Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dumb and Dumber II : Lack of ET Radio Signals Disproves Evolution?

Trying to keep track of Pastor Mike’s avalanche of imbecilic claims and uninformed rants is almost like trying to drink water from a fire hose. The flood of inanities, non-sequiturs, fundamental ignorance and plain stupidity – is plain mind boggling. The last time I beheld such a deluge of dopiness was more than 24 years ago in Fairbanks, Alaska – when a moron named Duane Gish regaled his audience about whose grandma was an ape and whose wasn’t.

Let’s even leave aside the source(-s) of his erroneous citations about the 2nd law of thermodynamics, in which he claims “chaos” must ensue, and there can be no advanced or more ordered species from evolution because of it. Of course, he doesn’t grok that: 1) he’s misused the 2nd law, and 2) evolution doesn’t say it is inevitable that species advance to higher orders – only that the most successful adapt and survive. But then, Pastor Mike has never been one to be impeded by any fine points or details. Details!? They’re to be ignored!

In the case of the Second law of thermodynamics, as I pointed out before, it only applies to a CLOSED system. In such a closed system (by which I mean isolated - with impermeable walls so as no heat transfer is possible) there is a tendency for entropy or the state of disorder to increase.

This does NOT apply to any open systems, by which I mean at least partially permeable – or open to the two-way transfer of heat. For example a copper box or container with an open aperture at the top would be open to the heat energy from a radiator kept 3 cm in suspension above it.

The Earth, as any one can see – is an open system, not closed. If Earth were a closed system, no sunlight would be able to reach its surface and interact with plants (in photo-synthesis) for example. Yet we know solar energy DOES interact in the presence of chlorophyll in green plants- such that carbon dioxide combines with water and incoming solar energy to give oxygen, and food (glucose) for the plant.

Thus, the Earth’s organic ecology cannot just “wind down” and run to chaos or high entropy because solar input prevents it. Yet Mike, who’s never taken a physics or even basic biology course in his life (or if he did, recalls nothing) thinks he knows better – or that the morons he quotes know better than thousands of professional scientists who make research their living. And also publish it in peer-reviewed journals, as opposed to religious or think tank tracts.

But this farcical nonsense pales besides one of his latest claims – that the theory of evolution is disproven by the absence of alien radio signals.

Where or how he conjures up this nonsense is difficult to see, but I suppose he’s basing it on an alternative theory I gave to the one that life originated from non-life on Earth. In that alternative (panspermia) life was seeded on the primitive Earth via meteoroids from space – and these bore primitive cells or organisms.

Now, what do radio signals have to do with this? The answer is nothing! Radio signals would be presumed to come from an advanced alien civilization with the equipment to send them. All I laid claim for in panspermia is that PRIMITIVE one celled organisms (e.g. like paramecia or amoeba) could hitch- hike on one or more wayward meteoroids and land on Earth. Hence, the level or threshold for life being set is a trillion times less than what Mike thinks is needed. Hence, the absence of radio signals now (or billions of years ago) proves nothing in terms of panspermia, and hence the starting point for evolution on Earth.

But let’s say that at least radio signals would prove that advanced life also inhabits other worlds, though the absence wouldn't "disprove" evolution occurred there, as I will later show.

Let me explain. The first radio signals of any strength probably left Earth for outer space around 1939. These signals are constrained to travel at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second), no faster. The closest likely candidate for a sun-like star (which means it can support Earth -like planets) is Zeta Reticuli, a G2(V) star similar to the Sun, but with 93% of its mass. It is 39 light years distant. Now – if the earliest radio waves left Earth in 1939, and somehow got to Zeta Reticuli with enough strength – they’d have arrived sometime in 1978.

Even if the Zeta Reticulans (assuming they exist) replied instantly to the first radio waves, it would take 39 more years for the signal to reach Earth. That is:

1978 + 39 = 2017

In other words, even if the radio signals were intercepted by the closest likely candidate system we’d have to wait at least SEVEN more years for them to get to Earth! Thus, we easily disprove Mikey’s contention that there are absolutely no radio signals coming – since clearly in this case, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Of course, there are thousands more sun- like systems but these extend to hundreds of light years distant. If no advanced life is in the Zeta Reticuli system there may still be such life in the outer systems- but again – the time delay is longer, because the distances are greater.

In fact – given these enormous distances, the odds are that no radio signals from aliens will be received in our lifetimes –though they may well be in our grandchildren’s lifetimes. Let’s also bear in mind that any aliens may require time to decipher what the messages are saying, in order to relay a sensible response.

Even if no radio signals arrived at all, it still wouldn’t disprove evolution. For one thing, evolution could easily occur on over a million worlds, but not to the advanced stage of a civilization capable of space flight or communications. Such worlds then would feature many organisms and animals – but none of which could marshal resources to communicate or build space craft . A perfect example on Earth is the dolphin (mammal- not fish!), which has at least an equal intelligence – based on numerous tests- to humans. It just doesn’t have the appendages or digits for tool making, to construct space scraft, computers, or radio transmitters!

Again, we must bear in mind- unlike Mike in his impetuosity- that evolution doesn’t state that ALL organisms advance to an ever higher and more organized stage! It says rather that the most adaptative organisms survive best. One of the best examples on Earth is the cockroach- which has been around over 150 million years. Its adaptative capabilities will likely keep it around on Earth long after humans are extinct.

A pity that because Mike can’t process or assimilate the simplest physics or biology he is stuck forever in the mindset of a knowledge Luddite. We can therefore look forward to even more stupendous displays of incomprehension and confusion in his future screeds- which at least must be keeping his followers suitably entertained.


Caleb Shay said...

copernicus, I still can't believe you're unwilling to call this guy an outright moron. Obviouusly from your blogs you've see what he's written. Did you also see the crap he has you "teaching to HS students" as "Mr Phil Atheist"? Read it, if you haven't already! He's turned and distorted everything you answered in your "Stupid Questions" from Pastor Mike piece.

Oh, and then there's his totally lame attacks on the Miller-Urey experiments, obviously trying to shoot down your take on how the first simple cells arose from nonliving material as colloidal coacervates. Anyone with half a brain knows the two things aren't the same since Miller & Urey used electric discharges to form aminos while the example you gave used ATP and ADP (energy-based chemicals) to enable the colloidal cell to activate, reproduce etc.

This guy isn't even worth an argument of debate because he knows NOTHING! He obvioiusly hasn't taken one science course! All he does is copy and paste from idiots and present their dopey stuff as his own.

My advice for what it's worth is don't even bother taking the rest of those stupid questions he has. The reason is that the questions show even more ignorance because he can't distinguish between phyla, species, micro-evolution, mutation and how changes in gene frequency and fitness enter.

At least, make him take YOUR evolution test FIRST to show he's even qualified to offer one of his own. (Even if he scored 80^%, probably by cheating, I wouldn;'t answer his dumb questions)

Copernicus said...

I agree it makes no sense to take the rest of his test, certainly unless he can pass a basic test on evolution (such as I posted earlier) to show he's qualified to be asking questions. (And btw, you are correct in noting his sundry errors, especially to do with the Miller-Urey experiments)

In general, I have no qualms about anyone even Mike mounting harsh criticisms of atheism say - so long as the bases they use to do that are rational, and the science is valid. (Or at least the descriptions- such as for the 2nd law of thermodynamic- are properly interpreted). Otherwise, it really pisses me off.

Basically Mike brought on what he calls "personal attacks" against him because he refused to back off after numerous efforts to show how and why the so-called "science" he was using to skewer evolution and atheists was totally wrong, bogus. After a time, you have to get the offender's attention, and this is what I did. Since words weren't working to effect, I grabbed the same 'dunce' image on his site, and just computer-slapped his face on it.

As I told him in my last blog, I am ready to back off if he is. And I will take down all my stuff attacking him or his beliefs (as outrageous as I think they are) if he will take down his attacks against atheism - which I regard as specific attacks on ME.

Mike's problem from early is that he can be a bully at times. What he doesn't like is when people bully him back using the same sort of tactics. I let attack after attack on atheists and atheism pass on his site even after he put up "round three", or "round four" and included boxing gloves! Finally I said, 'Enough!'. Personal or no he's going to get a taste of his own crap.

I'd like to think he can still be a changeling, but wouldn't hold my breath.