Archives for the month of: February, 2015

This is another item I wrote on Facebook, and decided I wanted on my blog as well.

My beautiful and intelligent wife happened upon this article (http://www.reasons.org/articles/have-quantum-physicists-disproven-the-big-bang), and she commented to me that she thought is was sad that people base their faith on something other than their relationship with God. That is, setting your faith in anything but God Himself is idolatry. There are people who hold the bible as idol, and there are people who hold science as idol. There are also people who hold science as their entire religion, but that is another (and sad) matter.

Mary also took exception to Dr. Ross’ take on Hebrews 11:6 (one of my favorite scriptures).

I very much appreciated Brother Hugh’s example of “knowing” his wife exists, but I agree with Mary that Dr. Ross overreached with his version of the scripture. ESV translates “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (http://biblehub.com/hebrews/11-6.htm for plenty to study.) Dr. Ross interpreted that to say if we would diligently seek out evidence for God, we would find it. I don’t accept that thinking. That is not consistent with my own experience nor our understanding of history. God governs in the affairs of men, but he does so with hiddenness. (http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2014/07/divine-hiddenness-and-human-disclosure “I think it more suitably functions as a proof of the fittingness of revelation.”) God leaves us with the option of thinking we did it ourselves, or that we just got lucky.

It seems only fair to me.

The author of the letter to the Hebrews tells us plainly that it is impossible to please God without faith, and we MUST believe in order to come to Him at all. Like it or not, understand it or not, this is the way it is. While I hold there is evidence for God, it is only evidence, and it can always be explained other ways.

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Parents, let’s speak out against the “test and punish” system we now have.

readingdoc

Peg with a Pen is a phenomenal education blogger who has decided to keep a public roll call of teachers who have publicly committed to refuse to administer the inappropriate high-stakes standardized tests that currently run amuck in this country. Two of our courageous Oklahoma teachers are listed there, and I am very proud of them.

As a classroom teacher in Texas in the 1990s, I was there when the large scale high-stakes testing began in earnest. As teachers, for the most part, we were somewhat baffled, but being the generally compliant types that we are, we grumbled a bit and spent a few hours trying to prepare our students for those once-a-year tests. Back then the only ones that made a real difference in terms of student impact were the ones that students took in their senior year. I remember specifically that the daughter of a dear friend of…

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Information.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Student_Success_Act
Seems obvious that this bill is an attempt to ducktape a broken system with more brokenness, with assurances that more broken systems will be leveraged to break the few state systems and local systems and private systems that work.
Our politicians suffer from their narrow minded world. They think politics and legislation are the only tools available. They are wrong. Usually, when it comes to the government, doing nothing is the best option. In general, all government action leads to loss, pain, suffering, and death. Very few government programs do more good than harm. Very few government programs are worth having at all.
It is time to start reducing. We must reduce regulation, law, and spending. Eliminate government everywhere we can. It will take many years, but we must start now. The longer it takes, the more pain and suffering we, we the people and our government, will impose on future generations.

COMMON CORE

ssa

This one is such a betrayal.

I’ve never been so shocked and angry over a proposed Congressional bill that I burst into tears.  Not until tonight.

I’d been quietly reading and taking notes on H.R. 5, “Student Success Act” (SSA) when my husband simply, offhandedly asked me how I was doing.   Though I’d been quiet, I was boiling over as I read tucked-away portions of this 600+ page bill which,  despite the local-control-touting, anti-Common Core-sounding words (on page 10 and elsewhere), is terrible. When my husband asked how I was doing, I stood up, walked to the couch and explained through my hot, angry tears what destruction and reduction of vital freedoms will take place if this bill passes:

It ends private schools’ religious freedomfrom government control.  It harms funding freedom in private schools.  It puts into question parental rights and control over education.  It pushes…

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As someone who has extensive experience measuring temperature, understand that any discussion of temperature outside a lab is silly if it doesn’t say, ±2°F. (or ±1°C).

Anomalies, averages, deviations, et al. They all are impractical at better than two degrees Fahrenheit. Any discussion of temperature values of less than 2°F probably involves ocean-front property in Arizona. Don’t be fooled.

 

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.

Richard Phillips Feynman (May 11, 1918 – February 15, 1988)

Like it or not, ready or not, nuclear fission will provide most of the power for society in the future, fairly near future, for a very long time.

Too many factors to forecast the timeframe, but it is inevitable. It is certain.

Forbes ran this article about the movie, Blackhat.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2015/02/20/hollywood-versus-reality-nuclear-thrills-in-blackhat/

I don’t think I’ll ever bother seeing the movie. I sure didn’t get the nuclear bit of it in the trailer.

I doubt I could stomach the bad science and tech.

For as bad a Chernobyl was, it was tiny as disasters go. Russia and Ukraine had and continue to have far worse problems.

As bad as Fukushima was hit, it turned out trivial. An inconsequential blip in the sad devastation of the overall catastrophe.

Nuclear power plants, even intentionally, cannot result in catastrophes. Chernobyl was a one-off. It was a bad design that only the Soviets would use. It was their baby. They had pride involved. Not only was it their idea, but they had confidence in their engineering ability to control it. Props. They did a good job for a long time. It was hard. The design was bad and inherently unsafe. It was good engineers and scientists that kept it from killing many times. It was political hubris that caused it once it did happen.

Anyway, all of the nuclear power plants running cannot do what Chernobyl did. Even the Soviets abandoned the idea and replaced them as fast as they practically could.

Nuclear fission power is the safest option we have. It is the most sustainable too. We can reasonably expect to power all our needs with nuclear fission for many centuries, even with optimistic estimates of growth and development. Even if we get to 10 billion people. We almost certainly will not get to that many people. Given a bit of prosperity and good odds that children will make it to adulthood, people don’t have too many children.

Of course, we could roll back the clock just a few centuries, when half of all people died before their eighth birthday. Sad isn’t it. Let’s not go back. Windmills are a sad and harmful attempt at. Let’s quit with the windmills. Windmills suck.


Dr. Deming. Worth repeating.

Watts Up With That?

A letter to the editor which appeared in the Norman, OK Transcript on Tuesday, February 17th, reprinted here with permission of the author, Dr. David Deming:


I write in rebuttal to the Feb. 12 letter by Nancy Smart advising us to “listen” to climate scientists. According to Ms. Smart, climate science is “settled.” Instead of thinking for ourselves, she recommends we obsequiously follow the dictates of “our most respected and highest level scientific agencies.”

Whenever someone asserts that a scientific question is “settled,” they tell me immediately that they don’t understand the first thing about science. Science is never settled. Science is not a dogmatic body of doctrine. It is an open system of knowledge that establishes probable truths that are subject to continual revision. The entire history of science is one of established theories being overthrown. Astronomers once believed the Sun revolved around the Earth. Naturalists maintained that…

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While it is good to ensure we don’t kill off the polar bears by hunting, it is important to remember these things are hungry and mean. They will kill and eat you. They do kill and eat anything they can catch, including snowy owls. Sure, snowy owls are well able to fend for themselves, but anything that kills such beautiful creatures obviously has its drawbacks.

Watts Up With That?

Via Dr. Susan Crockford at polarbearscience.com:

PB  logo coloured Here’s a new resource for cooling the polar bear spin, all in one place. I’ve updated and expanded my previous summary of reasons not to worry about polar bears, which is now two years old. In it, you’ll find links to supporting information (including previous blog posts of mine that provide background, maps and extensive references), although some of the most important graphs and maps have been copied into the summary. I hope you find it a useful resource for refuting the spin and tuning out the cries of doom and gloom about the future of polar bears — please feel free to share. Pdf here of the text below.

This is the 1st anniversary of Canada providing population estimates and trends independent of the pessimistic prognostications of the IUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) — so let’s celebrate the recent triumphs…

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There isn’t much to add. Do we have any answers?
I say the reasons westerners have some many problems is we have no real problems.
Let’s resolve to speak out. We must speak out against hate and violence, but even worse is indifference.
We must stand up, speak out, and do more than give another grant to some researcher riding the gravy train of trying to save the earth.

Pointman's

I posed some simple questions a number of articles back and I’d like to begin this piece by asking them again, because they’re fundamental.

Don’t they know how many of our own poor can no longer afford to heat their homes? Don’t they know how many millions die in the developing world from malaria because we won’t allow them access to DDT? Don’t they know that a million children a year die or are simply blinded for life by withholding the distribution golden rice? Don’t they know how many lives could be saved by supplying the poor with drought and disease resistant GM seeds? Don’t they know that switching from growing food staples to growing biofuel crops for cars only the rich can afford has more than doubled prices of basic foods? Don’t they know about the people killed in the food riots? Do they actually know anything? Do they care anyway?

There’s…

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Created just right, not perfect. Created for change, for growth, never intended for stasis.

Musings on Science and Theology

Sea of GalilleeChapter 11 of Iain Provan’s new book Seriously Dangerous Religion: What the Old Testament Really Says and Why It Matters turns to the question of Hope and God’s plan for the future. What kind of hope is expressed in the Old Testament? This is an excellent chapter, sketching what Provan sees as the sweep of the Old Testament story. The Old Testament is a story of hope. If we miss this thread, we miss everything. And too many have … skipping from the Fall to Matthew. I’ll sketch this chapter briefly, but note that I found it worth the price of the book.

Genesis 1-3 is a passage of hope. Hope begins with creation. There is a hope for the future, with humans walking in harmony with God.

The human beings of Genesis 1–2 are mortal beings, then, who may eventually be given the gift of immortality. … The…

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Quick easy read with reference to the much more thorough long version.

Much appreciation, Dr. Buchanan.

Letters to Creationists

For fossils as old as dinosaurs (over 65 million years), the conventional wisdom has been that no original organic material could remain. If the delicate structure of soft body parts is discernable, that is only because these parts were converted to some type of inorganic mineral in the fossilization process.

However, over the past two decades, paleontologist Mary Schweitzer has rocked our world by presenting visual evidence of soft tissues recovered from the interior of dinosaur bones, and biochemical evidence indicating that these are in fact the remnants of the original cells and structures from within the dinosaur bone pores. For instance, here is a network of blood vessels, containing little round red things that look like red blood cells:

High magnification of dinosaur vessels shows branching pattern (arrows) and round, red microstructures in the vessels. Source: Schweitzer, et al., “Soft-Tissue Vessels and Cellular Preservation in Tyrannosaurus rex”, Science, 307 (2005) 1952 [6]. High magnification of dinosaur vessels shows branching pattern (arrows) and round, red microstructures in the vessels. Source: Schweitzer, et al., “Soft-Tissue Vessels and Cellular Preservation in Tyrannosaurus rex”, Science, 307…

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Pointman's

An article this week in India’s Economic Times newspaper reported on a formal complaint lodged with the Delhi police of sexual harassment from an employee of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) against one of its directors, a certain RK Pachuari, who also happens to be the chairman of the IPCC. Obviously there’s no conflict of interests in holding down both posts. The 75-year-old is accused by a 29-year-old woman of inappropriate and unwelcome advances, even after she’d repeatedly indicated any infatuation was not returned.

The article has been taken down from the paper’s website because of what looks to be an injunction, commonly called a gagging order, by the Indian courts but you can still find screen print copies of the article in these two pictures here and here (H/T Ric Werme). Given that the respected daily also has a reasonable paper circulation in which the story has already appeared on the…

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and it is immoral to oppose people in providing for themselves and their children.

Watts Up With That?

Forecasts 25% rise in annual CO2 emissions by 2035

BP-LogoSubmitted by Eric Worrall –

BP has controversially predicted that the huge rise in energy demand over the next 20 years can only be met with fossil fuels.

According to BP;

“Rising global demand for energy over the next two decades is at odds with the fight against climate change, the head of BP said on Tuesday, as he outlined the oil giant’s forecasts showing unsustainable increases in carbon emissions.

BP’s annual energy outlook predicted that the world economy would double in size in the next 20 years, resulting in demand for energy rising by almost 40%. The company said two-thirds of this demand would be met from fossil fuels – oil, gas and coal – and that this would lead to a 25% increase in carbon emissions.

BP said slower growth in China and India coupled with greater energy efficiency…

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Hype without data, without explanation, is sad.

You must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest to fool. It seems the folks involved with such papers are either fools fooling themselves, or they are shysters hoping to fool us.

Watts Up With That?

I’m a bit skeptical of this claim, “Satellite images reveal ocean acidification from space” but it may be mostly due to how the press release is written, for example, nowhere is the term pH used in the press release, though it is in the abstract. Curiously, the caption for the graphic provided with the press release says it is “total ocean alkalinity from space” which is actually correct, since the ocean pH is not below 7.0, and not acidic, it is simply less alkaline. Then there’s the statement “The new techniques use satellite mounted thermal cameras to measure ocean temperature while microwave sensors measure the salinity.” This makes the measurement appear more like a proxy for OA than direct measurement. Dr. Roy Spencer comments on this and the technology below.

satellite-ph-oceans This image depicts total ocean alkalinity from space. Credit: Ifremer/ESA/CNES

From the University of Exeter:

Pioneering techniques that…

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I wrote this on Facebook, in response to a First Things article, http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2015/02/unscientific-obstinacy, and decided I wrote too much for Facebook. So, I’ve duplicated it here.

To Mark Bauerlein’s article:

Good point.

Are we alone in this galaxy? Yes. Yes, we are alone. There are no aliens who might visit. Think. If they could, the almost certainly could have done so at any time for the last several million years. People pretend, but there is no evidence. We have lots of evidence that they have not come, but we also have lots of evidence that they are not out there.

We have looked too well for too long to suppose we simply haven’t noticed them yet. There has been too much time for them to have not made their presence known, intentionally or for lack of caring. Nobody is there. Fermi noticed.

There is still the question of life. Well, the nature of the universe, the laws of physics, seem to make life, in some recognizable form, inevitable most everywhere we might find liquid water. However, if it could get off its planet, it most likely could have been doing so for millions of years, given the obvious fact that most of the planets in the galaxy had millions, even billions of years longer to work at it. So, there is probably life, but the chances of it having even the sense of a rat is vanishingly small.

There is also the question of the rest of the universe. Well, if you factor in the vastness, there is simply no knowing. While I assert the one data point we have implies the odds of others in any way resembling us, with hopes, dreams, desires, and drives, drive to spread amongst the stars, those odds are vanishingly small, but with the unimaginable vastness of all of space and so many galaxies, it is simply impossible to know.

We cannot know. We can never know.

If we find someone, then we will know. If we don’t, even for 100 billion years, we still will not know. It is impossible to prove we are alone in the universe.

We are alone in the galaxy. Accept it.

We cannot know if we are alone in the universe. Accept it.

Time and energy. The requirements for interstellar travel are doable. In fact, assuming humanity survives, we will populate the entire galaxy, probably within several tens-of-thousands of years, at least within hundreds-of-thousands, but the requirements of intergalactic travel are too great. It is not possible in any imaginable engineering sense. Sure, we may figure out some workaround. Perhaps there is something akin to a stargate. Star Trek warp-type drive is useless in this regard. Intergalactic space is too immense. The void is too barren. There is NOTHING between here and there. No possibilities of resources for refueling or repairing. Nothing. It is not possible. If something like a stargate is developed, then we can expect to populate many galaxies, but never most. The universe cannot be supposed so enduring to allow us the opportunity even if we could jump from galaxy to galaxy in a wink. We would still take billions, many billions, of years to populate and buildup and explore just thousands of galaxies. And frankly, there is no reasonable possibility of anything like a stargate existing, ever. Even an ansible type communication is impossible as far as we can suppose. Perhaps, but probably not. (I recall greater minds than mine have been proven wrong with such statements, but there is much science, experimental record, and well-tested theory behind such a supposition.)

So, is there really a scientific case for God? Yes and no. First, regardless of the evidence for God, it says nothing about God, that is: the who, the what, the why, the motive. These are mostly questions science, testing, cannot address. (As with students, academic testing may be used to assess progress, at least in some limited degree, but it can tell us nothing of the person. [And children are people first.])

There is no scientific or philosophical evidence or case that proves God in any way. There is evidence. There are cases to be made that are reasonable, but they are not definitive. Thus, the scripture tells us that to come to God, we must believe, and that we must believe that God is a rewarder–that seeking is fruitful. It is certain, without faith it is impossible to please God. The just shall live by faith. Faith is not science. Faith should be reasonable, not blind. Faith should be faithful, not obstinate. Science should be rational and natural, not forced and dogmatic. No scientism. That is far worse than any superstition ever.

Are we special? Well duh!

Love

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