant headway towards a genuine scientific understanding of the mysterious but very fundamental phenomena of conscious mentality.
    http://www.pul.it/irafs/CD%20I.....enrose.pdf

    Yet, this “unification” between what is in essence the “infinite world of Quantum Mechanics” and the “finite world of the space-time of General Relativity” seems to be directly related to what Jesus apparently joined together with His resurrection, i.e. related to the unification of infinite God with finite man:

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3993426/

    The End Of Christianity – Finding a Good God in an Evil World – Pg.31 – William Dembski
    Excerpt: “In mathematics there are two ways to go to infinity. One is to grow large without measure. The other is to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero. The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity.” http://www.designinference.com.....of_xty.pdf

    Philippians 2: 5-11
    Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    “Miracles do not happen in contradiction to nature, but only in contradiction to that which is known to us of nature.”
    St. Augustine

    Thus, much contrary to the mediocrity of earth, and of humans, brought about by the heliocentric discoveries of Galileo and Copernicus, the findings of modern science are very comforting to Theistic postulations in general, and even lends strong support of plausibility to the main tenet of Christianity which holds Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God.

    Matthew 28:18
    And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and upon earth.”

    Of related interest, this following article is interesting for it draws attention to the fact that humans “just so happen” to be near the logarithmic center of the universe, between Planck’s length and the cosmic horizon of the cosmic background radiation (10^-33 cm and 10^28 cm respectively) .

    The View from the Centre of the Universe by Nancy Ellen Abrams and Joel R. Primack
    Excerpt: The size of a human being is near the centre of all possible sizes.
    http://www.popularscience.co.u.....feat24.htm

    As well, I find the fact this seemingly insignificant earth is found to revolve around the much more massive sun to be reflective of our true spiritual condition. In regards to God’s “kingdom of light”, are we not to keep in mind our lives are to be guided by the much higher purpose which is tied to our future in God’s “kingdom of light”? Are we not to avoid placing too much emphasis on what this world has to offer, since it is so much more insignificant than what heaven has to offer?

    Louie Giglio – How Great Is Our God – Part 2 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfNiZrt5FjU

    Psalm 8: 3-4
    When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?

    on top of all this Hans, it is now found to be extremely likely “at least from a materialistic point of view, that earth is indeed the only place in the universe that is capable of supporting carbon based life (Ross, Gonzalez, Brownlee, Ward) Privileged Planet; Rare Earth)

  54. Sal, do you have a link that explains the plasma model?

  55. Hans, I have far better things to do than to try to reason with someone who would rather win a point in a argument, no matter what they have to do, than to sincerely seek and try to find the truth of the matter. thus good bye.

  56. Ba77,

    http://video.google.com/videop.....316220374#

    I don’t agree with all of the video, but it has some good points.

    I recall my prof at GMU, trefil who said:

    The problem of explaining the existence of galaxies has proved to be one of the thorniest in cosmology. By all rights, they just shouldn’t be there, yet there they sit. It’s hard to convey the depth of frustration that this simple fact induces among scientists.

    Trefil, The Dark Side of the Universe, p. 55.

    Electricity, not gravity might be a better solution for assembly.

    Gravity maintains the galactic and stellar systems, but electricity may have been the assembly mechanism.

    When we admit the possibility that electricity was the assembly mechanism and gravity the maintenance mechanism, then a lot of paradoxes could be resolved.

    Right now the mainstream view is gravity does everything, both assembly and maintenance, but there is no reason to rule out the role of electricity in assembly!

    Skip the the first 12 minutes of the video, it’s worthless. The characterization of Einstein was off base. The rest is good, especially the shots of the filamentary nebula that look exactly like the result of electric currents.

    Trefil was perplexed by “Galactic Strings”. If Birkland currents were responsible for assembly, then Galactic Strings would naturally come out. Gravity is not a good mechanism to create such filamentary structures, but electricity is.

    Hence, I suspect that’s why Kafatos and others support the Plasma Cosmologies. They look right.

    The is not yet enough research, but I think Plasma models will prevail over Dark Matter.

    If you watched the Privileged Planet, you’ll see the huge galactic structures looking like filaments. That is a deep problem for cosmologists who only invoke gravity as an assembly mechanism.

    Sal

  57. @spot: “What else besides the well-formed convictions of the scientific community could be used as a standard for scientific literacy?”

    This statement misses the point of controversy: no one in this article seems to disagree with the idea that in order to be considered scientifically literate, people should know something about the current widely-accepted scientific theories. The controversy is whether they must also agree with them.

    In other words, the answer to your question is that knowledge about the “well-formed convictions of the scientific community” can be used as a standard of scientific literacy, and we would all be happy.

    @Adel DiBagno,

    lars,
    Here is the context of your quote:
    …Almost half of these teachers agreed

    Thanks for the clarification. It still seems a little ambiguous, but I’m sure your interpretation is the right one.

    Lars

  58. Sal,
    I believe plasma will be limited in its scope of explanatory power. Though very interesting and indeed plasma does offer a promising avenue to unravel many mysteries as to how matter/energy interacts with itself, the fact is that Dark Energy and Dark Matter are of a baser level mystery that is below the level of charged particles. It is a much more severe problem than plasma can explain:

    Dark Energy 72.1%
    Exotic Dark Matter 23.3%
    Ordinary Dark Matter 4.35%
    Ordinary Bright Matter (Stars) 0.27%
    Planets 0.0001%

    REPORT OF THE DARK ENERGY TASK FORCE
    The abstract of the September 2006 Report of the Dark Energy Task Force says: “Dark energy appears to be the dominant component of the physical Universe, yet there is no persuasive theoretical explanation for its existence or magnitude. The acceleration of the Universe is, along with dark matter, the observed phenomenon that most directly demonstrates that our (materialistic) theories of fundamental particles and gravity are either incorrect or incomplete. Most experts believe that nothing short of a revolution in our understanding of fundamental physics will be required to achieve a full understanding of the cosmic acceleration. For these reasons, the nature of dark energy ranks among the very most compelling of all outstanding problems in physical science. These circumstances demand an ambitious observational program to determine the dark energy properties as well as possible.”
    http://jdem.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs.....report.pdf

    Hubble Finds Ring of Dark Matter – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4133618

    The Mathematical Anomaly Of Dark Matter – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4133609

    Hugh Ross PhD. – Scientific Evidence For Dark Energy – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4347218

    In fact when investigating the anthropic principle I found that such universal constants as Dark energy are presenting themselves to be, I found that there is no material basis to these transcendent constants. i.e. no constants are reducible to a purely material basis but instead the material particles exist because the transcendent information constants dictate that they do. For instance What is weird for the photon qubit for instance is that it is defined mathematically as infinite information in its wave/particle state (Armond Duwell), yet once the photon is actually created from infinite information, another universal transcendent information constant comes into play and tells every photon in the universe that it shall no surpass the speed of light. Yet there is no material reason why every photon must go exactly that speed limit in a vacuum. To clearly point out what I am talking about Granville Sewelle talks about the fact the transcendent Schroedinger equation, which clearly has no material basis, is telling the most foundational level of the “material universe” exactly how to behave.

    Finely Tuned Big Bang, Elvis In The Multiverse, and the Schroedinger Equation – Granville Sewell – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4233012

    These universal constants, found in the Anthropic principle, such as Dark Energy and Dark Matter, all turn out to be what could be called transcendent information constants that tell the energy/matter exactly what to be and do. And, much like the emphasis of your video with plasma, until the scientific community starts to treat transcendent information as its own unique entity, separate from matter and energy, the solution to the enigma of where Dark Matter and Dark Energy come from will remain beyond their grasp.

  59. Sal;
    Here is a recent podcast from ENV that is of related interest:

    When It’s Wise to Question the Scientific Consensus? – Jay Richards
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....2_14-07_00

  60. Dark Energy 72.1%
    Exotic Dark Matter 23.3%
    Ordinary Dark Matter 4.35%
    Ordinary Bright Matter (Stars) 0.27%
    Planets 0.0001%

    That is what is in question.

    There may not be large amounts of Dark Matter at all, it’s existence is defended with circular reasoning.

    Berlinski at Discovery Institute:
    Was There a Big Bang

    Sal

  61. scordova,

    The Sciencebog Starts With A Bang has been running a series since March on the Big Bang which is very informative.

    The way Dr Ethan Seigel explains things, inflation, the big bang, and the subsequent expansion of the universe have wiped out any information about what was there previously. But it is consistent with an eternal, ever expanding universe with the same physics as we have today. I think this is basically the budding universe theory of Andre Linde.

    What is interesting about this in terms of the discussions that typically take place here on UD, this theory doesn’t assume that the laws of physics change as new universes expand into being. The laws are what they are, and the only difference is how much mass/energy is in each universe.

  62. Sal, fair enough, though I don’t find the mathematical anomaly of Dark Matter to be all that circular of reasoning, for it is indeed a real, unexplained, anomaly. Maybe the name “Dark Matter” itself is circular reasoning, but not the mystery that it entails.

    The Mathematical Anomaly Of Dark Matter – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4133609

    But as to your preferred answer for Dark Matter, plasma, I find your answer tends to be of materialistic origin, whereas the problem of exotic Dark Matter is clearly at what could be termed a baser, more set apart, level than plasma, or of any known “material” of the universe, is capable of explaining:

    Here; seeing is believing:

    Hubble Finds Ring of Dark Matter – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4133618

    Though I don’t know all the ins and outs of the mystery yet, just from the Hubble video, my bet is on Dark Matter being a dimensionless “information” constant.

  63. Sal, Berlinski’s objections seem to be centered mainly on inaccurate measurements of the expansion rate of the universe, Yet recently this has been confirmed/measured to stunning degree:

    You might take note of the comments at the 5:47 minute mark in the following video:

    Hugh Ross PhD. – Scientific Evidence For Dark Energy – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4347218

    Nak stated:

    “The way Dr Ethan Seigel explains things, inflation, the big bang, and the subsequent expansion of the universe have wiped out any information about what was there previously. But it is consistent with an eternal, ever expanding universe with the same physics as we have today.”

    Now that quote, Sal, is a perfect example of circular reasoning taking precedence over the evidence.

    Hugh Ross PhD. – Evidence For The Transcendent Origin Of The Universe – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4347185

    Formal Proof For The Transcendent Origin Of the Universe – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4170233

    “The prediction of the standard model that the universe began to exist remains today as secure as ever—indeed, more secure, in light of the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem and that prediction’s corroboration by the repeated and often imaginative attempts to falsify it. The person who believes that the universe began to exist remains solidly and comfortably within mainstream science.” – William Lane Craig
    http://www.reasonablefaith.org.....38;id=6115

    Inflationary spacetimes are not past-complete – Borde-Guth-Vilenkin – 2003
    Excerpt: inflationary models require physics other than inflation to describe the past boundary of the inflating region of spacetime.
    http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0110012

    “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can long longer hide behind the possibility of a past eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.” Alexander Vilenkin – Many Worlds In One – Pg. 176

    “Every solution to the equations of general relativity guarantees the existence of a singular boundary for space and time in the past.”(Hawking, Penrose, Ellis) – 1970
    http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9404/bigbang.html

  64. “The prediction of the standard model that the universe began to exist remains today as secure as ever—indeed, more secure, in light of the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem and that prediction’s corroboration by the repeated and often imaginative attempts to falsify it. The person who believes that the universe began to exist remains solidly and comfortably within mainstream science.” – William Lane Craig
    http://www.reasonablefaith.org…..mp;id=6115

    You don’t need the big bang to suppose the universe had a beginning. It proceeds from thermodynamics and the obvious fact stars don’t burn forever.

    ID doesn’t fundamentally rest on the truthfulness of the Big Bang, it does have a stake in the hypothesis that the universe had a beginning, but the Big Bang isn’t the only conceivable cosmology that has a beginning.

    Sal

  65. Well Sal, though for some minor technical flaws with the Big Bang model, which have arisen from materialistic premises in the first place I believe, I firmly believe the model to best describe the overall evidence we now have for the formation of the universe, from what could be termed the “Let there be light” moment forward. If there be any other model that more accurately describes the evidence, it would surely have to be almost the twin to the Big Bang model in most respects; I just don’t see any major revisions coming in foundational evidence, nor thought, as to completely invalidate it.

    of interest I loaded this video a few weeks ago:

    Einstein & The Belgian Priest; Georges Lamaître – The “Father” of the Big Bang – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4279662

  66. Hey Sal,

    This video looks interesting:

    Cosmic Fingerprints / Answers in Job: Biblical Teaching on Creation
    http://vimeo.com/6001101

    It seems from the title “Answers In Job”, that Dr. Ross is taking a dig at his YEC antagonists over at the “Answers in Genesis” ministry.

  67. Clive,

    Thank you for taking care of Hans. I just read some of his comments in the spam buffer and they smack of bigotry.

    While looking in the spam buffer, I saw posts by Dr. Paul Giem. He is a respected Medical Doctor and ID proponent.

    I’m bringing it to your attention in case there has been a misunderstanding or mistake.

    Sal

  68. 68

    bornagain77:
    …my post was aimed chiefly to point out the obvious fact that the centrality we observe for ourselves in the universe as a whole in regards to the CMBR, regardless of our motion around the sun, brings us full circle from the mediocrity that was derived from Copernicus’s and Galileo’s geocentrism. Indeed we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of the universe again. Just look at the video I linked. I would think that centrality should at least cause some small surprise to the person who has been told, relentlessly, as I was, through his life that we hold absolutely no special place in the universe (Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot comes to mind).

    Our motion with respect to the CMBR in the earth frame is ~371 km/s towards (l,b)=(264,48). The Milky Way center is moving at ~600 km/s towards (l,b)=(270,30). Neither frame is at rest with respect to the CMBR.

    (Fixsen et. al 1996) source

    Peebles, Cosmological Physics, p. 291

  69. creeky belly, the motion causes a redshift, and blueshift in CMBR true,,,,

    Astronomy Picture of the Day
    http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap090906.html

    but yet here we sit at the center of the universe from our point of observation none the less, because of the constant of the speed of light.

    Moreover I hold Earth to be the only “observer platform” in the universe, (Quantum implication fully implied), in which we can enjoy this view of “centrality”:

    The Privileged Planet – video
    http://video.google.com/videop.....5590289530

    Probability For Life On Earth – List of Parameters, References, and Math – Hugh Ross
    http://www.reasons.org/probabi.....h-apr-2004
    http://www.johnankerberg.com/A.....304RFT.pdf

    Here is the final summary of Dr. Hugh Ross’s “conservative” estimate for the probability of another life-hosting world in this universe.

    Probability for occurrence of all 322 parameters =10^388
    Dependency factors estimate =10^96
    Longevity requirements estimate =10^14
    Probability for occurrence of all 322 parameters = 10^304
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in universe =10^22

    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^282 (million trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion) exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracles.

    Of further note:

    Sal I found this site that might interest you in the discussion we were having about Dark Matter,,,,:

    Systematic Search for Expressions of Dimensionless Constants using the
    NIST database of Physical Constants
    Excerpt: 1. Reduction of Constants and Equivalent Units

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology lists 325 constants on their website as ‘Fundamental Physical Constants’. Among the 325 physical constants listed, 79 are unitless in nature (usually by defining a ratio). This produces a list of 246 physical constants with some unit dependence. These 246 physical constants can be further grouped into a smaller set when expressed in standard SI base units.,,,,
    http://www.mit.edu/~mi22295/co.....tants.html

  70. 70

    creeky belly, the motion causes a redshift, and blueshift in CMBR true,,,,

    Astronomy Picture of the Day
    http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap090906.html

    but yet here we sit at the center of the universe from our point of observation none the less, because of the constant of the speed of light.

    The CMBR spectrum is independent of your location in the universe, by virtue of homogeneity. While the spatial distribution may vary, the perturbations will have the same angular structure to any observer anywhere in the universe (with the primary power peak at l~200).

  71. And creeky belly, (purposely not going through details of the insufficiency of 4-D space-time again), just where do you suppose all these other observers in the universe are?

    Anybody get a message from SETI yet????

    SETI – Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence Finds God – Almost
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4007753

    The chief point being creeky belly, even using your 4-D space-time basis of reasoning, is that regardless of the fact of if the Earth is not “The Most” central place in the universe, it is still “As” central in the universe, from our point of observation, as any other place is in the universe is central, which, even in your 4-D line of reasoning, directly refutes the primary tenet of the mediocrity principle derived from the heliocentrism of Copernicus and Galileo, that implied there was absolutely nothing significant to the earth whatsoever. i.e. please tell me exactly why the entire expansion of the universe should even care that we exist if we were truly as insignificant as Carl Sagan implied in the movie; The Pale Blue Dot?.

  72. creeky,
    you may just want to step away from all the rationalizations for a moment, for why the Earth is nothing special, just to watch this video again, and please stop the frame at the CMBR, and carefully notice where the earth sits in the mist of a thoroughly homogeneous universe:

    The Known Universe by AMNH
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17jymDn0W6U

    This video was made from the latest direct survey of Galaxies that we have from Sloan sky survey, as well as CMBR from COBE and WMAP.

  73. bornagain77 quotes Hawking, Penrose and Ellis:

    Every solution to the equations of general relativity guarantees the existence of a singular boundary for space and time in the past.

    Yes, but this is irrelevant because the equations of general relativity do not hold at the quantum level. A singularity, being infinitely small, cannot be correctly understood if quantum effects are ignored.

    scordova:

    You don’t need the big bang to suppose the universe had a beginning. It proceeds from thermodynamics and the obvious fact stars don’t burn forever.

    Not true. It is quite possible that the universe had no beginning and that entropy is increasing without bound. I recommend Sean Carroll’s book From Eternity to Here for an excellent explanation of this.

    bornagain77:

    but yet here we sit at the center of the universe from our point of observation none the less, because of the constant of the speed of light.

    Every point is at the center — or equally accurately, no point is at the center. No matter where you are, you will see the CMBR surrounding you like a sphere, and you will appear to be in the middle.

    It is hard to explain this without drawing diagrams, but allow me to try. There was a flash of light throughout the entire universe 380,000 years after the Big Bang, at the moment when the universe transitioned from opacity to transparency. This flash did occur at a single point; it filled the entire universe. The light from that flash has been travelling in all directions ever since.

    Therefore, no matter where you are in the universe, you see light that has been traveling toward you for 13.7 billion years from all directions. It looks like a sphere, and you are in the center of it. But everyone else, no matter where there are, sees the same thing. To conclude that the earth is in the center is a mistake.

    Moderators — why are my comments being held in the moderation queue when I am in perfect compliance with the moderation policy?

  74. Correction: “This flash did occur at a single point” should read “This flash did not occur at a single point”.

  75. 75

    bornagain77,

    I’m making no claim as to the uniqueness of Earth, or to the likelihood that observers exist in other parts of our universe. My argument is that the when our motion around the sun is removed, the dipole component of the CMBR is not zero. In addition, the CMBR can’t tell any observer about their location in the universe. You agreed with this above: the earth is as central as any place in the universe with respect to the CMB. Thus it is not a unique observation point in these terms.

  76. Creeky you state:

    “the CMBR can’t tell any observer about their location in the universe.”

    and yet the picture says:

    The View From Earth
    http://docs.google.com/Doc?doc.....#038;hl=en

    but then you go and admit this much:

    “the earth is as central as any place in the universe with respect to the CMB.”

    Thus as far as I’m concerned with the discussion thus far, I am thoroughly satisfied that you at least agree we are not totally insignificant as Carl Sagan insisted.

  77. creek belly, actually from my Theistic point of view, Every grain of sand of the universe is very special, “central”, and purposed by God, since the fine tuning of the mass density of the universe is balanced to 1 in 10^60, which out of the 10^79 atoms in the universe equals a fine tuning of every 10^19 atoms, which turns out to equal just 1 grain of sand

    ———–

    Sand is made up of Silica this has the formula SiO2
    silicon weighs 28 atomic units
    Oxygen weighs 16 atomic units
    so each SiO2 weighs 60 atomic units

    there are 6.023 x 1023 atomic units in a gram. that is 6 with 23 zeros after it.

    so there would be 6.023 x 1023 / 60 = 1x 1022 SiO2s in a gram
    so
    3 x 1022 atoms in a gram

    Say a grain of sand is 1mm across it has a volume of 0.001cm3
    1cm3 of sand weighs aboout 2.6g

    so a grain of sand will
    weigh 0.0026g

    so to fing the number of atoms in a grain of sand we multiply the number of atoms per gram by the number og grams:

    3 x 1022 x 0.0026g = 7.8 x 1019 atoms = 1 grain of sand

    http://www.thenakedscientists......topic=6447

    —————-

    My Beloved One – music video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4200171

  78. 78

    bornagain77,

    The angular spectrum of the CMB is the same at any point in the universe, there is no unique viewpoint. Your link shows the microKelvin fluctuations after the dipole motion is taken out, and the angular size of the fluctuations would look the same to any observer anywhere. I’m glad we agree, the earth is no more central than any other place in the universe.

    I’m not questioning the meta significance of the earth, just with respect to the CMB. I’m looking forward to the results from Kepler, so maybe we have some idea what ‘N’ is. (Where N is the density of earth-like planets in our neighborhood.)

  79. Dang it creeky belly, you just itchin to render the earth as insignificant as you can possibly do, ain’t you?

    And yet I just love my beautiful picture and video that shows earth at the center of the universe, I think I’ll just show it to the entire local Junior High School and explain to them how the earth ain’t really center of the universe even though that is exactly what it looks like. I don’t know if they will get the 4-D space time part, or the dipole part, or the speed of light part, or the quantum wave collapse part, but I bet you they will sure get the earth being at the center of the universe part. Maybe I need to get you to come down and explain to them how they shouldn’t trust their eyes, and have you explain the whole how we are just a insignificant speck of nothing lost in the vast ocean of space, cause if you don’t they just might think they got a greater purpose in their lives.

  80. Dang it creeky belly, you just itchin to render the earth as insignificant as you can possibly do, ain’t you?

    And yet I just love my beautiful picture and video that shows earth at the center of the universe, I think I’ll just show it to the entire local Junior High School and explain to them how the earth ain’t really center of the universe even though that is exactly what it looks like. I don’t know if they will get the 4-D space time part, or the dipole part, or the speed of light part, or the quantum wave collapse part, but I bet you they will sure get the earth being at the center of the universe part. Maybe I need to get you to come down and explain to them how they shouldn’t trust their eyes, and have you explain the whole how we are just a insignificant speck of nothing lost in the vast ocean of space, cause if you don’t they just might think they got a greater purpose in their lives.
    So if the Earth isn’t center of the universe, life has no greater purpose? The CMB is homogeneous, ergo our lives are insignificant? Wow, I’m sorry you feel that way. I don’t.

  81. creeky stated:

    “I’m sorry you feel that way. I don’t.”

    I guess a materialistic atheist insisting that ours lives are not insignificant after he has done his level best to obfuscate the evidence to the point of trying to show we are not significant is par for the course. Myself, being a former drinker, I call that kind of twisted thinking denialism, of which I find the “new atheists” in a far worse state than any drinker I ever met.

    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....arwine.jpg

    Just one question creek, If you are traveling at 50% of the speed of light towards a stream of photons, and 50% of the speed of light away from another stream of photons, what is the speed of each stream of photons in relation to you?

  82. bornagain77,

    I guess a materialistic atheist insisting that ours lives are not insignificant after he has done his level best to obfuscate the evidence to the point of trying to show we are not significant is par for the course. Myself, being a former drinker, I call that kind of twisted thinking denialism, of which I find the “new atheists” in a far worse state than any drinker I ever met.

    http://www.creationsafaris.com…..arwine.jpg

    Just one question creek, If you are traveling at 50% of the speed of light towards a stream of photons, and 50% of the speed of light away from another stream of photons, what is the speed of each stream of photons in relation to you?

    My argument with you is very narrow, the nature of the CMB and what it can tell us about our place in the universe. I’m sorry you don’t like what the actual answer is, but that’s where my argument with you ends.

    If you want to impose your own criterion for how unique the earth must be for your beliefs to be true, by all means impose. Just keep in mind: your mileage may vary.

  83. Creek you state:

    “I’m sorry you don’t like what the actual answer is,”

    and I’m sorry you have deceived yourself into thinking the Earth is not central from our point of observation, in reference to the universe as a whole and to the CMBR in particular.

    The answer to the question that you did not answer is that the light speed from the stream of photons we are traveling away from is the same speed as the light speed of the stream of photons that we are traveling into, thus as far as the absolute frame of reference is concerned, for the two streams of photons, we are not moving at all. i.e. we are always in the middle of the two streams as far as the frame of reference of light speed is concerned.

  84. The answer to the question that you did not answer is that the light speed from the stream of photons we are traveling away from is the same speed as the light speed of the stream of photons that we are traveling into, thus as far as the absolute frame of reference is concerned, for the two streams of photons, we are not moving at all. i.e. we are always in the middle of the two streams as far as the frame of reference of light speed is concerned.

    This is true for any observer, moving anywhere in our universe.

    The radiation is also homogeneous and isotropic, which means that the structure is the same to any observer anywhere in the universe up to the microKelvin fluctuations. I’m sorry you haven’t quite grasped this concept yet, it’s one of the most basic results in cosmology.

  85. Well dang creeky it seems you got it all figured out as to why we ain’t center of the universe, from our point of observation, even though that’s what the CMBR indicates. You don’t mind if I stick to my my own pet theory of universal quantum wave collapse to each observer in the universe giving each individual observer in the universe his own unique point of centrality in the universe, or do you think that would be pushing it to far.

  86. bornagain77,

    “the earth is as central as any place in the universe with respect to the CMB.”

    If everywhere in the universe is as central as any place else, then I would rather be in the center of the universe in New York City than the center of the universe in a small town in Kansas if I was studying human behaviour.

    The study of cosmology might lead me to want to be 3 billion light years away from Earth in order to be able to make better observations about the universe.

    Your argument does nothing to persuade me that the Earth occupies a special place for observation or any other special purpose we might come up with.

  87. 87

    Well dang creeky it seems you got it all figured out as to why we ain’t center of the universe, from our point of observation, even though that’s what the CMBR indicates. You don’t mind if I stick to my my own pet theory of universal quantum wave collapse to each observer in the universe giving each individual observer in the universe his own unique point of centrality in the universe, or do you think that would be pushing it to far.

    Our observations indicate CMB is homogeneous, independent of location in universe. Like I said before, the fluctuations would be unique to different locations, but would have the same angular spectrum.

    If your theory states that each observer would conclude that they are the center of an isotropic radiation field no matter where they were, then I would agree, but for the observer to then conclude that they were at the center of the universe ignores homogeneity.

  88. Creeky, you mentioned having a interest in the number of earth-like planets in our “neighborhood”: ,,,

    “I’m looking forward to the results from Kepler, so maybe we have some idea what ‘N’ is. (Where N is the density of earth-like planets in our neighborhood.)”

    ,,,,and I found this NASA site:

    PlanetQuest – Exoplanet Exploration
    Excerpt:
    CURRENT PLANET COUNT: 430
    stars with planets: 363
    Earthlike planets: 0
    http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/

    Not a good batting average thus far creek;

    The thing I wanted to bring to your attention is that Dr. Ross’s team made the most generous assumptions for suns that are able to host planets similar to Earth and still the probability turns out to be:

    Probability for occurrence of all 322 parameters =10^388
    Dependency factors estimate =10^96
    Longevity requirements estimate =10^14
    Probability for occurrence of all 322 parameters = 10^304
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in universe =10^22

    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^282 (million trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion) exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracles.

    http://www.reasons.org/probabi.....h-apr-2004
    http://www.johnankerberg.com/A.....304RFT.pdf

    But even if you had a earth capable of supporting life creek you would still run into the origin of life problem:

    The probabilities against life “spontaneously” originating are simply overwhelming:

    Signature in the Cell – Book Review – Ken Peterson
    Excerpt: the “simplest extant cell, Mycoplasma genitalium — a tiny bacterium that inhabits the human urinary tract — requires ‘only’ 482 proteins to perform its necessary functions…(562,000 bases of DNA…to assemble those proteins).” ,,, amino acids have to congregate in a definite specified sequence in order to make something that “works.” First of all they have to form a “peptide” bond and this seems to only happen about half the time in experiments. Thus, the probability of building a chain of 150 amino acids containing only peptide links is about one chance in 10 to the 45th power.
    In addition, another requirement for living things is that the amino acids must be the “left-handed” version. But in “abiotic amino-acid production” the right- and left-handed versions are equally created. Thus, to have only left-handed, only peptide bonds between amino acids in a chain of 150 would be about one chance in 10 to the 90th. Moreover, in order to create a functioning protein the “amino acids, like letters in a meaningful sentence, must link up in functionally specified sequential arrangements.” It turns out that the probability for this is about one in 10 to the 74th. Thus, the probability of one functional protein of 150 amino acids forming by random chance is (1 in) 10 to the 164th. If we assume some minimally complex cell requires 250 different proteins then the probability of this arrangement happening purely by chance is one in 10 to the 164th multiplied by itself 250 times or one in 10 to the 41,000th power.
    http://www.spectrummagazine.or.....ature_cell

    First-Ever Blueprint of ‘Minimal Cell’ Is More Complex Than Expected – Nov. 2009
    Excerpt: A network of research groups,, approached the bacterium at three different levels. One team of scientists described M. pneumoniae’s transcriptome, identifying all the RNA molecules, or transcripts, produced from its DNA, under various environmental conditions. Another defined all the metabolic reactions that occurred in it, collectively known as its metabolome, under the same conditions. A third team identified every multi-protein complex the bacterium produced, thus characterising its proteome organisation.
    “At all three levels, we found M. pneumoniae was more complex than we expected,”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....173027.htm

    No man-made program comes close to the technical brilliance of even Mycoplasmal genetic algorithms. Mycoplasmas are the simplest known organism with the smallest known genome, to date. How was its genome and other living organisms’ genomes programmed?” – David L. Abel and Jack T. Trevors, “Three Subsets of Sequence Complexity and Their Relevance to Biopolymeric Information,” Theoretical Biology & Medical Modelling, Vol. 2, 11 August 2005, page 8 http://www.biomedcentral.com/c.....2-2-29.pdf

    Co creeky, I take it you believe all this happened on another planet somewhere despite these odds, I have one question for you,,, Do you want to play poker?

  89. Creeky buddy, sorry for our misunderstanding each other on CMBR, my continued position throughout this discussion has been that the Earth is “just as” central as any other place in the universe. Which is fine by me, as far as that particular line of evidence goes, in that it solidly refutes the mediocrity principle, derived from heliocentrism, that stated we hold “zero” significance as far centrality goes in the universe goes. But as you readily admit, from a universal perspective, the earth is just as central, as the sun is central, as the galaxy is central, or anywhere else. My whole point of emphasis throughout has been to point out that this is a HUGE step up from the atheistic sermons Carl Sagan preached in pale blue dot.

    Carl Sagan – Pale Blue Dot
    http://connect.tangle.com/view.....be92fe078e

  90. bornagain77 @89,
    Our position in the universe is insignificant if you intend to make observations about the universe.

    There are better places to be relative to the celestial bodies you want to observe and study.

  91. 91

    bornagain77, creek belly, toronto, etc.,

    I’m gavelling this discussion of centrality. If you want to discuss it further, send each other private messages or discuss it on another blog.

  92. 92

    and I found this NASA site:

    PlanetQuest – Exoplanet Exploration
    Excerpt:
    CURRENT PLANET COUNT: 430
    stars with planets: 363
    Earthlike planets: 0
    http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/

    Not a good batting average thus far creek;

    My point was rather on relying on back of the envelope calculations, we actually try and look for these things so we can have some sort of Feldman-Cousins upper bound on the local density of earth-like planets.

    In regards to you links: as much as I would like to believe that our “vanadium quantity in crust” must be within 10% of the value on earth, I don’t. I don’t think the analysis is made in good faith, or presents honest knowledge of any of these probabilities (particularly correlations).

  93. Creek before you dismiss the paper you may want to take a closer look, for instance in your reading of vanadium, you mistake that he said within 10% of value when he meant it must fall within an acceptable range period on any planet and gave it that likelihood out of any given 10^22 planets.

    for example Vanadium must be present at the right quantity for life:

    to little no life:

    Vanadium
    essential to plant and animal life

    Discovered in: 1801

    Discovered by: Andreas del Rio of Mexico

    Description: Named after the Scandinavian goddess Vanadis, vanadium is a soft, shiny, bright silvery-white metal. It is corrosion-resistant, except to most acids, and despite being a soft metal in pure form, it hardens and strengthens other metals in alloys by a tremendous degree. Vanadium-steel alloys are used in armor plating, piston rods, crankshafts and other uses where a very strong metal is needed, such as frames in high-rise buildings and oil drilling platforms. Vanadium is also used in ceramics, glass and dyes as well as a chemical catalyst.

    Biological Rating: Necessary for full health of plants and animals.

    Biological Benefits: Vanadium is an essential trace element for most species. Vanadium is believed to be important in bone development. Deficiencies in Vanadium reduce growth and impair reproduction in rats and chickens.
    http://www.mii.org/periodic/V.htm

    Yet Too much we are poisoned

    Vanadium poisoning
    http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/...../intro.htm

    you can check each element here if you want:

    Periodic Table – Interactive web page for each element
    http://www.mii.org/periodic/MIIperiodicChart.html

    This also plays into the terraforming of early microbial life:

    Sulfate-reducing bacteria helped prepare the earth for advanced life by detoxifying the primeval earth and oceans of poisonous levels of heavy metals while depositing them as relatively inert metal ores. Metal ores which are very useful for modern man, as well as fairly easy for man to extract today (mercury, cadmium, zinc, cobalt, arsenic, chromate, tellurium and copper to name a few). To this day, sulfate-reducing bacteria maintain an essential minimal level of these heavy metals in the ecosystem which are high enough so as to be available to the biological systems of the higher life forms that need them yet low enough so as not to be poisonous to those very same higher life forms.

    Bacterial Heavy Metal Detoxification and Resistance Systems:
    Excerpt: Bacterial plasmids contain genetic determinants for resistance systems for Hg2+ (and organomercurials), Cd2+, AsO2, AsO43-, CrO4 2-, TeO3 2-, Cu2+, Ag+, Co2+, Pb2+, and other metals of environmental concern.
    http://www.springerlink.com/co.....04577v8t3/
    http://www.int-res.com/article.....26p203.pdf

    The role of bacteria in hydrogeochemistry, metal cycling and ore deposit formation:
    Textures of sulfide minerals formed by SRB (sulfate-reducing bacteria) during bioremediation (most notably pyrite and sphalerite) have textures reminiscent of those in certain sediment-hosted ores, supporting the concept that SRB may have been directly involved in forming ore minerals. http://www.goldschmidt2009.org...../A1161.pdf

    shoot Creek the level of fine tuning for microbial life is extraordinary:

    Engineering and Science Magazine – Caltech – March 2010
    Excerpt: “Without these microbes, the planet would run out of biologically available nitrogen in less than a month,” Realizations like this are stimulating a flourishing field of “geobiology” – the study of relationships between life and the earth. One member of the Caltech team commented, “If all bacteria and archaea just stopped functioning, life on Earth would come to an abrupt halt.” Microbes are key players in earth’s nutrient cycles. Dr. Orphan added, “…every fifth breath you take, thank a microbe.”
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20100316a

    Planet’s Nitrogen Cycle Overturned – Oct. 2009
    Excerpt: “Ammonia is a waste product that can be toxic to animals.,,, archaea can scavenge nitrogen-containing ammonia in the most barren environments of the deep sea, solving a long-running mystery of how the microorganisms can survive in that environment. Archaea therefore not only play a role, but are central to the planetary nitrogen cycles on which all life depends.,,,the organism can survive on a mere whiff of ammonia – 10 nanomolar concentration, equivalent to a teaspoon of ammonia salt in 10 million gallons of water.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....132656.htm

    Microbial life can easily live without us; we, however, cannot survive without the global catalysis and environmental transformations it provides. – Paul G. Falkowski – Professor Geological Sciences – Rutgers

  94. 94

    bornagain, creek belly,

    Did you all not read what I wrote? If there are any more comments about this I will delete them, this thread of yours has nothing to do with the actual post under which you are posting.

  95. 95

    Clive,

    My apologies, your comment appeared after I replied.

  96. At least 3 members of the National Academy of Sciences question the role of Darwinism in the emergence of features of biology:

    1. Phil Skell
    2. Michael Lynch
    3. Masotoshi Nei

    At least 4 Nobel Prize Winners:

    1. Richard Smalley (Chemistry)
    2. Ernst Chain (Medicine)
    3. Christian Anfinsen (Medicine)
    4. Eugene Wigner (Physics)

    High time we drop BELIEF in evolution as a metric for science literacy. Polling for knowledge is ok, but polling for belief is inappropriate.

  97. BA77 in Msg 88:

    “PlanetQuest – Exoplanet Exploration
    Excerpt:
    CURRENT PLANET COUNT: 430
    stars with planets: 363
    Earthlike planets: 0
    http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/

    Not a good batting average thus far creek;”

    From a little deeper in your own citation: http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.go....._index.cfm

    “If planets like Earth exist, with smaller masses and longer orbital periods, their discovery will require more sensitive instruments and years of precise, sustained observations.”

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