Zimmer vs. Wieland

| 104 Comments

Compare these two: Carl Wieland of Answers in Genesis vs. Carl Zimmer. It's no contest. Zimmer refers to the scientific literature and accurately describes recent advances in AIDS research, while the creationist evades the key points, makes up false assertions about the data, references out-of-date creationist misinterpretations, and flings out non sequiturs wildly.

This is typical.

Funniest comment in Wieland's article: the suggestion that Zimmer should have "checked this website [AiG] first". Yeah, and maybe he should have also visited the circus and consulted a few dancing monkeys, too.

104 Comments

Why would Dr. Wieland assume that pro-science writers have not actually read any creationist writings? It is my experience that it is the creationist writers who seem to be unaware of what evolutionary biology, etc., etc. actually has to say.

– Anti-spam: Replace “user” with “harlequin2”

“Why would Dr. Wieland assume that pro-science writers have not actually read any creationist writings?”

lol. because he disagrees with him, that’s why.

it is the only tool creationists can use; make their readers assume that science is “ignorant” of their claims.

it basically takes the obvious from one side, and attempts to use it disengenuously.

sir_toejam,

Yeah, no knowledgeable person ever accused the “professional” young-earth creationists of steadfast intellectual honesty. My question was a bit rhetorical.

Anyone who has spent as much as an hour dealing with creationism has undoubtely heard the “its only microevolution” bit. Indeed, I knew that is what the creationists would say about Mr. Zimmer’s article by the time it was clear what the article was about.

– Anti-spam: Replace “user” with “harlequin2”

ah, i guess i accuse myself of being a bit dense

*hangs head*

:)

“Funniest comment in Wieland’s article: the suggestion that Zimmer should have “checked this website [AiG] first”. Yeah, and maybe he should have also visited the circus and consulted a few dancing monkeys, too.”

What’s so funny about it? If you argue about what creationists think, it makes perfect sense to check the places where they state it. If Zimmer had been arguing about circuses, visiting one would have been useful too.

What I did find amusing was the warning you get if you click on the link to Zimmer’s article from AIG. Do they really think their readers are so stupid they don’t realise they are going to a page outside AIG?

“This is typical.”

But very deliberate and calculated.

The American “love affair” with anti-intellectualism should never be underestimated. Thinking is also hard work that might in the case of science require—gasp—math! It is so much easier to simply–yawn–believe warm fuzzy (except for maybe Job) stories. The task of enlightenment is formidable.

Loren Eiseley wrote:

“Man’s whole history is one of transcendence and self-examination, which has led him to angelic heights of sacrifice as well as into the bleakest regions of despair. The future is not truly fixed but the world arena is smoking with the caldrons of those who would create tomorrow by evoking, rather than exorcising, the stalking ghosts of the past.”

When will we ever learn?

Thomas, I find that idea part of the problem. We usually aren’t arguing about what creationists think – we’re instead talking about science. Zimmer’s original article was entirely about the evolutionary science behind AIDS research; why should he have been expected to waste his time with the weebly rantings of uninformed idiots?

Wieland Wrote:

Zimmer refers to the way the AIDS virus is mutating and changing. Is it evolving? It depends on one’s definition of evolution.

And therein lies the problem. The fact that viruses can mutate, be affected by natural selection and change over time does NOT speak to the question of how new structures, new processes and new adaptations emerged nor does it address the question of how living systems increased their organization. Everyone I know, including creationists, accepts this definition of “evolution” as does Wieland:

If it means ‘change’, then the answer is ‘yes, by definition’. What the reader is presumably intended to glean from this further example of evolutionary equivocation is something like this: ‘Wow, I’ve just seen that evolution [meaning change] is a fact, so that means that if evolution [meaning goo-to-you and everything else over millions of years] is a fact, then I guess frogs really can turn into princes in time.’

From Jonathan Sarfati:

many evolutionary propagandists are guilty of the deceitful practice of equivocation, that is, switching the meaning of a single word (evolution) part-way through an argument. A common tactic is simply to produce examples of change over time, call this ‘evolution’, then imply that the GTE (General Theory of Evolution*) is thereby proven…

*This ‘General Theory of Evolution’ (GTE) was defined by the evolutionist Kerkut as ‘the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form. The main scientific objection to the GTE is not that changes occur through time, and neither is it about the size of the change (so we would discourage use of the terms micro- and macro-evolution). The key issue is the type of change required — to change microbes into men requires changes that increase the genetic information content, from over half a million DNA ‘letters’ of even the ‘simplest’ self-reproducing organism to three billion ‘letters’ (stored in each human cell nucleus).

I would tend to disgree with Sarfati on this point. As I have pointed out on numerous occassions, information is not the issue. It is possible, and has been adequately demonstrated, that random, non-directed processes can generate increases in information without intelligent input. What has not been demonstrated is that increases in biological organization * can be generated by non-random processes. *(Organization is not the same as order. One must be careful not to confuse organization with order. There’s a lot of talk about ordered systems in the non-living world, snowflakes, tornadoes, etc. but this is not the issue. Order is simply a condition of logical or comprehensible arrangement among the separate elements of a group. Like putting files in alphabetical order or using a sieve to separate items by size. Organization is a much different structure in which something is made up of elements with varied functions that contribute to the whole and to collective functions of the system. Ordered systems can result from non-intelligent processes, as has been seen many times and cited by numerous examples. Organized systems cannot.)

Paul Wrote:

the weebly rantings of uninformed idiots?

You really should try to cut down on these kinds of personal attacks and concentrate more on the scientific facts. I know you could probably care less what I think, but I assure you my respect for your views would definitely be enhanced if you stopped making these kinds of statements.

Ordered systems can result from non-intelligent processes, as has been seen many times and cited by numerous examples. Organized systems cannot

why not?

PZ Myers Wrote:

Zimmer’s original article was entirely about the evolutionary science behind AIDS research; why should he have been expected to waste his time with the weebly rantings of uninformed idiots?

Why, to be fair, of course. Why not present the other side, about the Intelligent-Design-based science upon which all those non-evolutionary biologists researching AIDS base their work? Now, I’m not sure how many AIDS researchers base their work on the predictions of ID, but…;come to think of it, I’m not sure how many scientists base any kind of research on the predictions of ID. Could someone provide examples of research that has originated from ID-based theory?

Why would Dr. Wieland assume that pro-science writers have not actually read any creationist writings?

This is rhetorical strategy written for internal consuption.

Could someone provide examples of research that has originated from ID-based theory?

Astronomer Fred Hoyle used anthropic arguments to predict that an excited carbon nucleus has an excited energy level at around 7.7 MeV.

Cleek Wrote:

why not?

Each part of a living system, be it a structure or process, has a specific function. And each of these functions are organized in such a way that they support the other functions as well as the overall function of the system. This type of organization is not obtainable without insight, and insight always requires intelligence. There is no way that these parts could be assembled in such a manner without insight. Biological systems are made up of several structures and processes that exist for a purpose. Living organisms are machines, with structures and processes that work together to create a function. In fact, all complex, highly organized machines in which means are adapted to ends are the product of intelligent design. The important point is that the adaptation of means to ends, the adaptation of structure and process to function requires insight. Biological systems are unevolvable, not because you can’t take them apart without losing function, it’s unevolvable because you can’t put it together in the first place using only random, non-directed, accidental occurrences. The selection of the parts, the configuration in which they’re aligned, the assembly into one unit all require intelligent decisions at every step of the way. Living organisms show these characteristics. It’s not that you can’t remove parts and lose total function, it’s that you can’t explain why these particular parts were selected, why they’re integrated together in just such a way and how they were assembled from raw materials without invoking an intelligent agent.

Read my paper on this subject HERE: http://www.charliewagner.net/casefor.htm

This type of organization is not obtainable without insight, and insight always requires intelligence. There is no way that these parts could be assembled in such a manner without insight.

The argument from incredulity is rarely presented more directly.

The argument from incredulity is rarely presented more directly.

As Inigio Montoya says in “Princess Bride”: “I don’t think that means what you think it means.” There are several different kinds of incredulity, some have great value and others little value. One type of incredulity involves someone declaring that something is impossible before having all the facts. This type of incredulity is based on lack of knowledge. For example, if I declare that it’s impossible for humans to fly or it’s impossible to get to the moon then clearly your personal astonishment has failed you. Humans can fly in airplanes and men have landed on the moon. But look closely in nature. Can you leap across a crevasse that is 6 inches wide? Can you leap across if the crevasse is a foot wide? What about 3 feet? Or 5 feet? Or ten feet? At some point, the incredible analog computer in your brain will process all of the available information and come to a conclusion: I can’t make it. Animals do the same thing. Watch a cat jumping from one point to another. He usually knows when he can’t make it and won’t try. Humans have an astonishingly accurate analog computer in their heads. This computer, the brain, processes all the available information and makes judgements about what is possible and what is not. You cannot leap across a 50 foot crevass, and your brain knows it and tells you so. No amount of additional data will change the fact that you can’t jump across a 50 foot crevasse. The leap of faith that evolution makes from trivial changes in allelic frequency filtered by natural selection without intelligent input is the kind of judgement that no amount of additional information or knowledge will change. It’s impossible for the same reason that it’s impossible to leap across a 50 foot crevasse.

Yet again we see the creationist in action. I’ve spoken to a number of these people, including one prominent British creationist, and the genuine overiding belief is that they in some way matter. That they have something meaningful to contribute. That a controversy exists.

Such delusion, alongside their startling cognitive ability to simply ignore uncomfortable data, makes me fairly convinced (though I’m no expert in such matters) that a large number of creationists are mentally ill.

Charlie’s analogy of a leap acorss a 50 foot gap is fallacious since evolution does not claim a single leap. Rather than using the metaphor of a leap, one should envision a bridge metaphor.

Sigh…

Mark: “Could someone provide examples of research that has originated from ID-based theory?”

David Heddle: “Astronomer Fred Hoyle used anthropic arguments to predict that an excited carbon nucleus has an excited energy level at around 7.7 MeV.”

Now that’s potentially interesting. Can you direct me to where I can read about this? The question I’ll be trying to answer is “Does using anthropic arguments equate to origination from ID-theory?”

PvM Wrote:

Charlie’s analogy of a leap acorss a 50 foot gap is fallacious since evolution does not claim a single leap. Rather than using the metaphor of a leap, one should envision a bridge metaphor.

Sigh …

Yes, a bridge. But you can’t build a bridge across a crevasse unless you are already on the other side so you have a point of attachment. How do you support half a bridge? Even spiders know this.

Organization is a much different structure in which something is made up of elements with varied functions that contribute to the whole and to collective functions of the system.

So you’re saying that polymers aren’t the result of organization? Once again, the IDer fails to understand the language of science:

The bottom-up approach consisting in exploiting various forms of self-ordering of natural building blocks gains importance in many technological areas. Due to a large variety of building blocks, chemical reactions and obtainable architectures, polymers represent a particularly rich field where self-organization can be exploited to obtain materials with new properties.

http://www.imc.cas.cz/sympo/45micros.html

The IDer has to make improper distinctions between words, for he cannot show the difference between organization and ordering. There can be some difference in meaning between the two words, but any break is as artificial as is the assumption that organization has to be the result of “intelligence”.

Ordered systems can result from non-intelligent processes, as has been seen many times and cited by numerous examples. Organized systems cannot.

Why of course I organized myself through intelligence when I developed from a zygote. I’m pretty proud of how intelligent I was then.

Saying “This type of organization is not obtainable without insight” is like saying “The earth does not spin.” That is, a flat declarative statement. How about the voluminous evidence that such organization is not only obtainable but inevitable without insight, even greater than the evidence that the earth spins? So what? Charlie has stated his belief.

From either of these declarations, other things must logically follow. The sun MUST go around the earth, which MUST be flat. There MUST be a designer, and this designer MUST be intelligent (as Charlie understands the term). And generally, those who start from axioms-of-preference point to the subsequent logic and argue that there are no logical errors. They’re right – logical inference is quite independent of accurate axioms.

And so Charlie looks at solid ground and sees a 50-foot gap. His faith requires that the gap exist, and so it exists. The Believers simply cannot grasp that SAYING something is true doesn’t make it true. Faith works that way; why can’t science?

But you can’t build a bridge across a crevasse unless you are already on the other side so you have a point of attachment.

Which shows the analogy is flawed. Most importantly, the idea of jumping across a crevasse or building a bridge assumed the existence of a specified goal. However, evolution is driven by random (and some not-so-random) changes in the genome, not by a Lamarckian desire to achieve some goal state.

For a better analogy, you would have to imagine bunches of jumpers, builders, fliers, diggers, do-nothings, and so on, and remember that natural selection acts on them to filter their many methods of living, most of which don’t involve the bridge or chasm at all.

By the way, some spiders do cast out lines to the wind, both as a strategy to broadcast the offspring widely, and in other cases, as a way to bridge gaps they can’t leap.

Eh, it wasn’t really an anthropic argument that Fred Hoyle made, merely an observational one. Since there is an awful lot of carbon in the universe, he reasoned, nucleosynthesis of carbon must be relatively easy. One way for it to be easy would be if the energy was such that the triple-alpha process would work. He checked it, and the energy level was close to his prediction.

The only way anthropy comes into it is that we need carbon to live, so if there were less carbon in the universe, we probably wouldn’t exist. At least not in this form; maybe there’d be some other useful but exotic chemistry made less exotic by the change in carbon’s energy that would give rise to life in some form.

Anthropic proponents have picked up on the triple-alpha as an example of the Anthropic Principle

Eh, it wasn’t really an anthropic argument that Fred Hoyle made, merely an observational one. Since there is an awful lot of carbon in the universe, he reasoned, nucleosynthesis of carbon must be relatively easy. One way for it to be easy would be if the energy was such that the triple-alpha process would work. He checked it, and the energy level was close to his prediction.

The only way anthropy comes into it is that we need carbon to live, so if there were less carbon in the universe, we probably wouldn’t exist. At least not in this form; maybe there’d be some other useful but exotic chemistry made less exotic by the change in carbon’s energy that would give rise to life in some form.

Anthropic proponents have picked up on the triple-alpha as an example of the Anthropic Principle, but I don’t know that Hoyle particularly liked the idea.

Glen Davidson Wrote:

So you’re saying that polymers aren’t the result of organization?

That’s correct. Polymers are ordered systems that can be explained by known chemical and physical effects, just as snowflakes and other types of crystals. Organization adapts means to ends. Structures support other structures, processes support other processes and all of the structures and processes support a specific outcome. Polymers are not in this catagory.

The IDer has to make improper distinctions between words, for he cannot show the difference between organization and ordering. There can be some difference in meaning between the two words, but any break is as artificial as is the assumption that organization has to be the result of “intelligence”.

I took great pains to distinguish the difference between order and organization. Read my paper: http://www.charliewagner.net/casefor.htm

Flint Wrote:

Saying “This type of organization is not obtainable without insight” is like saying “The earth does not spin.” That is, a flat declarative statement. How about the voluminous evidence that such organization is not only obtainable but inevitable without insight, even greater than the evidence that the earth spins? So what? Charlie has stated his belief.

One example would shut me up.

The Believers simply cannot grasp that SAYING something is true doesn’t make it true.

Tell that to the darwinians. They apparently haven’t gotten the message yet.

DaveL Wrote:

Which shows the analogy is flawed.

It wasn’t my analogy, it was Pim’s.

The point is, I was defending the importance of incredulity in making judgements. Everyone demonizes the argument from incredulity but I happen to think it’s very useful. The human brain is capable of making judgements about what is possible and what is not possible. We should listen to those judgements and not reject them out of hand. http://tinyurl.com/6v8ms

I took great pains to distinguish the difference between order and organization

Of course you did, you just didn’t get it right. Use determines meaning. Top-down metaphysical thinking does not, at least not among inductive thinkers.

–Charles before– “Ordered systems can result from non-intelligent processes, as has been seen many times and cited by numerous examples. Organized systems cannot.”

–Glen before– “Why of course I organized myself through intelligence when I developed from a zygote. I’m pretty proud of how intelligent I was then.”

Stayed away from the above response, I see. And naturally I know the standard ID answer to exquisite “animal designs” like trap-door spider burrows, and to the self-organization seen in development. They move back, and make God (the “designer”) ultimately responsible, thus entirely voiding their claims that intelligence is necessary as a scientific cause.

Ultimate causes aren’t part of science. They belong to the ancient Greek “aition”, to teleology, to JAD’s conception of “science”. We are concerned with proximate causes for one very good reason–these can be investigated, and also seem adequate to practice science. ID’s “aition” cannot be investigated as a scientific, or acceptable courtroom, “cause” mainly because one cannot follow “efficient causation” back to this “responsible figure”. Thus we cannot establish responsibility for evolution, for self-organizing processes, for development.

So if you can’t tell me how I intelligently organized myself during development, and we can study self-organizing processes in the developing brain, the well-developed brain is going to go with the latter study. You can parse words all you want, just don’t interfere with actual research and the proper reporting and teaching of that research.

“I was defending the importance of incredulity in making judgements.”

Incedulity is important for raising questions, not answering them. It is not a good debate tactic to state an incredulity, sit back, and pretend that you are the all-knowing person who’s “lightbulb moment” deserves special attention.

Why don’t you try going out there and DOING something about it.

Until then, incredulity won’t do too well against actual evidence, that just happens to have the support of (by and large) the entire scientific community.

So, let’s practice… If you think it is incredulous that the entire scientific community believes in “macroevolution,” then please prove us wrong.

Don’t just throw out an hypothesis, define your own terms, and then stick your head in the sand, declaring victory for the ignorant and ignorance for truth.

Welcome back Charlie, It has been what, about mid Feb that since you had and real amount of posting here?!

For those that are wondering Charlies position let me give you a summary

1. Charlie Wagner believes that the Universe is infinitely old.

While at a basic level this is not at odds with some current models his beliefs differs in that he believes the universe is infinitely old AND has been in a form that supports life, as we know it, the entire time. I’ll let David Heddle try to explain to Charlie why this view of the universe doesn’t fit with the data we see.

2. Charlie Wagner believes that life has always existed.

Just as there is no starting point to the universe there was no starting point to life. It has just always been here.

3. Charlie Wagner’s mysterious life is completely natural in nature.

Yet it could not have evolved itself…but then again it never needed to because it was always around.

4. Charlie Wagner’s mysterious life is bound to our space/time.

It does not travel to other space/times, universes.

5. Charlie has no concept of self organisation and emergent properties.

Everything in Charlie’s universe has to be pre-programmed.

I hope this helps those that are new to Charlie’s postings. As per normal crackpots he can never recognise any flaws with his hypothesis. For example the foundation of his claim, that the universe is infinitely old in the form that we see today, is highly flawed on the order of CW saying 1=∞. While the universe may be infinitely old it has not been a state that is conducive to life that entire time and has gone through drastic changes during this entire time.

Well, I have to say, Charlie’s nutty ideas are more entertaining than that tired old ID-Creationist rubbish.

Is Charlie’s universe infinite in space also?

Wayne Francis Wrote:

Welcome back Charlie, It has been what, about mid Feb that since you had and real amount of posting here?!

Yes, I’ve been in the hospital with a triple bypass and a stroke. Here’s my report:

       It started just after midnight, Monday February 14th. First came the shortness of breath, followed in moments by the rales. I woke up Gail and informed her of what was happening. She wasn’t even out of bed when the gurgling started. My breaths became shorter and shorter.       I knew I was in a world of shit.        I threw on my shoes and a jacket and headed for the car. By the time I got there it was painfully obvious that I had only minutes before my window of life would close completely, perhaps forever. North Shore-Long Island Jewish hospital (the *good* hospital) was 20 minutes away. Fortunately, I was less than a mile from the Nassau University Medical Center (the county hospital). Gail dialed 911 while I struggled to keep breathing. I was literally drowning in my own body fluids.        The cops were there in minutes. I was unconscious when I arrived at the hospital and the doctors were fast, efficient, and very young! I thought to myself, “I hope they know what they’re doing…” But I knew right away that I wasn’t going to die. I watched intently as they went about their business, like they had done it a thousand times before. Not like on ER! No shouting, no rushing, no emotion. The breathing tube was inserted, the IV installed, the Foley in place, the respirator hooked up. It was only a matter of minutes. This is all still clear in my consciousness. After all, I was standing right there watching them the whole time.        I began to notice that the room was getting very bright, like someone had opened the window and the warm sunlight was streaming in. It got so bright that I could no longer see anyone in the room. I began to walk towards the one figure I could still see, down the corridor in front of me. As I approached, the figure did not become clearer, but more amorphous. A great wave swept over me, a sensation of complete peace, joy and contentment. As I approached the figure, it stepped aside and I looked into the beyond.        I saw a young man nervously trying to get up the courage to ask a pretty girl on a date. I saw an old man, sitting quietly in front of his beloved wife’s casket, his head buried in his hands. I saw a young father, scolding his son for writing on the wall with a crayon. I saw a soldier, pinned down in a trench, praying to God that he would live to see his daughter get married. I saw my mother, walking across the street in Brooklyn to the neighborhood hospital, where she would give me life. I tried to understand what I was seeing.       And then, God spoke to me.       ”This thing you call time, is an artifact, composed of eidetic simulacra. Imagine that you are wandering over the surface of the earth for all eternity. Every point on the earth’s surface exists simultaneously, even though you are not present at all locations. So it is with time. Every point exists simultaneously, even though you are not there. The human mind creates beginnings and ends. There is no past, no present, no future. It’s all the same thing. Every moment, every event, every joy, every tragedy exists simultaneously. Only in your world, your mind, your reality is time linear, with beginnings and ends.”        I pondered this for a while, trying to absorb this simple yet profound truth. Then I spoke to God.       ”I want to go back. Send me back to Afghanistan. I’ll assemble an army, I’ll hunt down Osama bin Laden and convince him of the error of his ways. I’ll teach him about love and tolerance and humanity. I’ll save all those innocent people.”        But God said no. “You’ll strike up a conversation with him. He’ll try to convince you that his actions are justified. You’ll listen and be convinced. You’ll join his cause and become an Ayatollah like Cat Stevens and move to Iran.”        “Send me back. Send me back to Memphis. I’ll find Elvis, I’ll take away his drugs. I’ll tell him that we love him. I know that he will listen”.       But God said no. “You’ll ask him if you can ride in his plane, come to Graceland and eat peanut butter and banana sandwiches. You’ll fall in love with his daughter and want to marry her.”       I sensed that I was losing and that I would soon be beaten. I tried one last time. “Send me back to Calvary. I’ll talk to the Romans and convince them not to kill Jesus. If they don’t listen, I’ll help him escape, hide him in the desert. If they hurt him, I’ll treat his wounds, nurse him back to health, follow his teachings.”       But again, God said no. “You would listen to his teachings, but you would not follow them. You would call yourself a Christian and claim to follow the precept ‘Resist not evil: but whoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also’, but you would make war on innocent women and children for the flimsiest of reasons. You would call yourself a Christian and you would claim to follow the example of Jesus to ‘judge not, lest ye be judged’, yet you would be filled with moral indignation and self righteousness and permit envy and hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue. You would believe in your heart that ‘if thou wilt be perfect, go and sell what thou hast, and give to the poor’, yet you would allow children in poor countries to go to sleep hungry, perhaps to die of malnutrition while you gather up to yourself great wealth, far beyond your simple needs.”       God continued on. “I will not send you back in time because time belongs only to me. This is why I am who I am and you are who you are. All you have is now. That is the difference between us. Eternity belongs to me and I reserve it for myself. It is, you might say, the one real advantage that I have over you. You cannot change what you call the past and you cannot affect what you call the future. Now belongs to you. Do you want it?        “Yes I do.”       I turned slowly and began to walk back down the corridor. The bright light began to fade until it became almost impossible to see anything. Soon it was totally dark. I heard a voice calling my name and I slowly opened my eyes. It was Gail, standing at the side of my bed.

And here’s something you probably don’t need, but what the hell…

http://www.charliewagner.net/scar.jpg

NelC Wrote:

Well, I have to say, Charlie’s nutty ideas are more entertaining than that tired old ID-Creationist rubbish.

Thanks! That’s what I’m here for…to entertain y’all. Too bad there isn’t a way for me to charge you for this ;-)

sorry, my sympathies regarding your illness are overwhelmed by my amusement at your logic.

please forgive me.

cheers

Re “Is Charlie’s universe infinite in space also?”

I’d rather wonder if the actual space is infinite or not, and if current theory says one way or the other.

Henry

Hmmm… There was some talk about the universe having shape of Poincare dodecahedron (which is quite strange creature derived from 120-cell, one of 6 regular polytopes in four dimensions), but I don’t think it panned up.

Basically, the standard Einstein theory is that if the average density of universe is lesser or equal to the critical density, then it’s infinite. That does not actually follow (you can easily think up finite universes with zero or even negative curvature), but it’s the most simple assumption.

However, it seems clear that the universe is BIG enough that its finiteness/infiniteness doesn’t have a large impact on us right now.

this kinda argument shouldn’t be debated online because most religious people have no idea what internet is yet.

Marek14,

Re “Basically, the standard Einstein theory is that if the average density of universe is lesser or equal to the critical density, then it’s infinite. That does not actually follow (you can easily think up finite universes with zero or even negative curvature), but it’s the most simple assumption.”

Yes, but that prediction was made before somebody invented dark energy, whatever that is. Does it still apply when that dark energy stuff is included?

Pope 3rd,

Re “this kinda argument shouldn’t be debated online because most religious people have no idea what internet is yet.”

Well, since biological evolution is science, not religion, that shouldn’t really matter.

Henry

I have no idea. I thought dark energy only affects the expansion, not the shape, but I’m no expert.

Oh, my! We now have both an intelligent designer and an intelligent organizer! I wonder if these are manifestations of the same god or if they’re different dieties?

Marek14, Re “I thought dark energy only affects the expansion, not the shape,”

That’s exactly why I have to wonder about it. I figure that per GR, a space dense enough to collapse due to gravity would be finite. But what about one that used to be dense enough for gravity to collapse it eventually (therefore finite) but which got pushed over the “edge”, so to speak, by dark energy acceleration. Would it jump from finite to infinite, or would it stay finite but simply keep expanding?

Henry

I think it would stay finite. It’s a question of curvature. I don’t think you can have an infinite universe with positive curvature. (But you can have finite universe with zero or negative curvature. You may imagine such an universe as infinite space, built up of identical “universes” repeating ad infinitum. That’s a pretty wacky idea, it will help considering representation of torus as rectangle with identified opposite edges first :) )

Charlie Wagner Wrote:

Too bad there isn’t a way for me to charge you for this ;-)

Vice versa, actually.

Once we come up with an advertising policy and schedule of rates, we’ll be able to send you an invoice.

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This page contains a single entry by PZ Myers published on April 12, 2005 9:37 PM.

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