20160824

NASA gets religion



Blog 20160824 NASA gets religion

[GB: Thanks to Jerry Coyne for his excellent blog post on NASA’s million dollar sponsorship of religion]:

What’s up with the NASA grant to study theology?”


[GB: All this shows the close association between science and religion among cosmogonists and, in this case, Christians. The grant is about what the effect of discovering extraterrestrial life might be on religion. Duh? Every new discovery by the Hubble telescope is a ding on religion. Each one gets us closer to realizing that the universe is infinite. For god’s sake, NASA has observed over a trillion trillion stars (1024). So much for the creation of a special place for us on our way to some imagined eternal nirvana.

Will the announcement cause a “War of the Worlds” reaction, with rioting in the streets? Don’t count on it. There have been inklings of the conditions for extraterrestrial life before: fossils that almost look like worms, water once on Mars, and water beneath the surface of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. All this has amounted to nothing more than a big snooze. At best, cutting-edge religions will make up new stories to handle the new contradictions.

No, what this really amounts to is a free gift to Christianity made with your tax dollars. As Jerry mentions, the Freedom from Religion Foundation is challenging NASA’s faux pas as a church-state separation issue prohibited by the constitution. Sociology and religion should be studied by scientists, not those having a clear conflict of interest. A good topic for a proposal would be "The influence of religion on cosmology, physics, and NASA." Let’s hope NASA wakes up and rescinds its overt incursion into religion.]

20160817

Quantum mechanics discovers soul



Blog 20160817 Quantum mechanics discovers soul
[GB: Thanks to Fred Frees for this latest woo-woo in regressive physics.]:
Physicists Claim that Consciousness Lives in Quantum State After Death”
“Testimonials from prominent physics researchers from institutions such as Cambridge University, Princeton University, and the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich claim that quantum mechanics predicts some version of “life after death.”
“They assert that a person may possess a body-soul duality that is an extension of the wave-particle duality of subatomic particles.”
“Although there is no definitive concrete evidence for this theory, one could arguably afford some weight to these claims if some of the most brilliant minds in quantum mechanics believe that it is consistent with the general patterns and trends of modern science. If proven, this theory could have monumental implications; if humans do “download” their consciousness into a thus far unobservable field, then a person’s consciousness could, in Dürr’s [former head of Max Planck] words, truly be immortal.”
All this mixing of science and religion is a blatant example of why regressive physics has been so popular and long-lasting. None of this speculation could be possible for anyone who adhered to "The Ten Assumptions of Science.”[1] I have chastised wave-particle duality here and here. The nonsensical duality is simply a product of aether denial. Here is my piece on “The soul of regressive physics.”
Because the “testimonials from prominent physics researchers” were so preposterous, I asked our discussion group if they thought that maybe the reporter was pulling our legs and that the whole thing was a fake:
In response, Rick Dutkiewicz wrote this:
“I don't think it's fake. Plenty of people believe in duality. Throw in a belief in quantum fluctuation between existence and non-existence, and you can pretty much make up anything you like.
Like the physicist who asserted that quantum "reality" allows for a toaster oven (or was it a clock radio?) to materialize from the "void" of outer space. 
He allows that it is an infinitesimally slight chance, but in his mind there is absolutely a chance of complex objects materializing from nothingness. Man, if that doesn't tell you to examine your premises, I don't know what does.

A perfect illustration of indeterminism and what it leads to. If it all wasn't so ridiculously funny, I'd have to cry.

But then I stop laughing and I think:

This type of thinking is what supports every religion. "Let's just make up some untestable bullshit, and we'll teach that to our children as the ultimate truth".
Too often those religions support violence, mutilation, psychological torture, dominance, war-mongering, terrorism, and a constant state of fear in many a human heart.

Keep fighting the good fight against this type of thinking which causes so much needless pain.
And don't forget to live well; eat, work, play, drink, dance, and buy a new guitar now and then.”

[1] Borchardt, Glenn, 2004, The ten assumptions of science: Toward a new scientific worldview: Lincoln, NE, iUniverse, 125 p. [http://www.scientificphilosophy.com/].

 

20160810

Hadron fail



Blog 20160810 Hadron fail
[GB: Editorial from Nature]:
Physicists need to make the case for high-energy experiments
The disappearance of a tantalizing LHC signal is disappointing for those who want to build the next big accelerator.
10 August 2016

LHCb Experiment/LHCb Collaboration
Visualization of a typical event in CERN’s LHCb experiment, with subatomic particles including pions and kaons in different colours.
Science thrives on discovery, so it’s natural for physicists to mourn this week. As the high-energy-physics community gathered in Chicago on Friday, hopes were high (if cautious) that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, Europe’s particle-physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, had chalked up another finding to build on the discovery of the Higgs boson. Not so — the bump in the data that had caused such excitement was washed away with a flood of data that revealed it to be a mere statistical fluctuation.
Ordinarily, physicists would be satisfied if the LHC continued its bread-and-butter existence of confirming with ever-greater precision the standard model — a remarkably successful theory that is known to be incomplete. But the excitement over the bump has left them hungry for more. As is evident from the 500 theory papers written about the bump, physics is ready for something new.
That the LHC has not turned up anything beyond the standard model does not mean it never will. The machine has collected just one-tenth of the data that scientists hoped to amass by the end of 2022, and just 1% of those it could collect if a planned revamp to increase the intensity of collisions goes ahead. But the dry spell worries some. The idea of supersymmetry predicts that heavier counterparts to regular particles will become evident at higher collision energies. Before the LHC was switched on, fans of the theory would have gambled on being able to see something by now. And if the dry spell extends to a drought, high-energy physics could descend into what some call the nightmare scenario — the collider finds nothing beyond the Higgs boson. Without ‘new’ physics, there is no thread to pull to unravel the countless mysteries that the standard model fails to account for, including dark matter and gravity.
There remain strong reasons to build a successor machine. But without another discovery, the public’s delight in high-energy physics could fade: there comes a time when exploration alone no longer satisfies.
Convincing funding agencies to cough up several billion dollars to continue the same approach will therefore be tough, especially when neutrino and lab-based precision experiments cost a fraction of the price. It will be physicists’ job to consider carefully the worth of pursuing that discovery strategy. And if high-energy colliders remain essential, they need to work on their sales pitch.
Nature 536, 125 (11 August 2016)
doi:10.1038/536125b

From nature.com
·         Who ordered that?
08 March 2016
17 March 2016
05 August 2016

[GB: Thanks to Julie Haberle for the heads up on this. Apparently, the Higgs boson is still kicking, along with the gravity wave that waved through perfectly empty spacetime in the LIGO experiment.]

20160807

Dilbert on Free Will

Blog 20160807 Dilbert on Free Will




20160727

Indeterministic propaganda against reality



Blog 20160727 Indeterministic propaganda against reality
Words mean a lot in the philosophical struggle between determinism and indeterminism (aka science and religion). The regressive shift in physics that occurred at the beginning of the 20th century continues on its merry way with steadfast support from the popular press. Both New Scientist and The Atlantic have just produced some feverish broadsides against an independent reality by using the old quantum bromide.
Readers know that the First Assumption of Science is materialism (The external world exists after the observer does not). The opposing, indeterministic assumption, of course, is immaterialism, which is what Einstein used when he proposed that gravitational and magnetic fields were “immaterial.” True to his pre-1920 aether denial, these fields were empty space, with nothing in them to provide the collisions that produced the effects per Newton's Second Law of Motion. The “attraction” hypothesis still in use by regressive physicists also must have something to carry out the attraction, although to no one has ever proposed what it is—short of “curved empty space” or miracle. Immaterialism also is assumed in the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Mechanical Theory (QMT), which is partly responsible for its much-lamented “weirdness.”
The biggest screamer is this cover display by New Scientist, the most regular propagandist for regressive physics:

It gets a bit subdued in the actual title to the article being pushed:
Our best theory of reality says things only become real when we look at them. Understanding how the universe came to be requires a better explanation”
You bet. The regressives’ “best theory of reality” is all mucked up. Of course, being based on the wrong fundamental assumption, the conundrum will not be solved by any “collapse,” “expansion,” or anything else. That is because the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (HUP) to which all this refers correctly states that both the position and the motion of a particle cannot be known at the same time. It has nothing to do with what is real or not. It is simply an observation that one cannot perform measurements on microcosms without using a detector. Detectors require collisions for their operation. Any collision with a microcosm causes its position to be shifted and its motion to be increased or decreased. This is not particularly noticeable or significant for most microcosms that are large. Small microcosms, however, tend to get more obviously involved with infinity.
HUP sounded the death knell for finite universal causality, the assumption used in classical mechanics. With matter being infinitely subdividable, a new assumption was necessary: infinite universal causality, which we have defined simply as causality. Just because reality has this infinite quality, does not mean that there is no reality or that its existence depends on our observing it. Microcosms contain an infinity of submicrocosms within and without. Per the Third Assumption of Science, uncertainty (It is impossible to know everything about anything, but it is possible to know more about anything), there is no possibility of determining a finite number of causes for any effect.
The particles being studied in QMT are bathed in a sea of still-smaller particles (aether, etc.) in motion, which make it impossible to detect particle positions and motions with the perfect precision demanded of classical mechanics. By definition, regressive physicists do not use the Eighth Assumption of Science, infinity (The universe is infinite, both in the microcosmic and macrocosmic directions). Their hoped for certainty can never be realized, making immaterialism a logical possibility for indeterministic physicists and philosophers alike. Back in April, Prof. Hoffman, son of a preacher man, got to push the solipsistic propaganda when he was interviewed by The Atlantic: The Case Against Reality.
You might not want to read the whole thing. Here is a sample of Hoffman’s solipsistic view:
I’m emphasizing the larger lesson of quantum mechanics: Neurons, brains, space … these are just symbols we use, they’re not real. It’s not that there’s a classical brain that does some quantum magic. It’s that there’s no brain!”