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Everything posted by Red_Ninja

  1. Since I read Gleick's book on chaos back about 10 or more years ago, I've been quite sure it was only a matter of time before we found some fractal property to the cosmos, as it seems absurd that systems with fractal properties would be confined to sub-galactic or even sub-planetary sizes. The team that are proponents of the fractal structure are arguing that gravity along should only have been able to create super-galactic structures some 30 million light years in size or, and some structures like the 'great wall' absoloutely dwarf that. Others are arguing that future deep sky surveys will show that the universe is homogenous at its largest scales. Personally I think there will be evidence of even larger structure. The interesting thing about it is that a universe with a fractal structure in terms of matter distribution really complicates things for the standard cosmological model, which basically requires that the universe be homogenous. Personally I think that might be the motivation behind the people opposed to this idea. I guess the deeper sky surveys that are going to eventually get done will put the issue to bed. But if the universe does have a fractal structure we're going to have to explain how this structure was seeded in even before inflation occured (if indeed it did at all).
  2. I've said this before, and I will say it again. Creationists are hypocrites of the highest order. 1 - They refuse to believe in a 'creator' subtle and intelligent enough to create the universe in a way that hides itself from humankind (I have an entirely open mind on this, I consider myself an atheist, but from a positivist standpoint i.e. there is no direct evidence for an intelligent creator) 2 - They threaten to annihilate their own religious beliefs by attempting to put them in a ring with science, where their total lack of evidence leave them open to being completely proven 'wrong' 3 - If they dispute the age of the earth (radiometric dating), cosmology (gravitation, quantum mechanics, electronics) and god knows what other scientific disciplines, they should GIVE UP all the trappings of science. IE, they should be anti-nuclear, anti-jet fighter, anti-vehile, anti-mobile phone, in other words, they should go and live in a forest because as far as they're concerned, science is WITCHCRAFT. This self-serving attitude of fundamental christians is not, in my opinion, exposed often enough. 4 - If you're a christian, sell everything you own and give it to the poor. If you don't, you're a hypocrite, and you're going to hell. Hey, don't argue with me, it's in the book. Just my opinion.
  3. I agree. I can't recall the source, but a lot of evidence recently pointed to an evolutionary advantage for belief in the supernatural. With human beings as intelligent as they are compared to other creatures, it often seems like we need to believe in something 'beyond' just to make a pretty grim world more palatable.
  4. For me personally, the real danger and harm in global warming is not necessarily the effect is has on human populations. Over a short timescale geologically, yes, a large number of people will die, not because they do not know the changes are coming, but because they'll always feel like they have another day/week/month/year to do something, or move away from troubled spots. I believe the real danger lies in: - The mass extinction of species that will undoubtedly occur due to climatic regions shifting/or dying out (i.e. the further north you go, the less distance 'north' there is to move), arctic polar bear populations being one obvious example - The nonlinearity and unpredictability of the climatic changes that can occur For instance, we know that Earth is currently absorbing less light than it did in the early 90s. However, the planet is still warming up. This is because more of the cloud cover is high in altitude terms, and those clouds hold in heat more effectively. There are all kinds of unexpected changes like this awaiting us, I have no doubt. For instance, there are many scenarios in which a short term warming can lead to a sudden and dramatic cooling. Global warming may lead to a snap ice age. Obviously the worst case scenario is large scale destruction of global forests, leading to a runaway greenhouse effect that may effect the planet's hospitality for life as we know it on a large scale. Even if the human race were to become extinct, I would find that situation more palatable than wide-scale desruction of the planet's life bearing capacity that could last for millions or tens of millions of years. That would truly be a damning indictment on our short tenure in charge of the globe. Just my two cents.
  5. lol. Hard science there, from people who dispute radiometric dating, believe dinosaurs and man coexisted, believe the grand canyon was made during the biblical flood and last but not least, that the world is 6000 years old because they've added up a bunch of people's ages in a book. Round of applause.
  6. Red_Ninja

    The EU

    Not if you read Marx. Seriously though, folks - subjective accounts of various EU related 'experiences' don't add up to a convincing argument. Look at the sheer quantity of trade taking place between EU nations and then knock down the EU and add tariffs to all that. Most anti-EU people are staunch nationalists even if they refuse to admit it.
  7. What information ? That you're a top-secret dude who's been scanning people's minds in Australia ? That's very nice for you. I on the other hand can launch nuclear missiles by whilstling into a phone. I'd tell you all about it but it's top secret. Shh.
  8. Hi. Was away a few days. It's all very well to leave religion out of it, but inevitably the arguments against evolution have an instrinic bias. These arguments tend to portray a 'debate' that is essentially non-existent in the scientific community. Therefore you have a situation where laypeople argue with scientists or scientifically-minded people. The debate will go in circles, and the goalposts will be continually changed. And the reason behind this is inevitably attuned to the tastes of those who believe in the book of genesis as a solid, literal account of creation. I believe you generally won't find people who argue against evolution as a theory. They'll argue with a stawman comprising evolution and big bang theory as well as many others, all of which contradict the bible in literal terms. I'm not trying to piss on the bonfire, it's just I've read similar threads and they tend to assume an 'orbit'
  9. I really, really, cannot understand why people choose to attack evolution in favour of religious ideas. They do not seem to understand that while they keep their views in the area of religion, they're safe. Because it's 'faith' and not based on evidence, nobody has a problem with them believing everything they want to. But instead, they attempt to attack evolution as a science because it disagrees with a very old book that for some reason is taken by many (particularly in the US) as a _literal_ truth. Catholicism is excepted from this as it has stated plenty of times that evolution is not incompatible with christianity. The point I'm getting at is this: if these people attempt to put their faith into an arena where it can undergo critical analysis, it will be ripped to shreds and anger will ensue on all sides. They are in danger of destroying their faith altogether by subjecting it to the same scrutiny under which evolution is subject, and it obviously will not hold up. My personal opinon is that they should shut the hell up and leave science to the scientists. One thing that particularly tics my anger is the tendency of these groups to use deliberately fallacious arguments. They know that these arguments will fool many religious lay-people, who will watch these kinds of presentation and think "ah - scientific evidence for my faith! wonderful". Hasn't the general population wondered why the vast majority of 'opponents' and 'dissenting voices' to evolution are right wing fundamentalist christans ? i.e. those very people who have a lot to gain from calling evolution into question ? Look at the link from the OP - christiananswers.net - says it all. The general consensus seems to be that evolution and a belief in god (however abstract) are mutually exclusive. This could only, amusingly, be down to the prejudices about god in believers. Could god create a universe over 15 billion years old, create physical laws that allow earth to accrete and life to assume the myriad forms it has without further intervention ? Not according to them. It has to be a case of clicking your divine fingers and everything appearing. A distinct lack of imagination. Anyways sorry for writing a book, I don't post often, more of a lurker.
  10. Scientific method has always just struck me as an extrapolation of common sense Da Vinci was way ahead of his time.
  11. Conditions on Mars don't favour complex life. There isn't enough gravity to hold anything more than a thin atmosphere. Mars is much less massive than Earth. It is also a lot further from the sun and so is much colder. Because of these two factors, most areas on Mars swing between two extremes of temperature because there is no atmosphere to hold on to heat. In other words, Mars is a ball of rock and that's likely all it's ever been.
  12. Your posts are aggressive as well as moronic. OK. Take your own advice, and fully prove that it is impossible for the modern day human species to erect a structure like the pyramids at Giza. Start by proving that, and then move on to proving that this is due to a loss of complexity in our DNA that suddenly occurred and reversed the trend in evolution that had been going for, oh, four and a half billion years or so. Bear in mind Md, one of the most important tools that got the pyramids built was the whip. You're extremely wrong and I would recommend you read a few books before claiming that others here "can't grasp" what you're on about because you're talking utter nonsense.
  13. We think, remember, visualise and plan, and we have opposable thumbs. We can modify the world around us. That's why there's six and a bit billion of us and counting. Funnily enough I don't think we're smart enough for there to be similar numbers of us around in fifty years or so. One of those things I suppose
  14. Debunks the butterfly effect ? OK, debunked as a silly little phrase about butterflies causing tornadoes. He certainly hasn't debunked sensitive dependence on initial conditions. If he had we'd know what weather to expect this Christmas. The Lorenzian equations are telling because they are a deterministic, abstract simplification of a real system. And you still cannot tell what it's going to do, it will behave in an infinitely complex manner. The Lorenz attractor shows a system with three dimensions in phase space (or three variables) - how many dimensions does the real climate have ? The same number, in practical terms, as a small stream - infinite.
  15. OK, but that ought to give you a problem with entropy. If the Universe is infinitely old then every line of sight in the sky would end on a star and the entire sky would be as hot as the sun. Want to try and 'cheat' and imagine there's some intervening matter ? Doesn't make any difference. Infinite time will heat it up just the same. The Universe is the ultimate free lunch, creating matter and gravitational potential equally. I think I remember reading that all the energy in the universe adds up to zero. I believe light waves are magenetic and electrical waves propagating eachother through a vacuum. Once this was figured out it didn't take long to realise that ether didn't exist. Was it Maxwell conjectured the correct nature of light first ? Can't remember just now. Does it explain why the rate of expansion is proportional to distance ? And if it does then does it also explain why in the future they will vanish beyond a horizon, just leaving a fading afterglow ? All the same, a blind alley. Anything that is finite is arbitrarily close to zero when compared to something infinite. If there is infinitely more space than matter then the universe would be virtually infinitely dilute. Which doesn't seem to fit what you see when you look up at night.
  16. Seems to me like the old people were wiped out by war and by using some kind of scary dimension-bending technology that left the doors and the thinnys behind. Left people and animals with mutations. They must've had some nice toys. Reading the story it kinda seems like Roland's world (i.e. Gilead) is set maybe five thousand years on or something. King leaves plenty to the imagination which is cool.
  17. I agree with many of your points. Much of it may prove fanciful though, the "bourgeois" have much to lose. Anyone who attempts to change society is regarded as a terrorist, to the convenience of the ruling class. The thing about Socialism is that is has never really been tried. The USSR for example could be argued to have been a state capitalist society. There were no free elections so it was not socialist. In many ways it was more akin to totalitarian fascism. Socialism of the type usually argued for by socialists today involves a massive extension of the democratic process, from the workplace up. I'm no expert but I find it amusing when people say socialism doesn't work. Whatever the USSR was definitely didn't work - but can you look at the world in general and seriously argue that neoliberal capitalism works ? It's a glorified pyramid scheme. A few hundred centimillionaires and billionaires freeload their way through life while tens of thousands starve every day and hundreds of millions live in abject poverty. Not my idea of a system that "works".
  18. Any chance of a dynamical systems/chaos forum ? Chat about attractors, phase space diagrams and the butterfly effect ? It transgresses many disciplines (physics, maths, biology, atmospheric science etc) but I'm starting to wonder if I'm the only one interested in it. Very deep.
  19. Agreed. My favourite series of books by a long way. Genuinely awe inspiring tale. Love the sense of scale it brings to the proceedings.
  20. What's particularly hilarious about ID people and creationists (ever see them in the same room together?) is how they 'dumb down' God. God has to break his own laws to make the world we see. I find it incredibly amusing that they would insult God in this way - he hasn't got the subtlety to create life by just setting the Universe off and allow it to follow its own laws. He can't think on a timescale of over 10,000 years. Ha ha.
  21. The whole 'story' about no passenger jet hitting the Pentagon is an old intelligence trick called "poisoning the well". The general idea is to purposely put out ridiculous lies to be mixed with embarrassing truth. The media can use the foolish story to ridicule people. There are lots of people with very valid and serious concerns about the events of Sept. 11th, which I won't go into right now. They can expect to be treated as wackos by being associated with that kind of story. Job done I guess. By the way folks the rest of the damn plane is in the building. Use your heads.
  22. Indeed, if you murder someone at relativistic speeds, you'll be taken to court and verbally reproached. Hilarious article by the way. "He made up a number to make his equations balance and called it the cosmological cosmos" - Heheh.
  23. Hmm. A couple of major problems. What's your procedure for converting HTML, XML, CSS, etc. into 'mentalese' ? Do these scientists know how to convert binary information i.e. information designed for a von neumann-esque serial machine, into information that can be processed by a highly subjective parallel machine such as the human brain ? How we know the converted code won't mean totally different things to different people ? Further - if this is going to revolutionise the human species, where are the resources going to come from to halt our imminent decline ? Try giving the billion or so people without access to clean water a chip in their f***ing heads. I'm sure they'd be very grateful to know who scored the most home runs in 1963 while they're dying of dysentry. Finally - a very very large proportion of the net contains erroneous information. I know Bascule had read some of the materials I've read - his comments on memes and references to Dennett indicate that he's read up on the nature of memes, and would therefore readily admit that the Internet contains a vast number of cultural memes. We know, however, that a meme does not just necessarily survive because it is beneficial, but rather because it is a good propagator in its own right. Look at all the negative but extremely influential factors of modern culture. I live in a Western country that like many has been taken over by an utterly bullshit culture of celebrity worship. A survey done in a neighbouring country came to the conclusion that 76% of females felt they were 'ugly' and over two thirds of those said they would have surgery if they could afford it. This is showing us that highly spreadable cultural memes are not necessarily of any benefit to the host organism (i.e. us). Integrating the Internet to our hippocamus would exacerbate this problem, not alleviate it. There are bigger and more apparent problems to solve, end of. Beginning with the energy crisis that is sure to grip our society in the next ten years or so.
  24. I have read some of Dennett's material on the subject, most recently 'consciousness explained' - and I've found that regardless of whether you agree with him or not his points are incredibly hard to argue against. The man himself would probably object his views truncated in the manner they are on here; but nonetheless it seems to boil down to a few points; Phenomenology - i.e. a subject's experience. Cannot be taken as what is really happening. Heterophenomenology - the only way to use a subject's experience scientifically. Regard any report or verbal utterance made by a subject as an 'author's fiction' i.e. yes, we believe that you believe. But 'we' don't necessarily believe what you believe. Heterophenomenology may be a limitation of science - in that we cannot directly experience what another experiences. But it leaves us with a terrible hole, albeit one that we cannot conceive of any way of filling. We're left with the conclusion that consciousness itself is a combination of a massive number of simultaneously running sub-systems in the brain. It is, in Dennett's eyes, a gigantic meme-complex, running a sort of virtual von-neumann machine (i.e. a serial computer) on massively parallel hardware that was not really designed with the task in mind. I've noticed some (or at least one) of you on here have spoken with Dennett - something I would really like an opportunity to do. One thing in particular that I think he's left out, along with researchers in other sciences (such as cosmology) is Chaos, or Dynamical Systems theory. Something about how the brain works is BOUND to involve Chaos. I just feel this instinctively (because pretty much ANY complex system involves Chaos, and there are very few things we know of that are as complex as the brain).
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