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A.Sphere last won the day on October 30 2012

A.Sphere had the most liked content!

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About A.Sphere

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    AKA st_dissent

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    physics, mathematics, history, bicycling, hiking, traveling, cooking, the Korean language (Han Gul)

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  1. A.Sphere

    Wal Mart Vs The Morons....

    I actually agree with Ikester on this one . I don't think Adam Smith had this in mind when he envisioned a free market. You have to remember that the "free market" ideas came from classical liberalism which was pre-capitalism. These thinkers, like Smith, did argue for free markets but they also argued, especially Smith, that only under strict conditions of perfect liberty would free markets lead to perfect equality. His conception of moving toward his capitalist opus was supposed to only work if the primary goal was motivated by equality of condition and not just equality of opportunity. Wal-Mart is the anti-thesis of this. They keep their prices low by practicing business ethics that most companies and "mom and pop" shops would disdain. They also have so much consolidated market power that new business and pre-existing business can't compete with (mainly because they do not bring themselves to the level of ethics wal-mart employs to keep prices low). The only way to topple Wal-Mart would be if you could get a large fraction of its consumers to buy elsewhere. But this is a near impossible task because the majority of wal-mart's target consumers are lower middle class and poor people trying to stretch a dollar and support their families - consciouses shopping is the last thing on their minds and Wal-Mart depends on this. I believe in a free market as well - as long as we can trust market powers to represent the interests of a stable, healthy, and innovative world population - not just themselves in pursuit of the almighty dollar.
  2. Then we have quite the conundrum. You see...loads of folks from different backgrounds have perished in such manners because they have refused to recant their faith or their eyewitness testimonies. According to your requirements, every religion must therefore be true! Maybe for Elvis... . But there are Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, Shamans, Muslims, etc who have been in the past and probably still are. There are also republicans, democrats, libertarians, socialists, communists, anarchists, etc who would and have given their lives for their political motives. Just because someone is willing to die for metaphysical claims doesn't make the metaphysical claims true. Yes you are right. That hearsay must be coupled to hopelessness and despair and a desire to make things better for your children. Hearsay and followers' willingness to give their lives for said hearsay does not make a truth claim any more or less valid. If that is all it takes then the Branch Davidians and the Kool-Aid cult were preachin' gold.
  3. A.Sphere

    The Speed Of Light

    As a working scientist I to allow for my model to change due to undiscovered phenomena...what I don't do, however, is change my model before "undiscovered phenomena" is dicovered. This protects scientific models from quackery.
  4. I am not arguing for or against either position. It seemed many folks think that even to say that there is a global warming trend is a conspiracy. Maybe it is part of a natural cycle - it is still occurring however. Cold snaps in certain regions of the world do not mean that the Earth isn't warming. It is warming. Skeptics would just say it is due to the natural warming cycle while supporters would say that the natural cycle is accelerating.
  5. A.Sphere

    The Speed Of Light

    Evidence suggests otherwise...your post clearly shows that you think "curvature" is somehow hidden in the calculations for the decay rate measured from SN1987a. If that is not what you meant...then your point isn't clear.
  6. A.Sphere

    The Speed Of Light

    You don't understand. Scanman said: When we observe Cobalt-56 decay in a lab on the surface of the Earth we calculate a decay rate using an equation that has nothing to do with the curvature of space-time. When we measure the decay rate from SN1987a for Cobalt-56 we use the same equation to derive it as we did for the lab experiment. We do not hide curvature in the equation. If the numbers are different we would expect that the emitted gamma rays from the decay event traveled through curved space-time or something else (if it is far enough away we could be seeing cosmological redshifts but our supernova isn't). However, we do not get different values to any measurable degree meaning that the gamma rays do not travel through a significant amount of curved space-time.
  7. Well I just said this because it seems many posters think that there is no global warming. By attributing local cold weather to a failures in global warming seems to suggest this. The planet is warming - cold weather in your city doesn't mean that it isn't. Whether or not it is due to human activity or not is the debate topic - correct?
  8. It only provides evidence that Jesus and his disciples may have existed. It does not confirm that he actually performed miracles or that mythology that considers him to be a messiah is true. Unless I can see Jesus perform the miracles today, test the miracles for fraud, or unless his miracles left some sort of physical imprint that I could analyze and somehow (though how is beyond me) attribute it to a miracle then I cannot accept hearsay as knowledge of Christian metaphysical claims. I don't see the difference. There are 100's of eyewitness accounts of bigfoot. There are books about it, magazine articles, and documentaries that make up a mythology (no different than a religion). Those eyewitness accounts only give knowledge that there are people who believe in big foot but they do not provide knowledge of bigfoot's existence. Likewise, you have a book that is also mythology. It mentions a human named Jesus who was supposedly the son of God and performed miracles. We can only infer from this hearsay that there may be evidence that the man Jesus existed...whether or not the claims of his miracles and the mythology that he supports is true cannot be inferred.
  9. Eyewitness testimony written 2000 years ago doesn't constitute knowledge in the sense defined in agnosticism. Knowledge must come from observation of evidence. We have supposed eyewitness testimony of hundreds of alien abductions, UFOs, big foot, and other religious mythologies that contain stories of gods and prophets. I can neither confirm or invalidate these testimonies. Just as I can neither confirm or invalidate the testimonies of the disciples of Jesus. Because I cannot, as of yet, come up with a way to confirm their claims I am without belief in their claims. Because I cannot, as of yet, come up with a way to invalidate their claims I am agnostic with regards to their claims.
  10. So...being unsure that there is an invisible immaterial unicorn standing next to me requires faith? I certainty do not believe that the unicorn is there...but at the same time I cannot perform any tests to confirm that it is or is not there. Therefore I am an atheist because I do not have belief in the invisible immaterial unicorn, but I am agnostic because I don't claim to know that the invisible immaterial unicorn does not exist. This is how the terms atheist and agnostic apply in a classical sense. Tell me, what physical tests can you perform that yield data concerning a god's existence? If there aren't any, then one cannot claim to know anything about a god's existence. You say that an agnostic is basically saying: And then you proceed to deconstruct this using an example that considers physical observation techniques on physical data. Your next example does not contain knowledge in the way in which it is defined in the case of agnosticism. Knowledge, defined appropriately for a discussion on agnosticism, must be attainable by demonstrating or observing a physical phenomenon. If God is a metaphysical entity then we cannot demonstrate or observe his existence in a physical way. If God can be observed in a physical way then we must change the definition of God from a metaphysical one to a physical one which requires an adjustment of the agnostics position because the nature of God's existence become knowable. So perhaps a more proper definition of agnosticism is that the truth value of certain claims are unknowable until a physical methodology becomes available to consider them. That is certainly how I would describe my own agnosticism.
  11. That's funny that you call it the "AIG" of the global warming community...I call it the "talk origins" of the global warming community. lol.
  12. A.Sphere

    The Speed Of Light

    Well, we have a mathematical framework to calculate how matter and light travels through space-time (curved and flat). It is called General Relativity.
  13. A.Sphere

    The Speed Of Light

    Which is why you can't get very far in physics speculating without understanding the theories you are speculating about. The vast majority of the universe is empty. The vast majority of space-time is flat. Light from SN 1987a traveled from the LMC to here mostly through flat space-time. Any minor perturbations from flat space-time would be insignificant in calculating the time it took get from there to here. Space-time is warped around masses! The majority of the universe has a flat space-time topology because the majority of the universe is empty. Most mass isn't large enough to cause serious deviation to a photon's path through space-time to worry about it in calculations. It’s only when light passes by a black hole that we have to worry about it. Even then there are methods for including this in our calculations that are well known. Which assumptions? Could you be very specific?
  14. A.Sphere

    The Speed Of Light

    Umm...okay. Care to explain why?
  15. In my post I said: I stated this because many posters on this thread seem to think the debate is global warming vs. not warming but it is really global warming due to human activity vs. global warming due to nature. I wasn't arguing for or against either position. However, your post above contains many arguments that aren't really true. Check out: http://www.astronomynotes.com/solarsys/s11b.htm This link contains links to other pages with discussions on common skeptic arguments and why they are wrong.

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