DaveScot thinks the Machine Video is Anti-Evolution, Pro-ID or something, he seems to think that its an Expelled viral marketing gag.  If it is, then they messed up the logo.  Sometimes, stuff is just too funny to be offensive.  I love it.  I’d even love it if it were me the creator of the video was parodying.

Maybe its the offensiveness of the video that is so funny.  Who can say?  As I’ve said before, we have a right to attach whatever meaning we want to things.  

I’m devoting much of my day to converting Colonial Gothic to the Hero System.  I intend to focus my efforts on creating an American Bestiary and defining various East Coast Tribal mythology in Hero terms.  The plan is to concentrate on Abenaki myths, and then deal with the Lenape.  This is a subject I know little about, so it will be fun and informative.

Updates on progress below the fold: Read the rest of this entry »

Comments on Comments

March 28, 2008

It could be argued, successfully I think, that I started this blog as a reaction to getting banned at Uncommon Descent some time ago… maybe a month ago? I do not remember.  Anyhow, I am annoyed at those folks: they don’t do good science over there, and should be called on it.  I can’t do that any longer, but I can still comment on the vacuous nonsense being spewed by the Creationists of UD.

Tribune7 said of the Cambrian Explosion:

“…most of the major forms of complex life appeared almost simultaneously about 530 million years ago.”

Right.  The Cambrian Explosion lasted nearly 50 million years. Almost simultaneously is not accurate. Creationists seem to think that the Cambrian events blow a hole in evolutionary theory. Now, I’m not saying that Tribune7 thinks like this, but it made me think about this particular distortion.  

The Cambrian rocks, for reasons unknown to us, have a very good preservation record.  Conditions were right to allow the fossilization of more tissue types than, say, the Mesozoic.  Life may have been quite diverse before the fossilization conditions changed.  If this is true, then the “explosion” will have taken even longer.

Additionally, hard body parts show up in the Cambrian, soft tissue doesn’t fossilize well, and this most certainly accounts for the “sudden” radiation of creatures.

On to my Main Point…

March 28, 2008

Now that I’m done ranting and have a few moments to write, I thought I’d actually post about the stellar object that inspired this blog.

PSR1620-26c (or b) is a lonely world.  Situated near the center of Globular Cluster Messier 4, it is a world discovered by an accident of alignments between Earth and it’s primary, PSR 1620-26 a pulsar.  Pulsars are very old, practically dead stars in the final stages of life.  Perhaps other planets circle that pulsar, it’s even likely, considering how easy it is to form planets.  It is estimated that this system is 12.7 billion years old.

Think about that for a second.  5 or so billion years ago, a star went supernova, the pressure wave compressed some interstellar dust and our solar system formed.  This means (if all estimates are correct) that PSR1620-26c is a full 7.7 billion years older than Earth.  It’s scary enough that the light from M4 left there 7200 years ago, but it existed long before our sun ever formed.

What’s that mean?

Whatever you want it to, apparently.  To me, PSR1620-26c is a symbol of the nature of our Universe.  Yes, our Universe contains wonderous things, kittens, butterflies, Wes Anderson films and fried chicken, but the vast majority of it is dangerous, toxic,  or instantly deadly.  In fact, the only parts of it we can see outside our atmosphere are the stars, blazing away over seemingly infinite stretches of time, the surfaces of which are unbearably hot, or the planets nearby, none of which can support human life for more than a second or two.

It is as if we are the abberation, we are the exception.  Far from being “fine-tuned” for us, the Universe seems more or less designed to kill us.  To keep us trapped on earth, unable to move about the overwhelming majority of space.  We can leave our planet, wade out into the cosmic ocean, sealed in a little model of our atmosphere, taking our comfort with us a tiny distance across this one solar system.  Its not like the Universe doesn’t care.  It is utterly neutral to the effects it has on us tiny beings.  If it were actively hostile, that would imply that we had a chance… we don’t.     

No alien eye will ever fall upon PSR1620-26c, there are few metals in globular clusters, lithium and carbon are scarce, and rocky planets are almost certainly absent.  It sits out there, rolling along its 100 year orbit, ignorant of even itself.  Only its feeble gravity marks it as even existing to us.  I’m certain the Universe if full of these sorts of worlds.

What kind of Universe produces such an object?

Not one with a purpose.   Give it one.  You have an ability that is unique in the observable Universe; you can ascribe meaning to that lonely planet, to your own life, to anything you desire.  Unlike this vast, hostile Universe, we are fleeting, make it worth your time.  

Recently, I was very annoyed to discover that an idea I have always favored has been purloined by a gang of miscreants and liars. Intelligent Design. I sort of played around with the notion that the Universe had a purpose, that the “Heavens declared the glory of God” and that sort of thing.

The idea still intrigues me; I am not an atheist… not yet anyway.

Here is the question for today: Why do the leading lights of ID publically claim that the Designer is unknown, but in in “friendlier environs,” admit that the Designer is God? I have my own answers to this question, but I’d like yours.

“Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools.” — Phillip E. Johnson, American Family Radio, January 10, 2003

“This isn’t really, and never has been a debate about science. It’s about religion and philosophy.” — Phillip E. Johnson, World Magazine, November 30, 1996

“To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.” . . . “Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.” The Wedge Document, a 1999 Discovery Institute pamphlet

Darwinian Fascism? WTF?

March 28, 2008

Darwinian Fascism? WTF?
Over at Uncommon Descent, DLH has just composed a steaming pile of crap for us to step in this morning.Fitna vs Expelled – Is Islamofascism similar to Darwinian fascism?There is no such thing as Darwinian fascism! I’d be over there right now, explaining the difference between good science and bad science, but that I was banned from UD after implying that some folks think Jesus is due to return “any second now.” I looked around, and some folks beleive this, so Screw you, Davescot.

Ahem… Where was I? Oh, yes… The secret commandment of so-called Darwinian Orthodoxy is this: Do. Good. Science.

I’m sorry, guys, if I’ve let the cat out of the bag there, but there it is. If you don’t do good science (and ID is very bad science, if anything) you don’t get to play. If you only raise c. $22000 for your school, you don’t get to play. You rig a publication, you don’t get to play. You knowingly and incorrectly apply basic statistics to “debunk” the most eloquent and tested theory of the past 160 years… you don’t get to play.

I was gonna write about Pulsar Planets, but DLH annoyed me. Maybe tomorrow.