Archive for science

Institute of Human Continuity – How Hilarious!

Posted in Personal, Religion, Science/Technology with tags , , , , , , , on 2009/09/12 by darkshrouds

EDIT: Issac fail at reading right… oops. Oh well, site is still hilarious.

I stumbled across this after seeing a commercial for their elections. These people firmly believe in the 2012 fiasco. They have what they call Operation Safe Haven which is hilarious. I believe that the funniest set is in the space colonies and subterranean and floating-water cities.

If you want to save yourselves you can enter the lottery to get into one of their safe havens.

The most amusing thing about the site though is how they know when it is going to happen. Here is the quote that I found highly amusing, “the Institute of Human Continuity is dedicated to scientific research and public preparedness. After more than two decades of rigorous research from the worlds top astronomers, mathematicians, geologists, physicists, astrophysicists, engineers, futurists… we know in 2012 a series of cataclysmic forces will wreak havoc on our planet. The IHC has developed a number of initiatives to prepare the world for this inevitability.” (Emphasis added)

The initiatives can be found here as well and they are planning a subterranean city in Antarctica.

I’ve never found something so hilarious and I perused this site at my own amusement; however, I found that this was more disturbing when I realized that they actually completely buy into it.

Enjoy the insanity!

Isaac Mills

When Bio-Nerds Get A Book…

Posted in Personal with tags , , , , , , on 2009/09/12 by darkshrouds

I got my new book in on Wednesday, September 9th and have been reading every now and then, as I have time between classes. So far, I am in love again with The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins. I’m also the envy of a good portion of my biology teachers because, well, it doesn’t come out here in America till the 22nd of September I believe. I had it shipped for the UK for a good good reason, cause I’m a bio-nerd.

Here’s a picture of it below. Right now, it is my precious and it has been added to my large collection now.

From SSACON2009

Isaac Mills

P.S. Sorry for the late update and lack of them. I will be posting the posts I already have ready over the next day or so.

The “Museum” and The Adventure

Posted in Personal, Religion, Reviews/Analysis, Science/Technology with tags , , , , , , , , , on 2009/08/10 by darkshrouds

I have given money to Ken Ham, and I got a great laugh for the comedy. The “museum” was very amusing and I took pictures to document the occasion. I shall attempt to give a small, mini-tour.

The first movement through the area leads into the Grand Canyon. We see two palaeontologists digging up a dinosaur fossil and the theme of the “museum” begins. “It is all about our starting points,” is the overall theme. “We come to different conclusions, because of how we look at the evidence.”

From SSA2009

The scientist point of view states the fossilization process and such. The creationist states that it was rapid burial during the global flood. There are basic problems with this. On the surface, both theories could be correct with no evidence and just a fossil. However, we have dating of the fossil and surrounding rock, along with no evidence for a global flood means that the creationist theory can not be correct. This is why it is rejected. Creation science is actually incorrect, it is creation conjecture with no basis, no evidence, and no reason.

Here are some while blurry, correctly displayed science photos.

From SSA2009

And here is the creationist alternative.

From SSA2009
From SSA2009

Now, just some funny stuff. The world only goes back to 4004 BC? So 5500 BC when agriculture starts in Egypt is false, Catalhoyuk, an ancient neolithic city (7500 BC-5700 BC) is false, and the creation of beer in Sumeria and Babylonia prior to 6000 BC is false. This is what is know as ridiculous, yet this is actually being taught as science. This is not science. It is blatant lies.

Here’s one that is ridiculous creation funny.

From SSACON2009

So, the blue line you see is the flood. This happened around 2348 BC if I read my pictures correctly, or at least close to there.

Here is some more hilarious stuff. The flood is of course like this.

From SSACON2009

All the coal the coal in the world – coal seam – if from tree bark that fell in the great flood.

From SSACON2009

Dinosaurs are vegetarians.

From SSACON2009

Another depressing part was the portion where the question was asked, “What happens when you let atheism or a world without the bible exist?”

Here is The Door as it was know. It is what you would be doing to stay safe from the evil in the world.

From SSA2009

There was a continent called Rodinia, then the flood, with Pangaea and then the current continents, then the flood was over.

From SSACON2009

And last but not least, Religion gives good stuff and secularism the bad stuff.

From SSA2009
From SSA2009

I shall post my review of Jason Lisle’s lecture later as I am still writing it. I was, for lack of a better phrase, a painful, horrible experience when an astrophysicist talks mostly about genetics upon which he does not properly understand.

Until next time I shall ride off into the sunset on Sarah (see picture below),

Isaac Mills

Sarah, my trusty triceratops. Yes, you are seeing correctly, I decided to take this picture side-saddle (and the dinosaur has a saddle – they teach that humans and dinosaurs co-existed at the same time).

From SSA2009

PS. To the lovely woman who made the armbands, thanks again! Everyone, this is only a portion of the pictures. I have over 120 pictures. Thanks go out to Clark as well for letting me take some of his pictures that were of better quality!

Religion is Useless

Posted in Personal, Religion with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 2009/08/06 by darkshrouds

I’ve been hearing the argument after I have dismantled the arguments made from the creationists that seem to propagate the streets here that one can not judge a belief system by its assumptions or its works. Now, I have taken apart creationism in the realms of their own book, cosmology, evolution, abiogenesis, and generally any topic brought up. Once they are beat back they resort to this argument.

I am posting now to dismantle it completely; however I’m going to touch base on the general of the previous topics. Now, I’ve covered abiogenesis already, I’m not doing so again. It takes too long to retype and cut and paste the basics. I assume that one can read and that they can make use of such faculties. Evolution has DNA, fossil and considerable multitudes of evidence. To state that it did not happen or that the facts show a creator is to be either naïve or just a plain ignoramus. The fossil tree of life matches the DNA tree of life without alteration and without interpolation. Fused chromosomes and genetic anomalies can be predicted as we predicted that we as humans have a fused chromosome in comparison with apes.

Onto cosmology, which does not state that the universe began at the Big Bang, but that we can observe the universe to this condensed point at which a rapid expansion happened. The universe could have existed before the singularity, however, we are unable to determine what was prior to 10^-37 seconds prior because we enter a stage where no data can be obtained.

Once disarmed of these “scientific” debates, the point is raised of Stalin and those evil dictators that killed for atheism. It is a failure of understanding as they did not kill for atheism, but for power and control. These dictators were Statists in the sense that the State was to be worshiped and revered. When you return this with the Inquisition, the Crusades, the militant attacks of other religions, the people who believe that when they kill people, they will see Jesus in heaven, and the like, the atheist will be told they can’t do this.

Now why this double standard? Because religion is useless. Prayers get answered but not always the way requested, not at all or you have to squint real hard for it. Devoting time to saving souls is better than devoting time to your local soup kitchen, working on human rights, or doing something to help others. Religion gives nothing to us but division, wars, hatred, bigotry, and truly, a good portion of evil. Science has given us technology including televisions, planes, cars, vaccines, medicine, air conditioning, refrigeration, irrigation, space flight, cameras, improved food, computers, radio, construction, electricity, and so much more. Over 1000 years and religion has given nothing to society except a ritual that people can participate in and science has given us longer lives and better ones at that.

Religion is useless. It gives nothing of merit. If it makes you feel better that an invisible man is watching over you and helping you every day, go right ahead and believe so. Just expect that I’m going to laugh when you try to tell me that it is true and that I just have to seek him truly with my heart and soul. Telling yourself the great adult fairy tale may be nice, but doesn’t make it any more true. If delusion makes you feel better, that is your choice; however, kindly keep those delusions to yourself.

I’m tired of this argument as not only does it hold up to scrutiny, it also has no merit. Because if your religion is shown to be false, then why follow it at all. All religions fail essentially on a majority of scientifically proven theories and data. Therefore, why follow any religion. Put those fairy tale stories from the bronze and iron ages on the shelves where they belong and think for yourselves. And theists, stop asking why an atheist laughs when you make these statements.

Isaac Mills

I Have Been Flattered… With A Post

Posted in Religion, Science/Technology with tags , , , , , , , , , on 2009/07/19 by darkshrouds

I made a simple comment on Vere Loqui on the topic of A Dilemma for Darwinists. I was expecting a simple comment back, as my argument was very small. I’m flattered that I have been honoured with a post located on the blog. (The link to that post isn’t working right now, so if you click here, you can get to the main page and read it under the title of More on the Darwinists’ Dilemma)

It is only proper that I respond to the kindness of a post, with one of my own. I shall begin with my comment.

How to easily fix this. Oh yes, I recall now.

Abiogenesis has some very good proof behind it. Such as the research done and covered below.

Also, man rising from the dead has the problems of what occurs after death – enzyme breakdown, cell decay due to fermentation and decomposition (anaerobic), etc. I must go with Mr. Sagan on this.

“In many cultures it is customary to answer that God created the universe out of nothing. But this is mere temporizing. If we wish courageously to pursue the question, we must, of course ask next where God comes from? And if we decide this to be unanswerable, why not save a step and conclude that the universe has always existed?” [Carl Sagan, Cosmos, page 257]

God does not appear to suspend the laws he puts forth if he exists, and we have no reason to believe the contrary. Why then, should we state that it is so?

Now, I’ll admit that I really wasn’t attempting to be difficult and I was, well, a bit tired and wanted to be lazy. However, that is not an excuse and I shall do my best to further explain and address the argument against my comments.

Now first we begin with my comment on the good proof of abiogenesis. We have a theory, which fits the evidence and would produce the needed required material. This is a good start in that direction. This is a general overview and not the full list of evidence or the full list of the debate between scientists. There is much debate in specific areas of the theory and the theory is still incomplete in the sense that we don’t fully understand the complete movement of organic materials to life. However, there is research being done by many scientists on this theory and a decent list of what is known and not known can be found here.

First, he argues that evolution does not necessarily involve the belief in abiogenesis. To that, there are two responses: First, I did not say it did. I used the term ‘Darwinism’, not ‘evolution’. I have explained my use of the term ‘Darwinism’ a number of times on this blog as referring to the belief that the current state of biological life resulted solely from prior material factors. This is distinct from the mere theory of evolution, which involves only the belief in biological development over time, regardless of how that life came about in the first place. The former involves metaphysical assumptions which its adherents expects everyone else to accept without question, and the latter, it seems to me, does not.

But it is curious to me that the video Isaac linked to, while it claims that abiogenesis is no necessary part of evolution, defends abiogenesis, as if it is. And, of course, it does so by some rather extravagant speculation. And it does make you wonder: if the people who advocate it know the procedure of how life came about from non-life as well as they seem to think they do, then they ought to be able to perform the procedure, which, of course, they can’t.

Evolution, in the sense of natural selection and those mechanisms, has nothing to do with the formation of the first life. Evolution can be likened to going to an ad infinitum argument. Where did this animal come from, and so on and so forth until you reach the ‘first’. The last common ancestors genes are homologous, thus derived from a single common ancestor by duplication and modification, with this ancestor coming from an even simpler one. A decent article covering a majority of the Origins of Life in detail can be found here (and is also quoted partially in the line before). Abiogenesis involves no metaphysical assumptions. Some people may argue that God put life starting, however there is no evidence as such and no real reason to accept it. We remain agnostic, skeptic, and inquisitive. Experiments done show that organic molecules can be found in the pre-biotic earth quite easily. Learning what lead to life is what is being researched right now, with a good portion understood.

Again, Mr. Carl Sagan comes to mind, “If the general picture, however, of a Big Bang followed by an expanding universe is correct, what happened before that? Was the universe devoid of all matter, and then the matter suddenly somehow created? How did that happen? In many cultures, the customary answer is that a god, or gods, created the universe out of nothing. But if we wish to pursue this question courageously, we must of course ask the next question: where did God come from? If we decide that this is an unanswerable question, why not save a step and conclude that the origin of the universe is an unanswerable question?” If the understanding is that the universe was devoid of all life and then it appeared, how did it happen? It is common to ascribe a god, or gods, to this formation of life. But where did God come from and again, if this is unanswerable, why not save a step and conclude that the origin of life is a complex question. Since the universe already existed and is observable, we will be able to have data and thereby, able to answer to some degree the questions about the beginnings of life. Just because a question is complex, does not mean that we should assume that it is unanswerable, God did it, or it is irreducibly complex.

It is true that we have yet to create life in a test tube so to speak, from organic matter. Dr. Szostak and others are doing bottom-up abiogenesis research, small building blocks to discover the formation from smaller particles to life; Craig Venter and others are doing a top-down approach, attempting to discover the most simplistic life possible – the threshold on what would constitute life.

Isaac says there is “very good proof” behind the doctrine of abiogenesis. But there is no “proof”: there is only speculation. And just because the speculation is extravagant and even plausible on its face, it doesn’t amount “proof”–at least not in any sense of the word ‘proof’ with which I am familiar. A proponent of parthenogenesis could simply respond that they have proof too: in form of the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Undoubtedly this will not satisfy a Darwinist, but point is that the Darwinist will be at pains to explain why his “proof” for abiogenesis is any better that for parthenogenesis.

Now, first off, I just dealt with the first portion, and that proof has geological data used to determine constants for the atmosphere and there are simulated experiments included above. To equate that proof, actual data and analysis, to words on an ancient text that is problematic itself is far less valuable or admissible in the court of rationality.

“Religion submits to the court a signed letter that God created life on the planet earth.” (The letter however is written by many hands, and there is no signature of authenticate the document)
“Science submits to the court geological data and experimentation that shows that with the constants given, the materials for life are formed in significant concentrations and how it is possible life came about. While we don’t have everything, we have a considerable amount.”

I believe a good portion of the world will take science here, than believing a god or gods did so. Please, may the proof her at least be equal in value. Only Matthew and Luke mention the virgin birth, which, in a biography of God incarnate, would be something that you would expect an author to write down. Maybe we lost those portions, but that is a side observation.

To say that one believes in abiogenesis is a faith statement that is a part of the larger body of Darwinist dogma.

I do not believe in abiogenesis in the sense of a Christian stating that God exists. I hold that the theory is the most plausible, natural method that we have to explain the origins of life. It requires no more assumptions than my doing a chemistry experiment requires, because that’s what a good portion of the theory is, chemistry. Formation of organic molecules, bonds, formation of organic layers, synthesis, etc. are all chemistry (biochemistry really). This requires no divine intervention, it is how the universe works with the pre-biotic conditions.

A miracle claim is simply immune from these kinds of criticisms–precisely because it is a miracle claim. If someone says, “I believe the normal and otherwise uniform course of nature was interfered with in Instance A,” it is hardly a valid response to say, “But Instance A is problematic because it violates the normal and otherwise uniform course of nature,” which, for all practical purposes is what Isaac is saying here.

This would be a problem, if there was evidence that your so called miracle actually occurred. I’m reminded of a George Carlin quote on why don’t miracles happen and why prayers go unanswered.

Pray for anything you want. Pray for anything, but what about the Divine Plan?

Remember that? The Divine Plan. Long time ago, God made a Divine Plan. Gave it a lot of thought, decided it was a good plan, put it into practice. And for billions and billions of years, the Divine Plan has been doing just fine. Now, you come along, and pray for something. Well suppose the thing you want isn’t in God’s Divine Plan? What do you want Him to do? Change His plan? Just for you? Doesn’t it seem a little arrogant? It’s a Divine Plan. What’s the use of being God if every run-down shmuck with a two-dollar prayerbook can come along and fuck up Your Plan?

And here’s something else, another problem you might have: Suppose your prayers aren’t answered. What do you say? “Well, it’s God’s will.” “Thy Will Be Done.” Fine, but if it’s God’s will, and He’s going to do what He wants to anyway, why the fuck bother praying in the first place? Seems like a big waste of time to me! Couldn’t you just skip the praying part and go right to His Will? It’s all very confusing.

Compare the reality with my previous post about what True Christians should be able to do, and it is truly confusing.

The post concludes with this:

Isaac concludes, saying:

“God does not appear to suspend the laws he puts forth if he exists, and we have no reason to believe the contrary. Why then, should we state that it is so?”

Well, all I can say is that the religion that formed all of Western civilization has maintained for 2,000 years that that’s exactly what he did–and given reasons for it.

That’s why some of us say that it is so.

And that sir, is no good reason at all. Western civilization did not rise because of religion, but because of science. Science has brought us the computer, the rocket ship, tools, modern comforts, etc. What has religion brought us? Superstitions continually propagated. Again, science here seems like the winner. I’ll leave with one final video that I found amusing on PZ Myers blog.


Isaac Mills

The General Public, Once Again Depressing

Posted in Religion, Science/Technology with tags , , , , , , on 2009/07/16 by darkshrouds

An article today in the Monterey Herald entitle Scientists Held High, But Less Than Before shows how much the general public doesn’t know.

While showing a very strong respect for science, the poll numbers don’t add up. Take for example some of the portions below.

For example, 63 percent of respondents who believe in creationism and 64 percent of those contending there is no evidence of global warming still said science does much to contribute to the well-being of society.

63% believe in creationism, with no evidence but a book. 64% state that there is no evidence for global warming. These dichotomies are depressing. No one has claimed creationism in scientific discussions since Louis Pasteur in 1859. The fact that the general populace is willing to not learn from the evidence provided by science is exceptionally disappointing. Abiogenesis and Evolution are simple to understand if you take the time.

Science illiteracy is the worst thing possible for any society. If causes people to disregard science, yet hold its findings to be wonderful when it does not challenge their assumptions. Science brings us medicine, the comforts of modern society, and all the things that we enjoy today that deals with technology. To accept modern medicine but state the evolution is incorrect is a complete fallacy. This does not work.

Once again, I find it depressing and dismally dreadful that a country that has so much science and potential would allow itself to be dragged down by, what is mostly, religious bigotry.

The Universe Doesn’t Have Constants?

Posted in Religion, Reviews/Analysis, Science/Technology with tags , , , , , , , , on 2009/07/13 by darkshrouds

According to this blog post entitled Uniformitarianism: Philosophical Problems, all of the scientist in the world should stop trying because all of our theories are just theories. I shall explain.

He starts off with the definition which I shall quote.

“Uniformitarianism, in the philosophy of science, assumes that the same natural processes that operate in the universe now, have always operated in the universe in the past, and at the same rates; and that the same laws of physics apply everywhere in the universe. Its methodology is frequently summarized as “the present is the key to the past,” because it holds that all things continue as they were from the beginning of the world.”

Now, most scientist will see what is wrong here quite quickly. We do operate on the assumption that the same natural processes that operate in the universe now, have always and at the same rates; and that the same laws of physics apply everywhere. Now, the question is why do we assume this? Because that is what we see. When you look at the geological layers and analyse samples – terrestrial and extraterrestrial – we find that the same laws work. When you send a probe into space, the laws of physics stay the same. When you look back into the universe, back in time; the laws of physics stay the same. When we measure the speed of light, calibrate the strength of gravity, observe phenomena in different places and under similar conditions; the speed of light is constant, the law of gravity holds, and the phenomena do the same thing every time, and if they don’t we alter our view to conform to the new evidence. This is how science works and how your computer, iPhone, oven, stove, dishwasher, refrigerator, television, radio, lights, electricity, air travel, medicine, and all of the technology that is enjoyed by society today came to be. It came from science discovering, interpreting and figuring out the world. Then other people use these discoveries to bring all this stuff into being and it works, because uniformity of the universe holds. If you have similar conditions, similar phenomena are expected.

Now considering the statement that just makes one cringe.

This definition has a problem. Consider whether evolution has always been occurring. Was there a time when it wasn’t occurring, before living things existed, according to common ancestry? This shows that there is an enthymeme, or unstated proposition. Something is missing from the definition. Let’s amend the definition to include this proposition.

“Uniformitarianism, in the philosophy of science, assumes that, given a set of local conditions, the same natural processes that operate in the location now, have operated in locations with similar conditions in the past, and at the same rates; and that the same laws of physics apply everywhere in the universe.”

Now there are many things wrong here, I’ll start with the most obvious. Evolution has not always been occuring, this is true. Not because evolution is not a constant, but because there was no life for which it to act upon. Evolution does not deal with the first life form, only after life exists does evolution come into play. Therefore, the amended portion is not needed because it still holds. Uniformity assumes that laws hold for what they are supposed to. Gravity works on sub-atomic particles, however, the effect is minimal due to much stronger forces that are effecting these. Scientific theories are only set to specific conditions.

However, the pain for the scientific and rational mind does not cease. It comes again.

Now let’s look a bit at what impact the new proposition has on the definition. Local conditions determine which local processes are occurring and their rates. Laws of physics are unaffected by local conditions; we assume that the laws of physics determine the local processes and their rates by acting on the local conditions.

We find that we have a uniformity condition remaining:

Uniformity of law: Laws of physics apply everywhere and everywhen in the universe.

Uniformitarians, who ignore local conditions, assert the following invalid uniformity condition:

“Uniformity of process: If a past phenomenon can be understood as the result of a process now acting in time and space, do not invent an extinct or unknown cause as its explanation”

Why is this invalid? We have seen that processes are condition-dependent. The assumption of uniformity of process assumes that the local conditions existing in the past are the same as the local conditions existing now. We know that local conditions change. We know that natural processes operating on different local conditions may yield the same set of observed phenomena. There also may be supernatural events that yield the observed phenomena. We know that there is historical evidence of supernatural events that yield the observed phenomena, so there is no invention apart from evidence.

Boiling all this down, we see the following reasons for the invalidity of the asserted uniformity condition:

1. Ignorance of local conditions in the past. We have good reason to believe that, in fact, they were quite different than the local conditions we see today.

2. Ambiguity of processes that could have produced the phenomena. Different sets of local conditions can result in different processes producing the same observed phenomena.

3. There is no necessity for asserting that natural processes formed the observed phenomena and ignoring historical evidence that the observed phenomena may have been formed by supernatural events.

Thus, uniformitarians who assert that “the present is the key to the past,” are asserting an invalid proposition.

Now this is simply too easy. If you are observing an asteroid and see that it will hit our moon tomorrow, you can enter the data into a computer and predict what is going to happen. When you observe the phenomena occur the principles of physics hold. Uniformity holds for the universe. When different conditions – local – exist, we see evidence in the fossil records, evidence in the type of stone deposited and other pieces of data that can be used to understand and predict what the conditions were. The second statement is why we – scientists, empiricists, rationalists, etc. – seek more evidence, to clear up ambiguity. When we know certain conditions must have existed, we get a better picture. The third statement is ridiculous. To assume a supernatural interaction is not needed when we can explain the phenomena is ridiculous. If we can’t explain because there is to few evidence, we research further. There is stated historical evidence for supernatural phenomena, I humbly ask that this is submitted to the world. If it holds up to scrutiny, you will have altered much of science and challenges are always welcome. This is how we learn; however, we see no necessary requirement for your supernatural occurrence. I discussed this previously here.

The understanding of the present is the key to the past, as it is only in the present that we can obtain new data. To state that this is invalid, then DNA analysis of blood at a crime scene should be inadmissible in court because some supernatural being must have placed it there. I’m sure the judge will be accepting of that claim, or perhaps in Saudi Arabia.

Again, science simply states that the universe exists and it can be observed. Uniformity comes out of this because that is what we see. We do not see supernatural beings moving mountains, dead people walking about in cities, trees talking to humans, etc. We see natural phenomena, explained by natural mechanisms. Let us enjoy and be happy for what science has given us, the comforts of modern day. In the past couple thousand years, we have grown into a successful race at conforming the environment to our needs using science; in the past couple thousand years, what has religion brought us but war, strife, hate, contempt, inquisitions, persecutions and pain to those who are different than themselves?

The answer is simple. It has brought nothing else.

I’ll go with science as it seems to have a better track record.

I. A. Mills