Category Archives: Science and technology

Two hundred tonnes of highly flammable material?

I need a drink.

There’s something amusing about the news that there have been a couple of occasions when American astronauts have been inebriated before being blasted into outer space (Drunk astronauts go from Right Stuff to the hard stuff). I’m surprised that not more of them are bombed or stoned because they’d have a pretty good idea that they’re sitting on top of some highly combustible fuel cells which will turn them into 炒肉丝 before they know it, should something go wrong (and has on more than one occasion).

Although the words were edited out of the tapes which were broadcast from the studio on Earth, there’s been an on-line rumour going around since I invented it just now, that Buzz Aldrin’s second utterance when he set foot on the moon was “Where’s the bar?”


Here we go again

That’s right. The whole thing’s a conspiracy.

I was over on the technoranki charts clicking on links at random when I found this entry on a blog called nourishing obscurity. We have to go down a few paragraphs before we get to the good stuff.

But the most glaringly obvious question fails to be asked – how did the life-giving aminos come about in the first place? No one wants to ask this question because they’re more comfortable in the omnipotence of scientific a-theistic theory and they don’t want to ask any question which might lend support to a theistic theory.

Try “it happened by chance”. There was no aetiology or Prime Mover; there’s no teleology either. I’m an insensible particle which happens to bump into another insensible particle. Just by chance, we form an amino acid. Things bump into other things all the time. Nature takes its arbitrary course.

And yet, even in these very findings, scientists who have studied the particles have admitted they were previously wrong. Galileo and Copernicus both had the same problem of entrenched scientific thought and the populace as a whole lapped up what the scientists gave out in learned journals and accepted fallible men’s theories as unassailable fact.

Absolute nonsense, my dear sir. If the writer had the faintest idea of scientific method, he’d know that we have theories; new facts come to light; we modify our theories. Lather, rinse, repeat. The writer’s view seems to be that once a new fact comes to light, the whole theory collapses and can only be saved by Intelligent Design. (Press #1 for Dramatic Chord; or press #2 for Choir of Angels.)

To start out with the premise that there can be no intelligent force and to build your argument from there is highly suspect empiricism. Whatever happened to the open mind? And what of the counter-theory that this explosion of amino carrying particles was the method used by the Intelligence [for which there is more than enough literary reference to support the existence of] to carry out the operation?

Sentence One: The writer is also making an assumption. Arguments are based on facts; facts may be subject to change as the evidence from the particles collected by Stardust shows. His “intelligent force” isn’t a fact; it’s wishful thinking that requires faith. If you accept the initial assumptions, then the logic is sound; the logic remains sound even if you don’t, but the argument becomes invalid. I’ve observed this before about BoethiusConsolation of Philosophy.

Sentence Two: The statement cuts both ways. How is the author’s position more open-minded than that of a rational person? Does he accept both views (clearly not) simultaneously and hope that the paradox doesn’t give him a headache?

Sentence Three: if I’m an Intelligent Designer, why am I being so random about creating life? Consider the recent news about the human genome being packed full of apparently redundant information. If I’m not some mere programmer producing the next generation of bloatware, why is my creation so imperfect at a level at which it has no say in the matter?

Part in brackets: Hilarious. Literary evidence is a real killer. Elizabeth Bennet is direct proof that the early 19th century existed. Or that Jane Austen existed. Perhaps both.

Again, it’s not the findings which are in dispute but their interpretation and the swiftness with which the voices who made it into print seized on the findings as evidence of non-Intelligence is stunning in its lack of logic and its clear agenda.

All right, we surrender. You saw through our ploy. It was all done to discredit Intelligent Design. (Press #1 for Dramatic chord; or press #2 for Choir of Angels.) Your superior logic, which I’ve clarified for the benefit of right-thinking Cyberians everywhere, has argued us into submission. Premises, assumptions [Inferences? –ed.], conclusions – every one a fatal arrow at the heart of the rational scientific establishment. [Obi-wan senses a little sarcasm. –ed.]