scientist, n.: a person who gets very excited when they find out they were wrong.

Legitimately happened with me today. By finding out my coding couldn’t be trusted to output accurate results due to precision issues of the differential equation solver, we were forced to brainstorm for a generalization of a proof, which we did 3 times in one day, each version getting more generalized than the last. It was awesome.


I would like to address a few of the statements made by eridan-grundy. I came across their post on the evolution tag. I just screen captured the parts I was concerned about. The rest was religious stuff that I have no interest in addressing. I am however very concerned with the misinformation concerning evolution and a few other things.

1) First: NO ONE said there was “nothingness” before the big bang, they said that was the creation (or rather, expansion) of matter/energy as we know. Quantum fields and other dimensional plans could easily have existed before then.

Second: We have never had “nothingness” to study. We don’t know if something can come from nothing or not because we have never studied “nothing” to see what it’s property is. It is actually very possible that something can arise from nothing!

Third: Mathematically you can actually get something from nothing. For example, you can turn 0 into 1+(-1). If the amount of positive and negative energy is the same, then the net balance is 0. Likewise, if you have the same amount of matter and antimatter the net product is 0, or nothing.

In string theory, we have a multiverse of universes. Think of our universe as the surface of a soap bubble, which is expanding. We live on the skin of this bubble. But string theory predicts that there should be other bubbles out there, which can collide with other bubbles or even sprout or bud baby bubbles, as in a bubble bath.

But how can an entire universe come out of nothing? This apparently violates the conservation of matter and energy. But there is a simple answer.

Matter, of course, has positive energy. But gravity has negative energy. (For example, you have to add energy to the earth in order to tear it away from the sun. One separated far from the solar system, the earth then has zero gravitational energy. But this means that the original solar system had negative energy.)

If you do the math, you find out that the sum total of matter in the universe can cancel against the sum total of negative gravitational energy, yielding a universe with zero (or close to zero) net matter/energy. So, in some sense, universes are for free. It does not take net matter and energy to create entire universes. In this way, in the bubble bath, bubbles can collide, create baby bubbles, or simple pop into existence from nothing.

This gives us a startling picture of the big bang, that our universe was born perhaps from the collision of two universes (the big splat theory), or sprouted from a parent universe, or simply popped into existence out of nothing. So universes are being created all the time.

2) The standard geological model of deposition and uplift explains exactly how marine fossils ended up at the top of many mountain ranges. This is a scientific fact.

There is not one shred of evidence in the geological record to support the claim of a single, worldwide flood. Geological formations such as mountain ranges and the Grand Canyon require millions of years to form, and the fossil record extends over several billion years. The time required for continents to have drifted into their present positions is immense. These things cannot be accounted for by a single flood lasting a few days or years.

Now let’s address the “It’s just a theory” statement.
- This is a favorite and often used ploy by creationists, and relies upon the fact that in everyday usage, English words are loaded with a multiplicity of meanings. This is NOT the case in science, where terms used are precisely defined. The precise definition apposite here is the definition of theory. In science, a theory is an integrated explanation for a class of real world observational phenomena of interest, that has been subjected to direct empirical test with respect to its correspondence with observational reality, and which has been found, via such testing, to be in accord with observational reality. It is precisely because scientific theories have been subject to direct empirical test, and have passed said empirical test, that they ARE theories, and consequently enjoy a high status in the world of scientific discourse. Or as I like to call them FACTS.

3,5) This Fred Flintstone version of pre-history is one of the most preposterous and devious claims the fundamentalists make, and they have made it in books and films. The “man-tracks” seen by creationists stem from two sources. One is wishful imagination, whereby water-worn scour marks and eroded dinosaur tracks are perceived as human footprints. The other is deliberate fraud. Creationist hoaxers obscure the foot pads of the dinosaur tracks with sand and photograph what remains, the dinosaur’s toe impressions. When reversed, the tip of the dinosaur toe or claw becomes the heel of a “human” print. These prints are shown in poor-quality photographs in creationist literature and films. Because the stride length (7 feet) and foot length (3 feet) exceeded any possible human scale, the fundamentalists call these the giants mentioned in Genesis. In addition to the doctored tracks, there are other hoaxed prints circulating in this area of Texas. In fact, carved footprints were offered for sale to tourists in curio shops during the Great Depression. These caught the eye of the paleontologist Ronald T. Bird, who recognized them as fakes, but they eventually led him to the legitimate dinosaur footprints at Glen Rose. This area has since been extensively studied by paleontologists, and numerous species of reptiles and amphibians have been catalogued. No genuine human tracks exist there or anywhere else along with dinosaur prints.

The alleged bees’ nests from the Triassic period are actually carvings from wood boring beetles. You can view all the scientific peer reviewed documents at the link below.

Re-evaluation of alleged bees’ nests from the Upper Triassic of Arizona

About 1: There is overwhelming evidence for the big bang. Models of what should result from the big bang are well-observed in nature, such as the cosmic microwave background and its temperature, the fact that everything is still expanding apart from one another in proportion to the distances at which they’re viewed, the relative amounts of hydrogen and helium in the universe, and much more. There are literally mountains of “smoking gun” evidence for the big bang - it’s just that most are scientific illiterate about it and/or have dismissed the possibility outright due to their religious views and interpretations. 

Also, the big bang wasn’t an explosion. Explosions as we think of them are matter being violently thrust away from a source in space. The big bang though was an “explosion of space and time” - it wasn’t stuff being thrown about, it was space and time itself, the very dimensions that stuff exists in, stretching rapidly apart.

It is also mistaken to label the big bang theory as being atheistic. There is nothing about it that implies a godless reality - it is simply a scientific explanation of what we’ve observed in the universe, and it’s quite possible to believe in a God as well as believe in the big bang. 

Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved? — Carl Sagan (via princesaquil)

(via teachthemhowtothink)


Anonymous asked: Comment on your bit on the atheist worldview: atheists ultimately cannot draw two things from their worldview, hope and morality. They have to 'borrow' these ideas from the Christian worldview, which, I find, is really good evidence for God.




Atheism is simply lack of belief in any deity or deities - it doesn’t source anything. Not hope, not morality, not fear, not love, not revenge, nothing. Exactly because it is the lack of a belief, not the presence of a belief or view of the world.

Also, are you implying there was no hope or morality before Christianity, because they’re only possible in that worldview? It’s borderline disgusting to suggest this… Pretty sure a Buddhist would have a great deal of hope for a future after death in the path to Nirvana, or have hope for their loved ones; not to mention how we all share simpler hopes, like career success, or perhaps our prehistoric ancestors hoping for favorable weather each day. How the fuck is hope sourced solely in the Christian worldview?

Pretty much same thing goes for morality. Without some system of morality or ethics or a culturally normative natural drive to be altruistic, civilization of any sort would not rise. It takes cooperation and collective intelligence and resourcefulness to create and maintain a tribe. And I’m pretty sure cultures and civilizations were appearing globally well before the arrival of Christianity. 

Anyway, I pretty much don’t care about these points as this last bit. Can I use the same reasoning to say that everyone just ‘borrows’ stupidity from the Republican party, and that, I find, is really good evidence to vote Democrat? 

The Christian worldview provides people with a source of hope and morality. Fact. Great, wonderful. Does that make the belief system true? Not at all. Islam also provides people with a source of hope and morality. My belief that cats are our supreme, fluffy overlords gives me a sense of hope and guides my moral contemplations and actions, therefore cats actually are our supreme overlords by the same reasoning.

The moral high ground so many Christians assume and their lack of ability to seem to comprehend the possibility of holding hope in a godless universe is simply bewildering… I mean, I’ve been there and know how hard it was to even think about there being no god back when I was a devout Christian, but seriously…. X_X 

god could’ve made Pokemon be a real thing

instead, he was like “nah man, AIDS”

(via pakirican)

If you think that it would be impossible to improve upon the Ten Commandments as a statement of morality, you really owe it to yourself to read some other scriptures. Once again, we need look no further than the Jains: Mahavira, the Jain patriarch, surpassed the morality of the Bible with a single sentence: “Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture, or kill any creature or living being.” Imagine how different our world might be if the Bible contained this as its central precept. Christians have abused, oppressed, enslaved, insulted, tormented, tortured, and killed people in the name of God for centuries, on the basis of a theologically defensible reading of the Bible.

Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation

^THIS. If you think the bible is in any way the most superior moral document, you really owe it to yourself to read some other scriptures. Non violence, forgiveness, charity: none of these concepts originated in the bible and only pure ignorance of other traditions would have you think so. Morality is a human project.

via divineirony; hatethechristiannotchrist

(via sagansense)

(via academicatheism)