What if we're all wrong!

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Sheldon's picture
Thanks David, it sounds good.

Thanks David, it sounds good.

LogicFTW's picture
Welcome back Sheldon!

Welcome back Sheldon!

Objectively, perhaps logically, you have a lot more room for upside these next 12 years after the rough year you been having in 2019.

These forums are not the same without you. I always enjoy your input so good to hear you fully intend to stick around!

 
 

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I am an atheist that always likes a good debate
Please include @LogicFTW for responses to me
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Nyarlathotep's picture
Jo - It is my objective

Jo - It is my objective conclusion when considering everything.

Notice how you've labelled your opinion as objective. I don't really know what to say about that, that isn't insulting; so I'll leave it there.

Jo's picture
@ Nyarlathotep

@ Nyarlathotep

By using the word objective I was trying to convey that my conclusion was not just some emotional response. That I had tried to be open minded, impartial and honest.

Why was my using the words objective conclusion so wrong? Can a conclusion,or opinion, never be objective?

Sheldon's picture
Jo "By using the word

Jo "By using the word objective I was trying to convey that my conclusion was not just some emotional response. That I had tried to be open minded, impartial and honest."

Try harder, and you've offered no objective facts to support your claims, so that last sentence is hilarious. As Nyarl points out, it's hard to see you make the claim to be objective in the context of your posts and respond without being rude. You are not remotely open minded, you've accepted a belief as valid without being able to demonstrate a shred of objective evidence. As a Christian, don't you believe the bible is the immutable word of a perfect deity? If you do then that's as closed minded as you can get, no fact no matter how well established can be beyond evidence or scrutiny. Even scientific facts evidenced by scientific theories like evolution that are are established beyond any reasonable doubt must remain open to continuous scrutiny and remain tentative in the context of new evidence.

What would it take for you to disbelieve the existence of a deity?

Jo's picture
@ Sheldon

@ Sheldon

Can "objective facts to support your claims?" Can you offer objective facts to support there is no God?

The reason no one supplies you with the "objective facts" you require isn't because there is no evidence. It is because your question is faulty. Can objective evidence, like you require, be provided for the existence or non existence of God?
You have constructed the question to get the answer you want.
If it is irrational to claim there is a God without evidence, then it is also irrational to claim there is no God without evidence.

"What would it take for you to disbelieve the existence of a deity"? I will answer the question if you will say what it would take for you to believe.

David Killens's picture
Is it fair and polite to

Is it fair and polite to state that one respectfully disagrees?

Calilasseia's picture
Just seen this ...

Just seen this ...

I could say I have faith in evolution even though I don't understand it completely.

Do not even think of venturing down that rabbit hole.

Evolutionary postulates have been subject to repeated empirical test, and have passed ALL of the tests in question with flying colours. Furthermore, Douglas Theobald (a particularly prominent researcher in the relevant fields) has published a paper covering a formal test of universal common ancestry, which yielded the result that the standard evolutionary postulate of a single, universal common ancestor for all present life, is a whopping 10^2,680 times more probable than the next best multiple common ancestor model. (That's 1 followed by 2,680 zeros). The paper in question is this one:

A Formal Test Of The Theory Of Universal Common Descent by Douglas L. Theobald, Nature, 465: 219-223 (13th May 2010) [Full paper downloadable from here]

Universal common ancestry (UCA) is a central pillar of modern evolutionary theory [1]. As first suggested by Darwin2, the theory of UCA posits that all extant terrestrial organisms share a common genetic heritage, each being the genealogical descendant of a single species from the distant past [3–6]. The classic evidence for UCA, although massive, is largely restricted to ‘local’ common ancestry—for example, of specific phyla rather than the entirety of life—and has yet to fully integrate the recent advances from modern phylogenetics and probability theory. Although UCA is widely assumed, it has rarely been subjected to formal quantitative testing [7–10], and this has led to critical commentary emphasizing the intrinsic technical difficulties in empirically evaluating a theory of such broad scope [1,5,8,9,11–15]. Furthermore, several researchers have proposed that early life was characterized by rampant horizontal gene transfer, leading some to question the monophyly of life [11,14,15]. Here I provide the first, to my knowledge, formal, fundamental test of UCA, without assuming that sequence similarity implies genetic kinship. I test UCA by applying model selection theory [5,16,17] to molecular phylogenies, focusing on a set of ubiquitously conserved proteins that are proposed to be orthologous. Among a wide range of biological models involving the independent ancestry of major taxonomic groups, the model selection tests are found to overwhelmingly support UCA irrespective of the presence of horizontal gene transfer and symbiotic fusion events. These results provide powerful statistical evidence corroborating the monophyly of all known life.

In short, what Theobald did was to construct a collection of models, one based upon the standard model of common descent, others based upon a range of different hypotheses, and tested them to see which would most faithfully reproduce observed phylogenetic trees. The standard model won.

From the paper in more detail:

The inference from biological similarities to evolutionary homology is a feature shared by several of the lines of evidence for common ancestry. For instance, it is widely assumed that high sequence resemblance, often gauged by an E value from a BLAST search, indicates genetic kinship [19]. However, a small E value directly demonstrates only that two biological sequences are more similar than would be expected by chance [20]. A Karlin–Altschul E value is a Fisherian null-hypothesis significance test in which the null hypothesis is that two random sequences have been aligned [20]. Therefore, an E value in principle cannot provide evidence for or against the hypothesis that two sequences share a common ancestor. (In fact, an E value cannot even provide evidence for the random null hypothesis. [21]) Sequence similarity is an empirical observation, whereas the conclusion of homology is a hypothesis proposed to explain the similarity [22]. Statistically significant sequence similarity can arise from factors other than common ancestry, such as convergent evolution due to selection, structural constraints on sequence identity, mutation bias, chance, or artefact manufacture [19]. For these reasons, a sceptic who rejects the common ancestry of all life might nevertheless accept that universally conserved proteins have similar sequences and are ‘homologous’ in the original pre-Darwinian sense of the term (homology here being similarity of structure due to ‘‘fidelity to archetype’’) [23]. Consequently, it would be advantageous to have a method that is able to objectively quantify the support from sequence data for common-ancestry versus competing multiple-ancestry hypotheses.

Here I report tests of the theory of UCA using model selection theory, without assuming that sequence similarity indicates a genealogical relationship. By accounting for the trade-off between data prediction and simplicity, model selection theory provides methods for identifying the candidate hypothesis that is closest to reality [16,17]. When choosing among several competing scientific models, two opposing factors must be taken into account: the goodness of fit and parsimony. The fit of a model to data can be improved arbitrarily by increasing the number of free parameters. On the other hand, simple hypotheses (those with as few ad hoc parameters as possible) are preferred. Model selection methods weigh these two factors statistically to find the hypothesis that is both the most accurate and the most precise. Because model selection tests directly quantify the evidence for and against competing models, these tests overcome many of the well known logical problems with Fisherian null-hypothesis significance tests (such as BLAST-style E values) [16,21]. To quantify the evidence supporting the various ancestry hypotheses, I applied three of the most widely used model selection criteria from all major statistical schools: the log likelihood ratio (LLR), the Akaike information criterion (AIC) and the log Bayes factor (LBF) [16,17].

Using these model selection criteria, I specifically asked whether the three domains of life (Eukarya, Bacteria and Archaea) are best described by a unified, common genetic relationship (that is, UCA) or by multiple groups of genetically unrelated taxa that arose independently and in parallel. As one example, a simplified model was considered for the hypothesis that Archaea and Eukarya share a common ancestor but do not share a common ancestor with Bacteria. This model (indicated by ‘AE1B’ in Fig. 1 and Table 1) comprises two independent trees—one containing Archaea and Eukarya and another containing only Bacteria. In these models the primary assumptions are: (1) that sequences change over time by a gradual, time-reversible Markovian process of residue substitution, described by a 20 × 20 instantaneous rate matrix defined by certain amino acid equilibrium frequencies and a symmetric matrix of amino acid exchangeabilities; (2) that new genetically related genes are generated by duplication during bifurcating speciation or gene duplication events; and (3) that residue substitutions are uncorrelated along different lineages and at different sites. The model selection tests evaluate how well these assumptions explain the given data set when various subsets of taxa and proteins are postulated to share ancestry, without any recourse to measures of sequence similarity.

Which means that Theobald subjected numerous models to test, to determine which of those models produced the best fit to observational data. And in the process, falsified most of the models in question.

Later in the paper, Theobald wrote the following:

Among the class I models, all criteria select the UCA tree by an extremely large margin (score differences ranging from 6,569 to 14,057), even though nearly half of the proteins in the analysis probably have evolutionary histories complicated by HGT. For all model selection criteria, by statistical convention a score difference of 5 or greater is viewed as very strong empirical evidence for the hypothesis with the better score (in this work higher scores are better) [16,17]. All scores shown are also highly statistically significant (the estimated variance for each score is approximately 2–3). According to a standard objective Bayesian interpretation of the model selection criteria, the scores are the log odds of the hypotheses [16,17]. Therefore, UCA is at least 10^2,860 times more probable than the closest competing hypothesis. Notably, UCA is the most accurate and the most parsimonious hypothesis. Compared to the multiple-ancestry hypotheses,UCA provides a much better fit to the data (as seen from its higher likelihood), and it is also the least complex (as judged by the number of parameters).

Just to show you want 10 to the power of 2,860 looks like, here it is, written out in full:

1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000

That's how much more probable universal common ancestry is than the next best multiple ancestor model, according to Theobald's results.

With results of this order, no "faith" is required, even before we factor in the tens of thousands of papers documenting empirical verification of key evolutionary postulates, such as the papers in my collection covering speciation events. One of which I presented in detail here. Yes, that's right, a paper in which scientists detected a speciation event occurring in nature, and then REPLICATED that speciation event in the laboratory.

At this point, you should be aware why I operate a "launch on warning" strategy whenever I hear the word "faith" being used in connection with evolution.

LogicFTW's picture
@JO and any other theist that

@JO and any other theist that reads this:

Adding to Calilasseia great post, is once we accept evolution is a thing, we are also forced to accept the time scales. Time scales like the universe being ~14 billion years old.

This realization destroys most concepts of "god" all by it self. The universe is vast and 14 billion years is a long time. So long and so large, we can not really comprehend it.

So an attempt to bring it down to a scale we can understand.

Imagine the largest sandy beach you ever seen first hand. Or perhaps a sandy desert. All those grains of sand are stars, let this beach represent the universe in your head.

Then realize this large sandy beach you have in your head is actually comically small to how big a beach would have to be for each grain of sand to represent a star. But that is fine, just imagine the largest beach you can and realize this giant beach is far too small to be accurate.

Now, imagine this beach has been there for 140 years. Longer than any one human has ever lived that we know of.

The final piece? Let yourself represent "god" in this scenario.

Now we can use this example to get a vague and far to small understanding of the universe, but it still works for the point I am trying to make here:

You one day fly over this beach in a jet airplane going 600mph (rough average of a commercial jet plane cruising speed.) Now imagine you take a particular interest, in one grain of sand on that beach, whoops not even that! Actually we are talking the tiniest speck of dust next to this grain of sand, as you are flying over it at 600 mph. Not only that, but only 1 tiny part of the surface of that spec of dust. In the fleeting moment of time as the plane roars past this grain of sand in a matter of a split second putting the grain of sand (and its spec of dust,) a mile away 6 seconds later.

In time scales and quantity we can begin to even fathom/imagine, that is exactly what "god" did as described in most major religions. Took a special interest in one tiny part of this spec of dust in the largest beach we can imagine for mere seconds in this 140 year old beach's "life span."

You are at the very least forced to accept that the creation of earth as explained in genesis creation story (and others,) is insane and completely unworkable. And with the creation stories being obvious lies (no matter HOW you try to interpret it!) What else is a lie? One has to wonder. With the most likely answer by far being: "all of it."

 
 

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I am an atheist that always likes a good debate
Please include @LogicFTW for responses to me
Tips on forum use. ▮ A.R. Member since 2016.
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Get off my lawn's picture
@LogicFTW: "In time scales

@LogicFTW: "In time scales and quantity we can begin to even fathom/imagine, that is exactly what "god" did as described in most major religions. Took a special interest in one tiny part of this spec of dust in the largest beach we can imagine for mere seconds in this 140 year old beach's "life span.""

Not only that, but that "god" created the entire big huge beach and all those sand particles, just to accommodate that itsy bitsy teeny weeny little part of that particular spec of dust. Totally and fundamentally ridiculous.

David Killens's picture
A conservative estimate

A conservative estimate calculates 200 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy. It is estimated that there are 100 billion galaxies.

Jo's picture
@ LogicFTW

@ LogicFTW

I agree with evolution and that the age of the universe is 14 billions years.

"You are at the very least forced to accept that the creation of earth as explained in genesis creation story (and others,) is insane and completely unworkable. And with the creation stories being obvious lies (no matter HOW you try to interpret it!) What else is a lie? One has to wonder. With the most likely answer by far being: "all of it.""
Genesis does not contradict science, in fact it aligns with it. If it is a lie as you claim, than you have problems with science. It is NOT a scientific treatise, so demanding it to align with science is creating a straw man argument. Did the universe have a beginning? Was there light in the universe before the sun and stars? Are humans the latest major evolutionary occurrence? That is what science and the Bible says, just to give some highlights.

"And with the creation stories being obvious lies (no matter HOW you try to interpret it!)"
Then your interpretation is also a lie.
Why is how you interpret it the truth and how I interpret it a lie?
You can't have it both ways. If every interpretation is a lie than yours is also.

Sheldon's picture
"Genesis does not contradict

"Genesis does not contradict science, in fact it aligns with it. "

Don't talk nonsense Jo. How the fuck does a 14 billion year old universe and a 3.5 billion year old planet with humans evolving over just 200k years ago at most, after billions of years of evolution, "align" with a puerile archaic myth that claims they were created in an instant from fucking clay, using magic, and within 6 days of everything else. All the stars ffs, as if stars are not finite, which of course the humans who conceived the bible didn't know these facts. A rather more plausible and rational conclusion than an omniscient deity not knowing such facts?

Dear oh dear...

Jo "Are humans the latest major evolutionary occurrence? That is what science and the Bible says, 

What utter nonsense Jo, Genesis neither mentions nor remotely implies humans evolved. It claims they were created in an instant in their current form, and within 6 days of everything else in the entire universe including the universe itself. Have you even read the bible? I'm starting to wonder.

David Killens's picture
@Jo

@Jo

"Genesis does not contradict science, in fact it aligns with it. If it is a lie as you claim, than you have problems with science. It is NOT a scientific treatise, so demanding it to align with science is creating a straw man argument."

Genesis is just that, a scientific treatise. It lays out the chronological order of events, and the explanation on why. Sadly, and why this treatise fails, is that the explanation is "god did it".

LogicFTW's picture
@Jo

@Jo

I agree with evolution and that the age of the universe is 14 billions years.

Ouch, you are going to regret saying that. But I get why you say that, because to claim otherwise...

Genesis does not contradict science, in fact it aligns with it.

Do I really have to quote genesis passages and then the science that contradicts it to show how incredibly different they are?

than you have problems with science.

I don't have a problem with science, I love science, it is based on evidence and open to correction, improvement, editing etc. as new information is found, it is constantly evolving, unlike most religions, that at best go through painful growing pains when their lies are exposed.

It is NOT a scientific treatise

If creation in genesis is not an explanation of how things came to be then what is it? Story time? Well then I agree with you there.

Was there light in the universe before the sun and stars?

Actually yes, lots of it. The big bang created an enormous amount of radiation and all sorts of energy, including "light." Remember what we humans can "see" unaided is only a narrow band of all this when these bronze age stories were written, additional wavelengths were not even heard of.

Are humans the latest major evolutionary occurrence?

Depends how you measure it. Closely related to humans but not us, were hominids that were stronger, had larger brains, and generally a little bit bigger than us. Why we won out over them is not known for sure, some theories are: too high of a caloric requirement to be sustainable, or perhaps we humans made them go extinct because we were more violent and perhaps grouped in greater numbers.

Speaking of extinction, that is probably in the large 14 billion year scale of things, that the only thing we humans may achieve: setting about another major extinction event on planet earth, and the first that was not volcanic/meteor related. (We are already well on our way, at current rates of accelerated extinction give us humans another few hundred years, probably less at current rates of acceleration.)

Then your interpretation is also a lie.

Interpreting it as a lie is not necessarily a lie. And this interpretation unlike the rest comes with EVIDENCE. LOTS of it. Ya know the opposite of a lie.

You can't have it both ways.

I am not trying to have it both ways, you may try to play with the words, but I am calling genesis a lie. When I said no matter how you interpret it I was referring to the fact how apologetics try to say "well you are interpreting wrong." So I am saying no matter how you try to interpret it genesis is a lie, but if you reject genesis, That is not an interpretation.

Strictly speaking I don't have to say anything. We should as humans race reject anything not evidenced in any way as summarily untrue, especially something so thoroughly investigated and argued for as the various god ideas, going back thousands of years but in all this time and effort still came up with zero in the facts and reality department.

 
 

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I am an atheist that always likes a good debate
Please include @LogicFTW for responses to me
Tips on forum use. ▮ A.R. Member since 2016.
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Calilasseia's picture
I'm now going to reveal that

I'm now going to reveal that a literal interpretation of the requisite mythology is even worse than this: it also requires trigonometry to be wrong.

Why does it require this? Simple. Let me introduce another scientific paper, namely:

Properties of the SN1987A Circumstellar Ring And The Distance To The Large Magellanic Cloud By N. Panagia, R. Gilmozzi, F. Macchetto, H-M. Adorf and R. P. Kirschner, The Astrophysical Journal, 380: L23-L26 (10th October 1991)

The paper can be read, page by page, in full here.

The paper opens with:

We have determined the distance to SN 1987A by comparing the angular size of its circumstellar ring, measured from an HST image obtained in a narrow [O III] 5007 Å filter, with its absolute size derived from an analysis of the light curves of narrow UV lines (N V λ1240, N Iv λ1486, N II λ1750 and C III λ1909) measured with IUE. Our analysis confirms that the observed elliptical structure is indeed a circular ring seen at an inclination of = 42.8° ± 2.6°, and provides a determination of its absolute diameter of (1.27 ± 0.07) × 10^18 cm. Its ratio to the angular diameter of 1.66" ± 0.03" (Jakobsen et al) gives an accurate determination of the distance to SN 1987A, i.e., d(1987A) = 51.2 ± 3.1 kpc. Estimating the relative position of SN 1987A within the Large Magellanic Cloud on the basis of radial velocity data, the distance to the centre of the LMC turns out to be 50.1 ± 3.1 kpc and its distance modulus 18.50 ± 0.13. This value agrees very well with the determinations obtained from light-curve analyses of variable stars.

For the record, using the data from Kaye & Laby's Tables of Physical & Chemical Constants, 1 parsec (pc) = 3.0857 × 10^16 m (this can be derived by the fact that 1 pc is the distance between an observer and an object 1 AU across, such that the object subtends an angle of 1 arcsecond visually - the trigonometry is elementary). This is approximately 3.26 light years (ly), so 51.2 kpc is 51,200 pc, which is approximately 167,000 ly.

So, how was this figure obtained?

First, some basic physics. Material in space can become luminous via several mechanisms, but one familiar to physicists and chemists on Earth, is irradiation via ultraviolet light, which results in many chemical elements subsequently emitting light at other wavelengths - the precise wavelength values involved will, of course, depend upon the wavelength of the original ultraviolet light. Very short wavelength UV irradiation will result in longer wavelength UV emission, whilst long wavelength UV irradiation will result in emission of light in the visible spectrum - a phenomenon that is used elsewhere in, for example, fluorescence microscopy. But I digress.

When a core collapse supernova such as SN1987A detonates, the energy release manifests itself in several forms: first, an enormous neutrino flux - indeed, most of the supernova energy is carried away by gigantic numbers of neutrinos leaving the core collapse. However, there is also an enormous release of UV light, and, given the energetic nature of supernova detonations, this is usually very short wavelength UV light, with a smaller proportion of longer wavelengths - along with, of course, huge amounts of light in the visible spectrum making these events naked eye visible even from millions of light years away.

Now, any material sufficiently distant from the supernova detonation to avoid destruction by the massive shock wave radiating out from the event, will be irradiated by this UV light, and will in turn begin emitting its own light as a result. There is, of course, a time lag between the original supernova detonation and the emission of light from surrounding material, courtesy of the fact that light travels at finite speed. The time lag, coupled with knowledge of the speed of light, provides useful information about how far the newly emitting matter is from the epicentre of the supernova detonation.

What made SN1987A special, is that this irradiation of surrounding matter affected a ring of material around the star. Which, upon being irradiated, promptly "lit up" and emitted copious quantities of light at other wavelengths, which was duly detected by astronomers. But, matters start to become complicated at this juncture, courtesy of the orientation of that ring of matter in space, relative to our line of sight. That complication, however, allowed a unique determination of both the size of the ring of matter, and its distance from Earth.

That approximately circular ring of matter, once it was fully "lit up", appeared elliptical in Hubble telescope images, and did so because it is tilted with respect to the vertical plane perpendicular to our line of sight. By analysing the light emitted from that ring, it is possible to calculate the angle of inclination of that ring, and then cross-check this with the semi-major and semi-minor axes of the elliptical image in the Hubble data.

Now, unfortunately, Hubble was not able to observe that ring on a constant basis. Hubble's services as a space telescope are in huge demand by astronomers around the world - it doesn't take much imagination to work out that Hubble's services are offered on a time-share basis, and indeed, NASA recovers a lot of the original R&D revenue through this means. If Hubble had been able to monitor SN1987A on a constant basis, what would have appeared in the image data, was the appearance of a point of light some distance from the supernova, from which two arcs extended over time, eventually meeting at another point and closing the loop, so to speak. But, the astronomers observing SN1987A didn't have the luxury, or the funds, to commandeer Hubble's exclusive use for this purpose.

But all is not lost. Astronomers around the world were constantly monitoring SN1987A with other, less exalted instruments, including a battery of ground based telescopes. This allowed data to be gathered on the observed behaviour of the ring of material, which, as a consequence of its orientation, instead of becoming bright in an instant, did so over a period of time, generating a light curve. If there is one source of data that astronomers find hugely informative, it's a light curve - a plot of luminous intensity versus time.

By noting the time at which the ring started to appear, and started generating its own light curve, and the time at which the light curve reached a peak of maximum intensity, it was possible to determine several key pieces of data. Basically, light emitted from the part of the ring closest to us, would arrive first, and light emitted from the farthest part of the ring would arrive last, and the time lag would allow a determination of the absolute size to be performed. Basically, from the frame of reference of SN1987A itself, the ring would receive its bathing of UV light at a given time, and from that frame of reference, the entire ring would appear to "light up" as a complete unit. If the radius of the ring is denoted by R, the speed of light by the conventional choice c, and the time taken for the UV light to reach the ring from SN1987A by t, we have the nice, simple equation:

ct = R

which gives us a time to "lighting up" of:

t = R/c

But, from our frame of reference, the light from the nearest part would arrive before the light from the farthest part. If the ring is tilted at an angle denoted by i, then the light from the nearest part of the ring would arrive at our viewpoint at a time t(n) corresponding to the equation:

t(n) = (R/c)(1 - sin i)

while the light from the farthest part of the ring would arrive at our viewpoint at a time t(f) corresponding to the equation:

t(f) = (R/c)(1 + sin i)

This leads to an algebraic elimination of the form:

(R/c) = t(n)/(1 - sin i) = t(f)(1 + sin i)

which gives:

(1 + sin i)t(n) = (1 - sin i)t(f)

and eventually leads to:

sin i = [t(f) - t(n)] / [t(f) + t(n)]

The time t(n) corresponds to the time at which the light curve is observed to be at its minimum, and t(f) to the time at which the light curve is observed to be at its maximum. Extracting these times from the observational data and feeding them into the equation for sin i, gives us the angle of inclination, which was determined to be 42.8° (along with the inevitable experimental error bounds).

Now, here's the fun part. Once sin i is known, we can feed the observed value of t(f), and calculated value of i, into the equation:

t(f) = (R/c)(1 + sin i)

and solve for R, giving us the radius of the ring of material. In other words, we are able to determine the absolute size of that ring of material. Which was duly determined to be around 0.66 parsecs, or around 2.1 light years.

Now comes the special part. By comparing the angle subtended by the ring image in the Hubble data with that absolute radius, simple trigonometry allows us to calculate the distance between this ring of material and Earth. With a semi-major axis subtending 1.66 arcseconds, which corresponds to R, we can work out how far an object that size would have to be from us to subtend that angle in a telescope, by simple trigonometry, and the answer is found to be of the order of 51,200 parsecs, or 169,000 light years.

And it's at this point, that mythology is given another rampant stomping upon, certainly from the standpoint of a literal, YEC style interpretation. Because for that interpretation to be something other than the product of a creationist's rectal passage, not only would virtually all of known physics, known chemistry, known biology, known geology and known astronomy have to be wrong, but trigonometry would have to be wrong as well. This is NOT going to happen. Game. Fucking. Over.

Get off my lawn's picture
Yup. Game, set, match.

Yup. Game, set, match. However, fundamentalists like bible bashing young earth creationists and flat earthers will just ignore this, and continue blurting out their inane mantras about how physics is "only a theory", and that the uninformed opinion of a random unlearned science denier trumps actual science ("I don't understand it, therefore it can not be true!").

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9PY_3E3h2c

noreason's picture
emotionally based people

emotionally based people cannot see out side of their own personal bubble. Weather its anti-religious or my-god only. neither really care about the best truth we have.

empirically we are part of a lager more complex system. There is nothing we can do about that. It doesn't mean there is a thing watching us nor does it mean he have to worship it. But it also means that if we are classified as "life" what do we classify it as?

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ No reason

@ No reason

You had me at a "empirically we are part of a lager more complex system" Anything based on a good beer has got my vote....

Sheldon's picture
Old man shouts "You had me

Old man shouts "You had me at a "empirically we are part of a lager more complex system" Anything based on a good beer has got my vote...."

Very good, have an agree.

LogicFTW's picture
@noreason

@noreason
Are you really trying to lump in atheist with theist as equally "emotionally based" that cannot see outside their own personal bubble?

And I suppose you with your obviously *stellar* writing skills knows this truth that the other 7+ billion people on this planet do not and you are going to share your great understanding here on an anonymous atheist debate board?

And why should I take your statement seriously when you can not even bother to punctuate or proofread (even for a few seconds!) your own thoughts on the matter?

What do we classify "it" as?

How about the universe? Already has a nice name, or do you want to label it something special because you apparently are not deluded like the rest of us as you claim?

noreason's picture
Yes, I would say some atheist

Yes, I would say some atheist are as emotional as theist. I think your post is proof of that. I didn't really say anything all that confrontational and you seemed triggered?

No, I have nothing that hasn't been said already.

you label it the universe; they label it god. In some cases are they the same thing?

LogicFTW's picture
Yes, I would say some atheist

@noreason

Yes, I would say some atheist are as emotional as theist. I think your post is proof of that. I didn't really say anything all that confrontational and you seemed triggered?

Your attempt at flamebaiting is noted. Might work elsewhere, generally a different crowd here.

If you are going to define god as the universe, you just defined your god idea pretty much out of existence why would we worship, talk to, and expect anything from the "universe" ? Why does the universe need "advocates" for it that like to collect tax free money?

 
 

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I am an atheist that always likes a good debate
Please include @LogicFTW for responses to me
Tips on forum use. ▮ A.R. Member since 2016.
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Sheldon's picture
No reason "you label it the

No reason "you label it the universe; they label it god. In some cases are they the same thing?"

No, not unless you want both words to become meaningless.

Sheldon's picture
no reason "Yes, I would say

no reason "Yes, I would say some atheist are as emotional as theist. I think your post is proof of that."

Do you mean some atheist present weak arguments because they're based on emotion? If so I'm not sure why this has any relevance. I've cited weak arguments presented by atheists before, it was relevant at that time because of the post I was responding to. I just don't see it as relevant in a general sense, as my lack of belief is a result of no one being able to present any objective evidence for any deity, and religious apologetics being woeful nonsense for the most part.

Most atheists I encounter are clear concise and rational, a few are not. So what, this tells us nothing really.

Also why can't atheists be emotional or passionate in their arguments, as long as they're not relying solely on those emotions I'm failing to see the problem, since it's an inherent part of being human.

noreason's picture
@ Sheldon, that's exactly how

@ Sheldon, that's exactly how I feel. You put it very nicely. I only see it being relevant when we are evaluating any particular claim by a person. Is the emotion skewing the weight we are assigning the observations used for a claim.

Calilasseia's picture
Interesting to see someone

Interesting to see someone talk about emotions, right after I posted a brace of equations ...

noreason's picture
well, if some volumes of the

well, if some volumes of the universe "love you", then marriage proves some volumes hate you too.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Jo - The Bible says there was

Jo - The Bible says there was light in the universe before there was the sun or stars. Until about 60 years ago science did not know this.

Even if we assume you mean scientists (and not science itself), as Calilasseia pointed out: that is a very bizarre (and false) claim. What made you think that was true? The audacity required to post something like that to the whole world without checking it first; awes and scares me.

Calilasseia's picture
Indeed, the one time I did

Indeed, the one time I did make an explicit reference to the assertion that the existence of light before stars was purportedly "known" to the authors of mythology, before modern science developed the Standard Model, can be found in this post, viz:

Actually, any photons that existed for the first 300,000 years didn't travel very far. Radiation wasn't decoupled from matter until that time. Furthermore, in the earliest epochs, that radiation wouldn't have been in the visible spectrum, but somewhere at the high end of the X-ray/gamma ray part of the spectrum.

One of the ironies being that Jo apparently didn't realise, when posting this link on the Recombination Era, that this was precisely what I was referring to when I made that remark about photons in the first 300,000 years of the existence of the universe. But of course, there's another issue here, namely that physicists regard photons as being the force-carrying bosons for the electromagnetic force, and as a corollary, trillions of virtual photons would have been exchanged between every charged particle in the universe throughout that 300,000 years before the universe ceased being opaque to the long-distance transmission of free photons.

But of course, failure to take account of such issues, tends to be the hallmark of someone who thinks apologetic fabrications trump fact.

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