Tag Archives: Big Science

Darwinian fundamentalists threaten boycott of science journal for paper mentioning “Creator”

The Church of Naturalism
The Church of Naturalism says turn or burn, heretic!

So, there was a peer-reviewed paper that appeared in the PLOS peer-reviewed journal that made reference to a Creator in the abstract. The scientific work of the paper had no problems.

I saved a copy of the post and the comments. Let’s look at some of the comments.

Comments by editors of the journal

Michael Sears:

The article should be retracted and the handling editor should be dismissed. As an Editor for this journal, I am appalled.

Ricard Sol:

I think that pretending to defend a creationist argument (non-science) in a science journal raises serious doubts about the whole enterprise. The paper should be retracted. As a PLOS ONE editor I believe accepting this situation would seriously damage our credibility.

Dante Chialvo:

[…]I am ashamed that the journal staff, the editor responsable for the paper, the reviewers, all ignored this more than obvious red flag resulting on a creationist argument embedded on a scientific paper. I will consider resigning unless exemplary actions are taken by Plos.

Angel Sánchez:

As I have said in a separate post, I will resign as an editor of PLOS ONE if this paper is not retracted immediately. PLOS ONE is a scientific journal and I don’t want to have anything to do, not even my name related to a journal tha publishes about superstition and supernatural entities. I will stop editing and I will stop submitting, and I’ll recommend everybody never to submit again to PLOS ONE. I hope we don’t have to go there.

So, you can see that science – as the naturalists conduct it – is not really the search for truth, no holds barred. It’s the attempt to explain nature without reference to a Creator and Designer. Whatever the experiments show must conform to a philosophical assumption (a religion), called naturalism. And the religion of naturalism determines what can and cannot be accepted as science. You can see the same principle at work in the denial of the Big Bang cosmology despite evidence such as the cosmic microwave background radiation, the light element abundances, and the redshifting of light from distant galaxies. Science has shown we live in a created universe that began about 13.7 billion years ago, but here we have atheists in denial of science sitting in positions of power deriding the Creator who has been revealed by experimental science. That’s the power of the naturalistic dogma. And it turns out that the most powerful argument for Darwinian evolution is this: “believe it, or I’ll have you fired, and ruin your career”. This is how Darwinism propagates from old to young – through coercion, and not through real science.

Other comments

Zach Throckmorton:

As others have noted, utilization of an intelligent design creationism framework for explaining human anatomy is not acceptable for a scientific journal.

Jorge Soberon:

I find the use of religious language in a scietific paper totally unacceptable. I will be watching this paper closely, and distributing it to colleagues. If PLOS ONE does not do something about it, like asking the authors to retratct the paper, or at the very least publishing an explanation, I will stop reviewing papers for PLOS ONE. I do hope the editors of PLOS ONE realize what a huge mistake was to accept publication of a paper with this wording. It says a lot about the care with which a paper is edited.

Adam Hartstone-Rose:

This article proves that there is something SERIOUSLY wrong with the journal. If the paper isn’t retracted, my students, collaborators and I will have no choice but to refrain from submitting to this once respectable journal. I’m embarrassed for you and embarrassed that some of my proudest papers are in your journal.

[…]This requires a ballistic reaction, not a considered “looking into” the problem!

Enrico Petretto:

This is outrageous. If PLOS ONE does not do something about it, i.e., ask the authors to retract the paper, and in any case, if the paper isn’t retracted, my students, collaborators and I will have no choice but to refrain from considering (i..e, reading, reviewing and citing) papers published in PLOS ONE.

Luigi Maiorano:

Quote totally!! outrageous is the minimum! I published 3 of my papers in PlosOne, but I will never do it again. I’m actually telling all my students and colleagues to boycott the journal and never consider it again!

Jean-Michel Heraud:

I have no knowledge to judge this article…

[…]I would recommend to the editor of the journal to exclude definitely the two reviewers that have accepted this manuscript.

Oliver Rauhut:

As noted by many comments below, this is not a matter of inappropriate wording! This rather seems to be a (successfull) attempt to place an intelligent design argument in a (so far) respected scientific journal. Thus, the only solution is the immediate retraction of this paper! Unless this step has been done, my workgroup and me will refrain from publishing further papers in PLoS!

Harry Noyes:

Changing Creator to Nature will not solve the problem since it still implies a fundamental misunderstanding of evolution. That is there is no design process, no outcome is foreseen. Anything that works better tends to have a selective advantage but that is not a product of design it is a product of selection working on random events. The paper clearly needs a substantive rewrite quite apart from the concerns raised about the significance of the results raised by other comments.

Carl Schmidt:

A more important issue is the review process that allowed such nonsense as “Creator” to appear in a journal purportedly devoted to science.

The article has now been retracted.

Evolution News comments:

This would seem to bear out a remark by Chinese paleontologist J.Y. Chen, recounted in Darwin’s Doubt, “In China we can criticize Darwin, but not the government; in America, you can criticize the government, but not Darwin.”

So what’s really behind all this fascism?

Consider this quote from famous population geneticist (and Darwinian fundamentalist) Richard Lewontin. And note that he equates science with his chosen religion of naturalism, he doesn’t accept science in the traditional sense of the word, where there is no metaphysical baggage.

He says:

Our willingness to accept scientific [i.e. – naturalistic] claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science [i.e. – naturalism] and the supernatural. We take the side of science [i.e. – naturalism] in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific [i.e. – naturalistic] community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science [i.e. – naturalism] somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

“Billions and Billions of Demons” by Richard Lewtontin. (Link)

“A priori” means before seeing the facts, before seeing the evidence.

And what is behind the choice of naturalism as the preferred religion? Consider this quote from atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel.

He says this:

“In speaking of the fear of religion, I don’t mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions, in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social policies, and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of many religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehoods. I am talking about something much deeper–namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers.

I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”

(”The Last Word” by Thomas Nagel, Oxford University Press: 1997)

The days of Isaac Newton are long gone, and another Newton will not emerge while the Naturalistic Church is in power. And it’s a taxpayer-funded church, too. Think about that next time you vote for bigger or smaller government.

Positive arguments for theism

Is Kepler-452b an Earth-like planet? Does it support life?

Apologetics and the progress of science
Apologetics and the progress of science

Previously, I blogged about a few of the minimum requirements that a planet must satisfy in order to support complex life.

Here they are:

  • a solar system with a single massive Sun than can serve as a long-lived, stable source of energy
  • a terrestrial planet (non-gaseous)
  • the planet must be the right distance from the sun in order to preserve liquid water at the surface – if it’s too close, the water is burnt off in a runaway greenhouse effect, if it’s too far, the water is permanently frozen in a runaway glaciation
  • the planet has to be far enough from the star to avoid tidal locking and solar flares
  • the solar system must be placed at the right place in the galaxy – not too near dangerous radiation, but close enough to other stars to be able to absorb heavy elements after neighboring stars die
  • a moon of sufficient mass to stabilize the tilt of the planet’s rotation
  • plate tectonics
  • an oxygen-rich atmosphere
  • a sweeper planet to deflect comets, etc.
  • planetary neighbors must have non-eccentric orbits
  • planet mass must be enough to retain an atmosphere, but not so massive to cause a greenhouse effect

Now what happens if we disregard all of those characteristics, and just classify an Earth-like planet as one which is the same size and receives the same amount of radiation from its star? Well, then you end up labeling a whole bunch of planets as “Earth-like” that really don’t permit life.

Here’s an article from The Conversation which talks about a recent case of science fiction trumping science facts. (H/T JoeCoder)

Excerpt:

NASA’s announcement of the discovery of a new extrasolar planet has been met with a lot of excitement. But the truth is that it is impossible to judge whether it is similar to Earth with the few parameters we have – it might just as well resemble Venus, or something entirely different.

The planet, Kepler-452b, was detected by the Kepler telescope, which looks for small dips in a star’s brightness as planets pass across its surface. It is a method that measures the planet’s size, but not its mass. Conditions on Kepler-452b are therefore entirely estimated from just two data points: the planet’s size and the radiation it receives from its star.

Size and radiation from its star? That’s all?

More:

Kepler-452b was found to be 60% larger than the Earth. It orbits a sun-like star once every 384.84 days. As a result, the planet receives a similar amount of radiation as we do from the sun; just 10% higher. This puts the Kepler-452b in the so-called “habitable zone”; a term that sounds excitingly promising for life, but is actually misleading.

The habitable zone is the region around a star where liquid water could exist on a suitable planet’s surface. The key word is “suitable”. A gas-planet like Neptune in the habitable zone would clearly not host oceans since it has no surface. The habitable zone is best considered as a way of narrowing down candidates for investigation in future missions.

What about plate tectonics – does it have that?

Kepler-452b’s radius puts it on the brink of the divide between a rocky planet and a small Neptune. In the research paper that announced the discovery, the authors put the probability of the planet having a rocky surface about 50%-60%, so it is by no means sure.

Rocky planets like the Earth are made from iron, silicon, magnesium and carbon. While these ingredients are expected to be similar in other planetary systems, their relative quantities may be quite different. Variations would produce alternative planet interiors with a completely different geology.

For example, a planet made mostly out of carbon could have mantles made of diamond, meaning they would not move easily. This would bring plate tectonics to a screeching halt. Similarly, magnesium-rich planets may have thick crusts that are resilient to fractures. Both results would limit volcano activity that is thought to be essential for sustaining a long lasting atmosphere.

What about retaining the right kind of atmosphere, which depends on the mass of the planet. Does it have that?

If Kepler-452b nevertheless has a similar composition to Earth, we run into another problem: gravity. Based on an Earth-like density, Kepler-452b would be five times more massive than our planet.

This would correspond to a stronger gravitational pull, capable of drawing in a thick atmosphere to create a potential runaway greenhouse effect, which means that the planet’s temperature continues to climb. This could be especially problematic as the increasing energy from its ageing sun is likely to be heating up the surface. Any water present on the planet’s surface would then boil away, leaving a super-Venus, rather than a super-Earth.

You might remember that “retain atmosphere” requirement from the lecture by Walter Bradley that I posted with a summary a few days ago.

What about having a Jupiter-sized sweeper planet – does it have that?

Another problem is that Kepler-452b is alone. As far as we know, there are no other planets in the same system. This is an issue because it was most likely our giant gas planets that helped direct water to Earth.

At our position from the sun, the dust grains that came together to form the Earth were too warm to contain ice. Instead, they produced a dry planet that later had its water most likely delivered by icy meteorites. These frozen seas formed in the colder outer solar system and were kicked towards Earth by Jupiter’s huge gravitational tug. No Jupiter analogue for Kepler-452b might mean no water and therefore, no recognisable life.

What about having a magnetic field – does it have that?

All these possibilities mean that even a planet exactly the same size as Earth, orbiting a star identical to our sun on an orbit that takes exactly one year might still be an utterly alien world. Conditions on a planet’s surface are dictated by a myriad of factors – including atmosphere, magnetic fields and planet interactions, which we currently have no way of measuring.

You know, after the whole global warming hoax, you would think that NASA would have learned their lesson about sensationalizing wild-assed guesses in order to scare up more research money from gullible taxpayers who watch too much Star Trek and Star Wars.

The best answer to this is for parents to make sure that their kids are learning the facts about astrobiology from books like “The Privileged Planet” and “Rare Earth”, where the full list of requirements for a life-supporting planet will be found. Pity that we can’t rely on taxpayer-funded public schools to do that for us, because they are too busy pushing Planned Parenthood’s sex education curriculum and global warming fears, instead of real science and engineering.

Global warming alert: Washington, D.C. breaks 141-year-old cold record

The leftist Washington Post reports.

Excerpt:

Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport broke a 141-year-old record low temperature, reaching 4 degrees. The National Weather Service said the low reached early Tuesday broke a 5-degree record set on the day in 1873. It was also a record low for the month of March. Dulles International Airport – also outside Washington – tied a 1993 record for the month at -1 degree.

Both airports broke record lows two days in a row.

Schools and government offices along the East Coast were closed Tuesday or delayed opening. Virginia State Police said slickened roads were factors in three traffic deaths. And authorities in Maryland’s Prince George’s County said a 60-year-old woman died after shoveling snow there.

Global warming is to blame for these record cold temperatures. But wait, Washington wasn’t the only one victimized by the global warming monster.

On Monday, leftist Reuters reports that the cold was all up and down the East coast.

Excerpt:

A deadly winter storm hit the U.S. East Coast on Monday with freezing rain, snow and near-record cold, cancelling about 2,700 flights, shutting down Washington and closing schools and local governments.

The latest in a series of weather systems to pummel the winter-weary eastern United States, the storm dumped about 4 inches on the U.S. capital by early afternoon as it swept from the Mississippi Valley to the Atlantic coast, the National Weather Service said.

Brian Hurley, a weather service meteorologist, said temperatures would be about 30 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius) below normal as a cold front settled in from Great Plains to the Atlantic coast.

“It’s really, really cold, temperatures dropping into the teens (Fahrenheit, minus-7 to minus-10 Celsius) and the normal highs are around 50 (10C) at this point,” he said.

At least four weather-related traffic deaths in Texas, Oklahoma and Tennessee were blamed on the wide-ranging storm over the weekend.

And on Tuesday, leftist Reuters reported that the cold had spread westward.

Excerpt:

The eastern and central United States were plunged into a deep freeze on Tuesday, with record low temperatures in the wake of a deadly storm expected to moderate in coming days.

The late-winter storm left behind frigid temperatures after pushing freezing rain, sleet and snow from the Mississippi Valley to the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

Temperatures this week will be “below average east of the Rockies, as it has been for a good part of the winter,” said Bob Oravec, a National Weather Service meteorologist in College Park, Maryland.

The icy front sent the mercury plunging to minus 1F (minus 18C) at Washington Dulles International Airport, tying a monthly record, the weather service said.

Baltimore; Scranton, Pennsylvania; Morgantown, West Virginia; Zanesville, Ohio; and Flint, Michigan all set or tied record lows.

The latest in a series of arctic weather systems to grip the winter-weary eastern United States, the cold front stretched from the Canadian border to southern Texas, where freezing rain was forecast.

[…]The storm was blamed for at least six deaths, most of them from traffic accidents on slippery roads. A woman in Bowie, Maryland, died on Monday from a likely heart attack after shoveling snow, a spokesman for the Prince George’s County fire department said.

About 730 U.S. flights were canceled and about 2,700 delayed on Tuesday in the wake of the bad weather, according to airline tracking site FlightAware.com. About 8,000 flights were canceled or delayed on Monday.

Those people were not killed by record cold temperatures, they were killed by the global warming monster!!1! They were caught up in a fiery explosion caused by cowboy capitalism and insufficient government spending on science education. We need more grant money for a study to find out why you believe your own eyes, rather than the dire warnings of greedy scientists and their power-hungry socialist masters in government.

Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore testifies to Congress about global warming

Investors Business Daily has a story to go with the 5-minute testimony.

Excerpt:

A Greenpeace co-founder testified in Congress on Tuesday about global warming. What he said is hardly what anyone would expect.

Patrick Moore came off as a raving denier.

“There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years,” said Moore, who was testifying before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight.

“If there were such a proof, it would be written down for all to see. No actual proof, as it is understood in science, exists.”

Moore is somewhat famous for leaving Greenpeace, a large environmentalist organization that grew from a small activist group he belonged to in 1971 while earning his doctorate in ecology. He quit in 1986 because it had become too political and strayed away from the science he believed was its institutional strength.

Moore didn’t hold back in his Senate appearance. He quickly zeroed in on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and strongly scolded it for claiming there is a “95-100% probability” that man “has been the dominant cause of” global warming. Those numbers, he said, have been invented.

He also characterized the IPCC’s reliance on computer models as futile; told senators that history “fundamentally contradicts the certainty that human-caused CO2 emissions are the main cause of global warming”; and noted that “during the Greenhouse Ages,” a period that precedes our fossil-fuel burning civilization, “there was no ice on either pole and all the land was tropical and subtropical from pole to pole.”

Moore further crossed the line of accepted climate change discourse when he insisted “that a warmer temperature than today’s would be far better than a cooler one” and reminded lawmakers “that we are not capable, with our limited knowledge, of predicting which way” temperatures “will go next.”

To with that testimony, here’s an article from Forbes magazine (Feb 2013) about the real scientific consensus on global warming.

Excerpt:

Don’t look now, but maybe a scientific consensus exists concerning global warming after all. Only 36 percent of geoscientists and engineers believe that humans are creating a global warming crisis, according to a survey reported in the peer-reviewed Organization Studies. By contrast, a strong majority of the 1,077 respondents believe that nature is the primary cause of recent global warming and/or that future global warming will not be a very serious problem.

The survey results show geoscientists (also known as earth scientists) and engineers hold similar views as meteorologists. Two recent surveys of meteorologists (summarized here and here) revealed similar skepticism of alarmist global warming claims.

According to the newly published survey of geoscientists and engineers, merely 36 percent of respondents fit the “Comply with Kyoto” model. The scientists in this group “express the strong belief that climate change is happening, that it is not a normal cycle of nature, and humans are the main or central cause.”

I have been listening to Hugh Hewitt’s radio show a lot in the evenings to keep up with Russian troop movements near Ukraine, because I frankly think that the dictator Putin has been eyeing our defense cuts and licking his chops at our diplomatic weakness. When Putin hears our Secretary of State go out there and declare that a major threat to national security is global warming, that doesn’t exactly discourage him from aggression. 

It’s junk science. It conflicts with observations. It’s pushed by scientists to get more grant money. It’s pushed by socialists to get more control. Period.

Is it better to form beliefs based on evidence or based on consensus?

Stuart Schneiderman linked to this Wall Street Journal by Matt Ridley.

Take a look at this:

Last week a friend chided me for not agreeing with the scientific consensus that climate change is likely to be dangerous. I responded that, according to polls, the “consensus” about climate change only extends to the propositions that it has been happening and is partly man-made, both of which I readily agree with. Forecasts show huge uncertainty.

Besides, science does not respect consensus. There was once widespread agreement about phlogiston (a nonexistent element said to be a crucial part of combustion), eugenics, the impossibility of continental drift, the idea that genes were made of protein (not DNA) and stomach ulcers were caused by stress, and so forth—all of which proved false. Science, Richard Feyman once said, is “the belief in the ignorance of experts.”

My friend objected that I seemed to follow the herd on matters like the reality of evolution and the safety of genetically modified crops, so why not on climate change? Ah, said I, but I don’t. I agree with the majority view on evolution, not because it is a majority view but because I have looked at evidence. It’s the data that convince me, not the existence of a consensus.

My friend said that I could not possibly have had time to check all the evidence for and against evolution, so I must be taking others’ words for it. No, I said, I take on trust others’ word that their facts are correct, but I judge their interpretations myself, with no thought as to how popular they are. (Much as I admire Charles Darwin, I get fidgety when his fans start implying he is infallible. If I want infallibility, I will join the Catholic Church.)

And that is where the problem lies with climate change. A decade ago, I was persuaded by two pieces of data to drop my skepticism and accept that dangerous climate change was likely. The first, based on the Vostok ice core, was a graph showing carbon dioxide and temperature varying in lock step over the last half million years. The second, the famous “hockey stick” graph, showed recent temperatures shooting up faster and higher than at any time in the past millennium.

Within a few years, however, I discovered that the first of these graphs told the opposite story from what I had inferred. In the ice cores, it is now clear that temperature drives changes in the level of carbon dioxide, not vice versa.

As for the “hockey stick” graph, it was effectively critiqued by Steven McIntyre, a Canadian businessman with a mathematical interest in climatology. He showed that the graph depended heavily on unreliable data, especially samples of tree rings from bristlecone pine trees, the growth patterns of which were often not responding to temperature at all. It also depended on a type of statistical filter that overweighted any samples showing sharp rises in the 20th century.

I followed the story after that and was not persuaded by those defending the various hockey-stick graphs. They brought in a lake-sediment sample from Finland, which had to be turned upside down to show a temperature spike in the 20th century; they added a sample of larch trees from Siberia that turned out to be affected by one tree that had grown faster in recent decades, perhaps because its neighbor had died. Just last week, the Siberian larch data were finally corrected by the University of East Anglia to remove all signs of hockey-stick upticks, quietly conceding that Mr. McIntyre was right about that, too.

So, yes, it is the evidence that persuades me whether a theory is right or wrong, and no, I could not care less what the “consensus” says.

I think that one of the most troubling things about college students today is that they are so much under the influence of their professors that they regularly just parrot whatever their professors say in order to pass their classes. They can’t afford to ask questions and disagree – they’ve already paid their money, and their job is to agree with the professors in order to pass. This is especially true with secular leftist professors who are often woefully incapable of respecting views other than their own. The ivory tower is not the best place for having one’s views tested by reality, as Thomas Sowell has argued. This is especially true outside of the fields of engineering, math, science and technology. So, young people tend to come out of university parroting the view of their professors, who often don’t know how the real world works at all. The right thing to do to fix this problem is for universities to promote a diversity of views. But that’s not likely to happen in universities that are dominated by progressives. Non-progressive views are not just wrong, but evil. Rather than be viewed as evil by professors and peers for the crime of thinking critically, most students prefer to stick with the consensus views, whether they are defensible or not.