Pharyngula

We’re all gonna die!

I’d reconciled myself to the fact that the sun will die in about 5 billion years — time enough to get all the important stuff done, I thought — but now Chris Mims tells me we’ve only got 12 million years. I mean, that’s like going to the doctor, and he says, “Good news, Mr Myers, you’re going to live to be 90” and then he calls you up a little later and says “whoops, little slip up there, you’ve got a month to live.” It’s not good news.

The story is a bit speculative—we’ve long known that there are these very rough periodic extinctions in the fossil record, and now a few wild-eyed theoreticians suggest that it might be correlated with our system’s rotation around the galaxy, and every 60 some million years we swing around to the side that’s getting zapped a little more heavily.

Just to throw a little restraint into the guesswork, though, the mass extinction data shows considerable variability, and also the idea that we’re going to get irradiated is a little excessive. Passage through the rough side of the galaxy would be an event spanning millions of years: the earth was not sterilized in previous events, but if this were the cause, it would mean that there would be a low level increase in radiation over a very long period of time that would have stressed life to varying degrees. We do have 12 million years to manufacture lead-lined umbrellas and try to develop cosmic-ray resistant wheat. I’m just going to have to trust my great600000th-grandchildren to get their act together in time.

Comments

  1. #1 JMark
    July 27, 2007

    Does anyone really believe that humans will still be on Earth in 12 million years? Clearly by then we will have evolved past our primitive forms and found new planets to populate and destroy. Maybe we can find one just for Ted Stevens.

  2. #2 Tom @Thoughtsic.com
    July 27, 2007

    You’re being a bit of an optimist. If we keep going as we are (and I have 2,000+ years of support on my side), we’ll still be too busy debating homosexuality, evolution, and global warming. (Nevermind the fact that 12 million years would certainly create evidence for evolution and/or global warming; particular segments of our Earthly population still wouldn’t recognize it as truth.

  3. #3 Christian Burnham
    July 27, 2007

    Repent! Repent! Repent! Or else it may be too late! Repent!

  4. #4 Emanuel Goldstein
    July 27, 2007

    Of course, they are only talking about the sun.

    The chances are that the weapons of mass destruction that scientists keep providing to every government with the means will destroy humanity itself much sooner.

    If you keep putting guns in the hands of waring gangs, you are complicit.

    After all, fundies only talk about the end of the world…science makes it possible!

  5. #5 The Physicist
    July 28, 2007

    Excellent post PZ, I have considered this at great length. Like what actually happened 250 million years ago to cause a mass extinction. There are many people who think it might have been a big meteorite, others say the magnetic pole shift. I think the latter might be more true, but I have no clue, I am 44 years old and wasn’t there to see it.

    My personal theory for what that’s worth, about 50 cents over a cup of coffee, is that the sun may last for another 5 billion years, but we have no idea what it will do in the mean time. It could suddenly burp, we have no data over a few thousand years. Hell we could all be dead tomorrow, because of the sun. Nobody really knows. But my personal belief is the sun caused the extinctions.

  6. #6 Moody834
    July 28, 2007

    Look, everyone knows that we live in the worst part of the Dark Zone on a Type 13 planet in its final stage (look who’s America’s president!). Those physicists at CERN will doubtless use the LHC to (accidentally) implode the planet as they attempt to find the Higgs Boson, thus assuring that I will never get to date Xenia Seeberg, who totally rings my bell. Dammit.

  7. #7 The Physicist
    July 28, 2007

    But to be completely fair, about possible ELE’s

    Cosmic rays could be responsible as we move toward the northernmost side of the galaxy. Also the rotation of the galaxy is about 250 million years, which is kind of scary, but back to cosmic bursts.

    http://abc.net.au/science/news/space/SpaceRepublish_1315935.htm

  8. #8 Evolving Squid
    July 28, 2007

    I’m 42. it’s highly unlikely I’ll see even half of the next 120 years… 12 million or 5 billion is all infinity to me.

  9. #9 JCfromNC
    July 28, 2007

    Oh, but haven’t you heard? The sun’s going out 50 years from now, but not to worry — we’ll have the technology to go out and re-ignite it!

    Or at least that’s the premise of this movie.

    And I thought “the Earth’s core has stopped spinning, we’re going to drill to the center of the planet and restart it with a nuclear bomb” was the dumbest science-fiction plot ever. I should have known someone would come up with a way to surpass it.

  10. #10 Moody834
    July 28, 2007

    JCfromNC (#9): You might want to take a look at the review (and comments) at BLDGBLOG.

  11. #11 Jazmin
    July 28, 2007

    F*ck 12 million years. If we don’t have some shit together in the next twenty, you can forget about any decendents giving a flying “whoop-whoop”.

    And Evolving Squid, I didn’t know that they let children in here, guess I’m going to have to wash my mouth out with soap.

  12. #12 The Physicist
    July 28, 2007

    I have some more evidence for this if you are interested, the sun is in a very unstable period.

  13. #13 Tom @Thoughtsic.com
    July 28, 2007

    The Physicist wrote:

    I have some more evidence for this if you are interested, the sun is in a very unstable period.

    Is this evidence you speak of just as much if not more of a misnomer as your online handle?

  14. #14 The Physicist
    July 28, 2007

    No, it’s just a bunch shit I made up, the only reason I am up tonight, is because I am reading one of the latest books on quantum physics. reading comic books is bad for you, Do you even know that we are now transitioning between the southern to to the northern hemisphere of our galaxy? or are the only thing atheist have in their arsenal are 6th grade insults?

  15. #15 The Physicist
    July 28, 2007

    If you think I don’t know anything because I think there is a God, then you are no different than those who think black people are stupid, in which one of the smartest structural engineers I know is black. You are a bigot sir, pure and simple.

  16. #16 Ian H Spedding FCD
    July 28, 2007

    The Physicist wrote:

    I have some more evidence for this if you are interested, the sun is in a very unstable period.

    So, you’re saying if the Sun doesn’t watch it, it could get pulled over by galactic cops for DUI and have to spend 12 million years in rehab?

  17. #17 The Physicist
    July 28, 2007

    Oh, and the negoe structural engineer believes in God. Dumb bastard!

  18. #18 Ronald Brak
    July 28, 2007

    Anyone like actually pointed like a big gieger counter at the sky and like detected if there is like actually more radiation coming from like one end? ‘Cause that might be sorta like evidence. We’ve had various gamma rays detectors on satellites since 1967 and Europe’s INTEGRAL gamma ray observatory is up there right now.

  19. #19 The Physicistr
    July 28, 2007

    So, you’re saying if the Sun doesn’t watch it, it could get pulled over by galactic cops for DUI and have to spend 12 million years in rehab?
    Posted by: Ian H Spedding FCD | July 28, 2007 02:09 AM

    Tell me what the sun is going to do over the next 20 years, find me a physicist who claims to know, and I will show you a dumb ass.

  20. #20 The Physicist
    July 28, 2007

    nyone like actually pointed like a big gieger counter at the sky and like detected if there is like actually more radiation coming from like one end? ‘Cause that might be sorta like evidence. We’ve had various gamma rays detectors on satellites since 1967 and Europe’s INTEGRAL gamma ray observatory is up there right now.
    Posted by: Ronald Brak | July 28, 2007 02:

    Not even worth commenting on.

  21. #21 JimC
    July 28, 2007

    and I will show you a dumb ass

    birds of a feather…………

  22. #22 Donald Sack
    July 28, 2007

    Whilst sitting in my parlour before the internet machine, the thought has occurred to me to make an inquiry upon the comment thread of this blog post in an attempt to ascertain whether or not there is a propensity for a greater amount of radiation to be produced at one of the galaxy than the other. There do appear to be a very great many well informed people attending this blog and I am very hopeful that one of them is in possession of the information I seek. Why one of them is even called The Physicist. I do believe the chances are most excellent that he or she will be able to assist me.

  23. #23 tinyfrog
    July 28, 2007

    I don’t know. According to a new movie, we’ve only got 50 years! And the only way to save ourselves is drop a giant nuclear bomb into the Sun.
    http://www.apple.com/trailers/fox_searchlight/sunshine/trailera/

  24. #24 Phoenician in a time of Romans
    July 28, 2007

    We do have 12 million years to manufacture lead-lined umbrellas and try to develop cosmic-ray resistant wheat. I’m just going to have to trust my great600000th-grandchildren to get their act together in time.

    If we just pray hard enough, Jesus will save us. No problem!

  25. #25 Tristram Brelstaff
    July 28, 2007

    When astronomers claim to have detected periodicities in the rate of extinction you can, as a first approximation, safely dismiss these claims. The extinction rate data is far too heterogeneous to support any such claims.

  26. #26 skribb
    July 28, 2007

    I read on LiveScience (I think), that the sun WILL gradually turn into a red giant in a matter of billions of years, only to kill all life on Earth. Of course, humankind will probably have evolved by then – if we haven’t killed ourselves with World War III, that is.

  27. #27 Steven
    July 28, 2007

    There goes my plan to live for ever, conquer the world and populate it with clones of Scarlett Johansson.

  28. #28 raven
    July 28, 2007

    I read on LiveScience (I think), that the sun WILL gradually turn into a red giant in a matter of billions of years,

    Everything I’ve read indicates that the biosphere has 1-2 billion years left maximum. The G class sun is heating up gradually. It is now 25% brighter than it was at the start of life on earth. Extrapolating, out a billion or 2 years and we will end up with a runaway greenhouse like Venus. A few billion more years it will go red giant and then after that explode.

    This would be an argument for developing deep space exploration. We really do have a maximum expiration date even if it is a ways off. Chances are a dinosaur killer class asteroid will get us first. They seem to come along about every 60 billion years.

  29. #29 David Harmon
    July 28, 2007

    Eh, what ever happened to the Nemesis idea? (Long-period binary for the sun, the idea is when it comes by it knocks a shower of comets and such in from the Ooort Sphere.)

  30. #30 Mike O'Risal
    July 28, 2007

    That should be just enough time for me to finish my dissertation.

  31. #31 JCfromNC
    July 28, 2007

    #23 — Beat ya to it. (see comment #9) 🙂

    #10 — Interesting review, but doesn’t negate my opinion of “dumbest sci-fi movie idea ever”. But it sounds like it might be more worthwhile as a movie, if not a science fiction movie, than the trailers indicate.

  32. #32 sailor
    July 28, 2007

    “I’m just going to have to trust my great600000th-grandchildren to get their act together in time.”

    By then your genes will be as dilute as a homeopthic potion.

    “Cosmic rays could be responsible as we move toward the northernmost side of the galaxy.”

    NORTHERNMOST side of the galaxy, what kind of compass are you using there physicist? The ones we use are pretty much earthbound.

  33. #33 John
    July 28, 2007

    It’s to do with the rotation axis of the galaxy. If you were to hover above the north pole of the earth and look down, you would see the earth rotating counter-clockwise under your feet. So the north pole of the galaxy is the place where you could see the galaxy rotating counter-clockwise beneath you. It’d be quite slow though.

  34. #34 Blake Stacey
    July 28, 2007

    Yeah, my first reaction was, “What about that whole Nemesis thing?”

    It doesn’t look like too much has been happening on the Nemesis front, although apparently last year there was some talk that Sedna’s orbit might show the effects of the Nemesean gravitational pull.

  35. #35 PZ Myers
    July 28, 2007

    Astronomers didn’t find the periodicities, a paleontologist did. That’s the work of David Raup, who studies mass extinctions.

  36. #36 Dennis
    July 28, 2007

    I remember a research paper conducted sometime in the 1990’s (around 95 I think) where two researchers (Astronomers) backed up our solar systems movement through the galaxy. They reported that approximately 65 Million years ago we passed through a spiral arm. They asked the question if this would explain the high iridium content at the K/T boundary. Also, if higher than usual space debris could have resulted in higher probabilities of a large space impactor. It was one of those papers that ended up in obscurity, but as a geologist I found it interesting although I never followed up on it personaly. I think it would take millions of years give or take a magnitude to make such a transit and the solar system and planetary system has a lot of built in protection against outside radiation. Even a small change however could have serious effects on our little planet. The iridium layer is about 5cm thick depending on location, given compaction and time thats pretty thick.

  37. #37 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    July 28, 2007

    Ever since the dynamics of the universe was discovered, people have proposed different extinction scenarios; supernovas (still the most likely, I believe), passing through the galactic plane, passing through spiral spokes, and now passing out of the plane.

    The galactic mergers/replenishment of the spoke dynamics, would surely have been the next big thing, if not our biosphere will probably have been gone by about that time. The next large merger for us will be with Andromeda at about 2 Gyr hence. Fortunately for us the Local Group seems to be late to coalesce to an elliptic galaxy.

    At the same time, we should not complain since Earth happens to inhabit the “sweet spot” that maximizes biosphere lifetime in our solar system.

    [Hear the creationists go “Finetunings! Finetunings! It proves evolution is all wrong, dont’cha know?”]

    Put Earth in the habitable zone of a long-lived red dwarf and the biosphere will have a maximum lifetime of 8.8 Gyr in any case – it would only have given us 2 Gyr more to have a “better” sun. (You would need much larger planets to increase lifetime another 4 Gyr to about 12 Gyr, which seems to be the supremum lifetime in these models.)

    For myself, I wonder what will be up for dinner today. 😛

  38. #38 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    July 28, 2007

    Ever since the dynamics of the universe was discovered, people have proposed different extinction scenarios; supernovas (still the most likely, I believe), passing through the galactic plane, passing through spiral spokes, and now passing out of the plane.

    The galactic mergers/replenishment of the spoke dynamics, would surely have been the next big thing, if not our biosphere will probably have been gone by about that time. The next large merger for us will be with Andromeda at about 2 Gyr hence. Fortunately for us the Local Group seems to be late to coalesce to an elliptic galaxy.

    At the same time, we should not complain since Earth happens to inhabit the “sweet spot” that maximizes biosphere lifetime in our solar system.

    [Hear the creationists go “Finetunings! Finetunings! It proves evolution is all wrong, dont’cha know?”]

    Put Earth in the habitable zone of a long-lived red dwarf and the biosphere will have a maximum lifetime of 8.8 Gyr in any case – it would only have given us 2 Gyr more to have a “better” sun. (You would need much larger planets to increase lifetime another 4 Gyr to about 12 Gyr, which seems to be the supremum lifetime in these models.)

    For myself, I wonder what will be up for dinner today. 😛

  39. #39 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    July 28, 2007

    “8.8 Gyr” “another 4 Gyr”

    Sorry. Make that 9 Gyr and 3 Gyr respectively.

  40. #40 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    July 28, 2007

    “8.8 Gyr” “another 4 Gyr”

    Sorry. Make that 9 Gyr and 3 Gyr respectively.

  41. #41 Stogoe
    July 28, 2007

    I dislike crapping on sci-fi movies for ‘bad science’. It’s like crapping on Lord of the Rings for having elves and magic.

    It’s a movie. If there were ever to be a truly realistic sci-fi movie, it would be several years long and there would be thousands of boring characters all working tediously in small, underfunded closet-sized labs, and the only way to know we’d solved whatever problem would be to scour the peer-reviewed journals for a hint of a mention of ‘oh, by the way, we saved the earth. Probably. But we need independent confirmation.’

    As for Sunshine, it was…weird.

  42. #42 "Q" the Enchanter
    July 28, 2007

    With a margin of error like that, all bets are off about even making it to tomorrow. Oh well, it’ll be quick, and I had a good lunch.

  43. #43 CalGeorge
    July 28, 2007

    12 million years of whacko fundamentalist bullshit…

    Yuck.

    Hopefully, the intergalactic spaceships – designed to carry the elite of the planet off to the next planet to be destroyed – will be ready by then!

    Looking forward to reading the The World Without Us.

  44. #44 Arnosium Upinarum
    July 28, 2007

    Relax. The Sol System has been bobbing in and out of the plane of the galaxy all along throughout its history, and though they may have tweaked life on Earth, none of these excursions have sounded anything near a death knell throughout the last 3+ billion years.

    Its particularly surprising that these guys would hype the dangers of being OUT of the plane of the galaxy, when being WITHIN the plane exposes us to many more potential interstellar dangers, such as an enhanced frequency of nearby supernova explosions and passage through relatively dense dust clouds. Where is the signal in the fossil record of that?

    Humanity has a far more dire future to contend with: the effects of itself. We will be lucky to last another 120 years let alone 12 million.

    In the meantime, for those few of us who do not so pathologically identify themselves automatically with any living beings other than those arrogant naked apes – and in the event these sweaty hairless bipeds don’t fuck it up entirely – “WE” shall probably be afforded at least another several hundred million years. (The Sun IS getting gradually hotter, and if things are left alone, life on Earth WOULD become incinerated long before the Sun leaves the Main Sequence and swells into a red giant to engulf Mercury and Venus – and MAYBE the Earth – around 5 billion years from now).

    So there’s plenty of time for our replacements to figure out how to reach many other young planetary systems in the galaxy to help spread the legacy of earthlife around like a cosmic version of Johnny Appleseed…or perhaps – for the sake of nostalgic compassion, they will also have the technology to move the entire planet out of harm’s way without much affecting the preciously thin scum-like stain of its biosphere. Of course, they would have to be able to rearrange the entire planetary system to keep Earth stably and comfortably habitable throughout the crisis that finally ends up with our planet closely orbiting a slowly cooling white dwarf star little larger than ourr planet. After that (billions of years further down the road) the planet would inevitably freeze, a near perfect repository of evidence that not only life but advanced technology had once existed there.

    Too bad humans won’t be involved. I don’t think we are unstupid enough to carry out a long-term plan for collective survival. The challenge will rest on those potential forms who may evolve that are not anywhere near so pathologically self-absorbed.

  45. #45 The Physicist
    July 28, 2007

    and I will show you a dumb ass
    birds of a feather…………
    Posted by: JimC | July 28, 2007 02:25 AM

    PZ, do you check the age of your posters?. There are a bunch of high school posters here.

  46. #46 Arnosium Upinarum
    July 28, 2007

    Torbjörn Larsson says: “…we should not complain since Earth happens to inhabit the “sweet spot” that maximizes biosphere lifetime in our solar system. [Hear the creationists go “Finetunings! Finetunings! It proves evolution is all wrong, dont’cha know?”]”

    WHAT “sweet spot”? Our Sun happens to be orbiting along with billions of other well-evolved Population II stars associated with the galaxy’s disk. There is absolutely nothing that distinguishes our star from these myriads.

    You speak nonsense: the Milky Way would not HAVE a disk with a significant population of latter-generation stars like the Sun unless it was a completely common occurence. Its noted with all other galaxies which exhibit disks. That’s what astronomy has abundantly demonstrated OBSERVATIONALLY.

    The so-called “Anthropic Principle” (upon which your conclusions are evidently based) is a theoretical crock propounded by those quantum physicists who cannot conceive the possibility that HUMAN consciousness is not required for “observation”. Inanimate matter “observes” all the time, with every quantum interaction. No consciousness (as most so easily define it) required. There is no “fine tuning” involved. Carbon-based life likely emerges wherever conditions are chemically suitable for molecular elaboration – liquid solvent like water + suitable temperatures + sufficient supply of other elements + energy – after all, that’s all the early Earth ever had to work with. What was so “special” about the Earth then? What’s so special about it now, besides the conceit of a thankfully still-tiny proportion of its biomass?

    Is it so incredible that we should happen to find ourselves located on a planet whose surface environment has remained reasonably stable and conducive to several billions of year’s worth of evolutionary elaboration?

    People who advocate either religion OR the anthropic principle are like a schizophrenic standing upon a soapbox declaring how special they are. The beautiful reality is that there is nothing special in nature or any part of her. We ARE here PRECISELY because of that fabulous indifference: nothing has an edge over anything else. Or, EVERYTHING is equally “special” or “miraculous”. Beyond the poetic sentiment of saying so, however, pointing it out doesn’t add much to potential understanding unless its addressed to folks who have a hard time coming to grips with the egalitarian and wholly mundane status of their personal worth within the context of the universe at large.

    Its NOT such a horrible thing to contemplate the notion (abundantly and continuously verified by every scientific observation now for centuries) that the universe does not revolve around us. Its the most beautiful and all-encompassing truth that has emerged from the discipline of science, which is far better at discerning reality than any other human enterprise.

  47. #47 Ronald Brak
    July 28, 2007

    I think you might be misunderstanding Mr Larsson, Arnosium Upinarum.

  48. #48 raven
    July 28, 2007

    “Human extinction within 100 years warns scientist”
    VANCOUVER, B.C. -A top New Zealand researcher has used a prestigious award ceremony in Christchurch to warn that humans face extinction by the end of the century. “After 40 years, I’m part of a huge community of scientists who have become alarmed with our discovery, that we know from our knowledge of the ancient past, that if we continue our present growth path, we are facing extinction,” Barrett said. “Not in millions of years, or even millennia, but by the end of this century.”

    In a live radio interview on December 20, 2004, Professor Peter Barrett, Director of Victoria, NZ University’s Antarctic Research Centre, repeated his published warning that extinction of humankind and human society as we know it may come about within 100 years because of impending climate change and ecological catastrophe – unless humankind can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    Well, here is one scientist who thinks we will be extinct in 100 years. I don’t buy his scenario. Climate change and resource depletion could destroy our civilization. Civilizations have come and gone before. Even if 99% of the population dies, that still leaves 67 million people. High by prehistoric standards.

    My bet is on nuclear war. Nukes are cheap, eay to make, spreading like Kudzu, and there are always grown up children who like to play with matches. Not to mention the rapture heads whose lives seem to be so empty and miserable that they can’t wait for it to happen. Wouldn’t bother too many people if they had a kool aide party and got a head start. Unfortunately they want to take the rest of us with them.

  49. #49 The Physicist
    July 28, 2007

    Well, here is one scientist who thinks we will be extinct in 100 years. I don’t buy his scenario. Climate change and resource depletion could destroy our civilization. Civilizations have come and gone before. Even if 99% of the population dies, that still leaves 67 million people. High by prehistoric standards.

    My bet is on nuclear war. Nukes are cheap, eay to make, spreading like Kudzu, and there are always grown up children who like to play with matches. Not to mention the rapture heads whose lives seem to be so empty and miserable that they can’t wait for it to happen. Wouldn’t bother too many people if they had a kool aide party and got a head start. Unfortunately they want to take the rest of us with them.

    One thing people need to understand, is you cannot stop technology. If Bush and company bomb Iran the political consequences will be dire. We had the cold war an no one shot off nukes, but if we bomb Iran all bets are off and you could be right.

  50. #50 The Physicist
    July 28, 2007

    The second paragraph above was to be a quote.

  51. #51 The Physicist
    July 28, 2007

    Russia is tired of us folks and are creating a totalitarian society, because of our empire building.

  52. #52 The Physicist
    July 28, 2007

    I am suffering greatly with peripheral nueropothy (sp?) I would ask you to pray for me, but you are atheists. If there are any theist’s looking in pray for me.

  53. #53 Arnosium Upinarum
    July 28, 2007

    Ronald Brak says, “I think you might be misunderstanding Mr Larsson, Arnosium Upinarum.”

    I don’t think so. Not when he also says something as ridiculous as this:

    Larsson: “Put Earth in the habitable zone of a long-lived red dwarf and the biosphere will have a maximum lifetime of 8.8 Gyr in any case – it would only have given us 2 Gyr more to have a “better” sun. (You would need much larger planets to increase lifetime another 4 Gyr to about 12 Gyr, which seems to be the supremum lifetime in these models.)”

    I am not at all impressed with wrong arguments for positions I nevertheless may agree with.

    First of all, Type M red dwarfs can remain on the Main Sequence (that is, stars which restrict their nuclear fusion to the conversion of hydrogen into helium like our Sun is doing now) and therefore supply a fairly stable source of radiant energy to any orbiting planets for MUCH longer than a mere “8.8 billion years”.

    The fact is that M dwarfs can remain on the Main Sequence for HUNDREDS of billions of years. (The lowest-mass M stars can last for over a trillion years on the Main Sequence – well over a HUNDRED TIMES the current 13.7 billion year age of the universe).

    The maximum amount of time available for conditions conducive to life on a planet located within the habitable zone of such a red dwarf would therefore be measured in hundreds of billions of years, not a mere 8 or 9 billions. In his subsequent post, Larsson “corrects” even that low figure, shaving it down to a mere 4 billions. Where does he get that idea??? Its quite obvious he knows nothing about elementary astrophysics.

    Secondly, his peculiar assertion that “much larger planets” or the implied size of planets somehow affects the “lifetime” of habitability of the planet (or a star – Larsson is utterly ambiguous in what he is referring to) is pure nonsense. Either way, there are no astrophysical “models” (as he puts it) that suggests anything remotely of the sort.

    I will not disparage anyone from being an “armchair astronomer” who likes to read books on the subject and yet may not comprehend the subject matter. I’m one who strongly encourages it. But I’m afraid I must correct whenever misconceptions are delivered as “fact”. Larsson uses the notion of “fine-tuning” – a common reference to the fashionable anthropic principle, which is analogous to creationists utilizing the term “intelligent design” – as if its a solid scientific conclusion which religious fundamentalists (“creationists”) might utilize as a weapon against science.

    No way. Its incumbent on those of us in the field who disagree with that ridiculous notion to speak out, that’s all. I have done so, and I do not require any pats on the back for doing what I consider a simple responsibility.

  54. #54 Arnosium Upinarum
    July 28, 2007

    The Physicist says: “I am suffering greatly with peripheral nueropothy (sp?) I would ask you to pray for me, but you are atheists. If there are any theist’s looking in pray for me.”

    No, I won’t “pray” for you because that doesn’t do jackshit (and you well know that), but I DO hope you will get and feel better. Take good care of yourself FIRST, man. THEN worry about whether or not you really need to wonk the blogs.

    Seriously. Take a break. Screw trying to show people how much you know.

    The charge of “plagiarism” against you suggested earlier are suitably explained, much as I thought.

  55. #55 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    July 28, 2007

    Arnosium Upinarum:

    WHAT “sweet spot”? Our Sun happens to be orbiting

    Obviously the one “that maximizes biosphere lifetime in our solar system”, which should be clear if you read the paper I linked to. Earth happen to lie in the part of our Sun’s habitable zone that maximizes biosphere lifetime, accounting for such effects as thermal balance, internal heat and atmosphere ablation.

    The so-called “Anthropic Principle” (upon which your conclusions are evidently based)

    As I proposed that creationists could latch on to this as a finetuning argument, I was obviously claiming that the result is independent of the papers conclusion.

    Also, it isn’t mine conclusion. You go on in the next comment to attribute the papers result to me or some mysterious “books”, and continue to argue about circumstances which doesn’t affect the referenced model for biosphere lifetimes. (Well, if anything they support them indirectly since the model doesn’t apply to stars with shorter lifetime.)

    In short, you have succeeded in making a long numbers of mistakes in reading and apprehension. I would gladly discuss astronomy or the anthropic principle any day, but circumstances for a rational discussion doesn’t seem to be at hand here.

    Btw, I’m highly amused to be accused of armchair physics by someone who obviously couldn’t care less for given references. You have made my day. 😛

  56. #56 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    July 28, 2007

    Arnosium Upinarum:

    WHAT “sweet spot”? Our Sun happens to be orbiting

    Obviously the one “that maximizes biosphere lifetime in our solar system”, which should be clear if you read the paper I linked to. Earth happen to lie in the part of our Sun’s habitable zone that maximizes biosphere lifetime, accounting for such effects as thermal balance, internal heat and atmosphere ablation.

    The so-called “Anthropic Principle” (upon which your conclusions are evidently based)

    As I proposed that creationists could latch on to this as a finetuning argument, I was obviously claiming that the result is independent of the papers conclusion.

    Also, it isn’t mine conclusion. You go on in the next comment to attribute the papers result to me or some mysterious “books”, and continue to argue about circumstances which doesn’t affect the referenced model for biosphere lifetimes. (Well, if anything they support them indirectly since the model doesn’t apply to stars with shorter lifetime.)

    In short, you have succeeded in making a long numbers of mistakes in reading and apprehension. I would gladly discuss astronomy or the anthropic principle any day, but circumstances for a rational discussion doesn’t seem to be at hand here.

    Btw, I’m highly amused to be accused of armchair physics by someone who obviously couldn’t care less for given references. You have made my day. 😛

  57. #57 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    July 28, 2007

    the result is independent of the papers conclusion.

    Oops. Obviously I didn’t mean that – but that the result/the papers conclusion is independent of Earths circumstantial position.

    Note to self – don’t post while juggling three other tasks at the same time.

  58. #58 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    July 28, 2007

    the result is independent of the papers conclusion.

    Oops. Obviously I didn’t mean that – but that the result/the papers conclusion is independent of Earths circumstantial position.

    Note to self – don’t post while juggling three other tasks at the same time.

  59. #59 The Physicist
    July 28, 2007

    No, I won’t “pray” for you because that doesn’t do jackshit (and you well know that), but I DO hope you will get and feel better. Take good care of yourself FIRST, man. THEN worry about whether or not you really need to wonk the blogs.

    That depends on what the meaning of “Jack Shit” is. I the meaning of JS is I will suddenly be cured, you are right. Otherwise there are a few more options.

    1) That God helps me tolerate my pain more
    2) That the pain I have I offer up to God for people who don’t believe, and prayers enhance that.

    So, even though you DON’T believe, maybe it helps me get through it. And what’s that to you?
    3) Jesus carried his cross and told me to pick up mine.

    Maybe as you believe, he was just a philosopher like GWB, but if that is all he was, he was a damn good one.

  60. #60 The Physicist
    July 28, 2007

    Oooops.

    Like GWB does

  61. #61 The Physicist
    July 28, 2007

    Posted by: Arnosium Upinarum | July 28, 2007 05:48 PM

    I am glad you care about my physical health and thanks for “hoping” I get better.

    Now I have only one thing to ask of you. Check out the blog below, on Aug 13th, to learn more about why I believe in God. And because of that I am commanded to love you.

  62. #62 Arnosium Upinarum
    July 29, 2007

    Torbjörn Larsson #53: Come now. It IS ok to embark on a tangent into generalities by taking someone else’s (in this case, wrong) assertions as a point of departure, isn’t it? I can smell an anthropic argument a mile away, and I DID raise the issue legitmately.

    So Earth’s orbit is favorably located in the habitable zone. There is a planet there. I did not dispute that at all. I was disputing the idea that there is anything special about that circumstance. I was disputing the IDEA that there is anything like a “sweet spot”, which implies that the Earth is located where it is BECAUSE it is most favorable to life. That’s the backasswardness inherent in the so-called “anthropic principle”, that in its most flagrant (“strong”) form suggests that we see the universe the way it is BECAUSE we are here.

    I’m by no means anti-life (quite the opposite) but the significance of our planet’s location is entirely bio-centric. We might as well marvel over the fact that humans aren’t nakedly located in the vast emptiness of an intergalactic void, or in the center of the Sun.

    That circumstance in no way accounts “for such effects as thermal balance, internal heat and atmosphere ablation.” ALL planets possess those attributes, whether they are habitable or not. You should have qualified your statement with something like, “that are favorable for biochemistry.” You make none.

    I don’t make “long numbers of mistakes in reading and apprehension”. I appreciate the language handicap, I really do, but I just like a little more precision than you evidently do. I attributed nothing to you except an ignorance of basic astrophysics – the kind that I have often found in “armchair astronomer” readers of popular books. The kind that can’t seem to comprehend what they read, yet consider themselves sufficiently informed to make ridiculous assertions.

    Never mind citing the books – that’s not the issue, sir. Pick any of them you like. You can’t seem to grasp WHATEVER you read. That citation enough for you?

    Sorry, nope, I’m not interested in debating astronomy or the anthropic priniciple with anybody who doesn’t even know how long a red dwarf star lives.

    Mister Phys #57 says, “…I am commanded to love you.”

    How sweet. I need no commandments to love YOU, my dahling. Now don’t forget your medication.

  63. #63 Keith Douglas
    July 29, 2007

    Speaking of cosmic cycles, what’s the latest word on proposed mechanisms for the 11 year sunspot cycle?

  64. #64 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    August 14, 2007

    Sorry for the delay. I wasn’t aware of this reply.

    Arnosium Upinarum:

    I can smell an anthropic argument a mile away

    Obviously not, since I explicitly argued against a common mistake in anthropic arguments. (Creationists use of finetunings.) I often discuss AP, or rather EP, but not here.

    Pick any of them you like.

    I did. You still haven’t seen those references, have you?

    anybody who doesn’t even know how long a red dwarf star lives.

    How anyone can confuse the lifetime of a biosphere with a lifetime of the star beats me, especially since the given references explains this clearly. Is it incompetence in following a simple reference link, incompetence in reading papers or other general incompetence, I wonder?

    Btw, since this thread you had a similar attack arguing against other cosmologies that embeds the concordance cosmology in a larger setting, something you also seems to feel strongly about and make unsupported lashings against. Ironic then that you discuss others need for medication. (But at least you had the sense to cut and run from the following thread.)

  65. #65 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    August 14, 2007

    Sorry for the delay. I wasn’t aware of this reply.

    Arnosium Upinarum:

    I can smell an anthropic argument a mile away

    Obviously not, since I explicitly argued against a common mistake in anthropic arguments. (Creationists use of finetunings.) I often discuss AP, or rather EP, but not here.

    Pick any of them you like.

    I did. You still haven’t seen those references, have you?

    anybody who doesn’t even know how long a red dwarf star lives.

    How anyone can confuse the lifetime of a biosphere with a lifetime of the star beats me, especially since the given references explains this clearly. Is it incompetence in following a simple reference link, incompetence in reading papers or other general incompetence, I wonder?

    Btw, since this thread you had a similar attack arguing against other cosmologies that embeds the concordance cosmology in a larger setting, something you also seems to feel strongly about and make unsupported lashings against. Ironic then that you discuss others need for medication. (But at least you had the sense to cut and run from the following thread.)

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