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Professor Tanhauser
2006-Aug-09, 04:26 AM
Some of the local obnoxious, pushy, arrogant christian extremists (Haloheads) in my area are claiming that the cosmological model is impossible (Like everything that disagrees with their creationist view) because the sun is shrinking and would have encompasses earth;s orbit a few million years ago.

Someone here want to give me a stick to beat this argument with?

Celestial Mechanic
2006-Aug-09, 04:38 AM
Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!

Professor T, please tone down the rhetoric! You may wish to edit your post to remove the offensive characterizations of a minority of Christians. Please read the rules for this forum.

As for the content of your post, I'm not sure what shrinking Sun scenario you are referring to. In the 19th century there was speculation about the Sun being powered by such things as combustion, constant bombardment by meteors, and gravitational contraction. Of course none of these can power the Sun for millions of years, much less billions. (Although this is no problem for the Young Earth Creationists.)

I would question their source for solar shrinkage, because I don't believe any significant change in the Sun's diameter has been measured. And any measurement that we might have is probably not available for a long enough time for us to make any useful extrapolations.

Jeff Root
2006-Aug-09, 05:06 AM
Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!
Professor T, please tone down the rhetoric! You may wish to edit
your post to remove the offensive characterizations of a minority
of Christians. Please read the rules for this forum.
I have no idea whether what he wrote was an accurate
characterization of the people he was writing about, but if it
was, then I think he should leave it as it is. I agree that
he should change it if it is inaccurate, though.



I don't believe any significant change in the Sun's diameter has
been measured.
I do believe that what he's asking for is a set of measurements.
He can question their source on his own, but he needs help from
astronomers for actual data he can use to make his case.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Gillianren
2006-Aug-09, 05:32 AM
http://www.talkorigins.org will give you all the information you need. I would suggest that perhaps we didn't need that many adjectives to understand your dislike of the people making these claims. I would also suggest that the term "halohead" is at the very least pushing the board's no religion/no personal attacks stance.

Ken G
2006-Aug-09, 06:05 AM
Yeah, the issue is not whether or not his characterizations are accurate in his opinion, it is that they are an opinion and are derogatory. Derogatory personal attacks are not scientific, and are explicitly against the rules here, even if the poster thinks they are accurate (we always think our opinions are accurate). As for the shrinking Sun, Celestial Mechanic is right-- the measurements are probably reported incorrectly, but even if they are not, extrapolation to a million years ago is absurd. It's like saying that if the water level in a river falls by a foot in one day, it would have to have flooded the planet sometime in the last century.

Van Rijn
2006-Aug-09, 06:10 AM
This has been discussed here before. This should give you the information you need (from Tim Thompson):

http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?p=1150#post1150

Short version: In the very long run, it is thought the sun will shrink slightly, but it is nothing like what these people are suggesting. Their argument is groundless.

And, I agree with the others, discuss the issue, not the people. It is against board rules, and it isn't needed.

Professor Tanhauser
2006-Aug-09, 06:15 AM
Thanks for the information.

As to the haloheads reference, sorry if it bugged some people. I live in a town where the local christian extremists basically own the local newspaper and thus their views get trumpeted daily, while other views are repressed.

It can just really p-ss a scientificlly minded person off now and then.

Professor Tanhauser
2006-Aug-09, 07:49 AM
I have no idea whether what he wrote was an accurate
characterization of the people he was writing about, but if it
was, then I think he should leave it as it is. I agree that
he should change it if it is inaccurate, though.


I do believe that what he's asking for is a set of measurements.
He can question their source on his own, but he needs help from
astronomers for actual data he can use to make his case.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

I really can't question the people in question as to their 'facts' as A. I don't speak to them and B. if you do question them all you get is a blast of biblical quotes, folowed by dire warnings of hell if you don't drop your beliefs, drop to your knees and bow to their views.

PhantomWolf
2006-Aug-09, 08:28 AM
I'd really suggest that caution is taken here, this is very close to breaching both the NO religion and NO Ad Homenim rules.

captain swoop
2006-Aug-09, 09:29 AM
and the language rules, u cant use a swear wors with a - replacing one of the letters

Ken G
2006-Aug-09, 09:46 AM
I really can't question the people in question as to their 'facts' as A. I don't speak to them and B. if you do question them all you get is a blast of biblical quotes, folowed by dire warnings of hell if you don't drop your beliefs, drop to your knees and bow to their views.
That is frustrating, of course, but then it won't help to have "ammunition" to argue with. The first assumption in science is that there is a desire to let the evidence guide you to the truth. If you can't enter into a discussion on those terms, walk away, there's no point.

Jeff Root
2006-Aug-09, 09:55 AM
Yeah, the issue is not whether or not his characterizations are
accurate in his opinion, it is that they are an opinion and are
derogatory.
That is not the issue at all. The issue is whether posters
should be pressured to censor their comments in order to
satisfy your sense of decorum.

I agree that the comments were opinion and that they were
derogatory. It is my opinion that if they were accurate, they
did not need to be censored.



Derogatory personal attacks are not scientific,
Which has nothing to do with anything. Most things are not
"scientific". That doesn't mean that they should be censored.
There are valid reasons for censorship. Not being scientific
is not among them.



and are explicitly against the rules here,
That's a valid reason. I question the wisdom of this
particular rule and how it is applied, though.

When rules promote freedom, I am in favor of those rules.
Sometimes freedom of expression needs to be traded off for
freedoms of other kinds. That may be true in this particular
case. But my opinion is that censorship to satisfy your sense
of decorum in this particular case is unnecessary and unwise.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Ken G
2006-Aug-09, 10:04 AM
I agree that the comments were opinion and that they were
derogatory. It is my opinion that if they were accurate, they
did not need to be censored.

Well you are welcome to your opinion, and I'm not a moderator, but I'm pretty sure that your opinion is not in keeping with the rules of this board.

Most things are not
"scientific". That doesn't mean that they should be censored.
There are valid reasons for censorship. Not being scientific
is not among them.

You seem to be rather concerned about the term "censorship". But there is a difference between what needs to be censored, and what needs to be discouraged. No one who has responded to this thread is in a position to censor anything, as none are moderators. However, we are in a position, and have done so, to discourage certain attitudes as being counterproductive on a scientific forum.


I question the wisdom of this
particular rule and how it is applied, though.
I do not think the participants are in a position to question the rules here. We are only in a position to "vote with our feet".


But my opinion is that censorship to satisfy your sense
of decorum in this particular case is unnecessary and unwise.

My "sense of decorum" doesn't matter a piffle, but the agreed on ground rules here do.

Roy Batty
2006-Aug-09, 12:18 PM
...because the sun is shrinking and would have encompasses earth;s orbit a few million years ago.

Someone here want to give me a stick to beat this argument with?
Sounds very much like this (http://www.twainquotes.com/Conjecture.html) Mark Twain quote applies (shortened version appears on the BA intro page) :)

GOURDHEAD
2006-Aug-09, 01:52 PM
From another BAUT post based on current value for the Hubble parameter:

And to be totally ridiculous, the universe is expanding at a rate of about 7x10^-16 meters per second per meter. Could the Christians the professor refers to have been making an assessment based on a non-thorough understanding of the cosmological expansion theory? The current diameter of the sun is 1,390,000,000 meters and could have been larger 4.5 billion years ago. Taking the age of the sun to be 4.5 billion years or 142,009,200,000,000,000 or 1.4e17 seconds and an initial radius of the sun of 6.9e8 meters we get an expansion of 7e-16 * 1.4e17 * 6.9e8 or 6.73e10 meters or 67.3 million kilometers. One AU = 149 598 000 kilometers or just over twice that solar expansion. So if one made a calculation error or two or assumed a variable Hubble parameter with carefully tuned characteristics and neglected the expansion of the distance between the Earth and the sun, one might conclude, falsely, that the sun by now would have engulfed the Earth. They might be excused for having thought that cosmological expansion might have worked against the coalescing of the gas cloud out of which the solar system formed let alone the galaxy of which it is a part. Perhaps the professor should tutor them in arithmetic (or me in cosmology) rather than attack their theology.

By the way, it seems calling someone a halohead is to infer sainthood. How can that be denegrating? Even if it were, it provides Christians with a situation to prove their faith and improve their dedication to the high moral road.

wollery
2006-Aug-09, 02:40 PM
Whilst it is true that the Sun is slowly losing mass due to nucleosynthesis and the resultant radiation it is not true that it is shrinking.

This page (http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1986/PSCF9-86VanTill.html) gives a good account of how the idea came about, and why it isn't true.

hhEb09'1
2006-Aug-09, 02:51 PM
That is not the issue at all. The issue is whether posters
should be pressured to censor their comments in order to
satisfy your sense of decorum.Not Ken G's sense of decorum, the rules of the board.
I agree that the comments were opinion and that they were
derogatory. It is my opinion that if they were accurate, they
did not need to be censored.Accuracy has nothing to do with it, how can we be sure that they are haloheads? :)

Wolverine
2006-Aug-09, 03:35 PM
As to the haloheads reference, sorry if it bugged some people. I live in a town where the local christian extremists basically own the local newspaper and thus their views get trumpeted daily, while other views are repressed.

It can just really p-ss a scientificlly minded person off now and then.

Hello, Professor Tanhauser. As others have noted, it's paramount that you read and abide by our forum rules (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=32864). We have strict guidelines here about decorum and language. Please follow them.

Jeff Root
2006-Aug-09, 08:01 PM
I agree that the comments were opinion and that they were
derogatory. It is my opinion that if they were accurate, they
did not need to be censored.
Well you are welcome to your opinion, and I'm not a moderator,
but I'm pretty sure that your opinion is not in keeping with the
rules of this board.
It is entirely a matter of judgement. Rules do not apply
themselves-- people apply them. So people must use their
judgement as to when and how to apply the various rules in any
particular situation. Judgement was used by one poster to
decide to pressure the original poster to censor his comments,
citing forum rules as one justification for that action.
I used my judgement to decide to pressure you to consider that
the action has some serious drawbacks.




Most things are not "scientific". That doesn't mean that they
should be censored. There are valid reasons for censorship.
Not being scientific is not among them.
You seem to be rather concerned about the term "censorship".
I'm concerned about censorship. That is, stopping people from
saying what they want to say. (Which doesn't mean that I'm in
favor of everyone saying everything they want to say in all the
places they want to say it. Censorship has its place.)



But there is a difference between what needs to be
censored, and what needs to be discouraged.
You are probably distinguishing between preventing unwanted
speech and editing unwanted speech to remove what has already
been said, calling only the latter "censorship". I refer to
both as censorship.



No one who has responded to this thread is in a position to
censor anything, as none are moderators.
You and I are in position to influence posters to refrain from
saying what they want to say. That is censorship. An attempt
was made to influence the original poster to not say what he
wanted to say. That is attempted censorship. Again, that is
not necessarily a bad thing, but it concerns me, and I wanted
to point out that such a cure can be worse than the ailment.



However, we are in a position, and have done so, to discourage
certain attitudes as being counterproductive on a scientific
forum.
Okay. That is a good rejoinder to my argument. I agree with
the sentiment. We apparently just disagree as to whether action
to do so in this particular case was appropriate.




I question the wisdom of this particular rule and how it is
applied, though.
I do not think the participants are in a position to question the
rules here. We are only in a position to "vote with our feet".
Nonsense. We can question anything. We can ask for anything.
We can work to try to get anything that we want. We can even
try to influence people to change their opinions.




But my opinion is that censorship to satisfy your sense
of decorum in this particular case is unnecessary and unwise.
My "sense of decorum" doesn't matter a piffle, but the agreed on
ground rules here do.
The rules are derived from your sense of decorum:



We have strict guidelines here about decorum and language.
If the rules do not accomplish what was wanted, then changes to
the rules may be the best way to achieve the decorum you seek.
Or the rules may be fine, but changes in the way the rules are
executed may be needed. In any case, rules exist for reasons.
Without good reasons, there can be no good rules. Decorum can
be a perfectly acceptable reason. But trying to influence a
poster to refrain from saying what he wants to say is attempting
censorship, and I think we should be wary of censorship.

If the original post had expressed the opinions as a blanket
statement applying to (say) Christians in general, I would have
objected to it just as Celestial Mechanic did.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Wolverine
2006-Aug-09, 08:54 PM
A discussion of the forum rules would best be served on the existing thread (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=32867) in About BAUT. I'd like to ask that interested parties continue that dialogue there in order to not derail this topic (if it's not already too late). Thanks.

Swift
2006-Aug-09, 09:00 PM
Whilst it is true that the Sun is slowly losing mass due to nucleosynthesis and the resultant radiation it is not true that it is shrinking.

This page (http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1986/PSCF9-86VanTill.html) gives a good account of how the idea came about, and why it isn't true.
Yes, not to loose sight of this, but a very good explanation Wollery.

PhantomWolf
2006-Aug-10, 12:12 AM
For a very basic run down of the OP topic, there are three schools of thought to this.

The data is based on transit of Mercury and Solar eclipse data from the past 250 years. The findings show that there is a difference in the radius of the sun, measure to about 0.14 +/- 0.12 arcseconds per century. Other readings put it about 0.2 arcseconds, which does fall into the 0.14+/-0.12, however this also goes as low as 0.02 arcseconds, esentially a null result, so most of the scientific argment over the issue is whether there really is something to it, or are we just looking at uncertainy due to experimental error.

School 1 says: The sun is shrinking at a rate of 0.2-0.3 arcseconds per century. Because of this life on Earth would have been impossible as little as 100 million years ago. (I suppect this is where the group the OP refers too stand.)

School 2 says: The sun's size osilates over an 80 year period, but the evidence that it is shrinking, or not is too close to call, some say it is, some it isn't. It all depends on how you look at the data and what you call a null result.

School 3 says: The data is showing a null result, the sun is the same size no as it was 250 years ago and has remained so throughout.

I suspect that unless we come up with a better way to measure it that has a lower experimental error level, we won't know for a while.

Professor Tanhauser
2006-Aug-16, 08:05 AM
That is frustrating, of course, but then it won't help to have "ammunition" to argue with. The first assumption in science is that there is a desire to let the evidence guide you to the truth. If you can't enter into a discussion on those terms, walk away, there's no point.

Actually I don't want to argue with the obnoxious christian ectremists, I want to tell the people that there is a counter to their argument that the sun's supposed shrinkage means the view of earth as being 4 billion yeard old or so can't be right.

You see, when they present their views without any challenge it may make some people think that the scientific side can't reply.

Ken G
2006-Aug-16, 02:05 PM
You see, when they present their views without any challenge it may make some people think that the scientific side can't reply.

I agree, but what I'm saying is, long before you enter into an exchange of ideas, you first have to establish what constitutes a scientific argument. Otherwise, all you can ever do is say "my science doesn't agree with your science". That's all they need, if that is a possible conclusion, they have already won, no matter what arguments you bring forth. They want to have it both ways-- to draw on the impressive track record of science, while maintaining that it supports their view. Most nonscientists don't know what separates good science from bad science (or bad astronomy!), so if the conversation doesn't start there, you've already lost. To me, the first step to doing good science is following the evidence with no preconceived result that has to come out no matter what the evidence says. Ask, are they doing that? Then the second step is to identify what constitutes evidence. Does a religious text constitute scientific evidence? OK, now we have step one and two in place, it is time to address the evidence. Shrinking Sun? For what time frame has the Sun been observed to be shrinking? Obviously not very long-- there are no observations of a much larger Sun. So is it logical to assume that if something is shrinking right now, it has always been shrinking? Are there any elderly people around-- have they been shrinking their whole lives? It's easy to attack a poor argument, but only once the ground rules for what constitutes a good argument are in place. If you don't have the opportunity to set those ground rules, walk away. That's what scientists have concluded over and over.

Senor Molinero
2006-Aug-17, 04:45 AM
Hey Professor!
You could always start up a rival newspaper.