All articles with the Conversation tag


A conversation regarding “intelligent design”

76 Comments
Posted October 22nd, 2008 in Biology. Tags: , , , , , .

This conversation began when I posted an inflammatory essay about creationism on Slashdot. I was pleasantly surprised with the sophistication of The Famous Brett Watson‘s arguments, and he later agreed to let me display this debate online (edited for clarity) to rescue it from being buried in the Slashdot archives. (more…)

A conversation regarding origins

13 Comments
Posted November 20th, 2008 in Philosophy. Tags: , , , , .

Reythia says:

Let me ask a question to all you atheists out there: if some sort of God didn’t create the universe (or at least the laws behind it), then what did? How did our universe get here? And, by the way, the answer, “It’s always existed,” isn’t an answer at all. After all, that’s the same as saying, “God’s always existed,” and if a good atheist can’t believe that, then he shouldn’t believe “the universe’s always existed” anymore!

It wasn’t exactly aimed at me, but I love the sound of my own voice/keyboard so much that I couldn’t resist answering. (more…)

A conversation regarding the “electric universe”

167 Comments
Posted March 28th, 2009 in Astronomy. Tags: , , , , , .

Marble and I have previously discussed creationism and evolution, but our conversation later centered on a non-standard cosmology known as plasma cosmology (popularized as the “Electric Universe”). (more…)

Abrupt climate change

751 Comments
Posted July 19th, 2009 in Physics. Tags: , , , , , , .

One part of a recent survey caught my attention:

The strongest correlate of opinion on climate change is partisan affiliation. Two-thirds of Republicans (67%) say either that the Earth is getting warmer mostly because of natural changes in the atmosphere (43%) or that there is no solid evidence the Earth is getting warmer (24%). By contrast, most Democrats (64%) say the Earth is getting warmer mostly because of human activity. … The divide is even larger when party and ideology are both taken into consideration. Just 21% of conservative Republicans say the Earth is warming due to human activity, compared with nearly three-quarters (74%) of liberal Democrats. [Pew Research Center] (Skip to videos, data, index.)

In other words, most of the general public appears to believe that the existence of abrupt climate change A large-scale change in the climate system that takes place over a few decades or less, persists (or is anticipated to persist) for at least a few decades, and causes substantial disruptions in human and natural systems. (formerly known as anthropogenic ‘Human-caused’ global warming) is a question of politics rather than science. (more…)

Arguing about DRM

2 Comments
Posted November 13th, 2008 in Politics. Tags: , .

The following question about Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) was posed on Slashdot by laxcat:

Would someone please explain what exactly is wrong with DRM? If you have a problem with the concept of copyrights in general, then I can understand. But is there anyone out there that is cool with copyrights, but thinks DRM is bad?

I’m not trying to be an apologist for the corporations. I know they don’t care about the art or the artist, only money. That’s a given. But do they not have a right to protect their intellectual property? Are the detractors of DRM against the concept of intellectual property altogether?

The way I see it there is nothing wrong with the concept of DRM, only with the abuse of DRM. Is this a “slippery slope” argument?

I’m serious in my plea here. Someone please fill me in on what I am missing!

I couldn’t resist answering, and the ensuing discussion quickly became… lively. (more…)

Arguing with atheists about Einstein

22 Comments
Posted November 12th, 2008 in Philosophy. Tags: , , , , .

I once noticed a (presumed) atheist make the following statement during an unrelated discussion about Buckminster Fuller:

Fuller did contribute some interesting stuff but some of his ideas were unworkable. That’s pretty common for most contributors/geniuses. Look at Einstein: some cool research, but he was highly disruptive in other areas (eg. quantum mechanics or putting religious beliefs before science).

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Einstein was one of my childhood heroes so I wasn’t about to let that go unchallenged: (more…)

Outlive the stars

5 Comments
Posted July 22nd, 2012 in Relativity 3. Tags: , , , .

Reythia asked me to write something uplifting, so I copied a recent conversation about general relativity and hypothetical sources of energy. (more…)

Quantum entanglement and parallel universes

6 Comments
Posted October 23rd, 2008 in Quantum 2. Tags: , , , .

In 2007 I noticed a confusing post on Slashdot quoting from an article claiming that the no cloning theorem prevented entangled particles from being used for faster-than-light (FTL) communication. I had never heard of any FTL implications of the no cloning theorem, so I responded to this post to see if a less-dumb scientist could explain this connection to me (incidentally, I’m still waiting- someone please educate me!).

While the resulting conversation didn’t shed any light on the purported FTL implications of the no cloning theorem, DrVomact asked a question that eventually led to an enjoyable discussion (edited for clarity) about quantum entanglement and parallel universes. (more…)

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