Maurizio – Omnologos

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Archive for August 2007

On the Nature of God

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“(God) leaves you (on purpose) in doubt… were He to speak out the Truth, stating “I exist” or “I do not exist”, the world would end”
Roberto Benigni

So where is this God (or gods) that can elicit strong passions not only in the believers, but even in those avowedly opposed to the very idea that such a thing as Faith exists? Why doesn’t He (or She) just show up in front of everybody and settle the question once and for all, instead of appearing obsessed on concealing His/Herself?

An answer can be elaborated starting from two basic hypotheses: (1) God actually exists; (2) is the Creator of the Universe (or Multiverse).

As a consequence, God is not part of the Universe/Multiverse, because the Creator obviously cannot create the Creator.

Therefore, there is no way to relate to God in a scientific manner, i.e. objective, observable and measurable under repeatable, controlled conditions: in a word, impersonal.

Hence, it is a waste of time to look into Nature for evidence of the existence of God. Physics, chemistry, astronomy, biology will never show anything of the sort, just as there can be no soup on the fork.

And just as radio waves do not “hide” from the human eye, but simply can only be transformed into images and sound with a TV set: so God does not “hide” from scientific research, but can only be experienced using the appropriate tool.

That tool is Faith, a very personal endeavour made up of belief, trust, commitment and conviction in a combination that is the very opposite of impersonal and objective

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God the Creator, if He/She exists, is extraneous to scientific reality.

Does that mean that for all intents and purposes, God does not exist at all? I would advise against taking such a strong science-is-everything stance.

Science by definition can only deal with scientific stuff. But there is a lot that can and does happen to each one of us, that cannot be repeated nor written about in a scientific article: probably, most of one’s life, and definitely, all of one’s dreams.

I am afraid I cannot repeat my dreams in a controlled situation.

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How can Faith function then, between a Divinity that is quite literally outside of this world, and the physical brain?

A topic that will deserve its own blog.

Written by omnologos

2007/Aug/22 at 21:00:48

Posted in God, Religion

A Fred Fisher Moment for Climate Supremacists

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The beginning of the end of Senator McCarthy’s 7 years in the spotlight was surely and improbably his mentioning of young Boston lawyer Frederick G. Fisher, Jr.: whose left-wing past the Senator unwarrantedly used to undermine US Army’s attorney Joseph Welch. On live TV, June 9, 1954, Welch famously retorted “Have you no sense of decency, sir?

Having seen what excesses the Senator could reach in his campaign to uncover Communists, public opinion turned against him.

Are we witnessing something similar about Climate Change? Have the catastrophists finally overreached, to the point of toppling themselves over? The indications are all there: because after Newsweek’s 9-page-tirade against anybody that dares to doubt anything about anthropogenic climate change (Aug 13, 2007), the tide is starting to turn.

In fact, no less commentators than Jeff Jacoby on the Boston Globe, and Robert J Samuelson in the next issue of the very same Newsweek magazine, have recently denounced the absurd attitudes of people apparently allergic to any form of dissent in matters of climate change.

For years, in the best of circumstances one has been labeled a “skeptic” (as if there were anything wrong with that!) at the first hint of not following the exact line behind the likes of Al Gore, James Hansen and the IPCC. Some of us had to repeatedly answer charges of “denialism”, a slur meant to create the impression of equivalence between those skeptical of a _possible_ FUTURE catastrophic change in the climate caused by human activities’ carbon dioxide emissions, and those still doubting the historical, PAST _fact_ of the Holocaust.

Note that I haven’t even mentioned the veiled and not-so-veiled threats of future trials ‘a-la-Nuremberg.

Between that and a complete picture of Climate Change Supremacism, only violence appeared to be missing in the actions of those carrying out a hard-headed campaign bent on stifling any hint of opposition to upcoming grand, poorly-thought-out lifestyle-changing plans such as carbon-emission-rationing.

Who knows, perhaps crosses will start burning on somebody’s lawn as soon as a zero-carbon-emission flame becomes readily available? But then, psychological violence has already started creeping in. How else to characterize President of the American Council on Renewable Energy, Michael Eckhart’s threat of career destruction against Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute?

That must surely be the most egregious example of the poisonous atmosphere concocted up by climate totalitarians. But it is just the latest and the biggest in a series.

Martin Durkin, author of the Great Global Warming Swindle documentary found himself under an unduly heavy barrage of condemnations of various sorts, including highly-browed calls for censorship by esteemed Professors. Steve McIntyre, the blogger/statistician that has recently discovered a bug in the software used by NASA to incorrectly attribute the warmest of US years to 1998, has seen his website crushed by an apparent DOS attack just hours later.

My own views (a basic question: if the climate is changing, where is the change in weather, not just temperature?) have been abused at times to “demonstrate” I wasn’t worthy of engaging in a discussion in a completely different area.

We literally live in the middle of an escalation of tones. Even people genuinely worried about Global Warming must understand how dangerous and ultimately self-defeating the attitudes of climate totalitarians and climate supremacists are.

If there really is an upcoming disaster, shouldn’t efforts concentrate on getting the world prepared, rather tan on stamping out differences of opinion?

Jacoby is right when he specifies that good intentions are not an excuse. All revolutions are avowedly meant for the betterment of Humanity. But whilst the American one led to the Constitution, the French Revolution brought years of guillotined Terror.

There is no need to remind the horrors perpetrated by Italian Fascists, German Nazis and Russian Communists, believe it or not all in the name of great ideals of peace and prosperity.

Justice Louis Brandeis is quoted by Jacoby as saying “The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.

We are the children and grandchildren of the millions that either fought to contain and defeat dictatorships, or were misguidedly seduced into selling out their freedoms to monomaniacal, homicidal types with illusions of omnipotence.

History will not and cannot forgive us, if we let that happen again.

Written by omnologos

2007/Aug/21 at 22:38:25

Open to Doping

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How many years will pass before the towels will finally be thrown in in the boring comedy aganst doping in sports?

Especially with the advent of sport professionals, only freaks can be on top of the world without using any doping. And so people have been “enhancing” themselves for decades and they will continue do so regardless.

And why not? The public watches in expectation of some extraordinary feat. Well, any limit for the lightly-trained body has likely been reached and surpassed by now, so where would records come from? London 1948 may have been the last time anybody in the crowd could have reasonably competed on the field.

Antidoping efforts are therefore only a giant, hypocritical waste a time, the children of the shameful witch-hunts of the 1950’s and 1960’s against anybody not doing sports as an “amateur”.

Why can’t we get things declared out in the open? At least, control is so much easier under sunlight. Who was there instead to protect those young cyclists, all killed by heart attacks in their 20s?

Written by omnologos

2007/Aug/19 at 22:21:58

Posted in Olympics, Sport

What Hope for European Soccer?

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The soccer/football season in Europe has just started, but violence is already in full swing both off and on the pitches.

With fans too ready to misbehave with knives in the best of circumstances, players to kick each other rather than the ball, managers to whine, and referees and football authorities clueless if honest, there is almost absolute certainty of several persons dying for nothing really, outside the stadiums.

Can it get any worse? Let’s just hope no footballer will get killed on live TV.

Written by omnologos

2007/Aug/18 at 17:49:00

Posted in Europe, Football

Venus Forecast

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In a few years, the old ideas of Fred Singer will come back into fashion.

Venus’ retrograde rotation, incredibly massive atmosphere and relatively young (<500 million years) surface will be elegantly explained by the crash of a massive satellite half a billion years ago (with subsequent melting of much if not the whole crust, and humongous outgassing).

Current lead-melting surface temperatures will be just as beautifully explained by simple adiabatic processes.

The role of CO2 in the heating of the atmosphere via some “greenhouse effect” will be seriously reconsidered and almost completely dismissed.

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Some quick computations:

Ratio of available solar energy Venus/Earth: 190%

Earth, surface pressure: 1000 mbar; temperature: 288K
Venus, 50km altitude pressure: 1000 mbar; temperature: 330K
330K/288K = 114% < 190%

Venus, surface pressure: 90,000 mbar; temperature: 735K
Temperature of terrestrial air compressed from 288K/1,000mbar to 90,000mbar: 887K
735K/887K = 82.9% < 190%

Far from showing any CO2-induced global warming, Venus is much cooler than expected, likely because of the high-altitude clouds that prevent us from looking at the surface.

Written by omnologos

2007/Aug/17 at 22:45:02

Tits In No Danger of Getting Own Cartoon

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Countless movies and documentaries are boringly dedicated to the apparently highly-moral lives of penguins.

Why not European penduline tits then?

Here’s why…from this week’s The Economist:

[…] both males and females [of the European penduline tit or Remiz pendulinus] abandon their offspring, a strategy that, perversely, increases the number of chicks they have overall […] in between 30% and 40% of cases both parents desert the clutch […] both males and females can mate and lay eggs with up to seven different partners in one season

I’d say, the chances of any producer selecting Remiz Pendulinus as the inspiration for next big-budget cartoon, are pretty much zero…

ps More on low-morality birds: Promiscuous Mama Birds Bank on ‘Nannies’

Written by omnologos

2007/Aug/15 at 21:20:20

After Iraq – Six Points for a New Approach to International Military Interventions

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-If President Bush had followed his “Mission Accomplished” message! He may have been celebrated to this day as an accomplished Statesman

The situation in Zimbabwe appears so dire, even Pius Ncube, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, is calling for an outside intervention to free the locals from the overpowering elite that has ruined the Nation.

Unfortunately, no outside intervention appears forthcoming.

For each Sierra Leone where foreign troops got rid of murderous rebels, there are innumerable counter-examples of places abandoned to the rule of unsavory characters: Afghanistan until 2001, the Kurdish villages in northern Iraq until 1991, Rwands in 1994 of course, and nowadays Darfur.

Despite the experience of the appeasers in the 1930’s, the temptation is always very high towards opting against direct intervention. Especially so now, with no end in sight for the military adventure in Iraq.

But think for a minute: if only President Bush had followed through the message bourne out of the “Mission Accomplished” May 1, 2003 banner on USS Abraham Lincon to its obvious consequence! He may have been celebrated to this day as an accomplished Statesman: having successfully completed the mission of toppling Saddam Hussein.

In other words: in case of a dire humanitarian crisis caused by egregiously unlawful behavior, there is a way to intervene: by setting ourselves to fight the criminals against humanity, and to accomplish the goal of defeating them: and then, to subsequently go back where we came from.

To understand how can this be done in practice, let’s imagine that there is a need to rapidly convince a State to change its tactics.

Sadly, that is not difficult: candidates abound, where humanitarian aid is not allowed to a wayward province, or wholesale killing is still considered an option, or otherwise part of the local population is criminally treated.

1-Start by establishing a clear measurable objective (eg “remove tyrant”…and that’s it!)

This is a basic principle of management so obvious, and yet betrayed at least as often as proven correct. How many targets can one hit with one shot? Hence the objective should be “Free the Zimbabweans from the rampant inflation”. Or “Remove the Iraqi individuals that will build a nuclear arms capability at the first occasion”. Vaporous stuff such as “exporting democracy”, etc should be forgotten altogether.

2- To avoid war, use a credible threat of war

If the counterpart is hell-bent in their devilish actions, scare them by showing seriously-ready-to-use violent means. Seriousness and readiness are imperative.
In truth, the actual start of the war is a sign of failure, because evidently the actions put in place were not scary or credible enough: just as good crowd control involves showing off truncheons to frighten, rather than actually beating people up.
On the other hand, if a war looms anyway, it has to be started. Otherwise, any threatening posturing will be even less effective next time around: and therefore the risk of future misbehaviors (and wars) much higher.

3-Get in quick, get out fast

Conduct the war by getting in, shocking, aweing and then leaving.
George HW Bush understood it in 1991. George W Bush declared just as much in that banner in 2003, but then carried on with the occupation regardless. And a never-ending occupation can only erode political support at home, while keeping the troops in danger of being attacked by ever-more-empowered insurgents.

4-Stand-by, ready to invade again very quickly

Once the enemy country has been left to its own devices, the usual cliques could simply regain power (see Iraq 1991). This can be prevented by keeping alive a credible, ready-to-strike threat.
Admittedly, that can evolve into a tragically ironic, revolving-door situation, with several rounds of invasions and retreats. But then, one hopes even the most recalcitrant political elite may opt for a different take, after suffering the umpteenth invasion.

5-Prevent civilian casualties

The death of any innocent “enemy” civilian is a fiasco akin to bombing one’s own cities.
Civilian deaths have boosted rather than weakened their Government since time immemorable (think the USA’s reaction on 9/12). This is contrary to the stated objective of changing a State’s criminal ways.
The absolute reduction of “collateral damage” to the utmost minimum is therefore not just an ethical goal, it makes good political and military strategy. And it will definitely help in preventing an organized insurgency to form.

6-Invade by land, avoid aerial bombings, and stay away from big equipment as much as possible

The threat and practice of repeated invasions is only feasible if the conflict can be carried out without the use of large, hard-to-position, hard-to-move, maintenance-hungry equipment, bombers included.
Apart from logistical considerations, in fact, if we want a quick conclusion with no “collateral damage”, i.e. precision and speed, bombing cannot be an option. In fact, whatever Air Force generals have been saying for the past hundred years, the effectiveness of bombing in preparation of a later invasion has been tragically debunked in the Flanders, in Normandy, and even in the first Iraq war.
After all, the objective is change the ways of a State, not to destroy it wantonly, the latter is the only thing bombing is good at in a modern war (if anybody believes in “precision targeting”, I’ve got a bridge to sell)

Will the above ever become reality? It is well known that we are always ready to fight the last war. And so there is some hope indeed, that will have to wait for the time when it will be possible to analyze the Iraq conflict with pragmatic-historical rather than political eyes.

Written by omnologos

2007/Aug/14 at 22:15:40