Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Monday, March 21, 2022

Science Night Questions 

Science is about questions. All science starts with a question. It is their ability to ask questions that sets human beings apart from other creatures. It is not that animals cannot be curious. They certainly can be. But it is the things they are curious about that sets humans apart. Dogs never wonder where they came from. Dogs never ponder the origins of the universe.

It is the propensity to ask questions that indicates a healthy, active intellect. And it is the role of science to facilitate the search for the answers to those questions. Does this mean that all questions are scientific questions? Not necessarily. But the process of answering those questions will depend on science at some point.


Lesson One Questions
  1. What is a mutation?
  2. Why are mutations important in the study of evolution?
  3. David Gelernter said, "Stephen Meyer's thoughtful and meticulous book Darwin's Doubt convinced me that Darwin has failed." How did he think that Darwin had failed?
  4. What was the Cambrian Explosion? The three scientists discussed this at some length. In what way does the Cambrian explosion provde a challenge to Darwin's theory?
  5. How did Darwin's view of what a cell was influence his theory?
  6. Gelernter: "I can't accept intelligent design as Meyer presents it. If there was an intelligent designer, what was his strategy? How did he manage to back himself into so many corners, wasting energy on so many doomed organisms? What was his purpose, and why did he do such a slipshod job? Why are we so disease prone, heartbreak prone, and so on?" How would you counter Gelernter's argument?
  7. Stephen Meyer: "The case for intelligent design isn't an interpretation or deduction from the Scriptural text, it's an inference from biological evidence." What is the significance of this point for science?
  8. Gelernter: "Darwinism is no longer just a scientific theory but the basis of a worldview, and an emergency religion for the many troubled souls who need one." Is Darwinism indeed a religion?
  9. C.S. Lewis: "If minds are wholly dependent on brains, and brains on biochemistry, and biochemistry on the meaningless flux of the atoms, I cannot understand how the thought of those minds should have any more significance than the sound of wind in the trees." Does the significance of thought necessarily depend on the significant of mind? What are your ideas about this.
  10. Does the demise of Darwinism necessarily mean that Intelligent Design is the only alternative? Gelarnter and Berlinski seem not to think so, while Stephen Meyer appears to feel that the death of Darwinism implies that Intelligent Design must be true. What do you think?       RETURN


Lesson Two Questions
  1. Galileo: "The book of nature is written in its own language; it's written in the language of mathematics, and only mathematicians can penetrate that language." Is this true? Only mathematicians can understand nature? What about the language of beauty? Is it possible that an artist could appreciate something about nature that a mathematician would miss? What do you think?
  2. Berlinski gives an analogy from the fifth chapter of the Book of Daniel, when a solitary hand writes on the wall those strange words which are interpreted as "You have been weighed in the balances and found wanting." He says that over and over the proponants of an ateiestic view of life make dogmatic pronouncements about their belief that their is no God, and then walk back that dogmatic assertion. His examples are Dawkins and Hitchens. So when it comes to the doctrine of evolution, or the belief that God does not exist, who is really found wanting? Give evidence to support your answer.
  3. Berlinsky relates the cosmologist's simple minded question: "What compels the electron to stay in its orbit?" How does the asking of this question present a challenge to Darwin's theory of evolution?
  4. Regarding the 18th century French philosopher's example of a button which you could press and get anything you want, with the one impediment that ten thousand miles a way in China, a peasant will drop dead in his tracks, his question was, "Who amongst us would refrain from pressing the button, and who amongst us would be content to have that button in wide currency?" How does the answer to this question, or more precisely, how does the way you would answer this question relate to the survival of the fittest? How did your way of answering that question evolve?
  5. Stephen J. Gould: "The insistance on a difference in kind, and not simply in degree, between us and the great apes, is simply a mark of our cosmic arrogance, and inability to let go." What simple test does Berlinski propose to counter this proposition? What examples does Berlinski give of differences which are clearly differences in kind, not just in degree?
  6. Who was Alfred Russel Wallace? What was “Wallace’s Problem?” David Berlinski says that biologists are happy to call it “Wallace’s Problem,” because it sounds so much safer than saying human beings are created in the image of God. What does Berlinski mean by that?
  7. What is the “Red Shift?” Why was the Red Shift a problem for Einstein? What is the significance of the Red Shift for the understanding we have of how the universe came to be?
  8. If we say that life on earth actually came from space aliens, what problem does that present? Or perhaps we could say, what “Pandora’s Box” does that open up?
  9. Who is Richard Weikart? What are the implications for society of the belief that there is no qualitative difference between humans and animals?
  10. David Berlinski said, “The core of atheism is the declaration that God does not exist, period.” Agnostics like Berlinski tend to look with disdain on “new atheists” who are so cocksure that God does not exist. Yet they also are not believers. So is an agnostic who says he does not know whether or not God exists, really superior to an atheist who is sure that God does not exist?       RETURN


Lesson Three Questions

Nine questions are addressed in this video. For each of these questions, I have created a precision link to the exact location in the video where that question is addressed. The last question is a general questions about Dr. Tour's basic thesis.

  1. Are you an expert on origin of life?

  2. Can scientists build the most basic life forms?

  3. Do you think education on the origin of life is accurate?

  4. How widespread is the misunderstanding over the origin of life?

  5. With large amounts of time isn't just about anything possible, including the chance origin of the first life?

  6. What are the challenges with the chemical building blocks of life?

  7. Could laws not yet discovered have helped in the origin of life?

  8. How complex is a "simple" cell?

  9. What about the probability arguments for the origin of life?

  10. Considering Dr. Tour's arguments, what do you think is the future of Darwinian evolution as a respected scientific theory? Is there any way that the problems that Dr. Tour brings up can be surmounted? If so, how do you think this could happen? If not, what sort of explanation for the origin of life is most likely to emerge from the ashes of Darwinism?       RETURN


Lesson Fourteen Questions
  1. What is the diameter of a flagellar motor?


Lesson Seventeen Questions
  1. What is the biggest advantage of shortwave radio?
  2. Why is shortwave not as useful in the United States?
  3. Why do radio listeners further away from a shortwave radio tower sometimes hear that station better than people who are miles closer?
  4. If you were going to buy a radio station to broadcast your own stuff, which kind would you buy? Why?
  5. What did Rush Limbaugh have to do with AM stations going bankrupt? Can you explain that?
  6. When you’re listening to radio, the antenna is not that particular—sometimes just a piece of wire will do. But when you are transmitting, the radio tower needs to be accurately proportional to the wavelength of the signal. Most commercial AM radio towers are quarter-wave verticals. So which radio station would have the taller tower, KGO San Francisco, or WLS Chicago?
  7. What is the difference between frequency and wavelength?
  8. Many FM transmitting units are located 600 meters above the ground? Why do they need to be so high?
  9. When I was a child, there were many radio programs that broadcasted audio drama, complete with sound effects. Why do you think programs like this have largely disappeared?
  10. I live in China. I do not own a radio. I also do not own a television. Yet I listen to radio and television every day. How do I do this? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the way I do radio and television?       RETURN


Lesson Eighteen Questions
  1. What is an alchemist? How does Newton's interest in alchemy affect your view of him as a scientist?
  2. In which year will the world as we know it come to an end? How did Newton come up with that date? Contrary to what many may think, it had nothing to do with calculus. Read Stephen D. Snobelen's explanation. Do you agree with Newton's reasoning?
  3. What is the General Scholium? What does it indicate about how Newton thought the universe got started?
  4. What did Newton discover about color? How did he do this?
  5. What ordinary every day event tripped the switch in his brain to make the concept of gravity a matter of accepted orthodoxy.

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