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The smallest exoplanet February 5, 2009

Posted by rationalskeptic in Cosmology.
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transit_cnes1 In 1995 astronomers found the first exoplanet ( a planet in another solar system) called 51 Pegasi b. Since then nearly 400 exoplanets have been found, and typically they are large and gaseous Jupiter-like planets. 

 

The method used most often to search for exoplanets is called the radial velocity method. This method favors finding those planets similar to Jupiter, because of the limitations of the method. The transit method was used in the discovery of this new planet, and surprisingly it turns out to be twice the diameter of earth (which is tiny compared to most discoveries, 100,000 km across is relatively common, and this new planet is approximately 25,000 km across.). This is very exciting news for the astronomy and cosmology communities, because the next find could be earth sized.

“Gomez’s Hamburger” January 31, 2009

Posted by rationalskeptic in Cosmology.
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The Cosmic Variance blog posted this great image of the planetary disk, “Gomez’s Hamburger.” It’s cataloged name is much cooler though: IRAS 18059-3211; GoHam. read more at the Cosmic Variance blog, and if you are active in the astrophysics or astronomy community check out, astro-ph for technical information.

GoHam

GoHam

Arrogant Ignorance:a horrible combination January 9, 2009

Posted by rationalskeptic in Cosmology, Evangelical, Evolutionary Theory.
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(Bill’s letter is at the bottom of this post and at this link)

 

This Letter to the Editor appeared in the Dothan Eagle newspaper, and the best way to describe this man is: arrogantly ignorant. Such a classification is truly a sad one, but  people like  ol’ Bill may never see the truth of  this issue, so I hope others can learn something from his ignorance.

 

The scientific method is the best way to find the truth about a specific claim. Many people do not understand that the most powerful tool in science is it’s self correcting mechanism. That is, when a theory is proposed, it is put under intense scrutiny by hundreds of others researchers. This is referred to as the peer-review process. If a theory passes this test, then it can be published in a reputable scientific journal. Once published, it is then put under even more intense scrutiny by even more scientists in the field. Then, if it passes this test, it can safely be said to be a scientific fact. Of course, in science everything is tentative and open to any new information that comes in. Unlike all religions and ideologies. This self correcting mechanism is what makes science the best tool humans have developed to understand the world around us. 

 

1,) Grade school textbooks teach evolution as fact: Yes, and these textbooks need to be even more unequivocal in their proclamation of the fact of evolution.  

2.)It is a monstrous lie that harms our children: Now, I am not sure if this guy is being sincere or not, but anyone who holds such a view has either deluded himself to the point of not recognizing reality, or is intentionally deceiving the ignorant among us. 

The rest of his letter is logically invalid, because it is based on the false premise mentioned above. So, lets take a look at Bill’s monumental claim that, if true, would overthrow 150 years of scholarship. (I’m assuming Bill has a PhD in a field such as, cellular biology, molecular biology, genetics, paleontology, archaeology,  or maybe physics?)

The scientific consensus is utterly clear on this issue, the theory of evolution is as air tight as the theory of gravity. Now that I think about it, why hasn’t Bill and his buddies written letters about the monstrous lie, that is the theory of gravity? This would be absurd because gravity has been proven in the laboratory, calculations, and in the consensus of the scientific community.

The theory of evolution has gone through the same extensive research, and has yet to be  falsified.  Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, he made claims that could be falsified, yet after 150 years of research it is standing stronger than ever (which is a pre-requisite to be studied using the scientific method). 

In the 20th century, the fossil record grew exponentially and filled in many gaps therein. But the most astonishing verification of Darwin’s claims was the discovery of DNA, this discovery showed a mechanism for natural selection. 

Although, creationists try to be deceptive by saying they believe in “intelligent design” instead of “creationism,” they are not fooling anyone. The childish refrain continues in 2009, “there are gaps in the fossil record,” even though countless transitional species have been discovered (The creationist will insist on finding a transitional fossil to explain the transitional fossil). 

Evolution is a scientific fact, and there is absolutely no controversy in the scientific community. The controversy only exists in the minds of people who believe in ancient mythology.

(Bill has zero understanding of  big bang cosmology. Also, he must not know the definition of “track record,” because a lucid reading of his bible leaves no room for credibility, but I will leave that issue for another post) 

 

I could go on and on, but I will stop now.  Sorry for any grammatical errors.

 

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Published: January 6, 2009

Grade school textbooks teach evolution as fact. It is a monstrous lie that harms our children.

The evolution theory says we evolved from the original Big Bang and later crawled out of a green slime from the ocean.

Here is one example of its ludicrous hypothesis.

Of all the mysteries surrounding evolution, the one that is most baffling to the evolutionists, is “water.” Where did all the oceans come from?

As explained on the National Geographic program, it came from a massive collision in space. As the Earth was cooling from the Big Bang, it was approached by a stray planet that was teeming with water. It collided with Earth, spilled its water onto the Earth, then careened off into space.

Talk about fairy tales. By the way, where did the stray planet get its water?

Come on evolutionists, surely you can develop a more plausible explanation that can be easier to swallow. Until then, I accept the Bible’s answer. After all, the 4,000-year-old book has a perfect track record.

The evolution theory is only 140 years old.

Bill DeJournett
Dothan

The center of the Milky Way, awe-inspiring January 6, 2009

Posted by rationalskeptic in Cosmology.
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Map of the center of the Milky Way
Map of the center of the Milky Way

This is an incredible new picture of the center of our galaxy. The Hubble site linked to the picture has many different sizes, including some massive ones.

Pictures such as this really make me thankful that I live in  the 21st century,
and am able to experience such breakthroughs in science.