## Monday, 27 September 2010

### What Makes You So Special?

[Edit. This article has now been greatly expanded into my book, What Makes You So Special? : From the Big Bang to You, available in paperback or ebook for Kindle]

Bear with me a while because yours is a long story but it's a story very much worth telling.

About 13.7 billion years ago the universe came into existence as a singularity. We know this because the universe is expanding in all directions at a measurable rate. Projecting this backwards leads to a time when the entire universe occupied a single point of nearly infinite density; a black hole or singularity.

We also know that time and space are part of the universe and do not exist independently of it, so there is no sense in which we can talk of where and when this singularity occurred in some pre-existing space-time dimension.

Quantum mechanics tells us that a single particle takes all possible paths through space-time. What we see as a wave is the resultant sum over histories for that particle. The shape of the wave is the probability distribution of that particle occupying any single point in space-time.

So it was for the singularity. It was not a single universe which came into existence but all possible universes, each with its own set of initial conditions – what scientists call quantum foam.

Some of these universes would have decayed immediately; some may have existed for a few milliseconds; some maybe for longer, and some, like our universe, would have had initial conditions which allowed it to expand rapidly under the outward pressure of forces from which gravity had been stripped.

We know that there is a minimum unit of space, (the Planck length). There is also a minimum length of time (the Planck time) 10-43 seconds (10 to the power of -43 or 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000001 of a second). This means that immediately the universe came into existence it was already 10-43 seconds old. This time, for our universe, was enough for gravity to be stripped off from the other three forms of energy – weak and strong nuclear forces and electromagnetic force – which are the forms of energy of which, in one manifestation or another our universe is composed.

Why did all this happen? Why did quantum foam form in the first place and so a universe in which we can ask questions arise? The answer need be nothing more complicated than a quantum fluctuation. At the quantum level there is no such thing as an absolute; all things fluctuate within a range of probabilities which is actually unbounded. At the quantum level all possible events will occur. If it is possible it WILL happen. And of course, in order for us to be asking these questions in the first place there MUST be a universe in which to ask them, and this universe MUST be capable of containing intelligent life capable of asking such questions.

In this universe all observations confirm that gravity is equal to the sum of the other three forms of energy and that, if gravity is the opposing form of the other three, the grand total of energy in the universe is zero. In total energy terms the universe is nothing.

And here we have answered three question which are often thrown at science by those who have never tried to understand it; by theologians and philosophers who struggle to understand why there is a universe instead of nothing, how a universe could come from nothing and why it appears to be 'fine tuned' for the existence of life.

Quantum foam explains all these things and removes any gaps in which those seeking to include one in the explanation can fit their favourite god. There is no need for a 'prime cause' and so no need for a prime causer.

Creationists may wish to breathe a huge sigh of relief at this point because it removes the obligation on them to explain the origins of their assumed creator without invoking a sub-prime cause, ad infinitum, so rendering absurd their prime cause hypothesis. Something which has caused them huge embarrassment and lead to all manner of increasingly ludicrous attempts to work around the problem and still retain the prime-cause hypothesis whilst simultaneously destroying it.

But let's leave creationists to come to terms with the destruction of their favourite hypothesis and the simultaneous relief from the embarrassment of it. Your story now moves on to what happened to all that energy which was made available.

About one ten thousandth of a second after the Big Bang, energy was electromagnetic radiation in the form of high-energy photons. At this stage the universe’s density would have been about a hundred trillion times as dense as water with a temperature of about 1 trillion degrees Celsius. In these extreme conditions, photons would have been moving with enormous energy but would hardly travel any distance before smashing into each other. The collision force would have been enough to create more elementary particles such as neutrons which would then have been smashed again to produce protons and electrons. But things were changing rapidly.

When the universe was just one second old its density had fallen to about 380,000 times that of water, its temperature was down to about ten billion degrees. The number of neutrons now being destroyed exceeded the number being created since photons were still powerful enough to smash them but lacked the energy to create new ones.

At about three minutes old the temperature was down to about a billion degrees (seventy times as hot as the sun) and the rate of change was also slowing.

If the universe had remained in that state for just a few more minutes, all the neutrons would have decayed to protons and electrons, and that would have been that. In some of the universe’s histories in the quantum foam, this is indeed what will have happened, but in this particular history, the one in which we live and ask questions about its origins, and maybe in an unknown number of other histories, the temperature cooled enough for some neutrons to stick to protons to form helium nuclei (or alpha particles). Neutrons had become stabilised and your universe entered its next phase.

We were just a few minutes away from never having existed!

This phase lasted for several hundred thousand years during which it was still too hot for the electrons to stick to the protons and alpha particles to form atoms. Instead they were free to zig-zag about in the expanding and slowly cooling universe, interacting with the electromagnetic radiation which still filled the universe. This final phase of the Big Bang continued until the next major change which occurred some 300,000 to 500,000 years after the beginning when the universe had cooled to a mere 6,000 degrees, or about the same temperature as the surface of the sun. At this temperature, negatively charged electrons become captured by positively charged protons and alpha particles to form electrically neutral atoms of hydrogen and helium respectively. Your universe had given birth to atoms.

The birth of atoms marks the end of the Big Bang and the beginning of atomic matter as we know and understand it. Moreover, since these neutrally charged particles hardly interact with electromagnetic radiation, the universe had become transparent. Photons were now free to stream almost uninterrupted through the universe and atoms were free to clump together under the influence of their own gravity, undisturbed by photons continually stirring them up and knocking them into different paths so ensuring a chaotic distribution of atoms. So clouds of gas could form in an otherwise amorphous universe. The universe was becoming grainy as centres of gravitational attraction were forming; structure was beginning to form under the influence of nothing more complicated than gravity.

Order was forming out of chaos and the whole process was inevitable. And now we have answered another question frequently asked of science, especially by Creationists pursuing a religious agenda. How did order come from chaos? The answer is quite simple - gravity.

Your story now moves on to the story of stars which are the end-point of collapsing clouds of hydrogen and helium, then the only atoms which exist in your still young universe. Under gravity, the gas clouds collapse and release some of the energy stored up in gravity to produce heat, so the collapsing gas clouds heat up. The rate of collapse increases as more and more atoms of gas are pulled towards the centre and, as more and more mass is added, so the gravity increases.

Clusters of stars form into galaxies of billions or trillions of stars which begin to spiral inwards towards a centre of gravity and, as the rate of collapse increases so the rate of rotation also increases until the centrifugal force tending to push bodies outwards equals the gravitational (centripetal) force tending to pull them inwards. Once again a degree of order is emerging in your universe from the chaos of unevenly distributed balls of collapsing gas clouds. A new structure is inevitably being imposed on the universe by the action of a simple forces on chaos and that force is once again gravity. And a third level or order is also emerging as galaxies form super-cluster.

But your story is still being written in the centres of these young suns. The precise details will depend on the size of the original gas cloud out of which the sun was formed. All suns will follow more or less the same process but what happens at the end of their life, and how quickly that end is reached will vary. Let us take a sun rather like our own in size and about which we know rather a lot and which is known to be a rather average sun. Gravity here has produced a temperature of around fifteen million degrees Celsius and hydrogen nuclei (or protons) are being forced together to form helium nuclei and releasing energy as they do so in a huge nuclear fusion reactor.

This process will continue until the star has used up all the hydrogen in its core, where the temperature is hot enough for the fusion reaction to proceed. At that point, with no energy being produced and so nothing pushing the helium outwards, the core will undergo a further collapse forcing helium atoms to fuse together to form carbon, and the temperature will rise to one hundred million degrees Celsius. The outer layer will swell enormously and dim so that the sun will become a red giant.

Eventually the helium supply will run out too and, in a final cataclysm, the core will collapse in one more time and carbon atoms will fuse to form larger atoms in a final, short-lived burst of activity, and a release of energy so violent it will force the sun to fly apart to form a super nova, the products of its reactor being thrown out into space to form interstellar dust and, together with hydrogen and helium, a new cloud out of which second generation suns will form, but clouds which now containing heavier elements than the hydrogen and helium out of which first generation stars were formed.

Not all suns have this ending. If they are large enough they will continue to collapse under their own gravity eventually forming a singularity with a gravity field so powerful that not even photons can escape it. They will form black holes and, at that local level, gravity will have regained control and that part of the universe will again be nothing. And it will be a suitable place for another quantum foam of universes to arise, each with its own space and time existing outside our universe.

Some stars may be too large to form red giants and supernovae and too small to become black holes. These will collapse to a density in which all atoms again break down and all electrons and protons are forced together to form neutrons. The neutron stars.

But your story continues not in a super-massive star destined to be a black hole or a massive star destined to become a spinning ball of super-dense neutrons. Your sun is a second or maybe third generation sun. It was formed from a collapsing cloud of gas and interstellar star dust formed in earlier suns and containing the elements with which you will be made; the carbon, nitrogen, sulphur and oxygen in your proteins; the iron in your blood, the phosphorus and calcium in your bones; the sodium and potassium in your cells. You are made of stardust, formed in nuclear fusion reactors and exploding supernovae out of the elementary particles formed out of pure energy during the Big Bang.

But we still have a few chapters of your story to tell. Your story now moves to the formation of this solar system centred on a rather ordinary star in an outer arm of an unremarkable galaxy in a cosmos containing perhaps a trillion galaxies each with maybe a trillion suns. This chapter begins about 4 billion years ago by which time the universe was about 10 billion years old.

 Relief Map of the Moon Showing Impact Craters
As the rotating cloud of gas and dust collapsed to form a new sun, the heavier elements would have been thrown outwards again as the nuclear fusion machine switched on. These would have formed a disc of debris consisting of atoms and molecules of heavier elements which would have begun to condense around stable centres orbiting the sun – a so-called accretion disc. Radiant energy from the sun would have driven the lighter gasses further out so that the outer planets are gas giants consisting mostly of gases with a rocky core and the inner planets are rocky. The accretion process was by no means a steady gradual process but, as clumps of matter grew larger so the impacts of accretion grew larger. On bodies like the moon and Mars with their stable outer layers, we can see the craters which resulted from the impacts of large bodies such as asteroids.

One collision involving Earth early in the life of the solar system was with a very large object, possibly a small planet, which tilted Earth on its axis of rotation and threw enough material out of Earth's gravity to give rise to a small accretion disc of its own. The relatively large Moon was formed out of this debris. For all practical purposes the Earth and Moon form a twin planet, formed out of the remains of these two earlier planets.

This event had huge significance for your story. The tilt of Earth’s axis has produced seasons and the close proximity of another relatively large body has produced tides. It is probable that both these contribute to Earth being a suitable place on which life could exist. But we still have another chapter in your story to tell.

About 3.5 billion years ago, on this little planet orbiting a very ordinary sun situated on an outer arm of a very ordinary galaxy, something quite extraordinary happened. We don’t know exactly how, though we have several theories, and we don’t know if it was unique. It might well have happened on other planets in other galaxies maybe a trillion times but, as the distances between galaxies and even across galaxies are so vast, we may never find out.

Here on our tiny bright blue dot, a replicator arose. A replicator is a chemical which can produce copies of itself. We don’t know exactly what the first replicator was; one theory is that it may have been crystalline structures in clay; another is that it may have been ribonucleic acid (RNA). It is generally agreed that RNA came into it fairly early on, maybe from the outset, maybe riding on the back of some other chemical in an evolutionary process in which those replicators better at replicating will produce more descendants. There are still some organisms like viruses which depend on RNA and RNA is certainly still involved even where the main genetic material is deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). However this replicator started, it seems to have fairly quickly evolved into a DNA-based one.

For a general outline of what probably happened, see How Did Life Originate.

Each of your cells, with the exception of your red blood cells, contains DNA which contains all the instructions for making you and making the protein enzymes which control your body’s metabolism. DNA is organised into genes which carry instructions. Without going into detail (whole books are devoted to how DNA works as a store for information and how it is organised into genes, but the details are very well understood), these genes are the basic building blocks of life and are the replicators which carry your information from your parents, through you and into your children. Your story is the story of your genes which, over billions of years have built survival machines for replicating themselves through time. You are a gene survival machine with a body superbly fashioned to survive and reproduce and so pass on your genes to the next generation.

Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, every hopeful child, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

Carl Sagan
Replicators are very good at replicating but occasionally they produce slightly different copies of themselves and these slight differences give rise to slight variations between individuals. Some of these will make the individual less fitted to survive and some will make it more fitted; the vast majority however will make no noticeable difference as they take place in the accumulated redundant DNA which all organisms contain.

Where the variation makes a difference, however, the environment will determine whether it gives an advantage or a disadvantage, or, in fact makes no difference in terms of success, even where there is a difference. It will tend to select for individuals carrying genes which make it more able to survive and against those less able. Those which tend to survive will tend to produce more descendants, in that environment, and those descendants will inherit the advantageous genes. Natural selection acts like a sieve at each generation tending to filter out those characteristics which act against survival and allowing through those which enhance it. In this way the gene pool of a species tends to adapt to its local environment and, where the gene pool is split amongst several different environments, tends to produce diversity. Diversity will eventually lead to speciation if separation is maintained for long enough.

So what does this mean for you and your story? You are the end-point of your own genes' evolution. You are the descendant of survivors, each of whom bred successfully and never once failed – for 3.5 billion years!

Think about that for a moment. In a world in which, for very many individuals, an early death and failure to breed were by far the most likely outcome, not one single one of your ancestors failed to produce at least one offspring. If they had failed, your gene-line would have ended there and then.

You are the product of billions of passes through the sieve of selection and at every pass your gene-line passed the fitness test. You are good at surviving; and you are unique in the history of the cosmos. The likelihood of you being alive at all is almost vanishingly small and yet here you are. Never before has anyone with your individual combination of genes, your individual collection of atoms and your history existed.

And you never will again.

Your ancestors were there when Europe and Africa split off from the Americas. They were there as small mammal-like reptiles when dinosaurs ruled the earth. They saw pterodactyls flying overhead. They survived the mass-extinction which ended the dinosaurs reign.

Your ancestors swam in the pre-Cambrian seas and crawled out onto the land as early air-breathing fish destined to become land-based animals. Your ancestors lived through the Carboniferous era when dense forests of tree ferns grew in steaming jungles where dragonflies with meter-wide wings flew. The trees then fell and formed the deposits destined to be coal as the climate changed. They saw the first flowering plants as plants and insects formed their mutual-benefit society.

Your ancestors lived through the first great toxic waste disaster when the blue-green algae produced oxygen and triggered a mass extinction; and they learned to turn it to their advantage by evolving aerobic respiration.

Your ancestors were bacteria; they were archaea; they may have been the strange Ediacarans which were the earliest known multi-cellular organisms. In almost every one of your cells, in your genes, you carry a record of your evolution, of the entire human evolution story, and of a great deal of the evolution story of every other living thing.

Your journey through space and time has been an adventure of disasters, adaptation, survival and recovery, many, many time you will have been on the brink of extinction - the fate of 99% of all known ancient species - yet your ancestors survived and because they were good at surviving you are here and now.

You will live for a mere flash in the time-scale of the universe but in the vast darkness of the cosmos there can surely be few flashes as bright as your bright spark of consciousness.

Be proud. Be very proud. But at the same time be humbled by the enormity of the events which produced you and the fragility of it all.

Stars died and because they died, you live. You are made by stars out of stardust and in a very real sense, because you are made of the same stuff the universe is made of and are a part of it, there is something even more wonderful about you. Through you, though not just through you, and maybe not just here on this small planet, the universe has gained self awareness and can begin to understand itself. Through you it can stand on the surface of this beautiful little jewel in the cosmos, can look up in awe at itself and think "Wow!"

You’re special. You are unique and you were nearly 14 billion years in the making.

That’s your story. Enjoy it while it lasts.

And please bear in mind also that every other human being; every mammal; every bird, insect, spider, fish, or worm; every plant; indeed, every other living thing, has made the same journey you have made. Each is unique and the descendant of survivors. Each has an unbroken gene-line going right back to the first replicator. They are your relatives. Like you they are part of the whole web of interdependent things we call life on earth.

To end their life will end their gene-line for the first and only time in the history of the universe. Something which has taken nearly 14 billion years to produce and 3.5 billion years to perfect will have been extinguished forever.

Each of them is worthy of respect and each of them deserves the one opportunity to experience life that chance has given them.

Life is too rare, precious and wonderful a thing to take lightly.

1. Wow "R" totally epic. Some how I don't think that peeps that think we/you/me/us are special because (nonexistent) God loves us will read this post. I think atheist/skeptic bloggers are special. Thanks.

Kriss

2. Really great post.

3. Echoes of Carl. Spectacularly clear.

4. I really enjoyed that, Rosa, excellently written. Such a shame if at least a few theists don't get to read it through to the end. It is that awareness of the immense good fortune that we have to experience wonder at the universe and beyond, with eyes firmly open and without rose-tinted glasses to obscure vision, that gives us a profound perspective few believers ever experience. Sadly.

5. Thanks Ray. That's flattery indeed.

6. Thanks Robert. The real crime of religion is that it makes people satisfied with easy answers and so deprives them of the joy of discovering the magnificence of the universe and of this little jewel called Earth.

1. True, and you just wrote a memorable quote right there. Big fan overnight!
@incrediblenurse

7. errr... mathematical notation correction.

10 ^-43 is a ONE after 43 zeroes past the decimal point, not a 43 after 43 zeroes:

0.00000000000000000000000000000000000000000001

8. Plumb. Opps! Of course, you're right. Thanks for pointing that out. Now corrected.

9. That last part got me. I cried. I will never step another spider again. (This may require therapy... but perspective, wow... how dare I end the life of something just as special as me. Geeze, I'm still crying! This really got to me.)

I will share this with anyone open minded enough to read it. It makes perfect and wonderful sense. Thank you so much for sharing this, Rosa. :)

Will there be a part 2? I'd love to know the story from our "breed" of ape to what is now known as human. And are there other "breeds" of species that have evolved like us? Are we unique because we have an intellect (conscience) or are there other species that have changed as we have?

This post has inspired me to learn... you should be well proud of yourself, Rosa. :D

Vonnie (Evolution_Child)

10. Rosa what a B science fiction story you wrote. It’s full of speculations and farfetched imaginary stories which are purely gibberish that only a fool would want to believe so as to say God does not exist.

Rosa, you said, “Quantum mechanics tells us” and what you need to know is that “Quantum mechanics” doesn’t “tell us” anything. That’s right; “Quantum mechanics” can’t speak so it cannot “tell us’ anything. People tell us things because people can speak. So what you really are saying when you say, “Quantum mechanics tells is” is that “people tell us from their limited understanding of Quantum mechanics, that a single particle takes all possible paths through space-time.”

Rosa, from where did this “singularity” come which “you” say the universe derived? You do know that another word for “singularity” is “miracle” don’t you? Your sub-prime singularity, ad infinitum, renders absurd your prime cause hypothesis.

By far more faith required for someone to believe your rubbish Rosa than for me to believe in Christ Jesus.

11. Let’s face facts here, Victor. You don't know what you're talking about, do you.

I think your problem is that you're trying to force-fit reality into an ignorant Bronze Age goat-herder understanding of the world in order to justify subscribing to the morality of those self-same ignorant Bronze Age goat-herders.

I can appreciate how difficult it must be for you, having to work so hard to maintain the necessary level of ignorance, what with all the sources of information we have available to us today, and all the knowledge that science has amassed in the intervening 4000 years.

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13. Victor. I'm sorry you felt unable to discuss things in a civilised manner. It must be difficult trying to force-fit reality into a Bronze Age superstiton so I can understand your frustration.

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15. Stunning. Just absolutely stunning.

16. Thank you. From you that's praise indeed.

17. Victor. I have again removed an abusive post from you. If I need to do so again your access to this blog will be blocked. Please confine your comments to discussing the facts, logic and conclusions of the arguments and please read the whole blog before you complain that questions have not been answered.

18. That was awesome - in the true meaning of the word! I think you would enjoy watching "How Science saved my soul" by Phil Hellenes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6w2M50_Xdk

I also wonder about this whole concept of 'life' as in why some things are alive while others are inanimate. Let me reassure you here that I am not about to descend into some fantastical rationalisation for the existence of God!

Many years ago, I read an article by a medical scientist expressing amazement at the extraordinary statistics of live, healthy births. At that time at least (this is some years out of date and I'm not au fait with current theory) there simply was no explanation for why the overwhelming majority of babies breathed when they were born (though he focussed on human births he also mentioned that the same seemed to be true for all species) and the fact that so many of them did, even without the traditional slap, defied statistical probability. He said that he shared the view of many doctors at the time that it was linked in some way to what he loosely termed their 'life force'. But he added little to his decription of the term which has left me wondering about it ever since.

I'm inclined to think that this life force, if I may borrow his term, is all part of the extraordinary development of our universe and, for me, it's prompted some interesting thoughts on the non-material aspects of existence. While reading Dr Ian Stephenson's examination of the possibility of reincarnation, for example, I realised that this too was a concept that needed no unwarranted intrusion of some god thesis for it to have legitimacy and be a valid subject for scientific research. Dr Stephenson was, after all, a scientist first and foremost. I'm sure he too would have agreed that religion has, and for far too long, drastically curtailed thinking and severely diminished the true magnificence of this universe. As you have shown, the true history of the universe is far more awesome!

19. Babies breathe when they are born because of a set of reflexes initiated by temperature receptors located in the skin. The same reflexes cotrol closure of the ductus arteriosus so diverting blood through the pulmonary system. There is no mystery about this and no external 'magic' needed.

This reflex will have evolved gradually over time along with the evolution of placental mammals. Had it failed, the group as a whole would have failed to evolve. The fact that it works so reliably is because at every step in its evolution it was tested by the selection seive and passed every test. Of course we're good at it; our evolution ensured it.

Before discussing 'life' we need to define it. What do you mean by 'life'?

20. Well first, I should have done some research and updated myself so I wouldn't feel quite so embarrassed right now. Ah, well, if I'm going to suffer from foot-in-mouth, I might as well shove both feet in for good measure and I certainly did that. I wish I could remember that article in much more detail but it was a long time ago. Nevertheless, I'm sure they would've had that information back then; what struck me about it was the article writer's statistical point of view - but you've given a completely commonsense answer to that. [*Smacks forehead* Of course it works; of course evolution would have ensured it - that's what evolution does! Idiot.]At least I didn't use the word 'magic' anywhere - it wouldn't have occurred to me to do so because I didn't consider that there was anything 'magical' about it.

As for what do I mean by 'life' I'm going to demur rather than suffer more soggy toes. I don't have the scientific expertise to feel in any way confident about tackling that. Scientifically, what is the definition of 'life'?

21. Absolutely wonderful, thank you for taking the time to write this

It was a shame the message could not get through to Mr Pearson, but if you take a look at his blog it becomes immediately apparent why.

22. Michelle. Life is actually hard to define because, for almost every characteristic of living things you can think of, nature will have evolved exceptions. Clearly, nature doesn't read the rule book and has no need to conform to human definitions.

About the best definition I've come up with is, "Life is the anatomy doing physiology".

So, when life ends, the physiology stops.

One fallacy which religious people like to perpetuate is that 'life' starts at some point during or after conception. Of course this is nonsense as many life forms do not have the equivalent of conception yet produce new living individuals. Also, where fertilization is invoved in reproduction, BOTH the gametes are alive BEFORE fertilization so there is no point at which 'life' starts in the reproductive cycle. What continues is the physiological process.

23. Thanks Rosa,I feel good after reading that and want to know more. Here, it's a beautiful day. I do appreciate you.
Pandorabalks

24. Good. I'm flattered. Thank you.

25. "Quantum mechanics tells us that a single particle takes all possible paths through space-time. What we see as a wave is the resultant sum over histories for that particle. The shape of the wave is the probability distribution of that particle occupying any single point in space-time." This is the bit that confuses me. Got a link where it's explained more fully?(quantum mechanics for dummies?)

26. Hmm...

You could Google Feynman sum over histories but the math is not for the faint-hearted (I don't pretend to understand it myself).

Google Quantum two slit experiment for an introduction to quantum duality.

Stephen Hawking's book, "The Grand Design", deals with it in fairly general lay terms and he mentions it in "The Universe in a Nutshell".

Jack Cohen & Ian Stewart also cover it in "The Collapse of Chaos".

27. Lisa, for a clear, almost complete, and math free explanation, read QED: The strange theory of light and matter by Richard Feynman. He takes your hand through very simple examples, that slowly by slowly reveal the beauty of the sum over histories concept, without math. The best thing is that he holds your hand, but does NOT carry you, so you have to think a little bit, but when you get the concept, you are like "Oh, my...quantum, that is so clear, why didn't I came up with this idea?".
Thanks Rose for the write up. And Victor...read "Mistakes were made, but not by me". Cognitive dissonance sounds like your middle name.

28. What a nice fairy-tale. Too bad there's no observable, non-controversial evindence to back up the majority of it (You can't even cite ONE, not one, documented case of macro evolution. Maybe you should review your "method"). It's mostly hypothetical unprovable blather. I'd love to see what book you copied and pasted that out of, though. It's amazing that you can actually believe all of that and call yourself an intellectual. If quantum fluctuations were randomly creating universes we'd see that going on still today. Maybe, you were to enthralled and taken by the big words to figure that out. You do realize that the Big Bang is a debunked theory right? The universe is expanding exponentially, not the other way around. BTW if you take the rate at which the sun is expanding and reverse it one million years, you've gone the distance from the outer perimeter of the sun to about eight feet from the earth. Maybe in finding something that verified all of your preconcieved biases you forgot how math works. In other words, if the sun were a mere one million years old, the earth would be a ball of fire... Idiot.

29. Greg. I thought you had flounced off.

>(You can't even cite ONE, not one, documented case of macro evolution.<

Except for the very long list which this blog has links to, of course: See Speciation.

I think we've got to the bottom of your problem now. It's ignorance caused by theophobic superstition which is causing your understanding to remain that of a primitive Bronze Age goat-herder in case a nasty magic spirit in the sky gets angry with you.

Unfortunately, as we can see, your ignorance and superstitious phobia makes you prey to the charlatans who live off people like you by selling them safe pseudo-science so they can avoid learning the real science which would cause them to doubt their superstition and make that nasty god angry.

To normal people, the person who believes an evidence-free notion that a magic man magicking everything by magic, is a better explanation than any of the theories science has, with all their supporting evidence, research findings, and experimental data, has something missing in the joined-up thinking department.

And of course, failing to see the idiocy of using a computer over the Internet to announce to the world that science is all wrong, and everything works by magic and is run by a magic sky pixie, simple reinforces that impression.

It's to overcome those sorts of phobias, superstitions and prejudices that I devised my honest method for converting Atheists.

Obviously it won't work for people too afraid to learn enough about reality to use it.

And then of course there is still your failure to explain away your use of the god of the gaps fallacy, the false dichotomy fallacy, the arguments from ignorance and personal incredulity fallacies, not to mention your obvious inability to explain why, even if we ignore all the fallacies and grant that a magic god WAS involved, why it should be your favourite god and no other.

But I don't suppose you phobia will even allow you to think about any of those things, let alone explain them away.

Can I remind you please that this blog is not just another vehicle for promulgating the traditional Liars For Jesus fallacies - there are plenty of sites dedicated to that as I'm sure you're aware. Please confine yourself in future to dealing politely with the subject of the blog. If you have nothing to say on the subject or feel unable to say it politely, my advice is to say nothing.

30. ROFL I'm not sure what links you're reffering to and frankly I really don't care. It's a known fact that macro evolution has never been observed OR proven. Anyone knows that. That's why it's called the THEORY of evolution. I have not once at any point used magic or mystery to explain anything, but only sound deduction and logical science. It's hilarious the level of delusion you live in, projecting your own persona onto myself and other believers. It is clearly you who are trapped by your phobia of seeking actual science rather than the made-up fairy tales you adhere to. I haven't even once mentioned Jesus or quoted anything out of the Bible. The reason you accuse me of such things can only be because you are blinded by your own bias, prejudice, and ignorance. If you actually believe that macro evolution has been physically proven, thean you truly no nothing about science. Even secularists know that it hasn't. Show me where I have spoken of magic or magical beings. I have merely theorized a force that acts outside of physical law. Exactly what you have defined as "quantum fluctuations". I'm just not stupid enough to believe that eons ago all universes were created randomly and since that time such a random occurance has never occured again. That's imposible. You wouldn't know science if Stephen Hawking taught your junior biology class himself. BTW I haven't been impolite, referring to you as an idiot was a true statement. You read every comment I post, then respond to about 25% of each one of them. I can only assume it's because the other 75% is either too difficult for you to understand or because you know that it is true and blows your made-up "science" to pieces. Actually I can't even call what YOU believe in science. I've met a great many profound Athiests in my day and have a deep respected for many of them due to their knowledge and understanding of their beleifs. You are a troglodite. Since you chose not to provide an answer (because you don't have one). I'll ask again. Why hasn't our sun (which is apparently millions and millions of years old) consumed a good majority of our galaxy? I'll answer for you, because I'm sure you're going to ignore this question as you do every question that exposes you as the fraud you are. The sun ISN'T millions of years old. It couldn't be. BTW you have yet to pose one question or provide one shred of evidence that refutes anything I have stated that I believe to be true. It's easy to say, "That can't be true, b'cuz you're a dum-dum." How about proving to me that the force acting outside of time and space to bring about energy and matter was merely random and couldn't have had a consciousness. Or, just ignore the challenge and back away into a corner like the whimpering cur you've proven yourself to be...

31. Greg.

> It's a known fact that macro evolution has never been observed OR proven. <

Apart from all those observed instances of speciation detailed here :

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html

And here:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/speciation.html

And here:

http://www.nature.com/nature/newspdf/evolutiongems.pdf

And here:

http://www.geneticarchaeology.com/research/Study_catches_2_bird_populations_as_they_split_into_separate_species.asp

But hey! Why spoil a good delusion with some nasty facts, eh?

>That's why it's called the THEORY of evolution.<

What do you call your goddidit notion? Er... oh yes. A notion.

Nice attempt to ignore the scientific meaning of the word theory in the hope your audience would be ignorant enough to fall for it. Shame though that it's such a familiar old deception that educated people don't fall for it nowadays. (Remember my warning about the audience you're dealing with here?)

> Show me where I have spoken of magic or magical beings. I have merely theorized a force that acts outside of physical law.

I.e, magic.

>You wouldn't know science if Stephen Hawking taught your junior biology class himself.<

Er... Stephen Hawkins is a physicist, not a biologist. You don't actually know anything about that upon which you're pontificating, do you?

But okay, let's pretend for a moment that you've managed to destroy all of science and that the universe only has the facts in it which you wish were there, and none of those nasty, inconvenient ones you have to shout out of existence. What evidence do you have that the magic man who magicked everything by magic was your favourite god, and couldn't have been any other, and why is a natural explanation of that 'evidence' impossible?

You still haven't plucked up the courage to tackle that part of the question.

Is that because you know you can't or have you just not been following the discussion?

32. I don't see why you insist on constantly providing me with links instead of actual information backed by links. I guess you expect me to do your research for you. Well, if you had investigated any of those links, you would've realized how insubstantial the "evidence" provided therein actually was. I don't really see any other way of showing you how pointless it is to provide someone a list of links other than by doing so myself :
http://www.toptenproofs.com/article_evolution.php?vm=r
http://creationwiki.org/Macroevolution?vm=r

You see, neither of us are really going to get anywhere by doing THAT all day. Try presenting factual data using reference points to back it up. Also, make sure the data is conclusive, not "OMG these birds aren't fighting!" or "We've found fossils which we believe to be whales with legs!!!"
What it boils down to is the fact that Creationism is just as valid and provable a theory as any secular scientist can provide. You seem to think that your opinion is the only one that is valid and everyone else is just stupid. Can't you see how ignorant a notion that is?

>All you need is authenticated, incontrovertible evidence<
>You will also need to explain how a god is the ONLY possible explanation for your evidence<

Substitute the word quantum fluctuation for "god" and we see here how clearly hypocritical you're being. You don't even live up to your own standards.

>And of course, failing to see the idiocy of using a computer over the Internet to announce to the world that science is all wrong, and everything works by magic and is run by a magic sky pixie, simple reinforces that impression.<
>Me: Show me where I have spoken of magic or magical beings. I have merely theorized a force that acts outside of physical law.
You: I.e, magic<
>At the quantum level there is no such thing as an absolute; all things fluctuate within a range of probabilities which is actually unbounded. At the quantum level all possible events will occur. If it is possible it WILL happen.<

Boy, oh, boy what a mess you've made here, cookie. Where do we begin?
2)You've revealed even more of your blatant hypocrisy
3)You've admitted that you believe Quantum fluctuations are "magic"
4)You've admitted that you believe that the universe came into existance through "magic"

33. Do you know the origin of the word magic. It was derived from people observing practices of the Magi. The Magi were very learned and scientific people and because of lack of understanding their science outsiders assumed it must be some sort of mystical force. Hence the term magic. In other words, magic actually means "science that is beyond your own intellectual and scientific understanding". Quite fitting in this case, huh? So ther you have it: Quantum mechanics as well as the origins of the universe are by your own words, beyond your own intellectual and scientific understanding. I, on the other hand, believe in no such magic. The force which i have theorized and defined as "Fx" only differs from a quantum fluctuation (which I by no means consider to be magical at all) in that I believe it has a consciousness and created the universe as a deliberate act rather than by a random accident. If it was a random, haphazard occurance why have we seen no such occurance since? I've asked this question before and you chose to ignore it, as you've chosen to ignore every other question I've posed to you. Yet, still, you have the audacity to call me a coward, for refusing to answer the 2nd part of your question until you start answering mine. Based on the current direction that this debate is going and given your recent and very blatant contradiction I see no other course of action other than to declare you as currently losing this debate. I do not wish to hear any more of your childish banter, so I'm going to bring this thing to a close. It's all or nothing. I will provide you with three SIMPLE challenges (simple as by your own definition). If you can provide sound and scientific responses you will be the winner, if not, than I.

1)You have proposed the sun to be millions of years old. Given the rate at whcih the sun is growing, can you explain why it hasn't grown large enough to have already devoured the planet earth. and then some?

2)Since you seem so fond of using links about fossils here's one: Man-made artifacts - such as the hammer in Cretaceous rock, a human sandal print with trilobite in Cambrian rock, human footprints and a handprint in Cretaceous rock – point to the fact that all the supposed geologic periods actually occurred at the same time in the recent past. Can you explain how this is possible?(http://www.remnantofgod.org/creation.htm?vm=r#series)

3)We both agree that the universe was brought into existance through a quantum force which, obviously, neither acts within, nor is defined by physical law. Based on statistics and probability it seems almost impossible for this occurance to have never been observed since it first happened, if it were merely a random act. Can you prove to me that the universe was created by a random quantum fluctuation and not consciously or deliberately?

34. Greg.

>I don't see why you insist on constantly providing me with links instead of actual information backed by links. I guess you expect me to do your research for you. <

No. I expect you to do your own research. I'm just helping you. It's amusing to see how you avoid doing so. Obviously you know what you must avoid reading in case it gives you information you don't want.

This is classic delusional denialism and is the reason the whole of your long, rambling comment can be dismissed: it is based on carefully maintained and cultivated ignorance and only one conclusion can ever be allowed - your immaginary friend did it.

It must be very frightening being too afraid to learn in case an imaginary invisible malignant thug in the sky hurts you.

Incidentally, I note that you've still been too afraid to tackle the problem of how you tell your favourite god from all the ones you don't believe in either, nor the problem of explaining how your 'evidence' for your favourite god can't possibly have a natural explanation.

35. Greg.

>Do you know the origin of the word magic.<

Yes. Thank you.

Are we now to have another long, rambling, evidence-free justification for your belief that a magic man magicked everything by magic?

It would seem so.

Can I suggest that you risk the anger of your immaginary friend and actually learn some real science so you can conduct discussions of this sort on a level rather higher than that of a six year old.

Thanks.

36. Thank you. Thank you (This is the part where I humbly accept my sound victory). The fact that I am able to predict your moves before you make them is, in of itself, a clear sign of my intellectual superiority. You did exactly what i said you would for the exact reasons I listed. I have confidently proved my point. Science is not currently advanced enough to truly understand the forces behind the universe (i.e. quantum fluctuations). We have a breif understanding of them, but can't really define how they work or why. If there is some consciousness out there who can move outside of physical law, He is most definately not "magic", only, beyond our current scientific understanding. You have proved that you have no rebuttal for anything with which I have challenged you. To further prove my case would only be a waste of my time. I have already demonstrated the extreme improbability that the universe was created by accident, especially given the fact that we haven't seen such an occurance repeated. I, also, fully intended to prove that the God which i believe in is the only possible God (I know that you will choose to not believe this), however, It is completely apparent that any evidence I provide for anything is wasted on you. I'm sure you'll have some more derrogatory comments to post about me after this, because you MUST have the last word, but it makes no difference. You may be blinded by ignorance, but others who are not will see our exchange, and will see your bias, your level of hypocrisy, and your immaturity. It is for that reason that I have taken the time to expose you as the fraud you are. I am finished with this discourse. Proceed as you please. (The true prrof of your lack of intellect lie in your inability to answer any of my challenges. I hope you realize this. You may think it inconsequential, but others who read this will see you for what you are.)

37. Lol I see you've somehow managed to make my posts that expose you as a contradictory hypocrite disappear. Well, I guess you couldn't outsmart me so all that was left was to eliminate the evidence. I'm done. You're truly pathetic.

38. http://www.remnantofgod.org/creation.htm?vm=r

http://creationwiki.org/Macroevolution

BE INFORMED PEOPLE. THERE ARE TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY...

39. Greg. As you are no doubt aware, Blogger has had technical problems and appears to have lost some messages.

Are you referring to your very long rambling justification of your inability to deal with the points raised and attempt to blame anyone and every one but yourself?

If so, maybe you can explain why you again 'forgot' to explain why your assertions weren't 'evidence' for any other god except your favourite one and why you also 'forgot' to explain why no natural explanation for your 'evidence' is possible.

Maybe when Blogger is fully restored and your ramble re-appears, readers can see for themselves why your huge sigh of relief on seeing it not there was almost audible.

40. For details of the Blogger technical problems:

http://buzz.blogger.com/2011/05/blogger-is-back.html

41. Greg. Thanks for the links to sites where the specially designed Creationist parodies of scientific theories are attacked with pseudoscience.

I think most people are aware of how creationists make money by fooling ingnorant and stupid people by that tactic.

That is but one of the reasons Creationists are held in such contempt by the scientific community and by all rational, honest, educated people.

42. I'm sorry Rosa, but let's be real. You aren't been rational or honest. I must say, however, you are clearly educated, and I'm sure you can be highly rational when you so choose. It'd prefer to see that side of you if you'd be so kind as to bring her out.

Also, thanks for the info about the blog problems. That's the first USEFULL information you've provided thus far. I hope you're right about those posts being put back up. I have to honestly say, I would almost enjoy this if you weren't so bigoted, and if you didn't insist on using derogatory statements in place of actual rebuttals. You stand on a point that Theists are close-minded and unwilling to hear any opinion outside their own, but you exhibit these exact same traits. Why can't you just have a civilized debate. Why not just use your "profound" understanding of science to disprove all of my claims rather than resorting to mud slinging. If you remember one of my first comments to you was "nice response" and I meant it. Do you honestly think you could ever educate anyone by continuously bullying them and putting them down?

BTW I could easily point out that you've merely provided links to sites where the specially designed Atheist parodies of scientific theories are attacked with pseudoscience.

I think most people are aware of how Atheists make money by fooling ingnorant and stupid people by that tactic.

That is but one of the reasons Atheists are held in such contempt by the scientific community and by all rational, honest, educated people.

(These roads go both ways, and continuing down them isn't going to get either of us anywhere. Is it possible that we could try having a civilized debate without all the arrogance and "your opinion is just stupid" type of comments?)

43. Greg. If by 'rational' you mean believing in magic men in the sky who just pop into existence from nowhere and then create a universe especially for me, then I'll proudly put my hands up to not being that.

However, I think most sane people will define 'rational' as believing in evidence and forming opinions based on what that evidence says, rather than making up comforting fairy stories to save me the bother of learning and looking for evidence in the first place.

>That is but one of the reasons Atheists are held in such contempt by the scientific community and by all rational, honest, educated people. <

This is an example of how you simple write what you would LIKE to be true regardless of the lack of any evidence and often despite contradictory evidence. You COULD have checked that fact easily but I suspect, as with all your other ‘facts’, you were too afraid to in case it wasn’t what you want.

Maybe if you ever reach a sufficient level of emotional maturity you will eventually understand the difference. It will involve you accepting that your wishful guesses based on wilful ignorance and Bronze Age myths and superstitions really AREN'T as good as the knowledge and learning the whole body of science has built up over the centuries.

Thank you for yet another insight into the emotionally retarded mindset of the fundamentalist.

44. Greg. BTW, I noticed that, yet again, you've forgotten to say how your 'evidence' is evidence only for your god and no other, and why no natural explanation for it can be possible.

Should people conclude that you won't answer these question because you know the answers will be embarrassing for you?

45. Greg. I noticed you forgot to apologise for your unfounded accusations the way a decent, moral person would have done, nor for the unjustified conclusions you tried to draw from them.

It always amuses me how people who loudly proclaim to accupy the moral high ground because they have an imaginary friend who helps them tell right from wrong, so often do so from the moral gutter, as though they have no moral compass...

46. Well, Rosa, I tried to treat you like a mature adult. I guess that was MY mistake. You really are as dumb as I thought.

Show me what is unscientific about the following statement: According to the laws of physics energy and matter cannot be created. Therefore, in order for them to have been created, some force must have acted beyond what we know and can clearly define using physical law.

The only person who keeps talking about magic and magical men, is you. Is that what they're teaching you in college? Magic made the universe? BTW, how long 'til you graduate, if you don't mind my asking? Unfortunately, I really can't relate. I've always been taught to reason things out and look for rational answers using what we know about science. The funniest part is, that the quantum fluctuation which you hypothesize to have created energy and matter IS "magic" according to your own definition:

>Me: Show me where I have spoken of magic or magical beings. I have merely theorized a force that acts outside of physical law.

You: I.e, magic.<

>You: At the quantum level there is no such thing as an absolute; all things fluctuate within a range of probabilities which is actually unbounded. At the quantum level all possible events will occur. If it is possible it WILL happen.<

ONCE AGAIN I MUST GO BACK TO YOUR BLATANT CONTRADICTION TO WHICH YOU HAVE NO RESPONSE. YOU ARE AN IDIOT!!!

Oh, yes, I must clarify an early statement. I do not consider Atheists rational, honest, AND educated. They may, on occasion, get two out of three, but if they were all three they wouldn't allow their pursuit of science to be clouded by ignorant bias. I, also, feel oblidged to educate you on the fact that belief in God dates back long before the Bronze Age. It actually began at the dawn of humanity, and for the record, Atheism wasn't that far behind it (If you're going to keep using that tired shtick in place of an actual rebuttal, you might as well have your facts straight).

I haven't at all forgotten the SECOND part of your question. You see the fact that it is the SECOND part, shows that I've already answered the first. If you could manage to pull your head out of your @rse long enough to pay attention to what I've said, you'd know that I have no intention of answering anything else of yours until you answer AT LEAST ONE of my questions (I've already listed several). However, in the spirit of making you look even stupider, I'll meet you halfway. You tell me which god YOU believe it was, and I'll prove to you why it's not.
And, finally, as far as apologies go, I don't owe you any. You've been a c*nt from the get go. If anything, you owe me an apology, I was just trying to be civilized. Well, so much for trying.
I'm not sure where in your delusional world of magic and make believe, I made any claim to be on a "moral high ground", but I must inform you, I'm a human being, just like you. I know that's hard to believe due to the fact that my intelligence is so far beyond your own, but that's only because of the age difference. Anyhow, I'd love to hear where you got as absurd an idea as, God helps us tell right from wrong. I suppose from the same place as, Christians are afraid of God. Wrong on all accounts stupid, little girl.

47. >Show me what is unscientific about the following statement: According to the laws of physics energy and matter cannot be created.<

Well, what wrong with it is that energy and matter are the same thing. The law you appear to have a vague notion about is the law of conservation of energy.

(Hint: learning science is more than just learning some scientific-sounding words and clichés fed to you by Liars for Jesus charlatans so you can help them keep their market share amongst the ignorant and superstitious.)

Unfortunately, probably because you have chosen to remain stoically ignorant about anything which is inconvenient to your superstition, you've never managed to grasp that BB cosmology does not claim ANY energy was created. Had you had the courage to read my blog you would have seen the explanation for this in the first few paragraphs, but that’s probably high on your list of information to be avoided at all costs, eh?

And, though you probably don’t know enough science to appreciate this point, the law you alluded to is a law of THIS universe. At the instant of the BB, of course, this universe did not exist; neither did its laws.

BTW, you are still free to use this blog to explain how your god arose despite your claim that it was impossible for it to have done so because of the law of conservation of energy, and how it’s complexity arose in contravention of the laws of thermodynamics. I await your attempt with anticipation. Is it nearly ready yet?

Oh, and after than you could maybe tackle the proof that it supports ONLY your god and no other and that a natural explanation is impossible.

Once again you have been caught attacking a Creationist parody of real science and have shown yourself to be a dedicated denialist in the process.

I'm sorry trying to give you information and encouraging you to think has made you lose control in such a spectacular fashion again, BTW. That's the problem with having a paranoid delusional theophobia for you. The cognitive dissonance too much exposure to reality produces can lead to a complete loss of self-control and rationality, as you have shown.
Thank you for helping to demonstrate one of the main dangers of childhood indoctrination with theophobic superstition.

I'm pleased others are as ammused as I am by your increasingly desperate attempts to change reality by shouting at it. Have you ever know it to work?

48. I never asked what is wrong with it, I asked what is unscientific about it. Once again, you had no response, so you altered what I said in order to be able to attack me, pathetic. Everyone knows that matter is energy. That's why the law of conservation of energy includes matter. As a side note, the reason you are so horrible at debating is because of situations like this. Instead of presenting new information to either support your own data or debunk my own, you state an obvious fact and then try to imply that the other person must not have been aware of it. Given that the majority of us learned about these things in junior high school or sooner, for you to act like it's privileged information makes it seem like you just learned about it yesterday. You keep talking about your high level of education, but you may want to hold back on saying that a little until you are out of college.

BTW I find it highly amusing, how you keep referring to me as delusional, then whining about my captial letters shouting at you. If your computer is talking to you at all, I would highly advise turning it off, and going to a shrink. I wouldn't even be using all caps if you didn't kep ignoring all the parts of my responses that you didn't like or had no answer for.

Anyway, just, so I'm clear on this, when I told you that in order for any force (i.e. God, BB) to have created this universe it must have done so from the outside and therefore the physical laws of this universe would not apply to it (which is why the laws of conservation, and thermodynamics do not affect God), you said it was "magic". Now you are reiterating my own information back at me as if you just thought of it, and telling me that I'm too stupid to understand that sort of thing. You are so oblivious it is beyond words. Not only are you continuing to contradict your own words, you're just repeating what I said back at me as if it were your own argument. If this goes on any further you'll be calling me the Athiest, and you'll be the one trying to prove that God exists.
And, just because I'm sick of hearing you prattle on about it. I'll put it like this. I'd be more than happy to prove that God created the universe and it wasn't a result of natural causes... just as soon as you prove that the universe must have been created by natural causes and could not have been a conscious, deliberate act. After all, it's your method, shouldn't you be the first to demonstrate it in its proper use? Finally, I've provided sufficient evidence that "my" God could've created the universe. If no further evidence arises, implicating that it may have been another god, than we will simply have to rule in favor of "my" God, and dismiss the case. In other words, if you can't show me what other god could have done it, than the point is moot. The ball's in your court, now, I believe...

49. Greg. I've published you long-winded, rambling personal attack to illustrate to others the danger of inculcating children with the god delusion and the paranoid theophobia it involves.

Any more gratuitous abuse, which is clearly designed to placate your god and help you cope with the inevitable cognitive dissonance you feel when facts and evidence are not what you want, rather than to contribute to a discussion over science, will be removed.

Please read again the request above the comment box and accept that it also applies to you, even when you're afraid your god will hurt you if you don't defend it vigorously enough.

50. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

51. Greg. As I warned, your gratuitously abusive post has been removed.

I'm sorry you feel unable to use evidence and rational argument to support your superstition but any further use of this blog to try to bully and abuse inconvenient facts away will result in you be excluded from it.

52. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

53. Greg. I have had to remove another gratuitously abusive comment from you.

I'm sorry you are unable to discuss this subject like a mature adult. I will leave others to judge what may be causing your behavioral problem

Any further comments from you will be removed until I receive a written assurance that you will behave in a respectful and adult manner in future.

54. Just discovered this blog and this is the first post I have read. It is very well written. Also, it is admirable how irrational people are appropriately dealt with after desperately grasping onto their false beliefs by resorting to hurling condescending insults toward others in an effort at distracting themselves from the the truth. Oh well, I am glad I am able to fully appreciate benefits of real science and thought provoking posts like this one.

55. Always worth a re-read. Thanks for this succinct insight again!

56. This is absolutely laughable...so you can pinpoint exactly what happened 13.7 B years ago? Please give me back the 10 minutes it took me to read this blog. What an absolute waste of my time.

57. Another anonymous or the same one who's making a fool of him/herself elsewhere?

I was actually wrote the blog for grown ups so I can understand your difficulty. I expect you find magic a much more convincing explanation, eh?

58. Good read, thought provoking indeed. I don't necessarily adhere to having an opinion about what you consider factual. But your last few paragraphs explaining the good fortune, survival tactics, and odds used to get me and all living things to this present point truly touched, and enlightened me. It makes you think life is not to be wasted focusing on status and vanity. But on revolution and evolution of the mind, body, soul, politics, industry, morality of man and so on. Not just to make a name for ourselves but to further our rich and long history as ever evolving organisms and ensure life's potential in ALL beings. I truly think anyone who considers THIS. Level of unbiaseness is incapable of evil. This has furthered my understanding that to live materialisticaly, unjustly and fallaciously is a blatant form of SELF HATE. You opened my eyes to the fact that looking at yourself as an equal among other organisms brings about a profound respect and conscience thinking and living. So I am thanking you not specifically for the scientific evidence you push, but the essence of energy and life you have and share. That furthers life well beyond simple status based on success, money, and vanity. But towards enriching our being as EVER EVOLVING ORGANISMS. What you speak of is truly diverse, global, selfless, and simply put beautiful. Youre helping to induce intelligence beyond selfish human domination and persistence on earth. We all should enjoy our time in this universe and respect it.
Thank you and continue pushing that beautiful essence (through your theories if need be). You've sparked positive thought, and serve life well.

1. Shaquille.

Thanks you. That means so much to me.

I'm delighted you got so much from it.

59. Beautiful. I want this read to me on my deathbed. It really makes you feel so big and so small at the same time, both in the most awe-inspiring way. Well written, Rosa. Thank you!!

1. Thank you. That means a great deal to me.

60. This is a really good article, thanks for taking the time to put it together. Unfortunately, Christians haven't read the bible yet so it seems unlikely they'll have the mental capacity to follow this.

And the other religions....

61. Oh Rosa, ever reading yet never understanding. Ever seeking answers via circular reasoning of your own but never opening your eyes to the truth bestowed to you. How sad a day it is for you.

1. Your smugly sanctimonious yet vacuous bigotry is noted. Had you nothing worthwhile to say?

62. I re read this article today, though I read it when you first posted it some time ago. The last part of it beginning with, "Stars died and because they died, you live."... Phrases from the article's ending have crossed my mind since I first read the article, it was so profound and memorable the comments you made. Though I did learn a few more detailed aspects og things I was unaware of before, the basic insight was never lost on me as I'm one who rather than squash the spider, or kill the snake my cat brought to my backdoor as a trophy gift and may indeed have been poisonous, even cockroaches get a pass from me as I usher them out my door to the outside, knowing fully well they'd find their way back in. Simply, when I was 8 yrs old, there were 2 kids around me whom, I noticed who took great joy in harassing little animals or insects and once I found them dissecting a live frog from the bushes with a razor blade used for shaving. I would incur their wrath often as I did my best to stop these useless antics. Then, as I grew older, much to my horror, I discovered entire research labs used institutionally for the slicing and dicing of little animals, and even big animals, all, in the name of science and the betterment of the human condition, to extend human life by a few years, animals in the millions have been killed for "science." So, though I was uncomfortable with it, I accepted it. Then I learned that often the research on these innocent animaols was not for the betterment of human life, but for human vanity only, as in the cosmetics industry. My reverence for life and all its precious creatures was shattered, my heart broken that the lives of these animals was of no regard to far too many folks. I was at an orphanage and we used to milk a herd of about 200 cows twice each day. The kids didn't work both times as we had school. There were ponies, hogs, a couple of full sized horses. I can say I loved all those animals and I felt a kinship more with them than any humans, since I was after all from a dysfunctional family with a father mostly never around. And while other kids smashed the roaches/waterbugs, spiders, etc, the other kids laughed at me courting the bugs to the outside. When they asked why I did that, all I could come up with was what I, a naive kid, truly felt, and that was/is; it's so easy to snuff a life, try creating the very life you apparently have no compunction to and can so easily extinguish with impunity. Some kids didn't understand even what I said, others just laughed and called me weird.
So, I just want to say, thnx for articulating my lifelong sentiments, as it is doubtful I could have said it better. To be clear, I learned from this article and I, in no way, am trying to take any credit for the marvelous sentiments and care and concern for life that has been handed to us, us being the smallest to the largest forms of life. I feel like if there was a god who created this life system, he/she is a ruthless, sadistic bastard for making life choose for their survival to end the life of other life, and where suffering is the rule, as life tries to behave according to its nature. No god who is compassionate would make a world where it is mandatory that some suffer at the expebnse of others. I'm no supreme being, but if it were up to me I'd have made photosynthesis the basis for all of life, just soak up the electromagnetic rays, and shed no one's blood. Where is the suffering in that?
Thanks again, Rosa. I hope I didn't ramble too awful much.

1. Thank you.

It always seems strange to me how people who purport to believe a god created everything often seem to have have such a low regard for non-human life, and often it seems for human life other than that of their immediate circle, and yet people who understand the process by which life evolved understand the true wonder and value of all life.

2. Again, Rosa, I couldn't have said it better. What really irks me is, a couple things,(though I am Vegan, I'm no militant one and each has to decide for themselves, their diet, for me it was 4 yrs ago I could no longer ignore the plastic shrink wrapped food commodity was a former living animal I held so dear, and my hypocrisy[I'd have to really be desperate to kill, as I've said I can't create what I'm killing so it's unfair to me to kill, yet hunters appear to revel in doing just that. Wolves have been delisted from the ESA, and are being wiped out if things continue, my solution would be to get the ranchers to donate a cow to the wolves, cuz' they have to eat, too, and public land(wolves live there)is used for grazing these herds]in eating meat ended, and as I looked around and saw folks like the Jains surviving without ill effects for many generations without killing animals for food, and were it up to me I'd eat only that which fell from vegetable and fruit plants, never killing even plants to survive, as the goal of some plants when propagating their seeds it is encased in tasty plant food, apples, oranges, etc.)that religious people, not all, I know, but the ones who claim great piety, are more concerned with a life after they die, for which they have no reason to even think exists, will act so badly to their fellow species members on earth while they're alive, and I wonder is that what they plan to take into their afterlife. I mean they ignore the facts of an afterlife not existing, and give so much stock and importance in it, yet real people whom they could get to know and care for, people who are basically similar to themselves, and for which the existence of is obvious, instead they opt for a world in their imagination, rather than the ones they meet everyday. And the phrase about humans having dominion over all other life, I presume to do with as they please really jeopardises us all, because these are the same people who think their deity is going to return in their lifetime, therefore it matters not how their earth stewardship rates.
Thanks for listening.
I enjoy your articles(and tweets), Rosa, please, do not stop writing them.

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