Neil Carter dismantles the fine tuning argument for intelegent design so succinctly. He even cites Douglas Adams’ intelligent puddle parable, which was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me, as it so clearly illustrates the backwards thinking I was stuck in for most of my adolescence and young adult life.
Hearing him speak to this point was like hearing my favorite song at the concert, only to find the band is playing every song from my favorite album from start to finish. I think this was the best thing I read all year.
Pre orders of Bill Nye’s new book1 dropped last night. I made it to chapter 5 before I forced myself to put it down and go to sleep.
I seem to have a thing for books on evolution. I’ve read quite a few. I also know quite a few people who don’t accept evolution, and I’ve been yearning for a book I could recommend that is easy-to-understand and written by someone a little lessharsh on religion than the experts tend to be.
So far, Bill Nye is very harsh on the bad ideas of young earth creationism, but frequently makes it clear that he does deeply care for the people (especially children) who take these bad ideas seriously. He takes multiple opportunities to remind us that many deeply religious people do accept evolution.
People do take offense when you harshly criticize their deeply held beliefs. However, denying the single unifying tenant of biology and the vast amounts of supporting evidence from every scientific field of study based on dogma is pretty brazen. Harsh criticism is certainly warranted. This could be the book.
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I shot about 110 photos of the lunar eclipse on my iPhone 5s through my 10" Newtonian telescope with a 30mm eyepiece this morning. I lasted until about 4 a.m., then crapped out. They are in this Flickr album.
Watching Phil Plait blow Hank Green’s mind by explaining how we measure cosmic distances is just as rewarding as having Phil Plait blow your own mind. This is how astronomers—amateur or otherwise—are born, gentlepeople.
What we know is amazing. How we know what we know is even more amazing, and now, seeing someone make the connection of how we know what we know; well, that is amazing too. Go humans!
When I returned from NAMM and came down from all the excitement of the show, I decided that enough was enough and I needed to tackle all the research I was uncomfortable and afraid of. I had never taken an Artificial Intelligence or higher level Statistics courses at school, but all the research papers I was reading over the years made frequent references to concepts that I was completely unfamiliar with.
I re-read all the papers I’ve used over the years for reference, and read them again. I got in touch with Taemin Cho to get some clarification on some of his work, and he led me to newer papers which required additional learning on my part. For a solid 6 weeks I was doing nothing but reading papers and exploring in MATLAB.
When Newton was asked to explain why planetary orbits were ellipsis, he invented calculus. Chord intelligence is not as critical to life on earth as understanding planetary motion, but this is the kind of drive that pushes our species forward. Chris Liscio is the kind of people who needs to pass on his genes.
By the way, Capo Touch is worth buying an iPad for.
Reddit user NoSkyGuy on why US freedom is not quite up to par with other free countries.
American’s [sic] often confuse their practice of religion and freedom to own guns as real freedom. Neither has anything to do with freedom; participating in a country that as [sic] an active press (the US doesn’t) with a functioning democracy (because of money the US doesn’t), with a [sic] educated populous who can debate issues properly (the US doesn’t due to media control and a 3rd rate education system), with health care for all (this is getting repetitive), so that people are fit to work and participate in society, with safe streets (naw), etc. you start to have freedom. I wish America would stop believing its propaganda and get to work.
I think I loved this comment more than the post itself. Bummer about the grammar, though.
Francis, it was not the bones of 800 dogs and cats that were discovered dumped into a septic tank at an Irish Catholic home for unwed mothers.
Your empire’s record of the value of children as people worthy of compassion and respect has no credibility at all, so in regards to children, your opinion on how and why life should be lived has no credibility at all.
If you didn’t already just love astronaut Mike Massimino to death, he goes and writes something like this.
The first thing I had to do was to remove a handrail from the telescope that was blocking the access panel. There were two screws on the top, and they came off easily. And there was one screw on the bottom right and that came out easily. The fourth screw is not moving. My tool is moving, but the screw is not. I look close and it’s stripped. And I realize that that handrail’s not coming off, which means I can’t get to the access panel with these 117 screws that I’ve been worrying about for five years, which means I can’t get to the power supply that failed, which means we’re not gonna be able to fix this instrument today, which means all these smart scientists can’t find life on other planets.
And I’m to blame for this.
It’s people like this that make me proud to be human.