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Dating Methods and The Constant Speed of C

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posted on Nov, 28 2012 @ 08:46 PM
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Hi All,

I posted this thread in the Origins forum too, but so far I'm getting no reply. Due to the nature of the book I'm about to discuss (it's heavy critique of the assumptions that the common dating methods are based on) I figured that this might be a sutiable "second home" for this topic.

I used the search function to see if anyone had mentioned Ian T. Taylor in specific relation to his 1984 book, "In the Minds of Men", but aside from a few passing references, I didn't find any real discussion of his work as laid out in the book.

If I've missed something it would be kind of someone to point me in the right direction and if not, would anyone who has read it like to discuss his work and how its arguments hold up today?

It levels some sober and (potentially) crippling disputations in this heavyweight of a book and though some of his assertions are laughable now, I'm wondering just how much of it is taken seriously today.

A note about me; I am, as near as I can reckon, an agnostic. So, the leaps of faith required by both creationists and evolutionists don't necessarily have much pull. I am confident in my philosophy. It is of course, in its nature, the place wear science leaves us on our own.

I was hoping that some folks acquainted with this publication could help me weed through the accuracies or inaccuracies of some of the preponderant arguments. If there are some of you who would like a crack at it but aren't familiar with the sizable 1984 1st addition I might, at a later time, be able to paraphrase some of his arguments and we can see what we come up with.

Daniel




posted on Nov, 28 2012 @ 10:11 PM
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Post your queries, I'm willing to take a crack at them.



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 11:19 AM
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Originally posted by Philodemus
It levels some sober and (potentially) crippling disputations
Pick one you'd like to discuss.

I haven't read the book but I see it has a section on dating methods. I don't know what he says about that; they can be a little off, but not so far off that the Earth is only 6000 years old as some believe.

What's this about the constant speed of c? You mean speed of light?
edit on 29-11-2012 by Arbitrageur because: clarification



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 01:20 PM
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This thread is long on intrigue, but short on catalyst for discussion. Perhaps you can prime the carb a little here?



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 09:20 PM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 


Alrighty, then children. Let us begin.

By the time he really gets to the nitty-gritty it isn't until (ironically) Chapter 11. Now keep in mind, though he does at times show an affinity for misrepresentation of certain experiments, he does not, for the most part disagree with the actual science being done. Instead, he makes an isolated attack on the assumptions of Lyell's uniformitarian interpretation of the world around us. So, at this point in the book (about 3/4) we have all bought into the villainous and purportedly devilish portrayals of many men like Darwin, Lyell, Descartes, Voltaire, Lamarck and many other greats (including but not limited to the likes of Socrates, Democritus, Aristotle, Protagoras and Plato).

Page 303 reads as follows (and I quote):

The Assumptions of Radiometric Dating
To recapitulate what has been said regarding the major assumptions on which the radiometric methods are based, we find:
1. It is assumed that the earth began as a spinning blob of hot liquid that cooled to from the original rock surface. It is further assumed that, because of the immense span of time during which erosion and rebuilding are believed to have taken pace, none of the original crustal materials are now available for study.
2. It is assumed that the crystals that are selected for radiometric age determination have been formed either by growing from hot liquid, that is, igneous rock, or by metamorphosis. Metamorphosis is a process in which crystallization occurs in sedimentary rock and is believed to take place by sustained high pressure and possible high temperatures but without melting the rock.
3. Once the crystal has formed, it is assumed that it is a closed system, that is, no “parent” or “daughter” elements enter of leave the crystal lattice; the only change that takes place is assumed to be decay of the unstable “parent” with time and consequent increase of the stable “daughter”element.
4. When discordant results are obtained from processes operating within the same crystal, it is assumed that there has been loss or addition of the “daughter” product. That is, selective loss of either lead 206 or argon 40 is claimed when the sample appears too young and selective addition or contamination when it appears too old.
5. Contamination of the crystal during its formation by extraneous “daughter” elements has to be taken into account, and it is assumed that the various isotope ratios of the contaminating element were the same at the time of crystal formation as they are today.
6. It is assumed that the decay “constant”, determined over a two or three-day period and mathematically related to the rate of decay expressed as half-life, has remained unchanged throughout the entire age of the mineral sample.

Relevant to the first assumption, it is worth recalling that while Holmes(1956) has estimated the age of the earth to be 4.5 billion years, no terrestrial rocks of this age have ever been reported, since it is assumed that all the original crustal material had been eroded then redeposited as sedimentary rock. The oldest rocks on earth have a reported aged of 3.8 billion years. However, it was realized that the moon would have crusted over at the same time as the earth; since there is no wind or water to cause erosion, it was believed moon rocks would provide a direct radiometric age for the earth. Sure enough, after retrieval of the moon rock samples in the Apollo program, Holmes's estimation was claimed to be exactly confirmed, and the age of the earth confidently stated in the popular press and textbooks to be 4.5 billion years (Eldredge 1982, 104; Taylor 1975). However, the official reports and scientific journals, in which actual results of the radiometric determinations were given, showed that the ages of the moon-rock samples varied between 2 and 28 billion years (Whitcombe and DeYoung 1978). Quite evidently, the data for public consumption had been selected to confirm the theory.
The last assumption (6) is, strictly speaking, an extrapolation of data on a huge scale, far beyond what is considered good practice under any other circumstances. We are reminded that the atomic decay is assumed to be at a constant rate, so that the data collected over a few days and check infrequently during this century has bee applies to billions of years. Some are beginning to question this whole line of thinking, and Professor Dudley, writing in 1975, has particularly outspoken: “These equations resulted initially from studies done with crude instruments some 70 years ago. Bluntly they are incorrect, nonetheless appear in out latest textbooks to compound the errors of past generations. This in spite of more recent evidence” (Dudley 1975, 2). At the root of the complaint is the constancy of the decay constant.
edit on 29-11-2012 by Philodemus because: (no reason given)
edit on 29-11-2012 by Philodemus because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 09:31 PM
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From here the author meanders off to bring in to question the assumption of the constant speed of c and even goes so far as to provide facts and figures to reinforce his claim that it was much faster in the recent past (about 6,000 y. a.) and has slowed down dramatically up to today and continues to do so at a rather alarming pace (any pace would be deemed as such I would assume).

Next, his discourses turns to more detail on how he feels (since the other constants are related) the decay constant is anything but constant. Although he is merciful enough to state that modern technology has greatly improved and makes comparing the figures of today with the figures of just a few decades ago makes for a slightly mangled juxtapose, he still levies an ardent attack on the whole enchilada. He does concede however, “Although the proposal that nuclear decay has changed over thousands of years cannot be proven, neither can the assumption that it has been constant, and it would seem only fair to consider what a decreasing decay rate would mean”.

Well, that it for me today my eyes are going fuzzy. I am interested in all of your thoughts and input regarding this creation pugilist and I am eager to get back here soon to see what you all have to say.
Goodnight, and happy humanism.

Daniel



posted on Nov, 29 2012 @ 11:02 PM
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Originally posted by Philodemus
Page 303 reads as follows (and I quote):
Please use ex tags when you quote external sources as explained here:
External Source Tags - Please Review This Link.



The Assumptions of Radiometric Dating
To recapitulate what has been said regarding the major assumptions on which the radiometric methods are based, we find:
I've actually been researching radioactive decay related to another thread here on ATS so this is an interesting topic.


I'll try to address these items, (I added the ex-tags) but a general comment is that science hasn't stood still since that book was published in 1984, so many of the claims seem dated:


1. It is assumed that the earth began as a spinning blob of hot liquid that cooled to from the original rock surface. It is further assumed that, because of the immense span of time during which erosion and rebuilding are believed to have taken pace, none of the original crustal materials are now available for study.
Personally I don't assume that there are no original crustal materials. Perhaps there are some but they haven't been found yet. But some old materials have been found, since that book was published:

Age of the Earth

The age of the Earth is 4.54 ± 0.05 billion years (4.54 × 109 years ± 1%).[1][2][3] This age is based on evidence from radiometric age dating of meteorite material and is consistent with the ages of the oldest-known terrestrial and lunar samples. ...

The oldest such minerals analyzed to date – small crystals of zircon from the Jack Hills of Western Australia – are at least 4.404 billion years old.
The sources for that last age are dated 1999, 2001, and 2004 so none of this was available in 1984.



2. It is assumed that the crystals that are selected for radiometric age determination have been formed either by growing from hot liquid, that is, igneous rock, or by metamorphosis.
3. Once the crystal has formed, it is assumed that it is a closed system, that is, no “parent” or “daughter” elements enter of leave the crystal lattice; the only change that takes place is assumed to be decay of the unstable “parent” with time and consequent increase of the stable “daughter”element.
4. When discordant results are obtained from processes operating within the same crystal, it is assumed that there has been loss or addition of the “daughter” product. That is, selective loss of either lead 206 or argon 40 is claimed when the sample appears too young and selective addition or contamination when it appears too old.
5. Contamination of the crystal during its formation by extraneous “daughter” elements has to be taken into account, and it is assumed that the various isotope ratios of the contaminating element were the same at the time of crystal formation as they are today.
I think 2-5 can be paraphrased more accurately as follows, partly because 3 and 4 contradict each other and this explanation resolves the apparent contradiction:

Radiometric dating

The basic equation of radiometric dating requires that neither the parent nuclide nor the daughter product can enter or leave the material after its formation. The possible confounding effects of contamination of parent and daughter isotopes have to be considered, as do the effects of any loss or gain of such isotopes since the sample was created. It is therefore essential to have as much information as possible about the material being dated and to check for possible signs of alteration.[6] Precision is enhanced if measurements are taken on multiple samples from different locations of the rock body. Alternatively, if several different minerals can be dated from the same sample and are assumed to be formed by the same event and were in equilibrium with the reservoir when they formed, they should form an isochron. This can reduce the problem of contamination. In uranium-lead dating, the concordia diagram is used which also decreases the problem of nuclide loss. Finally, correlation between different isotopic dating methods may be required to confirm the age of a sample. For example, a study of the Amitsoq gneisses from western Greenland used five different radiometric dating methods to examine twelve samples and achieved agreement to within 30 Ma (million years) on an age of 3,640 Ma.




6. It is assumed that the decay “constant”, determined over a two or three-day period and mathematically related to the rate of decay expressed as half-life, has remained unchanged throughout the entire age of the mineral sample.
Decay rates are pretty well known but some researchers think they have stumbled across some very small deviations so they are challenging the constancy of decay rates as discussed in this thread:

www.abovetopsecret.com...

However, it is worth noting that the age of the Earth estimate carries roughly a +/- 1% uncertainty, and the deviations in decay rates that scientists are arguing about are as small as 0.05-0.10%, so even if the decay rates fluctuated by that amount, it wouldn't significantly affect the +/- 1% uncertainty. The evidence for this 0.05-0.10% variation is pretty sketchy but this research demonstrates the accuracy to which decay rates are known, to be discussing such small discrepancies. I'm open-minded to it being constant or not constant, whichever the preponderance of data suggest, but either way, 0.1% is not much difference when we already admit a +/- 1% uncertainty.
edit on 29-11-2012 by Arbitrageur because: clarification



posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 09:51 AM
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Please forgive my lack of technical etiquette in regards to the Ex framing. I am not very good at working with this site in that regard. It actually took me ten minutes last night just to change my avatar picture even though I’ve done it at least twice in the past. From here on out I will do you all the favor of at least getting the aforementioned technicality corrected. Any other errors, including when I quote any of your posts, will not be due to my lack of intention towards proper execution. Feel free to help me improve my technique.

As I said there have been several reprints of this book all the way up to 1999. It is not so much his management of the precise scientific treatment of radiometric dating that I am trying to get to the bottom of, as it is his attempt to dispel the whole notion by undermining the base assumptions. It is true that this book, with the astounding rate of scientific progression, has dated rapidly but the notions herein mentioned are still the fundamentals of many Christian curriculums and are continually rehashed in the public debate between evolution and creationism. Many creationists feel quite confidently that all of the questions that evolution speculates upon, they can answer far more definitively with extrapolations based upon the Flood. I am only interested in addressing the assumptions. Initial assumptions are everything.

If I can continue forward with a few more examples from the book (using my new fangled Ex framing), I would very much like to cover his closing argument for the chapter (Chapter 11: The Age of the Earth), in which he sums up the condensed implications of a less than constant decay rate.



posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 09:51 AM
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If all the other universal constants have changed with time, then the nuclear decay constants must also have changed, since they are related, and we would expect to find shorter half-lives in the past. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons there is very little direct evidence. First, the early measurements that were made more than seventy years ago were of rather low precision. In more recent years, the counting technique has greatly improved, with the result that there is now much greater precision; it is somewhat meaningless, therefore, to compare these results. Second, by calling the nuclear decay parameter a “constant”, there is little expectation of a change once a value has been agreed on. Changes that may have occurred could, thereby, have easily been overlooked. From the published half-lives of some of the long-lived radioactive elements, it seems that there is a precision of about one part in a thousand, while there are two cases reported where the half-life is increasing with time. The half-life of protactinium 231 has increased from 32,000 years in 1950 to 34,300 years in 1962, and the half-life of radium 223 has increased from 11.2 days to 11.68 days over the same period.

Although the proposal that nuclear decay has changed over thousands of years cannot be proven, neither can the assumption that it has been constant, and it would seem only fair to consider what a decreasing decay rate would mean. With an increasing rate into the past, this would mean that the half-lives would get progressively shorter further back in time, so that most of the decay would have taken place shortly after the beginning. This would explain why the naturally occurring radioactive elements all have relatively long half-lives today. At the same time it explains the absence of these elements with the shorter half-lives, since these would have long ago decayed past their ten half-live period and not now be detectable.

It was previously mentioned in this chapter that radioactive dates generally get older with increasing depth in the rock strata, and this is taken to be one of the prime pieces of evidence for evolution over vast periods of time. If the sediments were the result of a worldwide flood, however, then the lava flows that were intermixed with the sediments would have been deposited over a brief historical period—a year or so, for example. If this proposal is correct, then most of the radioactive decay took place in the first few days of weeks, and the record preserved in the rock immediately after it became solid. Lava beds that differed in age by weeks or months of each other would then appear to differ by millions of years.

Perhaps it is now possible to see how two observers could come to entirely different conclusions by approaching the same evidence with different preconceptions. The first observer, having been schooled to think in terms of Lyell’s unifromitarianism, would assume that nuclear decay rates were constant throughout all time and from radiometric measurements determine that a certain fossil was, for example, 100 million years old. This value would be accepted by his peers if it conformed to the expected age for that particular fossil creature. The second observer might assume that nuclear decay has been subject to the second law of thermodynamics, by reason of changing permittivity, for example, and the decay rate itself had decreased with time. His mathematical interpretation of the same radiometer measurements for the same fossil would then yield a value of only a few thousand years, and this great difference in age, it will be recalled, came about by the initial assumption on the part of each observer.


So, just how much of today’s science can still be viewed as this subjective? How many of the initial assumptions of both the old earth and young earth proponents are still left up in the air? Have we made any progress that might help us lay to rest what appears to be such a vast amount of speculation? Furthermore, how do you contend with someone who can, with apparent ease, simply assume the changing speed of light? (P.S. What is the deal with that anyway? Anyone?)
After those of you who are so inclined to comment on this post are done, I would very much like to move forward to another topic from the pages of this book and see what else we can come up with.
edit on 30-11-2012 by Philodemus because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 10:57 AM
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Originally posted by Philodemus

Although the proposal that nuclear decay has changed over thousands of years cannot be proven, neither can the assumption that it has been constant, and it would seem only fair to consider what a decreasing decay rate would mean.
Thanks for using the EX tags. I'm willing to consider changing half-lives, if there's some evidence for it, but is there? I've already mentioned the only evidence I know of and it's nothing like what is cited in the book you're quoting. I don't think it's a toss-up between the two choices as he portrays it.

Let's clarify that the decay rates are not constant, they decrease exponentially, so it's a bit of a misnomer to suggest that decay rates aren't decreasing according to current theory. The very idea behind half-lives is that the decay rates DO decrease with time, that's what the half-life measures. It's the half-life which is assumed to not change over time. As with any other branch of science, we won't assume half-life changes unless we have reason to do so. The examples he gave where half-life changed, I suspect are related to improved measurement accuracy and not changes in the actual half-lives. For an analogy I know the "hubble constant" is periodically recalculated based on new data, but this does not infer the Hubble constant is actually changing to an expert, though a naive interpretation of published results might see it that way.

Nobody was measuring decay rates 5000 years ago or 4 billion years ago so we can't be completely sure what the decay rates were then, but this is a bit of an occam's razor situation. If one complicates things by proposing the half-life changes over time, then there is the problem of explaining what causes the half-life to change. Without some kind of evidence and mechanism to support this claim it seems likely to be properly rejected. There's nothing in the laws of thermodynamics I know of which supports his claim half-lives would change over time.

Also, while it's fair to discuss details of radiometric dating, as the previous sources I cited indicate, this information cannot be assessed in isolation from limited samples. Not only should the samples come from different locations in the same layer of deposits, but multiple dating methods should be used and compared. In addition, there is an elephant in the room not mentioned so far in this thread called evolution, which is so well documented it is considered scientific fact as well as theory. So I have to say it...evolution is one reason to reject the ideas that would make changes in radioactive decay so dramatic that the Earth would be only a few thousand years old.

There is also evidence of some large local floods but no "great flood" on a global scale.

There really is only one argument I know of that a young Earth creationist can use that doesn't contradict the data, and this would be to claim that God made the earth 6000 years ago, but when he did so he made it to appear to us as though it was 4.5 billion years old give or take. That is really the only young earth creation argument I've seen that doesn't contradict scientific findings, and it is discussed in this excellent video excerpt by a scientist called Dr Hazen who has been involved in the evolution versus young Earth creationism "debates".


(click to open player in new window)


So here is a scientist willing to acknowledge that possibility, while admitting it seems kind of unlikely and would be rather devious of God to do something like that. Aside from that argument, suggesting that the Earth could be a few thousand years old has serious problems with evolution, and many other pieces of evidence, like ice cores which show a history going back much farther than 6000 years.


Originally posted by Philodemus
Furthermore, how do you contend with someone who can, with apparent ease, simply assume the changing speed of light? (P.S. What is the deal with that anyway? Anyone?)
Scientists were actually debating whether the speed of light is a constant, however, as far as I know, none of the viewpoints in the debate would support the idea that the earth is 6000 years old. The real science is interesting though:

Did the speed of light change over the history of the universe?

The article in Nature talks about the possibility of the speed of light changing over the history of the universe. Where this stems from is observational evidence that the "fine structure constant" has changed. The fine structure constant determines the exact wavelength of fine structure lines in the spectra of atoms, and measurements of the spectra of quasars suggest that it many have decreased by 0.00072 +/- 0.00018 % over the past 6-10 billion years (ref in the Nature article).

The authors of the paper argue that since the fine structure constant is equal to the charge on an electron squared divided by Planck's constant times c (speed of light), then for the fine structure constant to change one of these must also change. They go on to provide an arguement as to why they think it much be the speed of light, and that's what caught the eyes of the popular press.

However this article out today on the LANL preprint server argues why dimensionful constants (like c) cannot change, since we can just define them to be whatever we want by changing units. For example if we define units in which the speed of light and Planck's constant are both exactly equal to one (which is commonly done in theoretical Physics), then the fine structure constant is just equal to the charge on an electron squared, and the question has no meaning....

Update: Since then more debate has followed and no consensus has been reached yet by scientists. It's very interesting though.
edit on 30-11-2012 by Arbitrageur because: clarification



posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 03:28 PM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 


Thank you Arbit for your reply. It was detailed and concise. Now, I must admit, though I am not particularly impressed either by Creation science or Evolution science, I have found Occham's razor to be a useful tool and one that I employed at all too high a frequency when reading this book, or when ever I read a great deal of Creationists publications. I don't know if am among a minority that finds it just as easy to not decide who's argument is the most sound and yet still arrive at a reasonable humanism with a vibrant set of ethics and morals based on perceived absolutes, but such is the case. I have found that when critical thinking is applied to both positions (and all the varied gradients between) I use the razor less when in the camp of the atheist evolutionist. I am not sure what that means. I have often been told that sitting on the fence is not a position. I beg to differ.

Now, I gather that we assume the rated change of the speed of c to have remained the same over the course of some 14 billion years or so. That is of course, if we are assuming such in the first place. My question lies there, at that assumption. Is it just as easy to assume that it slowed down far more rapidly in the first initial stages of the existence of the universe and now slows at a far lower rate if it slows at all, as it is to assume that it has always slowed at the rate potentially measured today?

Furthermore, I the vein of the evolution of species, does not the classic scientific method include observation and experimentation before concluding upon a theory? Does science capitulate to the idea that many feel the theory is still but hypothesis? Are not the base assumptions intrinsically unfalsifiable? In much the same way that I can not prove firstly, that an Intelligent Designer made all I see and secondly, that said Designer is to be necessarily concluded to be a benevolent, involved creator whom we should by necessity call “God”?

Also, from the things I have read, our genetic lineage is fairly certain due to new developments brought to us by the Human Genome Project and many other initiatives. But can all that we know still be contained with in our understanding of the Biblical Flood? For instance, that 8 people were said to be spared and that these 8 repopulated the world within 4 – 5 thousand years? I wonder if the genetic evidence is really there, or is really not.

Finally, I would like to ask you, why it is that the popular media seems to block the coverage of things that show a potential of unsettling the stance of the popularly held theory of evolution. For instance, when the Japanese fishing boat dredged up the rotted remains of a basking shark and a few over active imaginations labelled it a plesiosaur there was a virtual media blackout in North America in regards to the story. I have to wonder what, if anything, is to be inferred by the contorting of what should be honest evidence for this position or that.

Sorry for the rushed form of this post. I veered a little off science and headed toward philosophy, but I was pressed for time and didn't have the book in front of me. I will attempt to get us back on track by the end of the week.



posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 05:47 PM
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Originally posted by Philodemus
Now, I gather that we assume the rated change of the speed of c to have remained the same over the course of some 14 billion years or so. That is of course, if we are assuming such in the first place. My question lies there, at that assumption. Is it just as easy to assume that it slowed down far more rapidly in the first initial stages of the existence of the universe and now slows at a far lower rate if it slows at all, as it is to assume that it has always slowed at the rate potentially measured today?
That depends, if one is just pondering what might have happened without any observational evidence to support their idea, which appears to be the case with Ian Taylor's book, or if one is using observational evidence as a basis for suggesting changes.

The fine structure constant is based on small and disputed observational evidence with changes on the order of one part in 100,000. Different studies have had difficulty even verifying such small changes and in some cases have failed to show any difference. So the debate goes on and more measurements are being made, but that small a change probably wouldn't help Taylor's ideas even if confirmed.

However there is another idea about time not being constant which is an alternative explanation for the horizon problem replacing inflation, and it's discussed in this paper:

Superluminary Universe: A Possible Solution to the Initial Value Problem in Cosmology
That paper postulates something called Tc which stands for critical temperature. Above this critical temperature, the suggestion is that perhaps the speed of light is vastly greater than bellow the critical temperature. So in this hypothesis, there would be no gradual slowing of the speed of light as the universe cooled, it would be more like flipping a switch. The analogy would be to take look at what happens to an ice sculpture. As long as you keep it below freezing, it doesn't partially melt, but just going from -1 degree C to +1 degree C is enough to melt it because 0 degrees C is where the phase change occurs at typical conditions. So the analogy is, just as the structure of water changes above a certain temperature, perhaps the structure of space-time and the fabric of the universe changes above a certain temperature. The result could be that things behave differently in this condition, and the speed of light would be one difference.

The author of that paper claims this would solve the horizon problem and the flatness problem, so he's not just saying "what if" to ponder the possibilities, but rather he's trying to explain observations that we haven't fully explained, like the horizon problem. The more accepted hypothesis (It's called a theory but I'm reluctant to call it that without more evidence) is inflation. Inflation again does not presume the changes are gradual, but rather very sudden.

So both these alternatives view the universe as having two distinct phases:

The phase we are now in, and
An earlier phase which lasted a brief time after the big bang

In either version, the observable properties in this earlier phase would be different than what we observe in our current phase. This is how we try to explain unexplained problems in cosmology like the horizon problem.


Furthermore, I the vein of the evolution of species, does not the classic scientific method include observation and experimentation before concluding upon a theory? Does science capitulate to the idea that many feel the theory is still but hypothesis? Are not the base assumptions intrinsically unfalsifiable? In much the same way that I can not prove firstly, that an Intelligent Designer made all I see and secondly, that said Designer is to be necessarily concluded to be a benevolent, involved creator whom we should by necessity call “God”?
Did you watch the video I posted? You will never get a better answers to these first three questions than those given in the video, in my opinion. The 4th question is more of a statement than a question, even though you put a question mark at the end.


Also, from the things I have read, our genetic lineage is fairly certain due to new developments brought to us by the Human Genome Project and many other initiatives. But can all that we know still be contained with in our understanding of the Biblical Flood? For instance, that 8 people were said to be spared and that these 8 repopulated the world within 4 – 5 thousand years? I wonder if the genetic evidence is really there, or is really not.
I'm not a geneticist so I can't help with that, but I have looked for evidence of a great global flood and there just isn't any.


Finally, I would like to ask you, why it is that the popular media seems to block the coverage of things that show a potential of unsettling the stance of the popularly held theory of evolution. For instance, when the Japanese fishing boat dredged up the rotted remains of a basking shark and a few over active imaginations labelled it a plesiosaur there was a virtual media blackout in North America in regards to the story. I have to wonder what, if anything, is to be inferred by the contorting of what should be honest evidence for this position or that.
I think media is driven largely by corporate greed, so I can buy the idea that GE owned media is not going out of their way to report negative news about Fukushima's nuclear disaster while another branch of GE is simultaneously trying to sell nuclear reactors. This is only logical. Likewise, if a story doesn't have some direct or indirect impact on their business along those lines, I suspect they will choose whatever stories are most profitable, which is probably going to relate to what they think will draw more viewers. Maybe viewers don't like looking at giant ugly dead rotting carcasses while they're trying to eat? I've looked into some of these before and typically these "creature" finds are simply rotting whale carcasses, and the media may be savvy enough to realize this, so they don't embarrass themselves by creating a stir over another dead whale carcass.

By the way, living fossils thought to be extinct have already been found, and the media jumped all over it. Ever hear of the Coelecanth? That didn't hurt the theory of evolution, nor would finding a living plesiosaur. Why do you think it would?

Again referring to the video, to upset our view of evolution would take something like finding human and T-rex bones or footprints in the same strata.
edit on 3-12-2012 by Arbitrageur because: clarification



posted on Dec, 4 2012 @ 03:34 AM
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Originally posted by Philodemus
I don't know if am among a minority that finds it just as easy to not decide who's argument is the most sound and yet still arrive at a reasonable humanism with a vibrant set of ethics and morals based on perceived absolutes, but such is the case.
I don't think you're in the minority.

The thread in the following link is dead, but the quiz it points to is still online. If you are interested, you can take the quiz (secular humanism is one religious category and one which aligns quite a bit with my own beliefs) and see what religions your beliefs align with, and you can also compare your results to those of many other ATS members who posted their results.

Quiz - Find out your ideal religion


Originally posted by Philodemus
A note about me; I am, as near as I can reckon, an agnostic.
See if the quiz helps you reckon any better, it did help me. Even if it doesn't, it might be fun to try it.



posted on Dec, 9 2012 @ 05:33 PM
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Arbi,

Thank you again so much for contributing to this thread. Seeing as it has become a one on one conversation between you and I, I figured that this thanks would be most appropriate.


Originally posted by Arbitrageur


The fine structure constant is based on small and disputed observational evidence with changes on the order of one part in 100,000. Different studies have had difficulty even verifying such small changes and in some cases have failed to show any difference. So the debate goes on and more measurements are being made, but that small a change probably wouldn't help Taylor's ideas even if confirmed.


I have assumed as much from what I have read. I have to wonder what he (and others like him that still argue this to present day) intends to accomplish in the real world. The only thing that he can reasonably hope to do is cast doubt on the current view of the cosmos. And this can only really be achieved if we are worried about not knowing certain things for the time being. I for one am happy to not know somethings. There is a brilliant piece, written by Robert Lynd (1879-1949), called The Pleasures of Ignorance. In it, he quite aptly points out that without unknowns there is very little enjoyment to be found by enquiring minds. It is much the cousin of the distilled axiom surrounding the idea that it is not the end of the trip that is the reward, but rather the “journey” its self that is the wage.


One of the greatest joys known to man is to take such a flight into ignorance in search of knowledge. The great pleasure of ignorance is, after, all the pleasure of asking questions. The man who has lost this pleasure or exchanged it for the pleasure of dogma, which is the pleasure of answering, is already beginning to stiffen.
-Robert Lynd


This seems to be the case for a vast majority of Creationists. Even some Evolutionists can fall victim to this disposition if their desire to bequeath answers upon us outweighs their desire to ask questions and be satisfied with unknown. As Christopher Hitchens often put it, “pursuing ideas for their own sake”, is really the highest calling of men of philosophy and science. Much of what Ian Taylor has to do is jumping through the hoops required in maintaining a dogma over staying open to possibilities.


Originally posted by Arbitrageur

So both these alternatives view the universe as having two distinct phases:

The phase we are now in, and
An earlier phase which lasted a brief time after the big bang

In either version, the observable properties in this earlier phase would be different than what we observe in our current phase. This is how we try to explain unexplained problems in cosmology like the horizon problem.


I am not all too confident in my understanding of quantum physics, so the paper you sent me to, though insightful, was at times a bit thick for me. Now, what I can gather is, that the author is attempting to set a framework for the intitial conditions. This is after all a big consideration in chaos and the like, right? From other things I have read, I have seen some theories on the cosmos that can do away with the need for the knowledge of the initial conditions by assuming infinity. For instance, we can site S. Hawking when, in A Brief History of Time, he said:


In the quantum theory, it is possible for space-time to be finite in extent and yet to have no singularities that formed a boundary or edge. Space-time would be like the surface of the earth, only with two more dimensions.[...] So if this turns out to be the case, then the quantum theory of gravity has opened up a new possibility in which there would be no singularities at which the laws of science broke down.
If there is no boundary to space-time, there is no need to specify the behaviour at the boundary-no need to know the initial state of the universe.[...]The universe would be completely self contained and not affected by anything outside itself.


I am not sure if I am hitting the right never or not and perhaps you could help me a bit in the contrasting of these to ideas; if contrast is to be made. But what I can see from both is that they quite neatly present themselves void of the need for the over simplifications of the theories in dogma of men like Ian Taylor. But I have to ask in regards to the paper you mentioned, is there a hope in calculating the extent of expansion of the previous “hyper-heated” state of the universe? That is to say, could we still assume that the universe expanded to nearly it's present size in a infinitesimal fraction of the time? Or does all we can see in the “depths” of the cosmos, speak clearly in this regard, as is my conviction?

I have now watched the video and I enjoyed it. Much in the line of questioning I posed was in the spirit of devil's advocate, but it did help me redraw a few lines of distinction that had become a bit blurred.

Now, back to mister Taylor. I should have given some background information on him at the onset of this thread, for it may have helped shed some light on the understanding of his position. One key tidbit was that he worked for years as metallurgist. On the surface this is another seemingly inconsequential nothing that is easily overlooked. That is until had my mind refreshed by picking up my copy of The Architecture of Matter (Toulmin; Goodfield), on just how diametrically opposed the craftsmen have been to the theorist since the dawn of scientific philosophy.


...the relations between 'natural philosophy' and the craft tradition were distant ones, and their union into our contemporary scientific technology is something quite new in history. The alliance is still not entirely easy, for there is a natural opposition between the practical craftsman and the speculative scientist, which nowadays we tend to forget.[...][T]hey[craftsmen] are at first sceptical whenever an outsider presumes to tell the guild how better to conduct its business.[...]
[...]In the interaction between theory and practice, science has again and again been in the position of debtor, drawing on the craft tradition and profiting from its experience rather than teaching craftsman anything new. It has been said that '' science owes more to the steam-engine than the steam-engine owes to science', and the same thing is true more generally.


Perhaps it is in this light that we can see Taylor's intrinscally ingrained apprehension towards the speculative sciences streatching from modern day all the way back to the works of Aristotle; of which Taylor wrote:


Historians agree that Aristotle's views actually retarted man's understanding of nature for two millenia; primarily, it can be seen in retrospect, because his explinations seem so reasonable at first sight.


But as Toulmin and Goodfield put it:


New ideas are the tools of science, not its end-product. They do not guarantee deeper understanding , yet our grasp of Nature will be extended only if we are prepared to welcome them and give them a hearing. If at the outset exaggerated claims are made on their behalf, this need not matter. Enthusiasm and deep conviction are necessary if men are to explore all the possibilities of any new idea, and later experience can be relied on either to confirm or to moderated the initial claims-for science flourishes on a double programme of speculative liberty and unsparing criticism.


But to that yearning part of our nature that desires answers with out wanting the trouble of asking the right questions the tendancy is often towards the overpowering of our intellect and toward the facilitating of a rush to the miraculous and unexplainable.

I had more to write but my kids are awake now and my attention is soon to be too divided to get anything really substantial accomplished. So for now, farewell.

Daniel

P.S. As to the religion quiz, it emphatically judged me as a secular humanist. I would much prefer to be classified as perhaps an agnostic post secular humanist, but....one step at a time.
edit on 9-12-2012 by Philodemus because: (no reason given)
edit on 9-12-2012 by Philodemus because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 10 2012 @ 02:53 AM
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Originally posted by Philodemus
Arbi,

Thank you again so much for contributing to this thread.
You're welcome. I actually learned something while writing my answers, about the latest research on some of these topics, it's hard to keep up.


For instance, we can site S. Hawking when, in A Brief History of Time, he said:


In the quantum theory, it is possible for space-time to be finite in extent and yet to have no singularities that formed a boundary or edge. Space-time would be like the surface of the earth, only with two more dimensions.[...] So if this turns out to be the case, then the quantum theory of gravity has opened up a new possibility in which there would be no singularities at which the laws of science broke down.
If there is no boundary to space-time, there is no need to specify the behaviour at the boundary-no need to know the initial state of the universe.[...]The universe would be completely self contained and not affected by anything outside itself.
This type of speculation is not very scientific. One can speculate whether there is or is not any boundary but since it's quite clear there will never be any observational proof either way, it seems like a meaningless discussion, though talking about it may be a fun way to pass the time over a few beers. I don't find it scientific at all though since there's no evidence. But I think you may have missed the point about the horizon problem. You may want to read the wiki on that here and this IS an evidence based issue and not some hypothetical speculation about what is beyond observation:

en.wikipedia.org...

The horizon problem is a problem with the standard cosmological model of the Big Bang which was identified in the late 1960's, primarily by Charles Misner. It points out that different regions of the universe have not "contacted" each other because of the great distances between them, but nevertheless they have the same temperature and other physical properties. This should not be possible, given that the transfer of information (or energy, heat, etc.) can occur, at most, at the speed of light. The horizon problem may have been answered by inflationary theory, and is one of the reasons for that theory's formation.
That's a lot simpler to understand than the quantum mechanics, I think. And I don't see how the quote from Hawking addresses it.

The paper I posted about the speed of light changing was an alternative explanation to the more popular "inflationary theory".


I have to wonder what he (and others like him that still argue this to present day) intends to accomplish in the real world. The only thing that he can reasonably hope to do is cast doubt on the current view of the cosmos.
I don't know his motivations but usually it seems like "creation science" in general is some kind of effort to minimize cognitive dissonance by inventing explanations for data points that don't match one's belief.

I'm not surprised that you had secular humanist beliefs like me, according to the quiz, and glad you finally watched the Hazen video. It does paint a pretty clear picture of the topic I think.



posted on Dec, 10 2012 @ 05:18 PM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 


Arbi,

Thank you again for your response to my thread. Your continued support is quite enlightening and I will get to the links you supplied me by and by. I am learning a great deal as we go here and the time you've taken out to comment is not taken for granted. I prepared the following earlier today, before reading your response. I will address your most recent post in time.

It is perhaps Tayolr's treatment of our scientific and philosophical heritage that is perhaps the most revealing in terms of exposing just how far he has let the poison of his line of thinking permeate his interpretation of history.

When faced with looking into the past one has two options. One can either look for the errors and flaws ( undoubtedly a vantage point only afforded to those who occupy a place substantially further along the time line) or one can look for the contributions to systematic thinking and method and applaud the ancients for the massive feats of mind accomplished when so little was verifiable through the convenience of observation and the clarity of experiment.

It is little surprise to find Taylor misrepresent both the contributions and stumbling blocks of men like Aristotle. For instance, he credits him with the error of theory that states that nature is made up of four elements (water, fire, air, and solid), even though it was a concept that predated Aristotle by nearly 200 years. He faults him further for seeing the actions and reactions in the natural world as having only natural explanation. Aristotle's discounting of 'revealed knowledge', to Taylor, marks a step backwards in progression rather then a step forward. Instead of seeing the vast aide in scientific methodology donated by Aristotle, he choose instead only to see it shortcomings. Though it is easy to look back at the laughable ignorance of our creditors of what seems to us 'common sense', it is not altogether fair or equatable to do so, because the 'common sense' of our time was not, and could not be the 'common sense' of theirs. A point missed on Taylor's framework.

It is to this end, striving to show how one misconception has led to the next and the next and the next, though corrected relatively with the introductions of new and radical theories, that Ian Taylor attempts to discredit the whole of the science of evolution. When in fact, what is more clearly demonstrated, is perhaps the thing I noted after reading the first chapters of the book.



By the end of Chapter IV, I felt as though the author had already exhausted the mine from which he drilled. That being, his obvious and overt disdain for the flawed, stumbling, sometimes incoherent, always maladroit, incommensurable, impetus, implacable, immemorial, beautiful, sanctifying trial of knowledge by man. I daresay it is the mine of fear from whence he bore his lode.
Again, yet another sardonic collection of creation apologetics offered by a man whose chief audience are those who are already in agreement or those who are too infantile not to be.


Quite conveniently it seems, Taylor's book, in its early chapters, makes no mention of Stoic philosophy/theology and passes up entirely the era of the Alchemists. This is a largely revealing of the presentation that he portends to be an 'honest discussion'. For it is in these epochs, that if one is to ignorantly point out blame in prejudicial ideologies, that we can find sincere ideological hemlock being laced with our wine.

I said at the outset, that I try to stay open to various theories and attempt to position my self squarely on the fence in terms of our origins. But I can not help but have an opinion one way or the other at times. Times, most specifically, when a 'champion' of a certain idea bends and twists the facts in the same fashion as those he attempts to critique. It is to this end that I was never quite impressed with Taylor's writing and I was hoping that by bringing it here, before a vast and fathomless jury, that some redeeming value might be smelted out in the kiln of truth. So far, all I have is the 'still small voice' whispered through your responses to me. Yet I wait, ready to tip the scales back in his favour if such truth is made known.

If one is to propose an idea before honest men; If one is to display it openly; If one is to ask those of no predisposition to judge it on its values and merits alone; If one is to cast stones at those whom have a vested interest in what you perceive to be erroneous; If one is to win over an impartial crowd of rationalists, then one must endeavour to be honest and open about the errors of one's own ideas and not credit any shortcomings to a Divine will. To me, any less is less than honest. If I am to be dissuade from my humanism it is not enough to point to atrocities committed in it's perceived 'name' in the past. Just as it is not enough to dissuade a Christian from their beliefs by pointing to the horrors of the Inquisition or by pointing to the reprehensible treatment of alter boys by their Roman Catholic orders. But this is his steady and continuous argument for the discrediting of humanism and evolution, which he sees as reliant upon one another for validity. If we do not have the hard earned right to err and learn, then we have absolutely nothing at all.





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