Monday, June 17, 2013
Notion of Creation is not a theory, and scientific theories aren't proposed notions
Bible based knowledge does not lead to new scientific knowledge. People used to think the Bible was useful to learn about nature. They did try to use it as a guide to make new discoveries. However, over time, scientists started finding out that the Bible just gets so much wrong. The Bible literally has almost every major point wrong about the universe, from its description of Earth as a flat world with a tent over head
to its description of rabbits as cud chewers
. The value of the Bible is it's a general moral guide. Taking it for more than that is truly grasping as straws. People discovered the hard way that the Bible was not a good starting point to learn about nature. That's why the practice of referring to the Bible as a source for science was stopped over time.
So, to that point, Creationism based on the Bible isn't a theory. It is a failed notion. A theory isn't just a proposal. It is a proven working model of the Universe with a lot of peer reviewed data, from which accurate predictions can be made. To extend this further, those predictions often create new areas of exploration and further growth of knowledge, directly leading to new technologies, either in the exploration of the theory or as a result of knowledge learned from the theory. Last major invention spurred by Bible belief was the telescope, and use of that technology disproved that belief; the creator being forced to recant his statements
about reality and live under house arrest for the remainder of his life.
On the other hand, Darwin didn't create the Theory of Evolution, he proposed the core concepts based on his observations. Evolution was born out of the peer review process with much more independently collected data. Evolution wasn't a theory until there was a massive amount of data and extraneous amount of analysis of that data, from which the natural model was molded.
Why is Creationism not a theory? Because it doesn't have one iota of this. The supporters want a magical shortcut, using circular arguments and cherrypicked research of other people's works in the form of anecdotes and impressive looking fake equations. No actual proven predictions come from Creationsm nor from its child contrivance called Intelligent Design. Creationism is the end of knowledge, not its birth. That is why is it not a theory and it is not science. Now, that said, the challenge is always there for Creationism supporters to objectively collect data and test hypotheses. Even if they don't prove their hypotheses, at least new knowledge would come from that. This process has yet to be undertaken by Creationist (and Intelligent Design believers), or if it has, results have been hidden.
Examples of observations that would grow knowledge along the Creationist track:
These examples cannot be explained with anecdotes. Hard evidence has to be presented from scientific studies using the Scientific Method. Research doesn't count for this. New evidence has be presented. That evidence must be collected and peer reviewed. Until that happens, Creation Notion can never be put on equal footing with any Scientific Theory, especially the Theory of Evolution.
Labels: Astronomy, editorial, Evolution, Light Research, Opinion, Religion
Sunday, June 09, 2013
Article from Northwest University sites big breakthru for Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Big Multiple Sclerosis Breakthrough - Phase 1 trial safely resets patients’ immune systems, reduces attack on myelin protein
From the article:
A phase 1 clinical trial for the first treatment to reset the immune system of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients showed the therapy was safe and dramatically reduced patients’ immune systems’ reactivity to myelin by 50 to 75 percent, according to new Northwestern Medicine research.
Labels: Interesting Link, News, Technology
Saturday, June 08, 2013
WP on MJ legalizatoin; and the prohibition
The article Five myths about legalization of marijuana
has a lot of interesting points about legalization of marijuana and what is likely to really happen.
When the United States’ 40-year-long war on marijuana ends, the country is not going to turn into a Cheech and Chong movie. It is, however, going to see the transfer of as much as 50 percent of cartel profits to the taxable economy.
I don't really agree with the tone for the conclusions about the 5th myth in the article regarding the politics of the matter. The Marijuana Prohibition (and prohibition on all drugs for that matter) is neither a liberal or conservative battle. Many individuals from both camps have reasons to support the Drug Prohibition. And, many individuals from both camps have reasons to end it.
For me, these are reasons to end prohibition:
- personal liberty
- disproportionate application of the laws massive federal investment into the Drug War has not decreased drug addiction nor substantially affected overall use
- expensive drug related battles (literally) that only make our enemies stronger and us weaker by the day
- allows focus on treatment for those are prone to addiciton rather than turning them into career criminals
- better use of local funds to help other areas of society and infrastructure
- tax money from the regulation of drugs, etc.
These issues cross the political spectrum.
Labels: Economy, Interesting Link, Opinion, Political, Society
Thursday, June 06, 2013
Radioactive, radioactive radio edit controversy
There's a bit of a controversy about a popular song right now called Radioactive by Imagine Dragons
. There's a lot of complaints by fans who bought the album about how the song quality on the album is inferior to what's been playing on the radio and in trailers for movies and on commercials for new TV series. (Seriously, this song is everywhere right now.) The complaints are pretty consistent
by fans, not even haters.
Distortion was noticeable on digital format as well as CD. Very poor quality on car stereo really drives home the point.
Somehow, producer Alex da Kid thought that intentionally introducing that awful, cheap sounding distortion (several tracks, most notably beginning on 'Radioactive'), was somehow "artistic". What a stupid idea.
What's this about distortion? The bass in the song Radioactive has been distorted to sound like subwoofers maxed out. It's a rough and gravelly sound that doesn't sound good on good stereo systems (such as the stereo systems in the average car these days). I got the CD, and I agree with the criticism. It's OK, but not good.
The alternative is to actually get the radio edit version of the song
(ya'no, the version that sounds like what's been playing on the radio because it's the one that has
been playing on the radio). It does sound better, and more like what some fans expect. The drawback is that it is only available in MP3, so the rate quality of the song is what it. Even still, I like the song, and I do like the radio edit version more.
Labels: News, Opinion, Pop Cultural, Product Review
Monday, May 27, 2013
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
New England Condo Expo
I am on the Board of Trustees for the condo association that governs the community in which I own my home.
Today, I attended the New England Condo Expo
at the Seaport World Trade Center
in Boston, MA
. The convention was surprizingly crowded with a lot of vendors, including condo management, painting, gardening, insurance, pavers and high-end locksmiths to name just a few. The swag was great, including some high-end items like cooler bags, water bottles, tons of pens and various tools; not to avoid mentioning the motherload of candy and baked goods.
I attended a very informative seminar about the "Good, Bad and the Ugly" of condo association challenges. A panel of three lawyers discussed various issues, such as the recent legalization of medicinal marijuana and how that might affect communities, handling discord on a Board of Trustees, current legislation being proposed this year and how that might impact condo contracts, addressing rules for attending board meetings from a remote location via online, and recent changes in law that prevent local governments from banning specific breeds of dogs. The information was valuable, but of course, if any of these situations arise, legal council would still be preferred in many cases. Even still, this seminar made was worth the trip into the heart of Boston.
Labels: About Me, Financial, Law
Friday, April 19, 2013
Lockdown of Boston
Well, the news today is surreal. Although I don't live in the Watertown area, I do work in nearby Waltham, so I've decided to work from home today. Allie and I are safe. We have relatives in Watertown that are also doing well. Just as I type that, the email comes from work saying that our Waltham Campus is closed due to these on-going incidents. And, as I come to post this article on my blog here, the lockdown of the entire Boston area seems to have just been put in place.I gotta say, that although any city would be angry that these assholes would attack their home, Boston really was the wrong city to go after. Resolved is heighten, not diminished. The people are not terrorized, they are just pissed. Ironically, these Chechnyan terrorists have misjudged America. US has spoke out against previous Russian actions in Chechnya (de facto support of Chechnya). I'm guessing we won't be doing that anymore. So, instead of forwarding their cause for Chechnyan independence, these idiots have pretty much buried all hope of that ever happening. ...and to spend your entire adult life for one poorly executed blood bath? How sad that they valued their own lives so poorly as to give them up for so little. In America, we say, Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death. I guess these idiots motto is "Give me death because I'm going to make everyone pay for my self-loathing."
Labels: editorial, News
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Boston Marathon 2013 tragedy
The attack at yesterday's Boston Marathon was horrible. A lot of people will live the rest of their lives impacted by this henious act. The deaths are saddening. However, it is good that more people weren't killed. This article is not going to discuss any of the gruesome details since there is already plenty of that in the press right now.
The location of the attack in Boston's Back Bay
, near Copley Square
. This is an area with a rich history and includes several old churches. The marathon finish line is on Boylston Street, between Dartmouth Street to the East, and Exeter Street to the West.
View Larger Map
In the direction of Copley Square is the Old South Church
The tower of this church is visible in the background of the already famous east-facing photo of the second explosion with the smoke of the first explosion visible. (That photo isn't shown here due to respect for copyright, but it is available on many news sites and blogs, such as these 1 2 3
From Google Maps, here's what this spot looks like on a normal day, facing West near the site of the first explosion.
The President's statement about the attack about covers the Boston spirit:
Boston is a tough and resilient town; so are its people.
Labels: Interesting Link, Local interest, News
Saturday, April 06, 2013
Of what world we wonder true? Our lacking nature holds fast our corporeal soul upon the bosom of thriving abodes that guise the cradled womb. In this place stand we, me and all others, bound not in chains but yoked hereto nonetheless. Grand thrusting spears slice through the wondrous blue veil, floating on the currents of bent universe beyond this round realm, bringing to the helm fleshless anthropomorphized cold creatures to cast away the dark cloak, thus revealing remote stone for stone’s sake.
Labels: Astronomy, Poetry, Science, Stream of Consciousness
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Expose of hate
Wow, it's the 21st Century, and we still have people using the same old tired arguments to justify beliefs that are only marginally covered in some ancient "holy" text. These are the same arguments used by the Nazis to justify hatred of the Jews and other peoples in the early 20th Century, arguments used by Slave Owners to justify slavery in the 19th Century, and arguments used by racist to justify keeping the races separate during the mid-20th Century. How are they using these same bigoted arguments now? ...to attack homosexuals and gay marriage. I ran into a person spewing this nonsense on a social website the other day. Here's a brief rundown of the arguments with my opinions as replies (each one of these could be their own meme):
- Societies that have embraced homosexuality have declined - (Comment: Really? Over-extended borders, reduced/squandered resources, foreign invasions, and heavy debt are all caused by homosexuality?)
- Statistics show us that it's unhealthy to be homosexual - (Comment: What's really the point of this and how is this justification to deny equal protections under the law? It's risky crossing the street. Should we stop equal access to education for those kids that happen to need to cross a street to get to school?)
- God created and defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman - (Comment: Ah, here comes the bible-thumping! Numerous scriptures were quoted at this point. But, how many bible characters had multiple wives? A lot! The bible even sets out rules on how to take captured women from military conquests home as wives.)
- Homosexuals have a higher risk of mental illness - (Comment: Given the fact that homosexuality was classified as a mental illness up until the last part of the 20th Century, I would question any statistics linking mental illness to homosexuality. But on that point, as more scientific facts are discovered, it is becoming increasing understood that most mental illnesses have a genetic factor, which means that being prone to mental illness is also something with which certain individuals are born.)
- STDs, including HIV, higher among homosexuals - (Comment: Teen pregnancy is infinity higher among heterosexuals. Coal miners have much higher risks of lung related diseases. Umm, there's about a million other pointless and dubious statistics that can be pulled out of thin air. All of this is completely unrelated to the fact that we all deserve equal treatment under the law. )
- Societies that had a spread of Christianity had a decline in homosexuality - (Comment: No, homosexuals where just forced into hiding due to the same kind a bigotry being promoted in our time. This is a kin to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's claim that there are no homosexuals in Iran. Complete nonsense.)
- The gay marriage discussion is about changing the religious definition of marriage - (Comment: Again, no. This statement an attempt to re-frame the discussion to pretend that promoting gay marriage rights is an attack on one's own faith, as if gay marriage is somehow violating the rights of unassociated individuals. This is disingenuous at best. The gay marriage rights discussion is about equal protections under the law without regard for what beliefs one group of people have about another group of people.)
- Marriage isn't a human right, but rather an honored institution - (Comment: Talk about grasping for straws! This is a scorched-earth attempt to argue that marriage is just some sort of contract. Well, even with contracts, we are all entitled equal protection under the law. In other words, we are all allowed to enter contracts freely. So, not only does that argument contradict the earlier argument about God defining marriage, it actually makes the opposite point it is trying to make. The point is, we must have equal protection under the law, regardless the circumstances!)
- Gay couples wish to force their beliefs on corporations and the government to take advantage of benefit structures geared for traditional families. (Comment 1: Yeah, again, equal protections under the law is the point. Do we give corporations the right to deny benefits to other classes of families based on religious beliefs? No, because that is supposedly illegal. Comment 2: This statement is a hint about the right of the corporation to have a religious stand. However, a corporation is an imaginary construct of the law. The presuppositional argument is that imaginary things (like corporations) have rights that trump flesh and blood people. Since this person seems to believe that corporations (which are imaginary) have more rights than actual humans, then let's give other imaginary things rights too, like giving the Easter Bunny the right to vote!)
- Married couples pay more taxes. Gay marriage would benefit the government. (Comment: First, "oh the horror of it all! Oh no, the government will benefit from treating people equally!" Second, married couples pay less, the same or more tax based on their family situation. Number of kids, owning a home as a marriage couple, and other factors actually significantly reduce tax liability for families.)
- The point continues: What if our world economy crashes? Labor unions may fall into foreclosure; employers may have to declare bankruptcy and then won't be able to afford the benefit structures that support gay marriage afterwards. (Comment: Really? Argument against equal protections for gays involves what-iffing about world wide catastrophes? Wow! First, the inclusion of labor unions (the reason we have a middle class in American) as "foreclosing" is down right silly, and a very backwards way of expressing one's wishful thinking. I'm not sure how a union would fall into foreclosure, since unions are a free assembly of individuals for the purpose of collective bargaining. The bureaucratic portion of a labor union may go bankrupt, but that doesn't mean the union would cease to exist. A free assembly of individuals certainly cannot be foreclosed upon, as they are actual living and breathing people, not property. Second, collective bargaining is used by employers to provide benefits to their employees. The more employees that are covered, the more economical the benefits. Having gay couples included actually helps reduce costs, not increase them. Third, the idea that gay marriage will worsen a world wide catastrophe is completely ludicrous. Bankers and Wall Street will have far more to do with that than any other minority in our population.)
Much like the average fundamentalist propaganda brochures, the individual who made these points concluded their statements with a bunch of rhetorical questions that they believe they answered in their diatribe. I reserved my sharpest criticism for my own blog here, but I didn't let these bigoted claims go unchallenged on that social forum, nor was I the only one. Another Christian and others also chimed in and called out this individual for those statements.
Labels: Atheists, Christianity, Marriage, Opinion, Political, Sex