SETI and other Pointless Gimmicks

first_imgAstrobiologist Paul Davies sure knows how to ask interesting questions, and ruffle feathers in the process.  His new book about SETI, The Eerie Silence, reviewed by Leslie Mullen in Astrobiology Magazine, defaced some long-standing notions.  But are his suggestions any improvement?    Davies thinks the Voyager record was a “pointless gimmick.”  He thinks that SETI has been described as a religion.  He argues that it is probably useless to look for life in radio signals.  Yet he thinks we should expand the search for alien intelligence in marks of intervention in our DNA, or in neutrino beams, or in interstellar waste dumps.    At times he seems to be talking like an intelligent design advocate masquerading as a materialist.  Mullin quotes him:To a physicist like me, life looks to be a little short of magic: all those dumb molecules conspiring to achieve such clever things!  How do they do it?  There is no orchestrator, no choreographer directing the performance, no esprit de corps, no collective will, no life force – just mindless atoms pushing and pulling on each other, kicked about by random thermal fluctuations.  Yet the end product is an exquisite and highly distinctive form of order.  Even chemists, who are familiar with the amazing transformative powers of molecules, find it breathtaking.  George Whitesides, Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University, writes, “How remarkable is life?  The answer is: very.  Those of us who deal in networks of chemical reactions know of nothing like it.”Most of the extrasolar planets found so far are gas giant planets like Jupiter, and are not likely to have life as we know it.  Davies says there is nothing in the laws of chemistry or physics to indicate life is inevitable, or even a cosmic imperative.  He notes there is no mathematical regularity to life, revealing some underlying basic law of nature.  Instead, “the chemical sequences seem totally haphazard.”  And yet, life has its own sense of order, since re-arranging those chemical sequences can upend the whole system.“So the arrangement is at once both random and highly specific – a peculiar, indeed unique, combination of qualities hard to explain by deterministic physical forces,” he writes.But in the next sentences, he is talking about some “law of evolution” accounting for the origin of life as well as its development into physicists like himself.  At one moment Davies describes SETI as a religion, but then says the discovery of ETI would be hard on traditional religion.  He deplores the silence on the one hand, but then calls it a “golden silence” to consider how precious it would mean life is.  Whether or not Davies’ beliefs are coherent, they represent a mind struggling honestly with stubborn realities of physics, life and intelligence – and questions that the “eerie silence” are keeping in front of astrobiologists.  Mullins ends, “By stretching our minds to try to envision all the possibilities in our search for aliens, not only may we one day find what we seek, but in the process we also will learn about many other deep and enduring mysteries of the cosmos.”Learn to question glib statements.  Consider that last platitude by Mullins.  Is it always a good thing to stretch your mind to envision all the possibilities of things?  Stretch your mind to consider all the possibilities of pigs flying.  Did that do you any good in the deep and enduring mysteries of flying porcines?  Some minds stretch so far they break.  Some minds stretch in the wrong directions; they consider useless mysteries that do no one any good.  Some stretch to imagine evil things.  Was it good for Eve to consider the possibilities of disobeying God?  Come now; stretch your mind wisely.    The article is worth reading to get a sense of the schizophrenia of the modern mind.  Knowledgeable scientists like Davies cannot deny the complexity of the cell and the seeming “magic” of life’s organization, but they desperately want to hang onto their materialism.  Between his irrational leaps into fantasyland (looking for alien footprints in our DNA, and failing to see it would require I.D. to do so, etc.) Davies is a little more realistic than many astrobiologists about the complexity of life.  His statements in The Privileged Planet are memorable.  Add to those his memorable quotes above, which should be printed on billboards, distributed at school board meetings, and thrown into the faces of the Darwin Party hacks who say intelligent design is not science.  Look at what Davies said!  Life is so organized for function, there is no law of nature or possibility of chance to produce it.  There is nothing like it in regular chemistry.  A high-level, well-recognized astrobiologist said this, not someone affiliated with the Discovery Institute.  What are we to make of this?  Are we to retreat with Davies into the non-explanation that this is just some peculiar state of affairs, a “a peculiar, indeed unique, combination of qualities hard to explain by deterministic physical forces”?  That’s indistinguishable from the Stuff Happens Law.  Remember, explaining something with the phrase “stuff happens,” or its cognates (it emerged, it arose) is the antithesis of scientific explanation.  It is an admission of defeat, disqualification, dropping out of science.  It is a tacit admission that other players need their time at bat.  Let the world hear.  Materialistic science has no answers to the origin of life.  It is time to admit the bankruptcy of materialism and let the debate include those who have been excluded – those who add design to the equation, which makes all the difference, and clears the fog from the mysteries of life.  Are we to let the SETI materialists pursue their quest endlessly, while their critics are forced to disprove a universal negative?  Talk about stacking the deck.  Time to reboot the game and re-initialize the rules for fairness.    Would that Davies would read Signature in the Cell and face up to the fact that he has no way out; there is no chance explanation, law-of-nature explanation, or combination of the two that can produce life without intelligent design.  He knows the science behind this well enough to concede the facts to Meyer.  Is he brave enough to cast his lot with the despised I.D. people?  Pray he does in time, like former atheist Anthony Flew, who died this week (see Uncommon Descent).  Flew had to admit after a lifetime of teaching atheism that the evidence for intelligent design was compelling.  Follow the evidence, then follow the implications.  Yes, there is intelligent life out there, just not what you were seeking, Paul.  Ask your namesake.  You can even find the footprints in your DNA.(Visited 47 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

No return for Turner Buckeye guard to skip senior season for NBA

Ohio State guard Evan Turner announced Wednesday that he will forgo his senior season and enter the NBA Draft.“I was blessed with this decision,” Turner said, his voice quivering. “I have a great opportunity and I’m going to turn a leaf over and go on to the next stage of my life.”Turner’s choice stemmed from the realization of his dream to play professionally, he said.“Ever since I was a little kid, I had a dream to play basketball and play in the NBA,” Turner said in the auxiliary gym at the Schottenstein Center. “Right now, I have the opportunity where my dream is realized. … I’m going to forgo my senior season and go to the NBA. It’s a dream come true and I definitely want to thank Coach [Thad] Matta.”Turner’s departure didn’t exactly come out of left field, but the soft-spoken point guard said the decision has tortured him since OSU’s season came to an end.“The past few weeks have been really hard for me,” he said. “I’ve been agonizing over my decision due to the simple fact of how much I love The Ohio State University. I love being a Buckeye. I love my coaching staff and being a kid and the opportunity to just do everything I always dreamed of.”Turner said he made the decision late Tuesday night and told some of his teammates just before he announced his decision to the media Wednesday.“This is the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do,” Turner said. “If I could, I’d really just disappear.”Throughout the season, Turner maintained his intention to remain in school until he felt comfortable with the legacy he was leaving behind. He led the Buckeyes to the Sweet 16 and earned Big Ten and National Player of the Year honors.The Chicago native has been widely projected as a top-three pick in June’s NBA Draft. He averaged 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game in his third season with the Buckeyes.Turner’s season didn’t go unblemished, however. He fractured a pair of vertebrae in his back after a nasty fall on a breakaway dunk in a Dec. 5 win over Eastern Michigan. After doctors initially diagnosed an eight-week timetable for his return, Turner made his way back onto the court just five weeks later. He said the risk of another serious injury played a small part in his choice to jump to the next level.His departure leaves the Buckeyes without their leader for next season, when OSU adds one of the nation’s top recruiting classes. Although Turner stressed how he has “two feet in” his decision to enter the NBA Draft, the 6-foot-7 guard said he was satisfied with the state of the OSU program, even without him.“I was in a win-win situation regardless. … If I one day woke up and didn’t have the opportunity to play in the NBA, then my dream and taking care of my family and stuff like that, and I was heartbroken, then that pretty much says you need to go. It’s definitely a great step, and I had great times here, but I’m leaving the program in great hands.”Still, Turner will be leaving behind a close-knit unit that spent plenty of time together on and off the court.“[There have been] a lot of great times, and I’m just thankful I was fortunate enough to be a part of something like this,” Turner said. “My teammates were always great. They helped mold me into who I am. My coaches helped mold me. I’m just lucky to be in the position I’m in and to have the past experiences I’ve had.”As for the legacy that the Naismith winner will leave behind in Columbus, Turner left it to everyone else to decide.“I can’t really say. That’s what the writers are for,” Turner said. “People that watched me play, people I had encounters with, they pretty much build your legacy. You don’t build your own legacy, so we’ll see in 10 to 15 years.” read more

France midfielder says he wont be a World Cup standby player

first_imgThe World Cup is 22 days away and France midfielder Adrien Rabiot just wrote to his nation’s coach saying that he won’t  be a second choice player for the 2018 World Cup.This is coming after the 23-year-old Paris St-Germain player was named on the national team’s standby list of 11 players for the World Cup. He probably wanted to be in the final 23-man squad.In a change from the policy Deschamps adopted before the last World Cup and before Euro 2016, the standbys will not join the squad at the French training centre at Clairefontaine. The 11 players are expected to train by themselves and be easy to contact. Rabiot who has capped six times in France, had emailed coach Didier Deschamps saying he would not “be able to follow the training programme” according to IOLnewsOpinion: Neymar will earn respect back from the PSG fans Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 14, 2019 After completing his incredible return to Parc des Princes, we predict that Neymar will earn the respect back from PSG supporters.The situation between Neymar…Noel le Graet, president of the France Football Federation, said Rabiot’s reaction “was very surprising” according to Federation Francaise Football.He continued in the same statement: “Rabiot is a high-quality player and an endearing boy who has always behaved well in national selections where he has evolved.last_img read more

Liverpool boss enjoys nice charity game

first_imgLiverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed he enjoyed the charity game co-sponsored by the James Milner foundation.The Liverpool midfielder, Milner and his manager were on one team while current Celtic and former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was managing the other, along with captain Stiliyan Petrov, whose foundation co-sponsored the event as well.The match which was tagged ‘A match for cancer’ featured some familiar faces, including Robbie Keane, Luis Garcia, and Dirk Kuyt, Gabriel Agbonlahor among others.The match settled to a 3-3 draw, with Milner’s team thrice giving up a lead throughout the 90 minutes.After the match, Klopp commented on the nice afternoon up north.Roberto Firmino, LiverpoolVirgil van Dijk praises Roberto Firmino after Liverpool’s win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Virgil van Dijk hailed team-mate Roberto Firmino after coming off the bench to inspire Liverpool to a 3-1 comeback win against Newcastle United.“It was nice. The atmosphere was really good and the guys on the pitch tried to give everything. I enjoyed it,” Klopp told the official website, according to LiverpoolOffside.“The people saw a lot of big names, still in a good shape. That they all came over here and did what they did is really nice. It was for something really good and that’s why we were all here.”“I really respect a lot what Millie is doing with his foundation. It’s great. The gala is once a year and I was there three times. It’s a fantastic event and everybody is so generous. He invests a lot of time and money and all the people on the night invest a lot of money. It’s all for a really good project, I like that a lot.”“I like these things, it’s a fantastic idea. There’s a lot of work behind something like that. It’s a big thank-you to Celtic that they did it at the stadium and for the organisation – it’s a really cool thing.”last_img read more

Pep insists Sterling is loved at City

first_imgManchester City manager Pep Guardiola insists Raheem Sterling is loved in the locker-room as the winger becomes first £300,000-a-week England player, outstripping Wayne Rooney’s previous record wages at Old Trafford.The 23-year-old signed a new five-year deal with City on Friday a week in which he faced criticism for winning a penalty against Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League by accidentally tripping himself up and not owning up to the referee.Guardiola said, according to Daily Mail:“I don’t know why should criticise Raheem. It’s unfair, he wasn’t diving. He is an incredible nice guy with incredible love from the locker room. He does absolutely everything on the pitch, every single game, fighting from the front for 90 minutes.”“He made a mistake because he is 23 years old. He is so quick that when he does a chip, he has to do it slow.”Jadon Sancho, Borussia DortmundCrouch: Liverpool could beat Man United to Jadon Sancho Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Peter Crouch wouldn’t be surprised to see Jadon Sancho end up at Liverpool one day instead of his long-term pursuers Manchester United.Sterling has been rewarded for an impressive start to the season in which he already has seven goals to his name for City and a brace for England against Spain.Criticized by Liverpool fans for being greedy when he moved to Manchester, Guardiola believes playing under the microscope has helped the England international mature and able to survive the current controversy which could see him jeered by United’s traveling fans.“It will make him stronger. He is stronger than that, than he was when he met each other in the first year. Now he can control these kinds of emotions much better,” said Guardiola.“We cannot forget though when you are 23, you are not a full person or a full player. Sometimes we ask for or we demand a lot from our players when they are so still young but it is OK.”last_img read more

Wijnaldum struggles with people who think hes versatile

first_imgLiverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum, doesn’t like being labeled as a versatile player because he loves playing as a midfielder for club and country.The most recent performances that Liverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum has delivered for the Reds and Holland, have sparked a whole new debate about the label he has of being a versatile player.For many other footballers in the world, perhaps being recognized as a multi-tasker on the pitch is something positive, but not for him. When he first started his career at Feyenoord and then continued at PSV Eindhoven, Georginio was told that he could play equally well as a winger or a midfielder and that’s exactly how he’s done it ever since.But now that he plays for Liverpool and the Netherlands National Team, Wijnaldum has rediscovered his position and realized that he is a midfielder.“Playing in different positions helps you understand the game because you see the game from different perspectives,” he said to The Liverpool Echo.“Basically you can think for more players and you can help more players because you understand what they’re going through.”“But on the other side it was also my weakness because if a manager has two players who can play as a No 10, but one can play as a winger, you will always move for the other one. So it was my strength, but also my weakness.”divock origi, liverpoolReport: Origi cause Klopp injury concerns George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Divock Origi injury in today’s game against Newcastle is a cause for concern for Jurgen Klopp.Perhaps with one eye on Tuesday’s trip to Italy…“It was the best for the long run that I played in different positions, but sometimes I also think that I wanted to develop as a midfielder so I could maybe be even better now.”“I wanted to play as a midfielder so bad, but when I look back I’m happy that I played in those other positions because now I know how it is to play there. I’m a midfielder now, so that’s good.”“People were trying to get me off thinking that I’m a midfielder and trying to put in my head that I was a winger,” he added.“But I was like ‘you can say what you want, but I’m a midfielder and I know what’s best for me’. So I just focused on midfield, and look where I am today. I was full of confidence in myself that I would reach the top as a midfielder,” he concluded.Liverpool’s Gini Wijnaldum reveals his preferred position – and how he’s proven his doubters wrong: The Netherlands international has been utilised in a number of roles during his time at Anfield https://t.co/3NhH367jdf— Sports News Desk (@sportnsdesk) November 21, 2018last_img read more

Second of three large tent shelters for homeless opens in Midway District

first_imgSecond of three large tent shelters for homeless opens in Midway District Dan Plante, KUSI Newsroom, December 22, 2017 Updated: 1:00 PM Posted: December 22, 2017center_img Dan Plante, KUSI Newsroom 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The second of three large tent shelters for San Diego’s homeless opened in the Midway District Friday morning.The ”temporary bridge shelter” is designed to house up to 200 veterans a day. It is operated by Veterans Village of San Diego and will provide easy access to veteran-specific programs for those staying in the shelter.“Some of these heroes who find themselves in desperate situations, now have another place they can turn,” Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer said. “Under this roof, hundreds of men and women will find relief from the elements and the dignity they deserve while trained housing navigators work to connect them with a permanent home.”Services specific to this shelter include access to veterans housing programs from several federal agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs.Like the other two shelters, this one on Sports Arena Boulevard includes offers meals, storage, showers, bathrooms, laundry services, alcohol and substance abuse counseling and mental health services, according to the mayor’s office.Each resident will be assigned a case manager and housing navigator who will develop a plan to get them permanently housed.Veterans Village of San Diego ran a similar tent shelter during the cold weather months until a couple of years ago.The winter shelter program was ended in favor of more permanent solutions, but the area’s homeless population grew rapidly.City officials were pressured to act by an outbreak of hepatitis A that killed 20 people and sickened hundreds — about two-thirds of whom were either homeless, users of illegal drugs or both. The rate of new infections has slowed in recent weeks.The first tent shelter, for single adults, opened Dec. 1 at 16th Street and Newton Avenue in Barrio Logan and is run by the nonprofit Alpha Project.The other will be located in the East Village and be operated by Father Joe’s Villages. Designed for families, city officials hope to have it open by the end of the month. Categories: Local San Diego News Tags: homeless, Veterans FacebookTwitterlast_img read more

Seeking solutions to teen bullying

first_img April 22, 2019 Categories: Local San Diego News, Trending FacebookTwitter Seeking solutions to teen bullying Updated: 8:06 PM Posted: April 22, 2019center_img Sasha Foo 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Four teenage defendants were arraigned Monday in Juvenile Court in San Diego in connection with the April 11 beating of another teenager in a Chula Vista taco shop.The attack evidently stemmed from harassment that occurred on social media.Last week, community members rallied to support the 16 year old victim, Paul Martin.In extreme cases that result in physical violence, police and courts have to get involved.Yet, looking at the problem of bullying as a larger social problem, community members, parents and school staff also have a role to play in preventing bullying. Psychologist and parenting expert Reena Patel said by failing to stop the harassing behavior, we are sending the wrong message. “We’re reinforcing those negative and unacceptable behaviors that the bullies are engaging in.” She said that parents need to tell their children that they are resilient and that what is happening to them is not their fault.Chula Vista police chief Roxana Kennedy agreed that parents and school staff need to be actively involved in preventing cyber-bullying. She suggested that parents should learn to intervene by obtaining the passwords for their child’s social media accounts, looking at their posts and becoming more informed. “Teach your kids if someone does bully you, take a screen shot of that. Show it to your parents, your teachers, work with your school resource officers,” Kennedy said.In the case of the attack on Paul Martin, information from the community helped investigators identify and arrest the six suspects.Kennedy suggested greater use of an app called P3 Tips, which allows community members to send anonymous tips to law enforcement.For a child or young person who’s being bullied, speaking out may feel like the last thing they want to do. However, both the psychologist and the police chief said flipping the script is another way to teach a child about empowerment. “Let’s praise you for the effort for standing up and coming forward, and telling and showing and modeling that it’s not acceptable,” Patel said. Sasha Foo, last_img read more