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Sunday, April 20, 2014

It Doesn’t Take Much to Destroy Dawkins

Posted by jlwile on October 28, 2009

As The Irrational Atheist shows, it doesn’t take much to destroy the arguments of the New Atheists. The arguments of Dawkins, Hitchens, etc. are simply no match for a computer game designer armed with a few facts. Indeed, Dawkins couldn’t even hold his own against a former political speechwriter.

Well, it turns out that it doesn’t even take a computer game designer or former political speechwriter to make Dawkins look like an idiot. Even a radio talk show host can do it. Hugh Hewitt is an attorney who has a radio talk show that I have never heard. However, someone sent me the transcript of his discussion with Dawkins, and after reading it, I had to admit feeling sorry for poor old Richard. Of course, it’s not his fault. His position is so weak that such embarrassments are inevitable.

Overheard at the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana Annual Meeting…

Posted by jlwile on October 27, 2009

Baptist 1: Do you know about the latest rage in Evangelical theology? It’s called “Open Theism.”

Baptist 2: No, I don’t know anything about it.

Baptist 1: That’s okay. We’re not sure God knows about it, either.

This joke was told to me by a man I respect and admire who is currently at SCBI annual meeting.

Kicking and Screaming

Posted by jlwile on October 24, 2009

I am a nuclear chemist. I chose to be a nuclear chemist because studying the nucleus fascinates me. It’s amazing enough to study something we can never hope to actually see, but the fact that the nucleus is shrouded by clouds of electrons makes the job all the more fun.

Because I am a nuclear chemist, there are certain things I don’t want to believe. For example, I don’t want to believe quantum mechanics is wrong just because it is incompatible with general relativity. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want general relativity to be wrong, either. Black holes, white holes, and wormholes are just far to fun to ever want to give up! Nevertheless, if I have to choose one of those two theories to be wrong (because they are incompatible), I will to choose general relativity, because quantum mechanics works so incredibly well when it is applied to small things like the nucleus.

For a long time, there was something else I didn’t want to believe. I didn’t want to believe that the half-lives of radioactive isotopes could change. It seemed so clear to me at the time: radioactive half-lives depend on the energetics of the nucleus, and the energy levels in the nucleus are (roughly speaking) about 100,000 times that of the electrons in an atom. Thus, if nature exposes a radioactive atom to stress, the electrons should be the ones that deal with the stress, not the nucleus. The nucleus is under the electron cloud, and it deals in energies that are so much greater than electron energies, that the electrons effectively “shield” the nucleus from being affected by most of the stress that nature can throw at it.

Over the years, however, the data have drug me (kicking and screaming the entire way) to the point where I have to admit that radioactive half-lives can change, and in some cases, they can change quite substantially.

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

You Probably Won’t Hear This on the News…

Posted by jlwile on October 9, 2009

Al Gore told a German audience in December of 2008 that the polar ice cap will disappear in FIVE YEARS.1 A Washington Post story from April of this year says

The data on this winter’s ice buildup came on the day that international ministers gathered in Washington to address issues facing Earth’s polar regions, which have been disproportionately affected by global warming. 2

It goes on to quote Norway’s foreign minister that “The ice is melting…We should all be worried.”

Well, Al Gore, the Washington Post, and Norway’s foreign minister should all be breathing a sigh of relief. As all climatologists agree, the poles should be most affected by global warming, and guess what’s happening at the South Pole? The ice just keeps growing!

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »