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Jamie123 last won the day on February 3

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About Jamie123

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    General annoyance
  • Birthday 10/03/1964

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  1. Jamie123

    Asking for trials?

    Remember also the Lord's prayer: "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil". Not "lead us into temptation so we can have the glory of resisting it".
  2. Absolutely. A lot of people assume that scientific theories are held on the basis of social or religious (or irreligious) beliefs. A creationist will tell you that the theory of evolution stems from a wish to belief that mankind is "nothing special" - just the end result of a mindless physical process, with no more ultimate importance than a crab or a rock - and therefore has no responsibilities. Similarly our rules of morality are "nothing special" either - just irrational herd instincts which our intellect has outgrown and which we can ignore whenever we find them inconvenient. In Smith's view, Copernicanism and relativity are corollaries of this: Earth is "nothing special" - just one of many bodies in space, moving according to mechanical laws. All motion is relative. Even acceleration is relative: the centrifugal force you feel by going into one of those fairground centrifuge things (you know the sort of thing I mean) is no more the result of your spinning than it is the gravitational action of the universe spinning around you. (Although Smith does invoke Mach's principle himself, he does so as a kind of reductio ad absurdum to show the Einstein/Copernicus model as a house divided.) The universe has no absolute frame of reference - no centre - no God. I can understand this from someone like Kent Hovind, who has no real science to speak of, who develops his real arguments on an ethico-religious basis and then cherry picks quotes from National Geographic to give them a credibility. (Though having said that, Hovind is for all his faults an ardent heliocentrist.) I'm reminded too of C.S. Lewis' book "Miracles". (By the way, if you want to read the book, beware of Chapter 3, which Lewis rewrote after Elizabeth Anscombe trashed his original argument in 1948. Lewis left nothing to chance in his rewrite. If you can slog your way through Chapter 3, it gets easier from then onwards.) In Chapter 7, he addresses modern arguments against Christianity on the basis of the size of the universe. Everyone knows nowadays that the Earth is very small in relation to the cosmos, but assume that the ancients did not know this. Diagrams of the Ptolemaic universe like this don't exactly help: No serious pre-Copernican astronomer (least of all Ptolemy himself) would have considered this diagram "to scale". They knew full well that the Earth had no significant size in comparison to the stellar sphere. They knew this because no parallax is ever observed in the constellations as the Earth rotates. (Or I should say "as the stars rotate around the Earth.) The Earth was "a mathematical point". Even in the 13th Century, Roger Bacon (who would have firmly believed in geocentrism) said something like (sorry I can't find the exact quote): "the least of the stars is greater than the Earth". And he was absolutely right. Lewis says of this: and a bit later on I don't agree. I think the idea of the Earth, however small, being in the centre with everything else rotating around it if anything accentuates its importance. Imagine a country in which everyone is a giant apart from the king, who is a three-foot midget. Imagine all the giant courtiers bowing and scraping to him and trembling at his every word. Would you not think that the position of that dwarf makes him more exalted than the biggest of all the giants, who's 10 foot tall and serves as a stepping-stool for the king to mount his horse? It's the same I think with Wolfgang Smith's concept geocentrism. As an image it fits rather well with Christianity. Mankind as the pinnacle of God's creation: small for sure, but central. Physical centrality an expression for its centrality in God's love. But I think its only useful as an image.
  3. This thread... Quantum stuff is scary - General Discussion - ThirdHour ...inspired me to finish reading the book "Physics and Vertical Causality" which I mentioned before. I finished it this morning, so I'll say a few words about it now. Firstly I'll admit I'm a tad less enamoured of Wolfgang Smith than I was after reading "The Quantum Enigma". I'm tempted to say he's going a bit senile, but (as Treebeard said) "let's not be hasty". These are my initial comments: The first half of the book isn't that much different from the earlier one: a bit more metaphysical maybe - for example he talks about the "powers of the soul" - but nothing he wasn't heavily hinting at earlier. It was in the chapter "The War on Design" that I began to think Smith had crossed a boundary. He argues that Einsteinian Physics and Darwinism are essentially the same thing - a wrong interpretation of the evidence in order to fit an ideological framework. You could describe this framework as: (1) There's nothing special about the Planet Earth, and (2) There's nothing special about mankind. He claims here that at the time of the Michelson-Morley experiment, the idea that the Copernicus/Galileo idea (Earth just another planet moving in space) was so entrenched, that it occurred to no one to accept its most obvious implication - namely that the Earth really is stationary and the heavens revolve around it. When I wanted to yell at him about Foucault's pendulum and the Coriolis effect, he dismisses anything of that sort on the next page with a brief reference to Mach's principle. (Which he summarises with words to the effect that "you can never know whether you are rotating or whether the universe is rotating around you.) I'm very much less than convinced: Mach's principle isn't even a principle - it's a conjecture. Moreover its a conjecture that has never even been properly defined. As I understand it, there are hundreds of different conflicting versions of it. So by using Mach's principle as his get-out-of-jail-free card, I suspect Wolfgand Smith is guilty of exactly the same sin as he accuses all other scientists of committing. Now this bit is interesting: he backs up his "neo-geocentrism" by talking about the so-called "Axis of Evil". This is nothing to do with world politics, but a line in the cosmic microwave background radiation which (so Smith claims) is aligned with the Earth's ecliptic. I've Googled around this topic, and there is some truth to this - this line was discovered in the early 2000's, and was initially dismissed as experimental error. However, the "axis" has reappeared in a several more recent surveys of the microwave background. To listen to Wolfgang Smith, you'd think there was a conspiracy to hide this on the part of some "anti-geocentrist" lobby. And bearing in mind I'd never heard this before, despite being a subscriber to Physics World, I wonder... After all this, the book drags on for another 40-or-so pages, building on the assumptions that Copernicanism, relativity and evolution have all been disproven. His penultimate chapter is all about what he calls the "cosmic icon" - tying it in with astrology, the Vedas of ancient India and Jesus' parables. Interesting, but less so when you've seen the foundation it's all built upon. The spell was broken for me when he claims to disprove Einstein. If he thinks that Occam's razor comes down in favour of geocentrism on the basis of the Michelson-Morley experiment, there's an easy enough test for that: build a Michelson interferometer and put it on board a fast aircraft and fly it in lots of different directions. If you fail to detect any changes in c, Smith's logic would lead you to assume that the plane was the centre of the universe and that the world, solar system and universe rotated around it. And if someone had done such an experiment (I can't believe no one has) and found that c changed - then I think we'd know about it! To be fair though, he does claim (though without giving much in the way of evidence) that data from GPS satellites prove him right: that signals from approaching satellites travel faster than those from receding ones - but he's convinced that this was "hushed up" by "Copernicus conspirators". Wolfgang Smith is no Kent Hovind: he is quite a distinguished physicist, and a former MIT professor. This puzzles me greatly. Is he really a crazy tin-foil-hat-bonkers conspiracy theorist? Or have I just merely misunderstood him? The jury is out.
  4. Jamie123

    Charity: Feeling jaded on charity

    I remember many years ago reading a book by Phillip Yancey about the subject of Grace. There was a chapter about "the abuse of grace" where he talks about a man on death row who gave the following rationale: he really wanted to kill himself, but as a Catholic he thought that all suicides went to hell. So instead he murdered someone else in order to be executed. That way he would get what he wanted, and would still have time enough to repent before he died, and thus go to heaven. I don't know how God would sort this out, but from our perspective it would be more of a punishment not to execute him
  5. Jamie123

    Charity: Feeling jaded on charity

    Haha - THANKS I remember Loudmouth Mormon - I probably did know at one time that NeuroTypical was the same person, but I had long forgotten - I am so used to seeing him as NeuroTypical.
  6. Jamie123

    Charity: Feeling jaded on charity

    Hmmm...I really want to know what the comment was now! 😁
  7. Jamie123

    Charity: Feeling jaded on charity

    You could have said in a loud and sarcastic voice: "Oh, that's quite all right! No trouble at all! Pray don't mention it! If there's ever anything else I can do for you..." and kept on in this tone until they finally said "thank you". Unfortunately these things never occur to me until after the event. I usually just fume in silence, and then rant about it later to wife/family/friends etc.
  8. Jamie123

    Blue Ponds in Utah Desert

    Plus the potassium must have been in the soil to begin with, otherwise how would it have got into the trees? Cut out the middle-man!
  9. Jamie123

    Blue Ponds in Utah Desert

    I remember the chemistry teacher at school showing us what happened when you dropped little bits of potassium into water. (It never did quite what that guy's experiment did though!) Some kids (not me I hasten to add, polishing my halo) used to steal sodium and potassium from the chemistry lab and throw it into puddles during recess. That was quite easy to do in those days; we were often left unsupervised in the lab, with chemicals (even bottles of nitric acid) on the shelves. Kids used to dip their pencils into it to see them smoke. It's not the same now. At my daughter's school not even the teachers (let alone the kids!) are allowed near dangerous chemicals without orders signed in triplicate (queried, lost, found, subjected to public enquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for six months and recycled as firelighters). Every chemical cabinet has two locks, which require two different keys from two different teachers. It's exactly like the guys in the Air Force who authorize missile launches. And if the two teachers don't turn their keys at exactly the same moment, the alarm goes off and the entire school is sealed in concrete and dropped into the middle of the Atlantic ocean.
  10. Jamie123

    Simpler Vocabulary

    It says that video is unavailable. Is it mirrored somewhere else? On the subject of "mirrored", I once had to write a poem for English class at school. I was about 11 or 12 at the time, and I decided to make the poem about a fireworks display we'd recently seen beside a lake. I showed it to my dad, who absolutely insisted I change the line "All reflected in the lake" to "All mirrored in the lake" - since "mirrored" was "a better word". I expressed my doubt that "mirrored" was even a real word, but my father assured me it was, and I should use it 'coz it would impress the teacher. I disagreed: even if "mirrored" was a word, I thought "reflected" worked better. "All reflected in the lake" is a trochaic tetrameter* - I didn't know that term back then, but I liked the rhythm of it. I also liked the repetition of the hard "k" sound. So I secretly changed it back to "reflected" before passing the poem in. *Well almost. It's missing a syllable at the end. A proper trochaic tetrameter would be Longfellow: "On the shores of Gitche Gumee". Mine was more like Roald Dahl: "All the Grobes come oozing home." (P.S. I've just looked it up: the proper word for that is a "catalectic".)** **You can tell I really don't want to get down to work, can't you?
  11. Jamie123

    "Disguised as Dining Chairs"

    Yep...the eyes and the eyebrows certainly were creepy, but the smiling mouth and the suggestion of pudgy cheeks offset this. Somewhat. Nevertheless, I wouldn't be surprised if he got taken off the air because of irate parents complaining about sleepless nights spent comforting kids who'd had nightmares about "Henry".
  12. Jamie123

    Simpler Vocabulary

    Reminds me a bit of: The joke is lost if you don't know about Waterloo Station in London.
  13. Jamie123

    Simpler Vocabulary

    My dad talks about the same problem: he can't spell for toffee, but he's nevertheless a walking dictionary. When he was a young man, people would ask him why he insisted on using such obscure words, or accuse him of "showing off" with them. This always irritated him because - from his perspective - he was not "showing off", but making optimum use of the English language. English is so rich - a very educated person (like my father) can use that richness to great advantage - but only if he's talking to another very educated person. To someone with a poor vocabulary, it does come across (unfairly) as "swank". There are a lot of English words which mean almost - but not quite - the same thing. Why for instance do we have the word "contrition" when we already have "remorse"? Those words are close enough in meaning to be confused with each other, but they are subtly different. A remorseful person is merely regretful of the wrong he has done, but does not necessarily have any intention to do better. A contrite person is regretful, but in a positive way - he wants to put things right. (Some people say that "contrition" and "remorse" mean the same thing but in different contexts: "contrition" belongs to religion and "remorse" to the law. I disagree: I think lawyers and judges and rehabilitationists use the word "remorse" wrongly. They ought to say "contrition".)
  14. Announcing my new avatar: Helping Henry! Henry - the talking dining chair from outer space - was a kids' TV show from the 1980s. Most people don't believe it ever existed. But it did. I know because I can remember watching it. I'm not lying and I didn't dream it, and the Internet has now proven me right! So there! This was the theme song: So there you have it. Henry (or N3) was sent to Earth observe the humans from the unobtrusive perspective of a dining room chair. He often talked - blinking his creepy eyes, moving his wooden eyebrows up and down and gesticulating with his "arms". Oddly enough he couldn't walk on his "legs" and had to rely on a little boy (the only human who knew about him) to push him around the room. At the end of every episode he reported his "findings" to his superiors (a blatant rip-off of Mork and Mindy) who appeared in the room as coloured floating clouds. His observations on humanity were always wildly off the mark. Aliens in the dining room, disguised as chairs...makes you wonder about quantum mechanics, don't you think? P.S. Youtube has it: Helping Henry TV Series 1988, compilation reel - YouTube
  15. Jamie123

    What the Heck Just Happened?

    Perhaps it turned into a wave! 😯