Sunday, September 30, 2007


A week or so ago, some people showed up at Dad's clinic with a half-frozen kitten that they had found on the side of the road in Shell. It was at most a bit over a week old. So now, my parent's have a little black kitten named Shelley.

She wanders around the house in her kitten-y way, attacking and subduing all she encounters, until something else distracts her, a few seconds later. Curtains, yarn, dust motes, ankles and a Chesapeake Bay Retriever ten or twenty times her size (Their other dog, a nervous and high-strung greyhound mix, avoids Shelley entirely)

Kia (the retriever, don't ask, I don't know) has always been fascinated with baby animals, and she lets Shelley attack her paws, tail and sometimes her face. For a while. Eventually she gets up and runs away. If you have never seen an 8 oz kitten chasing an 80 lb dog, you have missed the pinnacle of humor.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Idle Rambling

I was thinking about that paper referenced in my "Where did the Universe come from? Part 3" post yesterday.

Particularly the quote:

The implication of such a description, as we have suggested in Section (1), is that Poincare recurrences are inevitable. Starting in a high entropy, “dead” configuration, if we wait long enough, a fluctuation will eventually occur in which the inflaton will wander up to the top of its potential, thus starting a cycle of inflation, re–heating, conventional cosmology and heat death.

Before I go on, I have to say that this is all idle speculation. I am not an expert on this. I may have completely misunderstood the paper. I do not believe this is the absolute, final truth. It's just idle speculation.

What this seems to be saying is that given a long enough time, the universe will naturally fluctuate from a high entropy state to a low entropy state. If this happens to the entire universe, or even just locally, say a few hundred trillion light-years in diameter (a microscopic dot compared to an infinite space), it would appear to violate 2LoT. I don't know what a Poincare recurrence is, nor do I have the time or ambition to work through the math. Maybe it doesn't.

But anyway, I like the idea of local fluctuations. Each separate fluctuation could be considered its own universe, which nicely incorporates multiple universes hypotheses. A fluctuation would be like the Big Bang, with matter and energy suddenly emerging from nothing. The physics of each universe could be randomly set at the moment of fluctuation. As a universe wound down, it would tend to spread out (expanding universe). Which could lead to interesting consequences if two (or more) of these universes were to intersect. A universe would expand until it was gone, rejoining the background nothingness. No need for expansion/contraction cycles.

This sounds like a rough basis for a science fiction setting. I may try my hand at writing again.


Where Did the Universe Come From? Part 5

Where Did the Universe Come From? Part 5


Today I introduce to you one of the most powerful science presentations I have ever heard.

I listened to Hugh Ross give this presentation on a tape while I was driving down Interstate 88 in Chicago one night. As I listened, light bulbs were firing off in my head all over the place.

Hugh Ross? Really, Hugh Ross? Another "I'm-right-and-anyone-who-argues-with- me-is-the-Devil" creationist. I'm sure he's completely honest and unbiased. All of his points have been answered elsewhere. (the links are good places to start if you want to look)

So what's the big deal about this? Here's what you'll discover as you listen:

-The delicate balance of vast forces in the universe, necessary for life to exist

-Why planet earth is so extremely special in its ability to support life

-The very measurement of the entire universe in all its magnificence, made possible only within the last 15 years

-A fascinating place where science and theology come together in perfect agreement

Now there's one more thing I want to tell you about this talk: It was recorded in 1994.

Now why would I give you something called "New Scientific Evidence" if it's 11 years old?

Here's why: Because unlike most things 11 years old -- with only a couple of exceptions, the information Hugh Ross shares here has been shown to be even *more* accurate today than it was back then.

I call bullshit.

One of the hallmarks of a successful scientific model is that it holds up for years and even decades, even while scholars debate it. I've been following Dr. Ross and his work, and virtually every fact he discusses here has been further strengthened and validated by all the physics and astronomy discoveries in the years since.

More bullshit.

On this link you'll find both the audio recording and the printed transcript. You can read it online, print it out, listen on your computer, burn it to a CD, or download this to your MP3 player. Go here now:


Don't bother. It's even more bullshit. I didn't enjoy it. Neither will you

Perry Marshall

This was not fun. Five emails of almost pure bullplop. Just the thought that anyone could believe this crap depresses me. I did not make the URLs Mr Marshall supplies (in this post and the last one) into hyperlinks. If you really want to torture yourself, copy-and-paste them into your navigation bar.


UPDATE: If anyone wonders why I went from fisking Mr Marshall's points (previous posts) to just calling bullshit (this post), it's because the above links to Hugh Ross answer all of it


Where did the Universe Come From? Part 4

Where did the Universe Come From? Part 4:
"If you can read this sentence, I can prove to you that God exists"


See this email I just sent you, that you're reading right now? This email is proof of the existence of God.

Yeah, I know, that sounds crazy. But I'm not asking you to believe anything just yet, until you see the evidence for yourself. All I ask is that you refrain from disbelieving
while I show you my proof. It only takes a minute to convey, but it speaks to one of the most important questions of all time.

Yes, it does.
Sure you're not.
Evidence? Proof? Yeah, right.

So how is this email proof of the existence of God?:

This email you're reading contains letters, words and sentences. It contains a message that means something. As long as you can read English, you can understand what I'm saying.

You can do all kinds of things with this email. You can read it on your computer screen. You can print it out on your printer. You can read it out loud to a friend who's in the same room as you are. You can call your friend and read it to her over the telephone. You can save it as a Microsoft WORD document. You can forward it to someone via email, or you can post it on a website.

Regardless of how you copy it or where you send it, the information remains the same. My email contains a message. It contains information in the form of language. The message is independent of the medium it is sent in.

Messages are not matter, even though they can be carried by matter (like printing this email on a piece of paper).

Messages are not energy even though they can be carried by energy (like the sound of my voice.)

Messages are immaterial. Information is itself a unique kind of entity. It can be stored and transmitted and copied in many forms, but the meaning still stays the same.

Messages can be in English, French or Chinese. Or Morse Code. Or mating calls of birds. Or the Internet. Or radio or television. Or computer programs or architect blueprints or stone carvings. Every cell in your body contains a message encoded in DNA, representing a complete
plan for you.

OK, so what does this have to do with God?

It's very simple. Messages, languages, and coded information ONLY come from a mind. A mind that agrees on an alphabet and a meaning of words and sentences. A mind that expresses both desire and intent.

It has been shown that random mutation and natural selection *can and do* produce information. Here's a place to start

Whether I use the simplest possible explanation, such as the one I'm giving you here, or if we analyze language with advanced mathematics and engineering communication theory, we can say this with total confidence:

"Messages, languages and coded information never, ever come from anything else besides a mind. No one has ever produced a single example of a message that did not come from a mind."

DNA doesn't have language. That is an analogy!

Nature can create fascinating patterns - snowflakes, sand dunes, crystals, stalagmites and stalactites. Tornados and turbulence and cloud formations.

I'm with you so far

But non-living things cannot create language. They *cannot* create codes. Rocks cannot think and they cannot talk. And they cannot create information.

argument from incredulity fallacy

It is believed by some that life on planet earth arose accidentally from the "primordial soup," the early ocean which produced enzymes and eventually RNA, DNA, and primitive cells.

But there is still a problem with this theory: It fails to answer the question, 'Where did the information come from?'

"I don't know" does not equal "Goddidit"

DNA is not merely a molecule. Nor is it simply a "pattern." Yes, it contains chemicals and proteins, but those chemicals are arranged to form an intricate language, in the exact same way that English and Chinese and HTML are languages.

Unsupported assertion.
Unsupported assertion.
Unsupported assertion.
Gene sequences are not a language. That's just an analogy!

DNA has a four-letter alphabet, and structures very similar to words, sentences and paragraphs. With very precise instructions and systems that check for errors and correct them.

To the person who says that life arose naturally, you need only ask: "Where did the information come from? Show me just ONE example of a language that didn't come from a mind."

argument from incredulity fallacy again

As simple as this question is, I've personally presented it in public presentations and Internet discussion forums for more than two years. I've addressed more than fifty thousand people, including hostile, skeptical audiences who insist that life arose without the assistance of God.

But to a person, none of them have ever been able to explain where the information came from. This riddle is "So simple any child can understand; so complex, no atheist can solve."

Once more for the cheap seats: " "I don't know" does not equal "Goddidit"

You can hear or read my full presentation on this topic at

For a high-school level, layman's version, go here:

Matter and energy have to come from somewhere. Everyone can agree on that. But information has to come from somewhere, too! Information is separate entity, fully on par with matter and energy. And information can only come from a mind. If books and poems and TV shows come from human intelligence, then all living things inevitably came from a superintelligence.

unsupported assertion. the last sentence is bad logic.

Every word you hear, every sentence you speak, every dog that barks, every song you sing, every email you read, every packet of information that zings across the Internet, is proof of the existence of God. Because information and language always originate in a mind.

more unsupported assertion.

In the beginning were words and language.

In the Beginning was Information.

When we consider the mystery of life - where it came from and how this miracle is possible - do we not at the same time ask the question where it is going, and what its purpose is?

Respectfully Submitted,

Perry Marshall

Further reading:

-"If you can read this, I can prove God exists" - listen to my full presentation or read the Executive Summary here:

-The Atheist's Riddle: Members of Infidels, the world's largest atheist discussion board attempt to solve it (for well over a year now!), without success:


-"OK, so then who made God?" and other questions about information and origins:

P.S.: Preview of tomorrow: You get to listen in on one of the most fascinating science lectures I've ever had the privilege of hearing. A presentation in which hard science and faith fuse together in a fascinating tour of this magnificently engineered universe that is our home.

No evidence, no proof. Just worthless argument from incredulity.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Where did the Universe come from? Part 3

Where did the Universe come from?
Part 3: Why the Big Bang was the most precisely planned event in all of history

In your kitchen cabinet, you've probably got a spray bottle with an adjustable nozzle. If you twist the nozzle one way, it sprays a fine mist into the air. You twist the nozzle the other way, it squirts a jet of water
in a straight line. You turn that nozzle to the exact position you want so you can wash a mirror, clean up a spill, or whatever.

If the universe had expanded a little faster, the matter would have sprayed out into space like fine mist from a water bottle - so fast that a gazillion particles of dust would speed into infinity and never even form a single star.

If the universe had expanded just a little slower, the material would have dribbled out like big drops of water, then collapsed back where it came from by the force of gravity.

A little too fast, and you get a meaningless spray of fine dust. A little too slow, and the whole universe collapses back into one big black hole.

Bullshit analogy for the win. I'm convinced. [/sarcasm]

The surprising thing is just how narrow the difference is. To strike the perfect balance between too fast and too slow, the force, something that physicists call
"the Dark Energy Term" had to be accurate to one part in ten with 120 zeros.

If you wrote this as a decimal, the number would look like this:


In case you were sleeping in math class

In their paper "Disturbing Implications of a Cosmological Constant" two atheist scientists from Stanford University stated that the existence of this dark energy term "Would have required a miracle... An external agent, external to space and time, intervened in cosmic history for reasons of its own."

I think he means this paper. Notice that there are actually three authors (Lisa Dyson, Matthew Kleban, Leonard Susskind) all three of whom are from Stanford (although Dyson seems to be associated with MIT, also). Nowhere in the paper do they mention their personal beliefs, so how does Mr. Marshal come to the conclusion that they are atheists?

As for that alleged quote, I did a text search of the paper:

occurrences of "would have required a miracle" : 0

the word "miracles" does occur once in the paper, as shorthand for extremely unlikely events

occurrences of "external agent" : 1

The question then is whether the origin of the universe can be a naturally occurring fluctuation, or must it be due to an external agent which starts the system out in a specific low entropy state?

However I did find the quote Mr Marshal is mining.

Another possibility is an unknown agent intervened in the evolution, and for reasons of its own restarted the universe in the state of low entropy characterizing inflation. However, even this does not rid the theory of the pesky recurrences.

Notice the difference in meaning. The authors are saying that even allowing for God won't solve the problem they are discussing.

Mr Marshall's 'quote' is bullplop. The quoted text before the ellipses doesn't exist, and the rest is a partial sentence taken (way) out of context. And he doesn't even get that right. Maybe he was home-schooled and never had an English teacher to tell him that what he puts between quotation marks is supposed to be exactly what is written in the original.

Here's the last quote in the paper that I was able to follow (the rest of the paper is a lot of physics/maths that require a more thorough reading than I have time for):
The implication of such a description, as we have suggested in Section (1), is that Poincare recurrences are inevitable. Starting in a high entropy, “dead” configuration, if we wait long enough, a fluctuation will eventually occur in which the inflaton will wander up to the top of its potential, thus starting a cycle of inflation, re–heating, conventional cosmology and heat death.

As best I understand, this is saying that the universe as it is may just be a hiccup in the vast nothingness

Just for comparison, the best human engineering example is the Gravity Wave Telescope, which was built with a precision of 23 zeros. The Designer, the 'external agent' that caused our universe must possess an intellect, knowledge, creativity and power trillions and trillions of times greater than we humans have.

Absolutely amazing.

Not really. We already know that humans didn't create the universe. The leap to God the Designer is still completely unfounded. This is just argument from incredulity.

Now a person who doesn't believe in God has to find some way to explain this. One of the more common explanations seems to be "There was an infinite number of universes, so it was inevitable that things would have turned out right in at least one of them."

The "infinite universes" theory is truly an amazing theory. Just think about it, if there is an infinite number of universes, then absolutely everything is not only possible...It's actually happened!

It means that somewhere, in some dimension, there is a universe where the Chicago Cubs won the World Series last year. There's a universe where Jimmy Hoffa doesn't get
cement shoes; instead he marries Joan Rivers and becomes President of the United States. There's even a universe where Elvis kicks his drug habit and still resides at Graceland and sings at concerts. Imagine the possiblities!

Non-sequitur, the paper he quotemines has nothing to do with multiple universes. I don't know much about multiple universe hypotheses, but I do know that the real ones aren't like the Marvel Comics version Mr Marshall describes. And even if his implications are true, we don't have Reed Richards to build a device to let us go vist.

I might sound like I'm joking, but actually I'm dead serious. To believe an infinite number of universes made life possible by random chance is to believe everything else I just said, too.

Some people believe in God with a capital G.

And some folks believe in Chance with a Capital C.

Whatever. But if you don't believe the multiple universe theory (which I pretty much don't), "I don't know" is still a better answer than "Goddidit". I call false dichotomy.

Tomorrow's installment: "If you can read this email,
I can prove to you that God exists." Sound a little bold?
Tune in tomorrow - same time, same station.

Respectfully Submitted,

Perry Marshall

This is starting to get boring. Weak analogies, blatant quote mining, incredulity and false dichotomies. What, no argument from authority today? Oh, wait! That must be why he claimed the authors were atheists.