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Neon Genesis

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Posts posted by Neon Genesis

  1. http://techie-buzz.com/science/dark-energy-confirmed.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+techiebuzz+%28Techie+buzz%29

    The grand old man of Physics is proved right once again. Albert Einstein was vindicated yet again by a survey, which confirmed the presence of Dark Energy in the Universe. The ‘WiggleZ Dark Energy Survey’ was conducted by 26 astronomers from 14 countries using the latest in spectrograph technologies to map out more than 200,000 galaxies, many halfway across the Universe to confirm this startling fact.

    What is Dark Energy?


    Dark Energy is the name given to the unknown entity believed to be behind the acceleration of the expansion of the Universe. It was Edwin Hubble, who in 1932, first noticed that the Universe was actually expanding. This gave a huge boost to the Big Bang theory, which says that the Universe came out of an ultra-dense singularity 14-15 billion years ago. Scientists have been expecting the expansion to slow down as time wears on, as then gravity will eventually dominate. What scientists found, instead, was that the Universe was expanding at an ever-increasing rate. It is believed that some mysterious source of energy was aiding the expansion process, thus named Dark Energy.


    The WiggleZ survey, conducted by an Australian-based group led by Dr. Michael Drinkwater, used the latest in spectrography, thanks to latest Australian technology to survey galaxies – more than 200000 of them – some 7 billion light years away. Light takes a finite time to travel from one place to another, because of its finite speed. Thus the light from 7 billion light years away took 7 billion years to reach here. This means that we are seeing galaxies in the form they were 7 billion years ago, essentially looking back in time! (Thus, the easiest way to glance into the past is to just see. The farther away the object you see, the farther away in time it is!). The WiggleZ survey can map 392 galaxies in an hour!


    So, there it is again! Einstein is proved right again, and in spectacular fashion. 96% of the stuff in the Universe is unknown, but at least we know that it’s there. Some consolation and a lot of work to be done!

  2. My mother is a fundamentalist Christian and like me she was always raised to believe homosexuality was a sin. She used to always rail against the evils of homosexuality and how gay marriage will destroy society. But this morning I came downstairs and my mother was watching Lady Gaga being interviewed on the View who my mother is a fan of. They were talking about Elton John's baby and my mother was talking about how cute the baby was and then just out of the blue she said gays and lesbians are the best parents in the world and there's nothing wrong with them wanting to get married and raise children. I still plan on waiting until I move out on my own to come out to my family as there's still my dad to deal with, but first my sister shifted her views to support gay rights and now my mother randomly seems to be supporting gays. I'm still not coming out to her yet but this is wonderful news for me and it's a testimony that proves that the more people are exposed to gays and realize we're just like everyone else, the more they become accepting of it. In this case, it seems to be thanks to Lady Gaga and Elton John.

  3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13286241

    Nasa's Gravity Probe B has produced remarkable new confirmation of some key predictions by Albert Einstein.


    The satellite's observations show the massive body of the Earth is very subtly warping space and time, and even pulling them around with it.


    Scientists were able to see these effects by studying the behaviour of four perfectly engineered spinning balls carried inside the probe.


    The results will be published online in the journal Physical Review Letters.


    They are significant because they underline once again the genius of the great German-born scientist, but also because they provide more refined tools to understand the physics that drives the cosmos.


    On a more human level, the findings represent the culmination of an extraordinary odyssey for the leading lights of the mission, some of whom have dedicated more than five decades to the quest.


    These include Francis Everitt, the mission's principal investigator at Stanford University - a researcher who was there at the inception of the Gravity Probe B (GP-B) idea in the late 1950s.


    "We've completed this landmark experiment, testing Einstein's Universe - and Einstein survives," he announced on Wednesday.


  4. But then there's no concept of hell in the OT and yet Judaism is still around. I've watched some of the interviews with Rob Bell on youtube and he doesn't seem to be a universalist in the Spong sense of the word where they think everyone just automatically goes to heaven when they die. Bell seems to have this belief that hell is real but hell is only temporary and that you can repent of your sins whenever you want to in the afterlife and God will let you in. Isn't this like the Catholic doctrine of purgatory?

  5. Rob Bell is a pretty popular Christian author with the younger Christians at my parents' church and they've previously had a lot of respect for him, but now that Rob Bell has a new book out where he apparently argues there is no hell, suddenly they treat him like a heretic who's fallen away and leading people astray. Like this morning during bible class when they were asking for prayers, one of them suggested we should all pray for Rob Bell and for God to help him see the light and error of his ways. Then they started ranting about how sinful it was for him to preach that non-Christians can go to heaven too and how Jesus' death is meaningless if everyone gets into heaven. Of course nobody presented any actual proof that hell is real and didn't bother to refute any of Rob Bell's arguments. They just attacked his character instead and mocked how he was supposedly "dodging" questions in interviews and complaining about how he was shattering many young Christians' faith for challenging their belief in hell. One of them also tried to claim Rob Bell must have gone through a personal tragedy to arrive at this conclusion because nobody could have possibly arrived at this conclusion through thoughtful consideration or logical thinking. It obviously had to have been an emotional decision.


    It just irritates me that for years they sang praises to Rob Bell about how wonderful he is and now that he says something they don't agree with, suddenly he's treated like a traitor who's leading people to hellfire with his evil heresy even though none of them have any actual proof that hell is real. I also find their "let's pray for Rob Bell to change his mind" attitude to be rather patronizing and obnoxiously self-righteous. Besides, doesn't praying for Rob Bell to change his mind contradict the Christian belief in free will? If Rob Bell magically changes his mind because of his prayer, then how can he have changed his mind with freewill? It just annoys me with how these Christians are just fair weather friends who only like you when you say what they want to hear but if anyone challenges their beliefs by daring to disagree, they just toss them aside and brand them as heretics and traitors.


    You really think it's that simple? I guess you'd have to put me into the "nothing but semantics" pool then if you think so. Such an easy answer. One that falls rather short I'd have to say. I think your thinking is rather stuck, if that's how you see this. Your response actually surprises me somewhat for someone who has historically tried to see things from multiple perspectives.


    Do humans have a nature? What does that word mean? Is there scientific evidence of our nature? Forgive me, this is so obvious to me it's surprising the difficulty I'm hearing here with this. Is understanding or talking about that nature compatible with scientific thought? Is it angels on the head of pin?? I just don't get this.

    My point is that there is no objective definition of what the soul is and until the soul can be objectively defined and proven to exist, any discussion on whether or not it's compatible with something that does exist like evolution is meaningless whether arguing for or against it. Likewise, any discussion about God is meaningless until we can arrive at an objective definition of what God is.
  7. The problem with debating whether or not the soul is compatible with evolution is that if all religion is human-made, then the religious believers can make the soul be anything they want and explain how it works however they want. So as long as they come up with a convincing enough sounding word game, they can make the soul be compatible with almost whatever scientific theory they want. Trying to argue whether the soul is comptabible with science is like arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.


    Yes. I think it's still somewhat unresolved. It could be, but it's considered most likely not. So, debunked might be too strong word.


    And if I remember right, it was NASA that reported on that discovery back then (I could be wrong), which would explain their reaction today.



    It was one of my Catholic friends who mentioned this to me that it's happened before. She's a big believer in the paranormal and the supernatural and she even believes in Mothman. I linked her to this story and she was unimpressed. Her reaction was "again?" and she mentioned to me this has already happened before and she found it unconvincing even though she's a believer in this stuff herself.
  9. Here's NASA's response to the alien microbe claim: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110307/sc_afp/usspacebiologyastrobiologynasa_20110307213247;_ylt=Ai65eMY3VTwp_uvAp_Sb11Ks0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTFla2gwdjlsBHBvcwMxMTQEc2VjA2FjY29yZGlvbl9zY2llbmNlBHNsawNuYXNhc2F5czM5bm8-

    WASHINGTON (AFP) – Top NASA scientists said Monday there was no scientific evidence to support a colleague's claim that fossils of alien microbes born in outer space had been found in meteorites on Earth.


    The US space agency formally distanced itself from the paper by NASA scientist Richard Hoover, whose findings were published Friday in the peer-reviewed Journal of Cosmology, which is available free online.


    "That is a claim that Mr Hoover has been making for some years," said Carl Pilcher, director of NASA's Astrobiology Institute.


    "I am not aware of any support from other meteorite researchers for this rather extraordinary claim that this evidence of microbes was present in the meteorite before the meteorite arrived on Earth and and was not the result of contamination after the meteorite arrived on Earth," he told AFP.


    "The simplest explanation is that there are microbes in the meteorites; they are Earth microbes. In other words, they are contamination."


    Pilcher said the meteorites that Hoover studied fell to Earth 100 to 200 years ago and have been heavily handled by humans, "so you would expect to find microbes in these meteorites."


    Paul Hertz, chief scientist of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, also issued a statement saying NASA did not support Hoover's findings.


    "While we value the free exchange of ideas, data and information as part of scientific and technical inquiry, NASA cannot stand behind or support a scientific claim unless it has been peer-reviewed or thoroughly examined by other qualified experts," Hertz said.


    "NASA also was unaware of the recent submission of the paper to the Journal of Cosmology or of the paper's subsequent publication."


    He noted that the paper did not complete the peer-review process after being submitted in 2007 to the International Journal of Astrobiology.


    According to the study, Hoover sliced open fragments of several types of carbonaceous chondrite meteorites, which can contain relatively high levels of water and organic materials, and looked inside with a powerful microscope, Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (FESEM).


    He found bacteria-like creatures, calling them "indigenous fossils" that originated beyond Earth and were not introduced here after the meteorites landed.


    Hoover "concludes these fossilized bacteria are not Earthly contaminants but are the fossilized remains of living organisms which lived in the parent bodies of these meteors, e.g. comets, moons and other astral bodies," said the study.


    "The implications are that life is everywhere, and that life on Earth may have come from other planets."


    The journal's editor-in-chief, Rudy Schild of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, hailed Hoover as a "highly respected scientist and astrobiologist with a prestigious record of accomplishment at NASA."


    The publication invited experts to weigh in on Hoover's claim, and both sceptics and supporters began publishing their commentaries on the journal's website Monday.


    "While the evidence clearly indicates that the meteorites was eons ago populated with bacterial life, whether the meteorites are of actual extra-terrestrial origin might debatable," wrote Patrick Godon of Villanova University in Pennsylvania.


    Michael Engel of the University of Oklahoma wrote: "Given the importance of this finding, it is essential to continue to seek new criteria more robust than visual similarity to clarify the origin(s) of these remarkable structures."


    The journal did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


    Pilcher described Hoover as a "NASA employee" who works in a solar physics branch of a NASA lab in the southeastern state of Alabama.


    "He clearly does some very interesting microscopy. The actual measurements on these meteorites are very nice measurements, but I am not aware of any other qualification that Mr Hoover has in analysis of meteorites or in astrobiology," Pilcher said.


    A NASA-funded study in December suggested that a previously unknown form of bacterium, found deep in a California lake, could thrive on arsenic, adding a new element to what scientists have long considered the six building blocks of life.


    That study drew hefty criticism, particularly after NASA touted the announcement as evidence of extraterrestrial life. Scientists are currently attempting to replicate those findings.

  10. http://richarddawkins.net/articles/599327-scientist-imam-threatened-over-darwinist-views

    A prominent British imam has been forced to retract his claims that Islam is compatible with Darwin's theory of evolution after receiving death threats from fundamentalists.


    Dr Usama Hasan, a physics lecturer at Middlesex University and a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, was intending yesterday to return to Masjid al-Tawhid, a mosque in Leyton, East London, for the first time since he delivered a lecture there entitled "Islam and the theory of evolution".


    But according to his sister, police advised him not to attend after becoming concerned for his safety. Instead his father, Suhaib, head of the mosque's committee of trustees, posted a notice on his behalf expressing regret over his comments. "I seek Allah's forgiveness for my mistakes and apologise for any offence caused," the statement read.


    The campaign is part of a growing movement by a small but vocal group of largely Saudi-influenced orthodox Muslims who use evolution as a way of discrediting imams whom they deem to be overly progressive or "western orientated".


    Masjid Tawhid is a prominent mosque which also runs one of the country's largest sharia courts, the Islamic Sharia Council. In January, Dr Hasan delivered a lecture there detailing why he felt the theory of evolution and Islam were compatible – a position that is not unusual among many Islamic scholars with scientific backgrounds. But the lecture was interrupted by men he described as "fanatics" who distributed leaflets claiming that "Darwin is blasphemy".


    "One man came up to me during the lecture and said 'You are an apostate and should be killed'," Dr Hasan told The Independent. "I want to go back – I've been going to the mosque for 25 years. It is my favourite mosque in London, and I have been active in the community for a long time. I hope my positive contribution will outweigh their feelings towards me."


    I believe that I did explain the difference in previous posts, but let me do so again. To know in advance is not the same as to determine the events in advance. For example, I could know in advance that my child would help himself to candy left out in a dish when I'm not looking because I know the propensity of the child, but the child still uses his free will to choose to take the candy. Now, my foreknowledge is not perfect, therefore, there may be factors that prevent the child from taking the candy. However, if I had perfect omniscience I could also tell whether those factors would come into effect and my knowledge of the situation would match those factors and the eventual outcome. Yet, I still have not determined that the child take the candy, I have simply foreseen the events.



    Your scenario actually disproves omniscience and proves the point we're trying to make. In your scenario, you claim to know ahead of time that the child will take the candy but then turn around and allow for the possibility that the child will not take the candy. But if the child doesn't take the candy, then the child did something you had no foreknowledge of and thus you are not omniscience because your foreknowledge is imperfect and you yourself admit foreknowledge in your scenario is not perfect. But under the biblical definition of God, God is supposed to be perfect and have perfect foreknowledge. So either you admit God isn't perfect and God can't know every scenario or if God knows every scenario the child will choose, then it is inevitable the child will do the action that God foresaw and thus God determined it but you can't have it both ways. You can't have your cake and eat it too.
  12. Here's one skeptical response to it: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/03/05/has-life-been-found-in-a-meteorite/#more-29102

    I’ll be honest: my own reaction is one of extreme skepticism. As it should be! All things being equal, I would take news like this with a very large grain of salt, and want a whole lot of outside expert analysis; I’d like to see other biologists examining the original meteorite, too. Interestingly, the editors for the journal in which this paper is published understand how controversial this claim is, so they have asked 100 expert scientists to review the work and critique it. Those reviews have not yet been published, so we’ll see; the editors say the reviews will go online in a few days.


    Also, I feel I need to mention this as well: in my opinion, The Journal of Cosmology has published articles in the past that can charitably be called "shaky" (like this anti-Big Bang paper). One of their editors, Chandra Wickramasinghe, has made some pretty outrageous claims about NASA and life in space (links to some of his other odd claims can be found at that page as well). However, this does not necessarily mean that Hoover’s work is any more suspect than any other scientific claim! But it does mean I will cast an especially-skeptical eye on claims made in papers published by them. Others agree as well.


    And I must note that in an error-laden article*, the Journal published a not-very-flattering comment about me, calling me an "astronomer-wannabe" — heh– and claims I led a "torches and pitchforks crowd" about the existence of a planet in the outer solar system. That’s completely false, and in fact I got an email from the researcher leading the search for that planet, calling my article on it "the most balanced discussion" he saw!




    [updated to add: I've been informed the Journal of Cosmology is going out of business. They wrote a press release that may be of some interest.]


    So, to conclude: a claim has been made about micro-fossils in a meteorite. The claims are interesting, the pictures intriguing, but we are a long, long way from knowing whether the claim is valid or not! We’ve been down this road before and been disappointed. As with any scientific claim, skepticism is needed, and in the case of extraordinary claims, well, you know the saying.


    I never said that God was not all knowing. I said that omniscience does not equate to exhaustive determinism. Knowing in advance does not necessarily mean dictating in advance.

    Simply repeating over and over again that they're different doesn't explain how they're different. Going with the chess analogy, this would be like arguing the chess player deciding what moves the chess pieces can make on the board isn't dictating their moves and that the chess pieces somehow have freewill.



    No, I think you misunderstood what I was saying. I was not making a positive argument, but throwing up a defeater against the person who would argue that the amount of suffering in the world would count as an argument against God's existence. In fact, I made no positive case, but instead said what the skeptic would have to show to make his or her case, that being that the amount of evil could have no positive effect. Even if it is possible that the amount of evil could have some positive effect, then the argument is defeated. Yet, that is different from saying that God allows evil to bring about a positive effect, that would be a different argument, and I did not make that case as it didn't pertain to the post I was addressing.

    So you're arguing that God allows suffering to produce a positive effect while at the same time claiming this isn't a positive argument at all? Do you even know if you're coming or going?



    Should God have created humans before the Earth was fully suitable for our existence and thriving? I would also believe that humans appeared billions of years after the formation of the universe, and thankfully so, as the universe was not a very friendly place for life until relatively recently. Even Earth, at 4.5 billion years old wasn't suitable for advanced life until relatively recently. So, in answer to your question, I'm glad we didn't come on the scene any sooner than we did or you and I wouldn't be here to chat about it. It would have been over before it got started. I do read each post before responding to it and I don't know that I have been preaching and am not sure why you make such an accusation. Nor am I forcing anyone to reply to this thread, I believe you are doing it of your free will. But seriously, if you think I am ignoring something you are saying, simply point it out to me and I will address it. I'm trying to have an honest exchange with you and the others here.



    According to YECs, God has the power to magically speak the universe and all creation in only six days but a god who takes billions of years to create humans is not a personal creation in any sense of the word and at best would be an impersonal deistic god.
    • Like 1

    I've already said that I am not an exhaustive determinist, so I don't believe that all of our decisions have been made by God. However, you may be confusing omniscience with foreordination. Because God is omniscient, doesn't mean that he has determined those events in advance, as I have explained in other posts. The two concepts are commonly confused, but that is a mistake.

    So if God being all-knowing doesn't really mean that God doesn't know what the future is and the future is still unknown to God, then why call God all-knowing? You're trying to have your cake and eat it too.



    I looked back for where I might have said that and couldn't find where I did. Maybe you can point it out to me, but I don't remember saying that. That is called the "greater good" argument and it is not one that I make.

    You said and I quote
    But, maybe you are speaking about the evidential problem of evil. However, that argument requires a person to be able to see into the future to determine that the amount of evil that God allows now will have no positive effects in the future. In other words, to determine the probabilities one must know all of the background information; however, not having the ability to see into the future eliminates a key piece of background information that makes the argument fall apart.
    You clearly state here that God allowed evil to exist will result in positive effects in the future, so if we connect the dots, this mean God allows children to be raped because allowing children to be raped will somehow result in positive effects for the future.



    Why do you believe that God has left his creation alone? Even if there were periods where man might not have had direct contact with God, it doesn't mean that God didn't oversee and intervene for his creation. In the Bible, when man has had silence from God it was because man drove God away through his wickedness and pursuit of sin. It wasn't God who pushed man away. Even when Adam was driven from the Garden, God was providing for him and interacting with him and his children (see the story of Cain and Abel).

    How could the sins of humanity be responsible for why God took forever to create humans when no humans existed then to sin? Im' not saying I believe God has left his creation alone. I'm saying that the first humans didn't appear until thousands of years after the formation of the universe. How is this a personal creation? And you can't blame the sins of humans for this when humans didn't exist yet. Are you even reading what we post or are you just here to preach? If you're just here to preach and not to address what we say, please stop wasting our time.
  15. I think that as long as they're not including BL manga like Gravitation and Loveless, I don't have a problem with them moving the more explicit BL manga into the adult sections of bookstores. That's the way they do it in bookstores here in the U.S. At my Booksamillion, they have the softer stuff like Gravitation and Loveless in the regular manga section but they have really explicit graphic manga like Berserk in a another sections that's just for comics for adults. But banning late night ecchi anime would be about as absurd as banning South Park on late night TV in the U.S. Even Jerry Springer aired during daytime TV and nobody made a law to ban it as far as I'm aware.


    All knowing does not imply exhaustive determinism. God could simply know what we would freely choose before we freely make those choices. However, the counterfactual question is, what if we would have chosen differently? He would simply know a different reality.

    How can you be making a free choice if God already has determined what your choice is? If God has already determined what your choice will be before you make it, then you're no different than a character in a video game and God is just a video game player forcing you to do his bidding. If God just changes which reality he knows if you make a different choice, then this god is not all-knowing in any sense of the word. How can God know ahead of time the action you chose if he doesn't change what he knows until you make it?


    I don't remember making that argument.

    You said God allows evil to exist so that some good would come out of it. A priest who rapes a child is committing an evil act, so according to you, God allowed a child to be raped so that something good would come out of it.



    Why would that be an argument against personal origins?

    It'd be like a parent who gives birth to a child but doesn't see that child until years later when they grow up. Would you say that parent had a personal relationship with their kid?


    Where does it say that people should be stoned for eating shellfish or wearing mixed fabrics? I don't remember seeing that punishment connected with these actions. In fact, I see no specific punishment connected with these actions.



    Maybe you should go back and re-read the bible. This is pretty basic common knowledge. I'm not going to waste my time explaining basic common bible knowledge to you because I don't think you're worth it.

    The statement, "extraordinary claims requires extraordinary evidence" is actually a problematic claim that borders on being fallacious, if it isn't actually fallacious. Any claim requires suitable and adequate evidence to justify that particular claim. Can you tell me what the specific measurement is that reaches the level of "extraordinary"? No, because it is a subjective standard that, for the skeptic, will never reach the level of requirement. Therefore, the skeptic will never be satisfied with the degree of evidence provided.


    If somebody claimed they were abducted by aliens, would you believe their claim just because they claimed they were abducted or would you need more proof that confirms their story? Do you just go around buying into any supernatural claim someone makes just because they claim it's true or you demand evidence for it? And if the standard for extraordinary evidence is subjective, then you admit you have no objective evidence for your claims and you're just making it all up.
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