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Everything posted by MathGeek

  1. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+15&version=NIV Pilate is mentioned in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. See: https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=Pilate&qs_version=NIV Pilate is not mentioned by name in any letters attributed to Paul. We at least owe different faiths accurate representation of their primary documents when questioning their historicity.
  2. Confirmed results of science are not about speculation or suspicion, but often the speculations and suspicions formed during one careful study form the hypotheses that can be testable in future studies. There is nothing wrong with educated guesses in science, as long as they are communicated with appropriate language and without inappropriate levels of confidence. How many hypothesis papers have you published? I've published several.
  3. The standards of evidence vary by scholarly disciplines. "Proof" is a poor word choice in most cases outside of the disciplines of mathematics and law (where there are articulated standards of "beyond a reasonable doubt" and "preponderance of the evidence.") Rather than discussing "proof" from a scientific viewpoint, it makes more sense to ask questions like "How does the scholarly evidence for a historical Jesus compare with the scholarly evidence of well-established historical figures in the ancient world such as Socrates, Plato, and other historically important philosophers, teachers, and religious figures?" Figures who were authors, politicians, and generals tended to leave more evidence than teachers, philosophers, and religious figures. How does the scholarly historical evidence for Jesus compare with that for Archimedes and Pythagoras? Creating an approach to apply to Jesus alone runs the risk of introducing biases and baggage that are better excluded from sound historical scholarship.
  4. The evidence for a historical Socrates (and most historical figures in the ancient world) is even weaker of one applies the same standard of insisting on original surviving contemporary manuscripts.
  5. That is surely possibly, but it tends toward narrowing the rational basis to things that can be explored through objective scholarly approaches. My experience with religious people suggests there are elements that are rational but also subjective in that they are not independently verifiable (or falsifiable) - claims of personal "spiritual" experiences that may be unproven, but certainly not disproven either.
  6. I think I know what science is about: I have a PhD in Physics from a top 5 school and I've published over 100 scholarly papers that have been cited over 1000 times (total). Not sure why you are insulting me - I exercised due care to separate the science from the speculation in the paper under discussion.
  7. One should distinguish "rational" which means based on logic and facts available to the individual making relevant choices from "objective" which means the set of facts can be demonstrated with reasonable certainty to third parties. A young lady may not be able to objectively prove that a young man sexually assaulted her, but is it irrational for her to avoid him because she knows what he did to her?
  8. Need to separate the science from the speculation. The science is that more human activity tends to make mammals more nocturnal. The speculation is that there is something bad about that.
  9. I think Special Relativity and Brownian Motion were more than enough to call Einstein clever even had GR been disproven. Have you ever read Newton's Alchemy or Kepler's "music of the spheres" nonsense? The mistakes are forgotten and don't tend to count against the genius of the great scientists. The column most remember is the things they get right, and Einstein got plenty right without GR, just as Newton and Kepler also got plenty right in spite of some glaring errors.
  10. No, you need an experiment. Theories do not disprove other theories. Experiments disprove theories.
  11. The problem with a line between the OT and NT as a demarcation criteria is the dozens (maybe hundreds) of times the NT refers to specific events and people originally occurring in the OT narratives. For example, The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?” “I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.” At this they exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. John 8:48-58 So, how would a proponent of an OT/NT demarcation line handle this reference to Abraham? Jesus seems to be referring to Abraham as a real historical figure. Does this provide warrant to bring in the entire OT narrative relating to Abraham (Genesis 12-25) or only the absolute minimum required by this NT passage? In all, there are 76 NT references to Abraham spread over 11 different NT books. Also consider that Jesus said: “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” John 5:45-47 So, here we have Jesus upholding both the real historical figure of Moses as well as his writings. Does this warrant bringing in all of the writings attributed to Moses in the OT or only the minimum required by this NT passage? In all, the NT refers to Moses 85 times in 12 different NT books. The NT gives Moses a lot of support both as a real historical figure and as a source of authoritative writings. So, I don't think there is a neat line between the OT and NT solving the demarcation problem for Christians providing a clear path on what Scriptures may be regarded as metaphorical relating to creation. I seem to recall there are also a number of NT references more directly to the Genesis material "theistic evolutionists" often distance themselves from, but I have not had time to look these up and refresh my memory yet.
  12. Denatured alcohol is usually mostly ethanol with enough of some contaminant (often methanol) so that it is unsafe to drink. The main reason for this is so that it is not heavily taxed as an alcoholic beverage. A bottle of Everclear costs almost $20. About the same quantity of denatured alcohol costs $7.50 at local hardware stores. For a certain brand of denatured alcohol, you can look up the ingredients or try and find the MSDS. The ones I've checked are mixtures of ethanol and methanol. I'm not sure it is any safer, but since it is cheaper, isopropanol is usually the first alcohol I try for chemistry experiments. It is less polar so salts are much less soluble than in methanol and ethanol, and it does not evaporate as quickly. But 91% is about $2.50 a quart at Walmart and most drug stores.
  13. The same issues arise often in physics when defining a quantity. I first learned that mass is the "quantity of matter" in early science courses. I later learned of distinctions between inertial mass, gravitational mass, and relativistic mass. Which is more fundamental? When I think like an experimentalist, I focus on how a quantity is measured. Can it be measured directly, or is it usually computed from other quantities that are measured more directly? When I think like a theorist, I focus more on how a quantity is used in calculations to predict the outcome of some experiment. But there are often alternate approaches and more than one way of defining a quantity in physics. It helps to pay attention. Which equation is the _definition_ and which equations are descriptions or physical laws that follow from the original definition?
  14. History has shown the value of skepticism when someone asserts that a given area of science is completed and wrapped neatly with a bow. To my knowledge, most of the remaining areas of interest in electromagnetism are in the area of interactions with matter. I did a lot of work early in my career in the area of interactions of very strong fields with matter - multiphoton effects of light with atoms and very strong static electric and magnetic field effects with atoms. More recently, I've contributed to a few projects relating to whether certain species are able to detect electric and or magnetic fields - so called electroreception and magnetoreception. I suppose one could argue that these are more biology than physics, but as a physicist who understand the fundamentals of E&M and carefully considers potential detection mechanisms I was a valuable team member.
  15. Six days. The Bible says creation spanned six days, not seven. Now I don't agree with it, but when "theistic evolutionists" articulate a faith that has room for both a Christian God and a mostly naturalistic evolutionary process, many do seem to only view a small subset of the Bible as metaphorical - often limited to a few chapters in Genesis. In and of itself, I don't have a problem with this, as one could have a history book or a science book and come to a conclusion that a few chapters are wrong. Deciding that a few chapters are wrong in a history or a science book don't mean that the rest of the book is unreliable. Beliefs of theistic evolutionists vary, but quite a number of them still take most of the New Testament literally - virgin birth, water into wine, death and resurrection of Jesus and so on. That is not problematic for me. What is problematic for me is that I have yet to hear any theistic evolutionist articulate a clear demarcation criteria for which chapters to exclude (or interpret as metaphors) and which to take literal historical accounts. If one excludes some chapters from a history book, one would expect it is according to some established scholarly historical method that was evenly applied based on new information so that most objective historians would draw the same conclusions regarding which chapters are invalid. Likewise, if one excludes some chapters from a science book, one would expect it is according to the established scientific method that would provide a broad consensus among the scientific community on which chapters were invalid based on new experiments and observations applying the scientific method. But the theistic evolutionists are all over the map and just about every possible shade of grey between naturalism and supernaturalism is represented. Not only is there no clearly articulated principles on what to exclude, when one asks detailed questions about various historical accounts of miracles in the Old Testament (the great flood, Red Sea parting, plagues on Egypt, water from the rock, stone tablets, parting of the Jordan, fire from heaven, and so on), one gets lots of different answers regarding their historical veracity. The question theistic evolutionists have a hard time answering is "Now that you have excluded the creation account in Genesis 1-2 and the account of the fall in Genesis 3 from being literal, what is your objective criteria for excluding other apparently historical accounts of later supernatural events based on new historical or scientific information?" Other than a personal subjective idea of not looking too stupid defending their faith in front of a given audience, those I've pressed on this point do not seem to have a criteria.
  16. Tough ask. You need something safe enough not to potentially harm careless students but interesting enough to attract their attention. Mentos and soda are a common favorite that fulfills this critera, but it is too messy unless you are outside. My experience is that high school students usually need something to be at least a little dangerous to be interesting. Thermite, oxy-acetylene, sugar rockets, and other energetic materials can be made interesting enough, but these are more in demonstration territory and not safe in the hands of careless students. Once you add "cheap" and "common materials" to your requirements and you are over constrained.
  17. In reality, anyone can (and should, on occasions where they notice) point out errors in scientific and other scholarly publications, including plagiarism. The quality of the scientific literature depends on all stakeholders taking an active role in correcting errant publications. The reliability of the scientific literature depends on science being self-correcting. Most of the plagiarism I've caught has been on the student side, usually well before material is submitted for publication. (I mentor lots of student research, and in spite of ample training and care, when the crunch of deadlines approach, plagairism occurs about 10% of the time.) A few years back, I did catch a case where a paper of mine had been copied, both the exact method (slightly different system) as well as part of the method section. Eventually a Corrigendum was published here:http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0256-307X/27/8/089902/pdfMy original paper can be found here:http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0256-307X/27/8/089902/pdfThe paper from Chinese Physics Letters which copied my method without attribution is here:http://cpl.iphy.ac.cn/EN/article/downloadArticleFile.do?attachType=PDF&id=37803I didn't notice the issue and move toward corrective action until 6 years or so after the other paper was published. It would have been nice had someone brought it to the journal editors' attention sooner.Striking Similarities between Courtney, 1996 and Wang and Lin, 2004: Main idea of using closed orbit theory to determine initial angles of closed classical orbits from quantum recurrence spectra. Detailed method for computing initial angles. Abstract excerpts From the abstract of Courtney, 1996: For a given initial state, closed-orbit theory gives the dependence of this recurrence amplitude on the initial angle of an orbit. By comparing the recurrence amplitudes for different initial states, the initial conditions of closed classical orbitsare determined from quantum spectra. From the abstract of Wang and Lin, 2004: For a given initial state, closed-orbit theory gives the dependence of this recurrence amplitude on the initial angle of an orbit. By comparing the recurrence amplitude for different initial states, we can determine the initial angles of theclosed classical orbits from the quantum recurrence spectra. Excerpts from paragraph 2: From paragraph 2 of Courtney, 1996: Semiclassical quantization techniques reverse the causal role between quantum and classical behavior by using the classical solutions to construct approximate quantum solutions. From paragraph 2 of Wang and Lin, 2004: Semiclassical quantization techniques reverse the causal role between quantum and classical behavior by using the classical solutions to construct approximate quantum solutions. Compare Equations 4-10 and related discussion of Courtney, 1996 with Equations 2-6 and related discussion of Wang and Lin, 2004. Compare Figure 1 of Courtney, 1996 with Figure 1 of Wang and Lin, 2004. Compare caption and column headings of Table 1 of Courtney, 1996 with caption and column headings of Table 1 of Wang and Lin, 2004. Excerpts from concluding paragraph: From concluding paragraph of Courtney, 1996: In summary, a method is presented for determining the initial conditions of classical orbits from the quantum spectra… From concluding paragraph of Wang and Lin, 2004: In summary,we have presented a simple method to extract the closed orbits from the quantum spectra. If contacting the publisher of the work containing the plagiarism is unsatisfactory, I would contact the author(s) and publisher of the original work that was plagiarized. I would also give ample public notice in forums like this one and possibly others. Errors in scholarship (including plagiarism) should be brought to the attention of a wide audience.
  18. Please feel free to make your case that moral laws are subjective and mutable.
  19. MathGeek

    about veganism

    Catching my own fish and shooting my own deer has always been pretty environmentally friendly - certainly friendlier than stuff raised on factory farms. Any high moral ground depends on the preferred diet being voluntary. Once you push your preferred diet on others, you've become nothing more than a despot. If you can't cnnvince others in the free market of ideas, you don't deserve to have others follow your preferred diet.
  20. By justice, I mean not bearing false witness about what other people mean.
  21. Do you literally mean "you" (the specific reader)? Or do you mean "one"? I've known a number of people who seem to believe in naturalistic origins (Big Bang, Nebular Theory, Plate Techonics, Evolution, etc.) who also believe in some kind of God, usually some version of the Judeo-Christian God as represented in the Bible. So, yes, I think one can believe in evolution and in God. Me personally? No. I don't see a credible solution to the demarcation problem - where do the facts represented by naturalistic theories of origins end and the facts of the Biblical accounts of God begin? Virgin birth? Parting of the Red Sea? Fire from heaven? Sun standing still over Gibeon? Water into wine? Resurrection of Jesus? I guess I'm looking for some objective criteria to determine which miracles of the Bible to exclude based on science and which to include based on some faith-based reason to keep believing in them. To me the criteria most select seems arbitrary and capricious (and flexible with new information.) It makes more sense to either reject all the miracles described in the Bible or to accept them all. Being an American, most of my experience is with the God of the Bible, but I think logically, the same problem should exist with any faith based on a historical holy book or other sources purporting to describe significant quantities of miracles.
  22. It was Samuel Taylor Coleridge who said 500 Newtons would go into making a single Shakespeare. I disagree. The above quote depends on whether one regards morality as a uniquely human invention or whether one regards it as emanating from a higher power or other single objective source. Since the natural laws are objective and immutable, it is not unreasonable to suggest that the moral laws are also.
  23. Finite is more commonly used as the opposite of infinite, in which case zero is finite. It is possible that someone could think of finite as the opposite of infinitesimal. In this usage, the question of whether zero is finite is more open to debate. I prefer to avoid mathematical debates which are more about definitions.
  24. Magnetoreception has been verified with a high degree of confidence in a number of vertebrate animals. See: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C11&q=magnetoreception+in+vertebrates&btnG= I participated in studies finding magnetoreception in several species of fishes. Evidence for magnetoreception in humans is more limited, but it seems to be growing: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C11&q=magnetoreception+in+humans&btnG=
  25. My first approach is to try a Google Scholar search on the subject: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C11&q=empaths&btnG=
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