Monday, January 30, 2012

Parsimony in the historical and descriptive sciences must die for us to make any progress

Parsimony is a device that lets us assume as proven, certain things that if you look at the evidence fairly, are impossible.

 We need to do what greats such as Einstein did - evidence indicates that the speed of light is constant despite a moving frame of reference - make that an assumption and see what the corollary is.

 These following working assumptions are not proved, and have little supporting evidence. The only reason they are taken as fact is because alternative assumptions have the same issues, and are more conceptually complex.

1) non-life to life transition happened on Earth.
2) The Weismann barrier (preventing direct feedback from the environment back to DNA)
3) Modern evolutionary synthesis (micro evolution leading to macro evolution and speciation due to random mutations and selection)
4) selfish gene (decisions based on the individual, rather than group selection)

We need to do what Einstein did, and assume these are all impossible, and see what the corollary is.

Some of the conclusions I came up with - There is no reason to believe that more advanced forms of proto-life destroyed all evidence of previous forms because they would be considered food. All sorts of living things on Earth are considered food for other living things, but even with extinctions evidence is there all the way along the line from bacteria. The lack of evidence of prebiotic processes on Earth is evidence that they didn't happen on Earth.

Evolution on Earth needs random mutations no more than an engineer needs a dice to roll to make decisions on building something.

Pre-biotic evolution *does* need to rely on random mutations and selection, but the further along evolution goes, molecules may rely less and less on blind processes and more on features that made it a surviving self-catalytic species in the first place.

Working backwards from bacteria, cells appear to have evolved the capacity to lay dormant while frozen, and reactivate when thawed. This process is bound to have been the reason they ended up on Earth, and the prebiotic evolution must have been peppered with situations in which this gave a crucial competitive advantage.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Comets, astrobiology, the origin of life

In Chandra Wickramasinghe's 2009 book, he mainly proposes comets as agents of transportation of panspermia cells. The prospect of billions of comets having had water for up to a million years, and larger, comet like objects even having permanent water, does lead him to believe they are also agents of the generation of the chiral precursors to life. He uses a lot of the most recent cometary findings to back up his case.

He doesn't go to the extent I have of thinking how far chemical evolution has gone in comets, whether an RNA world or DNA world could exist in a comet, and think why would it stop evolving? If it hadn't stopped, it may have got to a point where the proto-life in the comet may act in a way that may increase the chance of the "survival" of the comet, in the kind of attrition where comets are gradually getting absorbed into planets with hostile environments. Could actions by the proto life make it more likely for the comet to split up into two, where one of the fragments would be more likely to survive than if it hadn't split? Could chemical or biological action by the protolife make the outside of the comet black? Would that give the comets an alternative energy source for the middle of the comet to stay liquid (the original source being decay of Al 26 or otheer elements)? Could the emmission of particles from the gaps in the black exterior serve as ways to control the spin of the comet, or even course corrections (to avoid planets, or to get close enough for a gravity assist)? Could the emmission of particles get rid of unhelpful chemicals in a kind of metabolism?

In other words, if we can see evolution working in the environment on Earth that leads to eventual intelligent behaviour due to the needs of survival, why wouldn't this be the case for comets?

Principally, is there any evidence that the two most obvious features of life are plausibly existing for comets? That is, do they reproduce? Do they metabolise? Certainly, there is plenty of evidence that they "break up". How could we tell whether this is similar to a living cell breaking up, or a non-living rock breaking up? For metabolism, how could we tell whether the outgassing is making the outside more random and making the inside of the comet more ordered? Is it plausible that it is just outgassing a random selection of compounds that make up its interior? Could it be that it is metabolism regardless of whether the comet is a living thing?

The very high resolution images of Hale Bopp combined with ground observations of the spin and emission profile, may give us some ideas on splitting comets. The rate of rotation is not constant, and the axis of rotation is such that the two ends of the peanut shape may pull apart if it spins up to a fast enough speed. The change in rotation has been determined to be from the activity of the jets streaming out more in one direction than the other. From ground observations, the spin-up is more efficient than the spin-down. The conclusion is that the comet will eventually break up due to the centrifugal forces therein. It doesn't take much imagination to feel that it could be a rudimentary reproduction similar to amoebas.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Comet Origins II

In continuing the theme of comets being way outside of expectations, I will discuss the ultra low albedo of the comet surface (at .02 , it is blacker than tar) Clearly organic matter is at play, perhaps in a particular texture optimized to absorb light and heat. Not only that, it appears stuck firmly onto the "snow" and doesn't disintegrate, even around the holes in the blackness, where matter ejects profusely into the corona.

It would appear that the ejection of matter of comets would satisfy one requirement of metabolism - that of making the surroundings more random. One can assume that the inside may thus become ordered and enable complexity. The edge of the comet nucleus is an analogue of a cell membrane - it lets randomness out, and importantly, can let energy in. Solar energy is absorbed by the low albedo, and any particle or clump of radioactive material would melt the snow due to its related heat, and enter into the protected part under the snow, helping to keep the water liquid, and perhaps to help power the metabolism also.

Chemical energy, would be stored analogously to life as we know it, in sugars and various other chemicals. Of course, if there is a central control to consciously pilot the comet to its future direction and gravity assists and reproduce, it needs a brain. Surely DNA, would be the brains rather than a reproductivity code, although it would need to reproduce as well.

As well as a brain, for the other observed features of "steering" requires thrust for both rotation and course adjustments, an eye/eyes to pinpoint its precise location and trajectory, and a communication/nervous system to control devices.

For the observed reproduction/ splitting, first the nucleus of the comet nucleus,ie. the heavy elements in the middle have to split up and move to opposite ends of the liquid centre. Then the comet would have to rotate around an axis such that centrifugal forces can stretch the shape. Finally, a snow fill in between the two sides for new walls, and then have two loosely connected comets until it goes close enough to a planet for tidal forces to pull the two halves away from each other and make their orbits different.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Comet origins

I'll start with a quote from Sherlock Holmes "when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?". It is hard to know what is impossible and possible with regards to comets. The original pristine born from a molecular cloud hypothesis is fairly solid as a starting point. However, the question of "why are they still here?" appears to be the most pertinent. By all accounts, orbiting bodies essentially are finding a minimum energy, and the tendency is to coalesce into planets and moons in the general plane of the ecliptic. The expectation is that they shouldn't be able to persist over billions of years moving from the Oort cloud where they formed, to the scattered disk or the Kuiper belt, cross by Jupiter without hitting it, then go into semi-stable but often highly elliptic orbits. Creation scientists have jumped on this lack of the actuality emanating directly from the solid physics that explains the planets and asteroids very well but not comets, by claiming they could only have been placed there supernaturally (Me and Sherlock would rule this out as impossible).

 Proximally, the comets are following the laws of gravity fairly precisely, barring a few exceptions of non-gravity accelerations. Tracing back and forward, it is often hard to predict past certain points where they invariably go past large planets. With robotic spacecraft, these are called gravity assists, and they save a lot of power, but require very precise calculations because a small error can send the craft into the planet or shuttling off in a helpless direction. Therefore, although the orbits, and even the breakup into families etc. is individually explainable, the overall picture of comets appears very contrived, trajectory wise. From the semi stable orbits they are in (Oort Cloud, Scattered disk, Kuiper belt, Jupiter group, Sungrazer), random interactions, perturbations or collisions would be *expected* to send them on a collision course, or to a trajectory from whence they cannot get back to one of the semi stable orbits possible.

  With the discovery of CAI's from comet's coma as captured by stardust in 2006, the prospect that radioactive aluminum with a half life of half a million years was likely to have been intercepted by pristine comets, have increased the expectation that a fair percentage of comets had liquid three dimensional lakes for at least millions of years. I don't think it is a stretch to surmise that since CAIs are almost certain to be directly from a supernova remnant dust cloud, and proximally from the accretion disk of the forming sun, that heavy elements could also have made their way from the same general source to the comets or molecular clouds. The dirty snow simulations done in the lab generate aggregate that has a density of about .2. Comets with known density have a density closer to .6, so although the outside coating may be low density fluffy dirty ice, the centre is more likely to have a liquid, or formerly liquid, more dense material.

  Comet 103P/Hartley gives me an impression that it is made up of two sections with a smooth neck in between. It would seem plausible to me that the comet will eventually break up into two comets, both of which have a very dark exterior with subsurface ice and certain gaps in the dark exterior. Could it be classed as reproduction? Several other cases of relationships between comets with quite different current orbits can be traced back to a common speed, trajectory, and point in space and time.

  Assuming a time that comets had liquid water, autocatalytic cycles of the kind where various autocatalytic species would be competing for substrate would occur within the liquid portion, protected from ionizing radiation. The outer snow hull would serve to insulate from ionizing radiation, and also to protect from more minor impacts. These impacts would not directly affect or stop any delicate chemistry, but would supply more substrate. Hot dense materials intercepted would work their way to the gravitational centre, while low density matter may add to the bulk of the protective shell. Freezing and melting cycles (assuming elliptic orbits, solar heating would vary dramatically between perihelion and apehelion) would be a natural form of chromatography - separating different organic chemicals. Nuclear particles from beta decay would also have an affect on the chemistry.

 It would be an expectation that the chemistry would continue to evolve, and not have a limit of say an RNA world or single cell organisms. DNA could coexist fairly loosely with RNA, single cell organisms and various bases, enzymes, proteins etc. Chemical evolution and biological evolution could happily coexist while the centre stayed liquid. If Earth is considered a perfect environment for higher animals to evolve, the inside of comets should be even more perfect. It wouldn't be just a possibility that evolution could go on to well past the sophistication of Earth's evolution, but an actual *expectation*.

Marconomic evolution 102 - identify some razors and make them disposable.

So in regards to the modern evolutionary synthesis, there are a few uses of parsimony which are so often fallen back on, a casual scientific observer would be forgiven for thinking they were *proven*. Not only are they not proven, but it is plausible that some may be impossible. However, because of the traditional religious contentions of impossibility being used to demonstrate something else, simple to understand but also impossible (supernatural intervention), I am distancing myself from conclusions that are also simple and rely on the impossible. No good science can come from believing in supernatural proximate causes. A few uses of Ockham's razor in evolution. 1) non-life to life transition happened on Earth. 2) The Weismann barrier (preventing direct feedback from the environment back to DNA) 3) Modern evolutionary synthesis (micro evolution leading to macro evolution and speciation due to random mutations and selection) 4) selfish gene (decisions based on the individual, rather than group selection) For instance in the book that I'm reading, number 1 is assumed to the point of it seeming proved, to a casual observer. Even the seeding of chiral amino acids etc. from asteroids/comets sees resistance from scientists as a hypothesis, despite evidence that all tested meteorites appear to have them. From what is now known about the Earth in the time before life, expectations given known conditions appear to be unlikely to even generate amino acids, let alone chiral ones, nor have a bounded niche where chemical evolution would be *expected* to occur. Most narratives involve a fair bit of "wishful thinking" chemistry, with the corollary that microbial organisms appeared, so it *must* be possible, no matter how mathematically implausible it seems. A naturalistic alternative would be that Earth was seeded with the *final product* ie single cell organisms, leaving the chemical evolution and non-life to life transition somewhere that both such an evolution and transition would be an *expectation*, and the transportation to Earth would also be an expectation. Although this appears more complicated, mathematical probability might say otherwise. 2) The Weismann barrier is said to prevent the environment from directly influencing inheritable traits. Thus selection based on shuffled Mendelian traits is the only feedback possible. Apart from there actually being evidence that the Weismann barrier is broken, the assumption is that they are exceptions, and thus the hypothesis holds as if it was proven despite evidence to the contrary. An alternative naturalistic explanation is that the barrier is merely a normal response to avoid copying errors when there is no adaptive stress to the organism. When there is adaptive stress, ie. drastic changes to environment, signals from the environment may be let through to mutate in appropriate ways. 3) mathematically, if the issue is reduced to the simplest organism, relying on random mutations, with natural selection, and cumulative mutations causing speciation, trillions of organisms, and thousands of generations would seem to be required for a single beneficial mutation to come out naturally. Translating to more complex organisms would appear to actually make it less likely. There are other naturalistic razors that would make beneficial mutations an expectation, but these are more complex and are burdened unfairly with having to be proven, while micro( not the extension to macro) evolution appears to be self evident and demonstrable to a point.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Marconomics on Life origins and evolution 101 - Reject Ockham's Razor

Replace parsimony with Marcomony!
Reverse Ockham's razor and replace it with Mahkco's bag of 50 disposable ones.

This is critical with the historical sciences especially, and not really relevant for physics at all. Basically with quantitative models where calculations yield repeatable results one should certainly pick the simplest model which makes the numbers work precisely. Not only that, but any new theory which complicates a model of this nature needs to have a heap of evidence and the burden of proof is against the new, more complicated theory. In these cases we should be Jack McCoys - It's not what you know, it's what you can prove. This is Ockham's Razor, or parsimony.

With historical sciences evidence is scattered in time and space compared to the "experiment" (ie. nature has done the experiment for you, but it cannot be repeated precisely to check or "prove" anything), so Ockham's Razor is a cut too deep. Not to mention that the "simplest" explanations of all often involve God, or at least an explanation that relies on faith, because by their nature the hardest questions of history have the least incontrovertible evidence. With these questions we *constantly* need to be detectives. We follow our hunches - we need a gazillion of them. EVERY scrap of evidence, no matter how circumstantial, no matter whether it is something that shouldn't be there, that is, or something that should be there that isn't, peculiarities even if they appear to be random peculiarities. These should be only weeded *roughly*. We rule out any that are impossible based on naturism, mathematical probability etc. *Not ones just because they are impossible to prove or have no direct evidence*. We need to be Sherlock Holmes, not Jack McCoy. We don't keep looking for something in a particular spot because that is where the light is shining - we need to feel our way in the dark and glean complex enough theories that make the tiniest scraps of circumstantial evidence meaningful probability-wise. We cannot stick with one theory because it is the simplest and has the most provable elements. We need a dozen, more complicated, theories that fit the circumstantial evidence in the middle of their probability range.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

First of the Believers of intelligent beings in comets

I don't know why I've gone from convincing myself of the plausibility of life starting in comets, to believing that super-intelligent amoeba shaped creatures reside in there surviving for millions of years, and can even control the comet like a spaceship, albeit needing solar flybies for thrust, and sequences of gravity assists to change their orbit. I have zippo evidence for any of it, except for the strange things that have been discovered about comets in the last 26 years, with the stardust sample return, Halley Comet flyby, and a couple of other NASA missions. Basically from the 1986 Halley flyby, a "dirty snowball" model was indicated and still mostly fits even the new evidence.
Mysterious discoveries:
1) comets, although mostly water ice appear to be covered in a thin coating of very dark black carbon soot. Not predicted. Origin completely unknown.
2) Stardust samples from the corona included minerals that formed at extremely high temperatures, that were predicted not to be in comets, due to the mineral origin requiring 1000+ degrees C, and the Oort cloud never being subjected to anything like that.
3) DNA bases were also found in the stardust indicating that they were ejected from the comet.
4) Minerals were also found on one of the comets that indicated there must have been liquid water in the comet.
5) Gaps in the carbon soot layer, were evident when comet has a corona. Having a look at the picture they looked like bright circles in the dust layer with the ejecta shining through, on either side of the comet,.
6) Comet surface almost perfectly dry, yet not far under the surface is mostly water ice.

Anyway, there is more but it made my imagination go wild with possibilities.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chapter 5 Lennox Dissection

I am going to have fun here. In chapter 5, Lennox is brave and takes on, as a mathematician, the quantitative statistical corollaries of the Modern Evolutionary synthesis, as described by renowned Biologists such as Richard Dawkins, and finds them severely lacking in quantitative believability. I pretty much agree with him on every detail except the conclusion. Clearly, the biologists, have Occam Razored out plausible naturalistic explanations for the yawning gaps between what and how speciation happens as explained by the synthesis, and what is observed in both the geologic record(speciation is way more jumpy than the synthesis explains) and what is observed as a result of artificial selection(lack of speciation even after continued selective breeding). Lennox completes the obvious mistake of the biologists who decided on the synthesis and those who fail to overturn it, by Occam Razoring out even the mechanism that has the most scientific credibility and replacing it with the simplest explanation of all, a God designer. The plausible naturalistic explanations are not mentioned in Lennoxes book, and to be fair, they are not mentioned in the God Delusion either, except perhaps briefly as something to mock. The naturalistic explanations that would each close the yawning gap of macro evolution are as follows - horizontal gene transfer, Neo-Lamarckism ie. ways that the environment can have direct baring on how, when,and what type of mutations happen, group selection theories - more important with some gregarious species than others, design style programs programmed into the DNA or in the subconscious of brains, and selective breaching of the Weismann barrier. Some or all of these are postulated by some biologists some of the time, but the burden of proof is extremely onerous, and experiments are notoriously hard to design, and are expensive without much chance of "pay dirt", especially if biologist peers keep ruling them inconclusive even if the data lends to these alternative explanations. The statistical issues that Lennox brings up through reductionism are real, and the corollary should be for the biologists to shift the burden of proof to a requirement to prove that some of these other explanations are not happening during macro speciation.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Dissecting God's Undertaker, by Lennox via FB

Marco Parigi->  Winston Inabox

The view that Lennox takes on Galileo on several pages including this one, is quite biased and misrepresents religion's role in the affair. The Catholic church at the time was using religion as a way to keep power and control information and embedded Aristotleanism into its Theology. The challenge Galileo was making was clearly against the authority of the church. It is quite plausible that he wasn't at all religious himself, but he would have had no choice other than to claim he believed in God.

Winston Inabox
  I've got no idea why Lennox would even try to claim the nonsense that he claims in this Myths of Conflict section in Chapter 2. The Catholic Church's role in stifling Galileo's ideas is well documented, and it matters naught if the opposition was first from secular philosophers or not. It was the Church who put him on trial, it was the Church who put him under house arrest, and it was the Church who banned publication of his ideas. And then to say that Galileo believed in the Bible like it's some kind of proof of God's existence is just one of Lennox's many appeals to authority. Oh... OK... Galileo believed in the Bible, so it must be right! Case closed. What utter nonsense. Galileo's religious convictions - and I don't know if he was religious as Lennox claims, or just not at all - matter for nothing as evidence. What I do know is that Galileo got some things right and other things (the motion of the tides) wrong. For a man of Lennox's obvious intellectual powers this part of the book is embarrassing. 15 hours ago · Like.

Marco Parigi

 There are reasons to believe the primary cause of conflict between science and religion have nothing to do with the belief in God, but he did not address that directly. Galileo had taken away the specialness endowed on humans by being at the centre of the universe. 3 hours ago · Like.

Marco Parigi

Lennox relies a lot on "This famous scientist believed in God" as being evidence that should be accepted as "forensic". There are two problems with that 1. What a person wrote as what he believed is not necessarily what they believed. 2. Believing something that is even a little bit immune to repeatable experiment or visual evidence doesn't have any baring on the likeliness of it being true, no matter how rigorous the person is scientifically. I am kind of directing this towards Nathanael Small. The Myths of conflict section does not ring true with either the atheist or the agnostic. It may well be directed at the uncommitted or the loosely committed or doubting churchgoer. It is worth reading up about the Galileo affair oneself on a neutral media such as Wikipedia to get an impartial picture. 9 minutes ago · Like.
Marco ParigiWinston Inabox

From God's undertaker. In this page, he is attempting to define science. Things that are not repeatable cannot be proven to a level of general satisfaction. Making inferences on available evidence is all we can do. I think he is alluding to an intelligent design inference? He is saying that it is no less provable than any cosmological inference. He used the word hypothesis earlier, but in this case he is saying that they are t he same thing.

Like · · Unfollow post · Share · Edit · Yesterday via Mobile

Winston Inabox
P31 Thanks for the photo Marco. Lennox, because he's mostly running a negative campaign, always tries to show there is some discord. It doesn't help his point, he just tries to make it look like science should be doubted, that it doesn't ha...
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Yesterday at 10:00 · Like.

Marco Parigi Popular impression exists, and, for instance, I disagree with the logical positivism interpretation of science but am quite happy with the axiomatic principles approach of the greek philosophers, and many other scientists. He is using the fact that scientists don't agree on this point to discredit ways to look at science other than his own way.

Winston Inabox Lennox wants to focus on the repeatability of science because he sees it as weak link with which he can further cast doubts on science. So he dredges up this quote saying science is that "by definition deals only with the natural, the repeatable, that which is governed by law". Then he boldly states that "the most obvious weakness in this definition is that, if allowed to stand, it would rule out most of contemporary cosmology".

Now rather than going back and modifying his definition to one that would include cosmology, he instead runs off with the 'method of inference' which he says is "an essential part of the methodology of contemporary science". This allows him to claim that "with unrepeatable events it is still possible to ask: What is the best explanation of this event or phenomenon?"

In other words he's softening the reader up to later accept that although the creation of the universe is unrepeatable, science can possible say that a god did it.
Yesterday at 10:19 · Like.

Winston Inabox In this case it would have been better if Lennox had taken his own advice and not let the poor definition stand. Here's a better definition from Wikipedia "The chief thing which separates a scientific method of inquiry from other methods of acquiring knowledge is that scientists seek to let reality speak for itself, and contradict their theories about it when those theories are incorrect.[4]"​wiki/Scientific_method

Scientific method - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
PhysicsApplied physics · Atomic physicsComputational physicsCondensed matter physicsExperimental physics · MechanicsNuclear physicsParticle physics · Plasma physicsQuantum mechanics (introduction)Solid mechanics · Theoretical physicsThermodynamics · EntropyGeneral relativity · M-theorySpecial relati.....
Yesterday at 10:21 · Like · .

Winston Inabox Now that we've a definition that can satisfy, we can proceed with looking at the creation of the universe, and we don't necessarily have to invoke a god.

Marco, the above shows that Lennox is quite adept at rhetoric. Everything he says seems logical because he is very careful about about making only small claims that on the surface seem reasonable, that are then built up to make his point.
Yesterday at 10:29 · Like.

Winston Inabox Marco, I don't really want to get hung up on this point about popular impressions, so if you disagree then that's fine with me. But Lennox is just saying there are popular impressions. He says that there is a popular impression that there is one agreed scientific method. That is a very definitive statement, and if it were in any kind of academic writing or encyclopedia worth reading, he'd have to show some source for that. Otherwise it is just his opinion.

Now I wouldn't normally care less if he were just stating his opinion, but he then uses this opinion as fact to imply that there is difficulty in defining scientific method, so let's use Ruse's definition, Ruse's definition uses repeatability, but repeatability excludes cosmology which is obviously science, so let's go to method of inference, so that allows the inference of a god in the creation of the universe.
Yesterday at 10:45 · Like.

Winston Inabox And the above long-winded paragraph (sorry, Enter without Shift again) is why I think he's very adept at rhetoric!
Yesterday at 10:46 · Like.

Marco Parigi ‎"Scientific researchers propose hypotheses as explanations of phenomena, and design experimental studies to test these hypotheses via predictions which can be derived from them. These steps must be repeatable, to guard against mistake or confusion in any particular experimenter." from the same wikipedia article. The link between the repeatable experiment and the unrepeatable event is still a tough one to get around without an apriori assumption about what the universe is like (for instance, assumption that rules that appear constant now were constant at the particular event we are concerned with) Logical positivists do not accept that any assumption is required. I do, otherwise we open ourselves to circular arguments.
Yesterday at 11:17 · Like.

Winston Inabox I'll reprint the sentence preceding your quote from the article:

Although procedures vary from one field of inquiry to another, identifiable features distinguish scientific inquiry from other methods of obtaining knowledge.

Your sentence that follows this is an example of an identifiable feature that distinguishes scientific inquiry from other methods of obtaining knowledge. As is the rest of the paragraph.

Lennox however doesn't want to inform his readers that "procedures vary from one field of inquiry to another". He'd rather focus on the non-repeatability of aspects of cosmology because he wants to introduce method of inference.
23 hours ago · Like.

Marco Parigi I think Lennox is also asking "Who is the authority that decides which procedures are appropriate for any particular field of inquiry?" I don't trust scientists themselves to know the right answer. Half of them believe in God :-)
23 hours ago · Like.

Winston Inabox Ha ha.
23 hours ago · Like.

Marco Parigi I think his point is valid, but it makes his hypothesis invalid as hypothesis. He demonstrates that it is untestable, and scientific procedures as they stand don't allow for it at all.
23 hours ago · Like.

Winston Inabox I think his point is valid only because he selects the definition of science that suits his objective. His objective being to say that as method of inference trumps repeatability for cosmology, god did it.
23 hours ago · Like.

Marco Parigi I am not a big fan of cosmology as a science. Inference appears to be all that scientists have for string theory also, for instance. I prefer naturalistic cosmos theory only because I find them to be more elegant, not because of evidence.
22 hours ago · Like.

Marco Parigi
 I got the Lennox book for the Kindle for ipad. We might be more inclined to be on the same side comparatively to Dawkins, but I have a habit of finding things we disagree about. It doesn't appear that the ipad app has the same ability to take notes? I might have to hook notes onto your FB notes ;-)
Like · · See friendship · Tuesday at 16:58 ·

Winston Inabox Marco, it is frustrating to post because you can't copy and paste from the Kindle. Linking Amazon to FB allows you to share directly to FB from the Kindle, but that is one share for one post. Copy and Paste is really needed on the Kindle.
Tuesday at 17:02 · Like · 1.

Marco Parigi The closest I can get with kindle for ipad is a screenshot copied to a computer to be imported to google docs ocr. Then the bits of text can be copied and pasted from there. Not particularly good, but doable.
Wednesday at 09:18 · Like.

Winston Inabox The other problem is when you're flipping between the two programs on the iPad it is easy touch the screen in the wrong place and you can lose a half composed post or comment. That's why I have shorter comments now because of the frustration of losing all the work.
Wednesday at 09:33 · Like.

Winston Inabox If you bought Lennox's book from Amazon then linking FB to Amazon will let you post quotes as I did.
Wednesday at 09:35 · Like.

Nathanael Small Hey Marco Parigi, glad you've joined the fun! I'm going to make a start on this later in the week - suggest we focus on the comments my bro has already made and seek to grow our understanding of each other's (and the author's) position on those. If Marco and I both do what Rob's done with Chapter 1 it should be a really good exchange. Thanks again for both stepping up to this.
Wednesday at 09:43 · Like.

Winston Inabox Nathanael, I'm not interested "to grow our understanding of each other's position". We know each other's position.

I want to talk about whether Lennox makes claims that are backed up. I've posted those claims and I want to find out if you agree with what he says, and why or why not.
Wednesday at 10:22 · Like.

Marco Parigi How invested are we in our own positions? I know that after a decade of philosophical discussion with Dr Clam, my perception is that his position has subtly changed!
Wednesday at 10:33 · Like.

Marco Parigi And so has mine, possibly. Lennox talked a few pages about Galileo. I had mentioned Galileo in my conversation with the minister which baptised a couple of our children when he wanted to know whether I would give myself to God. I graciously declined, and felt that the freedom to think about the Universe with no preconceived ideas as I felt Galileo also wanted to, is way too important to me.
Wednesday at 10:38 · Like.

Winston Inabox Marco, I can tell you that if my position were to change, reading Lennox's book wouldn't be the cause. 8-)
Wednesday at 10:41 · Like.

Nathanael Small Bro, you think you know my position. I don't presume to know your perspective on atheism, as there's a myriad of layers of variants. I'd encourage to not take your understanding of the "meta narrative" and label me (or any other J follower) with it, despite the temptation to pick out what on the surface appear to be easy targets (e.g. "interventionist God").
Wednesday at 12:24 · Like.

Winston Inabox Nathanael, I'll reword that then.

I don't care what your position is.
 I'm only interested in what you claim.
Wednesday at 12:44 · Like.

Nathanael Small Which for all of us comes from a position. To judge the claim without understanding positional context risks wading in the shallows of presumption & assumption. End result? Gnats strained & babies thrown.
Wednesday at 12:47 · Like.

Winston Inabox Nathanael, no. The sun rises in the East and sets in the West. There is my claim. You need to know nothing more about me, who I am or what I believe in to judge whether that is a justifiable claim or not.

You want to make the discussion an about an all encompassing ~ism then go ahead. I won't be joining in those parts. I'm interested in looking at the parts, and not the sum thereof.
Wednesday at 12:52 · Like.

Winston Inabox Lennox makes claims. I want to look at those. If his claims turn out to be bollocks or God's own truth you can mull on the consequences of that in your own time. Or you can post it here if you want to. As I said I won't be responding to them. You gave me a book to read and assess. I've read 1/2 the book and posted on the first chapter. I'm not going to get embroiled in a discussion that is two steps above Lennox's book without first looking at that.
Wednesday at 12:55 · Like.

Nathanael Small But the sun doesn't rise - that's only what we perceive from an earth-bound perspective. Or is that subtly part of your point? The parts create a whole. The pieces create a jigsaw puzzle with a picture. Some scientific disciplines seek to integrate to provide a grand unified theory of everything. Big breakthroughs come from the sum of truths being greater than the parts (take advances in neuroscience, or materials engineering, where I've lived for the last 3 years) To judge the Sistine Chapel by decaying materials alone is to reduce the experience (even the parts that can be measured empirically) to something far less than what it is. Happy to discuss the parts, but behind those you have an all encompassing ~ism. I'll contend Understanding that how that ~ism is constructed means we see more clearly exactly what we disagree with and why.
Wednesday at 13:08 · Like.

Winston Inabox ‎Nathanael, after that "but the sun doesn't rise" semantics bullshit you've got one more chance. Make some observations about the posts or I'm walking. Months ago I answered your email point by point. Now I've bought and half read your book and posted what must be close to 10 posts on it. Either I see something concrete coming the other way that is more than waffle or I'm out of here.
Wednesday at 13:14 · Like.

Marco Parigi It's just that "sun rising" thing was in the early part of the book. I detected a facetiousness that probably wasn't there about that comment also.
Wednesday at 13:18 · Like.

Marco Parigi Lennox's book has several "history of philosophy" side notes that are actually very interesting to me. They are not interspersed with rhetoric. It is an easier read for me than for winston. It doesn't come close to proving anything.
Wednesday at 13:24 · Like.

Nathanael Small Ah bro, you posted twice before I replied - I didn't see your second post because of a PC freeze requireing a re-boot. Once again the limitations of this medium are exposed and I'm sorry if I came across as flippant.
I'm happy we've defined the rules of engagement enough so that at least we know when not to get angry, frustrated and chew up unnecessary time posting when it's something one of us actually doesn't think is relevant. It will help keep us on point.
 You've put a good amount of effort in spite of tech frustrations and being on an overseas holiday, and that will be respected.
As promised, I'll start on replying to your Lennox posts over the coming week.
And I will get back to your reply to my email - with job hunting, family Christmas, mystery Lydia back & shoulder pains etc etc it's fallen on the back burner. Personally, with 6 kids and business, I don't know how you find the time, Marco Parigi, but I'm grateful there's a third voice. See you on Winston Inabox's Lennox post stream.
Wednesday at 14:08 · Like.

Winston Inabox In the services it's called mission creep. We've a simple plan (discuss Lennox) and the means to to it (3 people all with his book on iPads, all as friends on FB). Talking about people's positions is neither here nor there as far as that mission goes.

I've no desire to convince anyone to think anything or change their opinion. I've a desire to examine Lennox's claims. Period. But I don't own the Internet and I can't tell others what to do. All I can say is that I won't be joining discussions that go beyond those boundaries, or at least not until some significant progress has been made on Lennox.