Sheldon Comments on Big Bang Theory Lyrics

OK. Obviously, I am not the fictional character Sheldon from the TV show The Big Bang Theory. Nor am I claiming to be one of the writers for the show. That said, I started watching the show because a coworker repeatedly called me Sheldon. After watching the show a number of times, I can only say that I take it as a huge compliment to be considered similar to Sheldon. Personally, I do not claim to be as smart as the Sheldon character is portrayed, nor do I think my social skills are quite that bad.

Please note before going on with this post that I do like the show, the song, and the lyrics. This post will really be about picking a few choice nits and giving credit where the lyrics are correct. So, why bother?

On this type of show, even as a comedy, I think they should avoid making scientific errors to the best of their ability; I am the type of asshole to point them out. Also, there are a few scientific errors in the song that are worth highlighting and may be more than mere nits, especially if you listen to the entire song beyond just the first stanza played in the opening credits. I will not post the actual lyrics here due to the risk of copyright violation. Instead, you may wish to open this link in another tab or window to follow the lyrics along with this post.

Barenaked Ladies – The Big Bang Theory Lyrics @ LyricsTime.com

Certainly, at the singularity before the big bang, hot and dense does indeed describe the state of the universe, so we’re off to a good start on the song. Nearly fourteen billion years probably is close enough, especially considering that 13.73 billion years plus or minus 120 million years would be extremely difficult to fit into song lyrics. So, even Sheldon will have to call this line a good one.

That said, I have to add, isn’t it totally freakin’ awesome that we now know the age of the universe to within less than 1 percent? Thanks WMAP!!

Skipping ahead a bit over 9 billion years to the formation of the earth is a bit of a leap, though not technically wrong. However, it’s a very human and earth centric thing to do and should be noted as such, especially since more human and earth centric viewpoints are yet to come.

Autotrophs are a really nice addition to the song. Most people have not heard the term before. I had to look it up for an accurate definition. However, the idea that they drool is a bit odd. I’ve personally never been aware of any plant or algae species that actually drools. With so many such species, perhaps there are some that do. Or, perhaps some of the extremophiles at volcanic vents on the ocean floor drool. I wouldn’t bet on it though. More likely the lyricist simply needed something to rhyme with cool. I’m not sure I could do better. Still though, drooling plants? I think not.

On to neanderthals, certainly they had tools. This line is a bit strange though since many other hominids had tools before neanderthals and other great apes also have tools. In fact, chimps were recently observed hunting with spears. Damn! Spear-wielding chimps. Who expected that one? Even crows make tools in the wild and cache particularly good ones for later reuse. Crows are particularly smart birds, of course. However, these facts make one wonder why the choice of neanderthals over homo habilis, erectus, and ergaster, all of whom came earlier and had stone tools that lasted long enough to later be found by us. Poetic license again? Perhaps. Neanderthals was probably just the right number of syllables.

All of that said, skipping ahead over 3 billion years to get to a hominid is another fairly human-centric way to view the world. Why is that hominid worthy of mention when species that have survived for several hundred million years (versus our mere 200,000 years) were not worth mentioning.

Pyramids and walls. Presumably, the song refers to the Great Wall of China and the Egyptian Pyramids, being the most famous wall and pyramids. If so, these are out of order in the song with the wall beginning around 500 BCE and the pyramids dating to about 2600 BCE.

Regarding the amount of time required for the formation of elements and galaxies, here’s a serious timeline of the universe for reference. Pick your preferred resolution for viewing it.

Given that stars first began to form 400 million years after the bang, I’m having a really hard time imagining someone taking so long to sing this song that not only the stars could form, but galaxies could as well. Sorry Barenaked Ladies. You’re way off on this one.

Regarding the formation of atoms, this PDF file from NASA states:

Eventually, the universe cooled sufficiently that protons and electrons could combine to form neutral hydrogen. This was thought to occur roughly 400,000 years after the Big Bang when the universe was about one eleven hundredth its present size. Cosmic microwave background photons interact very weakly with neutral hydrogen.

So, I’m going to have to say that a fraction of a second to make the elements is way off. Further, the only elements created directly from the big bang were hydrogen and helium. So, the bulk of the elements had to wait for the formation of stars that form the heavier elements inside them by nuclear fusion. That our planet is littered with such elements is evidence that our planet was formed out of the remnants of a supernova that released the elements from the star in which they formed. Given that heavier elements are required to make human beings, and indeed all life with which we are familiar, we can honestly say, “we are star barf.” Though, the point here is really that the elements and stars took much longer to form than the song states.

Dinosaurs. This is a huge point that is just glaringly wrong in the song.

Extant (living) dinosaur species still outnumber extant mammal species by a factor of around 2 to 1. There are over 10,000 living dinosaur species in the world, according to my Birds of the World checklist and only about 5,000 living mammal species. Since birds are dinosaurs through direct descent and for the same reason that humans are mammals, the dinosaurs most certainly were not late for their leap. Nor did they freeze their asses off. Even if one is discussing the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs, the cause is actually still a heated topic for debate. The comet that caused the Chixulub crater is probably still the dominant theory. Though there is strong evidence that numbers were declining prior to that. Either way, the likelihood of animals with such impressive gigantothermy and possibly warm-blooded enormous animals at that, freezing their asses off when chickadees do just fine through a cold winter seems quite unlikely.

Further, ignoring the existing dinosaurs and making it sound as if the extinct dinosaurs were somehow inferior is another example of a human-centric world view. We would be doing amazingly well if we could survive for a couple of hundred million years. The way things look today, we may not make it for another couple of hundred years.

By far, the biggest factual error in the song is the statement that the universe will at some time in the future contract back to a singularity in what is often termed a big crunch or, as Douglas Adams called it in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a gnab gib. It has been known for more than a decade that not only will this not happen in our particular universe but that the accelerated expansion of the universe guarantees that our universe will end with a cold entropy death or, as suggested by dark energy, a big rip. Regardless of whether our universe undergoes heat death or a big rip, it has been known to be an open universe for quite some time. The song, written in 2007, posits a closed universe, which is by far not the dominant theory today, nor was it at the time the song was written.

As a final point, mythology and astrology are only products of the big bang to the extent that our imagination is. Certainly, there is nothing in physical observations to confirm either one. So, to put these in the list is to imply that the tooth fairy is equally a product of the big bang. It’s not wholly false, but really shouldn’t be included in a list of things created by the big bang, but rather that they are created by our own delusional minds, which, yes, are a creation of the big bang. So, a more accurate statement would be that our imagination is the result of the big bang. The delusions we dream up are still just that, delusions.

I’m sure the rest of the debate, if one occurs, will center on my prior paragraph. If so, this will be unfortunate as I already acknowledged that our imagination is the result of the big bang. So, if you choose to interpret all of our imaginary creations as creations of the big bang, fine. I understand and respect that opinion, though I somewhat disagree with it in the sense that it makes our imagination’s creations far more real than they actually are.

Just as a parting note, I am forwarding this to a PhD String Theorist I know for verification. I may make changes as a result. [editor’s note 2/22/2010: I just received confirmation of the physics portions of this from said string theorist, though he declined to confirm or deny anything outside of physics, such as evolutionary biology.]

For any readers who can actually tell the difference between science and nonscience (nonsense?), please also feel free to correct me. I realize I am far from infallible. To any fundamentalist readers in the crowd who cannot distinguish science from nonsense, please consider posting on one of my many anti-religion threads rather than this one. Not that I mind the debate, just that it is seriously off-topic here.

Here’s a YouTube video of the song in its entirety with lyrics.

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435 Responses to Sheldon Comments on Big Bang Theory Lyrics

  1. Sviergn says:

    The first sentence in this post (“OK, obviously, I am not the fictional character Sheldon from the TV show The Big Bang Theory.”) is a complete and utter lie. Only the actual real fictional character Sheldon would have posted something containing the very content we see in this post. Furthermore, it is perfectly acceptable for a timeline focusing on Earth and people to be both geocentric and anthropocentric. (What did we expect, a Geico commercial?) And these are the very sorts of quibbles the real artificial snuggie-wearing Sheldon would and in fact did make right here. Misanthropic Scott === Sheldon. (I would have used FOUR equal signs were there a known scientific convention on the usage of such a sequence, and doubtless if there is Sheldon will tell us shortly.)

  2. Thanks for the compliment Sviergn, despite your obvious Snuggie obsession.

  3. Damn!! I can’t believe I missed this in my original post.

    Australopithecus is generally not considered to have ever left Africa, though I think I have heard some mention of a few scientists who think that Homo Floresiensis may actually be an australopithecine, which would change that. This is certainly far from mainstream thinking on the subject though.

    Further, the only deer species to inhabit Africa, and only in one small area, is the Red Deer.

    Where am I going with this? Well, there’s a line in the song about Australopithecus hunting deer. This should probably have been antelope. Or, it is even possible that australopithecines didn’t hunt big game. Their fossilized skeletons often turn up in a jumble similar to the jumble of bones that fall out of a tree after a leopard kill. This would seem to indicate that the australopithecines did not have advanced enough weaponry to fend off leopards and likely not advanced enough for regular hunting of medium to large prey, in my opinion.

    Regardless of the size of game though, antelope are not deer. And deer were not present in most or all of the australopitecine home range.

    • The English word “deer” derives from the German “Tier” meaning simply animal, so arguably it could have been an archaism. That is to say, “deer” when originally borrowed from German referred to a wild animal.

  4. Geomaniac says:

    Yep. You are Sheldon alright.

  5. Jess says:

    Hello. Just wanted to comment on the paragraph you said would get you the comments… It is my opinion that the mention of mythology and astrology in the song serves to remind the listener of the creationist vs scientific viewpoints being propagated in mainstream media of late, and hopefully to skew the viewpoints of the public towards this point of view.
    Nice post and high Google ratings for a search for the lyrics of the song!

  6. jess,

    Interesting point. I hadn’t considered the possibility of a political agenda in the song.

  7. Colin Pye says:

    Oh, Please!

    Everyone knows that Red Deer isn’t in Africa, it’s in Alberta! Clearly, as Canadians, the Bare Naked Ladies are aware of this fact.

    Also, the whole Creationist/Evolutionist thing is probably a nod to Sheldon’s mother. After all, she is a Fundamentalist.

  8. Callinectes says:

    My course called Evolutionary Science Since Darwin begins in two weeks. My students, in our learning in retirement program, 114 persons with a wide range of academic and professional backgrounds, will hear the Bare Naked Ladies BIg Bang Theory song as the introduction to the course. As an ice breaker, I’m planning to ask them to point out as many errors in the song as they can. Thanks for your extensive list.
    P.S. They’ve already had two quarters of pre-Darwinian and Darwinian evolution.

  9. Callinectes,

    Thank you!! That is high praise indeed. I have read a lot on evolution but do not qualify as an evolutionary biologist by any stretch of the imagination. Thank you for confirming (implicitly at least) that I got this mostly correct. As you are a teacher of evolutionary science, I truly appreciate this confirmation.

  10. Regina says:

    Few things with this. First being that there’s no reason to go gung ho on correcting a song. If you analyze every song, what would be the point of them anymore? Secondly, “given that heavier elements are required to make human beings, and indeed all life with which we are familiar…” is now making humans seem like the top species and appears to give you that “human centric” view you complained about several times. My last comment to you is your statement about the universe. Yes, they believe it will expand ever outward until it has only red dwarves left with minimal light, but they believe that the universe will, in fact, collapse back in on itself. On top of that, it’s believed that this ISN’T the first big bang. It’s believed that there have been multiple ones before this and that we’re actually not the only universe. With each bang, pieces of the universes break off and fly out, essentially creating other universes we have no idea about. Quite interesting what we don’t know.

  11. Hi Regina,

    I’m not going to defend my action in “going gung ho” on correcting a song. I started by saying that this level of anal-retentiveness is why a coworker called me Sheldon. Had the song specifically been written for the series, I would then defend my action by stating that there is very good fact checking for everything else on the show. Since it was not originally written for the show (I believe), my action is solely because I’m anal-retentive.

    Re: heavy elements required to make humans …

    Excellent point!! Touche! You caught me at my own game. You’re absolutely correct. Heavy elements are indeed required for all life as we know it on planet earth. I sit corrected. I should not have been so human-centric.

    Re: Universe collapsing. No. Current theory does not allow for the universe to re-collapse this time. Hypotheses about whether the universe has done so before have somewhat of a following, but at present, no evidence. Such hypotheses regarding the formation of the universe are quite interesting. But, to say that it is believed that this is the case in the scientific community would be to claim that there is some evidence of what came before the big bang. There isn’t. Not yet.

    Also regarding any other universes or even about what may be beyond the observable boundaries of our universe, all hypotheses are quite speculative and without evidence at present.

    There was an hypothesis put forth by Lee Smolin in the 1990s that the universe “evolved” through natural selective forces similar to those that exert pressure on life forms. He hypothesized that universes that were long lived and had lots of black holes would pass on these traits to other universes created at the point of each black hole. That an entire universe as large and interesting as our own could be created at the point of a black hole is allowed by current knowledge of relativity and quantum mechanics. These are not bits of this universe being lost. They are merely whole new universes being hypothesized as created at each black hole. Nothing is lost to this universe.

    However, Smolin’s hypothesis made testable predictions. He challenged experimental physicists (he is a theoretical physicist) to perform experiments to confirm or disprove his predictions.

    I should state that I really liked that hypothesis a lot. I really wanted it to be true. I assume Smolin did as well. Though, he felt actual scientific truth was far more important. He sounded very excited about his hypothesis when I heard him lecture at the American Museum of Natural History.

    More than a decade later, I had the opportunity to hear him lecture again. He stated in no uncertain terms that the experiments had indeed been carried out and his hypothesis had been disproved.

  12. Areth says:

    Thank you. I have been wondering if I was the only one on the planet bugged by the inaccuracy of the song’s lyrics! Anal retentive or not, I notice it every time I hear it played!

    • Glad you like the post. Is anal retentiveness really a bad quality? At least as a computer programmer, I always considered it a positive.

      • Josh Waggy says:

        Honestly, science would have hit a brick wall a long time ago and those who complain about it would have much more difficult lives ending in horrible, now treatable diseases, had it not been for a healthy dose of anal retentiveness. Thank you for your camaraderie.

        The note about mythology and astrology being created by the big bang is definitely a direct dig against those who believe such cockamamie things; the science that you disbelieve can describe the origins of what you do believe (incidentally, it can also describe the reasons why you believe it).

        I have been back and forth on my love for and frustration with this show and the song we now dissect and I must say that just as with science, you can’t expect perfection the first go around. That people are trying and doing and it is being aired in such a public forum is a truly beautiful thing.

        I want to thank Chuck Forre, Bill Prady and Bare Naked Ladies for their efforts in appealing to those of us who have been left out of popular culture for so long. It’s looking more and more like my children may not have to grow up in the same type of world that I and the fictional characters of this show found so difficult.

      • … the science that you disbelieve can describe the origins of what you do believe (incidentally, it can also describe the reasons why you believe it).

        Excellent point. Neuroscientists in particular are actually studying the reasons for our belief in nonsense and non-science. One hypothesis is that ascribing will to inanimate objects, the beginnings of some forms of spirituality and even religion, may be due to hyperactive agency detection. In the wild, so to speak, humans would have had an advantage to assuming that any movement is actually a live agent, such as a lion. False positives have little or no ill effect. By contrast, false negatives could get one killed. So, such belief that everything that happens has a conscious agent behind it, would have given some survival advantage.

        Similarly, humans cannot afford the risk of questioning what their parents tell them at every step of the way. This becomes increasingly true with advanced technology, but was likely true even with the advent of fire and the taming of animals. If mom and dad tell you that putting things in electrical sockets is dangerous or that walking behind the horse is dangerous or that playing with the fire is dangerous, and a child does not take these things on faith without question, that child could end up dead. So, if mom and dad tell you that you must worship some invisible personages in the sky, perhaps that would be taken on faith as well.

        I think there is still a long way to go in understanding the reasons for our failure to tell fact from fiction. But, science is the only way to find the answer. Religion will never provide answers. It only blocks the asking of questions.

        Religious folk will not believe this obvious statement, of course.

        For those religious people reading this blog who think that they are aloud to question religion, ask yourself this basic question. If the cause and effect argument that is the strongest (though still failed) argument for the existence of god applies, i.e. if there must be a prime mover, then ask yourself, why is it never the religious folk who question where god came from? Why is it always asked from non-belief rather than from belief? If you believe in god, don’t you want to know where this god character came from? Wouldn’t that bring you closer to understanding your god? If there must be a creator, mustn’t there be a creator creator? and creator creator creator?

        Why does religion reject the possibility of asking such questions?

      • Bibi Z says:

        Perhaps it’s good to note here that you are using “anal retentiveness” in the same manor that religious folks use the term “theory”, the conversational meaning as opposed to the scientific meaning.

      • So Bibi, are you stating that you don’t believe psychology is a science? I certainly wouldn’t list it among the hard sciences like physics. But, for studying the way the mind works, there is neuroscience for the physical aspect and psychology for the so called higher order brain functions. It may be harder to perform scientific experiments on human behavior because people are (rightfully) a bit squeamish about things like raising children in a laboratory environment. Unfortunately, most of us are not similarly squeamish about performing such testing on other sentient and intelligent animals. But, that’s a side issue.

        Anyway, I was using anal retentiveness in the way that psychologists use it rather than in being literally full of shit, as opposed to anal expulsiveness which gets kind of messy when used in the literal rather than the psychological way.

  13. seriously says:

    Who looks to songs for facts? It’s an art form, not science. Songs are for entertainment, not informing. I don’t think anyone took that song, or any other song, seriously for finding facts of life. I can’t believe I wasted my time reading this.

    • Sorry you feel that way. I’m not sure what you expected knowing the character of Sheldon on the show.

      What I would say is that the same people might look to song lyrics for scientific accuracy as would look to a sitcom for scientific accuracy.

      And, the show has a PhD physicist fact-checking everything that is said on the show.

  14. Joe Bateman says:

    I can’t believe you mispelled “Descent” as Decent. Sheldon never would’ve missed that one! Hell., I noticed right away. And you not being Sheldon, but an Educated Guy, I;m a dropout.

    • Oh crap!! You’re correct, of course. I’m fixing it now. Thanks.

      Also, major kudos to you for being the first out of 4,584 page views on this post so far to notice this. Well done.

  15. Cath says:

    HI!
    Thanks for ALL of the comments, the original ones on the song and the comments on those comments.
    This is FUN and INTERESTING. My 12 year-old son just printed out the lyrics to learn them by heart, so I am glad that we have this to refer to so he doesn’t take them too seriously. It’s also a great jumping point for discussing anything brought up in the song and/or comments. Thanks again, everyone for sharing your knowledge.

  16. shadow says:

    hey sheldon oviste is atuchly is 14 billions years ago

  17. Pierre says:

    The thing that led me to google “scientific inaccuracies in bare necked ladies” and find this excellent piece was as a biologist the thing you mentioned in the 7th paragraph. Autotrophs drooling seems a little odd to me but I doubt heterotrophs (all those that don’t make their own food) would have fit so well unless you slurred it! Thanks again for this.

    • I agree that heterotrophs wouldn’t fit. However, the line could have been “the autotrophs made their own food”. I doubt that drooling is all that important except for the rhyme. My way still works, albeit using assonance rather than a true rhyme.

      • Jillybean says:

        Has anyone attempted rewriting the lyrics to correct the inaccuracies? Knowing Barenaked Ladies, they might do a ‘Katie Melua’ and record a corrected version.

      • Go for it! That’s a great idea. I don’t really think I’m that good at it.

        Please post the results here, or link to them if you want to maintain your copyright.

  18. Stix says:

    Let me first start off by saying thank you Sheldon, my girlfriend just introduced me to this series and the song has been making me twitch since the first episode. Reading through the article and the comments following it I just have a few things to add. In session 4 extra features there is an interview with the Barenaked Ladies where they claim that they were in fact asked by the Big Bang production people to write their theme song and it came right after reading a book on the big bang so they have “done some research.” That being said it is an obligation of the scientific community to point out any inconsistencies so that they are not taken as truths. So far this has been done beautifully in this article and someone should point this out to the Barenaked Ladies on a fan page or something.
    For my minor contributions to the congruity of the song I would like to point out that the conditions prior to the big bang may not have been “hot.” This would have required energy to exist in a state of heat that some modern theoretical astrophysicists do not think existed at that point. Heat was thought to have been expelled from the big bang during the creation of the universe but before the big bang the laws of universe need not apply. As for the Australopithecus /red deer (Cervus elaphus) issue, according to the phylogeography report found at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1055790303003841 (sorry web links are not my strong point) the Red deer came into existence from 2.9 to 3.5 MYA, this lines up with the existence of Australopithecus (2-4 MYA) but as no fossils of the Australopithecus were ever found as far west as the red deer lived it would not be likely that they ever interacted. As far as African antelope are concerned their phylogeography found in Molecular Ecology, 9, 12, pp. 1997-2008 (sorry cannot find a link for it)shows a likely origin of 1.13-2.5 MYA. Even though the Australopithecus and the African antelope did share the same area there is a chance that they did not exist at the same time, and if they did than one was on their way out and the other was on their way in not making them the best of hunting buddies. Maybe they hunted an ancestor?
    P.S. At work right now so my resources are limited on the ability to look up astrophysics stuff so I was not able to properly expand on that part of the topic. I believe it was some of the work Steven Hawking’s did if someone would like to look it up and report back on it.

    • Thanks for the reply Stix, and especially for the link about the red deer.

      I’m having a bit of trouble finding a link to the earliest evolution of antelope. This link states that many evolved around the time the homo genus came onto the scene.

      http://www.mesacc.edu/dept/d10/asb/origins/pulse.html

      But, that doesn’t state when the earliest antelope evolved. Bovines first evolved about 23 MYA, according to some links. And, antelope are in a subgroup, so must be more recent than that. But, I was not talking about a single or specific species of antelope. I was referring to the group of species in general, which seems to contain 91 known species today, according to wikipedia.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antelope

      I’m sure a group this diverse did not occur only in the last 2.5 million years.

      Regardless, we don’t know whether Australopithecines hunted large game at all. I was merely pointing out that they did not hunt deer, but may have hunted antelope. There are some very small species, such as dik diks. So, even if Australopithecines could not hunt large game, some of the smaller species may have been on the menu.

      It’s all conjecture though, to the best of my knowledge.

      I was mostly just trying to point out that it was very unlikely they hunted deer.

      Perhaps more interesting is the number of bones of australopithecines that are found in similar jumbles to those of antelope that have fallen out of trees after being dragged up by leopards. This has led some scientists to believe that our ancestors may have made good leopard fodder. Perhaps our earlier ancestors were more often on the menu than creating the menu, at least from a predator’s viewpoint.

      • Stix says:

        Either way we go I am sure we can all agree they were not hunting deer, unless they liked to walk all the way across Africa for dinner every day. Most of my reading so far on Australopithecines seems to agree that they ate nuts and berries and the occasional small animal, this is about 20 million years too late to consider bovines that may or may not have been in the area to be small prey. It is most likely that as you said they were on the menu not making it.
        If you have access to EBSCO you can find most of the phylogeography charts in there somewhere, it just takes some looking.

      • I had never heard of EBSCO before. I do not have access on the site.

        BTW, I forgot to mention that it’s a very interesting idea to question whether the universe was hot prior to the big bang. I had not heard of anyone doing so before. Do you have a link to any article or paper questioning that?

        I would have assumed that the very high energy in a very small space translated to “hot”. But, perhaps not. Interesting.

      • I would say that at this point the question of what if anything “happened” before the big bang is incoherent. After all, happening requires time to happen in. I submit that the BNL were only going as far back as time itself, in which case it would be appropriate to think of as tremendously hot.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Well….. its not incoherent:
        Adjective

        (of spoken or written language) Expressed in an incomprehensible or confusing way; unclear.
        (of a person) Unable to speak intelligibly.

        Synonyms
        disjointed – rambling – desultory – disconnected

        It might be unknowable but I’ve seen articles about just as information leaks from black holes, there might be in the structure (information?) of the Universe a clue as to its pre-existence?

        I’m guessing it will come down to how comfortable you are with ambiguity???

      • Incoherent is still the right term. Anything spoken of that invokes a concept supervenient on time requires time to make sense of, so in that sense any questions regarding what happened (a movement concept entailing a causal concept, [though the cause could be null,]) before (a temporal relationship concept) the big bang (the exact moment that time and space began) is incomprehensible and thus incoherent. At best, it is certainly a question couched in confusing terms. While I am not a logical positivist, and few still are, this is the sort of question that is anathema to them. There is no truth value of any sort to be gleaned from a counterfactual statement of anything that “happened before the big bang.” No such claim can be either true or fals, so exists in a logical netherworld. Questions of that nature are now and will always be incomprehensible and incoherent until and unless another universe with time is confirmed, but even then “beforeness” could not obtain, because you are dealing with two different and unrelated species of time. I cannot say QWERTYtown is south of Canada coherently, but assuming a fully functional universe where such towns exist, I can fairly say QWERTtown is west of UIOPia. To say that QWERTtown is south of Canada is not a contradiction, it is a statement without any truth value one way or another. One could argue that to discuss QWERTYtown and Canada they would have to be part of the same universe of discourse, and thus QWERTYtown is south of Canada analytically, in the same sense that in the universe of discourse that includes invisible pink unicorns, it is true that billions of elephants inhabit the exosphere marching upside down along the curvature of the atmosphere, because I can define the universe of discourse that includes invisible pink unicorns any way I wish. However, this is merely vacuous truth, but I prefer to call a spade a spade, meaningless. That being said, in the universe of discourse that contains the solar system, we cannot say that Mars is west of Earth, because there is nothing that that means. Westness requires a planetary reference point wherein it stands in relation to another reference point on the same planet, so I hold that asking any questions about beforeness wherein beforeness is impossible are unanswerable because of their incoherence.

      • Meanwhile, back in reality, science has long made the statement that the universe was in a state of being incredibly condensed and high energy at the instant of, or prior to, the big bang. The question here was whether that state could be described as hot. Since the concept of hot requires that energy be transferred and since there is no place to which said energy could have been transferred, it is the concept of hot that is in question here. I don’t believe anyone seriously questions that the universe was densely packed into something approaching a point at the instant immediately prior to the big bang.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        incomprehensible and thus incoherent. === no. by definition.

      • Two things:

        1. I retract my earlier statement. A bit of googling showed me that the “hot” and dense state is considered to be part of the big bang, not a precondition.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang

        2. I agree with bobbo that incoherent is not the right word. Unknown or even possibly unknowable might be preferable. But, there are scientific hypotheses about the causes of the big bang, most notably from brane hypothesis*, one version of which posits colliding membranes as the cause of the bang. So, the discussion can be coherently had, even if there is no way to test any hypothesis as yet and even if there never is a way.

        * I do not yet call any version of string or brane hypotheses a theory. They have, as yet, no evidence. Thus they are hypotheses.

      • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

        I don’t have the intellectual talents as most here have, but I’ll try my hand as best I can.

        JTM
        Quote–
        I would say that at this point the question of what if anything “happened” before the Big Bang is incoherent.
        End quote–

        Incoherent? No. Just an unanswered question is-all.

        You read as though you’ve given-up on the question, rather than trying to answer it. And I don’t think scientists would give up so easily…why would you?
        Haven’t you even pondered such questions? You’ll never know unless you try.

        I’m sorry, but I’m on the side of Scott and bobbo.
        These qauestions are never incoherent to the human mind, never unknowable, there just unknowns at present…and will only require time in which to answer them.

        Happenings do require time, but time didn’t begin with the universe either – as our universe only has a connection with time, or partnership, and in no way did both begin at the berth of our universe.

        You see, time has always existed even before our universe began…so no, you’ll never go as far back as time itself…because time had already existed in the first place.

        If you have no time before a universe…then you’ll simply have no universe. Period.
        So time has always existed because without it… there’s no movement, no gravity, and no singularity. Just nothing.
        So, you’ll never achieve in going as far back as time itself, because time is like numbers and never ends.
        Time existed well before our universe, and will continue well after its end.

        To give you an analogy, in (String Theory) the membranes of two different realities, universes, or dimensions?..brush together to create our universe. And if true, would be an indication that time has always existed, and well before our universe even began.

        So happenings do require time, or it won’t happen.

        And lastly, if things are closer together in thebeginning as theory suggests, then things would be incredibly hot, wouldn’t they?

        Hopefully I’ve been of some help.

      • Stix says:

        Time, as we recognize it, is relative to us. This would put our “time” as an individual construct and make it not necessarily the same “time” that the universe proceeds in. If something existed before the big bang, then it would also have its own unique form of “time” that would likely be different from what we perceive here on earth. The idea of the universe being created by two membranes bumping into each other seems to be a faulty idea; it only serves to open the question of what created those two and what existed in the area between the two before they bumped.

        I agree with the others that the use of the word incoherent on pre-Big Bang is a little off. As coherency is based on our ability to symbolically reason about it and we have been doing such for over a year now, it must be coherent. It’s just a matter of defining the rules of the mental simulation.

        As for things being closer together in the beginning and therefor hot, it is speculated that the universe was hot right after the Big Bang, but the Big Bang is where our universe got matter. Without matter there is no measure of the ability of a substance, or more generally of any physical system, to transfer heat energy to another physical system. Without this ability, one cannot say it was hot. On a more humorous note, even though it was likely high temperature the lack of heat by definition would make it cold.

      • I really am loving this whole discussion about the idea of a “hot” universe. Apparently, from a scientific standpoint, the energy must be transferred to be heat. So, we have this bizarre state of the universe that is very high temperature, but cannot accurately be described as either hot or cold, in my opinion.

        Time as we know it did start with the beginning of the universe. However, there is a tremendous amount of coherent discussion about what caused the bang. To have any discussion of this type does require discussion of the “time before the bang”. It is possible that such time does not exist. We certainly have no real understanding of what time would mean in this instance, scientifically. But, logically it is a valid realm for discussion.

        Perhaps a theory of everything (TOE) or grand unified theory (GUT) will shed more light (no there wasn’t light yet) on the subject.

        No GUT; no glory.

        But, that won’t stop us from hypothesizing ’til we’re blue in the face or get some real scientific data or a new theory. (I’m still not calling strings a theory, nor loop quantum gravity, nor any other current attempt at a TOE or GUT. Without evidence, all of these are hypotheses, some more testable than others, but none of them tested at all.)

      • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

        Hey, Stix.

        Thanks for the information on (time) as it was really interesting, and I’ve enjoyed the read. But, I think regarding time it is relevant to all things (observer or not) in our universe, and without it, there’s simply no universe in which to speak of.

        And I agree that (string theory) is absolute horseshit, but I still maintain that time was in existence before all else; even the universe itself.
        Perhaps time has some differences in others universes, but would be therefore relevant only to those universes, just as our time is only relevant to our universe, too. That is to say that in our universe time’s only in a relevance of a forward motion, whereas in a different universe, time might be running in a counter motion, and, most likely, only relevant to that universe. But time had still existed before there even being any universal existence, because if it didn’t, there’d be no movement at all for any universe to begin their journey through time.

        I don’t really know…maybe I’m just being a bit hard-headed on this one?

        Cheers Stix
        Troy

      • Stix says:

        If we look at the current rules time follows for our universe, we can note that it is affected by density of objects in the area. Some people speculate that time travel may be possible by flying close to the event horizon of a super massive black hole such as one may find at the center of the galaxy. If this is the case and the pre-big bang singularity had infinite mass, one would think that time would move infinitely slow before things spread out in the explosion. This effective standstill tends not to work so well with the current big bang models. Some people believe that the universe is a cyclical universe and collapses back in on itself making a new singularity to cause a new big bang. If this was the case, then we would still run across the same infinitely slow time issue. The only solution I can see that would make the big bang not take an infinite amount of time would be if time did not function the same before, and for a short period after, the big bang. I do have to admit that time is a fun thing to talk about, if we think of it relative to the universe we also have to consider that time flows differently in different parts of the universe, this would make the universe as a whole many different ages. Could you imagine being 22, 35, and 40 at the same time?

  19. Stix says:

    http://web.ebscohost.com It is a great site, you may have to go to your local library or college to gain access though. It allows you to look through many peer reviewed journals, dissertations, and other works. My girlfriend calls it playboy for geeks. Only issue is depending on where you access it from you will have access to different databases, for example at work I get all the geographical, psychological, medical, and physics stuff but I do not have the astrophysics database unless I go to the library and connect there.
    As far as the pre big bang state of the universe I have read 2 different articles on it that had opposing theories on it being cold, one said that hot and cold may not have existed due to the lack of space for thermodynamics to take place in, the other said that when it was compacted to the extreme that is the big bang the atoms were too tight to allow the movement necessary for friction to occur, no friction means no heat. Section 5.2 of http://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/9406056.pdf covers the second one and I am having an issue finding the article on the first one. I will keep looking; it may have been on one of the databases I do not currently have access to though. Not sure what Pre-big bang theory I buy into yet but it is worth stating that this one does exist.

    • Thanks Stix. That is a very interesting hypothesis. I hope you don’t mind, I’m personally still considering all pre-big-bang discussions to be hypotheses rather than theories. I do not believe they are, at present, testable. Still, it’s an interesting concept. I wonder if there have been any updates since that 1994 article. I’ll keep an eye out for updates. I appreciate the information.

      Oh, and I also have to confess, I am not a physicist, theoretical or practical. I’m just an interested lay person. So, at times, I will be caught without the necessary skills to truly evaluate such hypotheses.

      <aside>
      And, if you’re wondering whether I’m consistent on such topics, yes, I still consider String Hypothesis not to be a theory yet. There are still no testable predictions from strings (or branes). Until there are, I don’t like calling it a theory. It is too confusing when scientists misuse theory in the same way as religious folks.

      So, I stick to using theory for that which has abundant evidence and has been tested repeatedly and passed. Quantum Theory, Relativity, and Natural Selection are all theories. No GUT or TOE has yet come up with a single testable prediction, let alone reached the confidence level of any of these.
      </aside>

  20. Stix says:

    From reading around a lot of string theorist seem to go for the cold state pre big bang. I do agree that it borders on being a religious argument when people talk about string anything, but seeing as Sheldon’s job is dealing with string theory, and due to my lack of ability to disprove it, I have to validate the possibility of the hypothesis as applying to this situation. As I said before, I am in no way as knowledgeable on this topic as I would like to be and have not studied enough on it to subscribe to any individual pre big bang beliefs.

    • I’m sorry if I implied that string hypothesis is not a valid hypothesis and area of study. What I meant to say was simply that it is not yet a scientific theory.

      One of the arguments I end up having with religious folks quite often is about the use of the word theory, as in “evolution is just a theory.” This is a fundamental misunderstanding of what theory means to scientists. A scientific theory is one that is not only testable, but has indeed been tested numerous times and continues to win out.

      Relativity, quantum mechanics, and natural selection are among the most well tested theories in the history of science. I do not include evolution because it is a simple observable fact. We have seen evolution in action. It is also the foundation of all of modern medicine. We need the theories of natural selection and sexual selection to explain the mechanisms by which it works and especially to explain drug and pesticide resistance in bacteria and insects.

      So, since I often end up having to define theory for the religious, I have noticed that string hypothesis is not yet testable, has made no testable predictions, and has certainly not passed any test of the types other theories have. Therefore, scientists should stop calling it a theory. It muddies the waters to do so.

      I believe it is still a very valid area of research. I just don’t believe it is a theory.

      I also wonder if it’s time to start diverting some of the funding for research to other promising hypotheses like loop quantum gravity and some of the others that have been arrived at by model building, a ground up rather than top down approach. I know I’m being un-Sheldon-like in saying that. But, having read Warped Passages has given me an appreciation for other approaches to arriving at a GUT or TOE.

      There are three books I read back to back to back that gave me an interesting perspective on the state of research into a GUT or TOE. In order, I read The Trouble with Physics, The Cosmic Landscape, and Warped Passages. All are written for a general audience and are listed on my books page. If you’ve got the time and interest, I recommend them all highly.

      They all start with the same observation that String Hypothesis has not yet produced results. And, all go in very different directions. The first concludes that it may be time to give up on strings. The second that strings offer a great variety of universes and may give us a reasonable way to use the anthropic principle as an explanation of our universe’s current state. The last describes the variety of hypotheses around today, most of which I had never heard of.

  21. Stix says:

    I did not take it as an implication; I just simply wanted to make clear that I do not know enough about string theory to argue beyond the math or to state the correctness if the hypothesis. I do agree with you that it is still only a hypothesis and can only be speculated about in the realm of math, therefore not testable yet in real life situations. I only call it “String Theory” due to that being the popular name applied to it by the general public. But with a large portion of people starting to adopt “String Theory” into their belief structures the existence of a “hot dense state” must be questioned.
    I believe part of this issue may be that we are both starting to hit the cap of our current knowledge on the topic of string cosmology and the correct pre-universe temperature range. Without more knowledge on the topic all we can truly conclude is that the pre-big bang state of existence was dense, anything more than that would be up to interpretation of the producers and their physics expert. Due to the predominance of “String Theory” in the show I have to assume that the physics expert they consult places great value in the hypothesis. This makes me question the reasoning behind allowing the first line of the theme song to contradict the hypothesis studied by the main character.
    I was not aware of the book section until you pointed it out. Those books all look very good; I will have to read them. Your description of book three is tempting me to skip the first two books but I will follow them as suggested. As most of my reading currently consist of peer-reviewed articles and journals the break will be nice.

  22. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Hey Scotty==this must be your best thread ever? or most enjoyable? I have never thought of you as sheldon. Sheldon has a better developed sense of humor? ((Ha, Ha!))

    Two nigs before my..no 3..before my purpose:
    1. What would a song from the viewpoint of any non-human be like? That was mentioned above, but I will second it.
    2. video no longer shows. Would be worthwhile to post the lyrics at the start anyway even if the video did work?
    3. Heat is created by Friction? Yes, thats true but only because the molecules are moving faster? Movement not friction is heat?

    Your interest in “Big Bang” reminds me of the Video of DeGrasse Tyson being upset about the Night Sky in Titanic. He emailed Cameron about it and IT GOT CHANGED when the film was re-edited.

    Not a Bazinga moment but indeed, BNL might update their song if enough grass roots interest developed.

  23. Thanks for the high compliment bobbo. This is actually my most read post with over 11,000 page views and counting. So, by popularity, at least, yes this is my best post.

    1. A song form the viewpoint of a non-human? Interesting. I’m a human. So, I can’t really claim to understand the “lyrics” of a song by another species. So, I’ll just post some samples.

    Here’s a bird singing the sad tale of his own destruction.

    2a. Thanks for pointing out the broken youtube link. I have provided an updated one.

    2b. I did provide the lyrics. See paragraph 3 and the link below it. The paragraph explains why I didn’t post the lyrics as text, but rather provided a link.

    3. Thanks for causing me to look up an accurate physics definition of heat.

    Source: http://physics.about.com/od/glossary/g/heat.htm

    Definition: Heat energy (or just heat) is a form of energy which transfers among particles in a substance (or system) by means of kinetic energy of those particle. In other words, under kinetic theory, the heat is transfered by particles bouncing into each other.

    Therefore, since there was no place to which any portion of the energy of the entire universe might be transferred, hot is probably an incorrect term to use for the pre-bang universe. High energy or high temperature is probably a better term for the dense early universe than hot.

    Lastly, all I can say is wow!! I have never been given such a high compliment as to be compared in any way to Neil deGrasse Tyson. I’ve heard him speak live and in person numerous times, more often before he became a NASA bigwig when he used to introduce the speakers at Hayden Planetarium lecture series. He’s both brilliant and humorous. His intros were usually better than the actual lecture, even when the lecture was great.

    I am surprised that in this video, he didn’t mention the moon. Did I miss that? When I heard him speak on the subject, he pointed out that in the movie, they showed a beautiful full moon overhead just before the crash with the iceberg. He correctly points out that were there a full moon and clear sky that night, the ship would not have crashed at all.

    Anyone who has stood outside on the night of a full moon in a place with little or no light pollution knows that it’s so bright that you can clearly see all around you and can even see your shadow. A full moon therefore, would have provided enough light to see the iceberg in plenty of time to avoid it.

  24. Gees says:

    Your have got to be kidding. What a total waste of brain power. You are obviously a very intelligent person. I don’t understand why you would pick apart a song. ITS JUST A SONG!! A great song but a song none the less. There are standards used to write a song. One of them is they have to rhyme! They also have to flow! If all song writers thought like you all songs would be boring. Like all your posts. Although there are a ton of songs that make no sense. Did you write them?
    I cant believe I wasted my time reading it. Well most of it. I skimmed over alot of it because I was nodding off to sleep reading it. My college history classes were more more interesting than this post.

    • Gees,

      First, thank you for the compliment of my intelligence. I’m glad you think I’m intelligent. Here is my explanation for why this song should be either picked apart or not used as the theme for this show.

      This particular TV show, The Big Bang Theory, has a PhD physicist checking the facts of the show before it goes out. They make a very strong effort to avoid propagating incorrect information.

      I know this because I went to a science lecture presented by David Saltzberg, PhD who fact checks the show.

      Further, the actress who plays the role of Amy Farrah Fowler, Mayim Bialik, actually is a neuroscientist, furthering the fact checking to include that area of expertise as well.

      So, with all of that effort put into making sure the show is correct, using a song with this many errors is, IMNSHO, at least a medium sized mistake.

      • Gees says:

        Wow. It’s amazing how you enjoy anything in life. Analyzing and kicking apart everything you read or hear is just sad.

        I feel sorry for you .

        Time to delete you.

      • It’s truly not easy living in my brain. Though, having your pity doesn’t change anything.

        I just hope that when you say you’re going to delete me that you mean stop reading my blog.

        By all means, please do. Life’s too short to waste it on reading stuff you don’t find entertaining. I enjoyed writing this. I hope others enjoy reading it. I certainly hope that those who do not enjoy reading it don’t spend a lot of time doing so.

        Just one question Gees, if you do come back to read this reply, didn’t the title give away the fact that I was going to analyze the lyrics to death? Isn’t that exactly what you’d expect from Dr. Sheldon Cooper were he not a fictional character?

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Hey Scotty…. didn’t you tell me long time ago something near to what Gee just did? Anyhoo…. I’m just waiting now for you to ever post that: “It is possible to please all the people……”

        Going to college huh? Standards have slipped even for a major as soft as history. I mean…. why study history when its already happened? Talk about wasting time analyzing something of so little worth.

        Seems to me that studying anything but the future is a total waste of time.

        THATS WHAT I THINK, and now… I will hold my breath until everyone else agrees with me. Because, I am just that self centered.

      • Hey Scotty…. didn’t you tell me long time ago something near to what Gee just did?

        It is possible; though, I kind of doubt it. I’ve been known for over-analyzing stuff for a lot longer than I’ve been blogging.

        As for history, I too do not find it to be the most interesting of topics. But, some knowledge of history is important. It won’t get you into the future but may help keep your future from being filled with the mistakes of the past.

      • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

        Well said!

        And not all of us find you so boring, if that means anything to you.

        If any civilization is to continue then that civilizations people has to learn from its past, or it will be doomed to repeat it.

        And because of those in our government that aren’t adhering to the constitution, our liberty foundation is cracking and will slowly wither to dust.

  25. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Here’s the most recent BNL connected Space Songs. I did not detect any errant science, but I would not call this ballad a Rock song either.

    I LOVE HISTORY. But anyone can do that one their own. College should be more preparatory for something you can’t do on your own.

    http://gizmodo.com/5982968/the-first-song-composed-and-recorded-in-space-actually-rocks

  26. bobbo,

    Simon and Garfunkel is rock. This is another example of soft rock, IMHO. I’m no music expert.

    What about herstory? Do you only love hisstory? For too much of ourstory, herstory has been largely ignored.

    As for the facts of the song, there aren’t that many. Altitude, speed of orbit, relative speed of a bullet. These things sounded fine to me. I did check the quoted speed of the space station in feet per second and it is indeed more than twice as fast as a normal or even an assault weapon muzzle velocity, much more than twice, I think.

    Other than that, I’m done checking songs for a time.

    BTW, I did like this one. So, thanks for sharing.

    I also do like the theme to Big Bang Theory as a song. I just can’t help but be annoyed by the inaccuracies now that I’ve done the research into the lyrics. In fact, I confess that when I began this post 3 years ago, I was expecting to have just a few nits to pick. It wasn’t until I really read the lyrics that I realized the issues I have with nearly every line of the song. In fact, I hadn’t even heard the extra verses that are not played at the beginning of the TV show.

  27. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    Wow…
    That post didn’t format as expected, and I guess I’ll have to have my phone checked. Please disregard this, and my previous post, as I suck at debating anyway.

    Hope the year will be good for you.
    All the best
    Troy

    • Your prior post formatted exactly the way wordpress formats replies that end up too deeply indented. The extra spaces are caused by right-justifying text when there is not much space. You were missing two spaces, both before the word “is” in different locations. I fixed those.

      Thanks for the reply. It’s good to know someone finds me interesting even if the feeling is not universal.

      What actually surprised me most is how long Gees stuck with reading the post after deciding s/he didn’t like it. Perhaps it’s like watching a bad movie twice to get one’s money’s worth.

  28. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    Pardon if this sounds absurd, but I shall ask the question anyways.

    MS
    – It’s good to know someone finds me interesting even if the feeling is not universal. –

    Was that sentence aimed at me, Gees, or both?
    I was just trying lend some support. Was that a mistake?

  29. Expulsion Of Gods,

    I was thanking you for the support while making a reference to the fact that Gees did not find me interesting. (Luckily, I have a thick skin.)

    Let me try to be clearer.

    Thank you for the compliment and support.

    Scott

  30. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Scott. I was just trying to avoid a mistake between us.
    Thick skin?
    Glad to know that, as I also have a thick head of cement because I can be quite cynical in my replies. But, I do try not to be to insulting though…
    At least not to my friends.

    Thanks again
    Troy

  31. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Just for the record…. I have very thin skin. The only thing that keeps me active in contentious forums is the concomitant attribute of not caring what anyone else thinks. What a delightful coincidence?

    Being fact corrected is nothing but a joy to me. Each correction makes me a better man. Being insulted by fools or strangers is not stable or reasonable. And who among us is foolish or strange enough to get upset by mere disagreement?

    For some reason, I’m thinking of the funniest line ever put on film from Pulp Fiction where Harvey Keitel tells Sam Jackson: “Gentlemen, before we start sucking each others d*cks……” etc. Ahhhh…. camaraderie, its a wonderful thing.

    • who among us is foolish or strange enough to get upset by mere disagreement?

      Lots of people! It’s one of the reasons I mostly stopped frequenting Dvorak Uncensored. Cagematch has a much better, albeit smaller, group of people who actually respond.

      Cagematch is probably better precisely because it’s a smaller group. People in large groups tend to annoy me. Sometimes when I’m in a large group, I annoy myself. Herd mentality can take over and make us do things that look silly later when we’re on our own.

      My prime personal example is when I’m in the NYC subway and push into the last remaining space in a car. Why? Why not wait for the next train? There aren’t enough Os in MOOOOOOOO to give a proper answer.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Thats easy….. the next train may not come. Trains are like that.

        Group dynamics are interesting. Hard to be in a group and not have to demonstrate ceremonial or group behaviors. The larger the group, the more likely you are going to have to salute the flag, pray, or listen to someone drone on about things no one is interested in, but you have to stay for the oeurdovers.

      • A) True.
        B) That doesn’t make me feel very intelligent if I can’t break free of the herd. Again, MOOOO!!!!

  32. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    @Babel, the pregnated extraterrestrial evangelical priest!

    Babel
    –The only thing that keeps me active in contentous forums is the concomitant attribute of not caring what anyone else thinks.–

    Okay, I’ll go along with that. So, you’re saying that any new member to a blog should never bother to make new friends?
    Should I just go on insulting you?
    I don’t understand that logic…
    But if that’s what you wish…
    So be it.

    Babel
    –Being insulted by fools or strangers is not stable or reasonable.–

    But I thought you didn’t care about being insulted? And now you do? Well.which is it?

    Babel
    –And who among us is foolish or strange enough to get upset by mere disgreement?–

    So, I’m strange, foolish, and upset?
    Are you sucumbing to some sort of delirium to further highten your own pride, captain Babel?

    I’m simply trying to show some respect and common courtesy, as well as to make new friends…
    Perhaps you find more value in those that are more hostile towards you?
    I can oblige you with that, but I’d rather not.

    Question, my captain, oh captain.
    If one was to show-up at your door, how would you wish them to proceed?
    Should the individual show a posture of kindness, or one of hostility?

    Thanks asshole!

    • Babel … Cute. I’ve not seen anyone make that particular deliberate typo on bobbo’s name before. And, I’ve seen a lot of people make some attempt at humor from his name. I once coined “Psychobobbo … all psychobobbo … ” in reference to an Alan Parsons song. Come to think of it, “Psychobobbo, hey ques que cest fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa” also works for those who prefer the Talking Heads.

      To be clear on the being insulted issue though, I think bobbo is not stating it well in his response below. I think I actually get him on this and even agree with him.

      On one hand, there is the concept of a person slinging an insult. On the other, there is the internalization of feeling insulted. When one doesn’t care about the opinion of the insult slinger, one probably doesn’t actually feel insulted by the insult. In fact, if one has enough active disrespect for the insult slinger, the insult may be taken as a compliment.

      Consider being insulted by Faux Spews or the Westboro Batshits. Personally, I’d be sure I was doing something right if those nutjobs were telling me I was doing it wrong. I would feel far from insulted by anything they had to say to me … unless they paid me a compliment … then I’d really feel insulted!

  33. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Only because your response demonstrates the heart and soul of what I so cogently posted, I will do YOU the favor of parsing

    The Expulsion Of Gods says:
    February 17, 2013 at 04:33

    @Babel, the pregnated extraterrestrial evangelical priest!

    Babel
    –The only thing that keeps me active in contentous forums is the concomitant attribute of not caring what anyone else thinks.–

    Okay, I’ll go along with that. /// Excellent. Looks like you see the humor, the insight, the basis for equanimity and good social order. I look forward to how you develop this.

    So, you’re saying that any new member to a blog should never bother to make new friends? /// Oops, bit of a right turn. Never talked about new members or making friends. So, you are jumping off the main topic: “How to deal with discourteous people” into issues of your own.

    Should I just go on insulting you? /// Personality is revealed/applied when no constraints apply===like being in a crowd of people.

    I don’t understand that logic…
    But if that’s what you wish… //// Total projection on your part. I never said or implied I wish confrontation or unearned abuse. Again–my theme was how to avoid the damage from same.
    So be it.

    Babel
    –Being insulted by fools or strangers is not stable or reasonable.–

    But I thought you didn’t care about being insulted? And now you do? Well.which is it? /// You make a non sequitur, on par with if I gave the advice to drive with a seat belt on, you would challenge why I like having accidents. Can you see that?

    Babel
    –And who among us is foolish or strange enough to get upset by mere disgreement?–

    So, I’m strange, foolish, and upset? /// Well, you imply that for some reason you are upset? If so, for I see no reason at all why you should be-my advice being irrelevant to the exchange on this thread, then I am forced to say yes you are being strange and foolish to be upset for so little reason, if any reason there even be. If you had taken my advice, you would not be. You would not and perhaps have maintained equanimity to see the value of what you so obviously would benefit from.

    Are you sucumbing to some sort of delirium to further highten your own pride, captain Babel? //// Another non sequitur. ….. ok, I can find several contexts in which to place this statement. All to perhaps the more valid point that this comment is too vague. You’ll have to connect the missing dots yourself.

    I’m simply trying to show some respect and common courtesy, as well as to make new friends… //// And yet—you aren’t. Why would you go out of your way to be insulting and challenging while maintaining you want friendship? That doesn’t make any sense at all unless your goal is to be self defeating. Kinda foolish and strange don’t you think? If you want to find friends, you should be friendly. Like I was. (In context as it has developed….”Ha, ha.”)

    Perhaps you find more value in those that are more hostile towards you? /// And yet I posted just the opposite and you repeated it as part of your initial critique. do you find holding onto an idea that time limited?

    I can oblige you with that, but I’d rather not. /// As I did counsel–all to your own benefit.

    Question, my captain, oh captain.
    If one was to show-up at your door, how would you wish them to proceed?
    Should the individual show a posture of kindness, or one of hostility? /// With honesty.

    Thanks asshole! /// You start and end with unjustified hostility with a middle interlude of claims to the otherwise.

    Foolish, strange, inconsistent. You have a long way to go for whatever your goal is. You’ll get more out of the trip more quickly and easily if you will recognize the truth in what you disagree with. Its demonstrated in this very exchange.

    Scotty—did we argue like this at the beginning, or did we grow into it? Seems to me we “mostly” stick to factual disputes and both let our lapses into personality characterizations slide off? Please don’t correct me if I’m wrong, I’d prefer to think of us as friends.

  34. bobbo,

    I’d say you’re both mostly talking past each other and reading into each others’ words that which has not been said. Clearer wording on both of your parts might make up the difference.

    As for how we argue, I’d say it evolved over time.

    As we’ve grown/groan to understand each other a bit better, I’d like to think we’ve reached a modicum of mutual respect.

    I often do think though that if you’d take a bit of time to choose your words and punctuation more carefully, you’d probably make your points more effectively and clearly leaving less chance for misunderstanding. And, you’d do even better if you stopped claiming that everything was definitional. 😉

    A perfect example is above. I think I get what you mean about being insulted. However, the way you said it was far from clear. It was easy to misunderstand. And, your response above did nothing to clear it up. Check my previous reply above and see if I got what you meant and if my explanation is more obvious and clear. If so, that’s what I mean. If not, then perhaps I’m not clear on your meaning in the following quote either.

    Being insulted by fools or strangers is not stable or reasonable.

    Did I understand correctly that you meant “[feeling] insulted by [the derogatory remarks of] fools or strangers is not stable or reasonable.”

    Of course, one cannot stop the derogatory remarks other than by avoiding blogging. But, one can alter one’s own internal response to the situation.

    Did I get that right?

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Of course you got it right. That is clearly what I said if you aren’t foolish or strange.

      I lounge in ambiguity. It shows respect to those who know already and provides a challenge to those who don’t. Challenge: learning by experience of being in the moment rather than being pedantically spoken to as a child.

      Denigrating “everything is definitional” when the very subject we are discussing is definitional?…… Amusing. What else did I do but define what “having a thick skin” means? I thought we were all onboard with that being a good and even necessary thing on forums?===but it applies in life as well. No Hotheads are worth much.

      NOTHING AT ALL to take offense at unless one is spring loaded to take offense …… at what….. I can’t quite say. An old worn out idea expressed differently?

      …..but actually…….I was riffing on a realization I came to with an ex boss of mine. ALL Bosses give their stump speech about how they are open to new ideas, and have an open door policy. I have met very few bosses that actually are. The one that did the most I cam to recognize the source of his openness: he really flat out didn’t care what anyone else thought. I cracked myself up coming to that recognition.

      Can any idea be better expressed?—Of course. But playing horse shoes, I got 5 points: close enough unless you are……>>

      As to us groaning together–the movement was all on your point. I have respected your intelligence and humanity from the very start…even as I disagree with it. Thats why I spend so much time trying to teach you how everything is definitional. If the conveyor belt doesn’t give out first, I have faith you will attain Nirvana.

      Psychobobbo is much better. More alliterative to the original eponymity. Babel is a good first effort though and equally thematic. The boy has potential if he will remove the blinders, the chip, probably detumesce a bit too?

      But I wander.

      • Of course you got it right. That is clearly what I said

        Not really. I guessed it by knowing you and happening to agree with you on this, meaning I already thought this way. However, the way you worded it was far from clear.

        I lounge in ambiguity. It shows respect to those who know already and provides a challenge to those who don’t.

        You do and it doesn’t. What you do by lounging in ambiguity is leave people wondering whether or not they agree with you and utterly failing to make the point because your words can be taken to make either the point with which you agree or the opposing view. It merely leaves people guessing.

        What else did I do but define what “having a thick skin” means?

        If anything, you misdefined it. Having a thick skin means being able to take the abuse without experiencing serious damage. Your way means to avoid the abuse altogether. Having a thick skin would mean that when someone you respect and who’s opinion you value criticizes or even insults you, you tolerate the criticism or even the insult and manage to move on. It’s as if each of us is claiming to have a high tolerance for pain, but one of us is biting a bullet for the pain while the other is under general anesthesia.

        BTW, my experience is that you do have a thick skin.

        I’ll go for the anesthesia too, when it makes sense. But sometimes, one gets criticism from a known and respectable source, or possibly more than one. My father used to say, “if three people tell you you’re drunk, you lie down.”

        I’m glad to know you have faith in my reaching nirvana. I don’t have any faith. Too many people have already had Faith. She’s all reamed out. (Just kidding. Experience is a good thing. Like any other physical activity, people get better with practice. Though, in Faith’s case, after literally billions have had her, some Kegel exercises might help.)

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        This is fascinating: “If anything, you misdefined it. Having a thick skin means being able to take the abuse without experiencing serious damage. Your way means to avoid the abuse altogether.”

        For me its interesting as the “words” issued from the second party can be exactly the same with the same hurtful intent. Take “You are an asshole.” Neither you or I would be insulted or hurt by such a childish, foolish outburts===from a stranger. So–the stimulus is the same, the reaction is the same, but you want to define the mechanism of interaction differently? Fair enough. How can I argue its not definitional?

        How would those two coping mechanisms deal with the same insult from a loved one? From a deeply loved one? From a loved one who is very insightful? From a loved one who is insightful and who rarely if ever criticizes. Lots of variations for the definition to take into account.

        Seems to me that thick skin of the centimeter type might not take proper heed from what is being communicated whereas the other centric empathetic approach would work much better in keeping the relationship health. So–you analyze the situation. What is being said, by whom, for what purpose and effect.

        Seems to me thick skin is for an elephant or a bull seal? No distinction made. Almost insensate? Or not. Funny that its all definitional.

      • Stix says:

        To define is to assign a concrete set of rules to the word or phrase, to operationalize is to assign the use of the word or phrase in this setting/situation, I think the better term here would be to operationalize. I would like to point out that the debate is completely derailed, have we decided that all the stated issues with the song are factual and there is nothing more to be added?

      • bobbo,

        You just love to send me to the dictionary. I don’t know why.

        thick-skinned (thksknd)
        adj.
        1. Having a thick skin or rind.
        2. Not easily offended.
        3. Largely unaffected by the needs and feelings of other people; insensitive.

        Seems that both of our definitions fit within the simple definition number 2. The elephant, and even more so the rhino, would fall into the literal definition number 1. I don’t think either of us were talking about definition 3.

  35. Stix,

    Feel free to bring up any issues or questions related to the original topic. Feel free to ask for documentation on any that sound off to you.

    As for derailing the original topic, I’m fine with that. I love tangents. Sometimes they wind up being more interesting than the conversation that sparked them. Not this time, but …

  36. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Scotty, you said: “1. I don’t think either of us were talking about definition 3.” /// When that was the very distinction I did emphasize in my precedent post.

    Seems to me we are not upset by insults from strangers FOR THE VERY REASON that we could/might/should be from the very same words from intimates. We consider the source and the context. Its not being well armored against all, few people don’t care about loved ones==only psychopaths? ((Armored and amored… nice.))

    So, to the degree you recognize you do care about the opinions of loved ones, you DON’T have thick skin. You in fact have the same coping mechanism I set forth.

    close related issue touched on here, but tangental to the BigBang–people who become too easily insulting and/or insulted. But we would have to look up a few more words for that discussion.

    • You were talking about definition 3??!!? Really? I would never consider myself to be insensitive to the needs of others. In that way, I am most definitely not thick skinned.

      I play around with defense mechanisms that fall solidly in definition 2. I do not let myself be insulted by those who’s opinion I don’t respect. That does not mean I am insensitive to their needs. I just don’t let their opinions hurt me.

      As for loved ones, and even friends and acquaintances, that gets trickier. I have already proved on one thread that my skin can indeed be pierced. But, thick skinned doesn’t necessarily mean impenetrable. Even rhinoceros skin can be pierced, as evidenced by the poaching of rhinos.

      But, my defense mechanisms are generally different for those I care about. I would attempt to evaluate whether I could see their side and agree. If so, I would work to improve in the area. Most of those about whom I care would be likely to be giving constructive criticism. Even if they are angry at me at the moment, I would assume that they might have some validity to their point. I would try to consider and determine whether I need to correct or at least acknowledge a deficiency. At worst, I would generally agree to disagree or some such.

      I would view both of these defense mechanisms though, considering the source and attempting to reevaluate, to be under definition 2. I’m rarely heartless enough to play with definition 3. I would view definition 3 as beyond thick-skinned and all the way to callous.

  37. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Since I’m on a roll and DU is dead, as is too often the case, let me parse:

    Stix says:
    February 19, 2013 at 09:28

    To define is to assign a concrete set of rules to the word or phrase, to operationalize is to assign the use of the word or phrase in this setting/situation, /// Concrete sounds like we are being inflexible whereas the truth/goal is just the opposite. We take one of several definitions and analyze it, just as with the song. I can accept “operationalize” as a label to distinction I made. As good as any other. I think I said (memory only, no peeking here) I process the insults in a certain way. Process vs Operationalize. Pretty close.

    I think the better term here would be to operationalize. I would like to point out that the debate is completely derailed, have we decided that all the stated issues with the song are factual and there is nothing more to be added? /// Overly broad. Again from memory, seems to me the discussion is only about the scientific facts recited/referred to in the song. Dick Clark would analyze two remaining elements: the Beat and Dance-ability of the song. We’re geeks, or geeks wanna be’s, or linguistic wannabes. Someone said the song was “catchy.” But beat and dance-ability are very value laden–not a good basis for a factual analysis. To those issues, as with insults, I would say: find your pleasure where you may. Avoid the rest.

  38. Regarding the derailing of the thread, for me, the unusual bit is seeing a thread go as long as it did without largely getting derailed. Except for a few comments about whether the topic was an appropriate one for discussion at all, the majority of topics for nearly 3 years did stay on topic.

    Bizarre, IMHO.

    Of course, anyone who wishes may feel free to go back to the main topic of conversation at any time. I tend not to moderate conversations much. I like to see where they go. And, since I’m not offended by cursing, I really only censor obvious spam. I haven’t even had to delete any trolling on my blog yet. I’d probably delete true hate speech if anyone tried that on my blog. Otherwise, I pretty much set the conversation free.

  39. Luke says:

    “the autotrophs began to drool” is a lyrical reference to the appearance of heterotrophs, I suspect. Life began eating each other for sustenance.

    • Hi Luke. Interesting interpretation. Not bad. I suspect they wouldn’t be autotrophs anymore. But, still, it makes it sound a bit better. Thanks.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Being single celled neither auto nor hetero trophs drooled at all. So, autotrophs were the first form of life. Good place to start the progress of life?

      I assume cynobacteria drool when the sun rises over the horizon?

      • Probably correct.

        However, just to play Bare Naked Ladies’ advocate, isn’t it possible that they drool by osmosis through their cell walls?

        OK. No. I just figured I’d bring up the possibility.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Well…… not to get tooooooooo anal about it, even though I know you are a student of the anal, I would say that drooling is a conditioned reflex that only exists in higher complexity BRAINS. You know—more than one cell? So, I gotta conclude that line by the BNL is just total fubar. No scientific basis at all====”♫ But its got a back beat you can’t miss it…..”

  40. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    A small song for father, and I require no pity.

    End of jaunt

    I was thinking and dreaming of the warmth you sent my way,
    In those days after work you always took the time to play,
    Immersed in this time,
    Awashed in love now only divide-

    Looking inside the book and slowly fell from grace,
    Kicking me while down to put me in my place,

    End of jaunt!
    I’ve only ever wanted peace-
    It’s the end of jaunt!
    I’ve begged you for release-
    End of jaunt!
    Now forever marked as the beast-
    It’s the end of jaunt!

    Longing for closeness again-
    But can’t seem to make amends-
    The love that we both shared is forever gone—
    Birthday, and fishing trips–
    Sometimes you even scared me shitless—
    But now in death I guess you’ve gotten what you want–

    End of jaunt!

    As you start to fade away and I beg you to stay, you clinch my hand, I see death in your eyes—!
    Memories are flashing over again of good times we had spent, I lift you up as I said goodbye—!

    End of jaunt!
    No more suffering nor needs-!
    It’s the end of jaunt!
    Your ashes scattered under that tree-!
    End of jaunt!
    Endlessly broken I’ll be-!

    It’s the end of jaunt—-

    Goodbye dad

    • You have my deepest condolences. No pity though. Just sympathy and empathy. I don’t believe that you will be endlessly broken. I do think you’ll recover and be left remembering only (or mostly) the good.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        I prefer “bent” over broken. But people choose their own reactions, knowingly or not. As I grow older, I find my feelings for dear old dad lessening some what. All part of turning into an old woman as I age.

        I guess Mom bent me too. I’d love to talk to them both. Not at the same time of course.

      • Thanks for the quotes bobbo. They help a lot. They almost kept me from briefly thinking you preferred to be “bent over”.

        I hope a little levity at this time does not offend you Troy. I just have a hard time avoiding even small amounts of humor at bobbo’s expense at every opportunity.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Yep….. you aren’t Misanthropic for your deep insight!
        (smile!)

      • Deep Insight is a good name for the main male character in a porn flick geared toward a more intelligent audience … or would be if such a flick ever existed.

        No. I’m not going to google to check.

      • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

        Bobbo?

        When “bent over”, did person enter deep in your…(thoughts)?

        Hope you don’t mind the question, but I couldn’t resist.
        You two are very funny!

      • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

        Scott?

        That little segment between yourself and bobbo was fucking priceless!
        LMFAO!

        But you know something, Scott? You just may have something here.

        For instance; when reading the sentence that he preferably likes the term ” (bent over) broken”, and then said: “All part of turning into an (old woman) as I age.”

        This would lead on to think that maybe, bobbo is an old woman who likes being bent over a broken table? Perhaps bent over a broken desk?

        Hopefully you both didn’t mind me expanding the joke.

      • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

        I thank you for the guidance and support through all of this, Scott. And I apologize again for my outbursts, and any offensive remarks that may have been directed your way. But, I don’t really think either of us were truly being that offensive to the other though. But when meeting others for the first time I sometimes have difficulty reading them, and that compiled with my other problems is what sent myself spiralling out of control, when I should’ve been a little more patient in the first place. I’ll try to be a little more mindful of this in the future.

        I’m usually not that offended by what others say anymore, but it’s been very difficult for me lately. Hope you understand.

        All the best
        Troy

      • I was not offended by any of your comments.

  41. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    everyone knows the best porno name male is “Buck Naked” (George from Seinfeld) and female is “Porcelain Bidet” (lifeguard on Son of the Beach).

    You two certainly are easily amused. My one eyed trouser snake has deeper insights than either of you. Isn’t Sleeper by Woody Allen one of the most intellectual porno flicks….. the Orgasmatron?

    • How I Met Your Mother had a better name, IMHO, Lance Hardwood.

      I don’t consider Sleeper to be whacking material. If you do, you need better porn. In my opinion though, the best sex scene in any Sporting-A-Woody Allen film is not even from Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask, but was from Love and Death.

      Note the clock near the start and end.

  42. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Lance Hardwood is now at the top of my list. The Love and Death Scene is also excellent. Imagine getting PAID to be in such a scene. Makes me mourn my life decisions. Beautiful Woman–but I don’t see much “intellectualizing” going on. Is intellectual porno an oxymoron??

    That actress is SO pretty in that scene. I’ll have to google and IMDb her. I enjoy finding such beauties and then finding other films they were in and then try to figure out how/why I didn’t notice them without their clothes off.

    Simple things.

  43. For me, since the brain really is the sexiest organ in the human body, I often find actresses more attractive if the role I remember them for was an intelligent character. Since I don’t know them in life, that’s all I have to go by.

    For example, even though Daryl Hannah has been in some stupid movies as well as some very good ones, I always think of her as Roxanne, where she played an astronomer.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093886/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

  44. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

  45. Nitrous says:

    Couple points. The autotrophs began to drool is a metaphor for evolution. The Neanderthals aren’t represented as inventing tools, they “developed” tools. Again, this is in keeping with the idea of an evolving group. For me, the place (in the theme rendition for te show) that they did get wrong was putting the “Great Wall of China” ahead of the pyramids. No question that the time line is wrong there. Otherwise, I think the theme song matches a great shw, brilliantly.

    At least that’s my take on it. 🙂

  46. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    Sorry for the typos, but I’m very tired.

  47. I would agree with Nitrous that the autotrophs “drooling” would be a metaphor for the evolution of heterotrophic life from simple prokaryotes. That said, I do not think we’re meant to take the order of things at face value. The lyrics also order math, science, history. The Greeks developed math and history, but science as we know it did not exist until Francis Bacon developed the scientific method in the 1800s, though natural philosophy predated it by the Greeks as well, namely Aristotle who could reasonably thought of as the father of biology, though his conclusions about anatomy were rather far off and based on teleology rather than evolution. Even if we call the heroic efforts of the natural philosophers science, history started before either math or science. History happened the first time anyone in civilization conveyed information in writing to a subsequent generation about the generation extant to the author, roughly .01 mya. Also, obviously Deuteronomy came before Encarta, so I would say that their building the Wall before the Pyramids was to fit the meter rather than to make a claim about the order in which things occured.

    • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

      Hi, Jodde.

      Regarding the Scientific Method not being in existence until the 1800s and presumed to be developed by, Francis Bacon.

      Francis Bacon merely put it forward for the masses, but it was the actual work of, Epicurus.

      Epicurus. Born 4 February 341BCE Samos Athens and died 270 BCE also in Athens Greece, and was influenced by, Democritus, and Pyrrho.

      He’s the key figure, or in my view “father” in the development of the Scientific Method because of his insistence that nothing should be believed, except that which was tested through direct observation and logical deduction. Many of his ideas about nature and physics presaged important Scientific concepts of our time.

      Sorry, Jodde. But I had to share this with everyone when facing the facts in an article from Wikipedia, and other sources as well.

      Again, apologies
      Troy

      • For the record, wikipedia supports the view that Epicurus was instrumental in the development of the scientific method.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epicurus#Prefiguring_science_and_ethics

        Thanks or setting the record straight on this Troy.

      • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

        You’re most welcome, Scott.

        Oh, yes. By chance, if you ever start your own forum, could you notify me? Please?
        I’d like to join.

      • Will do. But, it seems unlikely. I think a forum is a lot more work. Perhaps I’ll revisit this another time. If you want to play around with one, I wouldn’t mind partnering up on it.

      • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

        Yeah…it would be a rather large endeavour put upon us, especially when we’re under time constraints in the day to day pressures of life.
        Perhaps, you’re right. Perhaps we’ll reflect on this undertaking for another time. But still, to engage in such an enterprise would be very entertaining.

        And a partnership would be the way to go in that horizon, and I’ll be looking forward to this in the future.

        Thanks for the invitation Scott.

  48. The Greeks developed history in the same sense as neanderthals developed tools. History existed, they made it into an art.

    • I agree wholeheartedly in concept. I was not aware of neanderthals making tools into an art. I thought that was first done by cro magnons (us). Do you have any info suggesting that neanderthals made art?

      (google break)

      Neanderthal art: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/jun/14/neanderthals-first-create-cave-paintings

      Interesting. Not artistic tools, but art nonetheless.

      Anyway, history exists for chimps. They don’t write it down. But, even their current dominance hierarchy is based on a history of coalitions, fights, etc.

      I wonder if humans can be said to have raised history to the level of art contained in a beautiful double helix. Probably not. There is history in every strand of DNA dating back to just a few hundred million years after the formation of the planet. At most, our own written history doesn’t even cover the dawn of agriculture. We have to reverse engineer that history from archaeology.

  49. I can accept some debate about the ordering of events. Given that there are other stanzas of the song that sort of restart, we must accept some out of order bits. But, I still think that the order should remain somewhat significant within a stanza.

    As for the metaphor of drooling autotrophs, I don’t really agree with that one. Autotroph is not an evolutionary family/clade/taxa. It is a description of lifestyle. Those species that make their own food do not drool.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      If the line is “and autotrophs BEGAN to drool” I think this cannot be taken as anything other than a metaphor for evolution. Has nothing to do with taxa but rather with the action verb: “began.” Began what? …drool. How can a single cell organism drool? IT CANT===until it evolves.

  50. bobbo,

    Where did you get the idea that autotrophs are single-celled? Trees are autotrophs. Any organism that produces its own food is an autotroph.

  51. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    Stix?

    All we can really do is promote our own speculation at present because, basically, no one has any real answers about time, nor about its real function in the framework of our universe. But, at least my speculation on time is one of time always being in a forward motion in the making of any universe.
    I could be wrong, but I’d like to think I’m not.

    I think time is a somewhat separate dimension in and of itself, that our, and other universes had only made a connection to.

  52. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    Stix
    Quote–
    As for things being closer together in the beginning and therefore hot, it is speculated that the universe was hot right after the Big Bang, but the Big Bang is where our universe got matter.
    Unquote–

    Just as is also speculated that the universe had slightly more matter than antimatter at its beginning, else our universe would be an ever expanding of nothingness.
    Question:
    Would that explosion not be the creation of such heat?
    And because of said heat, would that prevent said molecular structures from forming? And if so, why doesn’t this action prevent stars from transforming matter because of the stars intense heat, or break down said matter at all?
    And isn’t the universe itself the transference of said heat?
    Lastly, do those questions sound stupid?
    I certainly hope not as I’m only curious about this. Thanks

  53. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    Hey, Scott.

    Quote–
    So, we have this bizarre state of the universe that is very high temperature, but cannot accurately be described as either hot or cold, in my opinion.
    End quote–

    How can something not be either hot nor cold?
    Umm…isn’t that a bit confusing?
    I’m by no means suggesting that your hypothesis isn’t valuable in any way, but to me, that’s a bit confusing.

    Can you give me your take on your hypothesis?
    Just asking

  54. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    Stix?
    You said:
    –Some people speculate that time travel may be possible by flying close to the event horizon of a super massive black hole such as one may find at the center of the galaxy.–

    Okay. I get that time is affected by the density of mass, but flying close to an event horizon of an object that (from what I’ve reviewed) has an estimated girth of 3 to 5 million solar masses contained within a small point, and something to which light running at (186, 000) miles a second cannot escape its grasp…how then, would a time traveler escape its immense gravity?

    I’m sorry if I’m an annoyance in any way, but I do like to sometimes speculate on such matters, and only to see what others might think regarding these issues. As this will help me in my own answers as well. Thanks

    Questions:
    First, and foremost. Wouldn’t the traveler have to, in some way, neutralize its immense gravitational effects before said travel?

    Second. Would this neutralization of said gravity have an effect on said time travel?
    It just seems to me that if you were to neutralize the gravitational effects of an object of such immense mass and gravity, wouldn’t you thereby neutralize your own travel in time?
    I mean, wouldn’t it take that mass from the singularity to cause the effect on your travel in time?
    So, if you neutralize the effects of gravity, wouldn’t said time travel thus become null and void?
    Just asking, thanks.

    I’ve heard of the cyclical universe hypothesis, but I had no idea of the infinitely slow time issue.
    Thanks for that one, Stix.
    I’ll be reviewing that one, and I do like your (solution on the infinite amount of time) issue, too. Because that makes much more sense to me on that very complex issue.

    –could you imagine being 22, 35, and 40 at the same time?–

    No wait, wtf?
    Ummm…can you elaborate more on this issue? Please?

    • Stix says:

      1) How can something not be either hot nor cold? Heat = A measure of the ability of a substance, or more generally of any physical system, to transfer heat energy to another physical system. so without a physical system there is no heat. Cold at one time was defined as the absence of heat but the more commonly accepted definition is a very low temperature. The high temperature state of the universe would disqualify one of those definitions making it not cold.
      2) Umm…isn’t that a bit confusing? Not really, it’s more of a word game then a state of being.
      3) …how then, would a time traveler escape its immense gravity? Currently they could not, but that is not an issue due to their inability to get there too.
      4) Would this neutralization of said gravity have an effect on said time travel? This assumes that the gravity controls the time, you may enjoy this video http://vimeo.com/17477895
      5) No wait, wtf? Ummm…can you elaborate more on this issue? Please? To see time relative to the universe you have to look at the universe as one large entity. This large entity has pockets in it where time flows differently (every super massive black hole at the very least). The universe is estimated at 13.77 billion years old. The Milky Way clocks in at 13.2 billion years old, so time has been flowing differently in parts of the universe for most of its existence. This would create vast differences of age for the different parts of the universe. The effect when looking at the universe as a single entity would be the same as a person being many different ages at the same time.
      6) I’m sorry if I’m an annoyance in any way/// You are not, I enjoy this stuff.
      Now for a question of my own for Scott. It is starting to get harder to find post in this thread, has there been any thought to starting a Misanthropic Scott forum that we could talk about this stuff in? Perhaps you could link the comments section to it so we can better track the debates.

  55. I just want to clear up that I never said String Hypothesis was horseshit. I merely called it a hypothesis rather than a theory.

    As for the time questions, It is not that one individual could have different ages. Rather it is that different parts of the universe, all of which have been in existence since the big bang could be different ages. Time passes more slowly near massive objects. So, near a super-massive black hole, the space may be rather young. That’s my understanding.

    Also, as one approaches the speed of light, time slows down. In theory, at the speed of light time stands still. So, when we see light from 13 billion light years away, we say that the light is 13 billion years old. However, from the photon’s perspective, if it has one, the photon is everywhere along its trajectory simultaneously and time does not move. So, is the photon really 13 billion years old? That may depend on your perspective.

    Regarding traveling close to black holes, the term event horizon means the imaginary sphere around the black hole which, if one crosses that line, even while traveling at light speed, one cannot escape. If one were moving at or close to the speed of light and got near the event horizon without crossing the line, one might well escape. How near one can get to the event horizon without being sucked in would depend on the speed with which one is moving. I don’t see any reason why gravity would require neutralization. An orbit around any massive object feels like free fall. The centripetal force balances gravity.

    Regarding heat, it is merely an acknowledgement that there is no outside from our universe into which energy could be transmitted. Therefore, it does not have the property of heat, despite having the property of temperature. That is not to say that it is cool. It is to say that discussions of heat as a physics concept are semantically null. The early universe had a very high temperature but no place into which it could radiate heat.

    Regarding a forum, I really hadn’t ever thought about creating my own. It’s generally best with a forum to have multiple moderators to help with the fact that it’s a less controlled environment where anyone can start topics. Spam topics must be removed. Users must be validated to prevent automated spam bots. Are you volunteering to be a moderator? Do you have a forum site in mind that gives free forums? Does wordpress have a forum capability? (I think not.)

    The problem on this thread in particular has been that a large number of the replies have ended up maximally indented. On most threads, I have tended to reply to such an indented series at the bottom and restart the indentation. I apologize for not having done that here. It kind of ran away from me.

    • Stix says:

      We share an understanding in the age of the universe; it’s difficult to put it into perspective without attempting to compare it to something closer to home. As far as our little photon of light, relatively speaking the photon did not experience any time, it also did not experience distance so according to the little 13 billion year old photon it did not travel anywhere.

      For our little gravity issue, it depends on if you subscribe to Newtonian gravity or Einsteinian. Newton saw it as a force that pulled people; Einstein saw it as basically a hole that people fall into. The crushing forces from strong gravity are due to atmospheric pressure and not the gravity itself. If Einstein was right then massive gravity without atmosphere would be as Scott said, a free fall, and speed would be able to pull you out of it. I personally like the Einsteinian view.

      Onto the forum idea, it could be very useful to have a list of accepted terms for people to look at. Two such examples that I see popping up many times in this thread are heat vs. temperature and hypothesis vs. theory. I read these and already know the thought process and science behind it but I can see where people are getting the two confused if they have not read every post. I am not very good with html or webpages but if you need moderators I would be willing to help out where I can, I am sure others would too. A quick search on Google found a few forums that work with Word Press here is the link if you would like to look into them http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/3-wordpress-forum-plugins/ I do not know how hard they will be to add though.

      • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

        I now understand, Stix. But it’s also been suggested that if one were to get within a stellar Black Holes gravity well you’d be ripped
        to shreds, and rather violently. Do you concur?

      • Yes. My understanding is that the difference between the gravitational pull at, for example, your head and feet should you fall either head or feet first, would rip you apart in the middle. Repeat that for every atom as the gravitational pull difference become so great that they will differ from one atom of your body to the next. I imagine the pain would not last long.

        But, who knows? If you hit the event horizon almost tangentially and with very high speed, you might orbit for a while as you’re slowly ripped apart. I prefer to imagine that I’m not going very close to light speed at that point, so the fall will be rapid and dramatic leaving me in pain for a very short time.

      • Stix says:

        Everything you read about what happens beyond the event horizon of a black hole is hypothesis; some things have been observed and recorded allowing us to make some predictions. The release of Hawkins radiation shows us that the mass that entered a black hole is very likely destroyed on a subatomic level but not that gravity does the destruction. Gravity is a very funny force, every time you pick something up you overcome the gravity generated by the mass of the earth and the roughly 1280km thick column of atmosphere that is weighing it down. This shows how weak of a force it really is. If a person found some way to fall past the event horizon without dyeing due to other factors (heat and such) they would not likely even know that they did. It would be a smooth fall all the way to the singularity the view from outside the event horizon would be that they disappear. Here is a short read on Einstein’s hypothesis of black holes. http://www.ccmr.cornell.edu/education/ask/?quid=440 All this gets more convoluted as you add other factors in but on a basic level Einstein’s gravity is a hole and other factors would be doing the atomization in a black hole.

      • Don’t look at me. I’m just parroting back. Scroll down to hear how Neil DeGrasse Tyson explains it. I’m not sure why your link disagrees. (I’m putting it at the bottom so wordpress can embed the video.)

      • One more point on the topic of heat. I’m going to go back to thinking that it’s OK to say that the initial state of the universe was hot. On the wikipedia page defining heat, they talk about heat being a transfer of energy from a hot object to a cold one. So, even without any transfer of heat, it seems reasonable to describe a high temperature object as hot.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat

  56. We need to add the fur to this, of course. Compact spheroid just means little ball. Maybe, “of pelage”?

  57. Stephanie says:

    I’ll just be reading your replies to others with Sheldons voice. #nobigdeal

  58. Pat Smith says:

    Get a life, folks!

    • Stix says:

      Unless you believe in zombies I fail to see how anyone posting here would not have a life.

      • LOL. To be fair though, Pat said get a life, not take a life or eat a life or eat a brain.

        <tangent>
        Question: In zombie lore, what happens to someone who bites a zombie rather than the other way around? I’m just curious because it occurs to me that a significant percentage of the people on this planet regularly engage in the eating of a 2,000 year old Jewish zombie.
        </tangent>

  59. Hi Pat.

    Thanks for playing the role of Penny. (Not an insult. I like the Penny character and am glad that they wrote her as increasingly intelligent over time with a significant ability to understand the geeks on the show.)

    Believe it or not, I actually have a life. I am married. I love traveling for wildlife viewing, and locally like hiking and paddling. I like dining out. I like good alcohol. I like the theater.

    I also happen to really enjoy science. It’s all recreational for me. I do not have a job in the sciences. I just love learning about science. I’m also a geek (computer programmer) so tend to read everything (yes everything) very literally.

    Hence this post.

    Sorry it bored you. Just remember, any education beyond what is required to make a living, whether formal or informal, is for the purpose of making your brain a fun place to spend the rest of your life. For me, that includes learning about the universe, evolution, the human brain, the other sentiences with whom we share this planet, and many other things.

    I hope you find (or have found) your own pleasure in whatever subjects you enjoy to make your brain a fun place to be.

    Scott

    P.S. I don’t want to claim that idea as original. I heard that at a lecture recently about eduction making one’s brain a fun place to spend the rest of one’s life. I really love that thought. Too bad I can’t claim it as my own.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Everything you know, think, and feel was sourced from someone else aurally or in writing. Only the rare exception comes up with a “new idea.”

      I like to think I came up with that on my own, but more likely, I read 3 things close to the mark and my only contribution is to jumble them up and forget the source?

  60. This is how Neil DeGrasse Tyson explains death by black hole. I’m not sure why Stix’s link disagrees. Please watch this even if you disagree. It’s worth it just to hear a new word for a new, albeit hypothetical, way for people to die.

  61. BTW, whether you agree with Neil or not, at least you’ll know that my death by black hole scenario above was not hatched out of my own little brain. Neil knows a bit more about relativity than I do … in much the same way that I know a bit more about it than my cat.

    • Stix says:

      I think the difference we are seeing here is the view of gravity, my link was to an Einstianin view and he is taking a Newtonian view. I do not dare say one is correct over the other due to both Einstein and Newton being intellectual giants. I do tend to like Einstein more and have a great experiment that would show the dynamics of his model.

      If one takes a large piece of plastic and place it on a .001 degree slope water should always flow the same direction but it will appear smooth. After that is set up drop marbles of varying weight on it so they create little dents. The water will pool up in the dent and after a few it will continue to move back on the correct course, the bigger the dent the more water will pool and the heaver the plastic will be in that area. When one drops a marble that is too heavy on the plastic, it will break a hole in the plastic. Assuming the water is still flowing at the same speed as normal one will not see any extra pull from this hole until it falls in. At this point the water will never be able to escape the hole and will continue to fall until the eventual bottom but it will not be “hurt” until the end of the trip.

      I do not know who is correct in all this but both seem to have support. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Event_horizon

      • Perhaps I’m not reading your link correctly. I’m not seeing any dispute about what happens when crossing the horizon. The horizon itself is not a shell or solid object. It is merely the point of no return. It is not clear from this at what point an object would be ripped apart.

        I’m also finding it extremely difficult to imagine that Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson is not making his description of the fall into a black hole based on general relativity. For what purpose would he ignore this? He is most certainly more aware of general relativity and how to perform the calculations in detail than either of us and most people on the rest of the planet.

      • Stix says:

        At 1:35 where he starts talking about getting ripped apart as you fall in. In that wiki the only time this happens is “if the rope were lowered slowly (so that each point on the rope was approximately at rest in Schwarzschild coordinates), the proper acceleration (G-force) experienced by points on the rope closer and closer to the horizon would approach infinity, so the rope would be torn apart. If the rope is lowered quickly (perhaps even in freefall), then indeed the observer at the bottom of the rope can touch and even cross the event horizon. “It also explains that light cannot escape due to all paths that light take being bent to a degree where they travel to the center, speed is worthless when the only direction you can go is down making the first 1:35 seconds an inaccurate, but funny, description more than likely toned down for the audience not due to lack of knowledge. The link also talks about the ability to have a conversation or pass messages between each other before death with “Increasing tidal forces (and eventual impact with the hole’s singularity) are the only locally noticeable effects” although increasing tidal forces sounds like it may get bumpy before the big smash, if you have any reference for them, this is hardly the mess that was described in the video.

        “A misconception concerning event horizons, especially black hole event horizons, is that they represent an immutable surface that destroys objects that approach them. In practice, all event horizons appear to be some distance away from any observer, and objects sent towards an event horizon never appear to cross it from the sending observer’s point of view.” the idea of pulling your legs apart from your body like the video describes would require opposing force, if something was pulling on your legs and your body was in a free fall you would just fall faster. Without a point of reference or an atmosphere falling faster would still seem like you were not moving. Crushing gravity in the same way would require something for you to crush against; this is the splat at the end of the fall.

        Not saying this would not be a cool way to die, it would, but the most likely cause of death would be old age as the closer you get to the singularity the slower time will travel until it approaches infinity leaving you with a very long, boring fall.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        I have only glanced at the above two comments… I will read the earlier comments after this….its a race between my sobriety and my interest.

        “I don’t know” but I’ll bet on of the confusing/ambiguous issues here is your analogue brains trying to figure out something in a CONTEXT you have never experienced.

        For instance: just how far from the center of a Black Hole is the Event Horizon? Wound it be measured in inches, miles, or light years? How much time does it take to get sucked from the Event Horizon to the Core of the Black Hole? Nano seconds or whole seoconds, minutes, years?

        A few days ago I caught “someone” saying the Event Horizon was just a theory and nothing was “REALLY” KNOWN about it. Then, of course, absolute notions were set forth.

        sometimes its good to have a Beer Jones.

  62. Stix,

    Perhaps the difference is that your link is talking about the event horizon. While we cannot see what would happen beyond that, we can certainly describe what the physics says would happen beyond that.

    I think Neil’s whole discussion is of a time long past the horizon but before the singularity. At this point, we would not be able to see the poor zhlub who crossed the horizon. But, we can calculate what will be happening. And, were someone to actually fall in, it would not matter that no one could see them fall or that no one would see them ripped apart. It would still happen.

    Why is that a problem for you?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_hole#Singularity

    Observers falling into a Schwarzschild black hole (i.e., non-rotating and not charged) cannot avoid being carried into the singularity, once they cross the event horizon. They can prolong the experience by accelerating away to slow their descent, but only up to a point; after attaining a certain ideal velocity, it is best to free fall the rest of the way. When they reach the singularity, they are crushed to infinite density and their mass is added to the total of the black hole. Before that happens, they will have been torn apart by the growing tidal forces in a process sometimes referred to as spaghettification or the “noodle effect”.

    Yup. I think that’s our disconnect. We’re talking about different points in the process. You’re talking about merely crossing the event horizon. Neil, who I paraphrased, is talking about later, as one approaches the singularity.

    The event horizon is just an imaginary shell around the black hole. There is nothing physical to it. It’s just the point at which, even light will not escape. But, there’s no sensation of merely crossing the event horizon. Had one not calculated that one was there, one might not even know the exact point of crossing it.

    As one approaches the singularity, that is when the tidal forces begin ripping.

    The rope example is probably a hypothetical case designed to create a situation where one could safely observe the rope being ripped apart.

  63. Here’s a simulated image of a black hole “eating” a star. It may not be exactly what we’re discussing. But, it sure looks like a good image of spaghettification to my unprofessional eye. And, though it is a simulation, it is from the Hubble site. I think they’re fairly reputable and also know a thing or two about relativity, think gravitational lensing.

    Simulation of Black Hole Flare
    Source: Hubblesite.org

    Full article describing the data on which the image is based:

    Black Hole Caught Red-handed in a Stellar Homicide

    I wouldn’t want to be that star. At least a human falling in would be spaghettified a lot faster due to the far smaller mass and size.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Two short quick reads:

      http://www.mrelativity.net/RelEventHorizon/Relativistic%20Event%20Horizon%20for%20Black%20Holes.htm

      http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=160

      I think I learned something after reading the above, the wiki main article and having seen Tyson before but I’m confused. If the (size?) of a Black Hole is zero because all the Mass has been crushed to a singularity… then how can Black Holes be of different sizes?—and I think part of the answer is that what I used to think of the size of “the” Black Hole is actually the size of the Event Horizon? But at the center of the Event Horizon is still only a singularity—how can it have different masses if it is a singularity in essence a point or no size at all?

      Its a conundrum I tells ya!

      Anyway–the one example given above–its 3km from event horizon to the singularity.

      A point: that picture of the star being eaten by the Black Hole==at what point does the spaghettification start? It must be at some point after the event horizon? …. and maybe not until “at” the singularity?? or inches from it???

      I always have to remembr when looking at pictures of space objects that often the relative size/distance of things are very artifical as the distances are so huge everything pictured to be rightfully proportioned would be not seen. “The Black Hole is the Blue Dot” in the picture—I couldn’t see the Blue Dot as I haven’t had my cappuccino yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if in true scale on that picture, the Black Hole is .00000% of the area taken by the Blue Dot.

      When the large Haldron Collider was in the news, I read there was nothing to worry about that “if” a Black Hole formed it would rapidly go out of existence. Its good that the experts understand this subject that thoroughly. Who wants a Black Hole loose in Switzerland?

      • If the (size?) of a Black Hole is zero because all the Mass has been crushed to a singularity… then how can Black Holes be of different sizes?

        I don’t know. I believe the wiki page on black holes pointed to the zero size and used it as one of the reasons to suspect that general relativity is broken at the singularity. Couple that with the fact that quantum mechanics also applies at the singularity and that the two disagree (in some way I’ve only heard tangentially and can’t explain) and you’ll see why even though quantum mechanics and relativity are among our most tried and proven theories, scientists still search for a theory of everything (TOE) or grand unified theory (GUT) that would give the same results as both in the domains in which these two theories work but would also explain what neither relativity nor quantum mechanics can.

        A point: that picture of the star being eaten by the Black Hole==at what point does the spaghettification start? It must be at some point after the event horizon? …. and maybe not until “at” the singularity?? or inches from it???

        I don’t know. Actually, I’m thinking that this representation of a star being eaten must have the star outside the event horizon, else the image would be black. So, perhaps I picked something that doesn’t really related to spaghettification.

        Who wants a Black Hole loose in Switzerland?

        There’s a reason not to worry about black holes in Switzerland. The black holes that could be created by the LHC would not have any greater mass than that which went in. So, we’re talking about black holes the mass of a proton or so, possibly as large as the Higgs particle, or even a hair bigger. So, the event horizon would be measured in angstroms. The gravitational pull of the particle was already there before it collapsed to a point. When matter collapses into a black hole, it’s mass doesn’t increase. It’s radius decreases. Presumably, the event horizon is much smaller than the original object that collapsed. Else the stuff on the surface would already have been trapped.

        So, really, I don’t think we need to worry about black holes with the mass of a subatomic particle.

        Further, black holes are not as permanent as once thought. They emit Hawking radiation.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawking_radiation

        Hawking radiation reduces the mass and the energy of the black hole and is therefore also known as black hole evaporation. Because of this, black holes that lose more mass than they gain through other means are expected to shrink and ultimately vanish. Micro black holes (MBHs) are predicted to be larger net emitters of radiation than larger black holes and should shrink and dissipate faster.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro_black_hole#Stability_of_a_micro_black_hole

        Wikipedia explains why LHC black holes are not a threat to the earth. Emphasis mine.

        In 1974 Stephen Hawking argued that due to quantum effects, black holes “evaporate” by a process now referred to as Hawking radiation in which elementary particles (photons, electrons, quarks, gluons, etc.) are emitted.[6] His calculations show that the smaller the size of the black hole, the faster the evaporation rate, resulting in a sudden burst of particles as the micro black hole suddenly explodes.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        I’m just guessing based on non scientific uses but when scientists say “You spaghettify when falling into the Black Hole…” I don’t think you “fall” until past the Event Horizon? Before the EH–you are just travelling around in space… attracted to the BH like any other object. You can be “captured” by the gravitational pull of any object and not escape unless you have the power to do so–but you only FALL into a BH once you crossed the EH?

        Thinking about Binary Stars circling each other–one does not “stream” into the other… right? They can collide or merge but even a very large star does not suck off the smaller one? Only BH do that???

        Fun stuff when you can imagine you understand “parts” of it.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        On second thought, while I have never seen or read, or recognized it when I did, why wouldn’t a large star suck off a smaller one? Just not as dramatic as a BH.

        I think there is a lot more sucking going on in the Universe than we suspect!

      • This sucking you describe is a type 1a supernova and happens frequently.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Finally…. an expert…. with ANSWERS!

        Thank you.

  64. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    We’re not understanding “something” about Black Holes. I have read that a teaspoon of BH material would weigh xyz because it is extremely dense. But if all the matter is crushed to a singularity, there is no teaspoon size of the stuff. Something is getting mixed and matched… at least in my mind. Until today–I thought black holes were like very dense lumps of coal–and that lump would grow as stuff got sucked in. The Event Horizon would grow as well as the gravity/mass of the Black Hole increased. Somehow–this idea of “singularity” being only a point is messing up my visualization of the thing. Is it the “gravity” that is at a singularity while the black hole stuff is larger?

    Very basic physics terms here I’m not understanding–or constantly misreported in the popular press?

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      ….. and maybe its not Black Hole stuff that gets talked about in teaspoon fulls but rather collapsed neutron stars that are not black holes yet? But then the “mass” of Black Holes is still confusing. How does the Event Horizon grow if the center of it is a singularity. If its a singularity, how can one be “bigger” than another, or more powerful, or have a larger event Horizon? Could be involved with those 3 attributes of a Black Hole? Accck!==I should not read physics too early in the morning. Cant pop a beer for at least a few hours.

      • Stix says:

        I do apologize for not being able to fully respond right now and I will attempt to make a more in depth post later. The key issue that is being over looked is that a singularity is not necessarily a single small point; it is just incredible small for its mass. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwarzschild_coordinates Also I do not think that picture was beyond the event horizon, you get the same effect when galaxies collide. http://irfu.cea.fr/Images/astImg/2905_1.jpg as for the spaghettification occurring beyond the event horizon one would have to have opposing forces for that to happen, in the picture the star is pulling against a black hole stretching it out into long thin chains, in a free fall beyond the event horizon nothing would be pulling against the black hole unless there is atmosphere causing some type of friction. Also as one approaches infinite mass they run across the infinite time issue debated about earlier and it is likely you will never get much farther in than that point to see if speghettification can or cannot occur.

  65. The conversation seems to have runaway without me. Good. I love it when that happens!

    Regarding falling, anything in orbit is falling. Falling need not mean a collision course. The International Space Station is falling toward earth. Without the force of gravity causing it to constantly fall toward the inside of its near circular ellipse, it would just fly off into deep space.

    Correct me where I’m wrong. This is just my understanding.

    (google break)

    Here’s a good explanation of the physics of falling.

    http://physics.info/falling/

    Regarding spaghettification, Stix, please listen to Neil again. The pull comes from the differing force of gravity at one’s feet versus one’s head. A human being is not a point. As we get close enough (whatever that means) to a hugely massive and concentrated gravity source like a black hole, the pull at our feet (if we’re going in feet first) is so much greater than the pull of the same gravitational source at out heads that we will be pulled in half. Repeat for each half … and each half of that … etc.

    Further, as we fall into the black hole, the space is itself distorted and squished, pushing us in from the sides. We essentially end up, as Neil says, being extruded toward the black hole, hence the term spaghettification.

    Regarding a teaspoon of blah being equal to N,000,000 elephants or whatever, yes. I believe that was of a neutron star.

    Regarding event horizon size, that will increase with the mass of the black hole regardless of the size of the black hole. Size may play a factor. I’m not sure. But, a more massive black hole has a larger event horizon for the same reason that a more massive planet has a higher escape velocity. The gravity well deepens, so to speak. Space is more warped. Light will get trapped from farther away.

    • Stix says:

      “The pull comes from the differing force of gravity at one’s feet versus one’s head” but without any opposing force this would result in your entire body moving faster. Past the event horizon one approaches infinite mass, with this much mass the changes in gravity cannot cause a rapid enough increase in mass to affect speed that rapidly. But if it could, since all forces in a black hole pull to the center the difference in gravity would not be in opposition and your body would just fall faster. terminal velocity of a falling object is the velocity of the object when the sum of the drag force (Fd) and buoyancy equals the downward force of gravity (FG) acting on the object. Without drag force or buoyancy all there is would be the downward force. No part of your body would ever reach TV so you would never rip in half due to the gravity unless we are going to argue that the central area of a black hole (between the event horizon and the singularity) has an atmosphere to cause drag.

      “as we fall into the black hole, the space is itself distorted and squished, pushing us in from the sides.” If space is distorted around you according to relativity you to will be distorted, the end effect is you would look messed up to an outside observer but not to yourself. You would never know that space and time is being distorted much less feel some type of crushing effect from said distortion. Also in regards to constantly speeding up from the earlier discussion, with such high mass time would continue to slow around you this would make every change in gravity warp time that much more. In the slowed section you would not feel the change in time but the outside observer watching for the space time compression would never even see you move or get crushed.

      “Regarding event horizon size, that will increase with the mass of the black hole regardless of the size of the black hole.” According to Schwarzschild coordinates show that if earth collapses to a ball of ~8mm without losing mass it will create a black hole with an effective gravitational pull as earth has now. As more mass gets sucked in the mass will change and the event horizon will increase. If a black hole cannot pull in more mass than it releases it will dissipate when the ratio of mass to size is no longer within the right boundaries.

      I apologize if I am reading something wrong but as black holes follow the same basic physics as everything else I do not see any way for this theoretical stretching and squeezing to occur within a vacuum. A little more reading on this can be found at http://archive.ncsa.illinois.edu/Cyberia/NumRel/BlackHoleAnat.html

      • Stix says:

        Having thought on it for a few I think I know of a way to cause the effect, but the description of the effect may be a little different than what is described in the video. The increased mass and the intense gravity will likely speed you up to close to the speed of light. If the space time distortion is abrupt enough of a change to fall across parts of your body then it could allow parts of you to go faster than the speed of light and the other parts to still be stuck at 299 792 458 m / s. This would cause the ripping effect but you would not be able to see it happen. As for the crushing, if any object in the black hole effectively has infinite mass then every object would also have its own strong gravity. Getting close to anything would crush you. This may not be the squeezing effect but would still be a nasty crush. Also when your suit, or whatever you’re in that is withstanding everything else, gets ripped in half by this effect you would no longer be protected from the extreme temperature and would probably add burning to death to the mix. This is just a guess as to how it could happen and could be way off bases.

      • I suppose there’s nothing wrong in principle with FTL particles within a black hole, so long as the information they contain never escapes the black hole. I think Hawking radiation is precisely particles that have moved FTL that are devoid of information from within the black hole.

      • Well, they’re entangled to particles within the event horizon, but the principle of indistinguishability is active.

      • Stix says:

        This idea does hold its own set of issues… what happens when two objects with infinite mass, possibly traveling FTL, collide with each other and all energy gets directed in a single direction? (All directions in a black hole point the same direction)

  66. Just a quick reply on the topic of spaghettification, one more time.

    The reason it wouldn’t pull your whole body as a single unit is that the difference in the force at your feet and head is greater than the force holding your cells together. That’s where the ripping apart of your body comes from.

    Imagine someone pulling on your feet with a force of some magnitude you can barely imagine. I have no idea what that number would be, but imagine it to be a billion pounds or so. That should do it.

    If you are in space and someone pulls on your feet with this hypothetical billion pounds of force, it will not matter that no one is holding your head. Your body can’t hold up to the hypothetical billion bound force. You will be ripped apart at some point in your body.

    This may not be the best example because your feet would likely be ripped off. In the black hole scenario, the force differential increases with each . So, the force is not from only your feet. It’s that between your head and feet the difference in force is greater than that which holds your body together. So, you split. This is repeated all the way down until you are ripped atom by atom.

    As you get sufficiently close to the singularity, even the difference in the force of gravitational attraction between the black hole and any two atoms in your former body is greater than the force holding those two atoms together. You become a stream of atoms being ripped apart as you spiral into the black hole.

    Please watch the video of Neil again. He explains this so much better than I can.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      For those of us who need it short and sweet:

      Spaghettification: when does it start?–before or after the Event Horizon?

      • I’m not sure. Remember, it’s not as if you hit a speed bump going across the event horizon. It’s a semi-imaginary line. When you cross it, you can’t get back out, even if you can travel at light speed. For those of us who can’t travel at light speed, the apparent event horizon would be farther away from the singularity. Light would escape from that point, but not our slower than light ships.

        So, perhaps if you specify why this makes a practical difference to you, or even pure theoretical curiosity, I might be able to answer better. Though, in truth, I really haven’t a clue nor any significant reason to care.

  67. Stix,

    From the link you posted, two quotes (emphasis other than the titles is mine):

    The Singularity

    At the center of a black hole lies the singularity, where matter is crushed to infinite density, the pull of gravity is infinitely strong, and spacetime has infinite curvature. Here it’s no longer meaningful to speak of space and time, much less spacetime. Jumbled up at the singularity, space and time cease to exist as we know them.

    The Limits of Physical Law

    Newton and Einstein may have looked at the universe very differently, but they would have agreed on one thing: all physical laws are inherently bound up with a coherent fabric of space and time.

    At the singularity, though, the laws of physics, including General Relativity, break down. Enter the strange world of quantum gravity. In this bizzare realm in which space and time are broken apart, cause and effect cannot be unraveled. Even today, there is no satisfactory theory for what happens at and beyond the singularity.

    From the first part, we see that the pull of gravity is infinite at the singularity. Therefore, it is approaching infinite as you approach the singularity. Your feet will be closer to infinite than your head. That billion pound force I mentioned above? For all I know the difference between head and feet will be more than that.

    From the second part, yes, the laws of physics still apply everywhere in the universe. But, we have not yet figured out the laws that apply at the singularity, nor have we figured out the laws that determine the singularity that was the early universe within 10^-34 seconds of the big bang.

    This may be the reason for the lack of understanding regarding the zero size quoted for the black hole itself.

  68. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    You sound very positive there Scotty. I’ve been googling lay person sites like Yahoo and some of the answers/comments make sense to me: no one knows.

    We had a discussion awhile back about whether or not mathematics really describes/gives a framework to the Universe. IE–some ideas/issues/conflicts in science result purely from math as opposed to observations. Black Holes falls (note–“falling” thru space I think has a totally different meaning/use/context from falling past the Event Horizon to the Singularity.

    With my more than limited understanding of math–let me posit anyway that if “the laws of the Universe apply everywhere” but they seem to break down at Black Hole Singularities……. then in one sense the singularity may not be “in the Universe”?…. Just another way of saying we don’t know.

    Another comment was that in the Black Hole time and space break down with the implication that maybe an astronaut therein would never reach the singularity? That doesn’t sound right but neither does an infinite density in a zero point of space?

    Still of interest to me is how different single points of infinite density can have different sized Event Horizons?

    In almost all the discussions, it get problematic not knowing if the speakers are keeping to the same definitions of words they use even in a single sentence. When saying Black Hole do they mean the Event Horizon or the Singularity or both? The three terms I think get used interchangeably which makes thinking you understand something even more difficult.

    • I can’t say I’m positive. I can say that Neil DeGrass Tyson, a famous and incredibly competent astrophysicist, took the time to do the calculations and satisfied himself sufficiently to write a book entitled “Death By Black Hole”.

      As for size of an infinitely dense object, if it turns out that general relativity is correct at a point where it is known to be broken, all masses of black holes would be the same sizes.

      But, it’s the masses of the black holes that are the major determining factor in the size of the event horizon.

      Why are you hung up on size rather than mass?

      The Newtonian (i.e. simplistic) view of the force of gravity is G(m1m2/r^2) Therefore, the size of the object is relevant only when talking about radii less than the radius of the object.

      With an object size of 0, the mass is the only relevant factor in the distance to the event horizon.

      No?

      I don’t understand relativity at the mathematical level. So, I won’t try the relativistic version. I’ll leave that for google.

    • To say that something is not in our universe is semantically void, unless there are multiple universes, which would mean a couple strange things. It would mean that Hawking radiation comes from other universes, which contradicts the laws of conservation of mass and energy. If enough black holes exist at any given time, and the Hawking radiation they emit is converted into mass, our flat universe may become negatively curved, causing a big crunch-big bang cycle by borrowing energy from neighbouring universes. Now while I believe there are multiple universes, I am not okay with the nomological contradictions I previously mentioned, so I don’t think we can really say “black holes do not exist in our universe,” but rather “event horizons as well as something we know not what, or at least cannot explain in the language of physics, exist in our universe.”

      • <snark>
        God is not in our universe.
        </snark>

        Sorry. I just couldn’t resist. That was intended as humor. Please do not take offense.

        There may well be stuff outside of the observable universe. But, by definition, we cannot know about it. Hence the term observable universe.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Well… I think thats a good example of the ambiguity of the language when saying “Black holes don’t exist in our Universe.” Drilling down, what I meant to say regardless of what I did say was that Event Horizons exist in our Universe as we can see their effect and make various measurements but my point was not really about what did and did not exist in our Universe but rather only what the implications of the Math might be. “Similarly” here is another short and sweet question:

        Do we know anything at all about what happens past the event horizon? I keep reading we don’t, then all kinds of affirmative statements. One that may not be a contradiction is the fact of Hawking Radiation?==or is that just a theory? Has it been observed, or what?

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Sorry–that was garbled/not completed. I’d like to edit? So…. I did not mean to say that Event Horizons or Black Holes where not in this Universe but rather that the singularity could be thought of as mathematically not in our universe. If there are two universes side by side, like two rooms, which room has the door between them?

      • The idea of other universes or a multiverse is a topic for semi-heated debate. As yet, I know of no testable prediction from any of the current hypotheses regarding a multiverse. Therefore, it is highly speculative at this time.

        One hypothesis I heard and liked long ago from Lee Smolin had to do with the possibility that at every black hole in this universe, a whole new universe is spawned with similar but potentially slightly different characteristics. This would allow for the “evolution” of universes by natural selection. Those universes that were long lived and created lots of black holes would be selected for.

        Interestingly, Lee Smolin’s hypothesis not only sounded good, but made actual testable predictions. When I heard him lecture sometime around 1997, he was hoping that experimental physicists would take the bait and test the predictions made by his hypothesis.

        They did.

        The predictions failed. When I heard him lecture more recently, I don’t remember when, he completely admitted that his idea had been disproved. Oh well. I really liked the sound of that one. I’m sure he did too.

        But, it’s false.

        So multiverse remains a highly speculative concept until someone can find another hypothesis that makes testable predictions about this universe … and the tests succeed.

  69. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Talking about short and sweet and things infinite:

    I read last week that 1 = .9999999999999999999999999999999 to infinity.

    I posit there are two kinds of minds. One that says the above is true, and the other, like mine, that says it is false. Can’t further define the limits of imagination this delineates. But what does the above equation demonstrate but an asymptotic value?

    • 3 != 5 because there are numbers you can put between 3 and 5, for example 4 and 4.2. Obviously there are no numbers you can put between 3 and 3, so 3 = 3. There are no numbers you can put between .999… and 1, therefore .999… = 1. Put another way, the set of all numbers between .999… and 1 exclusive has cardinality 0, and in general all sets x through y exclusive having cardinality 0 are equal numbers.

  70. It’s true. 0.99999… is not asymptotic to 1. It really is 1.

    My string theorist friend explained it to me. Mathematically, there is no difference between the repeating non-terminating decimal 0.9 (with a bar over the 9) and 1.

    I would have trouble explaining this as well as he did. But, what is the amount of the difference? When you answer that, you’ll see why. It’s basically 0.0 (with a bar over the 0).

    Here’s the real answer from those who can do math, unlike me.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/0.999

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Ha, ha. GOOD EXPLANATION. It even makes sense, but in the “other sense” it kind of gives a “finality” to the reality of infinity?

      My own CONCRETE notion of .9999 to infinity is that you can ALWAYS put another .9 at the end. Once you stop and say that many .9’s = 1 then you haven’t reached infinity. Infinity “can’t” be reached or summed up…….except definitionally. How can it go forever but stop at a value of one? I only “see” it as getting very close. But if you want to say it equals one…. ok. That current insurance commerical with the guy and kids naming the largest number is telling==answers ranging from “10” to infinity, to infinity plus one with the answer wanted being infinity plus infinity and THEN the kiddie says infinity times infinty. Aren’t all the infinity numbers the same infinity? Seems to me if infinity times 2 is no larger than infinity times 3, then .99999999 does not equal 1 except for the lazy person too time constrained to do the math? (smile!)

  71. Stix says:

    I do submit that in some given circumstances the Spaghettification effect can occur. In order for a man sized object to spaghettifi I would think this would require a much smaller than normal black hole where the Schwarzschild radius is closer to the singularity, for example 10 solar masses. This causes the radius required for this effect to be expanded beyond the event horizon. The effect in this case will look like this http://showblogs.syfy.com/eureka/idealab/blackhole2-image2.jpg the long string effect is caused by the pull between the parts of the mass that are outside the gravitational effect of the black hole opposing the black hole. Some people may recognize a truly massive form of this here http://astrobob.areavoices.com/files/2012/01/milkyway_Mark-garlick_bigA-1024×688.jpg this also occurs due to the mass of objects on the outside of the black hole gravitationally pulling against the black hole stretching everything out into “strings.” But when a person is completely inside a black hole there is something missing from that equation. In a black hole light does not escape due to all available paths of travel pointing in the direction of the singularity. The same can be said for everything else in a black hole, F(A) = F(B). Without this opposing force any pulling on a person will result in acceleration of the entire person in the same direction, any opposing force that would “rip” the person in half would instead accelerate the person as pulling up would also be the same as pulling deeper into the black hole. This would occur until you reach just shy of the speed of light and then something different would happen. The less massive an object is the closer it can get to the speed of light. This is why a photon of light with 0 effective mass is as fast as it is. As your feet become more massive than your head they would warp time slightly more than your head bringing their relativistic momentum to a lower speed than that of your head. As the feet will be moving slower than the head you will likely become a pancake. If there is any wobble in the pancake then you will eventually also be crushed into a singularity.

    The Singularity

    At the center of a black hole lies the singularity, where matter is crushed to infinite density, // Crushed is not pulled out into long strings.\\ and spacetime has infinite curvature. // so one will never reach this point anyways.\\ Here it’s no longer meaningful to speak of space and time, much less spacetime. Jumbled up at the singularity, space and time cease to exist as we know them.

    The Limits of Physical Law

    Newton and Einstein may have looked at the universe very differently, but they would have agreed on one thing: all physical laws are inherently bound up with a coherent fabric of space and time.
    At the singularity, though, the laws of physics, including General Relativity, break down. // the singularity is not where we are saying spaghettification will occur. When you get to the singularity you will already be stuck in the infinite curvature described above. For this spaghettification or occur how described it would have to be at some point before colliding with the infinitely dense mass at the center and crushed.\\ Enter the strange world of quantum gravity. In this bizarre realm in which space and time are broken apart, cause and effect cannot be unraveled. Even today, there is no satisfactory theory for what happens at and beyond the singularity. // https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_gravity “Such a theory of quantum gravity would yield the same predictions as ordinary quantum mechanics in conditions of weak gravity (gravitational potentials much less than c2) and the same results as Einsteinian general relativity for phenomena where quantum effects can be disregarded, namely at scales larger than the Planck’s constant)”\\

    Also I would like to point out that the singularity it not a single point. It is just very small for its mass. The singularity in the center of the Milky Way is estimated to have the estimated mass of about 4,000,000 suns and would likely be about the size of mercury’s orbit. And just due to me finding it interesting I will post that it may not have a true event horizon. http://www.academia.edu/3370186/Does_Sgr_A_Have_an_Event_Horizon_or_a_Magnetic_Moment

    I may be wrong and do concede to the experts but I still feel that Spaghettification beyond the event horizon of a black hole is overlooking many things and almost feels like a cheap way out.

  72. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    Some make the hypothesis that a black hole is both there, and not there. However, I think that assumption is false because it only bends spacetime without really braking it, and it clearly does not have infinite mass when it has been estimated to have the hefty weight of 4.3 million solar masses. So, no infinite mass just something not well understood.

    Next, we deal with the hypothesis that black holes spew matter into another universe.
    I think that this hypothesis is also false; since other black holes have been observed ejecting matter (at near light speed) back into our very own universe, and some of those black holes have a mass billions of times greater than that of Sagittarius A.

  73. Actually, our current state of physics allows for the possibility that at each black hole there is an entire universe sort of spawned off of this one without any loss to this universe.

    I do not have a good understanding of this.

    Since it’s extremely speculative at this time, it seems to be something we can probably mostly ignore. Ditto for the multiverse. Ditto for the possibility that this universe was spawned off of a black hole in another universe or even that the whole universe actually is a black hole. Light can’t escape it, so ….

    I often do find it interesting to read about the speculations that match current physical knowledge and are thus possible. But, I don’t put much weight (or should I say mass?) on such ideas, especially the ones that are untestable.

  74. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    I’ve been reading about black holes that perhaps are linked to another universe with a possible wormhole, and on the other side their may, or may not be a white hole that is regurgitating matter.
    This would suggest that our universe might be losing matter, and I feel that this hypothesis is more plausible than the speculative “spawning off” so to speak, but at present…there’s no proof to support this hypothesis either.

    I too, do not have a clear understanding in the context
    of how they’ve fashioned this hypothesis that is said to be a possibility. And so, I cannot see how (at least for myself) in light of the facts that even make this a possibility because this hypothesis seems (at least to my knowledge) non-permissible.
    And yes, it is a difficult problem. But need it be so complex?

    To start, one only need to think of the monster that lurks at the center of our galaxy. And with a mass of 4.3 million solar masses, still, one only need look at it as just another star, that, because of gravity, cannot shine.
    Thinking of what’s inside of this colossal gravity well, one only needs to make a comparison with stars, or the remainder of their cores to get an idea in the possibility of any life existing within them. And in fact, that’s essentially what they are…a collapsed core.

    Further, when one probes this singularity by thought alone (which is all we can do at present) one can only think of a sphere of crushed matter of immense gravity, heat, and light that would vaporize anything within that core.

    Question:
    How would life, or for that matter a universe exist inside a sphere of such density?
    What would be the catalyst to repel such immense heat, light, and gravity?

    I think this hypothesis was doomed from the start because I cannot fathom how any life or universe would be possible under such conditions. So, proof’s the requirement, and I don’t think this will happen any time soon.

    Thinking of this brings to mind the show, Star Trek.
    On the show, we have a ship that supposedly had a “warp drive” engine that would encompass the vessel with a black hole. And this would indeed require a tremendous amount of energy just to change energy into matter.

    Next, we’d need to repel such heat, light, and gravity that would otherwise crush said ship into something totally unrecognizable. And this would also require an enormous amount of energy in which to power said anti-gravity engines.

    And so, any universe, or any life itself looks to be more of an impossibility within a singularity than a plausible idea.

    At least to me it does.

  75. For starters, anyone who claims to really understand quantum mechanics doesn’t. The reason is that quantum mechanics makes absolutely no intuitive sense at all. It is completely contrary to our every day experiences at the non-quantum level.

    Stuff pops in and out of existence at random. Cause and effect are completely irrelevant at the quantum level. Stuff (quantum particles, not big stuff like people) can tunnel through to another part of the universe. It’s all very different than anything we experience at our size.

    To think of the black hole having a white hole spewing matter is probably not a correct way to think of this, but I’m not sure.

    At the singularity, an entire universe can form with absolutely nothing being taken from this universe. Why ours has an imbalance of matter and anti-matter is a hot topic for research. But, if you imagine “normal” quantum fluctuations having equal matter and anti-matter, you can imagine a whole universe with an equal proportion of the two. If each particle comes into contact with its anti-particle, they will annihilate. But, what if they don’t?

    As for that other universe being connected to this one, it really sort of isn’t. Neither universe would be able to have any contact with the other. They would each be outside the observable universe of the other.

    As for whether we’re in a black hole, I meant only that light cannot escape our universe, not that we are in a state of infinite density. By the definition that light cannot escape a black hole, and only by that definition, we might be thought of as being in a black hole.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      I was going to ask for a “plain language” explanation of 1 = .9999 to infinity. Scotty–I’d like to buy the man that understands your link a beer and see if he can function in any other manner?

      That said, there is a focus on defining words, like infinity, as in numbers or density?

      when does .99999 to infinity “flip” over to ONE? I can only accept that “by definition.” Now, if you do too, what does .9888888 with 8’s to infinity equal?

      If .9999 means there are only 9’s out to infinity, how does it become 1.0? Where is the failure to understand focused? Is it on infinity or on what “equal” means? When, where, and how .999 going to infinity become equal to 1 is the line of .9’s still going or has it stopped? If it is still “going” how can it be “summed up” as equal to one? I guess this is infinitely more simple question than pretending one understands infinite density?

      But I dither to this point where Scotty says: “By the definition that light cannot escape a black hole, and only by that definition, we might be thought of as being in a black hole.” /// This is NOT the definition of a black hole, only a partial one or an element of it, or a characteristic of it but NOT THE DEFINITION of it. Once again, you demonstrate your ERROR of “defining” something only in parts and actively ignoring other relevant parts of the whole/alternative defintions all coming to a gross lack of understanding.

      Our universe may be “like” a black hole in that light cannot escape it ((except by going into a black hole?)) but that does not make it a black hole or a type of black hole AT ALL!!!! To make such a statement does violence to what a comparison is which is a gross lack of mental acuity.

      Simple questions continue to be ignored. Does it make any sense at all to put a mass measurement descriptor on a black hole? I’m guessing all we actually can do is measure the diameter of the Event Horizon and plug that into various formulas which if accurate tell us…. what? How many equivalent suns have been sucked into a particular black hole and that all that mass may be crushed to something called a singularity with infinite density that may have dimensions or may not, may be in this universe or maybe not, that can be added to while it may or may not radiate away to nothing?

      Speaking of nothing and infinity, when we “know” that we “DON’T KNOW”—what thereafter can be said with authority? THAT SAID—another simple question: do we know what is on the other side of an event horizon?

      • Plain language answer to the math question. Tell me the answer to 1 – 0.99999 to infinity. When you realize it’s 0.00000 to infinity, you’ll know the answer.

        I choose to ignore your ignorance of the reason for the name “black hole.

        As for the mass of a black hole, of course they have different masses. We can see it by the orbits of the objects around them. The huge black hole at the center of our galaxy is enough to keep the entire galaxy orbiting around it. Less massive black holes would not be able to do that.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Gee Scotty—my browser shows an = (equals) symbol not a – (minus) symbol.

        I guess that will happen when you are eager to avoid a question?

        Ha, ha.

        I don’t “understand” infinity. Follows your musings on quantum mechanics==its not what we have evolved to deal with.

        I can accept that.

      • Suntract 0.99999 to infinity from 1. You will see that the rrsult is 0.00000 to infinity. Therefore 1 == 0.99999 to infinity. Get it now?

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        I get its the same question. You have no plain language explanation of how infinity stops and gets summed up to 1. AS STATED: I can accept that as a difinition of infinity but it seems to violate the notion that infinity keeps going. How can it keep going adding more .9’s if it has already summed up to 1.0 “even?”

        Its on the level of complexity of “Never say Never.”

        What would be the real world consequence “if” .9 to infinity never reached one?

        What mathematical fundity would be altered to what effect?

        ….. anything?

      • It never sums up. It simply IS exactly 1.0 precisely because it never ends. You merely continue to demonstrate your complete lack of understanding of infinity. It’s not definitional. You know what it means but can’t comprehend it.

        Unlike your ability to imagine, infinity goes on forever.

        More later, having issues with the Internet.

    • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

      Scott?

      Perhaps you’ve misunderstood me.
      I don’t recall black holes ever having anything to do with “quantum mechanics” because it is very much like us, and existing within our reality, galaxy, and universe means that it can be studied…

      Has the monster simply vanished from the center of our galaxy and popped into existence in another part of our universe?
      And if so, then what is holding our galaxy together?
      What has been causing our galaxy to rotate?…dark matter?

      I’m sorry, but I cannot accept “quantum mechanics” as the answer because it is not popping in and out of existence, is it?
      And, it is not both there and not there, is it?

      So, short answer. Quantum mechanics does not apply.
      ——————————————————–

      It is a sphere…a sphere of crushed matter. A dark star…
      A star with such immense gravity that it bends its own light back onto itself.
      And the only thing you’d need as a comparison is the core of another star…say…a pulsar. Yes. A pulsar would indeed give you some great hints as to how our dark star functions. Wouldn’t you agree?

      • A black hole is in a quantum state, as was the early universe.

        That’s part of the problem in our current knowledge of physics. Quantum mechanics and relativity both disagree with each other at the singularity. We don’t have a theory that adequately explains the phenomenon.

        Quantum mechanics says a lot more than just that matter pops in and out of existence.

      • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

        –A black hole is in a quantum state, as was theearly universe.–

        That’s an educated guess…or perhaps they’ve proven that hypothesis.
        Can you show me the article?

      • I don’t have a link that says exactly that. However, Hawking Radiation is predicted due to quantum mechanical properties near the event horizon and due to the singularity itself, especially a spinning singularity.

        http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawking_radiation

      • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

        An interesting concept my friend. But, has this prediction been observed?

        This my friend is a model that may or may not be close to the approximate of what really happens at the event horizon of black holes, but that scenario has yet to be confirmed.

        Therefore, it is still only a workable hypothesis in which to help try to explain a phenomenon that may or may not be happening at present, but what if things happen quite differently?

        I recall showing you how white holes that spews matter are nonexistent in light of the fact that black holes are spewing matter at near light speed back into this universe which has (thus far) made the white hole hypothesis a barren subject.

        We simply do not know.

      • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

        Yes, I do believe I’ve read that on Wikipedia. But, it has not been confirmed by other scientists in a lab or otherwise.

        And so, a suggestion of “sort of” has no basis in fact unless it has been confirmed independently by other scientists.

        I’m sorry, Stix. But I can’t resist the argumentation on the grounds that I’m a rooted realist.

      • Stix says:

        http://arxiv.org/pdf/gr-qc/0502074.pdf
        http://prl.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v105/i20/e203901
        http://arxiv.org/pdf/0707.2449.pdf
        http://arxiv.org/pdf/0911.3239.pdf
        http://arxiv.org/pdf/hep-th/0409024.pdf
        http://ptp.oxfordjournals.org/content/107/6/1267.full.pdf
        http://arxiv.org/pdf/hep–ph/0106295.pdf
        http://arxiv.org/pdf/0803.0507.pdf

        Sort of implies that nobody has gone to a real black hole and taken measurements of the radiation there. They have created what they are calling Hawking’s radiation in what the labs consider to be an equivalent medium. This is as close as we can currently hope to get given the constraints of our technology.

        I like theoretical stuff, because a brain is free to everyone and simple logic is not something that is constrained to a lab. This is not the case in this current discussion. Sadly, we have to rely on reports that we get from the guys with the money and equipment. In this instance, I do not even have the tools to play devil’s avocet, so I must digress to the articles.

        And there is no need to apologize to me; I welcome criticism in all forms and am always willing to expand on my comments.

      • I will read these articles at a later date. I expect them to be quite interesting.

        I try not to overly criticize on grammar and punctuation anymore. After all, bobbo posts here. Too much criticism of that form would quickly fill up many pages. 🙂

        I must say though, I love the concept of Devil’s Avocet. Anyone want to photochop in the horns and trident?

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        I thought the Devil’s “bird” was a crow or raven? or maybe even the middle finger…. but not a nice shore bird.

        Amazing what you can learn in a forum.

      • I believe the middle finger is the official bird of New York City.

  76. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    In the center of our galaxy there lies a black hole named, Sagittarius-A. It is the remains of many stars and other dark stars that have merged, or swallowed, which ever you prefer…
    And with a mass of 4.3 million solar masses means it does not have an infinity of mass because “infinity” is only a way to say the words…”I don’t know”.

    And I’ve read enough books to know that what a lot of scientists were saying was quite simply that:

    “Our universe may be inside a black hole”.

    There was no other way they’ve said it in the countless books and documents that I’ve reviewed – perhaps you’ve seen something that I haven’t?

  77. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    -And there is no need to apologize to me; I welcome criticism in all forms and am always willing to expand on my comments.-

    Fair enough.
    Your criticism awaits.
    ——–

    –Sort of implies that nobody has gone to a black hole and taken measurements of the radiation there.–

    Oh, my mistake. Perhaps you’re holding the evidence to that effect?
    And if that is indeed the case, then perhaps you’d be willing to share said evidence with the community here? I’m quite sure everyone here is up for looking at it.

    And “sort of” also implies there may be no Hawking radiation present as his hypothesis suggests, or perhaps it my have some slight or major deviation to his hypothesis; but at present it’s still unknown.

    As I’ve said before; Hawking radiation has not been confirmed by other scientists, but if it’s still your wish in another round on this episode…then you may try again if you’d like.

    I understand “what the lab consider to be an equivalent medium”, and I’m willing to agree with Hawking’s hypothesis, but I cannot retract my statement because ((proof’s the requirement)) in the scientific field; and thus is the scientific method.
    It has to be confirmed by other scientists to rule out any conformation bias which may transpire in that lab, or by chance when it may permeate within any other field of science.

    We all are carriers of personal biases and as such we try and sway others in our grandiose philosophical arguments, but when any and all argumentations are studied independently by those whom use a process of deduction is only when you begin to see such statements with a value of either true, or false.

    And independent studies also releases scientists from the fallacy of “argument from authority”.

    Gotta love realism

    Hope everyone has a good day

    • Stix says:

      Did you open the 8 papers I linked? I made sure that they were all available in public forum but if you cannot open them let me know and I will gladly e-mail you the pdf files some of them link to. They are all from, to the best of my knowledge, reputable universities counting Stanford and MIT. That’s 24 different scientists with names on the papers and who knows how many consultants. I have seen many more papers on it but they are on EBSCO and due to some people not being able to access that database I attempt to not link those here. All of the papers are professionally done so I am not sure what more you are looking for. Granted not all of them are creating Hawking’s radiation, some of them only do the mathematics behind it, but that’s still 4 that are creating it from equivalent mediums. If this was a philosophical argument I would love to debate it but about the only types of philosophy that fit this debate would be theology or Nihilism and if we are allowing those philosophical outlooks then I stake my claims on nihilism as it will create remarkably less work on my part to just say nothing exist.

      At the point of having shown that it can be created in an equivalent environment, shown the mathematics behind it, and shown people working on its relationship with gravitational anomalies, to require more proof would be to hold the scientist working on it to a higher standard than is required for belief in the black holes themselves. Although I am sure they will continue to build on the working knowledge already available I feel that their work will be more on what they can do with Hawking’s radiation and not on whether or not it exist.

      • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

        Hi all! Having a good forth?!
        Me, drunk again.

        Stix
        –Did you open the 8papers I linked?–

        No…for whatever reason, I cannot open them.
        However, you’ve no need in sending me the pdf files, okay?
        I’ll take your word for it because I’m sure you’ve no reason to lead me on the wrong bearing, right? Okay. As long as there are at least “4 that are creating it from equivalent mediums” then the requirement has been, to a degree, fulfilled. And that’s all I’ve ever asked for.
        And so, in light of this fact (I MUST RETRACT MY STATEMENT).
        There…feel better now?

        (Regarding philosophical arguments:)
        I know of a mathematician who also studies metaphysics, and she stated:

        “If you offer the correct calculations (like philosophy) you can make the math say whatever you’d like, but for any assertion of truth, then the principles of the scientific method are of the highest caliber.”
        D.B.

        (Epicurus)
        I Will state for the record that one of the greatest intellectuals of his time, philosopher, and father of the scientific method has shown his brilliance, and the light of truth instead of total blind obedience toward the inane ignorance of the flock in spite of you trying to make his work an idea of “Nihilism.”

        (Wikipedia)
        Epicurus is a key figure in the development of science and the scientific method because of his insistence that nothing be believed, except that which was tested through direct observation and logical deduction. Many of his ideas about nature and physics presaged important scientific concepts of our time.
        ———————————–

        So to say that science is not a philosophical view, one would only be kidding themselves.
        ————————————

        So, pfffft!

      • Stix says:

        Sounds like you had a good forth; I hope everyone else did too. I had a great one with lots of extracurricular activities.
        The question about the papers was not a sarcastic question. I make every attempt I can think of to insure that the articles and papers I link can be opened easily. If that is not the case I would like to know so I can attempt to find a better way to do so. I apologize if I came across as offensive; I tend to focus more on information than on the people I am presenting it to at times.

        It does not affect me either way on whether or not you retract you statement, my entire goal was simply to add information to the debate between you and Scott. I already stated I did not have the ability to debate it due to it not being theoretical, to me it would be the same as debating the existence of oxygen.

        Part of critiquing is assessing everything stated and questioning weaknesses or misunderstandings and awaiting responses generated by said questioning. This said, when you questioned my post and I clarified for you. This openness to questioning is what pushes science forward.

        (Regarding philosophical arguments)
        — “If you offer the correct calculations (like philosophy) you can make the math say whatever you’d like, but for any assertion of truth, then the principles of the scientific method are of the highest caliber.”—
        I normally attempt to leave my personal life out of these posts but something I did the other day relates to this. I went to a convention the other day and got a chance to ask Lawrence Krauss a question I had about how Quantum gravity theorist are attempting to circumvent Gödel’s incompleteness theorems to call Quantum gravity a grand unified theory. He stated that often in his experience mathematics does not directly apply to physics. The offering of mathematics is a way to state a theory and explain a theory, not prove it. This sort of fits what your friend said, but I am not sure how you are trying to apply it to this situation as I provided experiments and lab research.

        (Epicurus)
        “Epicurus is a key figure in the development of science and the scientific method because of his insistence that nothing should be believed, except that which was tested through direct observation and logical deduction.” Once again I am not sure what you are attempting to say, you were provided experiments and a full response to your criticism, if you want more feel free to ask, but I will play along. If you were to base your belief if the world off nothing but “direct observation and logical deduction” you would never be able to post on the internet to begin with. At some point you have to rely on other people’s observation through proper documentation and a peer reviewed processes. Epicurus was a great intellectual but unless you are 2283 years old you have to take it on faith that he existed as all. We have writings from him but nobody alive “directly observed” him writing them. Even my existence has to be taken on faith, to my knowledge you have never directly observed me. You could say that you directly observed my post appearing and that proves that I do in fact exist but there are computer programs that can create similar post. Some studies in psychology argue that you do not directly observe anything; everything you see is passed through many filters and is transformed into what you would consider to be your world. — shown his brilliance, and the light of truth instead of total blind obedience toward the inane ignorance of the flock in spite of you trying to make his work an idea of “Nihilism.”– “Shown his brilliance” to who? “The light of truth” is a phrase often used in religion, I do enjoy how you have taken the religious side as was suggested. “trying to make his work an idea of ‘Nihilism.’” There is nothing wrong with Nihilism, in light of you taking the religious side of things I made this entire post an idea of “Nihilism.”

        I do admit it took me a few times of reading it to catch all the religious references, that was very sneaky of you. Stating that you think I was right and then attempting to philosophically argue that I was wrong by posting information that is not relevant or would agree with the information I posted. And then referring to a 2000 year old guy who showed his brilliance and the “light of truth.” That was a very nice post, I loved it.

      • Stix says:

        On a side note, this article has some fun debate topics. http://arxiv.org/pdf/grqc/0504113.pdf it holds that Hawking’s radiation escapes due to quantum tunneling allowing it to take “forbidden trajectories.” Study on this could allow the effect could later be expanded possibly allowing us to create vehicles that can travel these forbidden trajectories… sounds kind of like teleportation to me.

  78. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    –Sounds like you had a good forth,–

    No, not really. I stayed home and got drunk.
    This is all I’ve been doing since my father’s passing.
    I go to work; come home, and get drunk. It’s the only thing to relieve some of my pain.
    But enough about my sorrows.

    Anyway, I’m at a loss for why I’m unable to open the articles; but it’s okay, it’s all good. And, I don’t find you to be offensive at all, okay?
    I find you wonderfully enlightening, and very intellectually interesting. So the fault is on my part, not yours.

    On some parts, I was attempting to make an effort at humor; but I guess I’m even losing my ability at that.
    Can’t seem to shake it away. My father was all I had left. This isn’t working.

    And so here is my last attempt.

    –It does not affect me either way on whether or not you retract your statement, my entire gaol was simply to add information to the debate between you and Scott.–

    And my standing on this was to show you that I conceded once the information you’d provided was brought to my attention.
    Was I wrong in doing so?

    –The offering of mathematics is a way to state a theory and explain a theory, not prove it.–

    At least Krauss willingly admitted to this effect because I find many people will always state the math as irrefutable truth, when it simply isn’t. And I may have posted to soon too. As I had no knowledge of this information you had provided because I simply could not open the pdf files.
    That wouldn’t make my claim exactly wrong, would it?

    And to put this on a more simpler note:
    (I DO NOT EXCEPT ANYONE’S THEORY ON MATTERS OF FAITH.) I WANT PROOF!

    Even the scientific method requires you to prove your own hypothesis, and since you’ve had done so, then I conceded. It’s as simpleas that.

    (Epicurus)
    –Once again I’m not sure what you are attempting to say–

    You’ve fucking kidding me, right?

    –if this was a philosophical argument I would love to debate it but about the only types of philosophy that fit this debate would be theology an nihilism.–

    Were these not your own words?
    I don’t believe they are Scott’s, bobbo’s, nor that of my own.

    Look, science has its roots in philosophy, and I was making an attempt in showing you that its beautiful disciplines had came to accession from a philosophers own philosophical standing. Though, I do admit that science, through realism, will find truth in the context of reality because we all share a sense of realism but the scientific method is a philosophy nonetheless. And it started with the work from Epicurus.

    –if you were to base your belief in a world of nothing but “direct observation and logical deduction” you would never be able to post on the internet to begin with.–

    Oh, please.
    Doesn’t the internet prove the theory?
    I’d say that’s a “direct observation”, isn’t it?
    And, I believe detectives use the principles of “direct observation and logical deduction” for a working theory in solving crimes. PFFFFT!

    –Epicurus was a great intellectual but unless you are 2283 years old you have to take it on faith that he existed at all.–

    Oh for fuck sake!
    Are you sure you’re not a theist?!

    To say that Jesus (oh, um) jesus existed without any documentation as proof of his existence then, without question, he never existed. Period! And that’s a matter of faith. But to give the same analysis for Epicurus?!…
    I think you’ve just slipped off that cliff!
    That’s ridiculous.

    –Even my existence has to be taken on faith, to my knowledge you have never directly observed me.–

    Oh no! You really are a theist, aren’t you!
    Look, there’s documentation to thusly prove to the testament of your existence, and, quite frankly, I don’t think that computer programs are that intelligent!
    It is my informed opinion that we all share a sense of realism; and my friend if you don’t think so then exactly what do you see when viewing an, automobile, planet, or tree?

    Could I suggest the next time you find a tree that you do me the favor of (bending over) and with your head facing the tree; try to then run through the tree as hard as you can just to see if it really is within the realm of your reality.

    If you pass through it then they are correct in their assumption that we make our own reality. However, if you don’t pass through the tree then the reality is what you’re apart of, and not the other way around!
    And I’m quite sure that it will take plenty of time for you to realize this once after you’ve hit that fucking tree with your head!

    Woooow! I cannot even fathom as to why you’d even make an argument for that theistic bullshit.

    –Known his brilliance to who?–

    To anyone willing to see the intellectual talents of his work.

    –“the light of truth” is a phrase often used in religion, I do enjoy how you have taken the religious side as was suggested.–

    Yeah, so. Does that mean I’m a religious person, or have any affiliations to religious cults?
    I don’t think so. And theology nor nihilism need apply.

    Wow. Unbelievable.

    I’m sorry that I’m not up to anyone’s standards here, but I do my best to give a fair assessment.

    This is it…I’m done.
    I’m sorry for being such a disappointment for everyone, but I’ll no longer be that disappointment; for this is my final post.

    To Cerberus Black:
    Please except my humble apologies for letting you down of all people. Sorry Cerberus, but I just can’t do this anymore. I do thank you for helping me out, but failure seems to be my calling nowadays.

    Goodbye all.

    • Stix says:

      Hmm, it sounds to me like your depression may be clouding your judgment a little.

      — On some parts, I was attempting to make an effort at humor; but I guess I’m even losing my ability at that.—which lines up very nicely with the comment I made in my post. — That was a very nice post, I loved it.—I saw the attempts at humor and attempted to add a little for you.

      — And my standing on this was to show you that I conceded once the information you’d provided was brought to my attention.
      Was I wrong in doing so?—the only thing you did wrong was reacting without making sure you read the information presented, it sounds like your beating yourself up over an honest mistake that is why I said you don’t need to worry about it as you are now better informed and able to carry on your original debate with Scott.

      — That wouldn’t make my claim exactly wrong, would it?—the statement that you quoted was is agreement with you that’s why I stated — This sort of fits what your friend said, but I am not sure how you are trying to apply it to this situation as I provided experiments and lab research—

      — (I DO NOT EXCEPT ANYONE’S THEORY ON MATTERS OF FAITH.) I WANT PROOF!—but you do accept many things on faith, even in this post you have accepted things on faith. Here is a short list for you.
      A) That I am a real person… unless you have directly observed me typing all on my own you have no way to know this. I could be a computer program or a team of experimental psychologist carefully planning every word in an attempt to get registered reactions from you for a study.
      B) That you are awake… this could very easily be a dream, perhaps you’re in a coma or something to that effect.
      C) That there is something called the internet and it works by sending signals around the world allowing other “people” to read what you post.
      D) That you are reading… everything you see is a collection of waves (and particles) that cause a biochemical reaction in your eyes, which is sent through hollow tubes of meat to a gelatinous mass of fat and meat in your head. At that point it is reinterpreted by your brain that attempts to assign meaning to whatever signal it receives based on history. If the history it is using, the signal is receives, or how it interprets what information it gets is wrong, you could be viewing almost anything.
      — Look, science has its roots in philosophy, and I was making an attempt in showing you that its beautiful disciplines had came to accession from a philosophers own philosophical standing — I know this, that is why PHD’s = Doctor of Philosophy. But this base is not what it is now is not philosophy. A good article about it is here http://www.scribd.com/doc/20258592/Duffy-The-Difference-Between-Science-and-Philosophy-The-Spinoza-Boyle-Controversy-Revisited

      — Doesn’t the internet prove the theory?
      I’d say that’s a “direct observation”, isn’t it?—how many times have you directly observed a signal traveling around the world, through every server and router on the way, and arriving on the other end. What you have is second, third, or even millionth hand observation. Direct means direct, line of sight, no cameras or photos observation. Unless you have super human abilities there is no way for you to have directly observed every function of the internet. This implies that you are, in fact, relying on information from other people, this is an act of faith. Recognizing this this does not make you a theist, it makes you an intellectual that has the ability to observe other peoples observations vicariously.

      –To say that Jesus (oh, um) jesus existed without any documentation as proof of his existence then, without question, he never existed. Period! And that’s a matter of faith. But to give the same analysis for Epicurus?!—If you have to rely on only direct observation then both stories have to be taken based on the information you have seen. Unless you are 2283 years old and speak ancient Greek you have as much direct observation of Epicurus and you do of Jesus. (A name is a proper noun and should be capitalized, it does not matter if the name is fictional or not.) You may have read some of his writing, but this is not his writing. What you read was filtered through many people over 2200+ years and translated many times. If they cannot even get an accurate translation of Freud or Wittgenstein the likelihood of you reading firsthand information from Epicurus is next to nil.

      –there’s documentation to thusly prove to the testament of your existence, and, quite frankly, I don’t think that computer programs are that intelligent!—thanks for the ego boost but I do not see why I would have to be a single human based on this thread. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watson_(computer)

      — what do you see when viewing an, automobile, planet, or tree?—there is no possible way to tell if my subjective view is anywhere close to yours. To see how different these views can be go to a local mental institution and talk to some of the people staying there, I have done this before and it is very interesting to see how they view things.

      — Could I suggest the next time you find a tree that you do me the favor of (bending over) and with your head facing the tree; try to then run through the tree as hard as you can just to see if it really is within the realm of your reality.—All that will prove is that there is a very hard force there, if being hard is all you need to be a tree then my car is also a type of tree.
      — To anyone willing to see the intellectual talents of his work.—This is assuming that there is one guy 2200+ years ago that documented something that was translated correctly every time over the years. William Shakespeare was 400 years ago and people are not even sure he really existed. Tupac Shakur was 13 years ago and people still debate his death. There is no direct observation of 2200 years ago.

      — I’m sorry for being such a disappointment for everyone—I cannot speak for everyone but you have not been a disappointment, I feel your depression is coloring your views. I hope your life gets better and wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.

      • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

        Hi, Stix, Scott, and Bobbo.

        Stix, I respect your opinion and find your input enlightening on many levels, but I shalt not capitalize certain words that I find offensive like, god, jesus, christians, etcetera. With that said, I’ll now continue with:

        -But you do accept many things on faith, even in this post you have accepted things on faith.-

        Horseshit!
        I’m not buying it, Stix. We as humans live within the same reality, and can each identify the same things within it… andrealism is the basic principle by which most human minds work.
        It works much like a dictionary in keeping rough copies of what it’s observed, and then stores those copies for future reference. Granted, it isn’t perfect. But, the core principle for (realism) is there in spite of you trying to twist truth in favor of faith…it is not faith…it is fact.

        Note: the scientific method is the only definitive process that those “4 scientists” had to deduce (independently of the other) for conformation of the same hypothesis. And, using (realism) was to establish a true, or false value, and is not based on faith…but fact.
        Surely you can see this? If not, then I guess I’ll go the way of the, dodo.

        Got a question for ya, Stix.
        Do you accept the scientific method as opinion based on faith? Or rather, do you acknowledge that (4 scientists) had come to the same conclusion based on the facts?

        And so, if one is to make a guess about an equation, and therefore has the standing theory – how then do you equate that with faith?
        I cannot understand that logic. And I think you are confusing the two my friend, because to do so is to throw the scientific method out the window and replacing it with faith.
        I don’t have your faith, Stix.

        -Here’s a short list for you.-
        K. Go for it!

        -I am a real person… unless you have directly observed me typing all on my own you have no way to know this, I could be a computer program or a team of experimental psychologists carefully planningevery word in an attempt to get registered reactions from you for a study.-
        It doesn’t take faith to have observed the facts of my having a conversation with either a person, computer program, or a team of psychologists which all can be observed within our reality. Even your typing can be observed, and that is not faith, but fact.
        Again, you are confusing the two.

        -That you are awake… this could very easily be a dream, perhaps you’re in a coma or something to that effect.-
        That I can react to your words says that I’m awake and not in a comatose state. And if I were in a comatose state I would not be able to react with my environment, to feel the earth at my feet, to feel the pain of a broken leg, or the pain when my father who abused me both, mentally, and physically. And I still remain defiant to this day.
        This I believe to be the flaw in your logic, and is the statement that is rooted in faith alone…and not that of fact nor logic.
        Perhaps you were asleep while typing?
        Please.

        -There is something called the internet and it works by sending signalsaround the world allowing other people read what you post.-

        Which at one time was an educated guess, and doesn’t require an ounce of faith for the observation in seeing it happen today.
        Again with the confusion?

        And here’s my favorite!
        -That you are reading…everything you see is a collection of waves (and particles)-
        Yes, yes. Go on.
        But you forgot about the equipment that allows us to see said (waves). (Again, observable.) But interesting nonetheless. Please continue.

        That cause a biochemical reaction in your eyes, which is sent through hollow tubes of meat to a gelatinous mass of fat and meat in your head.-
        Well you didn’t have to tell me that I have a fat head…I’ve known this for quite some time. So yes yes. Sending the information from the nerve fibers to the brain. Go on, go on.

        At that point it is reinterpreted by your brain that attempts to assign meaning to whatever signal it receives based on history.-
        Yes, yes. The dictionary, yes.

        If the history it is using, the signal it receives, or how it interprets what information it gets is wrong, you could be viewing anything.-

        Wow! Spoken like a true deist!
        Umm…by chance, what theistic hole did you that relic from? catholicism? Surely you can do better.
        Next I suppose you’re going to tell me the world is flat?
        Well, I’ll do one even better. Yes, umm…
        It’s orange, has 4 sides and is made of jelly.

        You’ve spoken about people in asylums for the mentally ill, and then use that for the basis for your argument? And people call me crazy.

        My friend, there is no comparison between us and if you cannot establish any difference between people that have and agreement in their own reality, then you’d have to throw away the scientific method as well…
        Because if you and I cannot partake in the fruit of realism then science is not worth our time and should be thrown out the window in favor of (blind faith).

        Good luck with that.

      • madsoj says:

        Technically, one of very few ways the brain could be a gelatinized mass is if that brain were part of an unfortunate worker in a corn-starch factory who split his head open, exposing his brain, then in a daze fell into a randomly placed vat of fat at a temperature of around 300C and was found about an hour later before the heat caused the brain’s protein to completely denature; a horrible fate indeed, although I’m sure death would be relatively instantaneous after a literally splitting headache..

      • Just as a counterpoint, Stalin is also offensive. But, offensive proper nouns are still capitalized in English. God may or may not be a proper noun depending on usage.

      • Stix says:

        //I’m not buying it, Stix. We as humans live within the same reality, and can each identify the same things within it… andrealism is the basic principle by which most human minds work.
        It works much like a dictionary in keeping rough copies of what it’s observed, and then stores those copies for future reference. Granted, it isn’t perfect. But, the core principle for (realism) is there in spite of you trying to twist truth in favor of faith…it is not faith…it is fact.// The entire field of psychology would disagree with the premises that human thought is based in realism. Most the time people are very poor at logical thought, this is why we have to be trained to do so.
        Everything has to have some level of faith to it, I think your trying to equate faith to religion but they are not the same thing. Here are some of the assumptions that Scientist make all the time’
        1. Nature is orderly, i.e., regularity, pattern, and structure. Laws of nature describe order.
        2. We can know nature. Individuals are part of nature. Individuals and social exhibit order; may be studied same as nature.
        3. All phenomena have natural causes. Scientific explanation of human behavior opposes religious, spiritualistic, and magical explanations.
        4. Nothing is self-evident. Truth claims must be demonstrated objectively.
        5. Knowledge is derived from acquisition of experience. Empirically. Thru senses directly or indirectly.
        6. Knowledge is superior to ignorance.
        In statistics the assumptions we rely on are:
        1) Independence of observations from each other
        2) Independence of observational error from potential confounding effects
        3) Exact or approximate normality of observations: The assumption of normality is often erroneous, because many populations are not normal. However, it is standard practice to assume that the sample mean from a random sample is normal, because of the central-limit theorem.
        4) Linearity of graded responses to quantitative stimuli
        5) Homoscedasticity- the sample represents the group being studies
        6) Validity. Most importantly, the data you are analyzing should map to the research question you are trying to answer. This sounds obvious but is often overlooked or ignored because it can be inconvenient.
        7) Additivity and linearity. The most important mathematical assumption of the regression model is that its deterministic component is a linear function of the separate predictors . . .
        8) Independence of errors
        9) Equal variance of errors
        10) Normality of errors
        11) That there are errors

        This is just a small list of the assumptions that we use every day, to pretend that they are not there allows us to repeatedly make errors based on them so we attempt to devise test to “detect” these errors. As these tests are within the system they are testing they are subject to many of the same errors. This error is why words like “prove” are not used in scientific writing and why we report “p-values” and standard error values. An example of statistical output looks like this F (1.29, 62.95) = 4.64, p = 0.026, η_p^2 = 0.09, power = 0.63. In this sample “p” is the assumed chance we are wrong, η_p^2 is a standard error test to try and detect failures in other assumptions, and power is how much of an effect we assume this will have in the general population of study. Yes, we try to limit our assumptions but they still exist. To say they do not exist is to set oneself up for making them.

        //It doesn’t take faith to have observed the facts of my having a conversation with either a person, computer program, or a team of psychologists which all can be observed within our reality. Even your typing can be observed, and that is not faith, but fact// The use of the word “your – of or relating to one or oneself,” shows that even though you acknowledge that I could be a computer program or a team of people, you still refer to me as a singular person. This is still an assumption, even without the “your” part there are still assumptions in the sentence. Scientist tend not to use the word “fact,” this is because even “facts” are based on assumptions.
        // That I can react to your words says that I’m awake and not in a comatose state. And if I were in a comatose state I would not be able to react with my environment, to feel the earth at my feet, to feel the pain of a broken leg, or the pain when my father who abused me both, mentally, and physically. And I still remain defiant to this day.//
        I believe the term you’re looking for is hyper-reality it is well documented and has a very nice Wikipedia page if you would like to learn about it.

        // Which at one time was an educated guess, and doesn’t require an ounce of faith for the observation in seeing it happen today.//
        You can’t say that an “educated guess” does not require any assumptions… I can’t argue that as the point is nonsensical.

        //Wow! Spoken like a true deist!
        Umm…by chance, what theistic hole did you that relic from? catholicism? Surely you can do better.
        Next I suppose you’re going to tell me the world is flat?//
        Wow, so the entire premises of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is religious? I know he only helped lay the entire foundation for Western philosophy and science and been included in the teaching of philosophy, logic, ethics, rhetoric, religion and mathematics since long before ether of us were born but I would not call him obsolete or theistic… although you may know that everything you perceive is exactly as it happens, as no one can see what you see we have no way of telling that the things you see are the same as what we see. We just have to take it on faith that your perception is not seriously flawed and that you are not subject to the many forms of bias and fallacious thought that we lay people suffer from. I would like to point out that the line of logic your using (the my logic is correct because you’re a deist bit) is more religious than anything that has been typed in this forums so far, you may as well have screamed ‘Merica and something negative about Obama to “prove your point”.

        //My friend, there is no comparison between us and if you cannot establish any difference between people that have and agreement in their own reality, then you’d have to throw away the scientific method as well…//
        Your unwillingness to admit the differences in people realities tells me how far removed from the scientific community you really are… I have many people in my lab and we value our different perceptions. This is how the scientific community grows. The scientific method relies on assumptions as well, these assumptions are well known in the scientific community and we make attempts to negate them as much as possible. If the acknowledgment of these simple little things is beyond you then you may want to try theology, their stuff is more set in stone as they ignore anything that may prove otherwise.
        //Because if you and I cannot partake in the fruit of realism then science is not worth our time and should be thrown out the window in favor of (blind faith).//
        To drive the point home I am going to copy/ paste some exact text about scientific realism, my thoughts will be in parenthesis
        Many realists (e.g., Ernan McMullin, Richard Boyd) think the operational success of a theory lends credence to the idea that its more unobservable aspects exist, because they were how the theory reasoned its predictions. For example, a scientific realist would argue that science must derive some ontological support for atoms from the outstanding phenomenological success of all the theories using them. (Predictions based on assumptions,” they must be there because what we see would not work without them…”)
        Scientific realism often appeal to abductive reasoning or “inference to the best explanation” (Lipton, 2004). (See the word “inference” there?)
        Scientific realists point to the success of scientific theories in predicting and explaining a variety of phenomena, and argue that from this we can infer that our scientific theories (or at least the best ones) provide true descriptions of the world, or approximately so. (once again infer and approximately)
        (Only the foolish scientist does not believe that there are assumptions in their work. We make these assumptions knowingly and do not attempt to hide them, but we avoid what we can. Every assumption is a leap of faith.)

        And madsoj. The brain has a normal texture of jelly, if one were to try to pick a brain up it would fall apart in their hands, we have to inject a “hardener” into them to congeal them a little more before we can handle them. The brain that people see on TV is often old and very dry with added chemicals and dyes to make them pretty. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5396115 is a nice little story about the texture of a brain if you like reading. I do love your illustration of how the person would have had to die though, this would leave a massive mess.

      • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

        //The entire field of psychology would disagree withthe premises that human thought is based on realism. Most the time people are very poor at logical thought, this is why we have to be trained to do so.//

        Pffft!
        Most people do not practice logical thought, but when we see the earth from space we no longer see it as flat but round. Our dictionary at work, (realism). What do you see when viewing earth from space my friend – a flock of birds?

        Yes… I believe that even the psychologist that I’ve been receiving help from would agree with your standing, but I do not.
        Again, most humans have the same capability to recognize a pattern and see it for what it is, umm…(realism) without thinking. We crave patterns. The dictionary. But, you are correct in your position for the importance of training because all to often when people are together, and one points to the sky and says they’re seeing a supposed ufo (when nothing is there), still, others will will soon identify the same thing in order to be apart of said assembly of humans. This doesn’t mean their stupid, nay, it means their minds have been tricked through the psychology of another that wishes for a flock. Pastors do this all the time, as well as people wishing for a flock of bigfoot, loch ness monster followers.
        And through careful this has been proven as (fact).

        I have more knowledge of this than you think, sir, as I’ve been in one of those studies…and didn’t see shit. You see, I care to examine the cause before jumping to conclusions, which many do not. But, I’d agree that most humans are poor logical thinkers.

        I enjoy debating with you.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Seems to me you are both right/wrong and committing the same logical/linguistic/rhetorical error: treating a many faceted/layered issue as if it were but one thing. Either/or thinking. Treating a subject as monolithic instead of being made up of many parts.

        What do people perceive? Some things, like fire burns, is experienced by 99.999999 all the same. We avoid it except to cook food, get warm, scare off animals, smelt metals…. etc.

        More complex: 99.9999 of people not mentally deficient as a medical diagnosis see patterns in nature whether they are there or not. If not there, it is religion, if there it is science. People “doing” the same thing but with opposite even conflicting results. Its how we are all the same but different at the same time.

        Is reality real or the dream of some other robot?===too nihilistic and but a parlor game for casual anti-pragmatic unproductive musing.

        Here’s another common rule with different results: find what you love, and pursue it.

        Easy peasy.

      • Stix says:

        If we are going to compare memory to a dictionary we need to establish what this dictionary does. As memory is reconstructive the dictionary would have to rebuild itself every time you look at it, it would add words, delete some, and would make words up as filler. This dictionary would also forget about 80% of new information and would reliably not include slow steady changes. It would assume information so often that we had to make entire fields of science to sift through and sort out the nonsense from. These issues are why cognitive psychologist absolutely hate the computer metaphor.

        As far as the earth question. I agree that the earth is most likely spherical in shape, I make this assumption based of the information presented to me from other people. There have been 532 people that have been in space, of those, 24 people have traveled far enough to have the view that you are referring to. Currently the best knowledge states that Earth is spherical in shape but as is the way of science if something were to present itself at a later time we would be happy to investigate it. Assumptions are not bad they just are.

        The ability to “recognize a pattern” (Pareidolia) is part of what gets humans into trouble. These patterns are not realism. If I were to give you a set of numbers, say 2,4,6,8 and ask what’s next you would infer (assume, believe, insert synonym here) that 10 is next. There is nothing in the system that makes 10 come next and that belief would require a leap of faith. In nature patterns change all the time, this is called a complex dynamic system and happens so often that they worked entire sets of statics around the idea.

        // We crave patterns.// This does not make them correct

        // But, you are correct in your position for the importance of training because all to often when people are together, and one points to the sky and says they’re seeing a supposed ufo (when nothing is there), still, others will will soon identify the same thing in order to be apart of said assembly of humans.// This is referred to as group dynamics, specificity in-group and out-group scenarios if you would like to read up on it. There is a lot more that goes into it than your thinking but that is outside the scope of this topic. // And through careful this has been proven as (fact).// If by proven as (fact) your referring to peoples thought process constantly relying on assumptions your just agreeing with everything I have been saying about everyone relying on assumptions on some level. Today I performed a little research of my own; I walked around the lab and asked some of the Dr.’s if they believed in facts. Out of the 35 questioned not a single one said they would call anything a fact (with the exception of one that said the only fact is that there are no facts.) This is a body of psychologist, neurologist, biologist, systems theorist, a physicist, and a rhetorician that likes to join us for lunch (All of these have been published multiple times in their respective fields). So feel free to keep using that term but I assure you what your reliance on it blinds you to scientific advancement and stands against everything most Dr.’s try to profess.

        // I have more knowledge of this than you think, sir, as I’ve been in one of those studies…and didn’t see shit// this is both a “one of” argument and a hasty generalization, you are making some serious assumptions when you state things like that and have fallen prey to the type of argument that most pseudoscientist and theist try to use to persuade people. Having been in one study out of the 100,000’s that have happened does not make you immune to anything, nor does it give you any special incite to the information. I am not saying that you are dumb or anything like that and I am not questioning your “knowledge” but it may take a little more than one person going through one study performed by one team (or maybe just a grad student somewhere) to rewrite the foundation of science.
        P.S. I always enjoy debate and this board is what I do to take a break from work, I find it refreshing and entertaining. If I come across as harsh I do apologize, often how people communicate in the community I am part of is taken as degrading and belittling (If you ever go through the peer review process you will see this.)

        Bobbo,

        // Seems to me you are both right/wrong and committing the same logical/linguistic/rhetorical error: treating a many faceted/layered issue as if it were but one thing. Either/or thinking. Treating a subject as monolithic instead of being made up of many parts.// I have stated many times that there is more to things than one issue or thought. When we assign something as being “fact” we are saying that that is what it is no matter what, my entire argument is that everything relies on assumptions and is a product of conditions and there are no true “facts.”

        //What do people perceive? Some things, like fire burns, is experienced by 99.999999 all the same. We avoid it except to cook food, get warm, scare off animals, smelt metals…. etc // Except for people with congenital analgesia, progressive nerve damage, brain damage, and various other nerve/ neurological issues. But even given this, when presented with a Likert scale to rate their pain, baring floor and ceiling effects, people will rate the pain differently. When people do rate the pain the same we have no way of jumping into their heads and assessing if the 5 that Sally rated is the same as the 5 that Joe did. This is why most pain studies stop as present/absent and doctors don’t rely on what you tell them for the pain scale rating very much.

        // Is reality real or the dream of some other robot?===too nihilistic and but a parlor game for casual anti-pragmatic unproductive musing.// I agree but it proves a point on assumptions, I assume based on the best current knowledge available to me that I am not in some hyper-realistic dream state but that is still not a “fact.”

        // Here’s another common rule with different results: find what you love, and pursue it.// This is a very good rule to live by, the passionate pursuit of what someone cares about is what pushes science every day.
        If we are going to compare memory to a dictionary we need to establish what this dictionary does. As memory is reconstructive the dictionary would have to rebuild itself every time you look at it, it would add words, delete some, and would make words up as filler. This dictionary would also forget about 80% of new information and would reliably not include slow steady changes. It would assume information so often that we had to make entire fields of science to sift through and sort out the nonsense from. These issues are why cognitive psychologist absolutely hate the computer metaphor.

        As far as the earth question. I agree that the earth is most likely spherical in shape, I make this assumption based of the information presented to me from other people. There have been 532 people that have been in space, of those 24 people have traveled far enough to have the view that you are referring to. Currently the best knowledge states that Earth is spherical in shape but as is the way of science if something were to present itself at a later time we would be happy to investigate it. Assumptions are not bad they just are.

        The ability to “recognize a pattern” (Pareidolia) is part of what gets humans into trouble. These patterns are not realism. If I were to give you a set of numbers, say 2,4,6,8 and ask what’s next you would infer (assume, believe, insert synonym here) that 10 is next. There is nothing in the system that makes 10 come next and that belief would require a leap of faith. In nature patterns change all the time, this is called a complex dynamic system and happens so often that they worked entire sets of statics around the idea.

        // We crave patterns.// This does not make them correct

        // But, you are correct in your position for the importance of training because all to often when people are together, and one points to the sky and says they’re seeing a supposed ufo (when nothing is there), still, others will will soon identify the same thing in order to be apart of said assembly of humans.// This is referred to as group dynamics, specificity in-group and out-group scenarios if you would like to read up on it. There is a lot more that goes into it than your thinking but that is outside the scope of this topic. // And through careful this has been proven as (fact).// If by proven as (fact) your referring to peoples thought process constantly relying on assumptions your just agreeing with everything I have been saying about everyone relying on assumptions on some level. Today I performed a little research of my own; I walked around the lab and asked some of the Dr.’s if they believed in facts. Out of the 35 questioned not a single one said they would call anything a fact (with the exception of one that said the only fact is that there are no facts.) This is a body of psychologist, neurologist, biologist, systems theorist, a physicist, and a rhetorician that likes to join us for lunch (All of these have been published multiple times in their respective fields). So feel free to keep using that term but I assure you what your reliance on it blinds you to scientific advancement and stands against everything most Dr.’s try to profess.

        // I have more knowledge of this than you think, sir, as I’ve been in one of those studies…and didn’t see shit// this is both a “one of” argument and a hasty generalization, you are making some serious assumptions when you state things like that and have fallen prey to the type of argument that most pseudoscientist and theist try to use to persuade people. Having been in one study out of the 100,000’s that have happened does not make you immune to anything, nor does it give you any special incite to the information. I am not saying that you are dumb or anything like that and I am not questioning your “knowledge” but it may take a little more than one person going through one study performed by one team (or maybe just a grad student somewhere) to rewrite the foundation of science.
        P.S. I always enjoy debate and this board is what I do to take a break from work, I find it refreshing and entertaining. If I come across as harsh I do apologize, often how people communicate in the community I am part of is taken as degrading and belittling (If you ever go through the peer review process you will see this.)

        Bobbo,

        // Seems to me you are both right/wrong and committing the same logical/linguistic/rhetorical error: treating a many faceted/layered issue as if it were but one thing. Either/or thinking. Treating a subject as monolithic instead of being made up of many parts.// I have stated many times that there is more to things than one issue or thought. When we assign something as being “fact” we are saying that that is what it is no matter what, my entire argument is that everything relies on assumptions and is a product of conditions and there are no true “facts.”

        //What do people perceive? Some things, like fire burns, is experienced by 99.999999 all the same. We avoid it except to cook food, get warm, scare off animals, smelt metals…. etc // Except for people with congenital analgesia, progressive nerve damage, brain damage, and various other nerve/ neurological issues. But even given this, when presented with a Likert scale to rate their pain, baring floor and ceiling effects, people will rate the pain differently. When people do rate the pain the same we have no way of jumping into their heads and assessing if the 5 that Sally rated is the same as the 5 that Joe did. This is why most pain studies stop as present/absent and doctors don’t rely on what you tell them for the pain scale rating very much.

        // Is reality real or the dream of some other robot?===too nihilistic and but a parlor game for casual anti-pragmatic unproductive musing.// I agree but it proves a point on assumptions, I assume based on the best current knowledge available to me that I am not in some hyper-realistic dream state but that is still not a “fact.”

        // Here’s another common rule with different results: find what you love, and pursue it.// This is a very good rule to live by, the passionate pursuit of what someone cares about is what pushes science every day.

      • Stix says:

        Wow, no clue what happened there. Sorry for the double post.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Fire still burns. Those who do not feel it still burn. Fire is like that. Its a “fact.” More than a fact: like gravity–its the LAW. Don’t believe it? Stick your hand in the campfire, or go for long walks on short piers. You will soon enough not be part of the conversation. Such is the input of ideas that stand only in the vacuum of not being tested by the real world. REALITY: that which hits you in the nose when you think nothing is there.

        YOU may not believe in Reality…. but reality continues on its way.

      • Stix says:

        I enjoy your use of gravity to “prove” your point. There are 49 theories of gravity spread across 3 paradigms with 2 standards. Each one of these uses a separate set of assumptions in an attempt to cover the phenomena from a different angle. You may recognize some of the debate earlier about Newtonian gravity vs. Einsteinien gravity with a mix of quantum gravity thrown in for good measure. Each of these has aspects that “disprove” parts of the other and are useful in different areas. If you were to take things as being pure fact, black and white with no room for error, then all of them would be incorrect. This is why science allows for some assumption, without it there will not ever be any progress.
        Even the most astute positivist, such as David Hume and Descartes accepted that there was no way to avoid some basic assumptions. Descartes humorously took it to an absurd level just to prove that there was only one truth in his mind that could be verified, “Cogito ergo sum.” To Descartes anything beyond this statement relied on some sort of assumption (some could argue that even this statement has an assumption in it.)

        //Such is the input of ideas that stand only in the vacuum of not being tested by the real world.// This exact statement has been used repeatedly in arguments against the idea that people rely on “facts.”

        //YOU may not believe in Reality…. but reality continues on its way.// This statement is hilarious in that it relies on multiple assumptions to attempt to make a point about reality as you see it. The first major one is the personification of reality; by definition reality on its own is not “real.” One cannot wake up in the morning, go to the store, and buy some reality. The other big assumption is time, as time is not a constant it cannot be counted as a “fact.” Time relies on many assumptions on its own but that is for another debate.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        The theories explaining gravity may be numerous and changing but the fact of gravity is still there to be accepted or rejected for those short or long walks on that pier of reality. Anyone is free to think as they will, but only short walkers take part in longer conversations. Most issues are like that. Some fact at the heart of the matter, surrounded by disagreement.

        Heres a fact: we have but one life to live. How we live that life and what we get out of it: full of disagreement.

        The ying and yang of it only to be understood and enjoyed…..if something external is not causing abdominal blockage.

      • 49 theories of gravity? Really? Please do list them. Or post a link to the list. I’m curious how many of them I’ve heard.

        Newton’s gravity still works within the same limited domain it always did. Nothing new there.

        Einsteinian gravity, a.k.a. general relativity, works in a great many more places. However, by definition, it produces exactly the same result as Newton’s so-called Laws within the domain in which Newton’s Laws always worked.

        That is the way of new theories. They must produce the good old familiar results in the cases where we know the old theories worked. Then, they extend into new domains where the old theories break down.

        That is how it works.

        If any of quantum gravity or loop quantum gravity or string “theory” or M-“theory” actually turns into a real theory, they will do the same to general relativity that general relativity did to Newton’s Laws. Currently, these newcomers are still just hypotheses. All forms of strings and branes have yet to make a single testable prediction. I’m not sure about the various forms of quantum gravity. But, I am under the impression that none have made a prediction that has been tested and came up correct.

        So, to call any of these newbie hypotheses theories is really to misunderstand the scientific definition of the word theory.

        A friend and former coworker who has a PhD in String Theory disagrees. He thinks strings are a theory now. I have had this conversation with him and have remained unconvinced.

      • Stix says:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Theories_of_gravitation here is a quick and dirty list. Einstein and Newton are the 2 standards I referred to and the 3 paradigms would be Classical theories of gravitation Quantum gravity Theory of everything, I have seen many others on Ebsco but as that is not readily available to everyone that may be reading we both agreed earlier in the thread not to use it. I agree that both Einstein and Newton work in most instances, one better than the other depending on the circumstance, but that’s why they are currently considered the standards. I would imagine that in time quantum gravity will make the list as an accepted standard too, but at this moment it is still to new and undergoing to many changes.

        Theories change all the time and after they change enough they become new theories, after that point the old ones fall out of favor but they do still exist.

      • Interesting to see these all laid out with all of the subtle differences within each family of hypotheses. I know that many of these are indeed called theories. However, I would argue that this is a very incorrect use of the word theory. It causes all sorts of confusion to call untested and unproven hypotheses theories. It lends credence to whacko bullshit like “Intelligent Design. “

      • Stix says:

        I agree that there needs to be more levels of acceptance and the ability to regress in the system but in the current scientific world this is not possible. we do not currently have a word for “theory with stuff added that may or may not be accepted.” Maybe we should come up with such a term. As far as ““Intelligent Design” I have yet to see anything that allows it to qualify as a theory. Theories are analytic tools for understanding, explaining, and making predictions about a given subject matter. To me “Intelligent Design” seems to be the antithesis of theories.

      • Quantum gravity, strings and branes, loop quantum gravity, etc., are not “theories with stuff added”. They are wholly new proto-theories. We call proto-theories hypotheses. These are all completely unrelated to general relativity, except for the fact that in order for these hypotheses to become theories, they must produce exactly the same results as general relativity in the domain in which general relativity works.

        They must also add new knowledge to our existing knowledge. But, they are not existing theories with stuff added. They are whole new ways to view the universe. Just as general relativity completely changed the way we view gravity (no longer as a force, but as a physical warping of space), so too string hypothesis (for example) gives a whole new view of the universe where all particles become tiny vibrating strings. If this proves to be true, we may continue to use general relativity or even Newton’s laws to do calculations within the domains that these have always proven effective. If we do so, we will likely do so because the calculations are simpler.

        But, all calculations done with the Newtonian formula for gravity can be done with greater precision in general relativity.

        This is not yet true for any of the other hypotheses for GUTs or TOEs. When it is true, when one of these things are proven to be actually true and effective views of the universe, then we can call them theories. Until then, it is very confusing to do so.

      • Stix says:

        // The theories explaining gravity may be numerous and changing but the fact of gravity is still there to be accepted or rejected for those short or long walks on that pier of reality.// Provided that you exclude the theories that involve gravity as being the absence of something. When you include them your “Fact” of gravity is the absence and presence of particles acting on mass, this would exclude all but quantum gravity as quantum mechanics is the only place that something can both exist and not exist at the same time. Your definition of fact just proved Einstein and Newton wrong. Or is it possible that, just maybe, it relied on an assumption… I know it sounds crazy but this is the life work of Gödel, Heisenberg, Wittgenstein, Einstein, Descartes, and many others that you’re trying to disprove here, I am simply stating it as it currently is. I know it sounds nitpicky to state things like this and we should “think as they will,” but this entire thread is about being as scientifically accurate as possible. If we are attempting to avoid conflict then this entire thread should be deleted.

        In one last attempt to show that nothing is 100% I will give one last example according to Andy Field (the go to guy for statistics with large parts of the world currently) the only statistical formula you need to know is effect = model + error, all statistics derive from this. The idea is if you add your model to the chance that you’re wrong it will equal your effect size. This error can never equal 0 due to our reliance on assumptions. This is one of the first things they teach you in statistics. Statistics are used to explain everything in science, this even includes whether or not you fall through your chair when you sit down, and statistics can never have an error = 0 due to the inherent assumptions in everything we do, there are no true facts (defined as thoughts that exist without an assumption in its foundation). On a side note for people paying attention this formula can be written as y = b1 + b2 with the addition of an independent variable it becomes y = b1X1 + b2 otherwise known as the general formula for a line (y= mX + b).

        There is another sang around the lab that we have, “Beliefs not founded in logic cannot be fought with logic.” I have presented more than an ample amount of logic to the case but at this point the determination needs to be made of whether it is logic that is being debated against, or is it the fear that a belief that things are “facts” may not be correct. If it is the belief and not logic than I fear we are at an impasse as theological debates are not well argued over the internet (too many feelings involved).

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Anything over 96% accuracy is a waste of time. I’ll let others spend their time on that 4% while I have another beer, listen to some good music, or a nice walk in the fresh air.

        To the major sidebar of this discussion, I happened across this demotivational poster:

        If you are depressed, you are living in the past,
        If you are anxious, you are living in the future,
        If you are at peace, you are living in the present.
        Lao Tzu

        To that analysis, it matches my experience with the recognition that “the present” is a mirage? Past and Future needed to be balanced rather than ignored?……..and I’m already past the 96% level.

        Forward!

  79. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    In ten minutes I could not google it but I think Einstein said something like: “You don’t understand a concept until you work out the math.”

    Several people are given credit for saying: “Most people are about as happy as they want to be” /// If one is happy, one should enjoy it as long as possible—not try to evaluate it too closely. But if one is sad, that saying might help one to find a balance. I think fairly early I recognized that as bad as I might think my life was, I knew people, and certainly read about people who had lives much worse than mine. I constantly think about being a coal miner, or a galley ship rowing slave. I mean==life in USA @ 2013? I have been able to “choose happiness” against all my unfortunate slings and arrows……save one….which also pisses me off. Only TIME is lessening its impact on me. My first fiancee who called off the marriage and gave no reason why, refused to talk about it, and treated me as if “I” had been doing something actively “wrong.” Doesn’t matter how much I intellectualize. The closest I’ve gotten over it yet is wanting to call her on the phone to tell her I’ve finally gotten over it. Makes me laugh. I’d still rather be me than a coal miner or a galley slave. Some things just take time. That is a comforting recognition as well…… even day after day.

    • Stix says:

      As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality. ~Einstein
      I love reading Einstein quotes, they are always a little off the wall.
      not sure if this is the one you were looking for.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Me too….but I find that quote right on the mark==both ends of it. Its one of the “great questions” in math/science/philosophy===just what is it that math is doing? Problems with infinity, null values, dividing by zero, irrantional numbers and so forth. I don’t have the mind for it but once in awhile I enjoy kidding myself that I get a glimpse.

        But my version is fairly close to what I heard attributed to him. Big E was chiding himself for not being a very good mathematician as he worked thru his various theories. It must be true that some people are various good at thinking visual, verbally, and certainly mathematically? Its more like music to me–I enjoy it, but can’t do it. I think the attribution was made on a tv documentary of his life. Last night my Housemate impressed me by not being able to multiply .16 cents per kilowatt by 20 hours. She’s that retarded.

  80. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    Hey, Scott, Bobbo, Stix,

    Stix
    –Hmmm, it sounds to me like your depression may be clouding your judgment a little.–

    A little?
    You’ve no idea.
    I’m trying to cope as best I can, but it’s a struggle; and one of the biggest in my life.

    Please? Please except my humble apologies for I’ve not been my self lately, and I’m in the process of getting much needed help in the venture for my sanity.

    Scott, bobbo, Stix, I can only hope you’ll forgive me.
    At times I feel as if my mind is slipping away and there’s nothing I can do for any relief. It is relentless!
    I lost my mother, two brothers; and now my father. I am all that is left of my family.
    This is my darkness…

    Perhaps provided with the needed help I will find some comfort from all this negativity, and I’m only hopeful that it may liberate this fruitless high-pressure status that creates this stigma in my mind.

    Stix? If all possible, I’d like to finish our debate?

    I’m very sorry for any trouble that I may have caused.

    All the best
    Troy

  81. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    There is much wisdom in recognizing that “life happens” and tragedy or joy IS ONLY your reaction to it. Its not a “trick”–but a recognition hopefully you will decide to make? Why do you call your present state of mind a “darkness” or a stigma? We do live in an existential void of meaningless. The bad in that is that there is no easy one rule for us all to conform our thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs to. The good…. is that we choose how to interpret this. The bad of THAT is that when our close ones die, we can choose to feel bad. The good of THAT is that when our close ones die, we can choose to feel good……does take some practice and how many choices do we actually get?

    Let me give an example? 22 year old son in the Air Force in Dover Delaware lying on a couch gets a phone call that his father in Sacramento has died of a heart attack and arrangements have been made for him to fly home and support his mother. Son says “fine” and puts down the phone to have a quiet cry about it. Why? The son was sad a father should die and his son not really give a shit. Such was their relationship. It becomes then not too hard a jump for you to recognize “some” positive aspect of the fact that you are sad for very different reasons? It is…… your choice.

    Years later, son’s mon died. Son and mom very close, even sharing the same house for her final 10 years. Death is a constant, a reality we all come to terms with in our own way. Son was happy she had a good life once her husband died and that she passed fairly quickly with a minimum of pain and incoherence, surrounded by loving family and grandkiddies. About as good a passing as one can have. Again…. choices.

    All your choices are yours to make. At least you don’t have all the same situation.. AND you are a galley slave on a Roman War Ship.

    • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

      –Why do I call my present state of mind a darkness or stigma?–

      Because I feel that I cannot cope. Would it not be a hard time for any young person to deal with?
      You’ve provided yourself with a coping mechanism, a “mental block” if you will, or you just simply are more capable in dealing with death as opposed to how others would handle the demise of three relatives who’s deaths aren’t that far apart.
      Not everyone will handle it in the manor you have chosen. But of course, I cannot speak for you; and do not have your train of thought.

      –We do live in a existential void of meaningless.–

      This does not apply to friendships, or I’d find no meaning nor value for my friend bobbo. And I do find meaning and worth in your friendship.

      I cannot speak for others because I know not what is on their minds, but we all have different outlooks in life. My father and I would constantly argue because of my rejection of his religious beliefs, but I still loved him, and stood by him, even though he constantly offered outright contempt for me.
      I just couldn’t offer any rejection his way as your friend did…I know not why, but I just couldn’t.
      In that sense I’m a puppy I guess.

      And I’ll take your “galley slave” as a compliment.

      Thanks for trying to help bobbo.

  82. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Why do I call my present state of mind a darkness or stigma?–

    Because I feel that I cannot cope. Would it not be a hard time for any young person to deal with? /// “Feelings.”–yes. All a matter of conditioning and expectations. Recognize THAT—and then work on your choices. Perhaps….if you are only looking at/reflecting on your own feelings you are denying whole other realties that are also within yourself? as in…remember the good times you had with those departed? Surely, by remembering those good times and smiling you honor those good things and might provide yourself with some relief?

    You’ve provided yourself with a coping mechanism, a “mental block” if you will, or you just simply are more capable in dealing with death as opposed to how others would handle the demise of three relatives who’s deaths aren’t that far apart. /// Each individual has a multitude of variables to deal with. I suggest but one path to make your realities a bit easier to cope with. But I think one can identify “universals” to the human experience. The one I have identified is that: “Things can always be better or worse. How one feels is greatly affected by what one concentrates on.” Still lots of variability.

    Not everyone will handle it in the manor you have chosen. But of course, I cannot speak for you; and do not have your train of thought. /// Everyone is different and the same at the same time. Thats in part our common humanity interacting with our unique circumstances. My train of thought has been set before you. You don’t have to adopt it…. just recognize it is a choice you have before you. Walk its path as far as you might. You will still have lots more of your own choices to make…… go towards the light.

    –We do live in a existential void of meaningless.–

    This does not apply to friendships, or I’d find no meaning nor value for my friend bobbo. And I do find meaning and worth in your friendship. /// Yes, but others have easily NOT found it. You make this choice as you do all others.

    I cannot speak for others because I know not what is on their minds, but we all have different outlooks in life. //// Yes, that is my very point.

    My father and I would constantly argue because of my rejection of his religious beliefs, but I still loved him, and stood by him, even though he constantly offered outright contempt for me. /// My dad was similar/different. I find as I age, I feel sorry for him that his life was such that he felt he had to lash out as he did. He made his choices and didn’t feel his way out. And talking with other friends about their fathers—I recognized (Play the Theme Song—) he could have been much worse. One friend and I analyzing our cold/removed father figures both laughed that we both thought “at least he didn’t beat us!” Yes–things can always be better or worse. Be happy they weren’t worse?

    I just couldn’t offer any rejection his way as your friend did…I know not why, but I just couldn’t./// I would say there was no rejection, but rather acceptance of the way things were. Wordplay? I don’t take it that way. Not every relationship “works” and its reality to see things as they are.

    In that sense I’m a puppy I guess. /// I don’t know what that means as you are not a puppy….but the whole point of being a puppy is to learn from experiences. They just are not as self aware and therefore have the potential to be self directed. Thats called “self actualization.” A skill that can be read about and learned.

    And I’ll take your “galley slave” as a compliment. /// More choices… and all to the good. We could update that reference point? Thats what I do with coal miner …. but… that makes me feel bad for the coal miners that be.

    We find our little joys were we can.

    Thanks for trying to help bobbo.

  83. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    I missed this by oversight: “Thanks for trying to help bobbo.” /// Fair call… but my motivation isn’t to try and help as much as….. I’m just feeling talkative and “feeling bad” is something I’ve had experience with….. so I post my own recognitions… yes…. in hopes it will help.

    One of my earliest self help recognitions: a skit by Bob Newhart: “Stop It.” //// Wonderful how “everything” is on the internet these days.

    • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

      Thank you, bobbo. In some aspects I guess I was the little, turd?
      Anyhow, that was a funny episode. And, I’ve been in much need for a good laugh.

      Hmmmm…
      Should I just stop it now? Or should I tell you to stop it?

      And do you except “American Express Beer” as payment?

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        I did a word search and did not find the term “turd” anywhere on this thread. ((I missed it if in the video.)) “Usually” I am the turd floating around in any social punch bowl. If you ever advance to turd status, I will enjoy the company—but only as turds do.

        From the last link provided….I think you are still “over identifying” with what ideas/notions/emotions appear in your consciousness. I don’t see your posting as “trouble” at all. A diversion from “Big Bang” issues… yes. But that is not trouble. Discussion are like life–a trip with all side trips included. Even when “lost” there is still much to enjoy on the journey. Back to making choices regardless of the context you are in.

        So—enjoy the side trip you are embarking on. No doubt, this forum will still be here on your check back….wrestling with the lyrics to some other tv show or the buoyancy of some other turd.

  84. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Heres another way of saying the same thing:

    http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/how-to-find-your-way-towards-consciousness-and-calm.html

    • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

      On a more serious note, I believe this will be most helpful in finding my way out of my situation. Again, I’m truly sorry if I’ve been any trouble to anyone here, but my mind has been very occupied with everything that has happened lately and this was in turn driving me bananas.

      I’m seeing a doctor now and he is helping me to cope with the stresses of my life.
      You’ve no idea how much you and Scott have helped me…and therefore, you have my everlasting gratitude.

      Thank you so very much.
      Troy

  85. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    Oh, yes. I’ll be leaving for a while, and I just wanted to know…well…if it is still okay if I can come back Scott? I really do enjoy your articles, bobbo and Stix comments as well as others.

    Stix made the comment that Newton and Einstein were intellectual giants, but I’d count you tree as nearly the same.
    I love you guys
    Goodbye

    • Stix says:

      I apologize for my sudden absence, I am currently working on multiple projects and it seemed that bobbo had all this emotional stuff taken care of. I do have to admit that I am weak in the area of emotions and such. You have been no trouble at all to me and from what I see nobody on here has any negative feelings toward you. I wish you the best of luck in your hiatus and hope that you work out all the issues you may want to work out. I have trolled in this thread for a long time now and I am sure I will still be around when you return, unless Scott hits some magical ban button, the internet crashes, World War 3 breaks out, zombies invade, or any of the other things that may influence my abilities to look at a computer.

      • In theory, I probably do have a magical ban button. I’ve never had the need to look for it yet. I have shut down one thread that got completely out of control. In general, my idea of my job as blog moderator is to delete spam. I haven’t even had a real blog troll on this site, and am not sure how I would deal with it if I did. I suppose I’d at least try extreme humiliation before resorting to banning.

        You do not meet any reasonable definition of an internet troll. So, I see no risk of you being banned here. Of course, if we took this discussion to any extremist religious site, we’d all be trolls. Hmm… I might suddenly be seeing the appeal of trolling.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29

  86. Troy,

    I was away myself for a while, so didn’t keep up with the comments.

    Seems there was a lot of heated discussion here and many interesting topics came up as a result. I look at that as purely positive. I like heated discussions. It means people care.

    You are not only welcome to come back, I certainly hope that you will.

    Thanks to you and to Stix and Bobbo for keeping the conversation so active in my absence.

    Scott

  87. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    Gotta question for ya, Stix.
    Does god exist?

    • Stix says:

      I am not equipped to accept or deny the existence of a being that is not falsifiable. Carl Sagan had an interesting piece about a dragon that I think falls into the same category
      (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/The_Dragon_in_My_Garage).
      Currently the best knowledge available to me leads me to deny the existence of a deity, but Gödel did find some mathematical evidence that there had to be some, “divine system” that regulates all other systems and is not represented by the incompleteness theorem. In some ways this could be considered a deific being depending on your definition.

      • Godel was an idiot. No wait. Godel was not a scientist. Godel was a philosopher. So, he had a mind capable of arguing about the number of angels that could dance on a pinhead. But, imagining the best thing ever and calling that “God” does not magically conjure said god into existence.

        Oh, and math often happens to be extremely useful in science. But, there is a lot of math that does not actually have any application in science. Math doesn’t create the universe. Some math describes the universe. Math can be shown to be self-consistent. But, until empirical evidence shows that the math in question happens to actually describe some real world situation, it is purely abstract and not a proof of anything tangible.

      • Stix says:

        Gödel was insane, at least the best evidence supports that view, but most mathematicians are. I have no objections in the use of math in science; I depend on it every day, where the entire debate comes from is that I stated everything has underlying assumptions at some level and Expulsion Of Gods informed the world that he never makes any assumptions and relies only on 100% fact (as well as stating that psychology does not work on him because he was in a study before). This has even been taken to the point of him purposely altering my quotes (will cover that in my response to him) and calling me a deist. When he directly asked about my religious affiliation I responded that I do not believe in god but the ability to disprove his existence does not exist. This is what makes religion separate from science is that it is not falsifiable.

      • Yes. Math is used in science all the time. But, there is a lot of math that is not. Such msth does not describe anything in reality. It is pure mathematics. It dors not contribute to our knowledge of the tangible world.

        As for gods, some are falsifiable. In particular, personal gods who intetfere with our world are both falsifiable and demonstrably false.

        Our laws of physics do not make exceptions for the times when some deity intervenes. And yet, they work.

        Therefore, there are no personal gods in the observable universe.

        Any gods who are not falsifiable in this way are completely and utterly irrelevant. They are, in fact, omnimpotent. Read that carefully. It is not a typo. Any god who is not falsifiable is, by definition, omnimpotent and omnabsent. Their desire to avoid even the slightest possibility of detection renders them utterly powerless.

      • Stix says:

        The idea of omnimpotent and omnabsent that you present if something that I strongly agree with. This is the issue I end up having with some psychology constructs such as “the self.” I refer to these as umbrella constructs, they are useless and over broad. I find this issue often when I look through thesis proposals. Not sure if you read the post about it yet but the only math that I apply to life is statistics, and in statistics like in everything else we admit that everything has assumptions at the base, we call this error in statistics, and without these assumptions there is no progress.

      • Lies, damn lies, and statistics. Statistics is not a science. You can make statistics say anything you want. You determine the outcome you want, then pick the statistic that validates it. This is the antithesis of science.

        Unfortunately, statistics can have real and valid uses. You just need to be really clever about asking questions and letting the right statistical view dictate your answer. This is a very grey area in my mind.

        As for statistics and psychology, one interesting thing to study is how bad the human brain is at doing statistics. For example, there are real risks of death in life. Those that are the most common, such as driving on the New Jersey Turnpike, are the ones we ignore. We focus instead on things like terrorism.

        Despite the fact that even on the increasingly safe roads in the U.S., 32,000 people per year die and that in the same U.S., only 5000 people have died as a result of terrorism going all the way back to Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865, people fear terrorism but not a drive on our highways and byways.

        Want to show that things are pretty good in the country? Print the mean household income instead of the median. Both are equally valid statistics. One is skewed terribly by a few wealthy individuals.

        Want to advertise your company’s cars? Point out the percentage of the cars built in the last 10 years that are still on the road, for example 90%. Why is this a meaningless statistic? It ignores the possibility that you built more of the cars in the last year of the 10 year bracket than the first. It also makes it sound as if 90% of the 10 year old cars are still on the road, which is not the case. Even if equal numbers were made in each year, that 90% number could be hit even if 0 10 year old cars are on the road, though that would require 100% of the 1-9 year old cars still being on the road. So, what percentage of the 10 year old cars are really on the road? I can’t tell from this. But, I’d bet it isn’t 90%.

        Want to sell meat? Point out that it’s 85% lean. No one will notice that you’re really saying that the meat is 15% fat.

        So, yes statistics are interesting. But, they’re really not a hard science like physics, especially since they can be manipulated too easily.

      • Stix says:

        // Statistics is not a science// Probability theory is the entire basis of both quantum mechanics and dynamic systems, I hardly see how this is not a science. Perhaps I am misunderstanding you?

      • Good point. I don’t generally think of quantum physics as statistics. I usually thimk of statistics in frameworks like political polls and marketing. Probabilities are very different, especially in this realm.

        Point made.

      • Stix says:

        I think we may both agree that anything used wrong can be bad.

      • Polls & advertising aren’t even necessarily wrong or bad uses for statistics, merely non-scientific uses. But, yes, anything can be used for bad purposes.

      • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

        Stix,
        //I’m not equiped to accept or deny the existence of a being that is not falsifiable.//

        Of course you can. This is why I asked you the question.
        Any god is a construct and falsified idea to gain social order, obtain wealth, and have advantages over all within said state. And if any doubt you have regarding this; please read (exodus) or first Samuel as this should make it clear enough for you that those stories are the commandments of kings, and not that of any deity. Those people were oppressed by the crown only.

        //, but Godel did find some mathematical evidence,//

        So…you accept Godel’s mathematical “evidence”, but think that science is all based on assumptions?
        Interesting…and very telling.

        Want to know why I call you a theist?

      • Stix says:

        There is no question Gödel was crazy, this is well documented. An example of this was his citizenship hearing where he informed the examiner that he found a hole in the constitution that would allow for an American dictatorship. The only reason he managed to become an American citizen was due to his two close friends, Oskar Morgenstern (game theory) and Albert Einstein.
        During his time in the US he published many papers collaborating with his two friends (he did not have many as he had a severe distrust of…. almost everything). The ones of note are “The Consistency of the Axiom of Choice and of the Generalized Continuum-Hypothesis (constructible universe, a model of set theory in which the only sets that exist are those that can be constructed from simpler sets),” “An example of a new Type of Cosmological Solutions of Einstein’s Field Equations of Gravitation (The Gödel metric, an exact solution to the Einstein field equations.)” and “Rotating Universes in General Relativity Theory (These “rotating universes” would allow time travel and caused Einstein to have doubts about his own theory. This is also the basis that Steven Hawkins uses in his explanation of the possibility of time travel).”
        In all his craziness, I would not discount his math. That is something that even Einstein went out of his way to have double check his work and observe in action. He accidentally broke physics and then proceeded to “fix it” this was after he wrote the incompleteness theorems rewriting physics more times in 15 years than I could ever hope to do in my lifetime. Oddly enough his religious views were acquired from Einstein being quoted as saying, “Religions are, for the most part, bad–but religion is not.” For some extra reading on a very odd person check out http://iopscience.iop.org/1742-6596/82/1/012002/pdf/1742-6596_82_1_012002.pdf, http://discovermagazine.com/2002/mar/featgodel#.UnRdSvn2Xjk, and http://morgenstern.jeffreykegler.com/.

  88. I haven’t had time to read all of the stuff above regarding faith. But, I will say that there is faith and there is faith. Not all faith is really the same. To have faith in something ordinary like that the being on the other end of a computer based conversation is a human is not a big leap. Ordinary evidence is enough for ordinary occurrences. So, it is very likely and complete un-extraordinary to think that everyone in this conversation is a human.

    When we atheists are disparaging of faith, or really I should speak for myself, when I am disparaging of faith, I am stating that I do not respect the whole concept of accepting the extraordinary, such as supernatural bullshit, on faith. For extraordinary events or beings or whatever else we’re discussing, I would need extraordinary evidence.

    More accurately, what I would really need to even consider the hypothesis of some supernatural being or event would be scientific evidence.

    I would also add as an aside that I am really unconcerned with whether the being on the other end of any blogversation is a human, a group of humans, or a computer and software capable of passing the Turing Test. In fact, if it is a Turing certified computer, all the more interesting. Imagine the conversations we might have with a being whose mind is so different than our own. Imagine the different viewpoints to consider.

    So, if some other species on this planet, some alien species from another planet, or some computer programmed by a far better programmer than I ever was or will be wants to join a conversation, I would welcome all such beings. Hell, the conversation has to be more interesting than some of the blog trolls I’ve seen around (luckily not on this site). Some who claim to be human (and quite possibly are) fail to convince me of that fact. I have accused some trolls of failing the Turing Test. Some are not even as interesting to talk to as Eliza or Racter.

    So, let’s move on from the conversation of having faith in the humanity of the contributors to this blog or faith in gravity or whatever else some of us were calling faith. Let’s assume that when we talk about faith, we mean faith in something outside of everyday experience, something that would be considered extraordinary or even miraculous were it to be true.

    • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

      Scott?
      You’ve made some extremely sound points regarding faith and if I may I’d like to make a few points of my own.

  89. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    //Wow, so the entire premises of Plato’s allegory of the cave is religious? I know he only helped lay the entire foundation for western philosophy and science and has been included in the teaching of philosophy, logic, rhetoric, religion and mathematics since long before either of us were born://

    How do you know that? Since you can only assume that he even existed at all. You see, I’m notthe one with a problem of excepting the reality of which I’m a part of – you are.

  90. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    //I think you are trying to equate faith to religion but they are not the same thing.//

    First (I) would would be an indication that I’m reading the ramblings from an individual person and not that of a computer program/team of psychologists, etcetera. So lets cut the shit. No wait…I think that I’ll let you handle that.

    And since Scott had very adequately covered the word “faith” I won’t cover it, but I will cover:

    (Assumption) n,
    1. The art of assuming
    2. Anything taken for granted
    //our assumption that they were guilty proved correct.//

    (Probability) n,
    The (fact) of being probable; likelihood; good chance
    //There’s a good probability of sunshine tomorrow.//
    Something that is probable
    //Stix returning to this reality is considered a probability.//
    In all probability, very likely.

    So “probabilities” is the correct term and neither that of “faith” nor “assumptions” if you are expected to ever be taken seriously.

    And to use theword from an individual from American history: it is “selfevident” that you are using rhetoric and psychology to change others perspectives from your own nonsensical speculation and conjecture.
    (Benjamin Franklin), once uttered that word.
    Self-evident. There, see that?

    //here are some of the assumptions that scientists make all the time.//

    1. Natural is orderly, i.e., regularity, pattern and structure. Laws describe order.

    To make the claim that gravity is an “assumption” is to call the works of Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein into question and virtually making their theories erroneous.
    (Gravity) (is) a (law) of nature in spite of your trying to twist that theory to suite your own inane propaganda.
    You are only using (Propaganda)…there, see that?

    1. We can know nature, as this only requires time.
    2. We “are” a part of nature. What makes you think that is assumption?
    3. Individuals are a part of the social order, and are thought from whomever is in control of said human population.
    What, you didn’t know that governments are into the study of nature and human social order?

    3. All phenomena “do” have natural causes.
    Had to fix that one for ya.
    And scientific explanations of human behavior opposes religious, spiritual and magical explanations.

    As it should. Do you also assume that magical beings do exist? No wait…don’t answer that… I already know.

    4. Nothing is self-evident. Truth claims must be demonstrated objectively.

    And this my friend is the problem with your snake-oil salesmanship, because it only encompasses a very narrow set of obsessive, archaic, and hypothetical diarrhea.
    You know, things like Bigfoot, the loch ness monster, ufo’s, jesus, god, the Jersey devil, etcetera.
    Your dishonesty is showing.

    And knowledge is superior to ignorance.
    Would you rather be sheltered under the umbrella of nonsensical, tyrannical, impaired supremacy and suppression of the supernatural crown? Or would you not be happy with the wonderful freedom that you already partake in?

    Oh, and btw…my psychologist said that the scientific community “doesn’t support” your contrived drippings froma drunken fuck, nor does the field of psychology.
    Wonder why I’m calling you on your horseshit?
    But, you may still continue with your ramblings .
    I’m sure that I’ll find them quite entertaining.
    Goddamn you’re funny!

    P.S.
    He recommended that you read about the word ((denilism)). Wikipedia has a beautiful article on it that describes you to a ((T)).

    Keep the faith. You’re going to need it.

    • Stix says:

      //How do you know that? Since you can only assume that he even existed at all. You see, I’m notthe one with a problem of excepting the reality of which I’m a part of – you are.// I have no issue with admitting that I make judgments based on the best evidence I have available. Background assumptions do not limit anything from ever being “known” they just limit people from ever obtaining true “facts” or “proving” things, all we can do is present the evidence and then use concepts like Occam’s Razor (the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected) to make our choice. Please note that it says the fewest assumptions; even William of Ockham agreed that every choice is made with background assumptions.

      // First (I) would would be an indication that I’m reading the ramblings from an individual person and not that of a computer program/team of psychologists, etcetera. So lets cut the shit. No wait…I think that I’ll let you handle that.//
      Nobody in the history of the world ever used a first person pronoun even though it did not refer to a singular object? If you truly believe that “(I) would would be an indication that I’m reading the ramblings from an individual person and not that of a computer program/team of psychologists, etcetera.” Then I know of a bank in Nigeria that needs your help.

      //(Assumption) n,
      1. The art of assuming
      2. Anything taken for granted// Now, now, let’s use a full definition.
      As•sump•tion (-smpshn) n. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Assumptions)
      1. The act of taking to or upon oneself: assumption of an obligation.
      2. The act of taking possession or asserting a claim: assumption of command.
      3. The act of taking for granted: assumption of a false theory.
      4. Something taken for granted or accepted as true without proof; a supposition: a valid assumption.
      5. Presumption; arrogance.
      6. Logic A minor premise. <– (What’s that “L” word?)
      7. Assumption
      a. Christianity The taking up of the Virgin Mary into heaven in body and soul after her death.
      b. A feast celebrating this event.
      c. August 15, the day on which this feast is observed.

      Fact (fkt) n. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/fact)
      1. Knowledge or information based on real occurrences: an account based on fact; a blur of fact and fancy.
      2. a. Something demonstrated to exist or known to have existed: Genetic engineering is now a fact. That Chaucer was a real person is an undisputed fact.
      b. A real occurrence; an event: had to prove the facts of the case.
      c. Something believed to be true or real: a document laced with mistaken facts.  (Note the use of the word believed)
      3. A thing that has been done, especially a crime: an accessory before the fact.
      4. Law The aspect of a case at law comprising events determined by evidence: The jury made a finding of fact.
      Idiom:
      in (point of) fact
      In reality or in truth; actually.
      [Latin factum, deed, from neuter past participle of facere, to do; see dh- in Indo-European roots.]
      Usage Note: Fact has a long history of usage in the sense "allegation of fact," as in "This tract was distributed to thousands of American teachers, but the facts and the reasoning are wrong" (Albert Shanker). This practice has led to the introduction of the phrases true facts and real facts, as in The true facts of the case may never be known. These usages may occasion qualms among critics who insist that facts can only be true, but the usages are often useful for emphasis.

      Probability [ˌprɒbəˈbɪlɪtɪ] n pl -ties (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/probability)
      1. the condition of being probable
      2. an event or other thing that is probable
      3. (Mathematics & Measurements / Statistics) Statistics a measure or estimate of the degree of confidence one may have in the occurrence of an event, measured on a scale from zero (impossibility) to one (certainty). It may be defined as the proportion of favourable outcomes to the total number of possibilities if these are indifferent (mathematical probability), or the proportion observed in a sample (empirical probability), or the limit of this as the sample size tends to infinity (relative frequency), or by more subjective criteria (subjective probability)

      //our assumption that they were guilty proved correct.// Legal burden of proof is 51% if we go by those standards your car would only start 51% of the time.

      //Stix returning to this reality is considered a probability.// This is a nice attack on my character (Ad hominem), may want to include Bobbo in that as, “Anything over 96% accuracy is a waste of time. I’ll let others spend their time on that 4% while I have another beer, listen to some good music, or a nice walk in the fresh air.” It sounds to me like Bobbo is ready to admit that 100% is unobtainable.

      //So “probabilities” is the correct term and neither that of “faith” nor “assumptions” if you are expected to ever be taken seriously.// Probability is a statistical term, did you even read the post on statistics? It incorporates assumptions into every formula ever used to find it… this is called error.

      //And to use theword from an individual from American history: it is “selfevident” that you are using rhetoric and psychology to change others perspectives from your own nonsensical speculation and conjecture.
      (Benjamin Franklin), once uttered that word.
      Self-evident. There, see that?// the phrase is, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” If you are attempting to take this as “fact” and not assumption you may want to note that he is using it to state that we are all made by the same god and that god gave us certain rights. This section of his proposal “that we declare our independence” is known as stating your assumptions. It is required in every academic proposal that you state your assumptions because academics agree that everything has a background of assumptions. http://dissertationrecipes.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/AssumptionslimitationsdelimitationsX.pdf has a little write up for you explaining this if you care to learn about it, although at this point I suspect you are not even reading the post and I am wasting my time… that’s what you get for making assumptions right?

      //What, you didn’t know that governments are into the study of nature and human social order?// if only there were differing

      //(Gravity) (is) a (law) of nature in spite of your trying to twist that theory to suite your own inane propaganda.// You seem confused as to what a law is in science. http://www.livescience.com/21457-what-is-a-law-in-science-definition-of-scientific-law.html you may want to read up on it. Laws are explanations based on the best knowledge currently available. They are questioned, challenged have information added to them all the time.

      //1. We can know nature, as this only requires time.
      2. We “are” a part of nature. What makes you think that is assumption?
      3. Individuals are a part of the social order, and are thought from whomever is in control of said human population.
      What, you didn’t know that governments are into the study of nature and human social order?
      3. All phenomena “do” have natural causes.
      Had to fix that one for ya.//
      That list was pulled from very well accepted college textbooks, altering a few words does not make you correct on it. I am glad you feel that all of science is wrong and feel the need to alter it but before you do so I would highly recommend that you actually do take a few college classes and learn the subjects you are attempting to change. Once again you have shown that you would much rather rely on pseudo-scientific techniques and logical fallacies than to look into the information you have been presented with and make appropriate responses.

      //And scientific explanations of human behavior opposes religious, spiritual and magical explanations.// We use Occam’s Razor to do this and you have already discounted that as it admits that we make assumptions in everything we do.

      // And this my friend is the problem with your snake-oil salesmanship, because it only encompasses a very narrow set of obsessive, archaic, and hypothetical diarrhea.
      You know, things like Bigfoot, the loch ness monster, ufo’s, jesus, god, the Jersey devil, etcetera.
      Your dishonesty is showing.//
      I have covered many well documented scientific principle where as you have attempted to alter textbooks, disagree with western philosophy, name call, misrepresent, and argue against most of the backbone for scientific advancement. Unless you have something new to add to the debate you have failed in almost every aspect one could imagine. If your psychologist argues against the premise that everyone operates on base assumptions I would get a new one. Something for you to consider, if you did not operate on base assumptions, and only operated on 100% fact, why would you need a psychologist. Denialism is exhibited by individuals choosing to deny reality as a way to avoid dealing with an uncomfortable truth. It seems to me that this fits what you are doing very well.

  91. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    -Scientists tend not to use the word “fact,” this is because even “facts” are based on assumptions.-

    Which “proved” my point.
    So…you do admit that there are “facts” even if based on probabilities, and just because probabilities are in those equations still does not negate that facts exist within our reality.

    -You may as well have screamed ‘Merica and something negative about Obama to “prove your point.”-

    Getting desperate are we?
    Sorry to burst your little assuming bubble but I’m (liberal) and with absolutely no affiliation with either parties because of the “fact” of our corporate/church puppet show that has taken residence within our own government.
    Bad assumption on your part.
    Huh, and I’m the one screaming. Thanks for the compliment though.

    -Your unwillingness to admit the differences in other peoples realities tell me how removed from the scientific community you really are…-

    And your having no ability of recognition shows me just how removed from reality you really are.
    Perhaps you should visit that psychologist you’ve been rambling to…no wait – you have!

    -If the acknowledgement of these single little things is beyond you then you may want to try theology, their stuff is more set in stone as they ignore anything that may prove otherwise.

    Oh, so now you’re using the word “prove” when it’s convenient for you?
    You’re a riot!

    -This is why words like “prove” are not used in scientific writing and why we report “p-values” and standard error values.-
    —-
    Those are your words, not mine.
    Perhaps you’re coming forward a little? I doubt it.
    And I’m the only one with a mind set in stone?

    -As far as the earth question. I agree that earth is most likely spherical in shape, I make this assumption based on the information presented to me from other people. There have been 532 people that have been in space, of those, 24 have traveled far enough to have the view that you are referring to. Currently the best knowledge states that earth is spherical in shape but as is the way of science if something were to present itself at at a later time we would be happy to investigate it.
    Assumptions are not bad they just are.-

    That is totally nonsensical and borderlines on lunacy.
    I can state with absolute 100%assurance that nearly within the 4.6 billion years of our solar systems existence Earth has been spherical in shape because of its own mass that exerts colossal pressure on all sides of our planets core simultaneously, and artificial satellites can circle our earth continuously even in a geostationary orbit. And earth always appears as a disc on photographs within any vantage point at any time of your choosing.
    But, I presume that if a few within your team of “scientists” were to offer you a 90% probability of square circles existing within our solar system I’ve no doubt that you’d pursue it endlessly.
    Good luck with that endeavor.

    -I walked around the lab and asked some Dr.’s if they believe in facts. Out of the 35 questioned not a single one said they would call anything a fact (with the exception of one that said the only fact is that there are no facts.)-

    How the blind lead the blind.
    That’s idealism.
    Thanks for letting me know that you and “A-Team” hold a colossal value in the opinion of, Friedrich Nietzsche. His philosophical opinion holds that things exist only as ideas in the mind, and effectively rejects all teleology, metaphysics, and any meaningful notion of truth, which leaves no room for a correct interpretation of our reality.
    So you can have your philosophical assumptions while I’ll be relying on the facts.

    Oh, and btw…35 people that agree with you is showing an obvious bias, and again, you are not the representation of the scientific establishment in any way, shape, or form.

    But I do find you quite amusing nonetheless.

  92. Two points.

    1. The earth is not spherical. It is an oblate spheroid. The centripetal forces generated by the spin cause it to swell around the middle … just like me. Though, I don’t have the same excuse.

    (google break)

    Actually oblate spheroid is closer to reality than sphere. But, there are other shapes mentioned as well.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figure_of_the_Earth

    2. Perhaps this is my impression for not being a scientist, merely an educated lay person. But, my understanding is that scientific theories (real tested theories) explain observable facts. The data points used to confirm or, more accurately, prove or fail to disprove the theory.

    When we say a theory is falsifiable, what exactly is it that falsifies a theory (or now ex-theory or failed hypothesis)? What is it that disproved phlogiston chemistry and alchemy or Lamarkian evolution?

    Was it not that observable facts (data points) actually contradicted these hypotheses?

    When someone hypothesized that the moon might actually just be an illusion or a trick of light, like a rainbow, was it not the fact of actually landing on the moon and bringing back hunks of it that disproved that hypothesis?

    Stix, please tell me, what am I missing? I genuinely want to understand what your definition of fact is that is causing me confusion.

    (google break)

    From: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/scientific+fact

    Noun 1. scientific fact – an observation that has been confirmed repeatedly and is accepted as true (although its truth is never final)
    observation – facts learned by observing; “he reported his observations to the mayor”

    From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fact#Fact_in_science

    Just as in philosophy, the scientific concept of fact sometimes referred to as empirical evidence is central to building scientific theories and fundamental questions regarding the natural phenomena of Nature, scientific method, scope and validity of scientific reasoning.

    In the most basic sense, a scientific fact is an objective and verifiable observation, in contrast with a hypothesis or theory, which is intended to explain or interpret facts.[20]

    Various scholars have offered significant refinements to this basic formulation (details below). Also, rigorous scientific use of the term “fact” is careful to distinguish: 1) states of affairs in the external world; from 2) assertions of fact that may be considered relevant in scientific analysis. The term is used in both senses in the philosophy of science.[21]

    Scholarly inquiry regarding scientific fact

    Scholars and clinical researchers in both the social and natural sciences have forwarded numerous questions and theories in clarifying the fundamental nature of scientific fact.[22] Pertinent issues raised by this inquiry include:

    • the process by which “established fact” becomes recognized and accepted as such;[23]
    • whether and to what extent “fact” and “theoretic explanation” can be considered truly independent and separable from one another;[24][25]
    • to what extent are “facts” influenced by the mere act of observation;[25] and
    • to what extent are factual conclusions influenced by history and consensus, rather than a strictly systematic methodology.[26]

    Consistent with the theory of confirmation holism, some scholars assert “fact” to be necessarily “theory-laden” to some degree. Thomas Kuhn points out that knowing what facts to measure, and how to measure them, requires the use of other theories. For example, the age of fossils is based on radiometric dating which is justified by reasoning that radioactive decay follows a Poisson process rather than a Bernoulli process. Similarly, Percy Williams Bridgman is credited with the methodological position known as operationalism, which asserts that all observations are not only influenced, but necessarily defined by the means and assumptions used to measure them.

    Fact and the scientific method

    Apart from the fundamental inquiry into the nature of scientific fact, there remain the practical and social considerations of how fact is investigated, established, and substantiated through the proper application of the scientific method.[27] Scientific facts are generally believed to be independent of the observer: no matter who performs a scientific experiment, all observers will agree on the outcome.[28] In addition to these considerations, there are the social and institutional measures, such as peer review and accreditation, that are intended to promote factual accuracy (among other interests) in scientific study.[29]

    • Stix says:

      // But, my understanding is that scientific theories (real tested theories) explain observable facts. The data points used to confirm or, more accurately, prove or fail to disprove the theory.//
      Scientific theory – a theory that explains scientific observations; “scientific theories must be falsifiable.” http://www.thefreedictionary.com/scientific+theory the use of the word observations is the key here,

      ob•ser•va•tion (bzr-vshn) n. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/observation)
      1. a. The act or faculty of observing.
      b. The fact of being observed.
      2. a. The act of noting and recording something, such as a phenomenon, with instruments.
      b. The result or record of such notation: a meteorological observation.
      3. A comment or remark. See Synonyms at comment.
      4. An inference or a judgment that is acquired from or based on observing.

      It is definition 4 that is used we make observations, test them, and then infer information from said observations. After time and many trials these inferences become theories. These theories are still based on the original assumptions.

      Rigorous scientific use of the term “fact” is careful to distinguish: 1) states of affairs in the external world; from 2) assertions of fact that may be considered relevant in scientific analysis.

      as•ser•tion (-sûrshn) n. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/assertion
      1. The act of asserting.
      2. Something declared or stated positively, often with no support or attempt at proof.

      So in science a “fact” is an “assertion” and an “assertion” is “Something declared or stated positively, often with no support or attempt at proof.” This is why scientist are very careful not to use the word fact. When scientist at CERN discovered the Higgs Boson, John Womersley stated, “I can confirm that a particle has been discovered that is consistent with the Higgs boson theory.” He did not use the words Fact or Proof, he did not even say they discovered the Higgs Boson particle, he simply stated that he confirmed something that looks like what they would expect to see if the theory were correct. If you wish to have some fun with this look at some scientific empirical articles (peer reviewed from a major journal.) press control “f” and type in the words prove and fact.

      //The data points used to confirm or, more accurately, prove or fail to disprove the theory.// Data points are used in statistics to “reject” or “fail to reject the null hypothesis” from these responses we extrapolate meaning. Your thinking of it in terms of “proving a hypothesis” when everything should revolve around the “Null” just because you reject the null does not mean your hypothesis is “proven.”

      // Was it not that observable facts (data points) actually contradicted these hypotheses?// Data points are not “facts” they are trends of occurrence the easiest way to show this is in the bell curve. Normality is defined as within two standard deviations of the mean, in a proper data set this will cover ~95% of the sample. If we are to consider each data point to be an independent fact of the study then in the bell curve 5% of the facts observed would conflict with the rest of the data. And as “facts” cannot withstand conflicting “facts” nothing that is probable meets Expulsion Of Gods, “absolute 100% assurance.”

      Expulsion Of Gods:

      //So…you do admit that there are “facts” even if based on probabilities, and just because probabilities are in those equations still does not negate that facts exist within our reality.//
      Your “facts” and probabilities do not go together… an example of what you are saying here is that an electron is right there and not there (referring to the same spot.) And to make this even better you’re saying that you got to that from the standpoint of “absolute 100% assurance.”

      // Getting desperate are we?
      Sorry to burst your little assuming bubble but I’m (liberal) and with absolutely no affiliation with either parties because of the “fact” of our corporate/church puppet show that has taken residence within our own government. Bad assumption on your part.//
      You caught me I am the obvious name caller in this conversation and am “getting desperate.” Expulsion Of Gods said, “ //You really are a theist, aren’t you!//Spoken like a true deist!//I’m notthe one with a problem of excepting the reality of which I’m a part of – you are.//your snake-oil salesmanship, because it only encompasses a very narrow set of obsessive, archaic, and hypothetical diarrhea.//Your dishonesty is showing.//Oh, and btw…my psychologist said that the scientific community “doesn’t support” your contrived drippings froma drunken fuck, nor does the field of psychology.//He recommended that you read about the word ((denilism)). Wikipedia has a beautiful article on it that describes you to a ((T)).// Perhaps you’re coming forward a little? I doubt it.//”

      // I can state with absolute 100%assurance that nearly within the 4.6 billion years of our solar systems existence Earth has been spherical in shape because of its own mass that exerts colossal pressure on all sides of our planets core simultaneously// Other than what Scott already pointed out, our planet was formed by accretion, so 4.6 billion years ago earth was likely a very odd shape more closely resembling a broken Frisbee than the oblate spheroid that it is today. Even after earth started gaining its nice round shape we currently see presented, the impact that formed the moon messed the shape up yet again for a good long while. See how your “absolute 100%assurance” assumption can quickly go wrong?

      // Thanks for letting me know that you and “A-Team” hold a colossal value in the opinion of, Friedrich Nietzsche.// Left out a few people let me help you fill in the list a little “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.”~ Albert Einstein, “Death and vulgarity are the only two facts in the nineteenth century that one cannot explain away.” ~Oscar Wilde. William of Ockham, Occam’s razor holds that everything is based on assumptions and the only with the least assumptions should be accepted. Werner Heisenberg, the uncertainty principle is any of a variety of mathematical inequalities asserting a fundamental limit to the precision with which certain pairs of physical properties of a particle known as complementary variables (eg. One can know position or momentum but not both, an assumption has to be made to know anything.) I can keep going but I have the feeling its moot by this point.
      I can accept “facts” if your referring to assertions of fact that may be considered relevant in scientific analysis, knowing that assertions are something declared or stated positively, often with no support or attempt at proof. This view in no way fits your “absolute 100%assurance” or “(I DO NOT EXCEPT ANYONE’S THEORY ON MATTERS OF FAITH.) I WANT PROOF!” otherwise known as 100% no assumptions definition of “fact.” Everything has assumptions in its base somewhere and excludes 100%.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        The Set Up: “Rigorous scientific use of the term “fact” is careful to distinguish: 1) states of affairs in the external world; from 2) assertions of fact that may be considered relevant in scientific analysis.

        …. and the failure: “So in science a “fact” is an “assertion” and an “assertion” is “Something declared or stated positively, often with no support or attempt at proof.” /// Why/how/what do you dismiss the very fine first definition of the word/idea/reality of “facts” which no one denies and is used by science all the time? The “fact” that facts can be wrong doesn’t negate that they can be right as well. The first defintion gives us the proof: What works in the observable world.

        Silly to posit and disagree with a proof/definition that relies on assertions when its been said repeatedly now that the test of a theory/fact is how it explains/is validated by the real world. When you have two definitions, one that works, and one that doesn’t, you use the one that works…… seems to me.

        Its a fact that apples fall to the ground. We call that fact an effect of gravity. It doesn’t matter that “what” gravity is when its effect on apples is universal. Universal===not negated by a once in infinity occurrence of all the electrons rotating in the same direction at once causing a momentary anti-gravity wave, nor negated by a quantum burp doing the same thing. Apples fall to the ground. We pick them up and make apple jack.

        Life is good.

      • Good example bobbo. Yes. Apples fall to the ground. That is a fact. It is observable and reproducible. Any interpretation is theory. Even calling it gravity is a theory. But, the observable fact is that apples falling off the tree hit the ground (or whatever is between them and the ground, such as a table). They do not fall up into the sky. They do not hang in mid air. They do not simply vanish. We’ve run this experiment both deliberately and inadvertently for thousands of years. Fact.

      • Stix says:

        P.S. //So you can have your philosophical assumptions while I’ll be relying on the facts.//

        //So to say that science is not a philosophical view, one would only be kidding themselves.//

        //you are not the representation of the scientific establishment in any way, shape, or form.//

        //I have more knowledge of this than you think, sir, as I’ve been in one of those studies…and didn’t see shit.//

        loving it, keep it coming.

      • Stix,

        I’m still confused. Nothing you said has anything to do with what I posted as the definition of scientific fact.

        In your Higg’s boson example, the fact is the observation, not whether or not it is the Higg’s boson.

        The fact is not the assertion but the observation.

        Yes, it is exactly the observations of fact that disprove some theories.

        I know you are the scientist and I am not. But, I can’t help but see that you are missing the point on this, not me, in this particular case.

        It is the observation itself that is the fact, especially when it is repeatable, as noted in the definitions I posted. It is not the interpretation of that observation.

        But, regardless, I have posted real definitions of the meaning of scientific fact. So, clearly such facts exist.

        What exactly do you think disproved the hypothesis of Larmarkian evolution?

        What exactly changed that made us think this was false? Was it the observation that people don’t acquire characteristics like their father’s broken or amputated limbs? Would that observation not be a fact?

      • Stix says:

        I apologize for the delay in response; it looks like it will be a busy week for me. I will attempt to respond as fast as possible but at times real life does interfere.

        Bobbo:
        //The Set Up: “Rigorous scientific use of the term “fact” is careful to distinguish: 1) states of affairs in the external world; from 2) assertions of fact that may be considered relevant in scientific analysis.//

        My bad, I forgot to use the // around it. That was a direct pull from Scott’s post. It is a 2 part definition (note the word from right before 2). This usage note makes a difference, another usage note is one on the definition for fact, // The true facts of the case may never be known. These usages may occasion qualms among critics who insist that facts can only be true, but the usages are often useful for emphasis.// This usage note directly conflicts with your phrase // The “fact” that facts can be wrong doesn’t negate that they can be right as well.//

        //The first defintion gives us the proof: What works in the observable world.// Here are some articles for you about what proof is in science. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/200811/common-misconceptions-about-science-i-scientific-proof, http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Proof, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method. The latter link has a section in it as follows.

        “Properties of scientific inquiry
        Scientific knowledge is closely tied to empirical findings, and always remains subject to falsification if new experimental observation incompatible with it is found. That is, no theory can ever be considered completely certain, since new evidence falsifying it might be discovered. If such evidence is found, a new theory may be proposed, or (more commonly) it is found that minor modifications to the previous theory are sufficient to explain the new evidence. The strength of a theory is related to how long it has persisted without falsification of its core principles.”

        The links will repeatedly state that proof requires 100% certainty, this is also the standard used by Expulsion of the Gods when he said, “’absolute 100%assurance’ or ‘(I DO NOT EXCEPT ANYONE’S THEORY ON MATTERS OF FAITH.) I WANT PROOF!’” and the section that I quoted states that “no theory can ever be considered completely certain, since new evidence falsifying it might be discovered.”

        As for the exact first definition given by Scott //Noun 1. scientific fact – an observation that has been confirmed repeatedly and is accepted as true (although its truth is never final)
        observation – facts learned by observing; “he reported his observations to the mayor”//
        This is two definitions that cannot exist without each other; they are curricular in nature. It states that a fact is an observation and an observation is a fact. This is why I posted the entire definition of observation
        // ob•ser•va•tion (bzr-vshn) n. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/observation)
        1. a. The act or faculty of observing.
        b. The fact of being observed.
        2. a. The act of noting and recording something, such as a phenomenon, with instruments.
        b. The result or record of such notation: a meteorological observation.
        3. A comment or remark. See Synonyms at comment.
        4. An inference or a judgment that is acquired from or based on observing.//
        As we can see the definition chosen by Scott was the first one, the second one does not fit the current situation, the third one fits but would make all of our comments moot as it would validate ghost hunters as much as it would validate us, the more parsimonious one would be the fourth.

        //It doesn’t matter that “what” gravity is when its effect on apples is universal.//
        Except for when it is not, examples can be found when objects are, too big, too small, too dense, not dense enough, in a vacuum, too cold, observed in the right conditions (note the too small, not dense enough, and observed in the right conditions ones are what quantum mechanics is attempting to address and the too dense condition is what even the most skilled astrophysicist on earth refer to as “weird stuff.”) some people have even gone as far as postulating the existence of multiple dimensions to explain these effects (string anything).

        // not negated by a once in infinity occurrence of all the electrons rotating in the same direction at once causing a momentary anti-gravity wave,// This is an assumption, I have stated many times that it all works if you allow assumptions, it was Expulsion of the Gods who stated that they were not allowed.

        //Apples fall to the ground. We pick them up and make apple jack.// Many of the conventions I have gone to revolve around the use of alcoholic beverages, although I have never made applejack I have enjoyed it in the past.
        //Life is good.// fully agreed.

        Scott:

        // The fact is not the assertion but the observation.// I believe this is where your part of the confusion is. An assertion is an observation. You assume that gravity will work the same way every time due to past experiences, to my best knowledge this is a good assumption to have, but you have no way to “prove” //It doesn’t matter that “what” gravity is when its effect on apples is universal. Universal===not negated by a once in infinity occurrence of all the electrons rotating in the same direction at once causing a momentary anti-gravity wave, nor negated by a quantum burp doing the same thing.// without being a deific being. To the best of my knowledge nobody has ever seen every instance “in infinity” so we have to assume this.
        I have already stated that // I can accept “facts” if your referring to assertions of fact that may be considered relevant in scientific analysis, knowing that assertions are something declared or stated positively, often with no support or attempt at proof. This view in no way fits your “absolute 100%assurance” or “(I DO NOT EXCEPT ANYONE’S THEORY ON MATTERS OF FAITH.) I WANT PROOF!” otherwise known as 100% no assumptions definition of “fact.” Everything has assumptions in its base somewhere and excludes 100%.//
        In scientific terminology we refer to these as assumptions, and you will see this in empirical articles, if you wish to call an assumption a fact that is your prerogative, some people call them postulates, but that in no way fits the “absolute 100%assurance” or “(I DO NOT EXCEPT ANYONE’S THEORY ON MATTERS OF FAITH.) I WANT PROOF!” Definition put forth by Expulsion Of Gods

        // What exactly do you think disproved the hypothesis of Larmarkian evolution?// the assumption that since all the information we have gathered points away from that being the case, it must not be the case. If information was presented that showed that this was the case, and this information outweighs the current information we have, we would start believing in it again. I personally do not think this will happen, but that is how science works.

        //What exactly changed that made us think this was false? Was it the observation that people don’t acquire characteristics like their father’s broken or amputated limbs? Would that observation not be a fact?//
        1. Le pouvoir de la vie (a complexifying force) – in which the natural, alchemical movements of fluids would etch out organs from tissues, leading to ever more complex construction regardless of the organ’s use or disuse. This would drive organisms from simple to complex forms.
        2. L’influence des circonstances (an adaptive force) – in which the use and disuse of characters led organisms to become more adapted to their environment. This would take organisms sideways off the path from simple to complex, specialising them for their environment. (Gould, 2002)
        This is the information Jean-Baptiste Lamarck pushed, some of it is still recognizable in modern evolution. Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species continued to give credence to what he called “use and disuse inheritance”, but rejected other aspects of Lamarck’s theories. This is the same thing Einstein did to Newton and many others have done. This is how we progress in science.
        http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/32637/title/Lamarck-and-the-Missing-Lnc/ explains some of its current impacts on current medical science.

        P.S. few more quotes for the enjoyment of everyone reading

        “… in science there is no ‘knowledge’, in the sense in which Plato and Aristotle understood the word, in the sense which implies finality; in science, we never have sufficient reason for the belief that we have attained the truth. … This view means, furthermore, that we have no proofs in science (excepting, of course, pure mathematics and logic). In the empirical sciences, which alone can furnish us with information about the world we live in, proofs do not occur, if we mean by ‘proof’ an argument which establishes once and for ever the truth of a theory.” ~Sir Karl Popper, The Problem of Induction, 1953

        “If you thought that science was certain — well, that is just an error on your part.” ~Richard Feynman (1918-1988).

        “A religious creed differs from a scientific theory in claiming to embody eternal and absolutely certain truth, whereas science is always tentative, expecting that modification in its present theories will sooner or later be found necessary, and aware that its method is one which is logically incapable of arriving at a complete and final demonstration.” ~Bertrand Russell, Grounds of Conflict, Religion and Science, 1953.

        “It is the aim of science to establish general rules which determine the reciprocal connection of objects and events in time and space. For these rules, or laws of nature, absolutely general validity is required — not proven.” ~Albert Einstein, in Science, Philosophy and Religion, A Symposium, 1941.

  93. Sorry Stix,

    Perhaps I’m a bit slow. But, to me, whenever you say that there is no proof or that fact is the assertion, it sounds to me that you are really talking about the theory or even the assertion of what an observation means. In the case of the Higgs, for example, the fact is the scattergram of the particles detected by the Atlas module of the accelerator. The assertion is that the scattergram is extremely likely to represent the Higgs Boson. The theory is that the Higgs Field (with its particle, the boson) gives other particles their mass.

    There are facts. The fact is that the apple fell to the ground. Forget about whether it might fall the next time. Hint: It will. But, that’s irrelevant. The fact is that it did the last N million times.

    We both agree that it’s a bad bet to bet against the apple falling the next time. It’s why neither of us jumps off of buildings as a test. But, the fact is still that the apple has always fallen to the ground given the conditions on earth’s surface before. Sure, if you launch it at escape velocity (plus some amount for the loss to wind resistance along the way) it will go into orbit … or beyond if you overdo it a tad.

    But, we’re dealing with the facts. All of your attempts to make fact mean the later assertion are not my contention of what fact means. And, yes, science agrees with me. No matter how many times you confuse the issue by correctly pointing out that theories are not facts, there are still facts. I posted the wikipedia page describing the scientific definition of fact. You ignored it and stuck instead to the dictionary definition that I also posted, deliberately misinterpreting the dictionary definition as well.

    The fact is that there are facts. Observations, the simple data points, are facts. The existence of a fossil is a fact. Whether it really pertains to a particular species, whether the individual was fully grown, whether the individual was male or female, all may be in question. But, the fossil exists.

    It is a fact.

    Don’t confuse the issue. You can go to the museum and see the bit of actual fossil for yourself. That it exists is not in doubt. Similarly, you can go to the museum and touch the Willamette meteorite. Whether it came from space may be an assertion. But the large lump of pock-marked iron is there.

    It is a fact.

    I have touched it. You can too. Do you need directions to the American Museum of Natural History? Bring a magnet. You can watch it stick to the meteorite. I can meet you there and go for a drink with you afterwards.

    Get over it. Facts really do exist. They are not all assertions. Some of them are real tangible lumps of stuff.

  94. Stix says:

    //But, to me, whenever you say that there is no proof or that fact is the assertion, it sounds to me that you are really talking about the theory or even the assertion of what an observation means.//

    1) Bobbo said: //Silly to posit and disagree with a proof/definition that relies on assertions when its been said repeatedly now that the test of a theory/fact is how it explains/is validated by the real world.//

    2) These observations are based on assumptions. Our observations have a ton of bias and outside factors, other than all the fallacies they are subject to here are a few.

    Our observations are influenced by our expectations. (Rosenthal and Fode 1966, 1963; Rosenthal and Lawson 1964)

    We attend to things in our environment, and remember them, if they are particularly vivid — for example, if they are emotionally salient. Similarly, there is some evidence that our observations can be influenced by our emotions so that we are more likely to interpret those observations in a way consistent with our emotions. This a phenomenon called “emotional congruence in perception” (Neidenthal 2005).

    Particular remembered claims can be inaccurate. Memories can form in an inaccurate way, or can be revised over time inaccurately. This is true even for vivid, flashbulb memories. (Roger & James 1977)

    In an attempt to get around this we do things like use machines to measure, perform double blind studies, and use statistics to account for error. These are also based on assumptions, we assume the machines were working right (hate it when the eye tracker gives 14 second reaction time measurements), assume that the cadre in the double blind study have not tried to guess whether they were placebo or not (many a study has been killed by this), and we assume that the statistics work correctly. All of these are assumptions that directly change the observation.
    On a side note your view of fact here changes Einstein’s quote, “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts” from advice for young scholars about checking their assumptions and looking at things from a different perspective to advising them to commit academic fraud.

    //the fact is the scattergram of the particles detected by the Atlas module of the accelerator.//

    As explained above this is an assumption, we assume the detector worked correctly, we assume that we even know what correctly was, we expected to find the results, and when it spit something out we assumed that that was an accurate description of what happened.

    “There is no quantum world. There is only an abstract quantum physical description. It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about Nature.” ~ Niels Bohr

    // There are facts. The fact is that the apple fell to the ground. Forget about whether it might fall the next time. Hint: It will. But, that’s irrelevant. The fact is that it did the last N million times.//
    Once again if you disallow assumptions this does not work. You assume the apple fell to the ground, it could have been pulled, you could have dreamed it, your perception of ground may not even be a correct perception (in space there is no up or down for example), you assume that the entire episode was not a schizophrenic breakdown. If you remove yourself from the equation you run into the same issue, you never observed it in this case so you assume the other person/computer/deific being/whatever you want to rely on did (The Newton apple story likely never happened). As you have not been around for “the last N million times” this too is an assumption. I agree with you if I drop an apple it will probably end up on the ground as I perceive it, but that too is an assumption.

    “The first thing to realize about physics … is its extraordinary indirectness…. For physics is not about the real world, it is about “abstractions” from the real world, and this is what makes it so scientific…. Theoretical physics runs merrily along with these unreal abstractions, but its conclusions are checked, at every possible point, by experiments.”~ Anthony Standen

    // It’s why neither of us jumps off of buildings as a test.// On a side note, my days of airborne infantry paid my way through a good chunk of school, I enjoy jumping off buildings, cliffs, bridges, helicopters, and the back of perfectly functional airplanes (and before someone says it, no I did not land on my head).

    // the fact is still that the apple has always fallen to the ground given the conditions on earth’s surface before.// This is an assumption, even if you were old enough to have observed every apple that ever fell, I have no way to confirm your claims. Keep in mind, I have no issue with assumptions but you’re making the claim that a “fact” is independent of assumptions.

    // Sure, if you launch it at escape velocity (plus some amount for the loss to wind resistance along the way) it will go into orbit … or beyond if you overdo it a tad.// Now to find a way to do so without making applesauce, it could be a fun weekend.

    // No matter how many times you confuse the issue by correctly pointing out that theories are not facts, there are still facts.// If you feel that I am simply confusing the issue this will be my last post of the topic. As you do not plan (as far as you have implied anyways) to publish papers in any academic journals, the differences in your life will likely be negligible but as a word of warning if this changes //And, yes, science agrees with me.// many scientific journals will outright reject a paper that “proves” things and states “facts” (some will allow the use of the phrase “in fact,” example, Theory A states “A” should occur when in fact “B” happened.”) Those terms are considered bad form, but take it as you will.

    // . I posted the wikipedia page describing the scientific definition of fact. You ignored it and stuck instead to the dictionary definition that I also posted, deliberately misinterpreting the dictionary definition as well.//

    1) Bobbo said: //Why/how/what do you dismiss the very fine first definition of the word/idea/reality of “facts” which no one denies and is used by science all the time?//

    2) As I stated that dictionary definition you posted is circular. // Noun 1. scientific fact – an observation that has been confirmed repeatedly and is accepted as true (although its truth is never final)
    observation – facts learned by observing; “he reported his observations to the mayor” //
    scientific fact = an observation, observation = facts this is a circular argument, I did not use the dictionary definition, which is the first one you posted. I even received criticism for not using this dictionary definition and instead I posted the full one for everyone to see. If this is “deliberately misinterpreting the dictionary definition” then we need to tell all the religious devotes that their “god wrote the bible because the bible says so” argument is valid. What I cited was directly from the Wikipedia description you posted which was explaining the use of the term as an assertion.

    // The existence of a fossil is a fact.//
    Here is some more of your Wikipedia post that directly covers this, note that it ends with “facts” requiring assumptions to exist.

    // Consistent with the theory of confirmation holism, some scholars assert “fact” to be necessarily “theory-laden” to some degree. Thomas Kuhn points out that knowing what facts to measure, and how to measure them, requires the use of other theories. For example, the age of fossils is based on radiometric dating which is justified by reasoning that radioactive decay follows a Poisson process rather than a Bernoulli process. Similarly, Percy Williams Bridgman is credited with the methodological position known as operationalism, which asserts that all observations are not only influenced, but necessarily defined by the means and assumptions used to measure them.
    //Get over it. Facts really do exist. They are not all assertions. Some of them are real tangible lumps of stuff.// Once again this entire statement is an assumption, it is not possible to state facts exist without this.

    Among the 4 people that have posted on this topic here alone we have 4 definitions of fact. This is where the problem is, depending on your background a “fact” is different, and in scientific writing this is bad. All facts are based on the assumptions, biases, emotions, and perspectives of the observer. This is almost the entire idea behind the theory of relativity applied to English.

    Scott: //The fact is that there are facts. Observations, the simple data points, are facts.//

    Bobbo: //The test of a theory/fact is how it explains/is validated by the real world.//

    Expulsion:// “’absolute 100%assurance’ or ‘(I DO NOT EXCEPT ANYONE’S THEORY ON MATTERS OF FAITH.) I WANT PROOF!’”//

    Stix://If you wish to call an assumption a fact that is your prerogative, some people call them postulates,//

    Much of science is not even based on direct observations, it is a small subgroup that does experiments (known as experimentalist) making large amounts of work done by Einstein, Tyson, Hawking, and even famous psychologist like Piaget having been done without any observations. They had to work off assumptions even by your definition. The only two definitions here that would allow Einstein to base his work off “facts” would be Bobbo’s //The test of a theory/fact is how it explains/is validated by the real world.// and mine //If you wish to call an assumption a fact that is your prerogative, some people call them postulates,//

    “The prediction of nuclear winter is drawn not, of course, from any direct experience with the consequences of global nuclear war, but rather from an investigation of the governing physics. (The problem does not lend itself to full experimental verification—at least not more than once.)”~ Carl Sagan

  95. Stix, you said:

    Today I performed a little research of my own; I walked around the lab and asked some of the Dr.’s if they believed in facts. Out of the 35 questioned not a single one said they would call anything a fact (with the exception of one that said the only fact is that there are no facts.) This is a body of psychologist, neurologist, biologist, systems theorist, a physicist, and a rhetorician that likes to join us for lunch (All of these have been published multiple times in their respective fields). So feel free to keep using that term but I assure you what your reliance on it blinds you to scientific advancement and stands against everything most Dr.’s try to profess.

    I am arguing one simple point. I am simply stating that there are genuine facts.

    You disagree.

    The problem with disagreeing about the existence of facts is that no theory is falsifiable.

    Your entire world is based on faith, not science. Theories can only be falsified when facts disagree with the theory. Without facts, theories are not falsifiable. After all, how can an assumption disprove a theory?

    It is true that Einstein postulated his theory based on assumption. In particular, the assumption that the measurements of the speed of light showing that it was the same regardless of direction, were correct. It is not true that it has held up this long due to assumption.

    Experimentalists are still testing the theory. Recently, observations confirmed frame-dragging, as predicted by General Relativity. Now, they are searching for gravity waves, as predicted by General Relativity. These are things for which sufficiently sensitive instruments did not previously exist.

    Some fields of science rely on softer and less reproducible evidence. Some fields rely on real hard tangible evidence like fossils. I am not arguing that everything is fact.

    I am merely arguing that there are some real tangible facts in the world. I am taking issue with your statement that “the only fact is that there are no facts.” I agree with a lot of what you say, but not this extremist assertion.

    Do you deny the existence of the Willamette Meteor? Do you deny the existence of Tyrannosaur fossils? Do you deny that these data points are indeed facts, in and of themselves? Really? Honestly?

    If so, feel free to try to make your case again. But, do so with these data points. Is the existence of the Willamette meteor or a Tyrannosaur fossil a fact? Yes or no, please. Then explain.

    P.S. Remember, we’re talking about the existence of the objects not the explanations of what they are, not even whether they are actually a meteor and a fossil.

  96. Stix says:

    Do you believe that observations are based on perceptions (Perceptions being your 5 senses)? If you can’t perceive it in any way shape or form can you call it a fact if your mind?

  97. Yes.

    If N,000 people per day walk by and touch the object, yes. If an engineer had to design a way to mount it inside the Rose Center for Earth and Space with it’s own foundation because it was too heavy for the building foundation, yes. If I walk by it on a regular basis, and actually like touching it for some reason (probably because it is not of this world), yes.

    Courtesy Jerry Casey at The Oregonian.

    In short, if we cannot accept some facts as being facts, then we take the entire universe on faith. And, by doing so, we lose the difference between reality and fantasy.

    Science is actually a religion to you because you don’t really believe that even the most basic level of an observation is a fact.

    In a universe that truly has not even the most basic facts, we walk blindly through life.

    I believe that the weight that you necessarily must give to some observations in order to do your job renders them facts. You can call them observations, assertions, etc. You can write them up with other names than fact. But, you treat them as facts. Else, you would be lost.

    A fact by any other name can still land on your car and make you late for work.

    Courtesy NASA. Image above is of the Peeksill meteorite and the car it ripped through.

  98. Stix says:

    Long answer to a simple question, it sounds like you may be trying to correct a perceived error you may have found. I assume that the first “yes” was to my question // Do you believe that observations are based on perceptions (Perceptions being your 5 senses)?// If so, do you believe that perception is 100%?

    // In short, if we cannot accept some facts as being facts, then we take the entire universe on faith.// so your only way of accepting them for facts is that they are facts?

    //In a universe that truly has not even the most basic facts, we walk blindly through life.// This is a religious argument. I accept assumptions based on the best evidence available to me. I have no issue admitting that it’s not 100%, that’s what science is. We look to better verify assumptions or to devalue them so that we may discontinue their use, anything that is 100% is outside the realm of science as if it is 100% it is in no way falsifiable.
    // I believe that the weight that you necessarily must give to some observations in order to do your job renders them facts.// So now you are admitting that it is only a “fact” because the person viewing it deems it to be so? I know you’re going to talk about the numbers of people that claim it but let me remind you how fickle this definition of “fact” can be.

    http://www.canadianuforeport.com/survey/data/2012data.pdf 28 pages of UFO sightings in Canada alone in 2012, just shy of 2000 reports with an average of 3 people seeing the UFO for each report (its Canada, 3 people is a large chunk of the population in some places) making 6000 verifications (all likely false alarms.) to be fair they only average about 1000 sightings a year 2012 must have been busy, but that’s ~11000 sightings since 2003 or 33,000 Canadians. Globally there are currently 49214 indexed sightings (http://www.ufostalker.com/ufostalker/statistics). They did not track numbers per sighting but some reports have 10’s of thousands of people that “saw them” assuming the same 3 people per sighting (I prefer to lowball off the collar estimates) this is still 147,642 people. Many estimates put this closer to 6% of the population having had direct sighting claims or 431,465,280 people (117,565,280 more people than the entire population of America.)
    Even with all the people claiming they have to be true I still would not count their observations as “facts.” This is why we admit our assumptions and work within their bounds. We assume that if aliens came to earth they would have better things to do than look at the fine people of Canada and shove probes up peoples butts thus we discount their observations as being false and look to devalue their accounts.

    Another area we can look to see how observations work is religion, it has been brought up many times that religion is not based on “facts,” I would argue that it is based on a different set of assumptions than I go by but they are still assumptions. Christianity currently has around 2,100,000,000 followers; this is about 7 times the population of America. All of these people believe that their religion is based on “facts” or “observations” pick your term as both apply here equally. This is more people, by far, than have seen your meteorite. As I set my assumptions more in line with scientific reasoning, I accept that your meteorite exists, but I cannot claim this 100%. If you want to accept some data points over others as being factual then you need to assign a governing body, this body will decide based on their assumptions what data to count as “fact” and what data to not count. This exclusion of data will automatically make the accepted data points assumptions.

    Currently the assumptions we work with in science are a minority (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/06/01/gallup-poll-46-of-americans-are-creationists/), if we go by mass majority vote on what’s real and what’s not, religion would win. It does make me sad to say that but, 46% of America would currently say that your fossil is a perceptual trick being played on you by an extra-dimensional being that’s only goal is to corrupt your mind so that he can exact some kind of revenge after you pass away(maybe not in those exact words). 32% would agree with them on most topics but admit that earth may be a bit older. And 15% would share assumptions closer to the ones we hold (I know that this only adds up to 93% but that’s the data they reported…) One a side note this shows that 78% of the US population believes in some form of creationism and the estimates of Christianity (http://religions.pewforum.org/reports) set America at 78.4% so best guess is that 0.4% of Christians don’t believe in creationism or think it is a “fact”…. Painfull.

  99. The biggest differences between religion’s claim of facts and reality is not how many people have seen something, it’s that anyone can go and see it, or, in the case of softer “facts”, check them for themselves.

    You can walk up to the meteorite tomorrow and touch it.

    Also, 2.1 gigapeople do not actually claim to have seen the resurrection. They claim that a single write-up of the event written at least 40-70 years after the event is proof of a fact. Not that 2.1 GP worth of people saying they saw something with their own eyes would necessarily convince me, especially of an extraordinary event. But, no one is even making the claim that 2.1 GP witnessed that event.

    No. Facts are not subject to vote. I agree with you there.

    So, let me ask you, what percentage probability do you give to the existence of the Willamette Meteorite?

    Whatever reasonable answer you give here, I will posit that the percentage you give is your tolerance level for something to be described as “fact”, even though you wouldn’t use the word. I would also state that if you answer something below a probability of .99 (or 99%), you’re not being self-honest. In reality, that number should probably have quite a few more nines.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Fact, assertion, hypothesis, theory, law all came to mind last night watching an show about our “fine tuned universe.” All those physics constants that if just a few percent different our universe would not have formed to support life. I call that “a fact” and what is way more interesting to me is given certain observable facts, what are the reasonable assertions/hypo’s to draw from them? I love the logical implication that there “must be” multiverses out there or a long chain of them with most of them dead of life or maybe even objects?

      What are the odds of so many variables being just right? The best analysis to the contrary is that we might one day find a basic rule of physics that makes all these variables line up==but the coincidence for life is still present?

      Arguing about what a fact is is non-productive and ultimately not very interesting. Anyone is free to think as they wish. Take long walks on short piers. EVERYONE who argues that facts are too ephemeral actually lives a life quite in conformity to them.

      Pragmatism….. whether conscious/agreed to==or not. Its what hits you in the nose when you think nothing is there.

      ftn: seems to me alot of the confusion about individual bias and perception about individual observations comes out in the wash in “testing” the observation against the real world===BY OTHER PEOPLE. Confirmation and repeatability makes up our accepted facts. The role of consensus. Probabilities.

      Living and dying by right and wrong ideas.

      • bobbo,

        Sorry, I have a lot of disagreement with this.

        I love the logical implication that there “must be” multiverses out there or a long chain of them with most of them dead of life or maybe even objects?

        What’s so logical about that? There is a possibility that IF one of the many versions of string/brane hypothesis is correct, there might be enoug universes out there in the other (10^500)-1 possibilities to use the anthropic principle to explain why the universe is conducive, in at least one small section, to life. Note that most of the universe is very much NOT conducive to life. Between here and the next nearest star is about 4 light years of quick and rather disgusting death for anyone without a meat canister to provide an earth-like environment for the meat within.

        Further, logic dictates what hypotheses may be worth testing. But, logic does not cause reality to become whatever the logic says. Evidence of what the universe is dictates our view of what the universe is.

        What are the odds of so many variables being just right?

        As far as we know, 1 in 1. When we have a statistical universe of universes to examine, we can reevaluate the odds.

        Arguing about what a fact is is non-productive and ultimately not very interesting. Anyone is free to think as they wish.

        The difference is that if I think as I wish, for example that the moon is made of green cheese, going there is unlikely to get me a lifetime supply of cheese.

        ftn

        What’s ftn?

        Confirmation and repeatability makes up our accepted facts. The role of consensus.

        First part, yes. Second part, we’ve demonstrated is a huge no.

        Confirmation and repeatability are very important for what science (rather than “we”) treats as “facts”. Though, we know of at least one scientist here who doesn’t like that term.

        Consensus on the other hand will never ever be achieved regarding anything. Look at the young-earth morans*. These fucking idiots think that the earth is younger than advanced civilizations. God created light … which confused the Sumerians a lot since they already had it.

        Sumerians Look On In Confusion As God Creates World

        * Morans, for anyone who isn’t already aware, are stupider than morons for their lack of ability to spell morons … or properly get the pluralization of morans to match brains in a particularly stupid sign.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Scotty–I don’t see where we are disagreeing except as it comes to the main point of my post:

        What are the odds of so many variables being just right?

        As far as we know, 1 in 1. When we have a statistical universe of universes to examine, we can reevaluate the odds. /// I do understand odds must be calculated going forward rather than looking back (my lay terms not being a mathematician). So–when the charge of an electron has the universal value it does (or pick any constant you will) I am assuming the other variables possible are “any other number” with the result being catastrophic to human life? So… what are the “odds” of the correct “range” of values to be the one we have? You say is 100% according to what we know…but thats not true as we know “other numbers/values” exist in theory? So now interestingly, the conversation loops back to “What is a fact?” I said/think all the variables to make our finely tuned Universe are factually what they need to be to make a Universe suitable for life. MY QUESTION: what then is the statement that those variables are “finely tuned?” Can any universe only be one way–our way? What do you call the other possibilities? I do call it a logical conclusion BASED ON some hazy notion of mathematical probabilities. Ha, ha.===I really don’t know what I’m talking about but I’ll restate it again this way: are the odds of our universe being the way it is really 1 in 1, or 100% because of what we “know” and can observe or does the imagination of the variables become part of our “real” awareness and consciousness if not our real observability?

        ftn = footnote. A minor thought that might well be ignored. Like this one: ftn: The fact that 99.999999 percent of our Universe is hostile to any life at all does not negate the remaining percentage in our universe that IS compatible with life==it all being of a single whole. The whole point being that in universes not so perfectly tuned as ours is with the (how many such variables are there–6-9-300?) applicable variables there is no possibility for life at all. Thats the difference.

  100. Stix says:

    I would love to say 99.99% but sadly this is not mathematically likely. Assuming I am in proper control of my mental facilities it would be 99.99%, but sadly there are classes of crazy that do not necessarily know they are crazy. The prevalence rate for schizophrenia is approximately 1.1% of the population over the age of 18, the prevalence rate of VaD (vascular dementia) is 1.5% in Western countries, and there is a 0.06% chance of having younger-onset Alzheimer’s not counting drugs secretly administered and other such factors this is a 2.66% chance I am (excuse the expression) bat-shit crazy leaving my personal account of this forum even existing at 97.33% give or take a few fractions of a percent for living a fairly active lifestyle that involved jumping out of airplanes for fun and taking blows to the head as a sport. Feel free to add as many 9’s after the decimal as you want, I cut it off at the hundreds spot as I felt that was precise enough for a forum.

    // I will posit that the percentage you give is your tolerance level for something to be described as “fact”, even though you wouldn’t use the word.// According to previous post this would not be a “fact” as they are not 100%, I have long allowed leniency in this and that’s why they are assumptions. If you are redefining “fact” as less than 100% then we would be in agreement and “fact” would equal “assumption.”

    Bobbo:
    Scott covered most of the highlights so I will only hit a few things.
    //Arguing about what a fact is is non-productive and ultimately not very interesting.// It got me thinking about ways to launch an apple into orbit and hoping I am not crazy (never really noticed how likely that one was). I would not call this “not very interesting” as the best thing about this blog post is that it makes people think.

    Back to Scott:
    // Between here and the next nearest star is about 4 light years of quick and rather disgusting death for anyone without a meat canister to provide an earth-like environment for the meat within.// At least to us or life as we know it, extremophiles on a cosmic level could be a fun topic for later.

    // Further, logic dictates what hypotheses may be worth testing. But, logic does not cause reality to become whatever the logic says. Evidence of what the universe is dictates our view of what the universe is.// I agree.

    // What’s ftn?//
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FTN not sure what one of the options, my current vote is “defunct British television station.”

    // Confirmation and repeatability are very important for what science (rather than “we”) treats as “facts”. Though, we know of at least one scientist here who doesn’t like that term.// Repeatability ups the probability the assumption is correct. If I say gravity exist we start at a 0.01% chance that it is correct, every repetition adds some to that percentage until we accept it. this percentage can never reach 100% but it can get “over the threshold” of what we would believe to be incorrect.

    // Consensus on the other hand will never ever be achieved regarding anything. Look at the young-earth morans*. These fucking idiots think that the earth is younger than advanced civilizations. God created light … which confused the Sumerians a lot since they already had it.// It scares me how many there are.

    //Sumerians Look On In Confusion As God Creates World// This was great, thanks for pointing it out.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Bobbo:
      Scott covered most of the highlights so I will only hit a few things.
      //Arguing about what a fact is is non-productive and ultimately not very interesting.// It got me thinking about ways to launch an apple into orbit and hoping I am not crazy (never really noticed how likely that one was). I would not call this “not very interesting” as the best thing about this blog post is that it makes people think. ///// I don’t fathom what your point is. “In Context” it would be that launching an apple into space is an arguable event? I say it is not. Any object in any gravitational field can be launched into orbit. All it takes is velocity and angle? Again “in context” you would have to argue that orbit velocity is not a fact but rather a bias or whatever defect of common sense term you wish to apply?

      As apples fall to earth–to deny this is “uninteresting” and I’ll let those who want to call it a bias have their own walk on their own pier. Exactly the same, for all the same reasons, you can pick an apple from the tree or off the ground and launch it into orbit. Thats a fact Jack.

      Facts aren’t all that interesting most of the time. What one DRAWS from everyday observation is SUPREMELY interesting. What are we to make of what we see, feel, experience, hope for, dream? Yes, what to make of THAT????

      …… and people will differ. Thats a fact too. Just Look.

  101. Stix,

    Where in any definition I posted, either from the dictionary entry for scientific fact or from the wikipedia page did anything ever say a fact was 100% certain?

    From wikipedia (emphasis mine):

    In the most basic sense, a scientific fact is an objective and verifiable observation, in contrast with a hypothesis or theory, which is intended to explain or interpret facts.

    But, yes, I think you need rather a lot more nines than you put there. Do you really think the odds are as high as 1 in 10,000 that the Willamette meteorite does not exist?

    That’s roughly the same as the odds of you being killed in a car crash in the next year.

    Being killed in a car crash is so amazingly common that newspapers mostly don’t bother to report it. Local news may do a segment if there are human interest points, like it happening on a wedding day or some such. But, car crash fatalities are not rare events. Over 32,000 people die of collisions every year (including the pedestrians hit by cars). It used to be more. But, the roads are getting safer.

    So, I ask again, would you like to add about 6 or 9 or 12 more nines to your probability? I really think you should.

    Or, is it that you think the odds are 1 in 10,000 that it should be renamed the Piltdown Meteorite? Is that it? Do you think there’s a good possibility that the very existence of the object is a hoax?

  102. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    Scott, bobbo, and Stix.

    I’m truly sorry for making such a mess of things. I admit that I don’t have your abilities, and so it will not happen again.

    I’m sorry to have wasted everyones time.

    I wish everyone the best
    Troy

  103. Here are some more thoughts that I should have put in my post, but only thought of later.

    Stix: Excellent point about extremophiles. I have heard before that there are bacteria or other single-celled organisms that could survive a trip through space. Impressive, to say the least.

    That said, I don’t know whether any would be able to grow and reproduce in space. So, it’s not clear whether evolution could proceed in such an environment. It seems likely that even if so, the rates of reproduction and evolution would be a lot slower. Perhaps they would be so slow as to not allow for complex life before the big rip, if that were the only environment in the universe. So, I would still say that the bulk of the vastness of our universe is not conducive to life, or at least not to a profusion of it such as we see on our own insignificant little ball.

    I also realized that Piltdown would be a bad name for the Willamette were it to be suddenly found not to exist at all. Though Piltdown Man was indeed a scientific hoax, the bones did in fact (to however many decimal places make a fact) exist. That they were actually the skull of a modern human and the jaw of an orangutan. Had no physical evidence ever been presented, even if wrongfully presented, the hoax would never have taken off.

    So, for the Willamette meteorite to be renamed Piltdown would imply that it was not a meteorite at all but was cobbled together as some kind of hoax in someone’s basement. This is extremely unlikely at this point, but still many orders of magnitude more likely than finding that no such object even exists.

    I have no idea how to calculate such probabilities mathematically but will take a hugely unscientific wild-assed guess and say that in my opinion (very definitely not a fact), the odds that the Willamette is a hoax rather than a meteorite are probably less than 1 in a billion. The odds that the Willamette simply does not exist at all are probably about 1 in a mole.

    Stix, I’m sure, knows what a mole is. Probably so do all of the recent contributors to this thread But, just in case some random person reads this and is unaware, a mole a.k.a. Avogadro’s number, is the number of atoms or molecules in the gram atomic or gram molecular mass of the compound in question. So, Carbon 12, which has an atomic weight of exactly 12, by definition, would have a mole of atoms in 12 grams of Carbon 12. The number of Carbon 12 in 12 grams is a number I consider to be pretty big. The number is 6.022 x 1023 or about 602,200,000,000,000,000,000,000 if I got the zeros right. It’s much smaller than a googol and dramatically smaller than a googolplex (which could never even be written without scientific notation). And, it happens to be a number within a few orders of magnitude of the number I was looking for. So, being a geek, I picked it.

    Sorry, I’ve switched from the probability of existence and as a meteor to probability that it is not a meteor or not a physical object at all because it’s easier to express that way.

    P.S. Avocado’s Number is known as the guacamole. Though I don’t know of anyone who can get a mole of avocados into a serving of guacamole. That’s probably a good thing.

  104. Oh, one more point, I would not consider anything a fact with merely 99.99% probability. That’s far too low to be fact, IMHO. I want more nines.

    Stix, would you really set the bar so low?

    99.99% might be good enough for non-scientific uses of “fact”. It’s certainly far far better than one gets from eyewitness testimony in court. And, people convict people based solely on that shit. I don’t think I could ever convict someone of a crime based solely on eyewitness testimony, at least not without them having wrestled the criminal to the ground and held them there until the police arrived. I’d want at least some pretty good physical evidence.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      “I don’t think I could ever convict someone of a crime based solely on eyewitness testimony, at least not without them having wrestled the criminal to the ground and held them there until the police arrived. I’d want at least some pretty good physical evidence.” /// I agree totally. Should be “a matter of law” that he said/she said does not rise to “beyond a reasonable doubt.” As to wrestling someone to the ground, hard to imagine that scenario without some corroborating evidence…. so we agree there too.

      ……perhaps a guilty verdict in some cases could be argued for…but not capital cases? And just saying that==if not capital then why on anything less? PROOF beyond a reasonable doubt. Don’t get me started on jail snitch testimony in return for reduced sentences. Its as bad as a for profit jail system bribing Judges to fill the place up.

      So much is so wrong===and so obviously SO! Talk about the Universe throwing shit at you!

  105. Stix says:

    I do not have much time to go through this right now, you guys were busy today. This will be a quick post and I will go more detailed later if needed.

    Bobbo:
    // I don’t fathom what your point is. “In Context” it would be that launching an apple into space is an arguable event? I say it is not. Any object in any gravitational field can be launched into orbit. // the context I was referring to is from Scott’s earlier post //Sure, if you launch it at escape velocity (plus some amount for the loss to wind resistance along the way) it will go into orbit … or beyond if you overdo it a tad.// to which I responded //Now to find a way to do so without making applesauce, it could be a fun weekend.// this was an attempt at humor and a fun thought (supersonic potato gun anyone?).

    Scott:
    I apologize, everyone else made 100% claims your claim was that it was not based on assumptions, you have yet to respond how accurate you feel perceptions are (if they are part of observations that would have to be at least as accurate as you feel the observation is. If you accept “fact” as being anything less than 100% then you have to admit there is a level of assumption there, if not how do you explain the less than 100% result.

    //But, yes, I think you need rather a lot more nines than you put there. // Could be 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% but that would still only be the case if we were fully in control/aware of our mental facilities. The 97.33% mark accounts for the chances that I may be crazy and none of this exist, you share the same odds on that so if you can claim more, I would like to know how you can prove to yourself that you are in fact not in a state of perpetual psychotic bliss.

    //That’s roughly the same as the odds of you being killed in a car crash in the next year.// Don’t have time to look up the odds but I bet Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and psychosis combined kill more than car crashes… maybe the odds need to be higher that we are crazy.

    //Piltdown Meteorite// If we fall into the 2.66% of the population that I stated it could be a cat playing with a string and we would not know the difference (or remember it for long after seeing it).

    Expulsion:
    There is was a sang that went around the grad school I went to, “Don’t you hate it when class gets in the way of your learning.” The idea is not to never be wrong or make a mess of things (I don’t feel that a mess has been made) it’s to learn and improve. The best way to do this is to talk to people you look up to and “gain” their habits and knowledge.
    I do recommend you check this website out http://www.logicallyfallacious.com/ it could help you in your debate skills (I would not get the book as I hear it is dull but there is a full list on the site.)

    Scott:
    //It’s causing all of us to think about our positions and possibly learn something new as well. I started this blog because I like heated discussions.// Agreed, as far as “hot under the collar” this holds nothing to the peer review process scientific papers go through, those can get hateful at times. I see this as a little fun in our off time and have yet to see anyone post in here that I would not be willing to sit down and have a drink with given the occasion.

    Scott (next post):
    //That said, I don’t know whether any would be able to grow and reproduce in space.// this is way outside of my expertise but I may know a biologist that could chime in, could be a fun topic if anyone here is interested in bio-ecological subsystems in space. I personally have no clue about them yet.

    // I have no idea how to calculate such probabilities mathematically but will take a hugely unscientific wild-assed guess and say that in my opinion (very definitely not a fact), the odds that the Willamette is a hoax rather than a meteorite are probably less than 1 in a billion.// I think the odds would be better that the issue would be on our side of the perception than the Willamette’s.

    Scott (next next post):
    // It’s certainly far far better than one gets from eyewitness testimony in court.// Some reports on this are scary, eyewitness testimony can be completely wrong as often as 30% of the time. Even victim accounts suffer this flaw, things like weapon focus and different types of bias can cause rape victims to reliably misidentify the person who raped them.

    // I’d want at least some pretty good physical evidence.// As it would likely be collected by the least trained members of the CSI team, and several hours after the crime in some cases, I am not even sure how good this would be. Just think about how good the readings would be from CERN if they did not collect data until 30 minutes after the experiment.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      “……the context I was referring to is from Scott’s earlier post //Sure, if you launch it at escape velocity (plus some amount for the loss to wind resistance along the way) it will go into orbit … or beyond if you overdo it a tad.// to which I responded //Now to find a way to do so without making applesauce, it could be a fun weekend.” /// This is one of the main “cost” complaints about manned missions in space. Very expensive because we need the slow acceleration not to have Applesauced Astronauts. Ballistic Launching of Robots would save a lot of money. Our Space Program—more about Ego than learning.

      • bobbo,

        Astrapplesauce. What a concept! However, I’m not sure how right you are about launching robots. Certainly they are less costly than humans. But, they too have their limits before becoming scrap metal. (scrapplesauce?)

        You said, “Our Space Program—more about Ego than learning.”

        As for learning, it depends what you want to learn. If you want to learn about the surface of Mars, it’s cheaper to send robots. Ditto for missions to the outer planets, etc.

        However, there are at least 3 points about sending humans.

        1. You learn about getting and keeping people in space.
        2. You learn a whole lot faster. A human mind can determine which rock is the interesting one to sample in seconds while a machine may never get it right. This is because the parameters of what you’re looking for are simply “interesting”. You can’t know what will be interesting in advance. If you could, there’d be no reason to go or send a probe.
        3. Human space travel feeds the human mind’s irrational need for adventure and exploration in a way that cannot be replicated by robots.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        However, there are at least 3 points about sending humans.

        1. You learn about getting and keeping people in space. /// Of course but thats meaningless if the rational for having people in space is replaced by robots. And by robots, I was really only referring to silicone chips and what not that can withstand the rapid acceleration required for a cheap ballistic launch into space rather than the slow expensive protoplasm launch. Also all the weight savings of no life support and what not.
        2. You learn a whole lot faster. A human mind can determine which rock is the interesting one to sample in seconds while a machine may never get it right. This is because the parameters of what you’re looking for are simply “interesting”. You can’t know what will be interesting in advance. If you could, there’d be no reason to go or send a probe. /// I “assume” the advantage you note would IN FACT be overwhelmed if 20x more robot missions were sent on the same kind of missions not to mention the robots are left on the surface to roam for 2-3 years on extended missions. I think you have here a LIE meant to sell the program for the reason I stated and you repeat below: human ego.
        3. Human space travel feeds the human mind’s irrational need for adventure and exploration in a way that cannot be replicated by robots. /// I have an irrational need to SAVE MONEY!!! But I agree, I’m in the minority. I REALLY ENJOY every time a “robot” does anything for me. Makes me Feel POWERFUL and Master of the Universe. Watching astronuts do anything just pisses me off. Who are they but High School Jocks hogging all the glory? Last robot that pleased me: my ice maker. I love the endless supply of cold goodness. I need three freezers: one for water cubes, one for iced coffee cubes, and one for ice tea cubes. Hate having to make my own little containers to freeze.

        Ha, ha.

      • Too far indented, see below.

  106. Stix:

    Let’s posit for a moment that there is a 2.67% (100.00 – your statement of 97.33, taking your odds as given, which I don’t) chance of each of us being crazy, whatever that means.* In this context, presumably you mean some form of psychosis or other serious mental disorder involving a split from reality or delusions of some form.

    So, now let’s see what that would mean in the context of something on public display, like the Willamette Meteorite. Assume even a number as small as only 1,000 people walking by the object per day. OK, so now the odds that the meteorite does not even exist are 0.02671000. I found an online calculator that could perform this calculation as neither of mine could do it. The answer is approximately 3.25 x 10-1574. Want to imagine what happens if we do a year of 1,000 people per day? I think the number becomes completely irrelevant.

    So, there’s perception and there’s perceptions. When something is hard evidence, either because it is a physical object anyone who chooses to can examine or because it is readily reproducible, the probability that it is unreal goes down dramatically. So, that is how I count it as something on the order of 1 in a mole that the object does not even exist. In fact, apparently my 1 in a mole is way to high probability. By this calculation it is one in far more than a googol. I wouldn’t assert the correctness of this calculation to that level of certainty myself. So, perhaps we should stay with 1 in a mole.

    But, as we’ve said, the question of fact is not a popularity contest. Instead, what is important is that this is not 1 or 1,000 or 1,000,000 people claiming this. It is an object that is still there on display to be examined and reexamined by anyone and everyone who doubts its existence or just wants to be an independent observer of the fact.

    * I’ve never heard crazy used as a medical term. Sanity and insanity are legal terms for ability to sign legally binding contracts and to know right from wrong in a criminal sense. Crazy has no such meaning in any context, medical or legal, of which I’m aware.

    Now onto some of the fun tangents that have come up.

    How to get the apple into space without making applesauce. First, you’d have to accelerate the apple at a rate that would not cause it to break up. The harder part would be that since objects on reentry to earth’s atmosphere get extremely hot, requiring ceramic heat shields in the case of most spacecraft, it would probably be even harder to get to that speed while in the thicker, denser lower atmosphere without burning up. I would guess that you’d have to encase the apple in something, perhaps a rather thick ceramic ball. Even at that, the apple might still be a cooked apple by the time it hit space. Or, we could take the rocket approach, where we basically use all the same methods to get the apple to space that we use with humans, very slow sustained acceleration by rocket engine. That seems to be our best bet at the current level of human technology. The dolphins may have a better way. If so, all we’re likely to hear of it is “So long and thanks for all the fish.”

    Human eyewitness testimony. Yecch!!! It’s even worse than you describe. Every time we “play a memory back” in our mind, we are not doing so non-invasively. The best analogy is that unlike a video, we take out our human memories play around with them and store them. The difference is that they may get stored with modification.

    Regarding the observations of the LHC, they are done by computer. They are stored in non-human memory virtually instantly. Such non-human memory can be examined years later and still be exactly the same as it was when it was first made. So, the experiments in the LHC are not subject to your CERN concern.

    Crime scene physical evidence may be cared for with varying degrees of competency. When the officers on duty are mind-bogglingly incompetent, OJ walks … and unfortunately rightfully so. When they are competent, whatever they get is far more reliable than any eyewitness testimony. The only exception being cases like Colin Ferguson on the Long Island Railroad years ago where the other passengers wrestled the shooter to the ground and held him until police arrived. In such rare cases, the accused has an extremely high probability of actually being guilty. His guilt would probably qualify as legal fact, though possibly still be short of scientific fact.

    Correction, legal fact is sort of a bizarre concept. I recently served on a jury for a civil case. I was instructed that the judge is the judge of the law and the jurors are the judges of the facts. Whatever the jury decides is fact becomes fact, in a legal sense. It’s really bizarre. And, in a civil case, it is NOT beyond a reasonable doubt, but rather by a preponderance of the evidence. What is preponderance? Just a tad over 50% 50.00000000001% becomes the preponderance of evidence.

    Right. Sure it does.

    But, that is how the case must be decided. I threw that in just to show that even in the English language, fact may not indicate 100% certainty. But, of course, law is rarely logical and twists language beyond all recognition at times.

    • BTW, here’s the calculator that was capable of handling these orders of magnitude, just in case anyone wants to play with more calculations.

      http://keisan.casio.com/calculator

    • Stix says:

      I think we are hitting a character limit or something; it’s not letting me post my reply. We may need to transfer to another post or something.
      And as far as the apple goes I was thinking of maybe Aerogel encapsulated in some type of casing to help withstand the force from the launch and such.

      • Almost missed this. To my knowledge, there is no character limit. There is a limit to the number of links in a post before it is determined to be spam. I’ve upped that limit twice. I like links. They bolster arguments. I checked, nothing of yours was flagged as spam. Perhaps try breaking your reply into multiple parts and see what happens.

  107. Response to bobbo from above, regarding human space travel.

    Dr. Ian Crawford, professor of planetary sciences at Birkbeck College, London says:

    ” [Mars rovers] Spirit and Opportunity are fantastic things on Mars, but the fact that they’ve traveled as far in eight years as the Apollo astronauts traveled in three days speaks volumes.”

    “We’re still benefiting from the scientific legacy of those few soil samples brought by the Apollo mission, but we can only do this because we went to the Moon, got these samples, and came back,” says Crawford. “If we sent a rover to Mars along with a return vehicle, that would enormously increase its scientific impact, but that’s hasn’t been implemented yet because its still incredibly expensive. If a mission goes to Mars, lands in one place, bring back half a kilogram of Mars rocks, it will be immensely valuable, but compared to Apollo, which not only visited six sites (and many hundred of sites with the help of the lunar rover) but came back with 382 kilograms of lunar material, it sort of pales in comparison.”

    Please read the full article at the link below.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/04/why-space-exploration-is-a-job-for-humans/255341/

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      What is your point Scotty? Comparing what we did is very different from any “counterfactual” hypothesis we might wish to construct. What if there were x20 robot missions as they are that much cheaper? And what if we spent the money on putting man into space on making those robot units more autonomous so that they could explore more productively on their own??? Maybe AI would have advanced by leaps and bounds instead of just seeing another monkey in a can?

      otoh==ALWAYS==pro’s and con’s to every option considered. By definition–an option that is 90% ego leaves a lot of other options not utilized. His statement pretty much actually concedes the point==sending robots to Mars because we can’t sent humans. We could “just barely” send humans to the Moon. We aren’t going to talk that choice down by mentioning we might have gained so much more by sending x20 robots.

      The argument is not conclusive either way.

      Pros and cons.

  108. There’s also the issue of economic benefit.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/03/neil-degrasse-tyson-how-space-exploration-can-make-america-great-again/253989/

    Sorry for posting two from The Atlantic. But, since the two scientists are not the same, it is still two very different sources and two very different messages.

  109. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    I read the Tyson article. Nothing in it argues for Manned Space Activities…unless I read too fast and missed it.

    What he said was people need to stimulated to be creative about what a space program can do. Seems to me robotics would be more interesting as you can start building your own robots right now and fight with them, make money, etc. I am not personally motivated to study how to get SOMEONE ELSE into space. Different people are motivated by EVERYTHING you can think of.

    So now…. let’s talk money, efficiency, return on investment not only of capital but human imagination. The future is cybernetics, not men in pressurized capsules, unless you are visiting Tokyo.

  110. bobbo,

    Have you forgotten how to do basic arithmetic?

    3 days of astronauts on the moon covered the amount of ground that took the Mars rovers 8 years to cover. I was not clear from Dr. Crawford’s article whether he meant 4 years each on the rovers or 8 years each for a total of 16 robot years. Let’s assume 8 robot years to make the numbers better for your side. 16 would be better for my argument.

    Let N = Number of robot missions per human mission of same duration to cover same ground.

    8 robot years == 3 human days.
    (8 * 365) + 2 for the leap years == 3 * N
    2922 = 3 * N
    2292/3 = N
    N = 974

    So, that 20 robot missions number you pulled out of your ass needs to actually be 974.

    And, even at 974, you’d still end up with no samples back on earth.

    When the humans come home with, say 50-100kg of rock, thousands of scientists around the world can study them at leisure in earth-based labs for generations.

    How did you miss this major point about humans bringing samples back?

    So, if you’re not going to let something as important as The Opinion of Bobbo The Great be swayed by a little thing like historical facts, obviously, you will read into Neil deGrasse Tyson’s opinion whatever you want.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Scotty–unstick yourself from obstinate and understand what has already been clearly said: IF the money spent on getting MEN into space had been spent on developing Robots/Sensors/AI/Remote Vehicles/Autonomous Surveyors etc “who knows” what could have been discovered?

      It occurs to me that when it was determined that permanent shadows on the moon might contain ice it was not MEN sent to sample those areas but rather an unmanned vehicle. Why? CHEAPER and the desired info was totally within the capabilities of unmanned surveyors to collect. The notion that a sample has to be “brought back” rather than the information of what the sample is is so entirely biased to the point of begging to be pimped.

      I’m actually curious about what value those samples brought back to Earth actually had more than simple on site evaluation that a sensor pack probably already provided? I thought most such “rocks” were kept as souvenirs in various locations. Crawford doesn’t say WHAT any of those continuing benefits are. His statement is empty rhetoric. At least he didn’t mention Tang or Teflon?

      ftn: for instance==computer driven cars are only now being licensed to drive in a few jurisdictions right now. If Kennedy had annouced “Robots to the Moon by the end of the Decade” maybe these self driving cars would have become standard 20 years ago?

      Counterfactual arguments are NOT countered by the math of what actually did occur. You need another counterfactual argument.

      ftn 2.o: Do you really enjoy “heated” arguments? Maybe I’m thinking of the subject because its 67 Degrees here as I type with my wool cap on—too cheap to bake cookies for the waste heat. Heated means a loss of temper. Most people don’t like that loss of control. Do you more precisely mean “intense” or some other adjective? Well Linked? A dialectic that grows from the didactic to a well developed metaphor??? Passionate? Saying you like heated exchanges just leaves me a bit cold.

      Ha, ha.

  111. bobbo,

    I will respond to the rest, but please please please tell us what the fuck “ftn” means! When you didn’t answer before, I chalked it up to a typo meaning “for the noment”. Obviously, in this context, it doesn’t mean that. What is it?

  112. bobbo,

    First, let’s clear something up. I am not arguing that robots have no place in space exploration. They’re a great tool. Yay robots!! Let’s make lots more and send them into space. In fact, let’s all live vicariously through the lego toys we get to send into space now that the U.S. has deliberately forgotten how to get a person there.

    You are certainly correct that when you have a specific and limited question to ask, robots can get that answer far more cheaply than humans.

    What you missed is that sending humans into space at least some of the time will give bonus answers to questions that we never thought to ask. And, even more so, will come up with new questions to ask for later robotic missions.

    As for the benefit of samples, they have been studied continuously for 40 years. They are still being studied today. Instead of asserting that The Atlantic article was vague, you could have clicked through to the actual report. Or you could have googled and come up with this:

    http://www.earthmagazine.org/article/apollo-science-40-years-later-scientists-reopen-lunar-cold-case

    bobbo, you said, “At least he didn’t mention Tang or Teflon?”

    My response: No Gore-Tex for you!!

    Counterfactual arguments are NOT countered by the math of what actually did occur. You need another counterfactual argument.

    Really boobo?? What’s counterfactual, the math or the logged mileage? Do you dispute the claim that the astronauts covered the same distance in 3 days as Spirit and Opportunity covered in 8 years? Do please provide the data for your dispute. Show the mileage of both please. Else, your claim that the numbers are counterfactual is just total fucking crap, as I suspect it is. The distances covered by the rovers and by the astronauts is a matter of historical record. You dispute the numbers. Provide the ones you think are real. Go.

    Regarding heated debates, from thefreedictionary.com

    heat•ed (ˈhi tɪd)

    adj.
    excited or angry; impassioned; vehement: a heated argument.

    Since everything is definitional to you boobo, it’s amazing how infrequently you consult the dictionary.

    • Here’s the link to Crawford’s peer-reviewed paper, rather than the Reader’s Digest version in The Atlantic. It is available free and in its entirety as a PDF here:

      http://arxiv.org/pdf/1203.6250v1.pdf

      • Great quote from the full paper:

        Putting it more bluntly, Steve Squyres, the Principal Investigator for the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity, has written:

        “[t]he unfortunate truth is that most things our rovers can do in a perfect sol [i.e. a martian day] a human explorer could do in less than a minute” (Squyres, 2005, pp. 234-5).

      • Doing the math this time yields

        Martian day = 88,642 seconds
        Minute = 60 seconds

        A robotic martian work day = a human work minute

        So:

        88642 = 60 * N

        N = 88642 / 60 = 1477.37

        So, by this scientist’s estimate, a human is 1477 times more efficient than a robot at doing this sort of work. This guy tacked on another 50% in favor of humans. Both seem to agree on the rough order of magnitude of the difference. Humans are around a thousand times more efficient.

        But, you’ll still call it counterfactual because … hey … it disagrees with boobo’s preconceived notions … so it must be counterfactual, QED.

      • Stix says:

        That one is not the peer reviewed one, but I can confirm that it is at a glance fairly close (I pulled it on the school network). The [Published, with minor modifications, in Astronomy and Geophysics,
        Vol. 53, pp. 2.22-2.26, 2012] shows that this is the pre-published version that was released free to the public after publication; it has to be different from the journal version due to copyright issues. Normally it is formatting, charts, and verbiage that are changed.
        Scott: it may be an issue with links, I had all the links to the information I was quoting in it. I don’t have time to mess with it and the conversation seems to have moved on so I will mess with it later.

      • Sorry about that. I like to encourage links. But, I need to set some limit to avoid having porn spam getting in with a gazillion links. I don’t want to publish the number at which a comment gets flagged but I believe that almost any human should be able to figure it out from this. If so, that would be the number at which it would get flagged. Below that number would be fine.

  113. Just one more time so it doesn’t get forgotten in all of the less important conversation, what is ftn??!!?

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      My word search for ftn reveals its meaning on the third hit: footnote. Standard eds abv.

      So WHAT specifically has been of interest in the collect soil samples?

      Again–you resort to a historical analysis to argue against a counterfactual. Your entire premise in incorrect.

      Again–my provided definition of heated is no different than the substance of what you provided. Do you mean heated or not?

      Simple stuff.

  114. Again, you don’t explain what you think is counterfactual or why. Nor do you back up anything you say with links to reputable sources to make your case.

    bobbo, I generally try to make better arguments than this. But, given your statements, this may be all the response that is required.

    bobbo, you’re full of shit.

    Care to try again? Care to give real explanations and/or links? Go for it. Else, I stand by my statement. You’re full of shit on this one.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Again, you don’t explain what you think is counterfactual or why. /// Its as clearly evident as its own definition: “What might have happened if something else had happened INSTEAD of what did happen.” Eg–if USA had put its Space Program development money into robotics and not manned space flight. Jeebus!!!!

      of itNor do you back up anything you say with links to reputable sources to make your case. /// What link would be appropriate for my own thought process?

      bobbo, I generally try to make better arguments than this. But, given your statements, this may be all the response that is required. /// Once again, we stare and gape at one another across another definitional divide. In shorter doses, its comical. All your horsepower and the rubber not meeting the road.

      bobbo, you’re full of shit. /// I take that as you actually meaning heated?

      Care to try again? Care to give real explanations and/or links? Go for it. Else, I stand by my statement. You’re full of shit on this one. /// That would be counterfactual.

      • I’m not comparing what might have happened. Nor is Dr. Crawford, since this is far from an original thought of mine. Crawford is stating very clearly what actually did happen in the real live world. Human beings with lower technology than that available today performed in 3 days what the Mars rovers took 8 years to accomplish.

        That’s simple basic historical fact.

        With what part are you having trouble?

        BTW, if you read the full article, you’ll also note that there is a problem with the claim of robots being so much cheaper. Instead of getting smaller, the robots are getting bigger. And, that increase in size comes with an increase in cost.

        So, to me, it is clear that humans (as well as robots) still have a place in space exploration.

        Your mileage may be counterfactual.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        What was brought back that has been of continuing interest/revelation? I know rocks/soil was brought back. What SPECIFICALLY was learned about it back here on earth?

        This is not a challenge, I’m interested.

      • For starters bobbo, remember that technology improves. If you bring something back to earth, you have big heavy high-tech equipment here that cannot possibly be taken in a little robot to the moon, let alone to mars. Further, you have the samples here so that you can reexamine them with new technology as advances are made.

        Here are some things we learned, from the link I already posted, which you clearly didn’t read.

        • The moon is far older than was expected.
        • We learned about early solar system history.
        • “Regolith, or surface debris, yielded extensive information on solar wind volatiles, such as helium-3 isotopes, as well as data on hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon that are relevant for planning manned missions to Mars.”
        • “[C]ertain meteorites found on Earth, including some found in Africa, Antarctica and Asia, were blasted from the moon.”
        • “[A]analytical technologies not available at that time allow for petrographic analysis — microscopic examination of thin slices of rocks — to determine the ways in which minerals in the rocks formed and how they have changed and interacted with each other.”
        • “Jeffrey Taylor has been studying moon rocks for four decades. … Now, he is concentrating on the moon’s water and chemical composition, utilizing both improved and new technologies that did not exist earlier in his career.
        • “… secondary ion mass spectrometry (also called ion microprobe), which can be used to analyze the water content in the lunar rocks. … The water concentrations are very low, but not nonexistent as once assumed, he says, noting that the analyses could not have been made at the time of the Apollo missions because instruments back then were not sensitive enough.”

        Note that all but the first two of these were not even possible in earth-based labs at the time of the Apollo missions. So, even if such equipment is small enough for robotics, having the samples here on earth meant that they could be studied again and again as new technology and ideas came about on earth.

        Of course, in the case of the mars rovers, there’s no way to know what technology for examining samples will become available in the future but not be able to be used on the rocks examined by the rovers. All we can say is that if we survive for a few more decades, it’s a good bet (though not a guarantee) that our technology will improve … maybe not as much as if we had a real and well-funded space program. But, it probably will improve in spite of that, even if we (the U.S.) improve our technology only by stealing from countries that actually have space programs … like India.

        <condescension>
        All you had to do was read the paper. But, since you wanted it spoon fed to you in smaller more manageable bites, I hope I did an adequate job of picking out the answers you could so easily have gotten for yourself.
        </condescension>

        I’d say I’m sorry for being so condescending … if I were. But, in this case, you just flatly refused to actually read for yourself. So, ….

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        The linked article is not as specific as your list. Counterfactuals test one’s imagination and assumptions. Who knows what robots could do if they were the only alternative? Included in “non manned” modalities the article reminded me of are our orbiting telescopes. Incredible amount of knowledge brought to us by those robots. Servicing in space by Humans–probably a good compromise/appropriate use of the human interface.

        Yes–samples brought back can be tested by new technology==but if robots were cheap enough those new technologies could be put on the latest probe and sent off to explore======>who knows?

        Pros and Cons to all we do.

      • I literally copied and pasted from the article for most of those bullet points, all but 2 in fact. Your reading skills are lacking. Try searching for short groups of words from my bullet list. Don’t umclude ellipses. They’re where I deliberately left out some text.

        And, as Crawford said the robots are getting bigger and more expensive. So, the cost difference is still there but declining.

        Robots have a place in space exploration and exploitation. So do humans.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        I literally copied and pasted from the article for most of those bullet points, all but 2 in fact. Your reading skills are lacking. Try searching for short groups of words from my bullet list. Don’t umclude ellipses. They’re where I deliberately left out some text. /// I think I just went to a different link, the Atlantic Article, without downloading a pdf or anything.

        And, as Crawford said the robots are getting bigger and more expensive. So, the cost difference is still there but declining. /// Well, I will just assume some aspects of robots are getting bigger, more expensive, ((and more capable??==which is a major supporting tangent to my point)) BUT that other aspects of robotics/remote sensing/autonomous units are getting smaller, cheaper, and again==more capable.

        Robots have a place in space exploration and exploitation. So do humans. /// Yes. My point has always been where to put the emPHAsis. The linked article says kiddies don’t need to be motivated as their curiosity is a given. “Its the Adults” that manned space travel appeals to. Stupid Adults. But THIS is why I’m responding: Shirley, the advances that would come from increased investments in robotics would have more applications right here on Earth, right now, than would equal amounts of money spent on learning how to keep Monkeys in Space. Again, talking about emPHAsis. The linked Atlantic article almost (sic?) implied that the manned missions WERE NOT cost effective until you add in the public relations aspects. Same thing I’m saying. I’m just too much a fiscal conservative to give too much if any weight to “public opinion.” Its the SCIENCE that should be maximized.

        Science.

        Its a marvel.

      • Are we talking about the same link? I posted a few. I was referring to this one. Most of those bullet points were just copied and pasted from here. The first couple were paraphrased.

        Download the PDF. Read it. Check out the photos at the end, after the conclusion, showing how the robots aren’t getting cheaper. They’re getting bigger and more expensive. It’ part of wanting robots that don’t get stuck trying to get past rocks the size of an orange.

        http://arxiv.org/pdf/1203.6250v1.pdf

  115. BTW, I just set the limit of indentation at 3, so expect worse threading of conversations but more readable width of each post.

  116. bobbo,

    Read before you respond. It will make you sound much more intelligent. Actually it might make you genuinely more intelligent.

    Well, I will just assume some aspects of robots are getting bigger, more expensive, ((and more capable??==which is a major supporting tangent to my point)) BUT that other aspects of robotics/remote sensing/autonomous units are getting smaller, cheaper, and again==more capable.

    No. No no no no no.

    The whole fucking robot is getting bigger. There are limitations about maneuvering around obstacles. If you want a robot that can cover more ground and not get stuck behind small rocks, you need a bigger robot. The physical worlds we want to explore do not adapt themselves to smaller faster cheaper technology.

    Read the article. Look at the images of the generations of mars rovers, including the next one planned. Look at the prices to put them on mars. They go up up up.

    Robotic exploration is increasing. True, it is still less than humans. But, given the 3 orders of magnitude advantage in efficiency that humans have, there is definitely a place for humans.

    Putting the emPHAsis on the wrong sylLABle just means that you’re saying it wrong.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      No. No no no no no. // What does more than one “no” mean in your language? (Snark!!–smile!)

      The whole fucking robot is getting bigger. There are limitations about maneuvering around obstacles. /// BS. Here on Earth, there is not a single object I can not “walk around.” Even ants can do it. I can “imagine” what you “really mean” … but thats what it takes….IMAGINATION because what you say is non-sensical with 2 seconds of reality. But lets grant your concern?==Ok. Back up and go somewhere else. Simple.

      If you want a robot that can cover more ground and not get stuck behind small rocks, you need a bigger robot. /// How does the Rumba get around the average home?

      The physical worlds we want to explore do not adapt themselves to smaller faster cheaper technology. /// Again…. stupid comment. Think for 5 seconds. Your Iphone has more computing power than the first Lunar Lander. Total non-thinking idiotic talking points have captured your analytical powers.

      Read the article. Look at the images of the generations of mars rovers, including the next one planned. Look at the prices to put them on mars. They go up up up. /// Pros and Cons to all we do. Latest news on Earth I’ve noticed is swarms of very small robots all communicating with one another to achieve some desired goal. WHY are the larger robots being touted and what are the alternatives? Why EXACTLY can’t smaller, cheaper robots ((remote sensing)) do it? ………. and even if blah, blah, can’t do it now–wait for another Click on Moore’s Law and see what Technology will bring/make possible.

      Robotic exploration is increasing. True, it is still less than humans. But, given the 3 orders of magnitude advantage in efficiency that humans have, there is definitely a place for humans. /// Define “efficiency.” Seems to me it was merely the amount of ground covered? Thats is not a relevant measure to what was LEARNED which is the whole point. Harder to measure the value of what is learned. I’ll let it go for now.

      Putting the emPHAsis on the wrong sylLABle just means that you’re saying it wrong. /// On this representation…yes. But the emPHAsis on space exploration is not how many miles covered but what valuable information is secured that would not be secured in short order otherwise.

      • bobbo,

        If I can’t get you to read and I can’t even get you to look at pretty pictures, then what kind of a debate are we having?

        In the Crawford article, the PDF, Figure 4 shows the increase in cost of the mars rovers, including the next one planned, in constant 2011 dollars.

        Figure 5 is an image of the mars rovers all lined up next to each other so you can see the scale of these things relative to each other.

        The engineers at NASA just might know a tad more than you boobo about building and deploying semi-autonomous robots.

        But, stick to your preconceived notions. It’s a lot easier than reading and dramatically easier than thinking.

        BTW, I used to believe what you do. Then I learned. I listened to what the scientists were saying. I changed my mind.

        There are a lot of good reasons to send humans into space. Open your mind. It’s amazing what you might see and learn.

  117. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    Bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist on the 18th, of February 2013 @ 11:14 8th paragraph

    –Psychobobbo is much better. More alliterative to the original eponymity. Babel is a good first effort though and equally thematic. The boy has potential if he will remove the blinders, the chip, probably detumesce too?–

    Umm…bobbo? I feel that I have to level with you about something that has been bothering me since having read this…
    And I’m hopeful that we can build a new bridge by having a better start than our former prelude, and I’d like for you to focus on that last sentence as I adjust it for a more sharpened detail of whom I really am.

    –The ((Girl)) has potential if ((She)) will remove the blinders, the chip,–

    Pssssst
    Daddy wanted another little boy, but was presented with a girl…
    Guess that I was one of his betrayals in life? (Ha, ha!)
    And I’d like to also point out that that was one of his reasons for his dissatisfaction with me, his rejection of me, and his never wanting any friendship nor a sense of closeness with me. That was but one reason, and the other? Well, everyone here pretty much knows how that came about.
    I had a very lonely childhood, but I’m managing to move forward and my life is getting significantly better thanks to some of your very helpful suggestions, Bobbo.
    You have no idea how much Scott, Stix and yourself have helped me…and how very grateful I am to know that I even have such amazing friends….thank you. And I love you.♥

    Mr, Bobbo. As I’ve been reading your postings, I’m now beginning to notice the complexity, very beautiful incite and knowledge that glitters from the brilliance of that mind…and it’s quite intoxicating too.
    Uh-oh, OMG! Wife, wife – never mind that part!

    (Thanks asshole!)
    Bobbo…
    From the deepest recesses of my mind I indeed am hopeful that you will except the biggest apologie of my life…
    Please forgive me for ever uttering those words to you. Please?

    I’m very hopeful that we can rebuild that bridge anew for the sake of a wonderful friendship. Thanks

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Hey Expelled—“February!”–you are living in the past. Hard to avoid being depressed when you do that as stated in that aphorism I quoted somewhere. “Incite?”==ha, ha…. yes-Scotty would agree with you. I rarely comment on spelling/transpositional issues unless they, as here, connect to another funny.

      You covered a lot of area there, so I’ll let your issues stew for a bit and ask you narrow any actual interrogatory to something more limited? but in general, I’ll just echo what Scotty has said to you: it ain’t no thing. Sometime we have fun with the words, fun making insults, or attempts at Sherlock Holmes leaps of insight… but the fact is, we are mostly strangers here to one another. As in life, I’d say, if you like something said then hold on to it. If you don’t like something said … then ignore it, skip it, ask for clarification…..or wait for the next bus. I hear it runs all night long.

      • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

        February was when I made the insult, but no, I’m no longer living in that past but I appreciate your response though. And I was only joking about using the word “incite” to describe your character. As I don’t see you in that light at all. Ha, ha!

        I just felt the need to apologize for my harsh words and am glad that you’re not offended in any way. And as I like in keeping my identity safe, as any of you here do as well, I’d hardly say that I’ve ruined any of my integrity by nearly telling my life history.

        Sorry, but my principle in keeping people guessing on line is actually a good thing for my well being as I’ve been stalked before. So I hope you can understand that?
        Perhaps it is a mistake of my telling you and others that I’m a woman. Oh well.
        I was just trying to move forward, to open that door a little, but I guess it is for naught.

        Anyway, I do find you insightful though.
        Hope you and the wife have a great holiday!

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Expell–Its true, the more you reveal about yourself, the more likely a conversation will get derailed into misapplied stereotypes. Take my wifey for instance? Sometimes I reveal I am married, othertimes divorced, other times single. I’m being honest and dishonest at the same time. I just take whatever I’m thinking about/responding to and plopping that down on the timeline of my life….and aspirations/recognitions? Young/old. Fit/fat. I do always pretend to be educated though. Egos always reveal themselves.

        Your comment does continue a “trend” of yours though in thinking/feeling that people here are tracking you a whole lot more closely than I think we do. For me…its what you SAY and what you use to support that rather than whatever your anecdotal personal circumstances happen to be.

        Isn’t that the devastating secret/meaning of the Universe?…. that it doesn’t care about us? That we just aren’t that important in the scheme of things? I think so. Gives me comfort in that its about the only way we all could be treated the same. No favorites.

        Full circle. Our lives are about what we find/make important. Them reality has a go at our constructs. About the same for all of us.

    • Expelled says:

      Thanks for the new name. Bobbo, you’ve said some very cold things, but I want you to know that I do care. And I care for all of you.

      Oh, what’s the ues in telling this to anyone anyway…enough said….I’ll go away…because I know that no one is interested in hearing me.

      Goodbye all

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        I shorten and play with everyone’s name, including my own. One key to cyberspace: fewer keystrokes.

        YMMV.

  118. Expulsion Of Gods,

    I hope you’re not going away. Your input has always been interesting and a good addition to the conversation.

    As for the incite vs. insight comment to bobbo, I assumed that to be a typo. However, as bobbo points out, it is a rather apt typo. At times it would be equally accurate about me. bobbo has been coming around here for quite a while. We’ve had a number of heated discussions. I think it’s safe to say that we’re both pretty thick-skinned about such things.

    As for the fact that you’re a woman, the only reason I had assumed otherwise was that you repeatedly signed your name as Troy. I’m not aware of Troy as a woman’s name and assumed it was really your first name, as Scott is really mine. I’d even bet on bobbo actually being named some form of Bob or Robert.

    Here’s the funny thing though. When blogging anonymously, all sexism can be removed. Who can tell by reading typed text whether the typist is male or female or transgender or gender queer any of the many genders that are coming up today. The drop down list to choose how I self-identify seems to be growing every time I sign a petition from HRC.

    For my part, I believe I am about as non-sexist as it is possible to be. So, knowing you’re a woman makes no difference to me. The only time someone’s sex … or sexual orientation … matters to me is if I’m interested in sleeping with them.

    Since I’ve been together with my wife for 28 years and married for 26 of them (and have never cheated), that list of people with whom I’m interested in sleeping … is exactly one person. The sex and sexual orientation of the rest of the planet is irrelevant to me. I have too much oxytocin and vasopressin in my blood to care.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      My skin is VERY THIN. I just don’t notice……………….

    • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

      –The only time someone’s sexual orientation matters to me is if I’m interested in sleeping with them.–

      Ummm, I don’t think that I’ve ever even invoked an invitation your way for the involvement of sexual pleasure, nor have I ever asked you for any commitments whatsoever, have I? I don’t believe that I’ve asked this from any one person here, but can’t I not admire any one of you for your beautiful intellects? Can’t I not adore any one of you? And can’t I not love any one of you as a friend?

      Okay, I’m going to level with you a little here, k?
      I’m 23, and you’re 50 or 60ish? I don’t think so.
      And additionally, I now have a boyfriend again after 3 years of nothing in my life because my father required a tremendous amount of my time, and that took a horrifying toll on myself and my past love… whom I still love..but will never have again. Besides, I could never do that to anyone and have a clear conscious even before said encounter. Therefore, you have your love, and I have my love and I plan on keeping it that way, k? But, it will never stop me from saying that “I love you” either. Because as a friend…I love you very much, Scott. Never forget that.

      –I hope you’re not going away. Your input has always been interesting and a ood addition to the conversation.–

      I will always very highly value the opulence of your kindness, wit and intelligence, Scott. It makes you shine with such brilliance.
      Thanks again for your kindness and generosity.

      With that said, I was only trying to make a little joke at bobbo’s expense, and I’m glad he didn’t take it personal.
      Lately, I’ve been sad, emotional, and somewhat irrational insofar as keeping up with the bills and my psychologist again asking me questions that I care not to give answers to. But I know that I have to in order for me in getting on with my life.

      As for the name, Troy, that name was the decision of my late father only, and was my middle name. And, upon his insistence my late family would always call me by that name. I had a distinct hatred for that name, and now, I no longer have it.

      My father wanted a boy, and I’ve known that that was one of the decisive factors in his rejection of me, but that is his own loss…and my own as well. Oh well…you can’t always have what you want…
      especially from a person that was as bizarre and controlling as was my father.
      Hope you understand.

  119. EOG,

    We’ve got another minor misunderstanding. This time, I think it’s on your side. I was most certainly NOT hitting on you. You completely missed both the sentence before what you quoted and my entire final paragraph. Here they are again:

    Prior sentence:

    So, knowing you’re a woman makes no difference to me.

    Final paragraph (was it not clear that the one person is my wife?):

    Since I’ve been together with my wife for 28 years and married for 26 of them (and have never cheated), that list of people with whom I’m interested in sleeping … is exactly one person. The sex and sexual orientation of the rest of the planet is irrelevant to me. I have too much oxytocin and vasopressin in my blood to care.

    I was making the point that the fact that you are female is utterly irrelevant to me. It does not change a thing about how I read your posts. The text is the same.

    I’m not at all surprised to find that you are younger than my marriage and that I could quite literally have children your age had my wife and I decided to have any.

    I think my 28 years of fidelity should point to the fact that I am not the type of dirty old man to hit on young women less than half his age. (I am 50.) Nor did I ever state or think that you might be hitting on me. (I’m not surprised that 50 year old nebbish is not your type.)

    Anyway, my whole point was that (unlike your father) I don’t care whether you are male or female. I like having your input on this site regardless.

    What a shame that your father never appreciated the wonderful person you are!

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      I have always been extremely “faithful” to the women I have been with. That is the point of having a relationship afterall. My wifey actually used to think I was a bit odd that way. “Difficult in every way” I think she called it.

      Scotty, I took your comment as 100% not a come on—just the opposite. Demonstrating the advantage of keeping all personal info private. Prevents the side journeys into misunderstandings….personal issues…. where misunderstandings are more common.

      To the issue of Father Issues, its fun to think about. Of all the people I have ever known, about 80% I’d guess really liked their mothers. Thats my case. And I’d guess ONLY ONE really liked their fathers. I’m with the majority on that one too. I was discussing this with a friend last year and we both said and laughed at the same time when we said: “At least he didn’t beat me.” And thats a good thing as I have had friends whose dads did just that. None of them have turned out too well.

      Yep, which is better/worse in what way? Remote, uninvolved, and not interested or having wished for some other kind of kid?? Was that my Dad’s issue? He wanted all girls??? Ha, ha. I kid my dead father…… the older I get, the more forgiving I get. He never even threatened to beat me and I gave him enough opportunities to at least do that. Same with my other friends. Pro’s and Cons. Con==no love from Dad. Pro==paid for college. You can focus on what you didn’t get, or what you did. Its like day vs night.

      Do wish Mom was still around.

    • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

      –so, knowing you’re a woman makes no difference to me.–

      Oh-no—–! OMG!
      I just looked into my mirror and noticed the word “jackass” written upon my face. Wow…I can’t believe this. And I’m so sorry…
      I’ve been suffering from exhaustion because of being worried, and along with my work schedule, and holiday, has caused me an enormous disadvantage in my thought processing.

      When I read your post I believe that I just skimmed across it due to my having no sleep…

      Can I please ask for your understanding and forgiveness?
      I’m truly sorry, Scott.

      • Don’t worry. It will wash off. It’s not a tattoo.

        Seriously, I’ve had so much worse misunderstandings on this and other blogs that this one barely makes the radar screen.

        No worries.

  120. Thanks for the confirmation of my meaning bobbo. I disagree slightly with your opinion on personal data, meaning that I have a weak opinion in the other direction as opposed to the many things on which my opinions have ossified. I think knowing the people with whom you’re debating makes intent clearer. You already have an idea where they’re coming from and can make better guesses as to meanings. Consider how much trouble I had getting your meanings long ago when I first encountered your functuation. Now, 1. you’ve toned it down a lot and 2. I tune it out a lot.

    I can’t say that my dad ever beat me either. Though, in that era, spanking kids was far from uncommon and I got a few. I even got a slap in the face once, pretty hard in fact.

    Though, having been both hit and lectured by a lawyer, I preferred being hit. When it’s this side of real physical abuse, the pain subsides rather quickly. Being lectured made me feel about the size of this period. Instead of merely feeling wrong, I felt guilty as charged.

    Later in life, I also did have money issues with dad. He stopped paying certain bills long before I felt he had committed to, i.e. bills that had been incurred years earlier, leaving me somewhat high and dry and in embarrassing situations with new family.

    Mom was totally different, at least with me. My sister would fell a very different story, probably of both of our parents. My mother always treated me as an adult, even when I wasn’t one. I always got the best possible explanation for anything at whatever level I was capable of understanding, even regarding where babies come from. Mom took me to the library for that and we took out an age-appropriate book on the subject.

    I never heard, “because I’m the mommy” on any subject. Not once.

    And, though my sister required a curfew and never kept it, I was always told “be home at a reasonable hour or call if you’ll be late.” As bad as I was (and I was), I was the good one by comparison. I only came home “late” once. I explained that I didn’t think 1:00AM was late for a Saturday night. Mom disagreed and asked that I call in the future. I was probably somewhere between 13 and 15 at the time if I have to guess. So, I called from then on. Easy peasy.

    Anyway, I guess that puts me in bobbo’s list of people who did better with mom than with dad. I think part of that is the era in which bobbo (presumably) and I grew up. It was a much more sexist society then. Fathers were expected to be out earning money. Most moms didn’t even work in that era. My mom went back to work when I was 8 and my sister was 10. From that age forward, we were latchkey. TV was our baby sitter. That’d be criminal charges of neglect these days, I think.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      How long have we been tussling with each other? “Feels like” about 5 years and its only thanks to EOG that we have taken a turn to the personal. You “disagree slightly.” Gee….thats tantamount to agreement given our history (smile)! Not that we haven’t agreed with each other on quite a lot, we just tend to disagree too hotly? I remember Mom telling a friend that she got along with me because whenever she disagreed with me, she just ignored me. Easier to do with a son than with a hubbie I think.

      I am eldest with two sisters as well. Neither me or my sisters were ever hit or spanked or threatened except once for me when Mom told me to do something and I resisted by honestly only touching her arm which she took as physical defiance and she spanked me good. At age 12 or 13 I deserved it. I never challenged her again… just as it should be.

      I realized early in life that Dad was simply “not in my life.” He went to work every day, came home every day, and drank himself into a stupor every evening. I don’t know how he did it. Must have had the same enormous healthy machinery that I inherited? He would read at night with a never empty glass of wine at his side. When drunk enough, he would challenge everyone in the house that wasn’t hiding to explain some point of history that he disagreed with. Ha, ha. Well, I don’t drink, and I do require the challenge to be mutual, but this apple didn’t fall all too far from that tree.

      You slightly disagree? Does that mean you actually recognize you are wrong…or that you accept the consequences that in the scheme of things are quite minimal and totally within your control?

      I found EOG’s response “interesting.” You (EOG—changed from a third person reference as we are all discussing the theme song for the Big Bang after all) revealed your gender, or should we say only sex?, and called my response “cold” and Scotties response …. as you did. Would you evaluate your Goldilocks zone as wide or narrow? Please not this astronomical reference keeping MY tangents still on subject??? (or would that be off subject but at least tangential?)

      I could go on…and on… but this response is long enough ….. and my wine glass is empty.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        or not on subject and not tangential but just clever word play?

        Yes, I said clever. Honest insight cannot be muted just because it is complimentary… even when to myself.

        Harrumph!!!!!

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Hey Scotty

        I’m watching “Faster” with Dwayne Johnson “The Rock” on tv right now. Grusome hard core revenge film in which Billy Bob Thornton notices the first two victims are a telemarketer and a sex offender and he asks “Whats next, a lawyer?”

        Its at 47 minutes or so.

        I love lawyer jokes.

      • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

        –How long have we been tussling with each other? “Feels like” 5years (and it’s only thanks to EOG that we have taken a turn to the personal.)–

        Bobbo, please understand that, I, and “I” alone have been wanting to open up a little here in an attempt to level some things about myself, and give all of you some clarity on my part which is beneficial for all involved. You do not have to do this in return as I understand the need for ones own privacy online, so I don’t wantyou to feel like I’ve been pressuring you into anything, k? And I only ask for your forgiveness if you ever feel that I have.

        Please, bobbo. I want you to know that I very much care for you too.
        The reason that I felt your statement was “cold” was due to the fact that I’ve been getting very little sleep, I’m worried a lot, and yes, I guess that I’m still stuck in the past, but I can’t help it. But you’ve no idea how much you’ve helped me in my attempt to regain my footing.
        I’m only hopeful that I’ve not been too bothersome for you.

        Bobbo, I find that (much like my self) your a very complicated person, but with a highly educated and diverse mind in covering many areas of thought… and I adore that mind. And bet you make your woman very happy. 😉

        I love you, bobbo.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        You are responding to my response to Scotty. I “feel” like you are a total stranger to me. An unknown quantity/quality. I recall and understand the direct implications of what you have posted, but it takes time and conflict to understand a person well enough to love or hate them. I generally reserve that opinion… just about for ever. People change in the interim too==although never as much as I would hope?

        One of my Top Five: ((There are many versions, this is just the first one I found. Opening has an edge that reminds me of Love and Rockets “I’m Alive–In my top 20?–which reminds me of Erasures “I love to Hate You”

        Geezer tunes–real music/rock. Not the pop crap in ascendance today.

      • To a few of bobbo’s posts at once,

        It’s been at least 5 years bobbo. I started this blog in 2007. I think we were already beating each other about the head and neck with blunt objects on Dvorak Uncensored at that time. I could be mistaken though. At some point, we exchanged a couple of emails off line. So, it’s been at least slightly personal before.

        I also think I learned the term antitheist from you and have been using it for quite a while. It’s a much better term than any of “militant atheist”, “strong atheist”, or “new atheist”.

        As for your tangent back toward the original subject, isn’t that really what any orbiting object is doing? Continuously following a tangent to the ellipse of its orbit? Hmm… I may need to research this. But, it has good truthiness to it.

        Q: What do you call 100 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?
        A: A good start.

        Q: What do you have when you have 10 lawyers up to their necks in cement?
        A: Not enough cement.

        Q: How do you know when a lawyer is lying?
        A: His/her lips are moving.

        Dad had tons of them. I think lawyers like lawyer jokes more than anyone else. At least my father did.

      • BTW, in response to being personal, I’ve had my Golden Snip Award posted on the side of my blog for years. How much more personal can I get than saying in big bold letters that I’ve not had children and have had my vasa deferentia snipped, tied, and cauterized? If a minor operation on one’s testicles is not personal, what is?

        Real men jog home from their vasectomies.

        (No. I didn’t. I even took the bus instead of the subway to save a couple of blocks of walking.)

      • bobbo,

        80s tunes are now geezer tunes? Holy crap!! That’s new music to me. My music is nearly all between 1963 and 1988. Of late I’ve been leaning more toward the music of 1966-1975 or so. Though I do still like the music formerly known as “new wave”. Have you heard that the kiddies (i.e. the under 40 crowd) refer to this as “old wave” now?

  121. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    System deleted my first reference to Love is a Stranger.

    • Strange. I don’t see anything from you in the spam bucket.

    • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

      Hi, bobbo;

      Well…there’s no doubt in my mind that you certainly have very good taste in music, and I just love the Eurythmics, but I also love King Crimson and Rush which are my top favorite bands…
      My personal favorite song is from King Crimson’s Thrak album with the song titled, One Time.

      My uncle is responsible for my love of rock, as the rest of my family had a love for cm.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Yep.

        cm is to m, as
        okra is to fine French Cuisine.

        ((okra fits the phrasing better although I feel I must say I prefer Italian to French cooking and given free reign Thai cooking (heavily influenced by the French) to all comers.

        ………but cooking is like music. No good or bad, just what you like…..and that “idea” can be broadened as much as one wishes to do.

        I like that.

      • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

        –although I must say I prefer Italian to French cooking and given free reign Thai cooking (heavily influenced by the French) to all comers.–

        I absolutely love Italian! If you don’t mind me asking, what’s your favorite Italian dish? T
        When I was about 8 my father took us all to a French restaurant for dinner. Well…my father had eaten there before, but since it was my first time he decided to order for me, as I couldn’t speak French.
        Well anyway, to make a rather long story short, when I had eaten 3 quarter’s of it he (my father) began laughing and I asked: “why are you laughing?” And he said: ” because you’re eating snails princess.” And that’s when the snails came back up…and on the table.

        I guess I couldn’t handle it knowing that snails produce a mucus similar to snot.
        How embarrassing.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        I absolutely love Italian! If you don’t mind me asking, what’s your favorite Italian dish? T /// What are you…. my psych guy?==asking me all these personal and difficult questions!! They are all good when good. I do consider just about all pasta meals “the same”–just a carrier for the sauce.. which is the cheese or the meat/fish. I’ll make a quick side of any pasta and sauce it with whatever of 3-4 sauces are in rotation in my fridge. For an actual single course meal at home, Id say 7 layered lasagne with separate spinach and meat layers. In a restaurant, I will order any seafood on rice cioppino meal with extra mussels and fried calamari on the side. This was the house specialty in a restaurant in the Dolomites. Had private booths arranged around the stream that ran thru the place. Could not be more romantic. Good eats all around.

        … And he said: ” because you’re eating snails princess.” And that’s when the snails came back up…and on the table.

        I guess I couldn’t handle it knowing that snails produce a mucus similar to snot. /// Every animal produces mucus but I’ve never eaten snot so I can’t make the comparison. Many think the same thing of mussels, oysters, clams, but its only true about OKRA!!!
        In point of fact, escargot is “cooked” and not slimy at all. I used to eat my escargot snails from my back yard. French snails were brought to California as a commercial enterprise and they got loose, now populating the State. Current yard has too many racoons for that to happen here.

        How embarrassing. /// Yep. If those snails had been slimy==I bet you would not have eaten them. All in your mind. I know its all protein, but I don’t think I could avoid a gag reflex on wet/slimy snails. No problem with raw oysters though. All in MY mind.

        As most things are.

      • Italian food is good. But, I’ve become somewhat bored with it and will generally look for something more interesting when available. Of course, a really good risotto is hard to beat though.

        Actually, there is interesting Italian food as well. It’s often just harder to find than the standards. And I do love a really good pizza every so often. Too many of them have become mediocre these days. You have to look for the good places.

        But, there’s so much delicious food in the world, why limit to any one cuisine? If you don’t like frogs and snails, there are plenty of other delicious things to eat in French restaurants. And then there’s all of Latin America with many different cuisines and all of Asia, including the whole Indian subcontinent with its regional cuisines.

        Too many good foods to list. I’ve rarely met a menu I didn’t like … not never … but rarely.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        I’m guessing the links in the notification email do not connect to the right reply? So this is a test to see if regardless one must hunt for the right place to post.

        ABSOLUTELY. There is great food all over the place. Since I made cooking my hobby, this has become very clear to me. French food because there are so many sources for it so there is easy entry and it does provide most of the basics. I made excellent yogurt yesterday, and superb Turkey Strips this morning in my deep fat fryer. Trying to find a technique to “clean” the deep fat oil to extend its life. Its long lasting on plain food, but anything breaded really pollutes it fast. Seems to me ((this is “science” so its relevant)) there should be some chemical that can be put in Olive Oil to make the colloidal solids clump together and settle out? I’m sure there is, just haven’t found the right google terms to reveal it.

        SO—the interesting question becomes====>what would be your last meal? I’m thinking Lobster Thermador with Mesquite Smoke Infusion. I’m sure a true gourmet would have something much more exquisite. Truffles and caviar seem to get a lot of kudos. I’ve had world class caviar and did not like it.. too salty. Truffles. I do like the fungi family. Lots of good umami flavors there. Maybe a truffle, lobster, souffle? But I like variety. Maybe a good dim sum or an hour at the tappa bars?

      • Sometimes the links go to the right place, sometimes not. I think it depends on what order in which the browser happens to process things. If it hasn’t displayed all of the embedded videos yet, it will position to the right place then expand all of the videos and end up nowhere near where you wanted to be. That’s just a guess based on what I’ve seen when it fucks it up.

        I’m not a big fan of caviar either. I do love anything (or at least the things I’m willing to eat, so no snails, squid, octopus, …) with truffles or truffle oil though. Desert has to be chocolate. I’d probably want good scotch to go with the chocolate. The main meal could be almost anything, bison steak with Roquefort, fejuada, risotto with wild mushrooms and truffle oil, too many things to list.

        The tasting menu at Daniel was pretty awesome. Though I’ve only been there once and it was quite a few years ago. I’d much rather not have to cook an amazing meal if I can get away with paying someone else to do it. In NYC, there are numerous places to go for incredible meals that you could never learn to cook for yourself. You ju$t have to be willing to $pend more than you ever though a $ingle meal might co$t.

        I guess I’d rather not know it’s my last meal though and then just go to sleep and not wake up. And why wait ’til one is about to die? Enjoy your “last meal” at least several times a month if you have the means to do so.

      • BTW, Daniel was only our favorite food, not favorite overall experience. Service was excellent. But, oddly the waitstaff seemed rushed. This is not the case in other top restaurants. The atmosphere is a bit catering-hall-ish. And, the wine pairings were extremely disappointing, so much so that we aborted the pairings after the second wine and just ordered a bottle. To be fair, they did not charge for the disappointing glasses we drank. Considering that we spoke to the sommelier first and explained that we tended to like full bodied reds and drier wines in general, it was pretty bad of them to serve us two sickeningly sweet whites in a row.

        I also just checked their website. They no longer do an 8 course tasting menu. They do a 7 course fixed menu now. When we were there, they asked us what we don’t like. Then, for each course, they brought out two different dishes, one for each of us, each course a surprise and with nothing on our list of don’t likes. So, each of us sharing each course, we each got to taste 16 different things, all of them wonderful.

        Now that their menu is fixed (and even more expensive), I would probably not go back. There are other phenomenal restaurants in NYC. And, at this price, everything should be amazing.

        Jean Georges, Aureole, and Le Bernardin would all be excellent options in this league. Aureole is particularly cool for having the same quality of service but less formal and more jovial.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        There are good restaurants in NYC? Thats good to know.

        I used to say that if I go on vacation and come back talking about what food I ate to: “Just shoot me because it won’t be worth living.”……………. and now, I’m doing it. ……… please aim accurately. My only defense–I didn’t do this before getting interested in food as a hobby. Before this, I saw eating food as a speed bump in an otherwise active day….. which included drinking beer.

        I agree certain restaurants can produce a meal that is near impossible to do at home. One reason: preferred meat selection at the wholesale level.

        “Enjoy your “last meal” at least several times a month if you have the means to do so.” /// Exactly so …. or even just at home, try to make something “new” once a month or whenever the mood strikes, even if thats just a new frozen food from the supermarket. Thats why I tried deep fat frying and now I’m hooked on it “as a process.” That got me interested in making chorros which got me to buy a piping set. Should be fun on my next batch of eclairs.

        Used to go to San Fran on the weekends and “really wanted to” try a new restaurant each time but there was a Croatian restaurant with an excellent four course meal that was so good we felt cheated everytime we ate anywhere else. It closed when the owner/chef died. Sad day in gourmet history.

        Thinking about my choice of last meal, I gotta say what I said already: good is good. Other than the cache of the thing, what really is better? Truffles and foie gras stuffed lobster, or a good cheeseburger with fries? or a pizza from Uno’s? Good is good.

        Just shoot me.

      • I generally say that I don’t travel for the food because most food types are available in NYC. And, even the top restaurants are still cheaper than international airfare + lodging. That said, I have come back talking about the food, just not only the food. The Indian food in India was much better than in NYC. However, I still talk more about the tigers and even the culture than the food.

        Africa has some amazing food at some of the lodges. It starts with really tasty antelope. Though I wouldn’t eat them here, it is more environmentally conscious to ranch antelope in Africa than to ranch cattle for exactly the same reason that it is more environmentally conscious to ranch bison here. They’re native. They don’t require special food and antibiotics and they don’t do the same damage to the habitat.

        As for why the food at the top restaurants is better than anything you can make, a bigger reason is that they have world famous chefs. These are people who’ve been trained professionally and then become famous in a highly competitive world. To think that you could learn to do what they do is not far different than thinking that you could read a few instructions on the web and suddenly paint better than DaVinci, or learn to drive like Mario Andretti (or whoever the most famous race car driver is today), or learn to skate as well as Wayne Gretsky or Scott Hamilton.

        There is a reason why people know the names of chefs like Daniel Bouloud and Jean Georges Vongerichten but will almost certainly never hear the name of Chef Bobbo.

        The world famous chefs are basically artists, of a sort. You don’t have the years left to achieve that level of excellence. You would have had to start a whole lot earlier in life.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Well Scotty, waxing elegant on a subject I doubt you know that much about? Ha, ha.

        I don’t think it takes much expertise or art to follow a recipe. Some skill and experience of course but not years and no special genetics.

        Creating a new recipe? Yes indeed, just as you say. Too much food/wine expertise is just marketing/self promotional BS. NOT LIKE painting or driving a race car. Just because you hang the label of “artist” on an activity does not make them equivalent in any given way. Got to get specific about what “exactly” you are talking bout.

        Its even more an individual experience in cooking given that people do have different tastes. Note our mutual blaise reaction to caviar? I don’t particularly like sweets or chocolate. The worlds greatest chef artist would have near to zero appeal to me while the sidewalk crepe maker a block from the Louvre put me in Heaven with the ham and cheese. Taste is not art.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Speaking of having a lot of fun, expertise, art, gaining experience and basic skills over time, I think I may have just made the best bread I ever have. I used a “double yeast” procedure of my own crafting where I use half the yeast to make my starter and let it fester for 10-12 hours to get those yeast flavors, THEN on the last mix, I add the other half of the yeast. I think the fresh yeast gives the dough the extra lift I desire to make the loaf lighter in crumb. I don’t know, we’ll see in about 5 minutes.

        Following a recipe: the most difficult thing for me to learn regarding baking has been learning my equipment–mostly my OVEN as fate has determined to break all my ovens as I start to use them. I’ve had to learn the settings and techniques of each counter top oven I have purchased, and they are all significantly different, each having a recipe that it best serves. The trouble with wonderful home made bread is…… I eat it.

      • Hmm… one need not be a chef to be a foodie boobo.

        Just give me a call when people make reservations a month in advance for the privilege of going to your restaurant to plunk down $220 per person for your 7 course tasting menu + $130 per person for your selected wine pairings + 25% tip for your waitstaff + whatever tax your state has. I’ll fly to wherever you are to eat there.

        http://danielnyc.com/tasting

        http://www.jean-georgesrestaurant.com/jean-georges/menus/dinner/

        http://le-bernardin.com/menus/tasting-chefs

        Since you’ve obviously never seen that food is a mix of, at least, presentation (eye art) + smell + taste + sound (crunchy is only detectable by sound, believe it or not) and have never considered the art of balancing sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami in your meal, you have no clue what is involved at a top restaurant.

        So go back to making your lasagna. It does sound a bit better than at my local pizza place. However, it’s unlikely to get you written up in the New York Times.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        “Hmm… one need not be a chef to be a foodie boobo.” /// Correct. But the issue under discussion was NOT what it takes to be a foodie but rather what it takes to be a Chef. Close, but the other side of the plate.

        Can you notice you have gone off track? As in close, but different issue entirely? Should be easier to see here than in some of our other discussions.

        I hope you can work up an appetite for this little appetizer. Perhaps not a just desert but rather a main course for a gourmet of the regurgitated? A continuing whiff…….

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        My own response got me to thinking. There are actually a whole bunch of dishes I do as well as can be done. I’d add Mac and Cheese for instance. I got all fancy and made it from scratch one day starting with a nice bechumal sauce and fancy cheeses and home made noodles. Turns out it was like caviar: highly touted, but I didn’t like it. I went back to 25 cents in a box Mac and Cheese which I grew up on and quite prefer. NOW–I do add bacon bits or ham cubes and my own spice collection absence of which would cause me not to eat the stuff at all. …. my kinda actual often served good food is what Mom also made (again): chicken livers pan fried followed by hamburger rice cakes. I don’t think anyone would call it fine dining… but MAN it tastes great….or does it more just remind me of Mom?

        If your confusion about great cooking is thinking it involves lobster, truffles, Kobe Beef, or 50 year aged vinegar===you are only talking ingredients. NOT the skill/art of cooking.

        SPICES—ever notice something just isn’t quite right? Usually not really a “chef” issue but rather your own spice preferences. I am still learning my spices. When I have a side dish of rice or potatoes, I divide it up into 2-3-4 mini portions and heavily use a spice so that I get its real taste. I have learned I like CUMIN from this research. Still working on tumeric, ginger, smoked paprika, safflower and others. And doing all this has really brought me back to….>>>>fresh ground pepper. Love the stuff. Where is the “art” in any of this?

        …………..and that made me think/wonder if half or more of your assessment of “Great Chefs” is a confusion/conflation over a related issue but not really one of art or even imagination: PRESENTATION or plating or the whole process leading up to, during, and after a fine restuarant meal. None of it is the art of cooking. Do you really enjoy some unique tasting experience or just having a good time with wifey?

        …………and that made me think of several other issues. But I’ll leave them for later.

        Thinking and learning. A feast of life. Available to all, who will. (Just the Bobbo Rule)

      • Yeah. So, provide me with a list of all of the world’s top chefs with less than … say … 10 years of experience. Make sure that all the chefs on your list have multiple restaurant reviews from top food related publications. Make sure that your chefs command prices for their meals similar to the ones to which I’ve linked. Good luck.

        And, by the way, just by what you’ve told me you cook, nothing is even remotely in a league with what I’ve had in these 3 restaurants. You’re still making mud pies following the recipes of others and building your toolbox. You probably make some good tasting home cooking. So does my ex-brother-in-law. Neither of you is going to compete with Daniel Boulud and Jean Georges Vongerichten in this life time.

        You can not now and never will be able to make meals of this caliber.

        That’s what I mean by paying for a meal you know you can never ever make for yourself. You just will never be in that league. So, take your ego out back and shoot it if it is still making you believe you can.

        No offense intended. Your food is probably delicious. So is the pizza a couple of blocks from here. No one is coughing up top dollar for either.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        wow! You actually paid attention and moved your analysis towards the subject actually being discussed. So unusual, so nice. I suppose I really should respond mor in kind by being kind—I just need a few minutes to adjust.

        Lets see–are world famous chefs that have been plying their skills for years all made up of chefs who have been cheffing for a long time? A perfect example of circular thinking. Ha, ha. Move towards the light Scotty: how long do you think those master chefs have been cooking wonderful food? And to the subject: what was it that allowed them such talent??? Was it MY POSITION: following the recipes, or your position: some unique individual artisic attribute not shared by others except by a normal statistical distribution?

        OF COURSE—-SOME of those chef have the art you speak of. But for most human beings success comes from application and hard work. Perhaps that is unique as well, but I see it all the time.

        ONE OF BOBBO’S GOLDEN RULES: What one human being can do, so can others if not a whole lot of people.

        Lets see–is there anything I can and do regularly cook that would match a world chef? Yes I think so: crepes, ice cream, waffles, scrambled eggs, fudge, onion soup. Still working on bagets, croissants, breaded anything that is fat fried, corn dogs.

        I wouldn’t confuse recipes that take a long time or special equipment or expensive ingredients with having a certain expertise/artistic flair for the art (and SCIENCE) of cooking or most properly baking. EG–the current interest in food science making foods by manipulating basic chemistry by freezing, homogenizing, souse vide and so forth. Nothing really artistic going on there besides having the equipment/chemicals before the general public.

        I do see “art” and “unique skills” in things like music and in athletes. TRY as I might, I will never bat 500 and I will never compose an Aria===but I think in short order I could reproduce anything cooked by anyone else and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. And so could you.

      • bobbo,

        I know this is going to sound condescending and obnoxious. I promise I don’t actually mean it that way. Get out your dictionary before you get offended.

        Anyway, here goes.

        I am terribly sorry bobbo. I see where and why we’re talking past each other. I underestimated the depth of your ignorance.

        Ignorance in the literal sense, the denotational, not the connotational sense. Just, that you really don’t know. You could learn. But, you don’t know now.

        I am absolutely sure you are a better cook than I am. I have no doubt of that. At the same time, I now have no doubt at all that you have no idea what goes on inside a top restaurant.

        You think it’s all presentation. It isn’t. And, it is.
        You think it’s all about the service. It isn’t And it is.
        You think it’s all about the main ingredient in the dish. It most certainly isn’t at all.

        It’s about the art of the presentation. Always. At all of the top restaurants.

        It’s about the service. Always. At all of the top restaurants.

        It’s about the a unique combination of flavors never before experienced on someone else’s menu. Always. At all of the top restaurants.

        If you want fantastic implementations of what you’ve already eaten, but better, go to a moderately priced mid-range restaurant. You can spend anywhere from 60-150pp for this.

        If you want something truly new and different and at an entirely new level from anything you’ve ever had before, then you take out a second mortgage and go to a top restaurant. The tastes will knock you off your feet. You have not experienced anything similar before.

        I know you haven’t by what you’ve just said. Corn dogs??!!? really??!!? Breaded deep-fried crap? That’s pub grub. Baguettes? First, learn to spell the word. Crepes? What are you putting in them that’s so unique? I can get great savory or sweet crepes for about $15 per portion.

        Sorry bobbo. You’re a good cook. I’m a mediocre foodie. Some are far more into it than I am. Mostly, I don’t have the means to do this very often. But, even so, I’ve seen and eaten food you not only don’t know how to make but don’t know exists.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        How shall we list all the simply on the face of it errors in logic and fact you make?

        You don’t know what I know how to cook and not cook. You don’t know where or what I have eaten. King George for the 150th Anniversary of Escoffier?===It was mediocre at best. Pub grub far more satisfying. You confuse the job of a chef with the job of a restauranteur. I talk about taste and ask if you have confused it with presentation and you go off the deep end saying I think being a chef is “all” about presentation. Then you make a meaningless back track that it is about presentation. You flip flop from one extreme position to the other….. kinda like over spiced food===NO BALANCE.

        Do you know the difference between taste and flavor?? Which is most affected by presentation????? ((Danger Will Robinson!!!))

        Name one thing you think goes on in a restaurant that I don’t know about. Connect that notion to how that fact if true prevents me and others from becoming a great chef….. or to the point….able to make food following a recipe that can not be distinguished from those you consider great. Consider the coke/pepsi challenge as you try to cover up.

        Let me refresh and DIRECT YOUR WAYWARD ATTENTION: the issue is what does it take to make great food? I say all that is needed is the recipe and some basic skills/experience to master those skills called on by that recipe. Practicably, EVERYONE can cook great food. Creating new and different cutting edge recipes?==I agreed THAT is where some artistry and unique expertise is called for. You still are conflating the food you are eating with everything else going on around it. Focus.

        I said I have not mastered Corn Dogs yet. Still high on my list right now–double dipped corn/cheese dogs wrapped in ham (cordon bleu) with a good german potato salad. And you say what? Pub Grub is not subject to the skills/art of a great chef? Then you again double back and say being a great chef is not about the main ingredient used? No, I don’t feel condescended to. I don’t think we are speaking past each other either.

        You can’t keep in mind what is agreed to and what is disagreed on as you crap together your melange of meaningless suppositions. WHAT POINT ARE YOU CHAMPIONING? Even if everything “about me” you say is true===that has nothing to do with how long it would take me, you, or the average motivated Joe to learn to make whatever dish you have in mind.

        WHAT ONE HOOMAN CAN DO, PRETTY MUCH EVERY OTHER HOOMAN CAN DO TOO. Ha, ha.

        It all ties back to “thinking.” Scotty===you don’t know what goes on inside our great universities do you?

        ….. but I’m just joking by parallel construct, sounding just as irrelevant as you do. You see the humor?===or is it an acquired taste?

      • Nevermind boobo. I admit that I’m not a good cook. But, you refuse to admit you don’t know the end goal. Yes. I know the difference between taste and flavor. Please post a link to your King George restaurant. I’d be curious to know what you consider to be top end. And, read what’s on the menus I posted and notice the huge gap in the types of food you and I are discussing.

        Even if everything “about me” you say is true===that has nothing to do with how long it would take me, you, or the average motivated Joe to learn to make whatever dish you have in mind.

        This goes to the heart of my point. Cooks make “whatever dish you have in mind.” Chefs make incredible dishes that please all of the senses and that did not previously exist.

        What one person can do, so can another? No. For example, any average Joe with a reasonable level of intelligence can learn to use General Relativity. That does not make the average Joe Einstein. Not everyone can come up with a new way of looking at the universe and have it consistently pass test after test. It’s about creativity. I’m no Einstein. Neither are you. I’m no Jean Georges Vongerichten. Neither are you.

        We’re talking past each other again and have no hope of agreement on this wildly off-topic tangent. I’m done.

      • Here’s one of Daniel Boulud’s courses.

        SICILIAN PISTACHIO AND LICORICE CRUSTED SEA SCALLOPS
        Gourgane Panisse, Spinach, Sauce Diable

        Would you have added pistachio and licorice to sea scalops and then topiped it with a spicy sauce? Before you read this? Without having gotten the idea from reading someone else’s menu?

        Say yes. I dare you to claim that you would come up with something like this on your own with no prompting and no recipe book.

        (Guess I wasn’t as done as I had thought.)

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Gee Whiz Scotty==you really can’t stay on subject can you. I am very happy this has happened on a subject where it is so clear. As you have CONSISTENTLY done this on almost every other subject we have gotten into, I see clearly what the challenge is.

        What is the subject you are trying to address Scotty? One short sentence is best….stop you from rambling to confusion.

        xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

        I’ll express your challenge this way: ((Can’t find that nice service you found so I’ll skip this step))

        The point is not what food I like to cook or eat, nor what you like to cook or eat. The POINT WAS you stated that to be a great chef was something quite unique wrongfully concluding “To think that you could learn to do what they do is not far different than thinking that you could read a few instructions on the web and suddenly paint better than DaVinci,” /// and I say basically “anyone” could do it. Some skill, some practice, but not all that special. An investment in time and money not available to most of us including even great and good cooks?===sure.

        In point of fact, I made scallops a week ago. I forget if they were bay or sea…probably sea as they are cheaper (but not as delicate and tasty). Probably injected with preservative as that is hard to avoid without sourcing directly as so many “great” chefs do with their main ingredients. I sauteed half plainly with a bit of vinegar, butter, and garlic and to the other half I breaded (or crusted as your challenge calls it to avoid being thought of as pub food) with almonds because it was the nut I had on hand. Ate the pistachios earlier in a biscotti I made. I did top half of those with soy sauce and the other half with tahini. Again, it was what I had on hand. OH WHAT A GREAT CHEF I WOULD BE with a bottle of $1000 Modena Reserve Balsalmic Vinegar or $2000 bottle of white truffle oil…with a side of caviar. Ohhhhhhh but licorice…. yeah, I could never think of that. I’ve never eaten a Chef’s Meal where the course was not “uniform” in presentation …. meaning no different spices on the same food in the same course. I got into the habit of doing that when trying to learn what spices I liked. Now, I like the variety and the comparison it allows. Gee…. do I prefer the licorice infusion or the pig semen? The sea salt or the burned citrus??

        King George V…. in Paris. Two Stars but Irrelevant as the notion was Escoffier–celebrating the Father of Modern French cuisine. Bobborule: You haven’t made a meal if you don’t have two complementing sauces!!

        Focus Scotty—-FOCUS. ((AKA–define your terms. ha, ha.))

      • If you can, it is worth eating at a top restaurant to have a meal thst you know you could never make for yourself.

        But, for you bobbo, don’t worry, I’m sure that your paint by numbers clowns are every bit as wonderful as Mona Lisa.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        If you can, it is worth eating at a top restaurant to have a meal thst you know you could never make for yourself. /// I’ve given you three examples of doing just that. Focus Scotty===I said FOCUS!!!!! Can you identify exactly why I cannot follow a recipe given the ingredients and hardware? It took me a year to learn to fly jet airplanes. Could I learn to top a scallop with Essence de Licorice in a year Scotty?

        But, for you bobbo, don’t worry, I’m sure that your paint by numbers clowns are every bit as wonderful as Mona Lisa. //// Ridiculously again I agreed that music and sport does require something not achievable by practice. I did not say painting….. because I paint too. And I actually started as a kiddie with paint by numbers. Most of such art is a sham. Prices and fame pimped by corrupt collectors manipulating a market. ((Rockefeller, Warhole==that current guy who mocks the public at their production line taste….same as it always was.))

        I think you are too easily led astray. FOCUS.

        Why do you champion making yourself incompetent and unable to do what other human beings do? Keep that notion to yourself. I’m busy flying with the Angels.

      • Flying with angels. I guess that’s about the same as sleeping with the fishes.

        I see the issue though bobbo. Your mommy told you you could be anything you wanted. And, you still believe her.

        Any motivated average joebo can be any/all of:

        • Einstein
        • DaVinci
        • Michael Jordan
        • Miss America
        • Charles Darwin
        • Jean Georges Vongerichten
        • Jesus Christ
        • Picasso
        • Wonder Woman
        • Michael Phelps
        • Any Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle
        • Gandalf
        • Marie Curie
        • Tiger Woods
        • Barbra Streisand

        It’s easy to suddenly be one of only a handful of the top people in any field out of 7 billion people on the planet. Especially if you’re delusional. (OK, perhaps the fictional characters shouldn’t be on the list. Consider Wonder Woman and Jesus Christ removed.)

        Being the top in any field requires aptitude and many years of dedication. Maybe you have that aptitude and dedication. Forgive me if I’m skeptical.

        I’m going to leave it there. If you say that you are as good at painting as Monet as any chef in the world, I’ll take you at your word, at least until I taste your food.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Hey Scotty—at the end of this, you should take this side bar re cooking, print it, read it over and over until you see the very consistent and incorrect way you process an argument/discussion.

        You are continuously NOT responding to what I have clearly said.

        You may want to seek the services of a public speaking group ((whats the group that does…Toastmasters?)), a debate coach, a linguist, psychologist, or even a lawyer-or maybe anyone’s crotchety old Dad?

        Re your list: I have twice said I could not be an athlete or musician. I’ll add theoretical physicist which on other threads I have stated my severe limits in understanding the field.

        The issue restated from your position is: “Does it take special skills and artistic insight to be a World Class Chef?” /// You say Yes, I say anyone can follow a recipe “but” yes it takes the skill and insight you talk about to make NEW recipes.

        Simple.

      • We’re going to have to leave it there. (Sorry, I can’t embed this.)

        http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-october-12-2009/cnn-leaves-it-there

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Fair enough… but …we aren’t THAT far apart in our views and appreciations. Only in our ability to discuss that slight difference.

        Heres a suggestion to approach resolving this divide: when I say I could never be a good athlete don’t argue back that I think anyone can be as good as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods or any of the Teenarge Mutant Ninja Turtles.

        In doing so, you shit in the punch bowl. Avoid shitting in the punch bowl.

      • I don’t drink punch. I left that there for you bobbo.

        (posted a while ago from my phone, but didn’t get through, I guess)

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Well Scotty, thats the whole point and meaning of my extreme characterization===everyone who reads this thread drinks from that same punch bowl.

        I’ve been thinking “too much” about this very disagreement and how it does or doesn’t characterize most if not all our disagreements? Is it me, is it you, is it our interaction, how much of both, something else? You know===disagreements being an opportunity to LEARN.

        I have decided, it is you, hence the punch bowl reference being warranted. As Expelled as commented… you are “good” … but may I say only in straight exposition. It is indeed in examining the fine distinctions that may exist where you falter and really show no discernment or LEARNING. Its like you have 10 indents on your wheel of fortune in a venture that requires 90 other points inbetween.

        You think we disagree…. when basically we do agree. Both are knobs are at #9. I just tweak mine to #9.4: yes there are GREAT CHEFS==but once they establish a recipe, most people can follow it. Same with painting. The masters are all too easy to copy. Their actgual works, or their style. They gave us the recipe. AGAIN–ITS THE COMING UP WITH SOMETHING NEW that separates the World Class Chefs from one another and from the rest of us. Although I could take that to #9.4.5==but first we need to tighten that loose screw you have.

        Monet is interesting. NOT a great painter at all. Have you ever been to his house? All he did was paint what he saw. Nice day trip out of Paris. (Sarc/off===but its mostly true.)

      • It’s my punch bowl and I’ll shit if I want to … shit if I want to …

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Humor can suave any number of sins. From memory, doesn’t that song go on to say “….♫… you would cry too if it happened to you?…”

        Pearls.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Hah!==Just heard that word yesterday for when you think of something better to say as you walk out the door………

        Of course you can shit when you want to. So consistently you are close, using many of the same words yet still discussing/understanding a different issue. HERE–the issue is: do you have the skill, ability, insight to NOT shit when you DON’T want to? So close.

      • From memory, doesn’t that song go on to say “….♫… you would cry too if it happened to you?…”

        Yes. But, since I replaced cry with shit, it should say, “….♫… you would shit too if it happened to you.”

        Of course you can shit when you want to. So consistently you are close, using many of the same words yet still discussing/understanding a different issue. HERE–the issue is: do you have the skill, ability, insight to NOT shit when you DON’T want to? So close.

        Yes. If you provide me with interesting enough replies, I will read them in more detail. As it was, I didn’t give a shit (more shitting) about the exact details of your posts, so just skimmed them. Your point still seemed to be that you could cook whatever any world-class chef can cook.

        I respectlessly disagree.

        But, invite me to your house for dinner sometime and maybe you can convince me.

        For now, if I could invoke Godwin’s Law on a sub-thread, I would just comment on what a great chef Hitler was and do so. But, I can’t close a sub-thread. So, I guess if you want to continue on with this inane drivel, go for it. I promise to keep shitting in the punch bowl as long as you keep drinking the punch.

        Can we finally just leave it there? If so, don’t answer. Just let this silly conversation, if it can be called a conversation, die of old age. It got senile long ago.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        You continue your pyroclastic flow of diarrhea. In point of fact: you don’t “know” and your strongest condemnation is legitimately maxed out at agnosticism or a firm doubt.

        I remain convinced you aren’t using your intelligence to keep in mind the difference between FOLLOWING a recipe vs making a NEW one. aka==standing on the shoulders of the greats who went before you vs being inventive of mind and innovating.

        Einstein was GREAT because he had the insight to figure out that E=mc2. After that recipe was given to the world, it was very easy for lesser mind to follow it and even make advances.

        Here is 9.4.5 of the discussion: EVEN IF, I am wrong, my idea EMPOWERS anyone who wants to have fun in the kitchen, or paint, or do anything else that man can do. Find your own limits/enjoyment. DON’T THINK “oh, you have to be a special and unique person of special artistic temperament or insight to do … whatever. That way is self loathing narcissism of the type that makes one proud in some weird way to shit in punchbowls.

        Avoid shitting in punchbowls. Hitler shit in the punchbowl. You don’t want to be like Hitler do you???

      • Hitler shit in the punchbowl.

        ROFLMAO!!!! Unfortunately, I was shitting in the punchbowl at the time, so now my whole ass is in the punchbowl along with a bunch of floaties.

        bobbo, if your delusional beliefs help make you a better cook, go for it. But, how is that argument different from a religious person’s argument that since their religion helps them, the delusion is a positive one?

        Last night, I had a wonderful dinner at a restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper West Side owned by a chef who trained personally with Daniel Boulud and worked for him for years (5, I think). The meal was fantastic. I loved every minute of it.

        And yet, in 5 years, I’m unlikely to still be talking about it.

        So, what is it about that meal that will keep it from being the type of a truly memorable experience to be discussed and mentally revisited for years to come? Why was this different than the top restaurants in NYC?

        This man worked with and trained under Daniel Boulud. He might have made some of the food I ate at Daniel years ago. Why is his own restaurant not the type of experience and level of cuisine of Daniel or Le Bernardin or Aureole or Jean Georges?

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        ROFLMAO!!!! Unfortunately, I was shitting in the punchbowl at the time, so now my whole ass is in the punchbowl along with a bunch of floaties. /// You remind me of the joke about the Mother never “getting it” when calling her offspring “a son of a bitch.” Same with you. Avoid shitting in the punch bowl–or atleast loudly proclaiming your love of doing so.

        bobbo, if your delusional beliefs help make you a better cook, go for it. But, how is that argument different from a religious person’s argument that since their religion helps them, the delusion is a positive one? /// 9.4.5 is a subtlety beyond your choices of 9 or 10, but here are two: Firstly, its not delusional if its true. Any reasonably competent person with a few learned skills or with specific skills learned for any given recipe can fairly quickly learn to follow any given recipe. What great insight do you think is required to parboil an item for 15 seconds, then plunge it into an ice bath, then finely dice that into a custard then put that mix into a steam injection oven at 450 degrees for 30 minutes and then lower the temp to 350 for 10 minutes and then lower the temp another 10 deprees for the next hour? I would never have thought to do that…but I can follow the recipe. So can you. Can the retard down the street?… No. Now–after failing to recognize the difference between creating and following a recipe is past, you also make a failing understanding of the role of delusion vs motivation. The delusion of religion leading one to think they have the truth about the real worl or even the unseen world is totally different than the motivation that positive thinking can have on an individuals performance. The former is false, the latter is true. Can you see the difference?

        Last night, I had a wonderful dinner at a restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper West Side owned by a chef who trained personally with Daniel Boulud and worked for him for years (5, I think). The meal was fantastic. I loved every minute of it.

        And yet, in 5 years, I’m unlikely to still be talking about it.

        So, what is it about that meal that will keep it from being the type of a truly memorable experience to be discussed and mentally revisited for years to come? Why was this different than the top restaurants in NYC?

        This man worked with and trained under Daniel Boulud. He might have made some of the food I ate at Daniel years ago. Why is his own restaurant not the type of experience and level of cuisine of Daniel or Le Bernardin or Aureole or Jean Georges? /// On the face of it, you didn’t like his food as much? He might not be as good a chef, or he didn’t follow the recipe close enough, or your tastes are “locked onto” your earlier experience, or the raw food selection/source was not the same, or the food was in fact very much better than what you had the first time but you didn’t leave a big enough tip the last time so the waiter shit in your punch bowl?

        Could be all sorts or things.

        Life is like that.

      • Interesting. You claim to be so good at following a recipe. And yet, you never realized that chefs do not blindly follow recipes.

        As for proudly proclaiming that I shat in the punch bowl, you failed to realize that it was originally an admission of guilt on my part for skimming rather than poring over each of your tedious posts. Now, I’m becoming proud of it because you are making an ass of yourself continuing a monumentally silly conversation.

        So, I say, drink up!!! You seem to be enjoying my turds and adding quite a few of your own.

        What is it about cooking that you think is so mind-numbingly dumb that any average induhvidual can cook what the top chefs do? Do you think that a paint-by-numbers version of La Gioconda (a.k.a. The Mona Lisa) would look the same as the original? Then why think that following a recipe (the equivalent of a paint-by-numbers dish) produces exactly the same results?

        Do you really believe that top chefs do not taste the food as they’re cooking it and make subtle adjustments that are not and cannot be included in your paint-by-numbers recipe? Tonight’s meat may have slightly higher or lower fat content that needs to be accounted for to get the right consistency. The vegetables may be slightly bigger or smaller leaves. If the plants were slightly older at harvest time, the leaves may be more bitter. These differences may require adjustment of the recipe.

        Why is cooking, alone among the skill set of humanity, so easy to reproduce in your mind? Why do you believe that the results of the top chefs are so different than the results of the top of any other human endeavor? Why is this the one that you can reproduce perfectly, but not say, top performance at painting or playing music?

        Both sheet music and paint-by-numbers exist. Why would you not be able to reproduce the sound of Yo Yo Ma or a painting by Picasso but be able to reproduce the cooking of Daniel Boulud? I’m not asking you to compose the music or come up with an original painting. But, could you follow the recipe (i.e. the sheet music or a paint by numbers page) and get the same results as the original? If not, why is cooking different?

        All three are essentially recipes. Will I hear you play in Lincoln Center?

        Your turd turn.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Interesting. You claim to be so good and following a recipe. And yet, you never realized that chefs do not blindly follow recipes. //// Scotty===you are stuck on stupid. How many times do you have to be specifically told the point of distinction between us is FOLLOWING A RECIPE vs CREATING A NEW ONE? I do not claim that I am so good at following a recipe–I know that almost anyone of average competency can follow a recipe. Some practice and skills of course and not right out of the chute. Why can’t you keep this distinction and a few predicates in mind? All you do is repeat the same defective arguments without any dialectic progress at all. THUS: when a chef does not blindly follow a recipe THEN HE IS MAKING A NEW ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        If you have had a meal that you like, GET THE RECIPE and try to make it yourself. Try and fail and try again until you get it the way you like it. WHY can’t you do that? What magical element do you think exists is SIMPLY FOLLOWING THE RECIPE???? …. and of course as per second posting… the recipe includes the type of water and the altitude, whether or not lead paint drops from the ceiling, and whether or not the spice grinder was not cleaned after grinding some other spice. What about this: you think of the recipe in too general terms? I am thinking of a recipe being everything required to achieve the desired result. How can any person A not get the result of Chef B if they actually do follow the same recipe? Capiche?

        I’ll stop here. My recipe being just one idea at a time. Like following a recipe, you may fail at juggling 1-2-3-4 bean bags at a time. The recipe will show you where to throw the bag and where to look. After that, it is just practice. I claim most competent non spastic human beings can learn to do this activity. Now, go forward to 5-6-7 objects including fire and chainsaws, there could well be an “atheletic” component that I have already stated cannot be duplicated by PRACTICE. See that additional distinction??? Just because YOU can’t do something on the 1-2-3rd attempt does not mean some mystical artistic element is required.

        Not only misanthropic but narcissistic too? Ha, ha….. probably more overlap on those two than previously recognized??????

        BONUS–by the way, when you get a meal you like you should endeavor to meet, congratulate, and talk to the chef. ask him according to your own skill level what he did to achieve what result. Depending on his/her personality, you might even suggest that you are a home chef yourself and ask how long it might take you to learn all the skills. blah, blah, blah.

        Of course…. if you can’t, you can’t. But I know that you can. Like most of the challenges in life, it comes down to a choice.

        Ain’t that a bitch?

      • BTW bobbo, with respect to any kind of boiling or indeed any cooking with water as an ingredient, do you account for differences in altitude between your kitchen and the kitchen of the cookbook author? Water boils at a lower temperature at higher altitudes. Do you account for different mineral contents in the water that might affect both taste and boiling point? What about different humidity that may affect how much of the water boils off during cooking?

        I know all of that may sound silly. But, I also know that a number of restaurateurs over the years have claimed that one of the reasons New York has so many top restaurants is that the water quality is excellent. It’s also reputed to be the reason for NYC’s great bagels.

  122. All those references to love and strangers and you left out Billy Joel??!!? What, you don’t like Long Island? (Both Pat Benetar and Billy Joel are from Long Island, NY. It was a big source of L.I. pride the year that the two of them won the best female and male vocalist awards.)

    Did I mention that I grew up on Long Island? I often like to think how much better my childhood might have been if Mom had gotten her way and raised us in the city instead of in the burbs. Tough to say. I wouldn’t have been bored out of my skull in the city. But, a little kid who looked many years younger than he was might not have fared well there either.

  123. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Old Wave??!?!?!?!?!?! Now, thats a burn that will leave a scar. Every age group likes the music they grew up with but I have some friends with musically adept kiddies and without exception they relate to the best music of the Early 70’s. Course… the Beatles, Stones, Who, all the rest all revered and referenced the music (Blues and sometimes Jazz) of the 50s and 60s. Might be a common effect? I called it Geezer because you made the initial reference to that in reference to your posting persona. I figure were are close on the music since you liked “Let the Day Begin.”

    Yes, I am always amused when the au current advant guard talk about the important question being whether or not God exists. Ha, ha. Not even relevant….. something all anti-theists know and try to live by.

    I have a few Billy Joels in my list. I have a HUGE music collection gained when I didn’t know the Web would provide it all. For a while, I had stuff that could not be found on the web but every year my golden specials turn up… without all the scratches, pops, and garbles. Its nice really to revisit such music. I find it a real tonic when I happen to get depressed. Usually thats just a moment in time but it reminds me of the music then I spend the next day immersed in the music. Something to do.

    I also grew up in the burbs and often got really bored. I learned not to complain though. With Dad always reading, he would look at me and say “Boredom is the product of a dull mind.” I didn’t stop being bored, but I stopped complaining about it.

    My favorite lawyer joke is a page long transcript of supposed real cross examination that exposes the ritual of the law and the stultifying language that is used. Funny but too long. Favorite Quicky: Lawyers are unlike prostitutes in that usually when a Prostitute dies, she will stop screwing you. THAT confuses lawyers with “the law” but it usually is close enough.

  124. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    I don’t know where on this thread this comment will post. Confusing … and you changed it recently???

    “BTW, in response to being personal, I’ve had my Golden Snip Award posted on the side of my blog for years. How much more personal can I get than saying in big bold letters that I’ve not had children and have had my vasa deferentia snipped, tied, and cauterized?” /// Yeah too personal for most to respond to. But if every other person responding here said your opinions lacked strength as a result of you not having any balls, it wouldn’t take too long for you to remove that item from your shared info just to avoid the stupid subject.

    Same with sex, sexuality, orientation, preferences, practices,…. dare I say criminal record? Ha, ha. For me, it was listing my profession, it used to be my nom de flame. Too many stereotypes and jokes and side bars that don’t upset me at all other than its not about the Theme Song to The Big Bang Theory. Discussing my combat missions in Viet Nam is interesting …. but only about once every five years. “How could you bomb all those innocent women and children?”….. Well, you just line up the cross hairs and hit the pickle. THAT caused more than one bar fight.

    Always fun.

  125. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Got the punch line a bit crossed: When YOU die, the Pro will usually stop screwing you. That is much better. I too am suffering from lack of sleep. My niece is coming over in a bit to deliver a carpet cleaner to get the drug residue from my house mate out of her room and to learn how to make mayonnaise. Should be a full and satisfying day.

  126. bobbo,

    I recently changed the maximum indentation level from 5 to 3. I felt things were far too squished on the right side at 5.

    Reading
    this can
    get rather
    unpleasant
    in a very
    short time.

    So, now the threads are less well identified, but each post is easier to read. If you want, I can split the difference and go to 4. But, everyone really knows that 3 shall be the number of the counting and the number of the counting shall be 3. 5 is roight out.

    When I said I was bored growing up, my father just told me “shlug de kupp en vantz.” I’m not sure how well I’m spelling that. It’s Yiddish, possibly not the best Yiddish by the time it got filtered through my then-young brain. I means “Hit your head against a wall.” The longer version adds “… because when you stop, it feels so good!”

    For mixing god (or more accurately !god, i.e. not god) with music, I did a post on atheist anthems a while back. My personal favorite is XTC’s Dear God, which is probably after 1988.

    https://misanthropicscott.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/anttheist-anthems/

    if every other person responding here said your opinions lacked strength as a result of you not having any balls, it wouldn’t take too long for you to remove that item

    Vasectomy != Castration. I’d leave it there and tell everyone who said so that they were being idiotic. Besides, “balls” is just an expression. What people really mean by it is courage. Look at how much courage Expulsion of Gods has shown in her life. As far as I can tell, literal balls just cause the negative social consequence of driving under the influence of testosterone. In my young and stupid days, I was often guilty of that. Amazingly, it never cost anyone a life.

    As for Nam, luckily, I was too young. The draft was over before I reached draftable age, thank the great unicorn … and liberal politicians … and very courageous protestors. My uncle was there. He is the most peace-loving person on the planet, or one of them. It screwed him up permanently. He doesn’t talk about it.

    He did tell me one and only one story about when he got ringworm there. He kept throwing away the cream and soaking his leg in a rice paddy to cultivate it. Unfortunately, he later contracted gonorrhea. The penicillin cured both. So, back to active duty.

    I bet I could guess your profession. But, I won’t try.

    Here’s another of my favorite lawyer jokes, albeit also a bit long. I’m not sure why these are always purported to be true stories.

    A lawyer questioning a doctor during a trial:

    Q: “Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?”

    A: “No.”

    Q: “Did you check for blood pressure?”

    A: “No.”

    Q: “Did you check for breathing?”

    A: “No.”

    Q: “So, then, it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?”

    A: “No.”

    Q: “How can you be so sure, doctor?”

    A: “Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.”

    Q: “But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?”

    A: “It is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere.”

  127. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Hah!==that was the very joke I was thinking of. Small world??

    Yes…. I was. But not a “standard one.” I read early in my life that men thought of themselves at what they did for a living. I made a note to myself not to do that. I think I was ripe for that undertaking given that at an early age I identified myself and my life goal to be “not like my Father.” I really would like to write a book about my own psychological voyage…. but I can’t figure out a happy ending. Art has a duty, the “best” art anyway, to provide some answers, some way “out.” Irritates me any such roman de livre would be fiction.

    Ha, ha.

  128. ‘… not a “standard one.”‘ So, you didn’t have a flag?

    World English Dictionary
    standard (ˈstændəd)

    — n
    4. any distinctive flag, device, etc, as of a nation, sovereign, or special cause
    5. a. any of a variety of naval or military flags
    b. the colours of a cavalry regiment
    6. a flag or emblem formerly used to show the central or rallying point of an army in battle
    7. a large tapering flag ending in two points, originally borne by a sovereign or high-ranking noble

    I think of myself as what I did for a living, among a great many other things. It’s just one label I metaphorically wear. All of these and more are probably labels that I would apply to myself.

    geek, environmentalist, liberal, atheist, antitheist, Jew (but only culturally), traveler, wildlife watcher and photographer (amateur), human (regrettably), ape, primate, mammal, animal, earthling

    Do I fit each of these categories perfectly? Some yes. Some no. But, they’re a good shorthand and are each at least mostly true. Should I go on?

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      I’m glad to see you use the dictionary for greater understanding, rigor, and mastery of the subject under examination. ….. Yes, exactly so: I had no special cause.

      Now…. show some balls and don’t bugger me about how I never had a flag.

      ((I do crack myself up!))

      Now correct your list by using any dictionary definition of what “earning a living” means, and doesn’t mean.

      THUS THE POWER, of standard reference.

      • Actually bobbo, you have exactly the type of ego I would expect to make your own flag. But, when you said you didn’t I took you at your word.

        For a tangent back to the show, Sheldon has a flag. Though, if I remember correctly, it is the flag of the apartment in which they live, rather than his own flag. In times of emergency it is to be flown upside-down.

        Now read the full sentence I wrote earlier of which you only read the first half, pertaining to how I earned a living.

        I said, “I think of myself as what I did for a living, among a great many other things.

        See? I was making the point that what I did for a living is one of many labels that define me. Then I gave a list of that and some of the others.

        My profession was (past tense) computer programmer. I still consider myself a geek, even though I don’t write code anymore. There’s sort of a mindset to being a geek. Though, computer geek is far from carnival geek. I have never bitten the head off a live chicken. Yecch!!

  129. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Good call. I did notice it, but then did not focus on its full import. Maybe my reptilian brain stem thought you were trying to upset me.

    ……………but, otoh, the ying/yang of things the whole point of the notion is that we ARE NOT DEFINED by those types of labels whether we hang them on us ourselves or go along with society doing it. MORESO: we actually ARE what we have learned and internalized from such ACTIVITIES. The labels are not defining other than to give an indication of where our personal growth “might be” but not necessarily so.

    But I’m just acting now as if I did have a flag? Always good to verbalize how much of the opposite is in whatever truth we find for ourselves? What label is that…..that doesn’t start with a profanity?

    ……….but I dither.

    (((In any real sense, my nom de flame is a flag, and I do proudly fly it. But I never did that as part of earning my living. I was too often told I wasn’t the normal specimen. That had its pros and cons… as all things do.)))

    Hey==Happy Thanksgiving. I only got two turkeys this year as my two freezers were totally full. I put too much previously frozen food into my refrigerators and turned the cool as low as it will go. I MUST NOT BUY ANY MORE FOOD!!! Cooking as a hobby has its challenges…. all related to self control.

    RATS… I hate having to exercise self control……..and on and on and on………..

  130. New research is showing that “reptiles” (not a scientific term since it excludes members of the family) are actually smarter than previously thought.

    http://www.nytimes.com/video/science/100000002558704/reptilian-smarts.html?playlistId=1194811622182

    I agree that we are not defined by labels. However, I would suggest that labels, if used properly, are good shorthands for stating a bunch of opinions at once.

    If I say I’m a liberal, it probably says that I support, among other things, a progressive tax system, universal health care (medicare for all, in my case), taxes being spent on roads, rail, buses, and other infrastructure, equal pay for equal work, and a whole host of civil rights including same sex marriage, freedom of and from religion, and many more. Unfortunately, that label also implies that I support rent stabilization (which I don’t). But still, the label is a shorthand for a whole bunch of issues with which I do agree and saves a lot of time listing them.

    Similarly, the label environmentalist implies that I support alternative fuels, carbon tax, clean water act, clean air act, organic farming, reforestation, sustainable timber practices, the endangered species act, and another whole host of other environmental protection regulations and issues. So, this label again saves a butt load of time typing up that segment of who I am.

    Labels such as these are mere shorthand. And, if used properly, they work to save a lot of time.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and to all from me as well.

    Did you remember to thank those turkeys? You made a valuable contribution to the meal you cooked. The turkeys made a commitment. Since there are no gods, they contributed not a damn thing and need not be thanked.

    Now on to important matters, what was that you have against rats?

  131. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Dither: labels you put on yourself are fine as you have analysed the Venn Diagrams and found mostly overlap. I do assume you would not advocate or support some liberal or environmentalist position just because the majority of other people with those same labels say that any such given position was mandatory for those claiming the label? If that is true, then you are indeed not “defining” yourself by those labels but merely using those labels as a shorthand generality for others to use.

    We have to define what defined by means.

    Same old game?

    I like rats. Had quite a few as pets. Intelligent, clean. I trained mine to go to the food bowl when I rang the bell. I could take them outside to our Koi pond/rock pile where they would hide in the rock crevices yet they would rush out when the bell was rung. I thought Skinner would be proud of me…… but he probably wouldn’t care???

  132. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Its what Charlie Brown would say on being frustrated.

  133. You’re right that I don’t “define” myself by the labels that apply to me. I don’t believe I ever said it that way. I said that I am certain labels.

    I am a diabetic; my diabetes does not define me.
    I am a liberal; liberalism doesn’t define me.
    I am a geek; geek does not define me.

    I am an environmentalist; environmentalism … well … that just might define me. Though, to be fair, I don’t blindly follow anything just because a bunch of environmentalists think it’s right at the moment. For example, there was a time when environmentalists though that ethanol as a fuel was a good idea. Probably some still do. I never did. Whenever people put fuel for our SUVs in competition with food for poor people, the SUVs will win. Then the poor people will lose. Then the forests will lose to the poor people.

    Many, but far from all, environmentalists think that nuclear fission is necessary for solving the world’s power problems without fossil fuels. Since the tsunami and resulting radiation problems, some have changed their tune. I have said for a long time that nukes were not the answer. I was briefly convinced that 4th generation reactors, i.e. breeder reactors, could help. From a nuclear waste issue, they may even help. But, safety is still a huge issue.

    Anyway, the point is that environmentalism is a very strong ideal of mine. It might come close to defining me, or at least a large part of me. But, there are disagreements over what environmentalism means. Should one choose local or organic when there is no choice for both? Should one choose a hybrid vehicle despite the nickle or lithium considerations? Is it better to buy wine from France or California? (Hint: It depends on which side of the Mississippi River you’re on.)

    • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

      It’s me again.

      If scientists could somehow get underway with nuclear fusion, that would be the was to go. However, it is my understanding that this cannot be accomplished insofar as it being a source of energy at the moment because it takes in more energy then it produces. Is this correct?

      But, even if they do find a way, I do not see this happening too soon because of the oil market that would rather keep us strapped and under their control like any drug dealer would.

      Washington love’s their money.

  134. From a technical standpoint, my understanding of fusion is that:

    1. It does take a lot to get it started.
    2. You do still get back more energy than you put in, probably much more.
    3. The temperature at which the reaction takes place is way to high to contain at this point.
    4. We have not yet gotten to the point where we can keep the reaction going and keep it under control.

    From a political standpoint, there would be big government money in it. So, those who stand to win would probably be able to get a piece of the pie. They’d probably get initial investment and lobbying help from Wall St. Those guys couldn’t care less where the money comes from as long as they make money hand over fist.

    Decentralized energy like solar is particularly annoying to them because they can’t figure a way to make a huge profit on it.

    But yes, there would be opposition from oil and coal, which are two very powerful interests.

  135. Here’s an article about how Britain is trying for a fusion power plant.

    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/nov/10/explaining-nuclear-fusion-cheap-energy

    I tried reading the wikipedia page on nuclear fusion and got a bit lost trying to find a section that talked about the state of the technology and current barriers to implementation.

    This could be a good article on the subject. Though, I’m getting a bit tired to read it at present.

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Current-and-Future-Generation/Nuclear-Fusion-Power/

    • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

      I’ve been reading the Wikipedia article, but it’s very extensive and is sort of repetitive in some areas. I’m growing tired also because articles like that tend to make me sleepy.

      I do find it interesting though…
      At least it is a much safer fuel than conventional fission reactions as was mentioned. You’ve made some very interesting points with this, Scott. God you’re good.

  136. Rob Nolan says:

    Has anyone noticed that if you listen to the lyrics they sing 14 MILLION years ago NOT billion?

  137. Nickster says:

    I don’t think they’re saying ‘million’, after all 14 million years is an eye blink on cosmic scales. The last of the non-avian dinosaurs died out almost 5 times that long ago.

    I do think they’re saying “a fraction of a second, and the elephants were made” though.

    • Rob Nolan says:

      Yes I agree it’s supposed to be ‘billion’. Million make no sense, but if you listen to the theme song at the opening of the show ‘million’ is what they say. I’ve listened to it over and over on the DVDs and it’s just not ‘billion’

      • James says:

        Yes sir. I agree. They sing millions. The funny part is that nobody caught that in this entire thread. They are all discussing the facts of heat and pressure but completely missed the ‘Millions’ in the song.

  138. The written lyrics do say billion. But, the song sure does sound like million. But, I also detect a slight catch in the throat that could be adding to the confusion.

  139. Stix says:

    Hmm, 5 years and counting.
    I hear billion on this you tube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REw5-_rpFDE will have to netflix it when I get home for a larger sample size.

  140. Nova says:

    Thank you so much for this! The line about autotrophs drooling always really bothered me. I remember the first time I watched the show I said “But autotrophs don’t drool, why would they drool!? They fix carbon, do you think the song meant that they fix carbon?!?” For days that line bothered me, even now I can’t watch the show without a commenting on it. I’m glad it wasn’t only me that was bothered! 🙂

    • Definitely not just you Nova. My wife and I cringe every time we hear that.

      I will confess that it was the song that caused me to google autotrophs. But, once I did, I was just going “huh??!!?”

  141. Chasg says:

    Anybody who believes in the Big Bang theory is a moron. I don’t think they are near as primitive as Christians, but how do so many people believe in such ridiculous ideas? Try thinking for yourselves and maybe advance the human race a bit.

  142. Roy says:

    I think I can explain some of the things you have pointed out as inaccuracies. I actually arrived here when I noticed that they refer to the big crunch in the full song even though it was written in 2007 (almost a decade after this theory was disproved).
    As for the other points you make:

    *Autotrophs began to drool (for some reason I always heard ‘trolls began to drool’…) – there are two possible explanations to this. First, you could think of autotrophs dripping in the rain which looks like drooling. Secondly, this could be a referral to evolution of autotrophs to more evolved life forms that consume other life forms.

    *Time required for the formation of elements and galaxies – I believe they are referring to the portrayal of the time since the big bang as a 12 hour clock. It’s not accurate, but it does give a scale. Also, they don’t say ‘the time since the big bang’ but the time it actually took them to form.

    *Dinosaurs – of course they mean non avian dinosaurs (the ones that were late to leap according to the song). Homo erectus is extinct yet here you are (a descendant of them)… ‘froze their asses off’ of course refers to the cooling that occurred as a result of particles flown to the atmosphere at impact.

    • Thanks Roy. Unfortunately, I have some issues with your more generous interpretation of the lyrics.

      you could think of autotrophs dripping in the rain

      The problem with this is that life didn’t immediately move onto land. I’m not sure of the time frame between the dawn of life on our planet land-based life. Nor do I know whether there were already heterotrophs in the seas before there was any land-based life. Presumably, autotrophs began to drool, whatever that might mean, before heterotrophs evolved. I expect that this drooling most likely would have had to take place in the sea. So, I remain unconvinced that this was the intent of the songwriter.

      Time required for the formation of elements and galaxies – I believe they are referring to the portrayal of the time since the big bang as a 12 hour clock. It’s not accurate, but it does give a scale. Also, they don’t say ‘the time since the big bang’ but the time it actually took them to form.

      This would be fine. But, there’s no indication that anything else in the song refers to time in this way. The only concrete reference to time is the 14 billion years at the beginning of the song. So, since I’m playing the part of Sheldon, I’ll stay with the literal interpretation.

      Dinosaurs – of course they mean non avian dinosaurs (the ones that were late to leap according to the song).

      Of course they do. They’re just missing the point that birds are dinosaurs. That’s a huge point to miss. Precisely because so many people miss this point, the American Museum of Natural History is opening a new exhibit called “Dinosaurs Among Us” to try to make people understand this.

      http://www.amnh.org/join-support/landing/member-preview-days

      Homo erectus is extinct yet here you are (a descendant of them)…

      Right. But, literally no one (except maybe Sarah Palin or Dan Quayle) would make the mistake about saying that the hominids went extinct. Saying that the dinosaurs went extinct while ignoring 10,000 living dinosaur species is kind of a big deal. It’s a mistake that is in magnitude equal to twice the number of mammal species alive today.

      ‘froze their asses off’ of course refers to the cooling that occurred as a result of particles flown to the atmosphere at impact.

      And, that’s why I point out that they probably didn’t freeze. Even if the planet got cold, many species survived the cold, including the closely related crocodilians. It seems highly unlikely that the cause of the deaths of the non-avian dinosaurs which had such enormity of gigantothermy going for them was caused by temperature. The far more likely reason is the massive need for food in such a large animal. In fact, given that many were probably warm-blooded, as the living dinosaurs today all are, the higher food needs of a large warm-blooded species would make them more vulnerable to starvation.

      In fact, as pointed out in Under a Green Sky by Peter Ward, the other mass extinctions on the planet were all caused by warm periods. And, even in the extinction 65.3 MYA, it was the 10 million year warm period that followed that didn’t allow life to proliferate as richly until the cooling that then allowed all of the diversity we see and are killing today.

  143. ECA says:

    And I love the story of Noah…
    Esp. when you consider the animals, and Pigs are considered forbidden..and we still have pigs..for all the forbidden foods, Noah took them all..why not leave them behind and never worry about them?
    Love Adam and eve…Talk about a Pornographers Wet dream..20 Children, and no one to tell you right and wrong. Incest, and more then 1 wife…
    And for some reason, we preach this tale, but decline to live by it??
    Unlogic…and reality..it wasnt long ago, that there was 1 bed in a home and we all SLEPT in it..
    A BATH, wasnt a regular thing..and 1 bath, was used for everyone..which is way, throw the baby out with the bath water COULD be a problem..
    If you REALLY want to change things and the meanings in the bible…DO IT, but NEVER look back.
    King James(you should look this up) had the bible rewritten…because Protestants and Catholics did not get along…
    WOW, 2 christian groups that dont get along…its a long history of BEATING each other down..
    Also, I love people who DONT understand where Sharia law comes from, and dont compare the TRUE OLD testament, with what Muslims are saying..

    • This is somewhat of a tangent to the actual thread. But, I’m always up for a good tangent. So let’s run with it.

      As the Westboro Batshit Crazies might say if they read more of the Bible than the one line about homosexuality:

      GOD
      HATES
      PIGS!

      God hates pigs three times as much as He hates homosexuals, noting 3 separate locations in the Bible where eating pig is verboten. While pig is not the only food forbidden by the Bible, it certainly seems that God has a special vengeance for pigs. Or, perhaps he loves pigs so much he doesn’t want them killed. Whatever though, God most certainly does not like that Christmas ham that sinners who will burn in Hell love to enjoy.

      As for Adam and Lilith Eve, the story is not only ludicrous, it’s offensive. Adam had a smart, sexy, independent wife who looked like this.

      Pick up your jaw and stick your tongue back in your mouth. And stop drooling! And put the rat away. It’s just an image. You’re not going to tempt the snake away from Lilith.

      Adam was offended that this smart and hot babe didn’t want to be subservient. Seriously? If you want subservience, get a dog.

      But, God apparently thought Adam’s behavior and demand for a puppy was reasonable. So, for the price of one rib, God made Adam a weak-minded woman who looked like this.

      Nothing wrong with Eve’s appearance. But, I don’t see you drooling. Unless, did you scroll back up to Lilith? Stop that. The discussion is down here now. No. Not down there. Here. Pry your eyes away from Lilith for a moment.

      Imagine if the silly story were actually true. Imagine how much smarter we’d all be if we had been bred from a smart woman like Lilith instead of a puppy dog mindlessly willing to always lie on the bottom and obey her husband’s wishes.

      Oh well. Good thing the whole steaming mound of dung is only fiction.

      BTW, in the middle ages, that one bath thing was worse than you think. People might bathe once or twice a year, if memory serves. And, when they did, the lord of the manner would bathe first. Then his wife. Then the rest of the family and staff and peasants in some pecking order.

      All without changing that water once!

      Yecch!!

      Spring cleaning? Well, in castles in cold climates, the animals had to be brought in for the winter too. They put straw on the floor. And then, everyone lived inside for the duration of the winter. Everything went on that floor. Women didn’t have sanitary supplies. Sheep are not housebroken. Etc. Everything just ended up in that straw on the floor. In spring, they swept it all outside.

      Whew! Must have been quite a nice aroma by that time.

      Regarding Sharia Law, it is truly not far different from the law of the Torah if read literally. The only advantage the Torah has is more centuries of rabbis saying “Holy Fuck!! That Torah says some horrific shit. We’d better interpret it and pretend it means something else.” Hence, the Talmud. Catholics also have the Catechisms.

      Most other groups really don’t study the Bible as carefully and (hopefully) never realize just how bad that hateful book actually is. That’s why according to this poll, atheists, then Jews, then Catholics know the Bible best. Others, on average, have worse knowledge of the bullshit between the covers of that God-awful piece of shit book.

      http://www.pewforum.org/2010/09/28/u-s-religious-knowledge-survey/

      • ECA says:

        I know the problem with Pigs..
        as this planet HATES us…Pigs picked up many worms and other internal problems over time..and eating them tended to transfer these problems to humans..but TIME and domestication has changed most of this..
        Being Omnivorous, and scavengers..Bears have the same problems..
        but over time, While killing off all the Predictors, you get MORE pigs..They are very durable. And can produce 6 babies at a time, compared to other Animals/??, WHILe we could hunt the other wild animals OUT of an area…Pigs did very well..

      • Well, I like pork ’cause it tastes like people.

        Though, I agree pigs are adorable … and durable.

        Still though, when God hates, He hates forever. So, if He hated pigs in biblical times because of trichinosis, why hasn’t He issued a new statement on the subject?

  144. ECA says:

    Thats the fun part…
    nobodies listening..

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