Science vs. Religion

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Offline rosy

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #50 on: 19/05/2005 21:02:58 »
quote:
Now, what question would a respectable scientist - being impervious to dogma - ask first, before investigating the matter any further?

I think actually a respectable (say) chemist would say "Oh really? Is that unusual? Would you like to explain why?"
I take the approach that the "last man to know everything there was to know", whether that was Goethe, da Vinci, J S Mill or Milton, died some time ago, that there's no way I can understand everything, and that unless it goes sharply against my prejudices about how the world works (or I know that there's a debate going on as to the validity of the results) I'll assume that the experts have more idea than I have in most fields.
That's not to say I'd be particularly surprised to find anything I'd assumed was accurate from such sources had been re-evaluated.

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Offline chimera

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #51 on: 19/05/2005 21:24:28 »
I think the best scenario is when people are able to question the validity of ANY thing, which is not the same as trying to be a walking encyclopedia. There is such a thing as common sense, or there should be... funny thing is children seem to have more of it than grownups, even  [:)]

And respectable has nothing to do with it, really. Nor are the best physics teachers by default the best physicists, quite the contrary even.

Also remember the fate of Lord Kelvin, who was such an overwhelming personality and general Mr. Know-it-all he singlehandedly put scientific progress in the second half of his life to a virtual standstill. So, equally try to see someone who has made a career of explaining stuff over half a century old as not exactly the best  source or judge even for bleeding-edge technology. You cannot have it all...


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Offline rosy

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #52 on: 19/05/2005 22:19:19 »
Um, my apologies. I may have been being slightly flippant. I would, of course, agree with you that questionning the validity of an assertion is a generally useful thing to do (I might go so far as to be offended that you seem to have assumed otherwise, but possibly that degree of hamming risks being taken seriously if put down in text).

All I was suggesting was that, as you point out, people are often orders of magnitude out in how big they think things are. But on the other hand, if someone tells me (a chemist, of sorts) "oh, that black hole is n lightyears across" I don't really see that it's of much immediate interest to me unless I know, or have just had it explained, that the largest known black hole to date is (n-5) or n/10 lightyears across.
That was why I made the point about *unless I know it's a subject of debate, or I find it very surprising*... I wouldn't personally know how even to approach the maths!

I wasn't suggesting that anyone *should* know everything. That was my point... that the assertion you cite about the enormous black hole is *of course* perfectly believeable until you do the maths unless you're tuned into that area of thought anyway.

Oh, and I used the term "respectable scientists" because you did. In my book they are the ones who haven't ossified into thinking their theories are right and stopped looking at the evidence... which is to say scientists worthy of respect. Did you mean something different? My comment about respectable chemists was intended to mean that a chemist who might be doing terrific cutting edge science in, say, molecular orbital interactions, might need to be prompted to query the size of a black hole. If you work on the nanometer scale, anything over about a micron can be classed as "big" and left at that... unless you happen to be discussing black holes with a flatmate.

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Offline chimera

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #53 on: 20/05/2005 11:29:49 »
quote:
Originally posted by rosy

.. I wouldn't personally know how even to approach the maths!


Oh, that's relatively simple, you can even use google for it these days...

OK, let's put r= 1 lightyear.

(2 * G * ((3 203 * (10^9)) * (1.9891 * ((10^30) kg)))) / (c^2) = 1.00001814 lightyears

To create a black hole with a lightyear radius you need (just over) a whopping *3200* billion solar masses. That's over thirty of your average run-off-the-mill galaxies. So that's out.

Similarly, you can do calculations on how long it would take to create the incredibly large collections of galaxies known as superclusters. That's about 80 billion years, give or take a few. Considering the universe is supposed to be only 15 billion years old or thereabouts, quite a feat.

No astronomer has any answer to that, btw.



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Offline daveshorts

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #54 on: 20/05/2005 12:55:12 »
Did you actually find a report of this somewhere?

My guess is that the scientist wasn't talking about schwartzchild radius when they mentioned the size, - maybe it is the size of the acretian disk. A reporter then heard size, black hole and 3.5-5 lightyears and missed out the important bit...

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Offline chimera

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #55 on: 20/05/2005 13:33:48 »
Yes, probably. But then still, the black hole would roughly be about 0,4 lightyears in diameter (1/12,5th following 4pi*d^2) , and that's still 1282 billion solar masses. Still way too many galaxies for comfort.

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Offline daveshorts

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #56 on: 20/05/2005 14:59:20 »
Are the radio sources that shoot out of the top or bottom of an accretian disk related to black holes as they can be a few light years long can't they?

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Offline chimera

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #57 on: 20/05/2005 19:53:33 »
Longer even, but I don't think they meant those... anyway, even 'supermassive' black holes turn out to be rather puny, if you take a closer evaluation, unless they've been eating outdoors in secret, of course... [:)]

Say a big whopper, that you sometimes read about, like 3 billion solar masses, would be a measly 0.000936638904 lightyears.

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Offline rosy

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #58 on: 21/05/2005 00:33:59 »
0.000936638904 lightyears

Wow, what precision.

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Offline chimera

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #59 on: 21/05/2005 10:07:13 »
Don't forget those are approximate formulas, they'll never be precise to the exact cm or even kilometer, mind you, and these numbers are much, much longer in reality.

But lets put them a bit back into 'normal' perspective. The black hole supposedly at the centre of this galaxy is estimated to be 1 billion solar masses. That would mean it would have a radius of 2.95369965 10^9 = nearly 3 billion kilometers, so a diameter of twice that.

Now 6 billion kilometers at a distance of 8 kiloparsecs (2.4685442 10^17 kilometers) means trying to see an object of  0.0790660366 nanometers at 1 lightyear (9.4605284 10^12 kilometers) distance. An average atom has a diameter of 0.1 to 0.5 nanometers.

So basically you're trying to see something less than a tenth of an atom across at a distance way, way beyond Pluto.

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Offline rosy

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #60 on: 21/05/2005 10:59:29 »
Um, OK, what I meant was"I can't quite believe you can justify quoting anything like that degree of precision" possibly I should rephrase that as a question...

So... what.... that 9 significant figure number you've quoted is approximate? Or do you mean that the black hole you're talking about with mass three billion solar masses is somewhere round about 1E-3 lightyears across, give or take some.

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Offline chimera

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #61 on: 21/05/2005 11:19:57 »
We just have a standard formula, and out rolls a size, but we do not have any visual confirmation of exact size, or the size of the accretion disk - several formulas for that, even -, and even those impressive lighthouse beams. All artists impressions are just that, without their incredible effects on their environment, making those at least visible, we wouldn't even know they were there... for a infinitesimal speck on the horizon, they have quite a 'drag'.

Oh and don't be impressed with a bit of google magic: here's the formula for the radius of a black hole (half of its diameter)

(2 * G * ((billions of solar masses * (10^9)) * (1.9891 * ((10^30) kg)))) / (c^2) in lightyears

(just cut and paste it into the google bar, and replace 'billions of solar masses' with any number) where google already knows what you mean with G and c, and can of course do it in  kilometers as well as lightyears or whatever measure you need. The rest of the formula are just pretty well known constants and values.

So fill in a 1000, and you have a pretty precise number for the black hole at the centre of this universe. Hope that makes you try out more stuff with it, it can be pretty awesome.

The living are the dead on holiday.  -- Maurice de Maeterlinck (1862-1949)
« Last Edit: 21/05/2005 11:22:18 by chimera »
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Offline rosy

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #62 on: 21/05/2005 11:39:54 »
Yeah... to be honest I'm less impressed than, um, sceptical... infact now I've checked I'm outright disbelieving.
you have a precise number, but I don't believe you have an accurate number.
According to this website (the people who build NASA satelites, apparently)
http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/astro_constants.html
G is only known to an accuracy of 4-5 sig fig and so any calculations based on G will have an ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM accuracy of 4 SF depending on the accuracy of the other values you've plugged in. In this instance, you're using a mass accurate to 1-2 sig fig.
G = 6.67259 ( 0.00030) x 10-11 kg-1 m3 s-2

Given that I know you're rightly keen on questioning everything, it's proabably worthwhile to think twice bfore copy-pasting out of a calculator ;)
« Last Edit: 21/05/2005 11:49:56 by rosy »

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Offline chimera

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #63 on: 21/05/2005 12:47:04 »
That's the spirit. It is the official formula tho, not googles or HP's... r = 2GM/c^2.

here's the different ones for the accretion disk:
http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/physics/AccretionDisk.html

Also M is taken here as 1,9891 and is mostly given as 1,989

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_mass

so yes, it depends on what you toss in, and you might as well cut off the last few million kilometers. If you look carefully at that table you used btw, and scroll to the mass estimates for the solar system, you'll see that the bigger the mass, the more confident the estimate.

The living are the dead on holiday.  -- Maurice de Maeterlinck (1862-1949)
Errare humanum esd.-- Biggus D.

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Offline rosy

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #64 on: 21/05/2005 12:53:47 »
;) Sorry... I'm not questioning that it's the official (and *presumably* most rigorously tested) formula!
All I meant was that the last few sig figs were pretty much meaningless (except possibly for misleading the unwary as to how accurately it's currently possible to measure this stuff).

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Offline chimera

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #65 on: 21/05/2005 13:23:59 »
Good point. It's only the official, surviving one in a sense, though. There have been others, slightly different, and rejected for different reasons. And testing, ah, testing. Now there's a good point. [:D]

Also all those nice round rough estimates (1000 billion solar masses, why not 956), the fact some of these objects are hundreds of millions of lightyears away and we are roughly estimating all those 'facts' based on observations of disturbances of much greater regions, and it is obvious that this kind of precision would not get you to the moon and back.

But people eat it like pie, and what's worse, they NEED that kind of semi-certainty, as if it made some kind of a difference.

(Even if my calculation about comparative size at a lighyear was trillions of times off, say the thing would be as big as a pea at one lightyear, would it make any difference? Not much in this case, for all practical purposes, but next time as for my calculation, too. ;)

Even scientists fall for it. Their need to appear so confident and infinitely precise is just filling in a niche, and of course they oblige. They can fulfill the same kind of psychological need for *reassurance* in our knowledge as priests do, and not only purely in our *knowledge*.

Therefore scientists should always be aware of the important difference, and Joe and Jane Public a lot less demure in his or her questioning.

added:

an example of such an article that I hope people will now read differently than before:

http://www.obspm.fr/messier/more/m087_hst.html

The living are the dead on holiday.  -- Maurice de Maeterlinck (1862-1949)
« Last Edit: 21/05/2005 13:44:19 by chimera »
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Offline daveshorts

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #66 on: 21/05/2005 13:35:47 »
I think Rosy is making a far more fundamental point, which was drummed into me in Physics A-level and during my degree...
"If you put rubbish into a formula you get rubbish out" so if you are putting figures in that are +/- 30%, the answer will be (depending on the exact formula) +/- 30%, so quoting the answer to .00000001% is pointless and very misleading.

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Offline chimera

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #67 on: 21/05/2005 13:49:20 »
Mmm. Where'd you get that 30% from? My calculations were deceptively precise, but not off by more than a relative whisker, certainly not that.

Calling an object 'solar system sized', or pretending that it is any kind of exact measure, now that's misleading. What kind of definition is that?

The living are the dead on holiday.  -- Maurice de Maeterlinck (1862-1949)
Errare humanum esd.-- Biggus D.

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Offline daveshorts

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #68 on: 21/05/2005 14:06:47 »
I was talking in more general terms, but you are picking an arbitrary mass of about 1000 billion solar masses surely it is not meaningful to quote the answer to more than 1-2 significant figures?

I am not saying that there is anything wrong with your calculation, just that you are quoting the answer to a ridiculous accuracy... possibly a bit picky but you did start it ;)

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Offline chimera

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #69 on: 21/05/2005 14:49:13 »
The difference in G is a max of 30 per 10,000, that's the closest I can think of. Anyway.

Using more than 2 decimal places in these matters is not what it's about, though. Remember the name of the thread? It's about gullibility more than anything else.

I didn't pick the number of 1 billion
  • solar masses, or 3 billion. Those are numbers used in documents by scientists. Why these? Probably because it is a nice round percent of the weigth of your average galaxy, and gravitational disturbances are more likely to be measured in those terms. 'We have a 3-percent mass disturbance here', like.


Fact remains, that ANY direct mention of such sizes, has very little to do with direct observation, but are derived via yet another calculation/guesstimate. Fact number two remains, tho: the sizes mentioned are not only questionable, but if they are anything, they are too big. In that sense the calculations are very valid and not misleading.

Which leads us back to my original proposition that dogma has its counterpart in pulp science, where the need for reassurance wins on factuality/inquisitiveness by a knock-out.


[* edit late typo - that was what the whole argument was about: you cannot have objects that need 1000 billion or 3000 billion, like a 1/2 - lightyear-big black hole - sorry for the late edit but I had to leave in a rush and realised it only later, I'll stick to exponential notation in future, sigh.]

The living are the dead on holiday.  -- Maurice de Maeterlinck (1862-1949)
« Last Edit: 21/05/2005 19:30:16 by chimera »
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Offline chimera

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #70 on: 22/05/2005 11:29:21 »
quote:
Originally posted by daveshorts

I was talking in more general terms, but you are picking an arbitrary mass of about 1000 billion solar masses surely it is not meaningful to quote the answer to more than 1-2 significant figures?

I am not saying that there is anything wrong with your calculation, just that you are quoting the answer to a ridiculous accuracy... possibly a bit picky but you did start it ;)


Summarising:
Dave, with rosy's comments calculated in, there would be only a marginal difference between my answers and the ones that would be used in an official paper, where cutting off at a certain decimal is more of an editorial function, or adding a +/- uncertainty to avoid any nitpickery.

Again, because of the numbers used, this would be millions of kilometers different in reality, but as for the calculation still be more in the order of 1/30th of a procent, than 30.

Also don't forget that the calculation is done in kilometers, before converting to lightyears. That's only done in the end, of course.

As to your question about sizes of suspected accretion disks:

"This 130 light-year diameter disk encircles a suspected black hole which may be one billion times the mass of our Sun."

http://bustard.phys.nd.edu/Phys171/lectures/smbh.html

so you can work out how large the object would have to be according to the accretion disk formula, and see for yourself it cannot correspond to an object weighing only 10^9 kg, especially not it if the objects's lightyears across.
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Offline daveshorts

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #71 on: 22/05/2005 12:06:00 »
We are not critising your calculation, just how accurate it is worth quoting the answer. 30% as I said earlier was just a number picked out of the air with no particular relevance to your calculation to make a point. However if you are going to be awkward I will:

You may be correct if you actually meant to calculate the schwartzchild radius of a black hole of mass 1billion +/- 1 solar mass - but I don't think there is any point unless you are considering building the black hole. I think what you meant was about 1 billion solar masses - in which case the implied precision is 1-2 sig fig, so although you may be technically correct, there is still no point in quoting so much precision.

If you read http://bustard.phys.nd.edu/Phys171/lectures/smbh.html carefully the 130 light year thing may be feeding into a smaller inner acretian disk - I would guess that the outer disk is not in hydrostatic equilibrium, and therefore doesn't fit with your equation. It is therefore not stable but I don't see why there should be a maximum size of a cloud of gas and dust that is gently falling into a black hole- I am not sure what the exact semantics are, but I would guess the problem is in the definition of accretian disk rather than the physics.

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Offline chimera

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #72 on: 22/05/2005 12:21:13 »
I'm sorry, but that's not the same kind of caveat's I'm reading from those texts, but instead only roaring enthusiasm - make that cock-certainty - for something that MUST be a black hole, cannot be something else, whatever the slight (!) differences with observational data.

So, suddenly its not strictly 'allowed' to use a math formula given by physicists as their best effort at calculating mass and size of a black hole, because we have to make allowances for all kinds of uncertainties and possible varations on a theme.

OK, fine by me, as long as we all know our place, I guess.

Funny how if someone postulates something more common than a black hole, like a variation on a neutron star, all hands are called on deck to burn heretics using the same formulas, in essence. Did you know the word heretic originally simply meant 'doubter', btw?

The living are the dead on holiday.  -- Maurice de Maeterlinck (1862-1949)
Errare humanum esd.-- Biggus D.

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Offline daveshorts

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #73 on: 22/05/2005 16:33:39 »
relax, I am not complaining about your calculation just making a picky, but quite fundamental, point about how you should present the result...  

ps can I please not be on board the ship that burns heritics aboard - I find building fires somewhere less flamable ob balance a little better ;)

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Offline chimera

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #74 on: 22/05/2005 18:37:35 »
There's nothing fundamental in blowing up a supposed error by a order of 4, it's just erroneous, and your tenacity about it is honestly getting a bit tedious by now. If you did not mean to say it, or meant anything else, why react at all? Could have saved yourself the whole thing.

I really wish you were so tenacious about seeing the the importance of a difference between observation and theory when it concerns a difference of an order of 3, a 1000 times,  as observed, instead of going on about something maybe differing at 4 digits behind the comma.

One thing they even acknowledged in the bible, something with a mote in the other's eye  while missing out on the beam in your own.

This is not some political debate where it's your taken position that decides your acceptance of facts and figures or negative polls or not, it's science. Dammit.

Oh, I like to do my heretic-burning preferably aboard oil-tankers filled with the best high-octane stuff, btw. And then take the chopper out. What you take me for, barbaric?  [:)]

The living are the dead on holiday.  -- Maurice de Maeterlinck (1862-1949)
Errare humanum esd.-- Biggus D.

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Offline rosy

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #75 on: 22/05/2005 22:40:43 »
Oh honestly people.

Rob, if you're bored with this discussion no-one's making you take part.

Dave is making an entirely valid point. The correct use of precision and error analysis *is* in general terms very important, and not at all the editorial decision Rob dimisses it as being.

The error quoted is a measure of the author's confidence in the results and to quote any calculation to 9sf is to imply that you are absolutely confident that (assuming your theory is correct) the value of whatever you've calculated is correct to 0.000001% (or thereabouts). Which is obviously not the case in this context.

Clearly this doesn't really apply to a discussion forum when we all know you've copied and pasted out of a calculator and perhaps in this context my small mickey-taking was a bit childish.

quote:
I really wish you were so tenacious about seeing the the importance of a difference between observation and theory when it concerns a difference of an order of 3, a 1000 times, as observed, instead of going on about something maybe differing at 4 digits behind the comma.

Just as a matter of interest (and because if you've already said further up the thread I can't find it) where are you quoting this famous supposed-black-hole from? A research paper? A popular science magazine? A newspaper? A random person's website? I can't work out how bothered I should be...
If this comes from a supposedly reputable source someone apparently deserves to lose their job. If not, well, to be honest I can't get all that excited about people accepting it as probably true, because to expect most people to have any concept of the physical implications of anything that big strikes me as frankly silly. That's not to say I'd apply the same logic to a comparable mistake in a field such as chemistry or biology because an equivalent mistake could in that instance influence the decision of John or Jane Public on something that was actually relevant to their lives.

quote:
Oh, I like to do my heretic-burning preferably aboard oil-tankers filled with the best high-octane stuff, btw. And then take the chopper out. What you take me for, barbaric?


Eh? I thought you were suggesting you were the heretic, in which case surely once someone's lit the bonfire what it sets fire to (other than yourself) is of purely academic interest to the doubter.

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Offline chimera

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #76 on: 23/05/2005 09:43:28 »
quote:
Originally posted by rosy

Oh honestly people.

Rob, if you're bored with this discussion no-one's making you take part.

Clearly this doesn't really apply to a discussion forum when we all know you've copied and pasted out of a calculator and perhaps in this context my small mickey-taking was a bit childish.

I can't work out how bothered I should be...

If not, well, to be honest I can't get all that excited ....

Eh? I thought you were suggesting...



Maybe you should make fewer assumptions, be less bothered, and not get all that excited, then?

If you have any questions as to the material discussed, read again.

Furthermore, I'd say Dave is perfectly capable of answering for himself, don't you think?

The living are the dead on holiday.  -- Maurice de Maeterlinck (1862-1949)
Errare humanum esd.-- Biggus D.

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Offline rosy

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #77 on: 23/05/2005 10:56:36 »
quote:
Furthermore, I'd say Dave is perfectly capable of answering for himself, don't you think?

More than capable. However, if I choose to make a point in an open discussion and to observe in passing that mainly what I'm saying is in agreement with someone who's just posted that strikes me as fair enough.

quote:
Maybe you should make fewer assumptions, be less bothered, and not get all that excited, then?

I think possibly you didn't understand my question. Or misinterpret how aggressive I'm not intending to be. Or you're just being rude. I can't tell (the disagvantages of a text forum).
It was a question, where did the original erroneous statement about the black hole come from? Because it seems to me relevant in terms of to what extent it's reasonable to describe it as scientific dogma, which was your original point. And having scanned the thread for links again I still can't find it.

However. As I've only stuck with it this far because I was trying to work out whether I agreed with your basic point or not, and as I'm not nearer an answer and seem to have annoyed you, I shan't pose any further questions and will merely apologise for taking up your time.

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Offline chimera

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #78 on: 23/05/2005 21:24:49 »
Look, I'm butting out of this thread after this remark, so don't bother any further:

I said:
quote:

Anyway: nice experiment to show how even scientists can fall for dogma: any scientist willing to conduct it with me by answering the following question:

A black hole has been reported sitting at the center of a galaxy close to 450 million lighyears away, and it has a size calculated to be around 3,5 to 5 lightyears in diameter.

Yet, there is something totally impossibly wrong with it. Something that defies our astronomic common sense.

Now, what question would a respectable scientist - being impervious to dogma - ask first, before investigating the matter any further?




So this is clearly no reference to a direct article, but an example of what I called 'pulp science', as in 'spot the loony' for a self-respecting scientist kind of 'exam' to see if you smelled a rat somewhere.

Later I DID give two links with two reports that are of that ilk , more or less. One speaks of a 'solar system size' black hole of a billion solar masses which I find rubbish, and another that claimed a 130 lightyear accretion disk, which hides an equal improbable element, but less clearly so, or with a lot of unstated provisos. More accurate numbers would be 3.6 million for the one at our galaxy, with an outer accretion disk of 15.3 lightyears, give or take a trillion miles.

The calculation boiled down to 8.86109896 10^09 kilometers, and depending on where you cut off (2, 4 or no decimals cut off) it becomes 0.000936522742, 0.000936628444, or 0.000936638904 lightyear as I gave earlier. Take your pick, nothing much changes.

So you misread an experiment showing how people can get carried away following dogma, as an real article, missed the real articles tho, made a valid point about precision, which David hastily misread in all likelihood - on rereading-  and from there the whole thing degraded into a discussion strictly about supermassive black holes and burning heretics.

The funny thing is I don't believe in either, btw. But if you do something, do it well.

'Misinterpreting how agressive I'm not intending to be' gets the QT award 2005, tho.

On telling emotions from text-only forums: think how a blacksmith tests for quality in his steel  by making a clear spark fly off it. That speaks volumes to the trained eye, as long as the spark does not end up in said eye, ofcourse. [:)]

The living are the dead on holiday.  -- Maurice de Maeterlinck (1862-1949)
Errare humanum esd.-- Biggus D.

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Offline Tronix

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #79 on: 23/05/2005 23:44:16 »
Well, maybe i should check this thread more often :)

As sharp as the argument was, the debate over the plausibility of such a huge black hole did bring up another point about science and religion.

Chimera here was proposing that a black hole of this size is impossible, with Mathematics to prove it. Christians, when debating the divinity of Jesus, also look to the bible and its tales of his miraculous actions to prove his divinity. But, in both cases, physcial observation cannot be used. Jesus is 2000 years dead, and should a black hole of that size exsist, we have yet to find, or be aware, of it. Thus, nothing completly concrete, but regardless, heated debates.

And there even seems, ever so slightly, that there is dogma in science. chimera made an excellent point with his hypothesis for his social experiment, the "pulp science" dogma.

Now, keep in mind when i say dogam, i mean webster's definition of dogma being "tenets, beliefs, and/or doctrines, collectively". Dogma has a negative connotation, but since i dont want to beat around it, im just mentioning this now. I think the defintion of dogma we are used to is "an positve, arrogant assertion of opinion" defintion. This is not the one i mean.  

returning to point, the pulp dogma chimera pointed out was the acceptance of fully wild phenomenon as plausible, merely out of ignorance, and that Joe Schmo's average exposure to science is through Lara Croft, Star Wars, and a few high school classes that he quickly forgot. In deed, this can happen, and does. From my own observation, im seem to be quite a victim to it, drawn to the possiblity that science can bring, not watching for and even avioding its borders.

but also, i think there is the other end of that dogma, a sort of "Mathmatical Evangelicalism". The laws of physics, paticularly the laws of Quantum Physics, are treading on brittle ground, for that they are logic based on finite observation. Numbers like pi were and are based on physical circumstances here in our world, and alot of our astrnomical knowledge is based on telescope observations. The accuarcy of mathematics is astounding, but being based on finite constants, it has only so many possible outputs. Thus, we have impossiblities in our science, and should it turn out that these things ARE possible, reams of mathematical text would have to be recalled and burned, which would maen the life's works of hundreds of living mathmaticians would be for not. Chimera, with no offense intened, seems to be following this set of beliefs. Thus no one is immune to dogma, at least not until they realize it. Still, how would one define his/her world without seperating what is possible for what is not, or at least is entirely unlikely.

my point is again that religion and science has similarities, including beliefs to defend, and (not to beat this to death), faith to give strength to that defense, and even logic and reasons to defend them with.

Post on in piece my friends. Im mean pieces, I MEAN PEACE! :D    


--------------------------------------------
"If i cannot have company whose minds are clearly free, I would prefer to go alone."                  -Dr. Gideon Lincecum

The BPRD rejected my application becuase their brain-controled by Cthulhu Rip-offs. And im sure "Sparky" is sleeping with them too, kinky little firecracker she is...
--------------------------------------------
"If i cannot have company whose minds are clearly free, I would prefer to go alone."                  -Dr. Gideon Lincecum

The BPRD rejected my application becuase their brain-controled by Cthulhu Rip-offs. And im sure "Sparky" is sleeping with them too, kinky little firecracker she is...

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Offline chimera

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #80 on: 24/05/2005 11:09:39 »
quote:
Originally posted by Tronix
Chimera, with no offense intened, seems to be following this set of beliefs.



No offence taken, altho I only believe what I see, and sometimes not even that. Any rules of thumb resulting from that are my own, and I would not even try to impose those on others, since I could not even begin to formulate them. There are no permanent good answers in my book, only recurring good questions.

It seems indeed to be the case that mathematical abstraction has been taken quite a bit too far, with desastrous results looming both for science and our little human collective. Turning that back, or burning the results, as you seem to fear, is not on my agenda.

Finding a way to create a bridge between what goes under the guise of 'common sense' and those possibly inappropriately applied 'infinity'-based solutions, is. I know that sounds pretty quixotic, but Dutch just have this wind-mill hangup, so please indulge me.

OT:

Think on the other hand of the dangers of a runaway belief system applied to the blessings of science, unchecked. It might be okidoki as long as everything is on the up, but as soon as serious disaster occurs, people in the past not only blamed their 'priests', but occasionally inflicted grievous bodily harm upon them, too.

So if Joe Schmoe ever get seriously 'disappointed' with some break-away avian flu disaster, or Hawking retracting everything he's ever claimed to know, things like that, real faith-breakers or stuff scientists could be actually blamed for, be very wary of the possible outcome. You're having it good, very, very good.

Mussolini never imagined those same cheering crowds to simply hang his dead and charred body upside down from a lamppost, either, after a similar disastrous job evaluation session.

Getting 'fired' would be the least of your worries. So keeping your customers' expectations as to your product performance a bit realistic is in your own long-term interest, I think. And also realism about your own role in this. If it walks like a priest, talks like a priest etc, so don't think you can then suddenly renege on any such behaviour - breaking the unwritten contract - it will only be considered aggravating circumstance at payback time. People have a violent hate for false prophets, remember.

And whether you agree with that epithet or not will be quite immaterial by that time.

[hey, summer's breaking out here - off to the lakes for some serious melanine experimenting, you guys have fun too...][8D]

[typo]
« Last Edit: 25/05/2005 01:02:06 by chimera »
Errare humanum esd.-- Biggus D.

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Offline daveshorts

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #81 on: 24/05/2005 11:48:02 »
When you say that Quantum physics is getting too mathematical and not grounded in experiment this is a bit like saying that all footballers are paid too much. Quantum mechanics affects just about everything in physics, you may only hear about the string theorists, but there are tens of thousands of scientists out there using Quantum mechanics to investigate basic physics, and build things using it.

 Even if the whole theoretical basis was overturned the tranistors, lasers, new materials, all of chemistry and all the experimental results that have been obtained would still exist. It is probable if nothing else because there is a huge literature of experimets that quantum mechanics explains, that any change will be a subtle one at high energies, low temperatures or other extreme conditions a bit like relativity is to newtonian physics.

It would probably  annoy/affect some hard core theorists, but everyone else would either be able to work around it.

The deeper socialogical point is interesting. I think that rebellion against science have been happening regularly ever since poison gas was invented in WW1. There is a problem that science is now so huge that the practitioners have a hard time getting an overview let alone the public, but I think this is indicative of the univers being complex and the limitations of common sense rather than of science. It may mean that science needs a careful (not too enthusiastic) PR strategy, but anything more radical would start to stop it being science...

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Offline rosy

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #82 on: 24/05/2005 12:11:51 »
If people are "believing" in the science rather than the scientific method that put it there, then there are clearly potential pitfalls. For science to continue as science we need to all be aware that there is a theoretical possibility of any of it being wrong.
If this were drummed into kids in school then we could move on with our lives from there using the predictions science gives us and occasionally, without too much fuss, revising bits of exactly how we think it works.
Ah well... it's a nice idea.

I shouldn't have thought that avian flu would turn the world population against scienctists, because that really is just a natural phenomenon... zoonoses happen, we have to deal with them. Possibly cheap air travel isn't going to help but that's hardly the scientists' fault at this stage.
If a microbiologist caused an equilvalent epidemic by inadvertantly releasing some organism they were uing for research into the environment it might be different of course. Which is why they're pretty damn careful not to (use bugs with an absolute requirement for some rare amino acid, for example, so that they won't grow elsewhere.

I don't rate your chances of tying in even the quantisation of energy with common sense, let alone the further reaches of physics... on a macro scale quantisation just makes my head hurt.... but all the same, it provides a damn good explaner/predictor of exactly how really very complicated molecules will react! Not to mention the spectroscopy which allows us to figure out what we've got/made.

Mind you, if you do find a way let me know 'cos it might make my life easier!!!!

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Offline chimera

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #83 on: 24/05/2005 21:40:49 »
quote:
Originally posted by daveshorts


[1] When you say that Quantum physics is getting too mathematical and not grounded in experiment this is a bit like saying that all footballers are paid too much. [........]

[2] The deeper socialogical point is interesting. I think that rebellion against science have been happening regularly ever since poison gas was invented in WW1.



Good weather's arriving a day late - [:(] but it'll be 25 C+ tomorrow. Yes.

[1] When I say 'inappropriately applied', I do not mean 'wrong', just like when I say solutions are 'nonsenical' they are not 'ridiculous', just that they do not make sense. They are not intuitive, or flow from normal experience. They are not connected to the rest of our 'body of knowledge'. Yet they should be all of the above, and letting it fester as it currently is for whatever reason is bad, simply put. Such a bridge as I describe is of much more importance to us as humanity than just as some nice feather in our cap, if only we could somehow fix it at some point in time, as some minor afterthought. Oh, much more than that. Such a vacuum area between bodies of knowledge can prove to be very costly to our development in the longrun, and lead to all kinds of possible things going haywire in our psychological self-image.

[2] Maybe you should read the 'life story' of Fritz Haber. He not only invented poison gas in the illusion it would perhaps shorten the war, but which instead lead to his wife Clara Immerwahr killing herself, on the eve of the Battle of Verdun, in protest. He's also responsible for our ability to bind nitrogen so efficiently you can say at least 2 billion people on this planet would not be alive without him - for simple lack of food.

So there is a difference in your own idea of responsibilities, and what history eventually makes of it, I'd say.

The living are the dead on holiday.  -- Maurice de Maeterlinck (1862-1949)
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Offline chimera

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #84 on: 24/05/2005 22:13:19 »
quote:
Originally posted by rosy



[1]I shouldn't have thought that avian flu would turn the world population against scienctists, because that really is just a natural phenomenon... zoonoses happen, we have to deal with them. Possibly cheap air travel isn't going to help but that's hardly the scientists' fault at this stage.

[2] I don't rate your chances of tying in even the quantisation of energy with common sense, let alone the further reaches of physics... on a macro scale quantisation just makes my head hurt.... but all the same, it provides a damn good explaner/predictor of exactly how really very complicated molecules will react! Not to mention the spectroscopy which allows us to figure out what we've got/made.

Mind you, if you do find a way let me know 'cos it might make my life easier!!!!



[1] It's more the expectations: you are a nurse in a village with a shortage of medicine trying to help desperate people with dying children in their arms and coughing in your general direction, not really believing the small supply of drugs you have there, you are probably keeping the rest for your rich white friends, they just read about that horrible vaccination error where 5000 got the real McCoy by mistake, they are pissed off and you are available. Say again?

Who invented those airplanes btw, the economy is in ruins because of foreign technology, the WTO is a.... need I continue? Stuff like that can blow up in your face in minutes. It's not your fault they expect all that from you, I know. Just don't think they are very sympathetic to your erudite reasoning at this precise junction in their lives.

[2] As I said in my earlier post, and also to Dave, I don't think QM is wrong, and that trying to bridge it with classical stuff is anything but quixotic. I just think that you are giving the best reason here that I tried to expound earlier, it only makes your head ache, and it does not sound as if you're really happy with it, if it weren't for the results.

My view on the whole matter in a nutshell: our classical world works via Newton, because Newtons laws are only the fuzzified detritus of the more basic QM ones. Only problem, you cannot draw a straight line between the probabilistic results of QM and the fuzzy vagueness that is the classical world. No way Jose.

Oh, the QM results work, the theories are fine, incomprehensible at times and counterintuitive, but fine. Yet there is no single way to backtrack the results via any known classical mechanism. Our failure to come up with that is our single biggest defeat so far. We're stuck with QM statistics and high speed particle chases, yikes. And worse, we have theorems that tell us that this is going to stay this way, by act of Law.

So I'm trying to tackle this on several fronts at the same time, by combining old and new theories in new ways, finding loopholes in supposedly uncrackable logic, and just plain dogged stubbornness.

In QCD you have three quarks that can come in 8 colours. Now how can you marry the idea of three-valued logic with an eight-valued one in an exact way? Well, one way would be to take the cosine of 20 degrees on the first 'circle' or quark, 40 on the second, and 80 on the third and multiply and see it equals exactly 1/8th. Mmm.



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Offline daveshorts

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #85 on: 24/05/2005 22:57:37 »
What do you mean by not being able to draw a line from QM to classical physics? If you look at most big things with QM they behave as they would with classical mechanics. In the same way that you can approximate relativity to newtonian mechanics in some circumstances, or QM to wave theories of light to optics... (We can't do QM to General relativity, as this is keeping lots of theorists busy atm) We can't go the other way, but why should we be able to? we can't with any other part of physics...

QM is probably involves more maths to do this but it still works. You can use classical analogies for bits of QM, wave analogies are very useful, and for what I do balls rolling down bumpy slopes happen to come out of the maths, but we are fundamentally creatures of the classical world rather than the quantum one so it is going to be hard work. I wonder whether you could build a version of Quake working on bits of QM and bring up a generation of kids to whom microscopic scale behaviours are more intuitive.

I think there are various other formulations of QM that produce the same maths but involve different interpretations of what is going on, which may be more to your taste..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpretations_of_quantum_mechanics
« Last Edit: 24/05/2005 23:18:23 by daveshorts »

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Offline chimera

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #86 on: 24/05/2005 23:44:56 »
quote:
Originally posted by daveshorts



[1] What do you mean by not being able to draw a line from QM to classical physics? If you look at most big things with QM they behave as they would with classical mechanics. In the same way that you can approximate relativity to newtonian mechanics in some circumstances, or QM to wave theories of light to optics... (We can't do QM to General relativity, as this is keeping lots of theorists busy atm) We can't go the other way, but why should we be able to? we can't with any other part of physics...

[2] QM is probably involves more maths to do this but it still works. You can use classical analogies for bits of QM, wave analogies are very useful, and for what I do balls rolling down bumpy slopes happen to come out of the maths, but we are fundamentally creatures of the classical world rather than the quantum one so it is going to be hard work. I wonder whether you could build a version of Quake working on bits of QM and bring up a generation of kids to whom microscopic scale behaviours are more intuitive.

[3] I think there are various other formulations of QM that produce the same maths but involve different interpretations of what is going on, which may be more to your taste..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpretations_of_quantum_mechanics



[1] Oh, I know you don't even need QM for most RL things. Some QM math does get into trouble on larger scales, tho. Infinities do that.

Marrying QM to GR is easy. Just solve gravity, and that's that. [:D]

[2] Wouldn't that be cruel and unusual punishment at this point in time? Anyway, spawning/ teleporting and being able to shoot improbable voltages at your opponent doesn't really sound Newton to me... know any games or educational stuff that actually uses such things? I've only seen some QM physics/chemical modeling stuff, mostly highly DIY Linux/Unix gear, not exactly for noobs, an Alpine learning curve, and more toggles than your average nuclear powerplant. Real fun stuff.

[3] Cool page. Shame they don't have more on Bell and 'hidden variables'. Know any good ones on that? Remember something about a guy called DeWitt or so who'd done work on that,  should get into that, too. Wonder how that theorem works out with what's essentially trinary logic, not binary, just have a suspicion it does not really 'covers all bases' on that, which could be really wicked.

added: Could you tell me more about what you do that resembles balls rolling down bumpy slopes, I just remembered reading something once about Pachinko (Japanese falling marble game) and QM, can't remember exactly what, tho....
« Last Edit: 25/05/2005 01:00:19 by chimera »
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Offline Tronix

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Re: Science vs. Religion
« Reply #87 on: 02/06/2005 01:57:14 »
See, this is why im just an ecologist/enigneer (or at least going to be) so it not my job to have a headache. but their fun to have willingly.

I have seen alot of talk about quantum physics, and have seen almost all of the NOVA specials about the vast powers at work in physics and almost all the cool models for explianing it in layman terms, and it has seemed to come a long way from Einstien and Newton.

But i dont know if i mentioned this, but QM does seem to have a correlation with relgion in that its a far reaching explination of things. Religions explian the universe in simple and often mythical means, of great gods battling in the end of the world or the Quinetessintial arch-woman watching over us as a madien, mother, and crone all at one and one at a time (which is kinda complecated, in a way, come to think of it), and QM explains the forces and machinations of the world with vastly complex and yet stupifiyingly simple and obvious formulae. WIth Unified Field Theroy, One forumula to explain it all, and one book to explain the ways of life.

but im starting to bash this argument to bits, so a bit of fun digression, Einstien took his quest for two part unified field theory to his grave, and now we have added strong and weak atomic forces to this equation. Personally, i think we should continue to add more quintessial factors, like maybe transdimensional forces. If string theory is right in saying that their is more than one dimension, whom are we to assume that these dimesnions follow our rules? what if they have no atoms? no magnetism? no (and i really mean not a bit of) gravity? A world with no permanent structure? And what of more philisophical forces. if no one confirms the exsistance of a chair, is it really there? what of belief itself? is it a "force"? I think these questions shoudl be asked, and no assumption made that the universe behaves how are math predicts, becuase though forumlas may (but not likely) are perfect, the numbers we put in, and the things we base them off of are rather limted. we only knwo what physical forces happen on planet earth, and we havent bothered to look for others in other places becuase of that. what if the geothermal dynamics on mars are completly different than anythign we dared to calculate. what if we find something as weird as gravitional "layers" on jupiter, or that or wind forumla are perpendicuarly screwed up on uranus. Time may even flow different in different places, or the one im a biggest proponent on, that we are flying or hyperdrive or wormhold dirve or panckae drive spaceships through a nebula, and suddenly slam into a big ass vaccum whale or some other creature that doesnt need air or gravity to survive, just the gas feeding bacteria in the "cool" parts of the nebula. Life always seems to find a way, maybe even into outer space. To recap, i dont thin we should assume we have the big picuture, and we should be looking to prove ourselves wrong in alot of cases. but thats kooky me.

well, that was refreshing.

--------------------------------------------
"If i cannot have company whose minds are clearly free, I would prefer to go alone."                  -Dr. Gideon Lincecum

The BPRD rejected my application becuase their brain-controled by Cthulhu Rip-offs. And im sure "Sparky" is sleeping with them too, kinky little firecracker she is...
--------------------------------------------
"If i cannot have company whose minds are clearly free, I would prefer to go alone."                  -Dr. Gideon Lincecum

The BPRD rejected my application becuase their brain-controled by Cthulhu Rip-offs. And im sure "Sparky" is sleeping with them too, kinky little firecracker she is...