Sunday, November 18, 2007

I can't keep this up

I've been sustaining a steady update schedule of once per day, but I don't think I'll be able to maintain it forever. I can't be like PZ who keeps an average of 6 or 7 posts a day (no exaggeration!), or the Friendly Atheist, who averages about 3. Part of it is that this is mostly original writing, and I don't get a ton of e-mail asking me to comment on this or that news story. (Again, I will not make public an e-mail address unless there is enough demand for one.)

I am a student with other uses for my time, so I'd like to slow down the schedule. Let's try once every two days. I might also take my Thanksgiving holiday. If you're really bored, I suggest looking at my sidebar links. There's my blogroll (on which only awesome blogs are allowed), the ever-nifty atheist blogroll, and some other stuff.

In other news, I am now googlable. I'm on the first page of a search of "tangent time" (even without quotes). It's so awesome.


Anonymous said...

I hate a newspaper opinion article I read titled "Science Makes a Leap of Faith". If you run out of things to put on your blog, you can comment on this. Maybe this should have been a comment on your "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" blog, because I don't see any evidence that cannot be explained many other ways. And as proven by some of the most horrible events in history, this is an extraordinary claim. But I am stepping on your blog. The article is at

miller said...

I'll get on it! But expect a week delay or so.

Anonymous said...

That Daily Breeze article is a strange one. It was written by a man who rejects one of the basic concepts of science (evolution), yet he appears to stand up for the free speech rights of someone with whom he disagrees. OK, that's fine; but at the same time, he ignores the bad feelings that the free speech of the scientist caused. Shouldn't a minister be concerned about the social problems that might be caused by the opinions of the scientist? Scientists need not always express their opinions if they realize that doing so can cause social problems. In the case of Watson, he was expressing an opinion with virtually no scientific evidence, and in my opinion it would have been wiser for him to keep his mouth shut. Nobel Prize winners are not always fountains of wisdom on every subject.

DeralterChemiker said...

This may not be the best time for this comment, but I am challenging you with a general observation on your blog. I am a chemist who has worked with a lot of physicists, and I have often pondered the differences in outlook between the two professions. Chemists live and work in the real world with three dimensions in space plus time. Physicists often wander into strange never-neverlands with extra dimensions where particles vibrate like strings or move at impossible speeds. They justify this by saying that it fits the mathematics. I hope you will forgive my skepticism.

For example, you accept the concept, and I suspect that you believe in the existence, of tachyons. Yet if tachyons exist, they do so only as particles that are moving faster than light. Now how can you believe that? But let me continue.

I accept the concept of the universe originating with the Big Bang. I think there is reasonable scientific evidence for this event. I believe that the universe came into existence with the Big Bang, and that this was marked by the formation of both the matter and the energy that we see, as well as the natural laws governing them. I must then also accept that this event was caused by some incomprehensible creative energy. I can accept calling this creative energy the Creator---or if you wish, God, Allah, Jehovah, or any other name. Here I will call this creative force the God of the Universe. This does not mean that I accept the concept of an anthropological God as described in the Christian, Muslim, or Jewish religions (and I don’t include Hindu, Buddhist, and other religions only because I know so little about them.) I think that there is also ample evidence that the God of the Universe does not get involved in our everyday lives, except as our lives are affected by the natural laws that exist everywhere in the universe. As you remarked previously in reply to my comment, this belief makes me a deist. I admit that I don’t know the nature of this God of the Universe, and therefore I am an agnostic deist. There is no shame in saying I don’t know what this creative force is like. Perhaps someday someone will know, but I can’t know now, with the state of our science today. Perhaps there has been a series of Big Bangs, with the universe expanding and collapsing between successive Big Bangs; perhaps there have been multiple Big Bangs that are separated so widely that we can’t detect the others. Perhaps other Big Bangs occur in those extra dimensions where the particles of string theory vibrate. But I don’t know, and I don’t pretend to know. My opinions are based on the limits of my knowledge today. Should I not have some respect and understanding for the more limited concepts of God that the ancients had, based on the limited knowledge of their day? At the same time, I should not, and do not, feel bound by the concepts of those ancient peoples.

The point that I want to make is this: don’t you see the irony of accepting the existence of tachyons, while rejecting the existence of the God of the Universe, as I have defined that God?

miller said...

Actually, I think tachyons are highly unlikely, as do most physicists. They usually suggest that something is wrong with a theory. They are an interesting theoretical possibility, but they would have to jump through a long series of questionable loopholes.

You have ton of stuff in there. I will eventually cover the Cosmological Argument, but it will take a long time! We are currently talking about it in philosophy class. Sure, it's more plausible than tachyons.

For the impatient, I recommend the second half of this post by Cosmic Variance. But the Cosmological Argument can get even more complicated than that.