Saturday, November 10, 2018
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
For more on the concept of the "Critical Path" see here. It is my guess that at some super-microscopic level the apparent continuity of Cosmic change is actually a sequence of discrete events - that is, the cosmos is infinitely divisible in neither time nor space*1. For the moment let's call the minimum time and minimum length "tau" and "epsilon" respectively although if I am right we don't know, of course, at what dimensions this discreteness kicks in.
The SI unit system is defined from standard macroscopic behaviours and objects. Therefore, we could derive tau and epsilon in SI units if we knew the number of fundamental discrete units per SI unit. We define our standards of length and time from the macroscopic world, but this macroscopic world is built out of the conjectured discrete "bricks" of time and space. Therefore it is the count of these discrete "bricks" which really define our macroscopic standards rather than the other way round; that is, these bricks don't have some absolute dimension of "tau" and "epsilon" apart from standards taken from the very macroscopic world they make up. We find a similar situation in computation: From a purely mathematical perspective the absolute "time" of a computation can only be measured in terms of the discrete number of critical path operations the computation takes. Ultimately time is only absolutely measured as the count of a discrete sequence of distinguishable events.
Let me contrast the foregoing considerations with the thinking of many fundamentalists on this subject where for them "supernatural instantaneity" is the name of the creation game. As an example I quote below young earth fundamentalist Stuart Burgess from his squalid little book "He made the stars also" (2001). For many fundamentalists like Burgess the following kind of intellectual debauchery is par for the course and may be regarded as an all but mandated belief for Christians if they want to lay claim to God's grace*2 (My emphases):
To Burgess commands are commands and that's the end of it and the truly devout are encouraged to ask no more probing questions! But as we know commands are invariably just at the pinnacle of a huge mountain of lower level causation and action which can be analysed.
Now, let's look at another quote from Burgess where he misses the obvious and makes a mother of a faux pas. After quoting Prov 8:27-30, verses which talk of God as a craftsmen, Burgess somehow manages to cough up this piece of half digested intellectual vomit (My emphases):
*2 For example see my article on holy bad mouthing here as evidence of a close connection between salvation and belief in young earth in the mind of Ken Ham.
*3 Burgess repeats the old canard of implicating evolution as a random process. Even (intelligent) atheists don't believe this! See here
*4 "Time" in the sense that I have defined it in this post (Viz; as the count of events taken along a critical) means that any creative process will take time; lots of it, in fact, if the task is complex. Hence "Time" is logically inherent in all creative activities. The question remains for the Christian, however, as to whether this logically obliged time has been revealed to us. Hence, the question of whether the cosmos has taken billions of years is thus a question, not of logical necessity (since time is a logical necessity), but of revelation.
Wednesday, October 03, 2018
Anyway, below is a sample of the aggressive anti-Europeanism, in particular anti-Germanic sentiment, that this squalid Facebook page incites in its commenters. I've changed names, of course.
I think I've had enough of all this, so let's finish with just two more examples of "Brexit" chauvinism (My emphases):
What a horrible lot! These views are such a self-send up that I did wonder if we had tongue-in-cheek trolls abroad. If so Poe's law strikes again! But to think that I might be trapped on a small island on the edge of the Atlantic with these people! It's enough to make one emigrate to Europe! But then Europe's got these bellicose right-wingers as well! I've never thought of myself as xenophobic but when I come across such people I sense more than a touch of xenophobia as I realise just how alien and how utterly irreconcilable their world-view is to mine. Perhaps, I wonder, there is some kind of mathematical limit which stops many humans from extending tribal entitlement to the whole of the human race; you need some people left to blame for your problems!
Xenophobia breeds xenophobia as civilisation collapses under the weight of international distrust and infighting.These peopleare far more alien to me than the open minded Europeans with whom I have had contact and with whom I feel much more at home. If the views of the above people become popular they would be the kindling that inflames war. It never occurs to them that there are also hyper-nationalists in the countries they so fear and that these extremists are finding similar excuses to justify their xenophobia, and if necessary to wage war.
Below are some pictures of the people we really need to fear and you don' find them only in Germany or Europe. In fact you find them everywhere, unfortunately:
So, once again we find a worrying juxtaposition of Christian fundamentalism, hyper-nationalism bordering on fascism and conspiracy theorism. It is interesting to note that the "Intelligent Design" correspondent Denise O'leary who writes for the ID web site "Uncommon Descent" also had a similar view on Europe to the people I have quoted above; as with the above she conflated the war with Nazism with a war on the German people itself. See here:
* Tina holds a romantizied and nostalgic view of the UK's past as a once "Great Nation". Viz: No one seems to remember that we were once a great country in the days before the Common Market turned Economic Community turned European Union. What a stupid comment! I think you will find that most people, even with a casual acquaintance of history, will remember when the small Kingdom of Britain had a vast empire and, unlike Tina, many have at least some inkling as to why things have changed for this relatively small country. What Tina doesn't grasp is that this country achieved its imperial "greatness" (not that it was always very "great" in the moral sense of the word) via a complex of circumstances that really no one understands; from the Anglo-Norman social ethos, through its isolated island status, to the confluence of the many factors which came together in the industrial revolution, a myriad conditions played their part in the rise & rise of Great Britain. But now that the advanced nations have industrialised or are industrialising the advantages of being a "first-in-nation" have run their course. You would think that being a Christian who subscribes to the apostolic authority of the book of Romans Tina would understand that fundamentally human beings are pretty much the same paradoxical mix of good and bad where ever you are.
** The Nazis weren't Christian: In fact underneath it they despised its apparent untermensch style "weakness" which contrasted to the "strength" of Nietzsche's Godless concept of the "ubermensch". However, Hitler exploited the conservative, tribal and authoritarian tendencies of the church in Germany to his advantage and that church bears some culpability for the outcome.
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
This activity has actually proved to be very revealing and Ashley's newsletters often contain interesting material about the latest anti-science musings of the fundamentalists, although I don't usually have time to study the material in depth. One of his latest bulletins informs us that some fundamentalists are now taking on the "feathered dinosaur" fossil finds with some even going as far as denying that there were any feathered dinosaurs; others, however, are not so sure.
Fundamentalists tend to think in black & white categories anyway, but fossil finds which ostensibly appear to be a blend between dinosaur and bird make them feel uncomfortable. As a consequence of their insistence on an immutable taxonomy, different "kinds" must remain distinct and therefore as far as they are concerned fossil finds must fall unambiguously into strict taxonomic categories. In fundamentalist taxonomy "a bird is a bird is a bird" and "a dinosaur is dinosaur is a dinosaur"; the idea that the boundaries of distinction between species and kinds are blurred is anathema because to the fundamentalist mind this would reek of evolutionary thought. Therefore when fossils have features which might be interpreted as a blended phenotype (like feathered dinosaurs) the fundamentalist black vs white categorisation machine goes into over-drive in order to prove to themselves that the fossil is either unambiguously a bird or unambiguously a dinosaur - it can't be both/and. However, I must add the caveat here that the evidence for feathered dinosaurs is compelling enough for some fundamentalists to be unsure about the status of the apparently feathered dinosaur fossils; more about that later
Wikipedia is somewhat more balanced than AiG:
Also noteworthy is Ashley's first fundamentalist quote which also comes from Creation Ministries International, the ministry which fell out with Ken Ham's friend and ex-business partner, the nasty John Mackay. Here's the whole paragraph from which it comes (My emphases):
Differences among creation researchers over ‘feathered dinosaurs’ should not trump agreement on larger issues. Believers in biblical creation agree, on solid anatomical grounds, that dinosaurs did not evolve into flying birds. We also agree on biblical grounds that if there were feathered dinosaurs, then God must have directly made them that way or designed them with the potential to develop that way. Disagreement arises over whether any candidate fossil demands feathered dinosaur status
This rather puts Menton in a hole as more evidence for feathered dinosaurs comes to light. In contrast to Menton CMI reserves for itself the last resort of the anti-scientist: That is, if established science on the subject of feathered dinosaurs can't be picked apart by fundamentalist anti-scientists, it can always be claimed that God created them miraculously during the "creation week"! This is the anti-science methodology of fundamentalism: If the science can't be undermined, just claim "God did it....."
In post on PZ Myers blog here:
We find this diagram which depicts Answer in Genesis' concept of the evolution of cats from their posited feline "kind" which came out of the ark:
Myers remarks that although this picture is clearly a cartoon depiction designed for children it is, nevertheless, a reasonable simplification of how palaeontologists would depict cat evolution. But the big difference are the time scales: 20 million years for paleontologists and probably a lot less than 4000 years for the AiG fundamentalists!
The key to the fundamentalist thinking here is the label "Genetic potential" just above their "original created kind". I think you will find that they would posit this "kind" to have been created with all the genes needed for the diversification shown in their picture. Whether or not, even given the existence of these genes, the diversification would follow so quickly I don't know (possibly less than 1000 years!). However, it's another case of the fundamentalist claiming that "God just spoke it into existence!" during the creation week.
Thursday, August 30, 2018
This picture can be found on FB "Flat Earth Research" here:
https://www.facebook.com/flatearthresearch/photos/a.1628044087506793/1953022505008948/?type=3&theater. In a response to a query as to why the dinosaurs appeared on this picture two Young Earthers left these comments on Flat Earth's FB page:
Interestingly, the QAnon conspiracy theorists in the following YouTube video used their conspiracy theory to dismiss the Flat Earth conspiracy in a way similar to the way I sketched out above!
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Links on De Facto ID
De facto ID's God-of-the-Gaps (Small sample)