DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS OF THE SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS

I’ve talked before about the so-called “scientific consensus” and I’d like to add some additional thoughts about it.  I pointed out earlier that there were earlier “deniers.”  The most prominent were called Pythagoreans.  They pointed out a number of discrepancies in the geocentric model (a model in which the earth was at the center of the universe and all other heavenly bodies orbited around it.  In the 2nd century AD the astronomer Claudius Ptolemaeus (Ptolemy) developed a computer model that resolved all of the questions raised by the “deniers.”  Obviously, digital computers did not exist in the 2nd century.  Ptolemy’s computer model was, like the Turing Machine, a logical construct.  It was able to accurately account for all of the then observed astronomical data.  In fact, it was so powerful that if a planet had traveled along a path that consisted only of straight lines and right turns, Ptolemy’s computer model could have accounted properly for its rectangular movement.  But he was wrong.  What’s my point?  The point is that any computer program’s output is subject to the programmer’s goals.  I have a collection of old observations, rules and principles about various aspects of life.  One of them is called the “Law of Statistics.”  It says the following: “numbers, when tortured sufficiently, can be made to say anything.”

I’ve also mentioned previously the experience of J.H. Bretz in the early 1900s.  From the 1700s through the late 1800s a scientific consensus had developed that held that the earth’s surface features had evolved over eons through slow imperceptible change.  After several years of study of an area called the scablands, he determined that a catastrophic flood of unimaginable proportions had formed the scablands.  He was immediately attacked and, indeed, ridiculed by the scientific establishment – the guardians of the scientific consensus.  After many years it was finally admitted that he was correct.  After, that is, he had wasted most of his life defending his belief when he could have been advancing the science.  It is also now known that a number of other geologists who had studied the scablands after Bretz had come to the same conclusion, but were afraid to risk their academic careers by speaking out.

OK, now I’m going to let you in on two of science’s dirty little secrets.  Once science admitted that the deniers were correct that the earth and the other planets orbited the sun and this fact became the scientific consensus, there was a lot of discussion about the nature of the universe.  Improvements in telescopes, photographic techniques and scientific instruments led to great advances in understanding.  Eventually, it was realized that the universe consisted of multiple galaxies and we are part of one we call the “Milky Way.”  But there were new questions.  Was the universe infinite in size or age?  Were there an infinite number of stars?  It was soon realized that no matter how far apart the stars were an infinite number of them would result in a universe so hot that there would be no earth.

As scientists struggled to understand better, an astronomer named Edwin Hubble came up with a startling discovery.  One, as a whole the stars and galaxies are moving away from the earth meaning that the universe is expanding.  Two, the farther they are from the earth the faster they are moving.  This brought up a whole new group of questions about the nature of the universe, but out of it came a new theory that we now call “the Big Bang.”  This theory holds that everything in the universe came out of an infinitesimally tiny single point in a stupendous explosion.  The expanding material did not expand into space, but defined space as it expanded.  Some scientists rejected the Big Bang theory and others embraced it.  Those who accepted it began to examine the theory mathematically and looked for experimental methods to learn more about it.

Let me interrupt myself here to inject an important point.  The Big Bang theory creates a problem for the scientists.  It implies creation.  And that, Oh, My Bama, implies a creator.  Oh, My Bamalama, that might imply a God.  Aak, eek, oohhhh.  Well, this creates a classic “sticky wicket.”  Some enterprising scientists figured out a way to solve this problem.  If there was sufficient matter in the universe the expansion would slow, reverse and eventually collapse back into that tiny single point.  It’s like you throwing a ball straight up in the air.  Initially, it moves fast.  Then it slows and stops.  Finally, it falls back to where it started.  If that happened you could assume (and you know what happens when you do that) that the collapse would be followed by another Bang.”  This process would be repeated over and over forever.  This would solve the creation issue although philosophically you’d still have the problem how it all came into existence in the first place, but scientists had learned long ago to avoid that one.

After a number of years of conjecture some astronomers set about to survey the universe to determine the total amount of matter in it.  This would answer the question of whether the universe contained enough matter to stop expanding and fall back to a small point to repeat the cycle ad infinitum.  Unfortunately, the surveyors could find only a tiny fraction of the matter required to stop the expansion.  God: 1, Atheists: 0.  After a lot of soul searching the scientists decided that the matter must be there.  It had to be there.  The alternative was just too…too…too religious.  So it had to be there.  We just can’t see it.  It must be “dark” matter.  Dirty little secret number one.  Rather than consider the possibility that there was a single one-time point of creation scientists assumed there must be a lot of invisible matter out there.  Thus ensued twenty some years searching for the missing matter.  In the meantime continuing surveys of the observable universe revealed an even bigger disaster.  Not only was the expansion of the universe not slowing down it was actually increasing.  Imagine you’re standing there with a ball in your hand.  You toss it straight up.  Not only does it not slow down and fall back to you, but it keeps going.  And not only does it keep going it actually speeds up and accelerates away from you.  POW, straight to da moon.  What a revolting development.  So we’re left with a universe that not only doesn’t have enough matter to stop its expansion, but is expanding faster and faster.  Well, if dark matter will handle the first problem then maybe dark energy can account for the second.  Now you have dirty little secret number two.  God: 2, Atheists: 0.  And all of this to avoid the possibility that they might have to countenance the existence of God.

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OMB

Well, first of all, I’m sick and tired of people taking God’s name in vain.  Therefore, I’m promoting a brand new oath – “OH, MY BAMA!”  (OMB) – because he just thinks he’s God.

Last week every news broadcast on the alphabet networks trumpeted a global climate warming change announcement by the Gummamint.  NOAA and NASA both proclaimed that July, 2015 was the hottest July since instrumented temperatures have been recorded.  Of course, as I have pointed out many times, NOAA’s own (pre-instrumented readings) measurements indicate that temperatures have been rising for 20,000 years and have had periods significantly warmer in just the last 2000 years (see the chart in my earlier posts). But never mind that now…

Here’s the problem.  NOAA says the hottest July on record (based on instrumented readings) was in 1998 and this July was 8/100ths of a degree warmer.  NASA says the hottest previous July was in 2011 and this July exceeded it by 2/100ths of a degree.  Aside from the fact that these two gummamint agencies can’t even agree on which July was hotter prior to this one there is a larger issue or may I say there are inconvenient facts.  Are you listening Algore?  NOAA’s margin of error is 14/100ths of a degree and NASA’s is 10/100ths of a degree.  That means that NOAA is hanging its hat on an increase that is only about half of its margin of error and NASA is doing the same based on an increase that is only 20% of the margin of error.  Anyone out there want to give me that lecture on scientific integrity and purity of motives.

Based on the gummamint numbers I’d say that there is about 1 chance in 2 that they are correct (plus or minus 23).

OH, THIS IS JUST TOOOO PERFECT!

Turns out that President Obama’s agreement with the Iranians allows the Iranians and not the IAEA to inspect one of Iran’s most sensitive sites. That’s right, international inspectors will not be allowed to visit one of Iran’s most suspicious locations.  This is also known as the “honor system.”  This comes out after it was revealed that under the terms of the agreement, even if the agreement is rejected by the Senate, vetoed and the veto sustained – the frozen Iranian accounts will still be released to Iran.

In 1938 Churchill predicted that Britain, choosing between shame and war, would choose shame and get war.  Thanks to President Obama and Secretary Kerry, America has chosen shame and will get, in five to ten years, nuclear catastrophe and war.

If all that were not enough, it appears that North Korea perceives the Iran agreement to be an indicator that the President does not have the will to resist an invasion of the South.  They have been making threats to attack the South recently.  What will POTUS do if the North invades?   BTW, bear in mind that North Korea already has nukes – thanks to President Clinton.

I hear that President “Wheeler Dealer” Obama got a great deal replacing all the Persian rugs in the White House.  As an aside the White House has announced that the national debt increased by 43 billion dollars last Tuesday.

OK, HERE’S THE THING…

Recent events in Baltimore have set me to thinking about people’s relationships and how we live together. I believe I have some difficult words to share with you. Some of you may be upset by my words. But, I want all of you to remember one thing. God loves you and because he does I love you, too. If I had a friend who displayed early symptoms of a serious disease that I recognized, but they did not, I think I would not be much of a friend if I did not warn them.

My favorite Church hymn is the song Amazing Grace and so I will take a moment to share something about it. The man who wrote this song was a very successful captain of a slave ship. Then one day he had an encounter with God. The first line of the song says it all. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.   I’ve always been able to identify with that line and that song. Oh, I wasn’t a slaver, of course. Never robbed a bank. Never shot anybody. Actually, I thought I was pretty good. I went to church regularly and had a string of additions to my childhood Sunday School pin for good attendance. But then one day I had to compare myself to Jesus and God’s standards and realized what a “wretch” I was and am. But, because God first loved me I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see. And, so, now I can love all of you.

There are those who love to criticize the 1950s. And there was a lot wrong in the 50s. But the 50s represented basic changes in some important aspects of society. In 1948 Democrat Harry Truman set the military on a course to treat blacks and whites the same. It wouldn’t happen overnight, but there were significant changes fairly quickly. In the 50s Republican Dwight Eisenhower enforced the racial integration of schools. Progress would be much slower than the military, but the course was set.

Those same people really hate TV shows of the 1950s like Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best and Make Room for Daddy. But if you take the time to watch those shows you will see that the stories usually have a moral about subjects like honesty, integrity and caring for others. I guess that’s why they hate those shows.

Did you know that in 1950 about 83% of black children lived in two parent families? What happened? Well, first God was thrown out of the schools in the early 60s. Then we had a sexual revolution. Stop and think for a few minutes. Are things really better in our society as a result of the revolution? If people were really happier and more fulfilled sexually do you think they’d really need so much porn? Really? Then we had the “Great Society” and the “War on Poverty.” Young women were encouraged by OUR government to have children without a husband. I don’t really blame those women so much. They were young, they were told God didn’t matter; they were told that sexual behavior was “anything goes” and they were offered a reward by OUR government for that behavior. I know exactly who to blame. I blame those who encouraged that behavior.

My sister gave me a birthday gift years ago that was, essentially, the front page of the Evening Sun for my date of birth. One of the more interesting stories was about a murder in Baltimore. There wasn’t anything special about it, except that it was a murder in Baltimore City and so it was front-page news! Now, granted, a recent death in Baltimore dominated the front page of the Sun for several weeks. We are half way through August and the number of murders in Baltimore City has already reached 200. Most of the victims have been young black men and their story only makes the front page if there’s some special aspect to it. Like death in police custody or the murder of an important witness in an upcoming trial. Am I the only one who thinks that’s a very sad commentary on society today?

So, why are hundreds of young black men (and some women) being murdered every year? Why do other young black men hold life so meaningless? I’ve already mentioned the expulsion of God from the schools in the early 60s. Add to that the progressive exclusion of God and his Word from government and society in the intervening years. On top of that we see the lack of a father figure for black children – and, increasingly, white children – in the family structure. In the side bar I pose a question asking if you tell a teenager that it’s OK to kill a baby the day before it is born, but it is not OK to kill a baby the day after it’s born, what conclusion do you think that teen will arrive at about the sanctity of life?

What to do? The only real solution is God. But, instead of America turning back to God, America is turning its back to God. I wrote about this at length in another post, but it is important to understand. The black community in Baltimore (and in many cities) has serious problems. The reasons are listed above. White communities have a similar problem, but it doesn’t show up in the annual statistics of homicides as much – yet. The solution for ALL communities is to identify the real problems. The most serious of the real problems is the single parent family. I know that as soon as I say that liberals will cite anecdotal examples of wonderful citizens produced by a single parent family. But the simple statistics prove that single parent families produce children with a much higher likelihood of ending up in prison. To solve that problem Churches that serve these communities must encourage young women to follow Biblical principles related to sex, children and marriage. Instead I see leaders like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton encouraging abominations like abortion and homosexuality. And they seem to have no interest at all in ending the problem of the single parent family. I am actually shocked that God has not already brought judgment on America. I hope that we will turn back to Him before it is too late. Pray for America!

GUNS, GUNS, GUNS

Yeah, it’s time to fess up. Time to come clean. I took my gun to school. I was in the third or fourth grade. I think it was the fourth grade, but I’m not positive. My Uncle Alan, whose own story of World War II is quite interesting, had given me a Japanese army rifle that he “liberated” while part of the US Army occupation forces after the war ended. He showed me how to take it apart and clean it and reassemble it. I, of course, was quite anxious to demonstrate my new skills for anyone who would listen. And who better to listen than a captive audience of my fellow students on Show and Tell day at school.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity, Show and Tell day rolled around and I was ready. Off I marched in all my martial glory with my rifle balanced on one shoulder and my book bag and Roy Rogers lunch box in my hand on the opposite side. It was only slightly more than a half-mile from my house to the elementary school, but I don’t think I was halfway there when that nine pound rifle started to feel like an artillery piece on my elementary school shoulder.

I know what you’re thinking. Did they call in a swat team? Did they “lock down” the school and the neighborhood? They did nothing. I can remember the teacher telling me to put the rifle in the one of the corners of the room. I would think she might well have asked if it was loaded, but I have no recollection of that. What I do remember is how heavy it was carrying it to and from school, I remember leaning it in the corner and I remember showing my skills in taking it apart and putting it back together. If there had been any fuss about the episode, I’m sure I would remember that.

What do you think would happen today if a student walked into his elementary school carrying a military rifle? I think you can probably imagine the result. What’s the difference? In the 1950s it was just unthinkable that somebody would walk into a school and shoot kids. If someone even suggested the possibility of such an event they would be laughed out of town. Oh, there have been shootings in American schools through most of our history. Wikipedia documents 147 incidents (involving death and/or injury) in the 200 years between 1760 and 1960. Most, though, were incidents that could have occurred in any business setting. Suicides, disgruntled employees, drunkenness, domestic disputes, jilted lovers and accidents would be representative until the Texas Tower shootings in 1966. That shooting was after my experience and has been attributed to a brain tumor in the shooter. The significant point is that prior to 1966 there were no attempts to kill as many people as possible in a school.

However, there is a more important difference between those 147 shooting incidents and what has been going on in our schools today. They occurred before the push by liberals to get God out of both our schools and the constitutional foundations of our culture.

Today on the radio someone pleaded with parents to lock up their guns because they are a “magnet” to children. Several weeks ago one of the alphabet networks did a show involving leaving kids in a room with a real, but unloaded, gun. They had three groups. One group was told nothing about not touching the gun. Another was given a lecture before hand about not touching guns and the third was given a demonstration and a lecture using the real gun. The first group, of course, handled the gun. The parents of the second group were shocked that their kids also handled the gun. The third group (if I recall correctly) handled it, but to a lesser degree than the other groups. The show’s “gun expert” made the point that an interactive demonstration was the most effective way to keep kids from playing with guns. My advice to the show’s producers, the gun expert and to you would be to consider the principle of the “forbidden fruit.”

In contrast, in the house in which my mother grew up and in the one to which her mother subsequently moved, there was a loaded shotgun in the corner of the living room all the time. My mother and her four brothers and her sister knew that it was a real, loaded gun and not a toy. When my sister and I stayed with my grandmother we understood the same thing. Occasionally, one of my uncles would get another of their guns, a .22 rifle, out of the unlocked closet where they kept several loaded rifles and let me shoot some tin cans. My mother told me that the only time she could recall the shotgun ever being fired was one New Year’s Eve before her widowed mother remarried. They lived next to the railroad yard in Hagerstown, Maryland and when a train stopped to take on water and coal a large number of partiers exited the train and ran amuck through my grandmother’s yard being a general nuisance and committing some minor vandalism. She stepped outside and fired a single shot into the air and watched as the partiers scrambled back aboard the train, some with minor injuries as a result of running full speed in the dark. Today, of course, she would be arrested for firing a gun in the city limits.

My friends and I always had lots of toy guns. We were constantly playing “cowboys” or “army.” “Bang, bang: I got you, you’re dead.

“No you didn’t, I was behind the car.”

“Yes I did.”

“No you didn’t.”

Ad Nauseam. Yeah, we shot each other all the time. But in school and Sunday School I learned that killing for real was wrong. All the great show’s I watched – Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy, The Lone Ranger, The Cisco Kid, et al always ended with the bad guys getting their comeuppance.

What does all this come down to? Well, we have my generation and earlier ones. We had knowledge of and often contact with guns. We also learned that there is a God who has specific rules that relate to the use of those guns and the sanctity of life. We had examples in the media that reinforced those principles. Not everybody followed God’s rules, but those rules did influence their lives.

And today? We have a generation who has been taught that God is an obscure concept of little importance. God is no more than an exclamation; “OH, GOD!”  It is a generation that has been taught that it is legal to murder a baby one day before it is born, but it is illegal to murder it the day after it is born. I know I am repeating what I have said before, but it is important to recognize because it demonstrates that there is no sanctity to life. And how does the media contribute? In today’s movies there is often an orgy of senseless violence. The bad guy is often the hero and the good guy is really the bad guy. The evil prison warden provokes a prisoner to cut off his own hand.  When a fellow prisoner escapes he is portrayed as the hero.  A career thief witnesses a crime by Secret Service agents and exposes the crime so he is obviously the hero of the story.  Have there been bad criminal justice officials?  Sure.  Is that the story of law enforcement?  No.  It has evolved today into a targeting of every action taken by a cop.  We expect cops to be perfect, but aren’t even willing to pay for the best.  If it weren’t for Bruce Willis and “Ah-nolt” we’d have no good cops at all in the movies these days

Today we have an unholy trinity of the left – Hollywood leftists, academic leftists and political leftists. They have worked together to remove any Judeo-Christian influence in our society and our government. Of course, when there’s a Columbine or a Sandy Hook they blame guns. The alternative would be to blame their own policies and actions. We, as a society, have sown the wind and now we are reaping the whirlwind.

WE SPEAK ENGLISH HERE, RIGHT?

English is a funny language, don’t you think?  Funny peculiar, not
funny ha ha.  Back before the turn of the century – the last turn of the
century, not the one we talked about when I was young – a rather
significant, if temporary, impact on our language was affected by a
bunch of pre-pubescent school girls in southern California.  “Like
totally fer shur.”  The media was, I’m sure, an unwitting tool in this.
Similar, if of less impact, influences happen regularly in English.
Have you ever noticed that about a year after some new term
becomes popular in the hip-hop culture, it begins to show up in TV
commercials.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does
demonstrate how dynamic English can be.

During my career in Information Technology one of the duties I had
was to attend meetings of an FBI user group.  I recall one meeting in
particular which was to present an update on the progress of the
FBI’s Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) project.  I
was surprised to find that the FBI had discovered a new word.
“Robust!”  No FBI presenter could get through a topic without
numerous uses of the word “robust.”  Every piece of hardware was
robust.  Every database was robust.  Every program was robust.
Every procedure was robust.  Even their meetings were…well, you
know.  I think I read that word and heard it spoken more in those
three or four days than in all my previous life or since.  It was also
remarkable to me that the word seemed to disappear from the FBI’s
lexicon after a few months.  I’ve often wondered where it went?

About a year and a half ago I was listening to Charlie Rose on PBS.
His guest caught me by surprise by repeatedly starting his sentences
with the word “so” in, what I thought was, an inappropriate manner.
When would you normally begin a sentence with the word “so?”  An
example would be in response to a question.

“Why did you open the pickle jar?”

“So that I could eat a pickle.”  Of course, there is an implied phrase
unspoken.

“[I opened the jar] so that I could eat a pickle.”

I cannot recall the specific conversation between Charlie and his
guest, but I will offer a very accurate representation.

Q – “Tell me why you decided to direct this movie.”

A – “So, I was impressed by the book and by the writers who were
going to work on the screenplay.”

Q – “I’ve heard you say that this was the best book you’ve ever read.”

A – “So, I really believe it is.  And I’ve read many great books.”

Perhaps some speech coach has encouraged this to replace the
traditional “Uh” to begin a sentence.  “Uh, that’s right Charlie.”
Since that first observation it almost seems to have become endemic.
Everybody’s doing it.

Then, too, there is the new pronunciation.  It seems to be almost
exclusive to young women.  Actually, I should have described it as
the new non-pronunciation.  It appears to involve pronouncing words
containing multiple occurrences of the letter “t” as if the word did not
contain one of the “t”s.  The word “important” becomes “impor-ant.”
The first time I heard this in a store I thought the girl had a speech
impediment.  After that I began to notice it being done by others.

Then, of course, there are our British cousins across the pond.  The
often cited observation by George Bernard Shaw that the Americans
and the British are two peoples separated by a common language is
really right on the mark.  When I was a kid I really enjoyed the
Sherlock Holmes movies starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.
Now Rathbone’s English was always impeccable.  Dr. Watson, on the
other hand, was always kind of mumbly.  But he was understandable,
except when he was supposed to be not understandable.  That is,
when he was well and truly mumbling to himself.  But the other
characters, despite their accents, were understandable.  I think that
was done intentionally to appeal to the American audience.  The
result was that a very colorful cockney accent was still
understandable to an American ear.  The same can be said for other
TV shows and movies imported from Britain prior to World War Two
through the 1960s.

Things have changed.  Despite the fact that PBS presently imports
many British TV shows I do not believe those shows make any effort
to appeal to American audiences as they once did.  Two shows I
enjoy are Foyle’s War and New Tricks.  The problem is that these
and other shows are made strictly to appeal to their British audiences.
One thing they do is use phrases or idioms that few Americans will
understand.  “Stone’ah [the] crows!”  Do you know what that means?
“He’s a tosser.”  I hope you don’t know what that means.  What I’m
saying is this: they’re British shows made for the Brits.  That’s fine.
But if they want to sell their shows in the American market they
should consider American audiences.  I suspect that is why only PBS
shows them.

The second problem is how they speak.  In these new shows you
better turn on captioning if the character has a cockney accent.  If you
want to know what’s going on, that is.  And again back to mumbling.
Do upper class Brits really mumble like that.  I sure hope not.  My
point is this:  I like and respect our British cousins, but I have a
message for all of you across the sea –

You invented the language, for Pete’s sake, try speaking it ! ! !

At my age I don’t care much for change.  Stores I used to shop at are
torn down and replaced with other businesses.  People I care about
are dying off.  TV shows I like come on for a few years and then end.
Magazines I really enjoyed have replaced substantive articles with
the printed equivalent of “sound bytes.”  I could append a lengthy list
of bodily changes that are, to say the least, annoying.  With all these
changes you’re probably thinking that some minor changes in
language are not a big deal.  And you would be right.  Except for one
little thing.  Our language is the most pervasive thing in our lives.
When we aren’t being bombarded with it by our surroundings, we’re
thinking it in our minds.  It even pervades our dreams.

So!  Embrace the change.  BTW, Im here 4 U!