Thursday, January 18, 2007

Betelgeuse: Evidence for God

Today in my astrophysics class, we were discussing stellar masses and densities. We looked at both ends of the spectrum, from the dense-as-rock Sirius B to the ultra-low-density Betelgeuse.

Exactly how low-density is Betelgeuse? Well, let me put it this way: You've probably often heard that Saturn has a density low enough that it could float in water given a large enough body of water. Well, Betelgeuse is light enough that in could float on air. In fact, its density is only 1/10,000th that of air.

<IDiot>

Hell, the thing's essentially a vacuum, barely more dense than the average nebula or interstellar dust. The odd thing is, interstellar dust and nebulae don't radiate light like we know Betelgeuse does, so how can Betelgeuse do it? How can something that, as we've shown, is essentially nothing, be so bright?

This is an obvious contradiction in astrophysics we have here. In fact, there's one, and only one, way to explain this miraculous light: God did it. And not just any god, the Christian God, also known as YHWH or Yahweh in the Old Testament or the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. He's obviously capable of doing it, and it makes perfect sense that he would: A huge beacon to his glory.

</IDiot>

See how ridiculous the argument from large numbers sounds when taken out of the context of biology? The same easily-apparent flaws in this argument apply just as well to Intelligent Design:

"Essentially zero" - The density of Betelgeuse is so low it's taken to be essentially zero. This completely ignores the fact of how frakking huge it is (larger than the orbit of Jupiter). When you multiply this size by the density, you get a mass of around 20 times that of our sun. Get it? Small number X really large number = large number. Similarly to how even a low probability multiplied by billions of years of time can become quite likely.

Of course, ID tends to have other problems that make it even worse than the argument-from-Betelgeuse. The big one here is that they generally get the science wrong so they get an even lower number than reality.

"...therefore, God." - They've "proven" that Betelgeuse can't generate light on its own, so they immediately jump to God. And of course, not just any god, but their God. There's no serious consideration that it could be another god doing it, or even - heaven forbid - some other scientific explanation.

5 comments:

Akusai said...

I've never really thought of attempting to apply ID arguments to other fields of study to watch them flouder even worse. I like it.

Maybe if you say "Betelgeuse" three times in a row, it will make them disappear.

Okay, that was terrible, and I know it, and I apologize.

TheBrummell said...

Small number X really large number = large number

This reminds me of a psychology textbook discussion about childhood development I read a while ago.

It was explained in this textbook that small children, say 5-year-olds, do not have a good grasp of multiplication and division (not surprisingly). When asked how much a single rice grain weighs, young children will typically answer "nothing". When asked how much a bag of rice weighs, they'll correctly say something like "it's heavy" or otherwise indicate non-zero mass.

I wonder if the argument-from-broken-math IDiots have a similar problem? If small might as well be zero, and zero times anything is still zero, then you get to shoe-horn some old-testament asshole into your non-argument.

Matt R said...

Infophilia,

You seem to really hate theists, and in particular, Christians. Why?

If I have mistaken your feelings on the matter, I apologize and respectfully withdraw my question

Matt R

Infophile said...

Do I hate theists? Some of them, but I'm making no generalizations. Most I think are simply deluded, and I'm not going to hate them for that. There are a few that go to such an extent that "hate" may be appropriate. So, I'll focus on the questions of which ones I do hate, and why I hate them.

Mostly, it's the ones that try to push their religion onto me that I have a problem with. These are the ones who try to make their religious commandments part of law, or ones like the Muslims who had a problem with non-Muslims drawing pictures of Mohammed. Those who simply try to "spread the word" of their religion aren't so bad, though. After all, it's no different from me criticizing religion are promoting atheism. The problem comes when they try to make people convert through force or coercion.

This also covers people like ID proponents, who are trying to get their religious beliefs taught in public schools. The Wedge document made it clear that they aren't seriously trying to be scientific; they're just trying to appear scientific. Science is a means to an end with them, and the abuse of science is one thing I will not tolerate. I also dislike how they break their own religion's instructions in all this through their massive dishonesty.

Matt R. said...

Ok, that makes sense.

Thank you for your time,

Matt R.