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06/19/2013 02:10:07 AM · #26
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

No use creating a new thread, but I thought I'd quote a bit from an io9 article about the Higgs Boson. Am I just noticing this now? Fascinating stuff and worthy of comment:

The spectacular discovery of the Higgs boson in July 2012 confirmed a nearly 50-year-old theory of how elementary particles acquire mass, which enables them to form big structures such as galaxies and humans. ďThe fact that it was seen more or less where we expected to find it is a triumph for experiment, itís a triumph for theory, and itís an indication that physics works,Ē Arkani-Hamed told the crowd.

However, in order for the Higgs boson to make sense with the mass (or equivalent energy) it was determined to have, the LHC needed to find a swarm of other particles, too. None turned up.

With the discovery of only one particle, the LHC experiments deepened a profound problem in physics that had been brewing for decades. Modern equations seem to capture reality with breathtaking accuracy, correctly predicting the values of many constants of nature and the existence of particles like the Higgs. Yet a few constants ó including the mass of the Higgs boson ó are exponentially different from what these trusted laws indicate they should be, in ways that would rule out any chance of life, unless the universe is shaped by inexplicable fine-tunings and cancellations.


LOL.

So basically, we don't have it fine tuned just yet, and haven't solved all the mysteries - but we're about 98% of the way there. So there obviously must be a god.

Amusing theory Sneezy.
06/19/2013 11:17:48 AM · #27
You aren't reading very hard and that's not what I was saying (though it is my own personal conclusion). Basically it was to point out the fine-tuning problem of the universe has gotten bigger, not smaller. I do find that fascinating because it forces us to consider it likely that there is something else other than our universe. (though that doesn't have to be something that looks like a Western God).
06/19/2013 01:32:02 PM · #28
BTW, let me say that I don't post things like this as an attempt at, "I'm right. You're wrong." I'm intelligent enough to know this doesn't amount to that. I post things like this as an attempt to allow people like you (or the other usual suspects) to have some insight into why smart people would ever conclude there is a God. The fine-tuning of the universe is an example. It is not proof. Not by a long-shot. BUT, it does lay the framework for a rational argument, or at the least, levels the playing field (as alternative ideas would also be philosophical rather than open to scientific evidence). It is another defeater for "scientism" and even is a strike against materialism. That is nothing to just dismiss.
06/19/2013 01:51:00 PM · #29
Two irrefutable positions:

1. There is a God. Anything I don't understand is the workings of this superior being beyond my understanding, who graciously allowed humans to know his name.

2. There is no God. There's no reason for me to believe that stuff beyond human understanding is the work of a being named by humans as God.

And yet they love to argue with each other.
06/19/2013 01:57:19 PM · #30
Originally posted by posthumous:

Two irrefutable positions:

1. There is a God. Anything I don't understand is the workings of this superior being beyond my understanding, who graciously allowed humans to know his name.

2. There is no God. There's no reason for me to believe that stuff beyond human understanding is the work of a being named by humans as God.

And yet they love to argue with each other.


Amen! :)

I do think one can kvetch about these things philosophically. One cannot refute either premise scientifically, but that is going to the wrong well for water.
06/19/2013 02:23:21 PM · #31
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Amen! :)

I do think one can kvetch about these things philosophically. One cannot refute either premise scientifically, but that is going to the wrong well for water.


It seems pointless to me to take either position. #1 is too easy to make fun of. #2 is too reductive. They're both too reductive.

I think you and I would agree about the usefulness of God and religion, though we might differ on how useful, and some of the uses.

06/19/2013 02:29:04 PM · #32
Originally posted by posthumous:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Amen! :)

I do think one can kvetch about these things philosophically. One cannot refute either premise scientifically, but that is going to the wrong well for water.


It seems pointless to me to take either position. #1 is too easy to make fun of. #2 is too reductive. They're both too reductive.

I think you and I would agree about the usefulness of God and religion, though we might differ on how useful, and some of the uses.


ROFL.

That's actually the most moderate statement I've ever heard with which I can fully and wholeheartedly agree!

ETA: For me, I'm pretty close to #2 - But it's more like

"There is no evidence of gods - there are things that we don't yet understand, but progress is being made every day. I simply don't have any reason to give credit to this god theory - and several reasons to hold it highly suspect"

Message edited by author 2013-06-19 14:31:13.
06/19/2013 02:39:30 PM · #33
Originally posted by posthumous:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Amen! :)

I do think one can kvetch about these things philosophically. One cannot refute either premise scientifically, but that is going to the wrong well for water.


It seems pointless to me to take either position. #1 is too easy to make fun of. #2 is too reductive. They're both too reductive.

I think you and I would agree about the usefulness of God and religion, though we might differ on how useful, and some of the uses.


It does seem that way, but the agnostic #3 position seems too head-in-the-sandish (there must be a better word!) because too much of our worldview is build upon this foundation.

Personally, I can respect #1 OR #2 if people have thought it through why they land at their position AND they realize there are reasons to cast their own position in doubt.
06/19/2013 03:11:23 PM · #34
Since I'll be clinically dead for a bit on Monday, I'll let you know what I find.
06/19/2013 03:19:00 PM · #35
Originally posted by Kelli:

Since I'll be clinically dead for a bit on Monday, I'll let you know what I find.


Rather nicely macabre sense of humor there! I love it.

Hope all goes well for you, looking forward to your report. ;)

Message edited by author 2013-06-19 15:19:34.
06/19/2013 04:03:21 PM · #36
re: Aliens, evolution, and creationism

darn another great challenge suggestion misdirected to rant
06/19/2013 07:08:35 PM · #37
Originally posted by Cory:

Originally posted by Kelli:

Since I'll be clinically dead for a bit on Monday, I'll let you know what I find.


Rather nicely macabre sense of humor there! I love it.

Hope all goes well for you, looking forward to your report. ;)


Thanks!

;P
06/20/2013 12:10:00 AM · #38
Originally posted by Cory:

Originally posted by Kelli:

Since I'll be clinically dead for a bit on Monday, I'll let you know what I find.


Rather nicely macabre sense of humor there! I love it.

Hope all goes well for you, looking forward to your report. ;)

Bated breath here, bated breath!
06/20/2013 02:39:36 PM · #39
Did everything go ok, Kelli? Have you returned to us suddenly a master harpist? (EDIT: I reread and see you aren't having your procedure until Monday. Best of wishes for a quick recovery!)

Don, your response with your dichotomy isnít really far from the truth when dealing with the fine-tuning of the universe. There are actually only four conclusions I can think of:

1) The fine-tuning is highly unlikely, but an active entity (ie. God) has ensured that it is so, so that we can come into being.
2) The fine-tuning is highly unlikely, but just by luck the combination that exists supports life.
3) The fine-tuning is highly unlikely, but there are such a vast number of other universes that it is not unlikely that at least one of them supports life.
4) There are as yet undiscovered reasons why the apparent fine-tuning is not highly unlikely.

When evaluating each we can see that #1, #3, and #4 are on equal ground in the sense that none can be appreciably handled by Science.*(1) They are all philosophical positions and there is no a priori reason to favor one over the other (other than personal bias).*(2) This is why I do not chafe at someone who decides #3 is the best answer, but rather I chafe only when someone declares that anyone who holds to a particular option is stupid for doing so. In rant that particular thinking is applied to option #1. Believe it or not, I chafe when #3 is disparaged in Christian circles. Really, only #2 is a poor option (although it still may be true).

In our interactions I sense you are somewhat more agnostic and circumspect about things and I donít really have a problem with that. Yanko is likewise seemingly agnostic about things. But others are firm in their convictions that it is irrational lunacy to believe #1. Those people rub me wrong mainly because the logic does not support their position (but probably also because they are calling me an irrational lunatic).

(1) #4 is somewhat open to Science. We could, of course, discover these reasons (and that would assuredly come through Science). But the assumption that we WILL discover these reasons is a philosophical position because there is no reason to assume something like this will transpire.

(2) Some arguments could be made to favor #1 or #3 or #4, but they arenít super strong. An example favoring #1 over #3 would be the philosophical understanding that time, as we understand it, cannot extend to an infinite past. In other words, it is logically impossible to travel forward through an infinite number of moments to arrive at the present. This implies that time, as we understand it, had a beginning somewhere and that whatever happened ďbeforeĒ (very loosely applied) would have to operate on a completely incomprehensible level without a conventional concept of time. To some this may poison their concept of #3. In other words, they cannot continue to hold a conventional explanation for things (even if that conventional explanation travels back through other universes) and that makes #3 (to them) no different than #1.

Message edited by author 2013-06-20 15:52:42.
06/20/2013 09:34:21 PM · #40
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Did everything go ok, Kelli? Have you returned to us suddenly a master harpist? (EDIT: I reread and see you aren't having your procedure until Monday. Best of wishes for a quick recovery!)



Thanks. And I'll be sure to let you know what I discover. Don't expect a quick answer though, I'll be in the hospital for at least 5 days.
06/20/2013 10:31:49 PM · #41
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

nse with your dichotomy isnít really far from the truth when dealing with the fine-tuning of the universe. There are actually only four conclusions I can think of:

1) The fine-tuning is highly unlikely, but an active entity (ie. God) has ensured that it is so, so that we can come into being.
2) The fine-tuning is highly unlikely, but just by luck the combination that exists supports life.
3) The fine-tuning is highly unlikely, but there are such a vast number of other universes that it is not unlikely that at least one of them supports life.
4) There are as yet undiscovered reasons why the apparent fine-tuning is not highly unlikely.


I don't think there's anything "fine" about it. Spectacular, yes, but messy as hell.

I think the existence of God is a matter of semantics. The bad thing about believing in God is that the concept can trend your thinking towards something authoritative and separate, instead of something integrated and emergent. The bad thing about not believing in God is that it can trend your thinking towards a mechanistic Universe, in which the very awareness that we experience so vividly is impossible.

You can get away with either stance if you don't fall into those traps.

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06/20/2013 10:38:22 PM · #42
Originally posted by posthumous:

The bad thing about not believing in God is that it can trend your thinking towards a mechanistic Universe, in which the very awareness that we experience so vividly is impossible.



Understanding does nothing to diminish experience.
06/20/2013 11:06:17 PM · #43
Originally posted by Cory:

Originally posted by posthumous:

The bad thing about not believing in God is that it can trend your thinking towards a mechanistic Universe, in which the very awareness that we experience so vividly is impossible.

Understanding does nothing to diminish experience.

He didn't say it did.
06/20/2013 11:08:53 PM · #44
Originally posted by posthumous:

I don't think there's anything "fine" about it. Spectacular, yes, but messy as hell.


It's possible that you were playing word games there, but it's also possible you don't understand the "fine" balance we find which allows life to be possible. I wish I could find the original, but the following analogy is attributed to Antony Hewitt, nobel prize winner. He says that the balance on which only one of the qualities of the universe stands is like getting the flour-to-sugar ratio correct to one grain of sugar in a sponge cake the mass of 10 suns. Whether or not he was the one to actually say it, the idea holds that some of these numbers are so finely balanced (ie. just a bit on each side and life would be impossible) as to make it unfathomable to have happened lottery fashion (ie. #2 on the list). (An example is the value of the cosmological constant needs to be within 10^-120 or the universe rips itself apart.)

Message edited by author 2013-06-20 23:23:16.
06/20/2013 11:42:05 PM · #45
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by Cory:

Originally posted by posthumous:

The bad thing about not believing in God is that it can trend your thinking towards a mechanistic Universe, in which the very awareness that we experience so vividly is impossible.

Understanding does nothing to diminish experience.

He didn't say it did.


Not directly at least. But it would seem implied that Don may feel that some level of mysticism contributes to our 'vivid' experience.

It is, regrettably, possible that I misunderstood of course.
06/20/2013 11:42:22 PM · #46
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Originally posted by posthumous:

I don't think there's anything "fine" about it. Spectacular, yes, but messy as hell.


It's possible that you were playing word games there, but it's also possible you don't understand the "fine" balance we find which allows life to be possible. I wish I could find the original, but the following analogy is attributed to Antony Hewitt, nobel prize winner. He says that the balance on which only one of the qualities of the universe stands is like getting the flour-to-sugar ratio correct to one grain of sugar in a sponge cake the mass of 10 suns. Whether or not he was the one to actually say it, the idea holds that some of these numbers are so finely balanced (ie. just a bit on each side and life would be impossible) as to make it unfathomable to have happened lottery fashion (ie. #2 on the list). (An example is the value of the cosmological constant needs to be within 10^-120 or the universe rips itself apart.)
whatever hand I'm dealt is as unlikely as a royal flush. That doesn't mean its a winner.
06/20/2013 11:44:09 PM · #47
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Originally posted by posthumous:

I don't think there's anything "fine" about it. Spectacular, yes, but messy as hell.


It's possible that you were playing word games there, but it's also possible you don't understand the "fine" balance we find which allows life to be possible. I wish I could find the original, but the following analogy is attributed to Antony Hewitt, nobel prize winner. He says that the balance on which only one of the qualities of the universe stands is like getting the flour-to-sugar ratio correct to one grain of sugar in a sponge cake the mass of 10 suns. Whether or not he was the one to actually say it, the idea holds that some of these numbers are so finely balanced (ie. just a bit on each side and life would be impossible) as to make it unfathomable to have happened lottery fashion (ie. #2 on the list). (An example is the value of the cosmological constant needs to be within 10^-120 or the universe rips itself apart.)


Your understanding of the constraints upon the conditions in which life can exist are about 30-40 years old from what I can tell.

Personally I'd say that better qualified individuals are folks like Penny Boston, or Douglas Adams, both of whom I do admittedly happen to be somewhat fond of. Penny hasn't won the Nobel Prize, but she does study exobiology, and is considered a SME on that area of study. She's also a really nice person*. Mr. Adams just has a way of explaining the matter that I think illustrates the issue in a humorous, but poignant way.


Originally posted by Douglas N. Adams:

Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, "This is an interesting world I find myself in ó an interesting hole I find myself in ó fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!" This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise.


Originally posted by Douglas N. Adams:


There are some oddities in the perspective with which we see the world. The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be, but we have done various things over intellectual history to slowly correct some of our misapprehensions.


Originally posted by Douglas N. Adams:


If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a nonworking cat. Life is a level of complexity that almost lies outside our vision; it is so far beyond anything we have any means of understanding that we just think of it as a different class of object, a different class of matter; 'life', something that had a mysterious essence about it, was God given, and that's the only explanation we had. The bombshell comes in 1859 when Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species. It takes a long time before we really get to grips with this and begin to understand it, because not only does it seem incredible and thoroughly demeaning to us, but it's yet another shock to our system to discover that not only are we not the centre of the Universe and we're not made by anything, but we started out as some kind of slime and got to where we are via being a monkey. It just doesn't read well.


Originally posted by Douglas N. Adams:


The world is a thing of utter inordinate complexity and richness and strangeness that is absolutely awesome. I mean the idea that such complexity can arise not only out of such simplicity, but probably absolutely out of nothing, is the most fabulous extraordinary idea. And once you get some kind of inkling of how that might have happened, it's just wonderful. And Ö the opportunity to spend 70 or 80 years of your life in such a universe is time well spent as far as I am concerned


(*Disclaimer - Yes, I did go to school there, this was the department I was in, and yes, I do admit to knowing at least some of those people... I, however, swear that the uber-nerd didn't rub off. (too much).... And yes, I'm just a little mortified that you've now seen just what sort of school I went to.)

Message edited by author 2013-06-21 00:40:57.
06/21/2013 12:32:54 AM · #48
It's possible I'm outdated Cory, but you'd have to do better than quote Douglas Adams from over a decade ago. ;). Could you,for example, provide me with an update on the cosmological constant? You do realize my original bit about the Higgs from io9 is literally days to weeks old, right?

"Yet a few constants ó including the mass of the Higgs boson ó are exponentially different from what these trusted laws indicate they should be, in ways that would rule out any chance of life, unless the universe is shaped by inexplicable fine-tunings and cancellations."

I don't make these things up. I don't cruise creationist websites to find them. I don't even search them out (it came up on my Zite app). Io9 is a well known scientific website.
06/21/2013 12:49:26 AM · #49
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

It's possible I'm outdated Cory, but you'd have to do better than quote Douglas Adams from over a decade ago. ;). Could you,for example, provide me with an update on the cosmological constant? You do realize my original bit about the Higgs from io9 is literally days to weeks old, right?

"Yet a few constants ó including the mass of the Higgs boson ó are exponentially different from what these trusted laws indicate they should be, in ways that would rule out any chance of life, unless the universe is shaped by inexplicable fine-tunings and cancellations."

I don't make these things up. I don't cruise creationist websites to find them. I don't even search them out (it came up on my Zite app). Io9 is a well known scientific website.


Naturally you'd concentrate on the Adams that I threw in for a bit of levity.

How about we talk about Penny Boston instead, since that was my serious offering.

Please, do tell me how your citation of a Nobel Prize winning radio astronomer should somehow even be relevant in this discussion? His ideas are about as valid as Douglas Adam's ideas are. Now, Penny, on the other hand, is a subject matter expert, who is cited in many papers and discussions around the topic of extraterrestrial life.

Mr. Adams is a long time favorite author.

Penny is a professor in the department I was in at Tech, and in fact I have been at a number of her talks, I've attended conferences and went caving with her, and saw/interacted with her on a regular basis in a very small school... Suffice to say I didn't choose her randomly from a creationist website, and know a fair bit about her ideas and personality.

Message edited by author 2013-06-21 00:50:20.
06/21/2013 12:51:51 AM · #50
Here you go Cory. This is a good read on the current state of things. It's the essay the io9 article quotes. Believe it or it they talk about the cosmological constant and it still appears to be fine tuned. I'll quote:

The energy built into the vacuum of space (known as vacuum energy, dark energy or the cosmological constant) is a baffling trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion times smaller than what is calculated to be its natural, albeit self-destructive, value. No theory exists about what could naturally fix this gargantuan disparity. But itís clear that the cosmological constant has to be enormously fine-tuned to prevent the universe from rapidly exploding or collapsing to a point. It has to be fine-tuned in order for life to have a chance."

The article
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