Darwin Day is coming up, and I am happy to announce a new series on the issue of evolution, science, religion, reason, and faith from our friends at The Clergy Letter Project and Darkwood Brew. The series is titled “Evolving Universe / Evolving Faith” and it starts on Sunday, Feb. 10th; check out the trailer below:
Posts Tagged ‘universe’
Posted by mattusmaximus on February 10, 2013
Posted in creationism, religion, scientific method, skeptical community | Tagged: atheism, birthday, celebration, Charles Darwin, Clergy Letter Project, creationism, Darkwood Brew, Darwin Day, evolution, Evolution Weekend, evolving, faith, February 12, God, humanism, ID, intelligent design, International Darwin Day Foundation, religion, science, secuarlism, series, TV, universe | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on May 12, 2012
Astrophysicist and science/skeptical activist Neil deGrasse Tyson is working on a re-release of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, and this nicely autotuned Youtube video clip from melodysheep clearly shows why he is the right person for the job
Posted in scientific method, space | Tagged: astronomy, astrophysicist, astrophysics, autotune, autotuned, Carl Sagan, Cosmos, music, Neil deGrass Tyson, science, space, star stuff, stars, Symphony of Science, Tyson, universe, video, We are star stuff, youtube | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on February 2, 2011
Recently, I’ve posted about how Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly displayed a great deal of scientific ignorance when he tried to argue that God exists because “we cannot explain the tides”. Of course, scientists do know how the tides work (as astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson states: it’s gravity from the Moon, duh); but rather than admit his error, Bill O’Reilly has decided to double down on the stupid. Just watch this…
Once again, O’Reilly makes the all-too-common argument from ignorance, specifically the god-of-the-gaps argument. Of course, we actually do have scientific answers to many of the questions brought up by Mr. O’Reilly. Let us examine some of his statements/claims… Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in physics denial/woo, religion | Tagged: argument from ignorance, astronomy, astrophysics, atheism, atheist, Bill O'Reilly, Deimos, ET, evolution, extra terrestrial, FN, Fox News, God, god of the gaps, gravity, Isaac Newton, life, mars, Moon, Newton, O'Reilly, ocean, Phobos, physics, stars, Sun, tidal forces, tides, universal law of gravitation, universe, water | 4 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on January 29, 2011
As a humorous follow-up to my recent post called God, Gravity, and the Anti-Science Lunacy of Bill O’Reilly, I just wanted to share a hilarious clip from The Colbert Report with you. In it, Colbert does a marvelous job of, in his satirical way, calling Bill O’Reilly to the carpet on his god-of-the-gaps argument when he says:
Now, like all great theologies, Bill’s can be boiled down to one sentence: “There must be a God, because I don’t know how things work!”
In addition, Stephen Colbert is surprised when astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson drops by for a visit and explains why the tides actually work …
Posted in humor, physics denial/woo, religion | Tagged: American Atheists, argument from ignorance, astrophysicist, astrophysics, atheism, atheist, Bill O'Reilly, billboards, Colbert, Colbert Report, David Silverman, FN, Fox News, God, god of the gaps, gravity, Isaac Newton, Moon, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Newton, O'Reilly, O'Reilly Factor, ocean, Stephen Colbert, tidal forces, tides, universal law of gravitation, universe, water | 3 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on January 7, 2011
Oh man. As a high school & college physics professor, I have to say that I’ve heard some pretty bad arguments regarding physics in my day, but I think this one is worth a mention: Fox News celebrity Bill O’Reilly displays his gross ignorance of basic physics by… well, by ignoring gravity.
Apparently, Bill O’Reilly has never heard of the moon. In a debate Tuesday with Dave Silverman, head of the American Atheist group behind this, the Fox host tried to prove the existence of God by citing the unknowable mysteries of the tides. “I’ll tell you why [religion is] not a scam, in my opinion,” he told Silverman. “Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that. You can’t explain why the tide goes in.” …
Yup, he’s ignoring gravity and replacing it with God. Just watch the video for yourself (the relevant part begins at the 1:40 mark)…
Wow… just, wow. Apprently, Mr. O’Reilly has never studied the universal law of gravitation (which is standard in any high school physics class) which explains quite clearly – without any mention of God, Zeus, Thor, or Santa Claus – where tidal forces come from. Essentially, tides in Earth’s oceans exist because one side of our planet is closer to the Moon (or the Sun, both exert tides) than the other. Thus, the side closer to the Moon (Sun) is pulled slightly more than the side further away from the Moon, resulting in the tidal bulges which lead to the rising and falling of the oceans. This article on Wikipedia (ever heard of Google, Mr. O’Reilly?) and graphic can help illustrate the point I’m making:
Graphic of tidal forces; the gravity field is generated by a body to the right. The top picture shows the gravitational forces; the bottom shows their residual once the field of the sphere is subtracted; this is the tidal force. Source: Wikipedia
Essentially, O’Reilly is making a stunningly stupid argument from ignorance (in this case known as the god-of-the-gaps) by saying that just because he doesn’t know how the tides work, then that must mean that his version of God is real. Of course, it might be interesting to ask Mr. O’Reilly’s feelings on the matter after he’s had a lesson in basic physics – would he then conclude that the tides are evidence against the existence of God? That precarious position is precisely why serious theologians & philosophers do not engage in arguing from ignorance.
Such ham-fisted arguments are also why natural science separated itself from supernatural causes back in the 19th century as natural philosophy transitioned into what we now call modern science. It seems that O’Reilly is still stuck in the 1800s.
In closing, despite my atheism, if Mr. O’Reilly or anyone wants to believe in God, that’s fine by me I suppose, just so long as they don’t piss all over science in the process.
Posted in physics denial/woo, religion | Tagged: American Atheists, argument from ignorance, atheism, atheist, Bill O'Reilly, billboards, David Silverman, FN, Fox News, God, god of the gaps, gravity, Isaac Newton, Moon, Newton, O'Reilly, O'Reilly Factor, ocean, tidal forces, tides, universal law of gravitation, universe, water | 4 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on September 25, 2010
You know, there are days when I think I’ve seen it all. I think to myself: “there are some things which are just too stupid, crazy, and/or ‘out-there’ that nobody will attempt to believe & defend.” And then something like this crosses my email inbox: an actual conference, titled “Galileo Was Wrong: The Church Was Right”, which attempts to seriously argue for… get this… geocentrism. You know, geocentrism – the idea that the Earth is the center of the universe. You know, geocentrism – the notion which has become, and deservedly so, synonymous with the Dark Ages & all manner of backward and nonsensical thinking. You know, geocentrism – the completely defunct idea which even the modern Catholic Church itself has admitted as having no merit whatsoever! Yeah, that geocentrism…
Actually, before I facepalm myself into a state of blissful unconsciousness over the incredible level of stupidity embodied by this conference, allow me to seriously address the entire question of geocentricity. I wish to do so because of two reasons: 1) if these pseudoscientists are holding a conference, they are attempting to get more media attention and must thus be countered; and 2) it seems that a whopping 18% of people in the United States actually believe the Earth is the center of the universe (which is far too many)! So here goes…
First off, I’m going to hit just a few major points in this post. If you want a much more thorough treatment of this topic, go see Phil Plait’s post over at Bad Astronomy; and if you are interested in reading more about the history of geocentric models of the universe, I suggest you check out Wikipedia as a starter.
Now, let me begin by saying that if you don’t have any education at all in the topic of Earth & space science, astronomy, physics, and what-have-you that I can understand an almost blind acceptance of geocentrism for one simple reason: it certainly appears that everything in the sky moves around the Earth. Look in the sky and you’ll see the Sun, Moon, planets, stars, etc all moving – from your frame of reference – around the Earth.
Of course, a little more thought, along with a deeper analysis of astronomical data, will show that the geocentrism as mentioned by these “Galileo Was Wrong” goofballs is totally bogus…
Posted in astrology, creationism, physics denial/woo, religion, space | Tagged: astronomy, Bible, Catholic Church, church, conference, creationism, deferent, Earth, epicycle, Galilei, Galileo, Galileo Was Wrong, geocentrism, heliocentrism, inertia, literalism, model, parallax, phases, physics, pseudoscience, Ptolemy, religion, retrograde motion, science, Sun, universe, YEC, Young Earth Creationism | 10 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on September 16, 2010
Something very interesting has happened recently in the world of theoretical physics. One of the hottest ideas around is the notion of so-called string theory: it’s the idea that all matter & energy in the universe – from the electrons & quarks that make up atoms to photons of light to everything in between – is composed of ultra-tiny strings of vibrating energy. It’s a marvelous and mathematically elegant idea, one which many theoretical physicists believe holds the key to unifying the fundamental forces of nature, but it suffers from a big flaw: these strings are, according to the theory, so small that we have no way to experimentally detect them. Thus, if such is the case, then many physicists & critics of string theory have equated the idea with a dragon in the garage, an unfalsifiable notion which isn’t subject to scientific investigation. I have placed myself into this category of string theory skeptics for quite a long time for this very reason…
… up until now, that is. It seems that the question of whether or not string theory is testable, and therefore real science, has been answered. That’s because recent theoretical analysis of string theory has revealed that it makes unique predictions which can be tested in a controlled laboratory setting having to do with a weird phenomenon called quantum entanglement. Up until now, physicists haven’t had a good way to really predict the behavior of systems that coupled via quantum entanglement, but it seems that some aspects of string theory can shed some light on this…
String theory was originally developed to describe the fundamental particles and forces that make up our universe. The new research, led by a team from Imperial College London, describes the unexpected discovery that string theory also seems to predict the behaviour of entangled quantum particles. As this prediction can be tested in the laboratory, researchers can now test string theory.
Over the last 25 years, string theory has become physicists’ favourite contender for the ‘theory of everything’, reconciling what we know about the incredibly small from particle physics with our understanding of the very large from our studies of cosmology. Using the theory to predict how entangled quantum particles behave provides the first opportunity to test string theory by experiment.
“If experiments prove that our predictions about quantum entanglement are correct, this will demonstrate that string theory ‘works’ to predict the behaviour of entangled quantum systems,” said Professor Mike Duff FRS, lead author of the study from the Department of Theoretical Physics at Imperial College London.
“This will not be proof that string theory is the right ‘theory of everything’ that is being sought by cosmologists and particle physicists. However, it will be very important to theoreticians because it will demonstrate whether or not string theory works, even if its application is in an unexpected and unrelated area of physics,” added Professor Duff. …
Posted in physics denial/woo, scientific method | Tagged: cosmology, Einstein, energy, experiment, falsifiability, falsifiable, four forces, fundamental forces, grand unified theory, gravity, GUT, M theory, matter, physics, quantum entanglement, quantum mechanics, relativity, science, scientific method, string theory, strings, testing, theoretical physics, theory, theory of everything, universe | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on August 15, 2010
I am pleased to announce that “Bad Astronomer” Phil Plait – author of the Bad Astronomy blog – will have his own television show this coming fall on the Discovery Channel called Bad Universe! Way to go, Phil!!!
I know that Phil’s been working on this for a long time, and it’s hard as hell to get skeptical & scientific shows on cable nowadays, so I want to do all I can to get people to tune in. So with that, check out the sneak peak of Bad Universe…
Coming this fall to Discovery, a new series that debunks all the junk about the Universe! Phil Plait is an astronomer on a mission to challenge the myths of the universe with scientific proof.
Posted in skeptical community, space | Tagged: astronomy, Bad Astronomer, Bad Astronomy, Bad Universe, cable, Discovery Channel, Phil Plait, science, skeptic, skepticism, space, television, TV, universe | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on June 3, 2010
Posted in philosophy, physics denial/woo, religion, scientific method | Tagged: antimatter, Big Bang, big bang machine, CERN, Cosmos, demarcation problem, FermiLab, God, Large Hadron Collider, LHC, matter, origin, particle accelerator, philosophy, physics, religion, science, Tevatron, theology, universe | 11 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on May 27, 2010
In my never-ending quest to pass along all things skeptical, techie, and educational, I have discovered another very useful app for the iPhone or iPod-Touch. If you are into physics & astronomy, or if you happen to ever get into conversation with people regarding cosmology, cosmic evolution, the big bang, and creationism, then this is the app for you!
It’s called The Big Bang Theory Study Guide, and it is a very well-indexed and laid out collection of facts and whatnot about the big bang cosmology. I consider this to be the physics & astronomy version of the famous Creationist Claims Index, and it is a must have for any serious skeptic & science backer…
There’s one drawback: it’s not free – but it is cheap, at a cost of only $1.99 (well worth the cost).
Posted in creationism, internet, physics denial/woo | Tagged: app, astronomy, atheism, belief, Big Bang, Christianity, claims, cosmology, creationism, creationist, evolution, God, ID, intelligent design, iPhone, iPod Touch, iTouch, iTunes, physics, religion, science, skeptic, skepticism, theory, universe | 1 Comment »