One of my fellow SBers, Kevin over at Dr. Joan Bushwell's Chimpanzee Refuge wrote a scathing article reviewing an incredibly bad anti-evolution blog. There's no way that I can compete with Kevin's writing on the topic - you should really check it out for a great example of just how to take a moronic creationist, and reduce him to a whimpering puddle of protoplasm.
But while looking at the site that Kevin shredded, I can across a link to another really, really bad site, and this one is clearly in my territory:
Science Proves Creation, a site set up by an individual named "Samuel J. Hunt". Mr. Hunt claims to have developed mathematical proof that the universe was created by Gods words.
The site is basically an on-line informercial for a book that Mr. Hunt wrote called "Episteme Scientia: The Law of All Things", which purportedly contains mathematical proof that God created the universe by speaking into the void. As an informercial site, it obviously withholds much of the content of Mr. Hunts arguments - as is all too typical of these types of shucksters, they won't actually show you their arguments unless you pass them a few bucks. And of course, if you don't throw them some money for a copy of their book, then they'll respond to all criticisms by saying "But I answered that in my book!". But still, I can't resist mocking this kind
of stuff, even if I know what the response from the twit is going to be.
Here's the first couple of paragraphs from the introduction to his informercial (with some formatting cleanups to make it readable when quoted here):
My name is Samuel J Hunt and here is what my paper shows:
- There is a mathematical relationship between all matter and frequency, (this is just basic physics, but the conversions and equations --very simple--are in my proof --and taught in every classroom around the world, and confirmed by dozens and dozens of experiments).
- There is a mathematical relationship between all frequency and sound (this is proven in acoustics and music theory --as well as in physics, and is proven by the experiment of sonoluminescence).
- (A+B=C) Therefore there is a mathematical relationship between all matter and sound. this is elaborated in my paper. This proves that matter can not only be manipulated by sound --- melting ice, breaking glass, boiling water, manipulating DNA ---but that matter can be spoken into existence by going from sound to light to matter. A couple of clarifications: the substance that was "in the beginning" in verse 2, that God spoke to, was DESCRIBED to be water. But that does not mean it was H20. There are many water-like substances that are not H20. Take ZPE for instance:
"Sound can travel through space, because space is not the total vacuum it's often made out to be. Atoms of gas give the universe a ubiquitous (present everywhere at once--omniscient?) atmosphere of sorts, albeit a very thin one. Sound, unlike light, travels by compressing medium. Space, though not as efficient, can also serve as a medium." ---Sounds in Space: Silencing Misconceptions. Robert Roy Britt, 23 Sept., 2003.
"The mysterious nature of the vacuum [is] revealed by Quantum Electrodynamics. It is not an empty nothing, but contains randomly fluctuating magnetic fields...with an infinite zero-point energy." --Stephen Barret, University of Oxford; Nature, March 22, 1990, p.280
"Zero-Point Energy, often referred to as 'aether' or 'the energy of space', is an energy field that spans the entire universe. Contrary to our current limitations in measurement, this universal field exists everywhere in the universe, radiates in every direction with equal pressure, and has no vibration. Radiation implies vibration, but this is not necessarily so. Like the depths of the ocean, and object at the bottom receives the pressure from all the water above it. This 'fluid pressure' is equal in all directions, and is why we haven't noticed its effects before the advent of Quantum Mechanics. The universal ZPE field is like the surface of an absolutely still pond. It has no movement. It is all one surface. However, when something moves through the surface of the water, it disrupts the surface creating waves." ---The Dangers of ZPE, Dr. Jay Garrett, CEO, Garrett Technologies
Beautiful crap, huh? "There is a mathematical relationship between all matter and frequency". What does that mean? Is he talking about the wave/particle duality, where each particle can also be a wave with a particular frequency? Or is he talking about something like sound? Or what? From the rest of his gibberish, I think that he's being deliberately vague. What's the mathematical relationship? Oh, he's not going to tell us here. No, to find out what the relationship is, guess what we have to do? Buy his book! Until we do that, he's going to stay hopelessly vague, and just claim that there's math to support him.
"There is a mathematical relationship between all frequency and sound". A truly stunning piece of gibberish, that. It's worse than wrong - it's nonsensical. What is "frequency"? It's a measure of the rate of recurring phenomenon like a wave. What's the relationship between 60/second and sound? Well, if the 60/second is a measure of the rate of a repeating compression wave through air, it sounds almost like a B flat. If it's the rate of cycle of an alternating electrical current, then it's relationship to sound is... umm... well, he won't tell us that unless... you know. (Actually, I can answer this one. If you do a lousy job setting up a sound system, you can wind up with a ground loop, which will produce a 60hz hum in the speakers as an artifact of the frequency of the power supply.)
The mention of sonoluminescence here is just a non-sequitur. He wants to pull
that in, because he's going to claim that God's speech created the universe via
something like somoluminescence. Sonoluminescence is an interesting phenomena where small bubbles embedded in a fluid can be caused to collapse by passing sound waves through the fluid - and when they collapse, they release a burst of energy which manifests as a brief pulse of light.
And now, a quick taste of what he considers math: "A+B=C". Of course, that little bit of mathematical notation has absolutely nothing to do with what he's actually about to say, but hey, he thinks it makes him look smart. Basically, he's saying that since all matter has some connection to frequency, and all frequency has some relationship to sound, then all matter has some connection to sound. Oooh, deep, huh?
Then he jumps into a bunch of zero-point energy stuff - which he quite clearly doesn't understand. Again, he's trying to use this "frequency==sound" nonsense to try to say something that he can't support - so he muddles together a bunch of different things: the fact that there is no perfect vaccum (and thus, there is some sound in space);
the idea of the zero-point quantum fluctuations at the micro-scale of quantum mechanics which conceptually produce random magnetic fields; and the quantum mechanical concept of
a minimum energy state even in a perfect vacuum, which can be modeled as a field. If you
mix those three up in inconsistent ways, then you get an omnipresent magnetic field which produces a universal sound wave through the low-density "atmosphere" of space, and which Mr. Hunt claims is the echo of God's voice. To quote him again:
Enter Sonoluminescence and the Casimir Force. This solves the mystery behind why such a low-energy-density sound wave can cause a bubble to expel light and create a temperature of at least 10,000 degrees Celsius and possibly 1,000,000 degrees Celsius in its corona. Sounds like the corona of the sun doesn't it? SOUNDS like the sun was spoken into existence to --and there is a math to prove it and another experiment to prove it besides sonoluminescence which is also described in my paper. So what was it that "moves through the surface of the water.."? Sound --God's voice command. What was the effect of this sound wave? "...It disrupts the surface, creating waves." What kind of waves? The only wave that exists --the EM wave from 0 Hz to infinity Hz. Everything else is just a segmentation of that wave like inches on a ruler. And since this happened everywhere all at once in the whole expanse of eternity, then you have one giant FIELD of indeterminate energy
So, you see... Not only is zero point energy the echo of Gods voice, but the reason that collapsing microscopic bubbles in a fluid using a sound wave produces a burst of energy is because it's really an echo of the command that God used to create stars. It all makes perfect sense!
Except... He goes on to say:
By the way, whoever said that photons were particles was not very well informed. Photons are pure energy --they have no mass --therefore cannot be a particle. Photons distribute the properties OF particles (at times) and OF waves (at times)--but they are not waves or particles.
Which, even if he'd been making sense up to this point, would completely blow away
everything which he claims supports his argument. Zero point energy, and the quantum mechanical structure of vacuum - which are an intrinsic part of the basis of his argument - are built on the math underlying the particle/wave duality of light. If light is neither a particle nor a wave - then all of the math that underlies all of the theories that he's referred to collapse. Oops.
Of course, he'snot satisfied with having just presented a self-defeating argument - he needs to go further into nonsense, making claims for stuff that is allegedly supported by mathematical proof:
There are only 3 substance in the universe:
- non-etheric, containing no mass and taking up no/all space. These are mind, will, soul, emotions, etc.
- etheric, taking up space, but have no mass. These are spiritual substances, God, angels, ghosts, magnetic and electric energy, etc.
- matter, takes up space and contains mass. These are anything that is a particle, and compounds of particles. The rest of the paper just shows the whys and hows of every process taking place on each day, what the days REALLY are, the mathematics of each day and why everything had to happen exactly in the order Genesis says it did. Neither side of the debate has been very close to the truth about Genesis. Both sides are distorted --yet both sides have some amount of truth to prove my theory true. Peer review? These principles have already been taught all over the world for more than 450 years. Anyone who tries to discredit this will be discrediting all of science and mathematics that have been taught since the days of Archimedes and Leucippus. I hope you enjoy 'the proof'.
So all of this is perfectly supported by mathematical proof. And it's going to
completely revolutionize everything. And if it's wrong, then by his proof all of the math
and science of the last 2000 years is also wrong. But, if you want to see the proof, you
have to... (do I really need to say it again? naaah.)
On a closing note... I've noticed a lot of these wacko theories make claims about how how if they're wrong, it will invalidate 200 years of science. This is, to me, one of the most unbelievably arrogant claims that I can imagine. Has any reputable scientist evermade such a claim?
'(present everywhere at once--omniscient?)' - methinks the poor boy means 'omnipresent'.
Well done. Clearly, there is a mathematical relationship between your brain cells and Mr. Hunt's brain cells, i.e. there are more of yours! Similarly there is a mathematical relationship between a person's thoughts and the connections between their brain cells (e.g. one is bigger, presumably, but they are both big numbers, usually, so who cares which one). And so since you have shown that Mr. Hunt's thoughts (if I may call them that) cannot manipulate yours (while clearly yours would leave his unaffected), hence Mr. Hunt's "proof" is refuted again.
I tried calculating the ratio of Mark's brain cells to this Sam Hunt guy's, but then I remembered that dividing by zero is a no-no.
I'm pretty sure that by "A+B=C," this Hunt fella was trying to establish a syllogism involving matter, frequency and sound, i.e.: "If A then B, and if B then C. Therefore, if A then C." I guess this is the Transitive Property of Bullshit, or somesuch axiom accessible only to extremely addled, dollar-focused minds.
Either way, it's hardly the only issue with his presentation, and I'm not sure my evo-debunking pal Mr. Bradfield paid it especially close attention.
"I've noticed a lot of these wacko theories make claims about how how if they're wrong, it will invalidate 200 years of science."
Yes, and conveniently enough, if anyone does confirm this BS, it's also going invalidate virtually all of science.
What I'm curious about is the psychology of these people, do they actually believe their own bullcrap or are they just out to rip off the gullible?
If someone wants to have some more fun at the expense of Mr. Hunt, there's a draft of the book at http://www.spiritualsisters.com/samhunt1.htm
"(A+B=C) Therefore there is a mathematical relationship between all matter and sound" in the context of a "proof" of God reminds me of:
Diderot, the French Encyclopedist, visited the Russian court, invited by the Empress. Amused by his witticisms, she told him that she has a mathematician who has mathematically proved God's existence and would demonstrate this in front of the whole court if desired so. Diderot agreed. So, to make a long story short, the great Euler advanced towards Diderot and in a tone of perfect conviction said:
"Monsieur, (a^n + b^n)/n = x, therefore God exists! "
There are differing versions of this anecdote.
Seems Mr. Hunt is merely "proving" that all is reducible to energy, which he equates with "sound" because both energy and sound exist as frequencies. Simply, he's metaphorically referring to energy as "sound," and since energy is all-pervasive, so is "sound." Then, on top of this metaphor, Mr. Hunt pataphysically piles on another metaphor: that the sound is created by God's voice (I guess God has a voice box; lol).
This isn't physics; it's pataphysics, and as such it may be a valid metaphor but it doesn't add anything to the predictive power of the hard science of physics. It's just a quaint bit of poetry dressed up in a little mathematics.
What amuses me most about Mr. Hunt is his unqualified use of the word "God." If by "God" he merely means to refer to the infinite ground of Being as fluctuating energy frequencies, fine. But we all know that most or many will read into that word their own personal, anthropomorphic deity of choice, and thereby hangs his hope of his book's success.
From Mr. Hunt's complete profile: " I expect these blogs and the related blogs of other people to be detected by Jesus Christ and those higher intelligent humans who already live on other planets."
Beautiful. I often fantasize the same thing. =D
"I've noticed a lot of these wacko theories make claims about how how if they're wrong, it will invalidate 200 years of science."
Has any reputable scientist ever made such a claim?
While the answer is "probably not", they don't help when they put out press releases that claim that their latest finding will "overturn" [the human family tree/our knowledge of dinosaurs/whatever] as they so often do. It gets press, and the PR departments of the institutions are heavily involved, but I've been involved in some of these PR things and the PR dept doesn't do this BS all on their own. These kinds of actions hurt the general public's understanding of science and how it works, and makes truely dumb BS (like this guy's site and book) seem less foolish, since his idiotic statement is only going a step or two further than real scientists do when they put out PR.
I hate to be a humbug, but I have to cast doubt on that hoary old tale of Euler and Diderot above.
At least according to A History of Mathematics by Jeff Suzuki (a really good history of maths book, imho), there is no evidence that this confrontation between Diderot and Euler took place, and even if it did, Diderot had written some (decent) mathematics himself, and certainly wouldn't have failed to understand Euler's statement.
The same book suggests that if this meeting did take place, it was actually that Diderot realised he was being mocked, and left in a huff.
Not that any of that matters, it's just that I find it interesting how many anecodtes from mathematical history do the rounds without much historical backup. I think it's that a lot of mathematicians are secretly Romantics...
er, just to clear up that hideous double negative in my 2nd paragraph, I mean that Diderot would have understood Euler.
Hunt is an analogist.
- "everywhere at once--omniscient"
- "Sounds like the corona of the sun doesn't it?"
- "Therefore there is a mathematical relationship between all matter and sound."
He doesn't care about the disjoints, for example when we must consider what type of system gives the frequency he discuss.
And that is many potential frequencies, since a particle has an associated wavelength for many, if not all, properties. The Compton wavelength tells us about the uncertainty in the position of a particle, and is related to frequencies of interactions with the particle. The de Broglie wavelength tells us about the uncertainty in the momentum of a particle, and is related to QM wave behavior. The Debye length is the emergent screening length of charges. And so on.
It says a lot about Bradfield if he promotes such a jabberwocky as Hunt.
Joseph Cooper: I appreciate the skepticism. In my blog, as linked to, I gave comments from readers who disputed the historicity. I did not know the "A History of Mathematics" by Jeff Suzuki reference. In a sense, the old story is too good to be true, but the fact that people still tell it (or variants) suggests an interest in, and skepticism of, elementary mathematical proofs of the existence or nonexistence of God.
There are also woo-ful papers on the probabilities of miracles.
It is as if (TV and Comix reference warning) people in the Twilight Zone and Bizarro World have nostalgia for our lawful universe, and a sense that it might be nice to live in a universe with mathematical regularities.
Equating God with voice as such is related to Indoeuropean association of creation with breath, and the Islamic primacy or the oral tradition with what Mohammed HEARD from Allah, and only then wrote down. God spoke from a burning bush, but wrote 10 axioms on stone tablets. That suggests the Bible as an edited record of the transition from (oral tradition) hunter-gatherers to (written history) settle agriculture with Kings, Money, War, and Cities. The most common metaphors in the Bible (Old and New testaments) seem to be those transitional technologies: agriculture, sheepherding, animal domestication, fishing, pottery, masonry, military weaponry. "As ye sow, so shall ye reap."
With the next generations of religions have God contacting prophets through email, instant messaging, and blogs? Ramen!
Waitasec; if Hunt's a jabberwocky, what does that make the more weighty Beardon?
I think Beardon's a jabberwocky, and Hunt's just a Jub-jub bird.
Spelling correction: "Bearden," not Beardon."
It must be something in the lifeblood of conservatives (and conservative pundits in particular) to be astoundingly ignorant, and yet argue like they know more than anyone else in the world.
But don't you all understand?? It's all so clear to me now! The Pythagorean Theorem conclusively proves that every one of God's farts produces another Jerry Falwell or Bill Dembski.
This guy's theology (as quoted here; I'm not masochistic enough to read the original) is as painful to read as his math.
BC: That's a characteristic of extremists, not of conservatives. It's just that the conservative extremists are, unfortunately, a lot more visible than the moderates.
Jonathan Vos Post: Well, Joseph Smith *did* get a memo, so there's precedent...
Dave: Yes, and there's a book in print recently about how Abraham Lincoln used telegrams as cleverly as anyone today uses email. You're right.
What I'm wondering is, who said "Let there be a physical (quantum-mechanical) vacuum" if God's words could only be effective upon such. Or was there always such a thing? But then it must have been randomly producing all sorts of structures, without the benefit of God's words. Is that where the Serpent comes in? Maybe such a random fluctuation also gave rise to God (as with the Giants giving birth to Zeus, Odin et al)? To be more charitable I would agree with TorbjÃ¶rn, and imagine that Mr. Hunt must be speaking in analogies with something else entirely.
Watch out, everyone! Back off! He's got a math to prove it!
Enigman: I don't think Hunt is saying that God uses "the physical (quantum-mechanical) vacuum" as a MEDIUM for his voice, I think he's EQUATING said vacuum with God's voice, which is a perfectly valid poetic metaphor but isn't a viable scientific theory.
Neal Adams appears to be doing the same thing with his
Prime Matter Particle, which "works" mathematically but doesn't add anything new to the predictive power of physics.
Beardon's theorizing is a bit beyond me, but form Mark CC's deconstruction I seem to understand that his pataphysics is not a poetic metaphor but is instead based on a direct falsehood.
It would be nice if Hunt were more direct and honest about his poetry instead of pretending that it's science. The question re any one of these pataphysicists is, "Are they misleading consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or unintentionally?" (I believe Adams is doing so unconsciously and unintentionally, but I'm not as certain about this re Hunt. Bearden is probably doing so consciously and intentionally.)
"Do people who write this stuff really believe it...?"
Oh yes. One wacko, who somehow thought we'd give him money because we wrote a book called Finding Money, insisted we listen to his pitch. He wanted to build an Eiffel Tower in Los Angeles because the one in London had been a huge success.
No amount of explaining would convince him his market plan was, um...basically flawed.
Then there's was the guy pitching a perpetual motion machine (why do they all write in pencil, very very small, and around the edges too?). He readily acknowledged it was a perpetual motion machine, that no one had ever built one or knew how...but HE did. It was based on applied General Relativity, of course.
So let me get this straight... In between Haskell postings, you review the works of paranoid schizophrenics?
Interesting phrasing, pandelume. Did you take any note of the title of this blog?
Thanks Norm; I just thought that since the Bible says that the spirit of God moved over the face of the Deep, that the Earth was without form and void, etc., hence Mr Hunt would be associating the fluidly fluctuating vacuum with that formless stuff, and the creative power of God's words with its fluctuating. To get clear on this maybe I should read his book (not).
if it is any use to you, I have blogged a proof that Heaven is actually hotter than Hell, here :-
Reposting from Pharyngula (which I give myself permission to do):
Genesis 1, King James Version, Pharisee Subversion:
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, and the dark matter, and the dark energy, and hid His 11-dimensional handiwork from unbelievers, as He rolled up 7 dimensions too small for men to see, unto Calabi-Yau manifolds, and those 7 dimensions were called "6 days of creation and 1 day of rest" in the mainstream edition.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And those waters were from comets that crashed unto the earth, carrying water from the outer regions of the protoplanetary disk.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And the light was decoupled from baryonic matter, with the right fractal distribution, and appropriately polarized. And neutrinos. And gravity waves...
Posted by: Jonathan Vos Post |
February 14, 2007 12:20 PM
Ouch. Late to the party but I enjoyed that.
That was beautiful, JVP.
Ashley, Xanthir: you're welcome.
Mark C. Chu-Carroll: thank you for your continued hospitality, and for letting me switch hats from Math to Poetry pseudorandomly, those being my two B.S. degrees from Caltech.
A Math version of Genesis (with 225 comments) is:
Excerpt from GENE515
What is Man, that he may know Number? What is Number that it may be known by Man?
As we are mathematicians, we are in the image of our creator, The Mathematician, who has other attributes beyond our comprehension, and is Transfinite.
He freely gives us this world, and the cosmos beyond, and the flora and fauna over which to be stewards, and our fellow human beings to love, which is in the image of His love, which is transfinite.
We have free will, and for those of use who choose to be mathematicians, he gives us the integers as toys, in which is His book coded.
We play with those toys, some of us in solitude, some of us playing together. And when we put aside childish things, behold, we still have the gift of Number, and they are more than first we knew.
Eureka!, and Aha!, and knowing what Mozart meant when he said that he did not write music, but it was already there and he plucked it from thin air as it blew past. And what Ramanujan said was given him by a Goddess, And what Gauss could see as a child, and Riemann in the looking glass of Primes, and Galois by candlelight in the brief hours before his fatal duel.
Euclid, alone, has looked on beauty bare. But we mathematicians today are not alone, far from it, cradled in the same Web woven of Number, binary and octal and hex, decimal and alphanumeric, vector and raster, and more in cables, trunks, and as wifi in the very air about us.
By knowing Number more deeply, we more deeply know ourselves, and our Creator.
Every word begins and ends with the empty word; the empty word begins and ends with itself.
Your above poetry isn't masses-accessible, but I sure like it.
Well, I personally can't understand most of the words said here, but I do understand that the writer doesn't know anything about God and the Holy Bible. Before I came to know God, I thought science was the most factual thing on this Earth (man, was I wrong). All science doesn't even compare to the findings on many things that were recorded in the Holy Bible. I actually found that out after I came to know Christ. It was like icing on the cake because I already knew at that time all was completely true in the Bible. I think that it's very funny that the same people that don't believe in creation because it's too out there, believe in a big explosion that created life. Also the fact that cells grew up to be an animal. The very idea that cells were ever able to survive withouth everything else to go along with it is completely out there. I understand though how these thoughts come to people and that's why I pray for all who have them. I feel that people who a lot of book smarts suffer so much. I'm dumb which I'm totally ok with, yet because God is complete knowledge and wisdom, I'm able to make right choices with his guidance. God bless you all.
No one, has ever reduced me to a quivering puddle of protoplasm. Atheists just get mad and call people names when they get hit with facts. Just as this guy does. Never mind the book, probably is lame. Tell me, how do numbers exist in your completely material world? You don't even get the question do you? Insults float through your mind because you don't even get it. Numbers are not material. How can they exist, how did they evolve? From what animal did numbers evolve from? They didn't. They didn't evolve in your mind either. Ideas don't evolve. I'm just trying to answer any questions you may use to say the question is stupid. Everything has to be material in a universe that is all matter and nothing else. So where did numbers come from? You can't even get that simple question, but you can post pages of blather about numbers. Atheists' ignorance is always amusing.
Tell me, how do numbers exist in your completely material world? You don't even get the question do you?
Oh, I get the question. It's fucking stupid, but I get it.
Numbers are not material. How can they exist, how did they evolve? From what animal did numbers evolve from? They didn't.
Rocks didn't evolve either, but they still exist. "But they're still material!" you'll object. I know, but I'm just amused by your use of evolution as a catch-all material boogeyman without even thinking about it.
To answer your question: numbers are an abstraction invented by people to help us describe the material world. There, that wasn't so hard, was it?
Ideas don't evolve.
Well, they're not biological organisms, that's true, but some might argue the point.
Everything has to be material in a universe that is all matter and nothing else.
And? You say that as if it somehow presents a problem. Thoughts and abstract ideas don't need the supernatural to exist, just as they don't need physical manifestations to be real, either.
Atheists' ignorance is always amusing.
You do realize that the author of this blog is Jewish, right? No, of course you don't.
Fundies' ignorance is always amusing.
There is an actual question that the ignorant fundamentalist was groping towards, in the dark, while stumbling over his/her prejudices and incoherence.
That question is: "how did the human brain evolve to be able to handle numbers?"
There is a technical literature on the subject. It is related to the literature on the question: "how did the human brain evolve so as to be able to read?"
If one accepts the assumption that there are no alphabets and numerals in the physical world, nor the numbers and words that they allow representations of, then how can people do what they do in literature and mathematics?
Again, I am not answering these questions, with which real scientists have experimented and speculated. I am pointing out that there can be questions somewhere in between Creationist drivel and smug non-analysis of metaphysics.