Honolulu Chapter

Are We Alone? – Why We Matter – To the Multiverse and Back

September 22, 2014

“Is life really ubiquitous, as the big numbers hypothesis would claim? We only have one data point so far, Earth. And what we learn from life here is that isolating nonliving chemicals inside protective membranes to form self-replicating molecular machines is a very complex step; so is the step from there to cells with protected nuclear material. Terrestrial life was stuck in this unicellular stage for some three billion years out of the 3.5 billion years that we know it has been around.Without a heavy moon, Earth’s rotational axis would wobble and seasons would not exist; without a protective atmosphere and magnetic poles, cosmic radiation would sterilize the surface, and so on.The bottom line: Earth is not mediocre.”

– Marcelo Gleiser, Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy at Dartmouth College.

via Are We Alone? – Why We Matter – To the Multiverse and Back.

Origin of life The faith and the facts | Uncommon Descent

September 15, 2014

Dr. Edward Peltzer Edward Peltzer explores the possibilities that1. Life is the result of unguided chemical reactions and random processes2. Life is the result of purposeful physical laws and initial conditions3. The laws of nature and fine-tuning of the initial conditions are sufficient to account for the origin of life4. natural processes alone prohibit the origin of lifeAfter reviewing the evidence for each option Dr. Peltzer comes to the conclusion that chemical cross-reactions, including the Maillard reaction, would have prevented a purely naturalistic origin of life. His research thus supports the Law of Biogenesis, that life proceeds only from pre-existing life:

via Origin of life The faith and the facts | Uncommon Descent.

September 13, 2014

“The probability that at ordinary temperatures a macroscopic number of molecules is assembled to give rise to the highly ordered structures and to the coordinated functions characterizing living organisms is vanishingly small. The idea of spontaneous genesis of life in its present form is therefore highly improbable, even on the scale of the billions of years during which prebiotic evolution occurred.”

– Ilya Prigonine

McLean v. Arkansas – Plaintiff’s transcript, testimony of Harold Morowitz

September 13, 2014

NASA asked agnostic Yale Physicist Harold Morowitz to calculate the odds of the simplest conceivable cell to come together from random chance to enhance their astrobiological knowledge. The odds Morowitz came up with were 1 in 10 to the 339,999,866. Anything less probable than 1 in to the 50th power is mathematically impossible. Morowitz was a good agnostic though, and insisted that energy flow (such as that coming in from the sun) could cause the engineering of the first cell, and cited Nobel Prize-winning chemist Ilya Prigonine as an authority for that claim. One little problem, though; Ilya Prigonine disagrees with Morowitz, and says it’s virtuously impossible!

Q: Doctor Morowitz, is the scientific literature regarding the ordering effect of the flow of energy well known?

A: Yes. It’s certainly well known to all thermodynamicists.

Q: Is there a considerable amount of such literature?

A: There are a number of books, scientific books, there are a large number of journal articles on the subject. And it’s even found its way into the popular press in the sense that in 1977 Ilya Prigogine was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry, cited in part because of the results of his theory on the ordering effect in biological systems, so that the matters we’re talking about are extremely well known.

via McLean v. Arkansas – Plaintiff’s transcript, testimony of Harold Morowitz.

“The probability that at ordinary temperatures a macroscopic number of molecules is assembled to give rise to the highly ordered structures and to the coordinated functions characterizing living organisms is vanishingly small. The idea of spontaneous genesis of life in its present form is therefore highly improbable, even on the scale of the billions of years during which prebiotic evolution occurred.”

– Ilya Prigonine

*Note: It is now known that there was nowhere near “billions of years” available for abiogenesis. Life appeared nearly synonymously with the cooling of the earth to the point of habitability.

Good Grief. No, Airplanes Don’t “Evolve” by Natural Law. – Evolution News & Views

August 14, 2014

In an article entitled “Survival of the Flight Test: Airplanes Evolve, Too,” Live Science reporter Tanya Lewis offers the startling claim that airplanes evolve the same way living organisms do. Come again? That’s right, but she’s just echoing a paper, “The Evolution of Airplanes,” published in the Journal of Applied Physics by mechanical engineers led by Adrian Bejan of Duke University. Their abstract sounds like a throwback to 19th-century orthogenesis:

via Good Grief. No, Airplanes Don’t “Evolve” by Natural Law. – Evolution News & Views.

Physicist George Ellis Knocks Physicists for Knocking Philosophy, Falsification, Free Will | Cross-Check, Scientific American Blog Network

August 14, 2014

 

Excerpt:

“Horgan: Lawrence Krauss, in A Universe from Nothing, claims that physics has basically solved the mystery of why there is something rather than nothing. Do you agree?

Ellis: Certainly not.  He is presenting untested speculative theories of how things came into existence out of a pre-existing complex of entities, including variational principles, quantum field theory, specific symmetry groups, a bubbling vacuum, all the components of the standard model of particle physics, and so on. He does not explain in what way these entities could have pre-existed the coming into being of the universe, why they should have existed at all, or why they should have had the form they did.  And he gives no experimental or observational process whereby we could test these vivid speculations of the supposed universe-generation mechanism. How indeed can you test what existed before the universe existed? You can’t.

Thus what he is presenting is not tested science. It’s a philosophical speculation, which he apparently believes is so compelling he does not have to give any specification of evidence that would confirm it is true. Well, you can’t get any evidence about what existed before space and time came into being.  Above all he believes that these mathematically based speculations solve thousand year old philosophical conundrums, without seriously engaging those philosophical issues. The belief that all of reality can be fully comprehended in terms of physics and the equations of physics is a fantasy. As pointed out so well by Eddington in his Gifford lectures, they are partial and incomplete representations of physical, biological, psychological, and social reality.

And above all Krauss does not address why the laws of physics exist, why they have the form they have, or in what kind of manifestation they existed before the universe existed  (which he must believe if he believes they brought the universe into existence). Who or what dreamt up symmetry principles, Lagrangians, specific symmetry groups, gauge theories, and so on? He does not begin to answer these questions.

It’s very ironic when he says philosophy is bunk and then himself engages in this kind of attempt at philosophy. It seems that science education should include some basic modules on Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hume, and the other great philosophers, as well as writings of more recent philosophers such as Tim Maudlin and David Albert.”

Physicist George Ellis Knocks Physicists for Knocking Philosophy, Falsification, Free Will | Cross-Check, Scientific American Blog Network.

Massive SuperOrganism with ‘Social Intelligence’ is Devouring the Titanic –The 100-Year Anniversary ‘A Galaxy Classic’

August 13, 2014

Wow!

“What they discovered is the largest, strangest cooperative microorganism on Earth.Scientists believe that this strange super-organism is using a common microbial language that could be either chemical or electrical -a phenomenon called “quorum sensing” by which whole communities “sense” each other’s presence and activities aiding and abetting the organization, cooperation, and growth.”

via Massive SuperOrganism with ‘Social Intelligence’ is Devouring the Titanic –The 100-Year Anniversary ‘A Galaxy Classic’.