What qualifies as science in the wonderful world of Disney

[cross posted at uncommondescent: What Qualifies as Science in the Wonderful World of Disney]

The scientific enterprise entails:

1. observation
2. hypothesis
3. testing

Consider this passage from the class text of an introductory cosmology class I took once upon a time:

galaxies farther than 4300 megaparsecs from us are currently moving away from us at speeds greater than that of light. Cosmological innocents sometimes exclaim, “Gosh! Doesn’t this violate the law that massive objects can’t travel faster than the speed of light?” Actually, it doesn’t. The speed limit that states that massive objects must travel with v < c relative to each other is one of the results of special relativity, and refers to the relative motion of objects within a static space. In the context of general relativity, there is no objection to having two points moving away from each other at superluminal speed due to the expansion of space.

page 39
Introduction to Cosmology
by Barbara ryden

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Some Help for IDists: Benford’s Law

Guys, as your scientific output is lacking at the moment, allow me to point you towards Benford’s law: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benford’s_law

Benford’s law, also called the first-digit law, refers to the frequency distribution of digits in many (but not all) real-life sources of data. In this distribution, the number 1 occurs as the first digit about 30% of the time, while larger numbers occur in that position less frequently: 9 as the first digit less than 5% of the time. This distribution of first digits is the same as the widths of gridlines on a logarithmic scale. Benford’s law also concerns the expected distribution for digits beyond the first, which approach a uniform distribution.

 

TSZ team: Can we build this into a statistically testable (Null hypothesis?) ID Hypothesis?

This one piqued my interest:

“Frequency of first significant digit of physical constants plotted against Benford’s law” – Wikipedia

Is ‘Design in Nature’ a Non-Starter?

A row is ready to erupt over two competing notions of ‘design in nature.’ One has been proposed under the auspices of being a natural-physical law. The other continues to clamour for public attention and respectability among natural-physical scientists, engineers and educators, but carries with it obvious religious overtones (Foundation for Thought and Ethics, Wedge Document and Dover trial 2005) and still has not achieved widespread scholarly support after almost 20 years of trying.

One the one hand is the Discovery Institute’s notion of ‘design in nature,’ which is repeated in various forms in the Intelligent Design movement. Here at TSZ many (the majority of?) people are against ID and ID proponents’ views of ‘design in nature.’ The author of this thread is likewise not an ID proponent, not an IDer. On the other hand is Duke University engineering and thermodynamics professor Adrian Bejan’s notion of ‘design in nature’ (Doubleday 2012, co-authored with journalism professor J. Peder Zane), which rejects Intelligent Design theory, but contends that ‘design’ is nevertheless a legitimate natural scientific concept. Apropos another recent thread here at TSZ, Bejan declares that his approach “solves one of the great riddles of science – design without a designer.”

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Granville Sewell vs Bob Lloyd

Bob Lloyd, professor emeritus of chemistry at Trinity College Dublin, wrote an opinion article in Mathematical Intelligencer (MI) commenting on Sewell’s not-quite-published AML article. This was mentioned in a previous thread, where Bob briefly commented. Granville was invited to participate but never showed up.

In response to Lloyd, Sewell submitted a letter to the editor. On advice of a referee, his letter was rejected. (Rightly so, in my view. More on that later.) Sewell has now written a post on Discovery Institute’s blog describing his latest misfortune. The post contains Sewell’s unpublished letter and some of the referee’s comments. I invite you to continue the technical discussion of Sewell’s points started earlier.

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Privileged Planet

Toronto posted this comment on another thread:

A privileged planet, ( for observation of the universe ), would be one that could see “most” of the universe, i.e. not part of it.

We would sit on “top” of the universe so we could see more star systems than having to look “through” a mass of stars.

This position would also cut down on the effects of gravitational lensing.

We would also have a unique orbit both within our solar system, and as part of it.

Our solar system’s orbit would take us close to other star systems so we could investigate them without having to build spaceships that take more than a scientist’s lifetime to get anywhere.

Our atmosphere would shield us from almost any deadly radiation but not impede any signal we require for observing the universe.

Sadly , none of these things are true.

In reality, like any other planet, our positions are relatively fixed for much longer than our lifetime and radiation from the stars would kill us if we got close enough to observe them, provided the gravitational forces or asteroid impacts don’t kill us first.

which sparked a lengthy discussion, which at first I moved to Sandbox, but will now move here.

Enjoy 🙂

A Second Look at the Second Law…

…is the title of Granville Sewell’s manuscript that almost got published in Applied Mathematics Letters last year. It was withdrawn at the last minute by the editor, but you can still download the manuscript from Sewell’s web page. The purpose of this thread is to discuss the technical merits of Sewell’s arguments.

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Does intelligence violate the 2LoT?

Granville Sewell’s argument that evolution does so, therefore evolution must be caused by intelligence, rests on the odd assertion that intelligence (our own, for instance) does violate the 2LoT.

Bruce David, a UD poster I have a lot of respect for, writes:

I realize that to say that something, anything, violates the Second Law is an anathema to most people who have had a normal scientific education. And I have had the experience on these threads of explaining Dr. Sewell’s point in what I thought was very clearly reasoned prose to people like Elizabeth Liddle, who is intelligent, a scientist, and generally does give her fellow commenters a respectful hearing, only to get the terse response, “Nothing violates the Second Law.”

However, Dr. Sewell’s point, as I understand it, is that both life and human activity in fact do violate the Second Law, and in the case of humans it is clearly our creative intelligence that does this. And if ID is correct, then it is only intelligence that does this. Personally, I think it is a point worth making, even if it falls on deaf ears most of the time. And also, I think that precisely because it contradicts one of the most respected principles of science, and because of the implications for the nature of intelligence and thus the nature of human beings, that it has massive implications for science, philosophy, spirituality, and religion, and therefore, again, needs to be brought to light.

Yes indeed.  If ordinary human intelligence regularly violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics, that would indeed have massive implications, for all kinds of things, not least our energy requirements.

hmmm.

Law of non-contradiction (“LNC” to its friends)

On Uncommon Descent, Barry Arrington asks:

Let’s clear up this law of noncontradiction issue between StephenB and eigenstate once and for all. StephenB asks eigenstate: “Can the planet Jupiter exist and not exist at the same time in the same sense? That’s a “yes or no” question eigenstate. How do you answer it?

For some reason, Eigenstate’s response has gone astray, so here it is, as cross-posted elsewhere:

Eigenstate:

Theoretically, yes. In practice, the probabilities are so vanishingly small it’s indistinguishable from no.

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