Home » Intelligent Design » Glen Davidson – Candidate for Stupid Question of the Year

Glen Davidson – Candidate for Stupid Question of the Year

Over on Panda’s Thumb, frequent commenter Glen Davidson in a gratuitous Coulter bashing festival, asks

Where have the relativistic effects of gravity been shown in the lab?

Good lord, Glen. Relativistic effects of velocity and gravity have not only been demonstrated they are used in applied science. The Global Positioning System requires clocks so accurate and synchronized that differences in velocity and local gravity amongst orbital and ground based clocks must be compensated for in order to achieve desired accuracy. Doesn’t everyone know this? It’s really old news, Glen. Anyone claiming any broad based knowledge of science should not have asked the question you did. What’s your background again, Glen?

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49 Responses to Glen Davidson – Candidate for Stupid Question of the Year

  1. 1

    Why yes, it is old news:

    http://www.pandasthumb.org/arc.....ment-80198

    http://www.pandasthumb.org/arc.....ment-80214

    I have mentioned observed relativistic effects on PT.

    The question I asked was in response to this question, which I included in my post:

    “Where, precisely, has macro-evolution been done in a lab (in the sense that nature didn’t ‘fight back’ when you were done meddling and revert to the original species.”

    Then followed my question:

    “Where have the relativistic effects of gravity been shown in the lab. … So show us how the more difficult aspects of gravity have been studied in the lab.”

    I am more than a little aware of the observations supporting relativity, but I was countering the old canard that if “macro-evolution” is science it must be shown ‘in the lab.’

    I finally had to register for this forum, simply because of the twisting of a reasonable question into one that DaveScot wants to portray as stupid.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

    It was not a reasonable question. Relativisitic effects of gravity have been demonstrated in a lab and decades ago moved into the arena of practical application. If you already knew this then your question was dishonest instead of grossly uninformed. Take your pick. -ds

  2. I was the target of much of the abuse in this thread. Sorry I missed that comment he made about relativism in gravity or I would have responded. I guess that’s what happens when you have any # of people piling on so fast you can’t keep track of what they are all saying. (They eventually moved my comments to antievolution.org to try to get a good fight going there, but I really can’t let myself get sucked into the morass of circular arguments right now).

    For your valiant efforts to pound sense into the senseless I took you off the moderation list right away. Welcome to Uncommon Descent. :-) -ds

  3. Glen,

    You might want to do a little reading about particle acceleration techniques with special focus on particle physics. A rather mundane, simplistic start can be found at http://www2.slac.stanford.edu/.....ivity.html under the section entitled “Time Dilation for Particles”.

    I think you’ll find, as DS has indicated, that relativistic effects have been validated by laboratory experiments. In addition, they must be accounted for by researchers who take great pleasure in observing the results of sub atomic particles coliding with one another after one of them has been accelerated to within measurable proximity of C (the speed of light) where relativistic effects are quite enjoyable (to a fundamental particle, anyway).

    Cheers…

  4. 4

    Special relativity is a commonplace in particle acceleration experiments. The relativistic effects of gravity are rarely if ever unambiguously distinguished in the lab. Even ‘G’ was not known to a very high precision until a few years ago.

    Gravity is a weak force, which is why most of the observations must occur outside of the laboratory. Neutron stars, massive galaxies, and galaxy clusters are the objects through which many of the relativistic effects of gravity may be observed. Such masses do not fit conveniently into the laboratory.

    By analogy, large-scale evolutionary changes do not readily appear in the laboratory, while the predicted effects of those changes are observed in labs, through fossils and genomes. What is more, plenty remains unknown about gravity, especially where quantum and relativistic effects appear.

    The first experiment in a laboratory confirming relativistic effects of gravity fields was in 1959. Here’s a clue from old Dave, Glen. When you find you’ve dug yourself into a hole the first thing you should do is stop digging. Of course if you took that bit of advice you’d have to turn in your Darwinian chance worshipping paraphernalia and face reality head on. I don’t suppose that’s likely is it? -ds

    By the way, gravity is the strongest force in nature. It overwhelms the electromagnetic force to form neutron stars. It overwhelms the weak nuclear force to form quark stars. And finally, when it overwhelms the strong nuclear force, a black hole is formed. Thanks for playing.

  5. 5

    Gravity Probe B is an excellent space experiment testing for relativistic gravitational effects:

    http://einstein.stanford.edu/

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

    Stop digging, Glen. -ds

  6. Thanks, ds. I certainly didn’t FEEL valiant. I originally hopped into the thread after seeing everyone trash Ann’s book with just a simple question – had they READ it. The responses varied from “don’t need to read it, it’s just recycled stuff that’s all been refuted a long time ago” to implications that anyone who would read or agree with anything Ann has to say is an unintelligent scientifically illiterate moron. I believe Ann was accurate when she pointed out that the only thing they have to offer is contempt. Certainly there was a lot of that being flung (and I admit I responded in kind). Ironically, though, the thread, abusive as it sometimes was, stimulated in me the desire to do some more reading and study and actually I ended up discovering a lot of new things I otherwise would not have (including this site).

  7. At PT, Glen responded to this little exchange:

    “While I did put in a few digs at her, she was hardly my target, so mostly I had been responding to Randy’s YEC-inspired attacks on those of us who accept science.”

    What’s funny is that there was nothing in my posts that would say I was a YEC. In fact, I don’t consider myself one. I’ve allowed for the possibility of that, but generally I would be an OEC. And of course, to argue with anyone there means that we “don’t accept science”. *sigh*.

  8. Glenn, I’m curious to see a real answer. The point of the question was two-fold and I think its fairly well thought out.

    1) produce it in a lab
    2) why do insects or higher level organisms fight against mutation?

    You stated…

    “The question I asked was in response to this question, which I included in my post:

    “Where, precisely, has macro-evolution been done in a lab (in the sense that nature didn’t ‘fight back’ when you were done meddling and revert to the original species.”

    Then followed my question:
    “Where have the relativistic effects of gravity been shown in the lab. … So show us how the more difficult aspects of gravity have been studied in the lab.”

    You said you did this to “counter the old canard about the lab…”. In truth, all your doing is avoiding the difficult question others have not answered after 150 years. Lets remain focused on the issues and problems with macro-evolution.

    Its a valid question. If scientist today with 1000′s of years of cumulative lab experience amongst them, in nature and genetics cannot randomly mutate a new insect with novel features and have it naturally selected for survival in the lab and then have it survive in nature, then its a valid question.

    Pointing fingers elsewhere is not an adequate response.

    The experiments done in on insects, fruit flies, etc., were not successful. If RM/NS were true for McEvo, you could reproduce it. You could morph flies all day long with new features that would survive.

    Secondly, the overlooked question of why higher level organisms such as insects, fish, etc., in fact fight against mutations. This leads to more questoins which I’ve yet to see answered by the RM/NS answer. The regulatory process limits mutations. Why is there error correction, editing and splicing? Why are there dual pathways as backup systems?

    These are valid questions.

    I’ve got the feeling scientist will design a new insect before evolutionist ever randomly mutate one.

    I’m very curious to know Glen if you think one day scientist will Randomly Mutate a new insect, or design one.

  9. Oh yeah. They will most certainly produce one through random mutation. Because that happens all the time, Right? Just like their precious phylogenic tree. When dogs have kittens, right?

  10. One of the empirical experiments that I remember from 80′s was the one with two cesium atomic clocks. NASA precisely adjusted two of those atomic clocks. They put one of the clocks in a flying lab while other clock was fixed at NASA center. They observed that the atmoic clock orbiting the earth in an airplane was working slower than the one fixed on the ground. This experiment verified the Einstien’s predictions for speed/time relativity.

    And for the gravity the realtime clock is GPS satellites is a well known source that empirically demonstrates relativity:

    http://www.physicscentral.com/.....-00-2.html

    Also, the orbiting clocks are 20,000 km above the Earth, and experience gravity that is four times weaker than that on the ground. Einstein’s general relativity theory says that gravity curves space and time, resulting in a tendency for the orbiting clocks to tick slightly faster, by about 45 microseconds per day . The net result is that time on a GPS satellite clock advances faster than a clock on the ground by about 38 microseconds per day.

    Practical application of the theory:
    But at 38 microseconds per day, the relativistic offset in the rates of the satellite clocks is so large that, if left uncompensated, it would cause navigational errors that accumulate faster than 10 km per day! GPS accounts for relativity by electronically adjusting the rates of the satellite clocks, and by building mathematical corrections into the computer chips which solve for the user’s location. Without the proper application of relativity, GPS would fail in its navigational functions within about 2 minutes.

  11. Just checking in to see if there are valid answers.

    I realize Coulter is a satirist, but the questions Glen clarified in this post of his response are good questions regarding macro-evolution and the resistance to mutations in higher level organisms.

    After much reading on both sides of this debate, there seems to be confusion or force fitting one theory for all purposes. Where bacteria and viruses rapidly mutate for a recognized and ordered purpose, higher level organisms, such as fish or quadrapeds resist mutation. What is typically seen in the fossil record is extinction. And the entire molecular process is geared to prevent mutations in higher levels. Or, as in the case of sickle-cell it allows for survival within a boundary.

    There should be identifiable Hard Genetic Boundary lines in the genome which mutation types or quantity of mutations(loads in specific areas) cannot pass without contributing to extinction.

    Bacteria and viruses serve a purpose to feed, destroy and multiply rapidly for good purposes in many instances. To extrapolate however observations from one organism to another however I think assigns to much emphasis across large boundaries of diversity. The more I learn, the more it appears there are hard boundaries, not soft gradual steps and Punctuated EQ is not a viable alternative either it appears.

    Well…. I’ll check in later, but curious to see if there are any real answers.

    If a scientist can grow a human bladder in 40 days that is transferrable and functioning in its original human donor, we should be at the breaking point of producing new insects by RM&NS. I still suspect it will be by design first.

  12. Well, that’s just it, isn’t it? Are we more stupid than nature? Because the idea that everything came about the purely naturalistic forces means that smart scientists should be perfectly able to do everything that nature did, because THEY (unlike nature) are intelligent. They can do in a lab in moments what might take huge amounts of time in nature. And yet they are still unable to create entirely new species…(of course here they will change the definition of ‘new species’ to mean a slight variation and thus claim they have proven their point).

    Randy, something in your email address seems to be causing your comments to land in the moderation queue. I haven’t figured out what it is yet. You’re not being moderated on purpose. -ds

    Update: I found it. Your email address WAS on the list. I could’ve sworn I searched for it and came up empty a day or two ago. Sorry about that. Your comments should appear immediately now. -ds

  13. I believe in post #4 that Mr. Glen Davidson stated that “gravity is the strongest force in nature. It overwhelms the electromagnetic force to form neutron stars.” This seems wrong to me. Just take for example to objects of the same mass. One is made of plastic, the other a magnet. Place them next to a metal object, what happens, the force of gravity is almost nothing, but he magnetic force is powerful. I was taught that the force of gravity was something like 1 biliion times less strong thatn elctro magentism. Perhaps we need some clarity on the subject.

    It was me (DaveScot aka -ds) who said gravity was the strongest force in nature. If there is enough mass in a small enough space gravity overwhelms all the other forces of nature. You aren’t calling for comparing objects of equal mass. You are calling for comparing objects of low mass. Gravity is additive and works over large distances. Given enough mass in a small enough space it overwhelms all the other forces of nature. It’s really a matter of regimes. I was just correcting Glen when he called gravity a weak force. In high mass regimes gravity is the strongest of all the forces. In low mass regimes it is the weakest. One can’t really can’t call gravity weak or strong without qualification. -ds

  14. RE: #11
    “Where bacteria and viruses rapidly mutate for a recognized and ordered purpose, higher level organisms, such as fish or quadrapeds resist mutation.”
    Clarify for me, if you will. I question the whole idea of rapid bacteria mutation. I thought bacteria changes are not so much due to mutations as they are to gene transfer (plasmids). That is certainly not macro-evolution or even micro-evolution. The genetic information pre-exists and just gets moved around. Certainly, mutations occur once in a while but that is not the primary means by which bacteria adapt.

  15. Dave,

    First of all, excellent work in hounding out Glen Davidson. I’m glad somebody is doing it.

    Secondly, just a quick correction, as I have some knowledge in this field: Gravity is by far the weakest of the four fundamental forces. Electromagnetic repulsion is approximately 10 to the power of 42 (that’s a million billion billion billion billion)times more powerful than gravity. If your right bicep represented the strength of gravitational force, then your left bicep would have to extend beyond the edge of the known universe to represent the strength of electromagnetic force. The only reason electromagnetic force does not completely overwhelm gravity in the world around us is that most things are composed of an equal amount of positive and negative electric charges whose forces cancel eachother out.

    This fact accounts for the difficulty in experimentally confirming the existence of the graviton–the agent particle of gravity. Searching for the smallest bundle of the feeblest force is quite a challenge.

    Carry on!

    So you’re saying that in a neutron star the electromagnetic force is stronger than gravity and electrons and protons still repulse each other with enough force to remain separate? You’re wrong if you do. The problem here is one of comparing apples to oranges. Gravity is additive and when enough particles are involved the additive property overwhelms the other three forces. Ultimately the universe is governed by gravity. It is the strongest of all the forces in the big picture. -ds

  16. 16

    “The first experiment in a laboratory confirming relativistic effects of gravity fields was in 1959. Here’s a clue from old Dave, Glen. When you find you’ve dug yourself into a hole the first thing you should do is stop digging. Of course if you took that bit of advice you’d have to turn in your Darwinian chance worshipping paraphernalia and face reality head on. I don’t suppose that’s likely is it? -ds”

    I did not, of course, claim that no relativistic effects of gravity can be seen in the lab. In fact LIGO is designed to detect gravity waves, though no unambiguous results have been reported yet. While mere detection of gravity waves is not a huge use of relativistic gravity effects in the laboratory, at least it would be something.

    I would suggest that you quit trying to bury someone else into the holes you dig.

    I would like to see some evidence for LABORATORY confirmation of relativistic effects of gravity fields from 1959.

    “By the way, gravity is the strongest force in nature. It overwhelms the electromagnetic force to form neutron stars. It overwhelms the weak nuclear force to form quark stars. And finally, when it overwhelms the strong nuclear force, a black hole is formed. Thanks for playing.”

    Of course this is one of the least informed comments that you have ever made. Even high school physics students often know better than that. Gravity IS cumulative, which is why relativistic effects of gravity appear around black holes and neutron stars, but it is the weakest of the four fundamental forces. These matters are explained further here:

    http://library.thinkquest.org/27930/forces.htm

    I mentioned finding the graviton in my post, because it is considered to be practically impossible to do.

    Glen D
    http:tinyurl.com/b8ykm

    Keep digging that hole deeper, dummy. Pound-Rebka is no secret. It confirmed with 10% accuracy the relativistic prediction of time dilation in gravity fields in 1959. Pound-Snider in 1964 confirmed it to 1% accuracy. Links to the original articles which appeared in Physical Review can be found at the first link I left for you. I can spoonfeed this stuff to you if you’d stop making faces and spitting it out. Gravity is only weak in low mass regimes. In high mass regimes it overwhelms the other forces and becomes the strongest. What part of it overwhelming the electromagnetic force in neutron stars and the strong nuclear force in black holes didn’t you understand, Glen? -ds

  17. 17

    Sorry about missing the link. Good, a lab experiment confirmed relativistic gravity effects. Note that I am careful with my writing and did not write anything like, “Where has a relativistic effect of gravity been shown in the lab?” I wrote,

    “Where have the relativistic effects of gravity been shown in the lab. … So show us how the more difficult aspects of gravity have been studied in the lab.”

    The second sentence was written to firm up the fact that I want the range of relativistic effects to be shown in the lab, and I mentioned the graviton because I want quantum gravity effects to be demonstrated in the lab. RMagruder was claiming that gravity can be readily calculated and shown in the lab, and my point was that much cannot be recreated in the lab. The point stands, no matter how much you try to act as if an experiment here or there backs up Randy’s claims.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

    Gravitons aren’t a relativistic effect of gravity. They are a hypothetical particle that carries the gravitational force. Quantum gravity is not a relativistic effect of gravity either. Evolution that exceeds the species barrier and especially evolution that exceeds the cell type, tissue type, organ, and body plan barriers are fundamental claims of NDE theory and none have ever been demonstrated either in a lab or outside a lab. Thanks for showing us all the 5 D’s of Darwinism, by the way. Dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge! You’re not good at it but I’ll give you an A for persistence and no matter how big an ass I make of you, you keep coming back for more. Have you ever seen The Black Knight in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”? That’s you Glen, the Black Knight. It’s only a flesh wound. Don’t stop now. You can still try to bite my legs. :lol: -ds

  18. 18

    “At PT, Glen responded to this little exchange:

    “While I did put in a few digs at her, she was hardly my target, so mostly I had been responding to Randy’s YEC-inspired attacks on those of us who accept science.”

    What’s funny is that there was nothing in my posts that would say I was a YEC. In fact, I don’t consider myself one. I’ve allowed for the possibility of that, but generally I would be an OEC. And of course, to argue with anyone there means that we “don’t accept science”. *sigh*. ”

    I’m waiting for any evidence that IDists/creationists do accept science across the board.

    I didn’t write that you are YEC, I said that they were “YEC-inspired attacks.” See, none of your argumnents are new, but rather they come from YEC sources orginally, whether you know it or not.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  19. >> Randy, something in your email address seems to be causing your comments to land in the moderation queue. I haven’t figured out what it is yet. You’re not being moderated on purpose. -ds

    LOL. Maybe you have an automation filter that says: “If E-mail address has posted on PT, moderate until proven innocent”

    Randy

  20. Glen wrote:

    “I didn’t write that you are YEC, I said that they were “YEC-inspired attacks.” See, none of your argumnents are new, but rather they come from YEC sources orginally, whether you know it or not.”

    So they are messing with my unconscious mind, is that it? I think I know what it is that inspires me. Please do not presume to know my motivations or inspirations. Thanks.

    “I’m waiting for any evidence that IDists/creationists do accept science across the board.”

    Science, as defined experimentally, is not under attack in any way, shape or form. There are two fundamental questions being asked of evolutionists: 1. can it happen and 2. did it happen. Much time is spent trying to create mechanisms to answer #1 in the affirmative, and if you get a single positive hit, you use it as proof of #2. But by definition, if it COULD NOT happen, then it DID NOT happen. Similarly, if you propose a mechanism whereby it COULD happen, but the odds against it happening randomly are sufficiently enormous, you still accept it, and say that we are ‘arguing from incredulity’ if we argue that the odds are so long that it’s virtually impossible. But at the same time, your arguments against design are often ‘arguing from incredulity’ as well. It just puts both sides in the same boat. One has ‘faith’ in something occurring naturally in spite of overwhelming odds against, and the other has ‘faith’ in a design pointing to a designer. Science has nothing to do with it at that point. Science goes as far as it can, and where it leaves off, faith takes over.

    You see faith being exercised all the time when someone like Dawkins refers to the first cell formation being a “happy chemical accident” or someone says: “we don’t know today, but science will tell us tomorrow”. That’s faith. Just because it’s not faith in a deity makes it no less a matter of faith.

    Randy

    Glen’s had all the chance to dissemble and advertise his webpage here that he’s going to get for the nonce. He’s a whackjob. I really shouldn’t pick the low hanging fruit at Panda’s Thumb for ridicule but sometimes I just can’t resist and, when it comes right down to it, it’s all low hanging fruit over there. Visit the goofy electric consciousness webpage Glen links to in every comment. If Glen were fully conscious himself he’d probably get a headache like normal humans from trying to read the god awful low contrast high saturation colors the little voices in his head picked out for him. Ugh. -ds

  21. The analogy between testing the relatavistic effects of gravity in the lab being on par with testing macro-evolution in the lab is false on it’s premise. The relatavistic effects of gravity are peripheral to the core workings of gravity in general, not so with macro-evolution, it is THE core of the workings of evolution. False analogies shouldn’t be argued with, they should just be dismissed.

    Mea culpa. You’re right of course. I was bored. -ds

  22. Dave, I’m curious. How may time more powerful is gravity than EMF in these regimes?

    Infinitely more powerful in the case of a gravitational singularity. -ds

  23. “I’m waiting for any evidence that IDists/creationists do accept science across the board.”

    Please name the experiment which both (a) can be repeated in a lab, and (b) whose physical results [as opposed to their interpretations/extrapolations] are denied by either ID’ers or Creationists.

  24. Dave do you have an e-mail address where you can be contacted off the comments? I can’t see any links to ‘contact webmaster’ or anything here.

  25. After a cursory glance through Glen’s “Electric Consciousness” website, I did not find one mention of the most interesting problem of consciousness–intentionality. Curious.

  26. DS:

    You apparently are unwilling to listen to people trying to help you who actually know what they’re talking about when you state that gravity is a strong force. Several people who are clearly more knowledgeable with regard to universal gravitation and relativity than you have tried to help you out but you keep trying to deny it. It takes a tremendous amount of mass to overpower the EM forces and make a neutron star.* Why not just say, “OK, thanks. I didn’t realize that.”

    But, I think that that’s the whole point. Apparently, so few of the people to whom you pander here are really knowledgeable in science that they just believe you as though you’re some sort of authority on every matter. So how could you be wrong about gravity? (Or maybe that’s how you think of yourself.)

    All of the forces are “additive”. I don’t really know what the point that you’re trying to make is. Pile on more electrons and you increase the electrostatic attraction or repulsion. Increasing the current density in a magnet allows it to pick up more massive ferromagnetic objects. Take twenty skinny, pencil-necked geeks and set them loose on Triple H and they’ll kick his butt. But I think that you realize that you’ve been shown to be incorrect but you’re just trying to deflect the criticism by distracting them with some other junk. You don’t really have any idea what you’re talking about. Is your ego that fragile? Do you fear that people stop reading at this site just because you’re wrong about one thing that isn’t in your field of expertise? (Although, it’s not clear exactly in what field you are any sort of expert other than criticizing others who don’t share you views…)

    * Try this: tear up a few tiny scraps of paper and sprinkle them on a table. Then, take a pen or other plastic device and rub it against your hair or a sweater or other textile. Hold the pen over the scraps – not necesarily even making contact with them. Notice that the hundred or so electrons that you’ve stripped off of your hair (or whatever) are enough to overcome the gravitational effects of all the mass of the whole entire Earth. That is what these people who know more than you about the fundamental forces of nature are trying to say.

    So you know more than Professor Cramer who’s been a full professor of nuclear physics since 1974? Go fly a kite you ignorant buffoon. I’ve forgotten more about physics than you’ll ever know. Here’s a homework question for you, dopey. What’s the smallest theoretical mass of a black hole? A bonus question: in what order did the fundamental forces emerge following the big bang? -ds

  27. Garyj,
    “I question the whole idea of rapid bacteria mutation. I thought bacteria changes are not so much due to mutations as they are to gene transfer (plasmids). That is certainly not macro-evolution or even micro-evolution. The genetic information pre-exists and just gets moved around. Certainly, mutations occur once in a while but that is not the primary means by which bacteria adapt.”

    Gary, thanks, you’re actually making a better point than me.
    I’ve read about plasmids and gene transfer, so agreed and you’re correct. I juggled the bacteria and virus mutation rates with reproduction rates in the lab, not to mention comparison between viruses and bacteria. I should’ve stated rapid replication, thus experiments with bacteria, viruses and fruit flies are optimal for lab in macro-evolution.

    I remember an article or paper re: nylonase in nature vs. stress induced production in the lab. An argument was made that bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa adapted rapidly in days as opposed to 35 or more years in nature. I believe there is still an argument over whether this is plasmid mutation or a design feature? Obviously or maybe not so, NDE sees it as mutations. I need to look this up again to remember fully and exactly how the change occured, but I still think it was in the plasmid, which is strange in thinking about it, since the bacteria had no previous disposition. This would seem to favor NDE for micro-evolution. But still cannot be expanded across boundaries. Thanks Gary for making me think about this.

    It appears the 2 questions still stand however even with plasmids not-yet-burned-into memory and steep learning curve.

    Instead Glen is still arguing about gravity.

    Mr Flood makes a good point, the entire premise of comparison is off base and the whole issue of gravity is a waste of time.

    As JohnnyB said, produce an experiment repeatable in lab. And as I ask, why do the rest of the known mechanisms defend against mutations?

  28. http://www.npl.washington.edu/av/altvw89.html

    Curiously, in some ways gravity is also the strongest force in the universe. It always adds, never subtracts, and can build up until it overwhelms all other forces.

    John G. Cramer
    Professor of Physics
    Nuclear Physics Laboratory
    University of Washington

    Cramer writes articles on cutting edge physics for Analog Magazine. He’s written 90 columns so far. I read all 90 hot off the press. He’s one of my favorite non-fiction authors.

    Thanks for playing everyone. There’s a consolation prize waiting as you exit stage left. It’s an autographed picture of me holding the microscopic black hole that contains the brains of all the Panda’s Thumb chance worshippers. Needless to say no intelligence can ever escape from it. :cool:

  29. At the risk of awakening the great god of gravity, I want to throw in my two cents regarding DaveScot’s comments re: neutron stars and black holes.

    Normal matter has atoms with electrons arranged in shells. Quantum mechanical considerations, not just electostatic repulsion between electrons, determine the arrangement of the electrons.

    Degenerate matter (white dwarf material) has atoms with electrons forced into fewer shells than normal, violating the Pauli Principle. The cause of this degeneracy is in fact gravitation.

    Neutron stars are made of, oddly, neutrons. Here, the magnitude of the star’s gravitation has forced the electons into the nucleus, where they combine with protons to form neutrons. Electrons and protons normally would attract each other electrostatically anyway, but QM considerations usually keep the electrons out of the nucleus. It is an oversimplification to state that gravity overwhelms the electomagnetic force in a neutron star.

    Likewise, gravitation does not simply overwhelm the strong nuclear force to form a black hole. In fact, current physics has no predictions for the nature of the singularity or anything else inside the event horizon. The strong force may be there, but we cannot detect it from outside. In a black hole, gravity overwhelms the normal structure of spacetime, punching a hole in spacetime.

    To answer your fundamental forces puzzler, current theory says gravity “popped out” first as the universe expanded. The other three forces were “joined” into an electronuclear force. The strong force came out second, binding quarks together and ultimately light nuclei (H, He and Li). Finally the weak and electromagnetic force separated. So this progression makes gravitation the oldest. In terms of local effects, it is still in general the weakest of the four. Your distinction between high-mass and low-mass (better to say, high-density and low-density, actually) is well taken, but you are using exceptions to argue for a general relationship that is not accurate. Gravity “overwhelms” the other forces when the gravitation gradient is extremely high, as when a lot of mass is compressed into a small volume and you are close to that volume. A black hole with the mass of the sun would not overwhelm the other forces if you were 93 million miles away from it.

    Not bad but you skipped the first question: What is the minimum theoretical mass of a black hole? If you had answered that it would destroy your point in the last paragraph about a lot of mass compressed into a small volume (actually it’s zero volume and since we’re being nitpicky I’m going to correct you on that one). The minimum theoretical mass of a black hole is called the Planck Mass. You’ll run into Planck a lot in physics. It’s the mass that creates a black hole with a Schwarzchild (sorry if I spelled that wrong) radius of the Planck Length. And guess what? It’s kind of heavy but a flea weighs in at about 5000 Planck Masses. So you see, you don’t need a lot of mass for gravity to overwhelm the other 3 forces. I really shouldn’t have said high and low mass regimes so I’ll give the point for making a pedantic correction. I was thinking I should have said density but given my audience couldn’t even conceive of gravity being a strong force I figured I’d better keep it simple. There is a bit of disagreement over this. There is a quantum gravity theory that says electrons are really black holes. It’s called (really creatively) the Electron Black Hole Theory. Black holes you see have properties spin, charge, mass and that’s it. Elementary particles have the same properties and that’s it. So you can’t tell a microscopic black hole apart from an elementary particle. There are obvious problems with this. Two electrons getting close to each other don’t form a bigger electron with twice the mass. Two black holes would according to what we know about gravity but given this would be quantum gravity and we don’t know how quantum gravity behaves all bets are off. A second problem is that a black hole of such tiny mass has a very short shelf life and should dissipate in a little flash of Hawking radiation in microseconds. Electrons are rather stable little fellows. And last electrons have a mass much less than the Planck Mass. Isn’t this all just fascinating? And to think the discussion started from a boneheaded 11th grade physics assertion that gravity is the weakest force. -ds

  30. Wheatdogg,

    Its the little god of avoiding answers at all cost.

    Let Glen and Panda answer the real questions he tried to deride and not answer.

    If this is the state of evolutionary science, no wonder it takes judicial system to keep its doctrine in our school systems without allowing rebuttals.

    Evidently, its empty rhetoric without any accurate experimentation and so all it can do is sidestep the real problems.

    Children see thru this.

  31. 31

    Hmm… DaveScot, you neglected to mention the very first sentence in Professor John G. Cramer’s essay.

    It is: “Gravity is the weakest force in the universe.”

    I’m certain the omission was totally inadvertent.

  32. So we have a Physics Professor saying:

    “Gravity is the weakest force in the universe.”

    and

    “Curiously, in some ways gravity is also the strongest force in the universe.”

    Then we have me saying:

    “It’s really a matter of regimes. I was just correcting Glen when he called gravity a weak force. In high mass regimes gravity is the strongest of all the forces. In low mass regimes it is the weakest. One can’t really can’t call gravity weak or strong without qualification.”

    How strange. I seem to be saying exactly the same thing as a Professor of Nuclear Physics while the nitwits here, including you, can only parrot what’s in a high school physics course from 30 years ago. How odd. It seems someone here has a bit deeper knowledge of the subject than others. :razz:

  33. Michaels7 –

    Is your response supposed to mean something? I was commenting on gravitation, not evolution.

    If you have problems with the theory of evolution, do you also have problems with the theory of the Big Bang and the evolution of the universe? The two theories parallel each other in many ways, and detractors can and do argue that they find the evidence for the Big Bang less than compelling. Yet I detect an acceptance of the Big Bang theory here.

    DaveScot –

    Given your obvious mastery of the finer aspects of gravitational physics, would you care to share with us your credentials and/or background in the field?

    Certainly. I’m an autodidact with a certified IQ north of 150 (MGCT and SAT tests). I had a college level vocabulary at 9 years of age and was reading everything about science I could get my hands on starting a few years before that. I’ve continued on that course for over 40 years. In my spare time I became a computer design engineer and self-made millionaire. I quit my day job after making my third million (about 6 years ago) so I can concentrate on fun subjects like science that has little or nothing to do with computers (if I can help it), politics, and religion. So basically all the scientific discovery of the last 40 years important enough to make it into the pages of Scientific American I read about at the time it was discovered. For the last 13 years though I’ve had a broadband connection to the internet and my sources expanded exponentially. For the last 6 years I haven’t been burdened with being a computer whiz kid and my time to learn new things has expanded not exponentially but at least doubled or trebled. Any more questions? -ds

  34. Actually, in my last graf I was including white dwarfs, n-stars and black holes as extreme examples of a lot of mass in small volumes. In the case of a BH, the volume of the singularity is (theoretically) zero, as you say. We have good evidence that macroscopic black holes exist. I haven’t heard any similarly compelling evidence for microscopic ones yet.

    Keep in mind that macroscopic black holes, absent new matter to suck in, bleed off their mass as Hawking radiation. Or so goes a popular theory of black holes. Eventually an isolated black hole will evaporate by this mechanism and along the way will shrink down to the minimum theoretical mass. Early in the history of the universe conditions may have been conducive to the formation of microscopic black holes. This late in the game no such mechanism is known to exist so only the big ones from massive stars that run out of fuel are thought to exist. At any rate, the question of whether smaller holes could survive from the early universe is an intriguing one. Since we don’t have theory of quantum gravity we don’t really know for sure that microscopic black holes will evaporate. As far as we know for sure the universe could be brimming full of them and there’s a handly explanation for the dark matter problem. There might even be an explanation lurking in there for the dark energy problem as well. All bets are off until we know how quantum gravity behaves. Cosmology is probably my favorite science if not astronomy. If I hadn’t loved money more I would have been an astronomer instead of a computer geek. About the time I entered the workforce electronics was where all the big bucks were at so that’s where I went. I think if I were a young man today I’d go into biotechnology. My generation tamed the electron. The newest generation is going to tame the genome. It’s very exciting and probably of even greater import than electronics and computer science although the former were prerequisite to the latter. Have you read the book Engines of Creation by K.Eric Drexler? I did, in hardcover when it was first available in 1987. I still consider it the single most important and prophetic book on technology ever written. It’s available free online today in hypertext format. Interestingly enough, the book itself predicted the explosion of hypertext and the internet. It’s been fun watching its predictions come to pass. Taming the genome is the next big step it predicted and it appears to be happening right on schedule. We live in interesting times. -ds

  35. 35

    Hmm… DaveScot, you said you had broadband for 13 years, and while I’m nowhere as brilliant as you obviously are, I really don’t think broadband was available until 1997 — at the extreme earliest — which is.. let me see … only 9 years ago. Indeed, in practical terms, broadband wasn’t commercially available ’till much later.

    I’m certain your error was totally inadvertent.

    P.S. Gravity continues to be the weakest force in the universe, with or without broadband availability.

    Not inadvertant at all. 13 years ago I was a senior engineer at Dell Computer Corporation where we pioneered using the internet to manage the business, supply chain, and eventually much of our sales. I had a high speed internet connection there in 1993. A few years later, must’ve been around 1997, I was one of the first 500 people in the city of Austin to get RoadRunner broadband cable modem service in my home – it was their beta test program. Gravity is the strongest force in some situations and it’s time for you to take a hike. See ya. -ds

  36. DaveScot, wasn’t it a bit dishonest to support your claim “gravity is the strongest force in nature” by quoting an essay whose first sentence is “Gravity is the weakest force in the universe”, and then deliberately omitting that sentence? The essay goes on to say “gravity waves are the wave embodiment of the weakest force of the universe (gravity is 4.3 x 10-40 times weaker than electromagnetism)”, so I’m not sure that Cramer actually is on your side.

    I suppose that a better analogy to macroevolution might be the theory of stellar evolution. Obviously this has never been observed in the lab! We have plenty of observations of stars in different states – different spectra, masses, and luminosities – but no one’s ever observed a star moving from one state to another. The theory of stellar evolution predicts that phenomena like helium poisoning will happen, but no one’s ever observed it in the wild, as it were, let alone reproduced it in the laboratory. Yet still people believe it…

    What would have been dishonest was to not include a link to the article. Cramer said exactly what I did and that is that gravity, depending on the context, can also be seen as the strongest force. I quoted the relevant portion. No one, including me, argued that gravity in low density conditions at very short distances is not the weakest force. Overall I’d say gravity is the strongest force in the universe. Neither the electromagnetic nor the strong or weak nuclear forces have any effect at great distance but gravity’s effect stretches all the way across the observable universe. To call it the weakest force is preposterous in the big picture. In the big picture there’s no significant force but gravity. Cramer agrees and so would anyone else with a brain in their head and some knowledge of astrophysics. -ds

    You can sort of say stellar evolution has been observed in the lab. The energy/density regimes in stars has been acheived in particle accelerators. We can observe and measure them at all stages of their life cycles with instruments in a laboratory – granted the objects the instruments study are not contained within the laboratory. Indeed, the objects the instruments are studying no longer even exist as astronomy outside the local stellar neighborhood is looking back in time as well as far out into space. What remains beyond the laboratory is the conditions in the first few picoseconds after the big bang and the conditions inside the event horizon in black holes which is essentially the same as what the universe was like right before the big bang – gravitational singularities. We don’t even have any good theories of gravitational singularities – that’s like the holy grail of physics to describe gravity at the quantum scale. Each new generation of particle accelerator however pushes back how far we can see into what it was like at the beginning of the universe. High energy physics is fascinating stuff. Much more interesting than fossil collecting, for instance, and almost certainly more practical in the application of the knowledge acquired too. -ds

  37. Oh goody, the dopey little contributors at ATBC now proclaim that SAT scores don’t measure IQ. How can computer literate people make bogus claims like that when it’s so easy to do a little fact checking and they can be shown to be idiots making things up out of thin air so easily? It boggles my 99.97th percentile mind.

    Almost all the High IQ societies accept SAT scores to meet entrance requirements. My SAT score was 1480 in 1978. I took it during my last few months in the Marine Corps after having been away from school for 4 years (except for a few business classes at Pepperdine). I can’t quite make it into the best of the best as my test score is only in the 99.97th percentile while societies like Prometheus and a few others require 99.99 or better scores.

    http://members.shaw.ca/delajara/criteria.html

    And the reason I say this isn’t to brag. It’s to provoke antagonists into heated response and it works like a charm. I play them like a fiddle. :-)

  38. Uh, my acronyms are missing – what’s ATBC? I know PT, and AE, but ATBC????
    Randy

  39. Randy! You’re in for a real treat. ATBC is After The Bar Closes. It’s an extension of Panda’s Thumb. Unsurprisingly I’m banned there as well as at Panda’s Thumb and every other Darwinian chance worshipping website in the known universe.

    The longest and bestest thread at ATBC is called Uncommonly Dense and it was created to honor me (in the manner of little boys pulling the hair of little girls they lust after because they don’t know any other way to get their attention) after Bill Dembski made me blogczar here.

    http://www.antievolution.org/c.....=14;t=1274

    Enjoy!

  40. But that’s rather like saying that (biological) evolution has been observed in the lab. The mechanisms are variation, inheritance of variation and differential reproductive success – well, all of these have been reproduced in the lab. (Variation? Stick some seeds in front of a gamma ray source and then leave them to germinate. Inheritance? Obvious since Mendel. Differential reproductive success? Try breeding fruit flies in a pesticide-rich environment.) Dismissing this as an artificial environment makes little sense if you’re willing at the same time to generalise from a particle accelerator to the heart of a sun.

    We can observe and monitor species in the wild, just as astronomers can observe stars in space – the products of evolution. We can use the fossil record to find out what species used to exist – just as astronomers use nebulas to deduce that stellar events happened in the past. In fact, given that microevolution has been observed in the lab, I’d say that biological evolution is on firmer ground than stellar evolution. I’m just unclear why different standards of proof apply to animals than to stars.

    Not to rub it in, but Cramer didn’t say exactly what you did. In the sentence you omitted, he said exactly the opposite. You missed out his qualification “in some ways”, which rather alters the sense. Take this passage: “An infant is the most harmless creature imaginable. But in some ways, an infant is more lethal than a cruise missile. Death in childbirth kills millions of women every year.” If you were to opine that CHILDREN ARE MURDERERS and quote the passage as “an infant is more lethal than a cruise missile”, I’d regard that as dishonest – wouldn’t you?

    You’re beginning to bore me. I said (comment #13):

    If there is enough mass in a small enough space gravity overwhelms all the other forces of nature. You aren’t calling for comparing objects of equal mass. You are calling for comparing objects of low mass. Gravity is additive and works over large distances. Given enough mass in a small enough space it overwhelms all the other forces of nature. It’s really a matter of regimes. I was just correcting Glen when he called gravity a weak force. In high mass regimes gravity is the strongest of all the forces. In low mass regimes it is the weakest. One can’t really can’t call gravity weak or strong without qualification.

    This is essentially what Cramer stated. He “In some ways” and I “it’s a matter of regimes”. :roll:

    Stellar evolution is based on the behavior of matter at high temperatures and densities. Fusion isn’t a theoretical behavior, it’s been verified in the laboratory. Fusion is a fundamental aspect of stellar evolution. The higher temperatures and densities up through supernova and neutron stars have been explored in particle accelerators. Even quark soups have been created. In evolution a fundamental claim is that random mutation and natural selection can work together to create novel cell types, tissue types, organs, and body plans. This has not been demonstrated in a lab. Not only have these largest of claims (excluding abiogenesis which is the biggest fairy tale of all) not been demonstrated in a lab, even the smaller claim of speciation has not been demonstrated in a lab. Indeed, the mechanism driving evolution hasn’t been observed to cause any of the larger claims in OR OUT of a laboratory. Only trivial mutations without significant natural selection value have been demonstrated in a lab and only small mutations that haven’t been shown to originate from blind chance but do have natural selection value have been observed outside the lab (bacterial resistance to antibiotics, finch beak size, moth wing color). If you can’t acknowledge this as the truth you are either stupid, ignorant, or insane (or wicked but I’d rather not consider that). -ds

  41. Eh? Poland has always been the traditional butt of jokes about dumb people.

    Check this out…

    http://members.shaw.ca/delajara/NationalIQs.html

    Poland ranks third in Europe for highest average IQ (108) behind #1 Holland and #2 Germany.

  42. wheatdogg,

    “If you have problems with the theory of evolution, do you also have problems with the theory of the Big Bang and the evolution of the universe? The two theories parallel each other in many ways, and detractors can and do argue that they find the evidence for the Big Bang less than compelling. Yet I detect an acceptance of the Big Bang theory here.”

    I know you were commenting on gravity. That’s what I find so interesting. How you and others defend so dramatically gravity issues better than RM macro-evolution experiments in the lab.

    Shouldn’t that cause one to pause – for a moment – and at least reconsider the current state of science in regards to macro-evolution? It appears dismal in comparison to other areas of science.

    Glen could not adequately defend macro-evolution in the lab. That’s my point in rebuttal to his original post here. By sidestepping the original faults with experimental macro-evolution, Glen has successfully changed the topic of Coulter’s original and evidently devastating target.

    That macro-evolutionist have failed in the lab. Its a valid statement of current science trends.

    You’re making my point along with Glen. He avoided the real issue. And while you enjoy responding to Dave, we still have no real answer. I stated Glen could not answer honestly questions put forward about macro-evolution experiments in the lab as pointed out initially by Ann Coulter.

    The fact that so many are now jumping in on this conversation about gravity, but cannot answer the pointed questions from Ann Coulter, should tell you something about the state of real macro-evolution science.

    This is not any kind of personal attack. But macro-evolution science is in big trouble if it cannot respond adequately to a Satirist comments in a book, let alone genetic scientist, etc., who doubt macro-evolution for all the diversity we see on this planet.

    In regards to your comment in comparison about the Big Bang. This is a typical non-answer response and no different than Glen’s attempts to avoid at all cost the real issue of lab experiments with macro-evolution.

    He derides Coulter, but does not answer her question.

    My views on Big Bang, the universe, pulsars, dark energy, quantum mechanics, relativity, Bugs Bunny or Dr. Seuss have nothing to do with failure of Glen’s response to Coulter.

    As was pointed out – again. His answer sidesteps the real questions in this debate. You can argue gravity all you want. I’m merely pointing out the comfort level you have on such a subject as opposed to macro-evolution lab experiments.

    The fact Coulters question was never addressed head on is proof enough to me, no one has a real answer to the problems of macro-evolution. At least not yet, nor in the future with regards to RM as a mechanism for such new creation. If they did they could point to successful lab experiments, or even possible promising areas in the future. The truth is RM as a mechanism is an utter failure in the lab due to its unpredictability.

    RM creates a dead end for experimentation. True success is in Design. There’s no way to get around this issue. Its the Big Pink Elephant. The Fluffy Wabbit.

    Glen’s sidetrack issue about gravity, this protesting over gravity, the attacks on Dave Scott’s abilities, etc., is just a smoke screen in response to Dave. Although Dave can easily defend himself, it just continues to shine light away from the failures of McEvo.

    My point again to you and to Glen in his original response here. This has nothing to do with macro-evolution in the lab. You know it, Glen knows it and Panda people know it, or you, anyone else would point to real world experiments of macro-evolution that succeed, is repeated and verifiable by other independent labs.

    If macro-evolution is true, then Time has nothing to do with recreating it in a lab. If so, scientist would not attempt all the fruit fly experiments. In an earlier post I specified a scientist is replicating bladders for use in original donor patients. It takes 40 days for the initial cells to grow before they surgically implant the new bladder in the original donor. This is successful science, not just done in the lab, but done real time, real success with living people far past initial experimental stages on animals or insects.

    Once again, evolution does not enter the equation for such breakthru science. Dr. Skell pointed this out and he is being vindicated again and again despite critics charges against him and vitriolic hatred thrown at him by the likes of PZ.

    Likewise, McEvo’s should eventually morph a new species. You should be able to apply RM&NS mechanisms for successful experiments. If RM&NS are the great mechanism claimed, it should produce. McEvo so far has failed. Because Glen could not point to any success, he sidetracked the real problem and pointed to another area in science to make comparisons as if in the future RM experiments will produce. But this just muddies the water, just like you did to me about Big Bang.

    I’m merely continuing to point out there are no good answers coming back from the other side. I desire real answers. That’s not to much to ask. I’m open minded about this. Show me evidence and I’ll accept it. But please, do not show me species variations due to natural selection that are nothing more than superficial traits within species. Show me real evidence of experimental success utilizing RM.

    My contending belief is scientist will Design new species before RM works in a lab.

    Because as they continue to explore and discover life on the molecular and nano level they will discover new laws governing living systems. These will be clearly defined steps(not Random Mutations), easy to duplicate(once fully understood), programmable, assisted by math and physics with respect to folding of proteins, signaling, cell structure, thermodynamic process, etc.

    Enjoy your discussion on gravity. Meanwhile, macro-evolution and RM experiments remain like black holes on the horizon.

  43. Hmm. Well, michaels7, I am more comfortable commenting on physics and astronomy than biology because I have taught physics and astro for more than 20 years, and studied them longer than that. I am not as qualified as some to respond to your arguments against evolution and “Darwinism,” so I prefer not to. I do find it somewhat amusing that you and DaveScot seem very comfortable with some of the more esoteric conclusions of physics, astronomy and cosmology (which others, such as steady-state universe types, reject) while considering evolution anathema. From my perspective, as a teacher of two decades, one could reject the evidence for the Big Bang as easily as the evidence for evolution. Both involve timescales that outstrip human consciousness, and both involve some amount of inference to draw conclusions from the available evidence.

    I think you’ve probably got me wrong. I have no problem at all with descent from a universal common ancestor. I think the evidence of it is quite compelling. Many ID proponents share that view. Where we have a problem is that we don’t believe the digitally programmed molecular machinery resident in every living cell could have possibly assembled itself. It’s an engineered system. It was designed. It’s not an illusion of design it’s really design. The illusion, and a rather shallow illusion it is, is that this engineered system came about by chance. -ds

    Sure, we have duplicated on a micro level the energy density conditions of the early universe. We have have verified experimentally the predictions of the electroweak and electronuclear unification theories. No one has yet produced a black hole or a neutron star in the lab (fortunately, I would say), nor do we have any firm idea of what constitutes dark matter and dark energy. Yet, you guys seem to have no problems, apparently, extrapolating from small-scale experimental results to the theory of the Big Bang — the theory of the evolution of the universe.

    That’s because the Big Bang isn’t a self-replicating machine driven by a digitally coded program so complex it makes the space shuttle and the whole Kennedy Space Center look like a crude tinkertoy contraption in comparison. The evolution of the universe can be observed in large measure because the speed of light limitation lets us look back in time and our theories of physics are complete enough to trace everything with mathematical precision to many decimal places back to picoseconds after the big bang. The evolution of life is nothing like that. We have imprints in rocks to work with and everything else is inference. Biological evolution can’t be duplicated in any manner, it can’t be repeated, it can’t be observed, and it can’t be predicted. We can predict the evolution of stars and galaxies, their motions, where they’ve been and where they’re going with high precision. We can predict crap about where evolution is going. It can’t even be demonstrated that evolution is still happening! Man is the most recent mammal species and there hasn’t been a new genus of any kind in millions of years. As far as anyone can actually demonstrate humanity is the end of the line for evolution and nothing but new varieties of existing species accompanied by massive extinction is what’s happening today and forever more. -ds

    Meanwhile, you reject evolution and the equally inferential evidence for it out of hand, and demand some kind of laboratory proof that macro-evolution occurs. What would satisfy you, an entirely new species of animal created by some kind of accelerated environmental or population pressure in the lab? Voila! The pushme-pullyu! A talking pig!

    I see you’re about finished with wanting a real discussion with that paragraph. You came here with a closed mind and an admitted lack of enough knowledge of biology to make a cogent defense of NDE. -ds

    Can you offer a laboratory experiment or result that verifies Design as the motivator for biologic diversity? You argue the negative — against evolution — at length. Can you argue the positive — experimental verification of Design — as well?

    Or to approach the issue from a different tack: do you also contend that the Big Bang and the resulting universe result from Design? If you do, and you accept the available experimental and observational evidence support the Big Bang, then why not apply the same acceptance to the available evidence for evolution?

    And DaveScot, you have not answered my question regarding any formal schooling in physics or astro. Just a reminder.

    I had all the formal training in electromagnetic theory the military has to offer which is substantial plus a number of college classes after the military but I didn’t learn anything in the college classes that I hadn’t already learned on my own. I think it’s your turn to tell us about yourself now. You can start out with your real name and where you work. If your next comment doesn’t include that information you can take a hike since that’s the way you want to play.

  44. I’m sorry if I’m starting to bore you – I’ll try to make my comments more appealling. Maybe I should put in more smiley faces!

    “Only trivial mutations without significant natural selection value have been demonstrated in a lab and only small mutations that haven’t been shown to originate from blind chance but do have natural selection value have been observed outside the lab (bacterial resistance to antibiotics, finch beak size, moth wing color).”

    I believe you’re slightly off on these points. First of all, a lot of mutations that have been produced in the lab have significant natural selection value. Antennipedia in Drosophila, for example – it’s hard to argue that this would not affect fitness.

    Legs in place of antenna have selection value? Now you’ve gone from boring to stupid. -ds

    Second, I’m unsure what you mean when you say that things like finch beak size have not been shown to originate from blind chance. If you are arguing that some directing force produced the variation on which the selective force of different foods or soot on treetrunks acted, then I should point out that that is not a very helpful position – for one thing, it’s unfalsifiable.

    The mechanism for changing the size of finch beaks was already in the finch. Nothing randomly mutated. Finchs are hatched with varying beak sizes and if there’s any significant selection pressure smaller or larger will be preferred through differential reproduction. Changes in scale and cosmetics are routine adaptation and there’s nothing blind about the process – it’s ongoing and purposeful – a quick & direct response to the environment. No one ever talks about how Darwin’s finch beaks returned to normal size when the drought was over. -ds

    Meanwhile, by demanding the demonstration of speciation in the laboratory, you are setting the bar unreasonably high. Evolutionary biology is barely 150 years old as a science, and speciation takes a lot longer than that. In any case, you already agree that speciation takes place in the wild!

    Unreasonably high? So if you claimed that pigs had wings & could fly it would be unreasonable for me to ask for a demonstration? This is your last comment here. -ds

    I confess you’ve confused me by saying that you have no problem with the idea of common descent. Presumably you have no problem with the idea of inherited variation (if you do, I have a Moravian monk handy who would like a word) – your sticking point seems to be that you have a rather different concept of mutation from most biologists.

    You’re confused alright but I wasn’t the cause. -ds

  45. Let’s lay out the equations to make sense of the controversy:
    F = G *(m1 * m2) / r^2

    That’s the force given by gravity, and if you use kg for mass and meters for r, then the units that come out are in N.

    Couloumb’s Law for the force between two point charges:
    F = 1 / (4*pi*vacuum resistivity) * (q1 * q2) / r^2

    Now, let us assume for a moment that we want to compare the two forces. In order to do this fairly, we ought to use the same values for all of the variables in the two equations which we can — in this case, r. Let’s just use an r = 1 meter. This gets rid of the r^2 term in both equations.

    Now, let’s set the two equations equal to one another and see what happens:
    (m1 * m2) * G = 1 / (4*pi*vacuum resistivity) * (q1 * q2)

    Let’s get rid of all of the constants:

    (m1* m2) / (q1 * q2) = 1 / (G * 4 * pi * vacuum resistivity) = 1.3 * 10^20

    What in the hell does this mean? It means that the ratio of multiplied masses to multiplied charges has to be 10^20 in order for the forces to be equal to one another. That’s the regime in which the forces can be equal. Obviously, you can do the algebra to see that the when charge is dissipated and mass built up enough in neutron stars, they do indeed surpass this ratio.

    In this sense, Dave is right, in that inside neutron stars, gravity has overcome electromagnetism. Perhaps that is simply what he should’ve said to begin with, that the potential for gravity’s force to overcome the force of electromagnetism is there, so long as the ratio of m/q is high enough. That doesn’t mean that gravity “is stronger than” electromagnetism, of course, when we consider “non special cases”. For instance, do a simple calculation of the gravitational and electromagnetic force between a proton and neutron 1 m away from one another, and this is where the ratio originally cited by Kibitz in the comment above.

    However, since the Chandrasekhar mass is only achieved in stars which can accumulate enough Fe56 to collapse inward, the “regime” is limited to stars which start out at least 15-30 solar masses, and go through stellar evolution, and arrive at a neutron star potentiality.

    So, I don’t know what to conclude from here…Dave was right and wrong. It is *possible* for gravity to overcome the other forces, but it is, indeed, by far the weakest of the four in 99.99999% of the possible scenarios you can speculate on in our universe.

    In the beginning gravity was not just the strongest force it was the only force if the big bang theory is correct. There was a gravitational singularity that contained all the mass/energy in the universe today. It wasn’t until after the universe expanded and cooled that the other three forces, in order of descending strength I might add, separated out from the single primordial force of gravity. The macroscopic structure of the universe today isn’t governed by the electromagnetic force or the strong or weak nuclear forces. The motions of planets, stars, and galaxies are governed by gravity and gravity alone. Again, gravity isn’t just the strongest force in that context, it’s the only force with any measurable effect in that context. And again, that context is the entire universe at the macro structural level. As to gravity in high density situations, the minimum mass of a black hole where gravity is not just the strongest force but the only force, is one Planck Mass, or the mass required to form a black hole with Schwarzchild radius of one Planck Length. The exact number escapes me but a flea is about 5000 Planck masses. As to whether this density regime is “normal” or not is a matter of speculation. Only about 5% of the known universe is composed of visible matter. Some 20% is dark matter and some 75% is dark energy. It’s quite possible that the dark matter is composed of primordial black holes and so in that case the normal state of matter is condensed into gravitational singularites while visible matter is simply froth on an ocean of dark matter and dark energy. Lay out those equations and cipher them, skiddlybop. -ds

  46. It should also be noted that gravity will only “rule the universe” should the “big crunch” (cyclic universe) prove correct. And if that’s the case, ID is out the window, metaphysically at least. If you accept a cyclic universe and ID, it has to be a natural, material designer. As it stands, it appears that acceleration of galaxies away from one another evidences against the hypothesis, but more data is needed.

    Gravity rules the macroscopic structure and motion of matter in the universe today. If it isn’t strong enough to halt or reverse the expansion then eventually comes the Big Rip (as opposed to the Big Crunch) where in the last instant even atoms are destroyed as their subatomic particles fly apart due to the expansion of space. -ds

  47. – “I think it’s your turn to tell us about yourself now. You can start out with your real name and where you work. If your next comment doesn’t include that information you can take a hike since that’s the way you want to play.”

    Well, your moderation policy says nothing about identifying ourselves by our real names, or revealing our employers, if that is what you ask. I don’t know DaveScot’s or michaels7′s real names & locations, for example. But, whatever. A sufficiently curious person could google “wheatdogg” on the ‘net and come up with the info anyway.

    My real name is John Wheaton, and I teach physics and sometimes astro and maths in Louisville, Kentucky. I maintain a blog at http://www.wheatdogg.com — the wheatdogg comes from a nickname my students gave me. If you want more details, you can visit my site.

    High school physics. That explains the defense of the strength of gravity with the depth found in a high school physics text. -ds

    True enough, I confess to a weak understanding of the finer points of biology, but as a scientifically trained “layman,” I do comprehend the basic principles of genetics and the conclusions of evolution. I am not an ignoramus — my board scores were pretty high, too, ds. The arguments for intelligent design do not convince me, so if you want to attach a label to me and call me a “darwinist,” then go ahead.

    I still have questions for you all. First, what do you mean by “digitally programmed.” I would have identified biochemical processes as analog programs.

    The genetic code is digital. It is a base 4 number system with digits 0, 1, 2, and 3 represented by adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine. These are grouped into 3 digit words called codons. There are 64 possible combinations. Each codon corresponds to an entry in a lookup table which associates it with one of 20 amino acids. If you’re a digitial design engineer or programmer you are intimately familiar with lookup tables as they are one of the most common structures found in digital hardware and software. Certain sequences of codons mark the start and end of “coding” genes. Ribosomes, which are the protein assembly machines used by all cells, are fed RNA copies of coding genes. DNA is analogous to disk storage in computers (non-volatile, stable, slow) while the RNA copy is analogous to RAM (fast, volatile, temporary). The ribosome walks the sequence from start to finish translating each codon into the corresponding amino acid and attaching it to the end of an amino acid string (aka polymer, protein, enzyme). All living things use the same digital genetic code and ribosome to build proteins which can be thought of as the building blocks of life. There is nothing analog about it. In fact DNA and the ribosome together resemble nothing so much as a computer controlled pick & place machine cranking out identical 3 dimensional parts to specification from a set of 20 basic building blocks. A little robot building things out of 20 different lego blocks if you will. If you really were a “scientifically trained layman” with both biology and computer science under your belt I shouldn’t have to explain this to you. It’s basic biology and basic computer science along with bit of number theory to understand base 4. Anyone who’s taken introductory courses in both and can correlate it should grasp this without explanation. The problem with biologists is they generally don’t have a clue how digitally programmed machinery works and wouldn’t recognize one if it bit them on the ankle. There’s virtually no traditional biology in the genetic code and the construction of proteins. It’s factory automation which happens to be one my areas of professional expertise. I don’t pretend to know a whole lot about historical biology but I do know a whole lot about digital programs, machinery, and design of same and I know one when it bites me on the ankle no matter where it came from. -ds

    You state, in part, “It’s an engineered system. It was designed. It’s not an illusion of design it’s really design.” Are you making this as an a priori assumption, or do you have experimental or observational support for the statement? And, more to my point, if you presume life has been engineered and/or designed, why not the universe as a whole? It is rather convenient that the universe developed in such a way to make our existence possible, no? Does that also suggest design, or not?

    We can observe the expansion of the universe, and test the physics of the early universe in the lab. We are not able, however, to watch the formation of stellar systems in real time, anymore than we can observe macro-evolution in process. Yet, you are willing to accept (apparently) current models for galactic, stellar and planetary formation, but not the models for development of new species. Perhaps you are more confident in physics as a science than in biology?

    You state, “I see you’re about finished with wanting a real discussion with that paragraph. You came here with a closed mind and an admitted lack of enough knowledge of biology to make a cogent defense of NDE. -ds”

    You are drawing conclusions from insufficient evidence. Since you don’t know me, you have no right to accuse me of having a closed mind. I am confident that evolution is correct, but my mind is not entirely closed to ID arguments. Yet I am very skeptical of ID in general. Scientists are supposed to be skeptical, right? I asked a legitimate question, but perhaps I was too sarcastic. You want laboratory verification of macro-evolution. OK. What kind of verification?

    And one last thing. You said, “humanity is the end of the line for evolution.” Who says humans are the pinnacle of evolution? I am not sure any biologist would place us at the top of the “evolution pyramid.” AFAIK, evolution does not propose that organisms have evolved with the “purpose” to produce an intelligent, tool-making species. It happened, but there are no guarantees it could happen again.

    I really don’t have the time to continue your education in this manner. You know too much to take my word for things without argument and too little to have any chance of making any points in your arguments. -ds

  48. Oh, okay, I’ve been pushed into the ATBC over at PT and jeered, insulted etc. So yes, I suppose you could say I’ve received that treat!

    Randy

  49. Here’s an interesting read relevant to the discussion here I think:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2143403/entry/0/

    BTW, I have never really understood why one can be so confident in stating that one force “materialised” before the other in the first few fractions of a second after the big bang. It’s pure speculation, extreme extrapolation from mathematical models that are succesful in explaining very simple physical systems. What if the same degree of rigor that’s applied here to the theory of evolution were applied to cosmology? Having said that, it’s of course jolly good fun to speculate about these things.

    Damn, the French are going to make it to the next round in the world cup.

    I have never really understood why one can be so confident in stating that one force “materialised” before the other in the first few fractions of a second after the big bang.

    Then you don’t understand the equations that describe matter and energy. -ds

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