Page 2 of 10 FirstFirst 1234 ... LastLast
Results 16 to 30 of 143
  1. #16
    CC International Master
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Bristol
    Posts
    1,977
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    And you'd know all this how?

    As it happens the piece you link to contains a howler as early as the second sentence of the main section:

    However, science deals with repeatable observations in the present, while evolution/long age ideas are based on assumptions from outside science about the unobservable past.
    The extended present.pedantic joke

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiny Norman
    ... and if you re-read what I said, my point is that the statement that the data was "concerning things that happened in the distant past" is not a statement about observation but is rather a statement about assumptions and conclusions; i.e. it draws conclusions based on a whole host of other assumptions. The observation itself is incapable of drawing a conclusion about the distant past, although if the observation (and accompanying written records) extended for long enough it might extend some centuries or even millenia into the past.
    The same point holds of any conclusion that goes beyond the data. And this occurs all over the place, not just with regards to statements about the past. What is the important factor about the past?

  2. #17
    Batoutahelius road runner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    on the skin of the pale blue dot
    Posts
    12,116
    Quote Originally Posted by Spiny Norman
    Can you give me an example of an observational, repeatable, verifiable test which can give you knowledge about the age of an object where the object is "millions of years old"?

    n.b. I will not accept examples which draws conclusions based on underlaying assumptions about the speed of light, its supposed invariance, rates of radioactive decay, and so on. I'm interested in whether observational science can give certain results in the order of millions of years.
    Interesting that you go from talking about C14 and timber to talking about millions of years. Not that it is a problem for science, but I think in the context of our current conversation it is goal-post shifting.

    So anyway back to the point about known ages and verifiable tests, have a read of "age determination by radio-carbon content: checks with samples of known age" Arnold & Libby 1949.
    meep meep

  3. #18
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    The multiverse
    Posts
    21,567
    Quote Originally Posted by Boris
    So anyway back to the point about known ages and verifiable tests, have a read of "age determination by radio-carbon content: checks with samples of known age" Arnold & Libby 1949.
    Non radioactive dating using techniques such as dendrochronology can be used to date things back to around 13,000 years and can be used to calibrate and verify radioactive dating (particularly C14 dating) and has shown to be reliable over that range. Other radioactive tests are used for dating older objects like mineral samples. These can likewise be cross matched and checked with other dating methods but once you pass the 10,000 year "barrier" the young earth creationists world-view has already come crashing down and we can do that basically by counting tree-rings.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  4. #19
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    The multiverse
    Posts
    21,567
    Quote Originally Posted by Spiny Norman
    ... and if you re-read what I said, my point is that the statement that the data was "concerning things that happened in the distant past" is not a statement about observation but is rather a statement about assumptions and conclusions; i.e. it draws conclusions based on a whole host of other assumptions. The observation itself is incapable of drawing a conclusion about the distant past, although if the observation (and accompanying written records) extended for long enough it might extend some centuries or even millenia into the past.
    Nope you are still confused. You are saying that no observation can be valid unless it has been directly observed by a human and recorded at the time it happened. If this has not happened then we are talking about assumptions and conclusions and not fact at all.

    However, as THE points out this is just the problem of how do you know that reality is real? Everything is just your interpretation of sensory input and therefore you have no direct experience of an objective reality. The same goes for any potential observer who may have recorded some event in the past and recorded it.

    While this is a very convenient position for you to adopt since human records only go back some thousands of years however science is not constrained to the straitjacket you try to impose on it. We can observe geological features, date them and even provide explanations as to their origin. We talk of glacial valleys and fjords, flood plains, etc. We are able to observe mineralised cavities in rocks preserving the imprints of animals long since extinct and thanks to the geological column able to date them and have a very mainstream theory of ages and development of life on earth going back billions of years. You might not like it since it clashes with your deeply held religious convictions however it is just good science.

    I have mentioned before the IAP which is a council of the Science Academies for all over the globe who released a statement on the teaching of evolution. You can read more about the IAP here

    http://www.interacademies.net/CMS/About.aspx

    In the statement they say...

    We agree that the following evidence-based facts about the origins and evolution of the Earth and of life on this planet have been established by numerous observations and independently derived experimental results from a multitude of scientific disciplines. Even if there are still many open questions about the precise details of evolutionary change, scientific evidence has never contradicted these results:

    1. In a universe that has evolved towards its present configuration for some 11 to 15 billion years, our Earth formed approximately 4.5 billion years ago.

    2. Since its formation, the Earth – its geology and its environments – has changed under the effect of numerous physical and chemical forces and continues to do so.

    3. Life appeared on Earth at least 2.5 billion years ago. The evolution, soon after, of photosynthetic organisms enabled, from at least 2 billion years ago, the slow transformation of the atmosphere to one containing substantial quantities of oxygen. In addition to the release of the oxygen that we breathe, the process of photosynthesis is the ultimate source of fixed energy and food upon which human life on the planet depends.

    4. Since its first appearance on Earth, life has taken many forms, all of which continue to evolve, in ways which palaeontology and the modern biological and biochemical sciences are describing and independently confirming with increasing precision. Commonalities in the structure of the genetic code of all organisms living today, including humans, clearly indicate their common primordial origin.

    Sixty-seven member academies endorsed the statement. This is certainly well-accepted and uncontroversial in scientific circles. However, this is not the case when religious beliefs get in the way of reason.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  5. #20
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    37,198
    Moderation Comment

    I think everything from #67 onwards is offtopic for this thread as originally conceived and will move it all unless Jono indicates he prefers otherwise.

    If posters other than Jono wish to discuss this proposal they may do so in the Help and Feedback section. They may also do so here, but I'll delete it.

  6. #21
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    The multiverse
    Posts
    21,567
    I vote we move it to the "Noah lived for..." thread as it seems to have drifted somewhat onto similar territory. But happy for a whole new thread too if needs be.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  7. #22
    CC Grandmaster Spiny Norman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    4,437
    Quote Originally Posted by Rincewind
    Nope you are still confused.
    I doubt it; but its possible ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rincewind
    You are saying that no observation can be valid unless it has been directly observed by a human and recorded at the time it happened. If this has not happened then we are talking about assumptions and conclusions and not fact at all.
    Yes.

    So can you give me an example of a valid observation that falls outside of those criteria? i.e. either:

    (a) an observation that it not directly observed (which is a nonsense); or
    (b) an observation which is not observed by a human (possible, but is this science?); or
    (c) an observation that was not recorded at the time it happened ... and I will grant you some leeway on the time between observation and recording (e.g. someone observes an event, has a vivid recollection of it, then later records the observation).

    Obviously (c) happens all the time. I don't have a problem with it. However this, also quite obviously as best I can see, has NOTHING whatsoever to do with observations about millions of years. From an evolutionary p.o.v. the best you can achieve in respect of direct observation is something dating back to the development of writing, and perhaps a little before that if I grant you huge leeway and reliance on oral traditions.

    Now if you look into outer space, you can observe at great distances things which are claimed to be "as they were millions of years ago" ... however I should here point out that:

    (a) the observation (e.g. seeing a distant galaxy) is one thing; and
    (b) the conclusion (e.g. that it is millions of years old) is another

    ... and the right answer for (b), being the supposed age of the object, depends on your other beliefs about:

    * the speed of light
    * its invariance over time
    * expansion of space over time

    and so on. This means that the "millions of years" rests on other assumptions. It may prove to be right. It may not. Whatever, its NOT direct observation ... humans don't have enough history to directly observe millions of years with any certainty.

    So why not treat such conclusions with an appropriate amount of doubt? "This is millions of years old" vs "Science says that this is millions of years old" ... the former admits no uncertainty; the latter leaves wriggle room.
    “As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity.” -- C.S.Lewis

  8. #23
    Batoutahelius road runner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    on the skin of the pale blue dot
    Posts
    12,116
    Quote Originally Posted by Spiny Norman
    (a) an observation that it not directly observed (which is a nonsense); or
    No, it isn't nonsense. We use indirect measurements all the time. Maybe I can't measure one particular side of a triangle, but by other things that I can measure and know I can determine that side.
    Is it an assumption? Hardly.
    Should I caveat that measurement with a "there is a one in one billionth chance that Pythagoras' theorem does not hold in this example" disclaimer? Hardly.


    Now if you look into outer space, you can observe at great distances things which are claimed to be "as they were millions of years ago" ... however I should here point out that:

    (a) the observation (e.g. seeing a distant galaxy) is one thing; and
    (b) the conclusion (e.g. that it is millions of years old) is another

    ... and the right answer for (b), being the supposed age of the object, depends on your other beliefs about:

    * the speed of light
    * its invariance over time
    * expansion of space over time

    and so on. This means that the "millions of years" rests on other assumptions. It may prove to be right. It may not. Whatever, its NOT direct observation ... humans don't have enough history to directly observe millions of years with any certainty.

    So why not treat such conclusions with an appropriate amount of doubt? "This is millions of years old" vs "Science says that this is millions of years old" ... the former admits no uncertainty; the latter leaves wriggle room.
    But here's the thing. Science does caveat it's measurements. You won't see any paper saying that the universe began 12bn years to the day, it is caveated within a range of certainty, for example +- 2%. The ones with the uncaveated certainty is you young earthers.

    Out of interest what kind of changes in speed of light do you need to calculate in order to keep things consistent with your faith?
    meep meep

  9. #24
    CC Grandmaster Spiny Norman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    4,437
    Quote Originally Posted by Boris
    No, it isn't nonsense. We use indirect measurements all the time. Maybe I can't measure one particular side of a triangle, but by other things that I can measure and know I can determine that side.
    Is it an assumption? Hardly.
    Should I caveat that measurement with a "there is a one in one billionth chance that Pythagoras' theorem does not hold in this example" disclaimer? Hardly.
    If you haven't first observed a right-angle triangle, how do you know that it in fact *is* a right angle triangle, so that you can calculate one of the sides from measurement of the other two? What you think was a triangle might in fact prove to be something else; say, a square or a rectangle, unless you first observe it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boris
    But here's the thing. Science does caveat it's measurements. You won't see any paper saying that the universe began 12bn years to the day, it is caveated within a range of certainty, for example +- 2%. The ones with the uncaveated certainty is you young earthers.
    Out of interest what kind of changes in speed of light do you need to calculate in order to keep things consistent with your faith?
    You have switched from observation to something else entirely. You are now talking about calculations based on assumptions, which is what the whole discussion is supposed to be about. At any rate, you seem to be talking about uncertainty in the measurement, without factoring in uncertainty in the assumptions. Another thing entirely.
    “As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity.” -- C.S.Lewis

  10. #25
    Batoutahelius road runner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    on the skin of the pale blue dot
    Posts
    12,116
    Quote Originally Posted by Spiny Norman
    If you haven't first observed a right-angle triangle, how do you know that it in fact *is* a right angle triangle, so that you can calculate one of the sides from measurement of the other two? What you think was a triangle might in fact prove to be something else; say, a square or a rectangle, unless you first observe it.
    For the purposes of my analogy it is perfectly reasonable to be able to identify one fact about somehting (that it is a triangle) while not being able to identify everything about it (a length of a side).

    Now rather that arguing about the example perhaps you should be admitting that it is perfectly reasonable to use methods other than direct observation to acquire data.

    You have switched from observation to something else entirely. You are now talking about calculations based on assumptions, which is what the whole discussion is supposed to be about. At any rate, you seem to be talking about uncertainty in the measurement, without factoring in uncertainty in the assumptions. Another thing entirely.
    The "assumptions" as you put it are based on measured observations. Jono can say we cannot measure things that happen in the past, well like being about to apply formula to determine data on a triangle, we can observe things now and apply that in similar ways.

    As for what the discussion is about, perhaps you should pick up where you left it off after my post 83.
    meep meep

  11. #26
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    The multiverse
    Posts
    21,567
    Quote Originally Posted by Spiny Norman
    I doubt it; but its possible ...
    I would say it is likely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiny Norman
    Yes.

    So can you give me an example of a valid observation that falls outside of those criteria? i.e. either:
    Again you are fixated on the observation (the act of recording the data) with the event about which the observation is relevant. Kevin's comment was on the latter so your point is a subthread which doesn't relate directly nor impact no the validity of the original statement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiny Norman
    (a) an observation that it not directly observed (which is a nonsense); or
    For starters at one level no observation is direct. We are all just surmising on the sensory input being feed to us by our organs. No one can definitely rule out a matrix-like scenario in which we are playing out a false reality manufactured and feed to our sensory nerves. So to begin with any eye-witness observation of an "real" event is assuming we are not being deceived in that way.

    Then there are more mundane trickeries that have to be accounted for. These could be of the manufactured kind like stage magic, or biological breakdown of the sensory or mental functions of the recorder. So again we assume we are not being deceived either by another agent or by our our sensory or cognitive systems (or those of the original observer).

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiny Norman
    (b) an observation which is not observed by a human (possible, but is this science?); or
    This happens all the time. For example every time I get on a bus I insert my ticket in the machine and it records on the ticket when I have to get off the bus. I rarely look at it I just put it back in my wallet and think about something else. Days or weeks later I can make an observation of the ticket and from it determine which bus I caught on any particular day. Science works much the same way except the the bus tickets are things like mineral deposits, fossils, starlight and the time period is a little longer.

    Depending on your definition this could be of type (c) below but the only reason you might think that is the case is that the bus ticket clock is a artifice and not a natural system. However the analogy to natural systems is still relevant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiny Norman
    (c) an observation that was not recorded at the time it happened ... and I will grant you some leeway on the time between observation and recording (e.g. someone observes an event, has a vivid recollection of it, then later records the observation).

    Obviously (c) happens all the time. I don't have a problem with it. However this, also quite obviously as best I can see, has NOTHING whatsoever to do with observations about millions of years. From an evolutionary p.o.v. the best you can achieve in respect of direct observation is something dating back to the development of writing, and perhaps a little before that if I grant you huge leeway and reliance on oral traditions.
    I don't have a problem with (c) either but I think you are pretty shaky on (a) and (b) and so won't labour the point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiny Norman
    Now if you look into outer space, you can observe at great distances things which are claimed to be "as they were millions of years ago" ... however I should here point out that:

    (a) the observation (e.g. seeing a distant galaxy) is one thing; and
    (b) the conclusion (e.g. that it is millions of years old) is another

    ... and the right answer for (b), being the supposed age of the object, depends on your other beliefs about:

    * the speed of light
    * its invariance over time
    * expansion of space over time
    The same is true regarding the observation of nearby events. For example you see a car go by being driven by a friend. the observation of the car is one thing, but the belief that it just past by depends on your beliefs about

    * the speed of light
    * its invariance over time
    * expansion of space over time

    For exactly the same reasons that you believe the car only just went by, we know the light from galaxies to have travelled to earth would take millions (even billions) of years.

    I think calling them beliefs however is an understatement that does not do justice to the certainty which we understand the speed of light (something we can measure to a high degree of precision) and the correlation of stellar distances and geometry of many galaxies, including our own, which again we have a excellent body of knowledge.

    They are certainly not beliefs in the same league as religious belief which have no consensus and over the course of human history there have been thousands of confident religions and even today there are many confident religions which are mutually exclusive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiny Norman
    and so on. This means that the "millions of years" rests on other assumptions. It may prove to be right. It may not. Whatever, its NOT direct observation ... humans don't have enough history to directly observe millions of years with any certainty.
    I disagree and for the reasons above they are as direct as any of the observations you tend to accept. So I would say you are being inconsistent to say that the light from the car that just went by took less than a second to reach you is in principle no different to the observation of galaxies which we observe delayed by millions or billions of years due to the distances involved.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiny Norman
    So why not treat such conclusions with an appropriate amount of doubt? "This is millions of years old" vs "Science says that this is millions of years old" ... the former admits no uncertainty; the latter leaves wriggle room.
    For starters there is always wiggle room for the reasons I have already mentioned. However the probability that wiggle room will be need is so remote that to not accept that some stars are millions if not billions of years away requires a degree of perversion. In short, your only reason to think otherwise is a deep conviction in a stone age creation myth that is totally without evidential support.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  12. #27
    CC Grandmaster Spiny Norman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    4,437
    I am still amused by the suggestion that someone can observe a triangle without observing all three of it's sides ... that would be some feat of observation!

    But since one can indeed calculate the length of one side of an observed triangle if one has already measured two of the sides and one knows already the angles involved, it is clear that observation is a different from both measurement and from calculation.

    For exactly the same reasons that you believe the car only just went by, we know the light from galaxies to have travelled to earth would take millions (even billions) of years.
    You can only know this if:
    -- you believe that the speed of light is currently a certain value (this you can measure with good accuracy, so this is valid knowledge)
    -- you believe that the speed of light today is the same as the speed of light in the past (this is an assumption; it may or may not be correct)
    -- you believe that the speed of light is invariant across the universe (this is an assumption; we only have a sample of 1 from our corner of the universe)
    -- you believe you know the distance of that galaxy to the earth (this is the result of a calculation involving yet more assumptions about things like red shift)

    If those assumptions are right, then the calculation will deliver you true knowledge. If those assumptions are wrong, your knowledge will be false.

    Regardless, you have not observed millions or billions of years; you have observed light from a star, observed its red shift, assigned a particular meaning to the red shift, introduced beliefs about the invariance of the speed of light ... and then calculated the age of the observed light.

    Your calculation and observations may prove right, in which case you gain true knowledge about the distance. But if they're wrong, then the knowledge is false.
    “As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity.” -- C.S.Lewis

  13. #28
    Batoutahelius road runner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    on the skin of the pale blue dot
    Posts
    12,116
    Quote Originally Posted by Spiny Norman
    I am still amused by the suggestion that someone can observe a triangle without observing all three of it's sides ... that would be some feat of observation!
    Small things, eh.
    meep meep

  14. #29
    CC Grandmaster
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    5,531
    Quote Originally Posted by Spiny Norman
    You can only know this if:
    -- you believe that the speed of light is currently a certain value (this you can measure with good accuracy, so this is valid knowledge)
    -- you believe that the speed of light today is the same as the speed of light in the past (this is an assumption; it may or may not be correct)
    -- you believe that the speed of light is invariant across the universe (this is an assumption; we only have a sample of 1 from our corner of the universe)
    -- you believe you know the distance of that galaxy to the earth (this is the result of a calculation involving yet more assumptions about things like red shift)
    Even if all the above is correct (which, to my knowledge, is the case), it does not contradict the theory that world was created 5,770 (or 6,000 or 15,000) years ago, because the time scale depends on the observer and where the event horizon is.
    In other words, distance from Earth to stars neither proves nor disproves anything.
    For private coaching (IM, four times VIC champion) call or SMS 0417519733
    Computer tells you what to play. Good coach explains why.

  15. #30
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    The multiverse
    Posts
    21,567
    Quote Originally Posted by Spiny Norman
    -- you believe that the speed of light today is the same as the speed of light in the past (this is an assumption; it may or may not be correct)
    It is not an assumption, this has been tested to the extent possible by the technology and availability of data and the speed of light has shown to to be stable in recent history (last 10 billion years). There is some scope for a variable speed of light in the early universe but the extent of this variable is not such that it will overturn what we known about the age and dimension of the universe we observe today.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiny Norman
    -- you believe that the speed of light is invariant across the universe (this is an assumption; we only have a sample of 1 from our corner of the universe)
    If the speed of light was variable across the universe then you would completely invalidate relativity which has been shown to be an excellent predictive theory. Also depending on the variation you are talking about, there should be effects that are observable from here. This is not unlike the idea of an Ether which was posited before relativity and shown to be a bad idea by the celebrated experiment measuring the speed of light from one side of the Earths orbit to the other.

    So in short, this isn't an assumption either. It is backed up by evidence.

    BTW regarding both these points, I know of at least one scientific paper written on the possible variability of these parameters - basically within the limits of our ability to measure the speed of light, how much could it be changing over time. If you want to read it I will dig up the reference for you or you could probably find it yourself with a little research.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiny Norman
    -- you believe you know the distance of that galaxy to the earth (this is the result of a calculation involving yet more assumptions about things like red shift)
    Distances to earth can be easily worked out for stars in our own galaxy which is 100,000 light years across and more thn enough to blow young earth creationism completely out of the water by an order of magnitude. As things get further out (other galaxies) and really distant (quasars) then the figures are slight less well-known but the error in measurement is not so great that they could possible be less than 10,000 light years away. For example, the brightest quasar is around 2,440,000,000 light years away.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiny Norman
    Your calculation and observations may prove right, in which case you gain true knowledge about the distance. But if they're wrong, then the knowledge is false.
    While I agree ALL knowledge is tentative, the things you list above as assumption are simply not assumptions. They are the conclusions of extensive testing and form a coherent part of scientific knowledge. An assumption is something which is accepted without question and these certainly do not fall into that category.

    An assumption would be doing something like reading a old book written by a stone age tribe, take a liking to their creation myth and saying "that is the literal truth". Any scientific finding which contradicts it MUST be wrong by definition. Science doesn't do that, you do.


    ---


    Also I notice you completely ignore the argument that all visual observations rely on knowledge about the speed of light. So whatever assumptions you claim regarding the age of galaxies are equally valid regarding a passing car. Also you don't comment on the possibility of deliberate deception or sensory or cognitive malfunction in the recording of data. Science is based on repeatable observation and thus many of these problems are overcome. When you believe a single eyewitness account then you must take these concerns into consideration.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •