IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Science, Mathematics, Medicine, and Technology
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Tags universe , cosmology

Reply
Old 4th May 2004, 07:39 PM   #1
Hunter
Student
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 30
Cosmology: Oscillating Universe?

Hello Folks! Its me again. I've been talking with a creationist friend of mine, and according to him, the Oscillating Universe Theory was thrown out the window in favour of a "Newtonian Heat-Death of the Universe" type of scenario.

He also claims that (and I find these figures very suspicious) that according to scientists, the chances of life, the world and everything else forming of their own accord is less than 1 in an AVL ( A VERY LARGE NUMBER) Something on the order of 3X10 to the 900th power or the like.

Since my knowldge of cosmology is limited mostly to "huh?". I have come to you O' wise beings of the scientific forums to ask for your input on these matters.
__________________
"An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind"-Mohandas K. Ghandi

"..And the Ancient Cry is heard calling forth over the fields of battle yet again: 'Prove It!' "

"A witty saying proves nothing"-Voltaire
Hunter is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th May 2004, 08:44 PM   #2
Yahweh
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 9,006
Your Creationist friend most likely has the idea the universe exists in certain region of space in some era of time. This makes sense intuitively, but it is incorrect. See Special and General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, but the gist follows that space and time exist within the universe, if this were not the case then your friend's "oscillating universe has been rejected" would have some credence.

Heat Death of the universe will occur eventually, but not for a long long time. Until then, there is still usable kinetic energy to power this little universe of ours.

So Heat Death and Oscillating Universe are compatible.


Your friend also appeals to big numbers. I am willing to bet your friend is referring to Einstein's Cosmological Constant. At the same time, I'll be willing to bet your friend understands neither the uses, nor the discovery, nor the derivations of the 25 or so fundamental constants in the universe. The general Creationist argument says "if the constants were off by any more than +/- 0.002%, the universe would not exist" (some Creationists cite Penrose for the numbers). Somehow, the mere existence of the universe implies the universe is fine-tuned to permit existence. As the logic does not follow, nor does the premise the constants are highly sensitive to change follow as well.

See Stenger - Is the Universe Really Fine-tuned? for lots of very good information. To summarize:
Under all imaginable scenarios, and with the assistence of a supercomputer and much labor, the constants were randomized and hypothetical universe allowed to proceed with the new values. Of the universes, about 50% of the universes were viable (i.e. could sustained long-lived stars, lengthy organic molecules, etc.) when the constants were randomized by a factor of 1000% or more. See TalkOrigins - Intelligent Design for a layman's explanation and pretty diagram.

Flip a coin: Heads viable universe, Tails dead universe. We just happen to live in a universe which landed heads. (And furthermore, the "what if the constants were different" approach is bizarre. What if Pi were different? There numbers of the constants are not picked arbitrarily, in fact I cannot logically fathom a universe where 1 + 1/2^2 + 1/3^2 + 1/4^2 + ... would not eventually add up to pi^2/6. Appeals to the fundamental constants is moot to say the least.)


Your Creationist friend's claims are full of hot-air to say the least, not necessarily a bad thing: plenty of people believe the same material.


Just for fun, a Standford critique of Creationist Philosophy: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/creationism/

Here an excerpt from the conclusion:
Quote:
Creationism in the sense used in this discussion is still very much a live phenomenon in American culture today and in other parts of the world, like the Canadian West, to which it has been exported. Popularity does not imply truth. Scientifically Creationism is worthless, philosophically it is confused, and theologically it is blinkered beyond repair.
Edit to add: Where is that spider avatar of yours?
Yahweh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th May 2004, 08:51 PM   #3
neutrino_cannon
Master Poster
 
neutrino_cannon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 2,574
As usualy, Yahweh has beaten me to posting a link to talkorigins. Also, look up the abiogenesis calculations section there, it kinda sounds like what you're looking for.

Also, the name escapes me now as does so much else, there were a number of experiments in which amino acids (IIRC, everything you hear from me that I cannot cite should be subject to a healthy does of skepticism and further research) formed under conditions like those of a theroretical early earth.

The chances of planets forming seem very good to me. Atoms have gravity, atoms are attracted to each other. Atoms form large lumps of matter that float freely through the cosmos. Smaller ones are lumpy and are called meteoroids, asteroids and comets. Slightly larger ones are planets. Up from there are brown dwarfs, stars of various grade and so on.
__________________

"Man would have been too happy, if, limiting himself to the visible objects which interested him, he had employed, to perfect his real sciences, his laws, his morals, his education, one half-the efforts he has put into his researches on the Divinity"

-Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Necessity of Atheism
neutrino_cannon is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th May 2004, 09:16 PM   #4
Yahweh
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 9,006
Quote:
Originally posted by neutrino_cannon
Also, the name escapes me now as does so much else, there were a number of experiments in which amino acids (IIRC, everything you hear from me that I cannot cite should be subject to a healthy does of skepticism and further research) formed under conditions like those of a theroretical early earth.
Those would be the Urey-Miller experiments.

The experiments have been replicated under a very very wide set of conditions. The conclusion: The conditions necessary for the formation of life is rather malleable.

A quick google search on the Miller-Urey experiments will turn up much data. If you do not feel like googling, here is lots of useful data from the little .txt document I keep scattered amongst many other .txt's on my computer:
Quote:
The Miller-Urey Experiments are quite misunderstood. Many people do not realize that since his first experiment, Miller and others (including Stribling, Schlesinger, Chang, etc.) have experimented with other atmospheric compositions, as well. Those simple amino acids will form under a wide range of pre-biotic conditions. Its also important to note that life could have developed from deep-sea hydrothermal vents making atmospheric conditions less relevant.


The Miller-Urey experiments demonstrated that the processes to lead up to life can occur completely naturally without any "intelligent" intervention.
There is quite a bit of study behind Chemogenesis to support this:
Research into the formation of long proteins.(Rode BM, Son HL, and Suwannachot Y., 1999 (May). Thecombination of salt induced peptide formation reaction and clay catalysis: away to higher peptides under primitive earth conditions. OrigLife Evol Biosph 29:273-86.)(Orgel LE., 1998. Polymerization on therocks: theoretical introduction. Orig Life Evol Biosph 28: 227-34.)(FerrisJP, Hill AR Jr, Liu R, and Orgel LE., 1996. Synthesis of long prebioticoligomers on mineral surfaces. Nature 381: 59-61.)

Synthesis of complex molecules in space. (Kuzicheva EA & Gontareva NB,1999. The possibility of nucleotide abiogeneticsynthesis in conditions of 'KOSMOS-2044' satellite space flight. Advances inSpace Research 23(2): 393-396.)( Schueller,Gretel, 1998 (12 Sep.). Stuff of Life. New Scientist, http://www.newscientist.com/hottopic...gy/stuffof.jsp)

Research into molecule formation in differentatmospheres. (http://talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB035.html)

Synthesis of constituents in the"iron-sulfur" world around hydrothermal vents. (Cody, GD et al.,2000. Primordial carbonylated iron-sulfur compoundsand the synthesis of pyruvate. Science 289:1337-1340.)( Russell, M.J. and Hall, A.J., 1997. Theemergence of life from iron monosulphide bubbles at asubmarine hydrothermal redox and pH front. Journal ofthe Geological Society of London154: 377-402.)( Russell M.J., Hall A.J., Daia D, Turner D. and Rahman L.,1997. The emergence of life from iron sulphidecompartments at a submarine hydrothermal redox and pHfront. http://www.gla.ac.uk/projects/origin...ell_&_Hall.pdf)
Yahweh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th May 2004, 09:34 AM   #5
Hellbound
Merchant of Doom
 
Hellbound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Not in Hell, but I can see it from here on a clear day...
Posts: 14,729
Quote:
Edit to add: Where is that spider avatar of yours?
Psst!!! I'm over here!!!
__________________
History does not always repeat itself. Sometimes it just yells "Can't you remember anything I told you?" and lets fly with a club. - John w. Campbell
Hellbound is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th May 2004, 10:10 AM   #6
SGT
Critical Thinker
 
SGT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 345
The probability of an event that has occurred is 1 (100%). The fact that we are posting at this forum shows that both the Universe and life are possible, no matter what the a priori probabilities were.
SGT is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th May 2004, 02:57 PM   #7
Yahweh
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 9,006
Oops!

Quote:
Originally posted by Huntsman
Psst!!! I'm over here!!!
Oh! Howdy!

Yahweh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Science, Mathematics, Medicine, and Technology

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:40 AM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.