Astronomy Cosmology Intelligent Design

Does the next 30 years of astronomy depend on a single report?

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So they say. And all isn’t well:

Organized by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, six Decadal Surveys have set the course of U.S. astronomy since they began in the 1960s. The results of the seventh, dubbed Astro2020, will soon be announced after two years of exhaustive deliberations led by a 20-member steering committee. And just like its predecessors, Astro2020 will reveal where major new investments and discoveries are most likely to be made—and where neglect, disinterest or even fear may block progress for generations to come…

For now, the U.S. remains at the forefront of off-world observing, but of the four “Great Observatories” NASA launched between 1990 and 2003, only Hubble and the Chandra X-ray Observatory are still operational, and both are nearing their end, with no replacement on the horizon. “Hubble is probably not going to last another decade, and maybe we’ll get five more years out of Chandra. But then that’s it—they’re gone,” says Jason Tumlinson, an astronomer heading the community missions office at the Space Telescope Science Institute. “We’ll probably have a long gap with no real optical, ultraviolet or x-ray capability in space. And now is the time to decide how and when we might get it back.”

Lee Billings, “This Report Could Make or Break the Next 30 Years of U.S. Astronomy” at Scientific American

If activists can just ramp up the war on math and the war on science, maybe it won’t matter. Isn’t astronomy just imperialism anyway? Interfering with traditional beliefs about the stars…

6 Replies to “Does the next 30 years of astronomy depend on a single report?

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Why bother? Astronomy has no purpose. It doesn’t solve real problems. It’s just a hobby, which is often done better by unpaid amateurs than by the trillion-dollar NASA.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Polistra states, “Astronomy has no purpose.,,,,”

    Some people may beg to differ with your personal opinion Polistra.

    For instance, and in regards to serving a purpose, advances in astronomy have led to the profound discovery, (and/or the profound empirical confirmation), that the earth in general, and humanity in particular, have a purpose for their existence. Which is a discovery that is in direct opposition to Copernican Principle and/or the Principle of Mediocrity which, for a few centuries now, has held that the earth in general, and humanity in particular, have no special purpose and/or significance to their existence.

    July 2021 – the Copernican Principle and/or the Principle of Mediocrity has now been overturned by both General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, our two most powerful theories in science:
    https://uncommondescent.com/darwinism/richard-lewontin-1929-2021/#comment-733949

    Now Polistra you may still object that knowing for a scientific fact that the earth, and our lives, have purpose and significance is trivial compared to the ‘larger purpose’ of feeding, clothing, and housing, people. And that the money spent on astronomy would have been better spent on feeding, clothing, and housing, people.

    Yet in response I would argue that the nihilistic despair that results from falsely believing that our lives have no purpose or significance is on par, if not worse, than the despair of not having enough food, clothing, or housing.

    As Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist and Auschwitz survivor, observed, “”Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”

    “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”
    – Viktor Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning – 1946 – Austrian psychiatrist, Auschwitz survivor

    Although Atheists like to pretend that they can invent their own imaginary meanings and purposes for their own lives, (minus any belief in God and an afterlife),,,,

    Study: Atheists Find Meaning In Life By Inventing Fairy Tales – Richard Weikart
    MARCH 29, 2018
    Excerpt: However, there is a problem with this finding. The survey admitted the meaning that atheists and non-religious people found in their lives is entirely self-invented. According to the survey, they embraced the position: “Life is only meaningful if you provide the meaning yourself.”
    Thus, when religious people say non-religious people have no basis for finding meaning in life, and when non-religious people object, saying they do indeed find meaning in life, they are not talking about the same thing. If one can find meaning in life by creating one’s own meaning, then one is only “finding” the product of one’s own imagination. One has complete freedom to invent whatever meaning one wants.
    This makes “meaning” on par with myths and fairy tales. It may make the non-religious person feel good, but it has no objective existence.
    http://thefederalist.com/2018/.....iry-tales/

    ,,,, Although Atheists like to pretend that they can invent their own imaginary meanings and purposes for their own lives, (minus any belief in God and an afterlife), this act of self-delusion on the part of atheists, of making up illusory meaning and purposes for their lives, (in order to try to escape the nihilistic despair that is inherent in their worldview), is, apparently, of extremely limited benefit.

    For instance, and to back up Viktor Frankl’s claim, Professor Andrew Sims, former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, states, “The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally.”,,, “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life;,,”

    “I maintain that whatever else faith may be, it cannot be a delusion.
    The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. If the findings of the huge volume of research on this topic had gone in the opposite direction and it had been found that religion damages your mental health, it would have been front-page news in every newspaper in the land.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – preface
    “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout belief and practice probably outweigh the risks.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – page 100

    In fact, in the following study it was found that, “those middle-aged adults who go to church, synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship reduce their mortality risk by 55%.”

    Can attending church really help you live longer? This study says yes – June 1, 2017
    Excerpt: Specifically, the study says those middle-aged adults who go to church, synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship reduce their mortality risk by 55%. The Plos One journal published the “Church Attendance, Allostatic Load and Mortality in Middle Aged Adults” study May 16.
    “For those who did not attend church at all, they were twice as likely to die prematurely than those who did who attended church at some point over the last year,” Bruce said.
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/06/02/can-attending-church-really-help-you-live-longer-study-says-yes/364375001/

    Study: Religiously affiliated people lived “9.45 and 5.64 years longer…”
    July 1, 2018
    Excerpt: Self-reported religious service attendance has been linked with longevity. However, previous work has largely relied on self-report data and volunteer samples. Here, mention of a religious affiliation in obituaries was analyzed as an alternative measure of religiosity. In two samples (N = 505 from Des Moines, IA, and N = 1,096 from 42 U.S. cities), the religiously affiliated lived 9.45 and 5.64 years longer, respectively, than the nonreligiously affiliated. Additionally, social integration and volunteerism partially mediated the religion–longevity relation.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/study-religiously-affiliated-people-lived-religiously-affiliated-lived-9-45-and-5-64-years-longer/

    Can Religion Extend Your Life? – By Chuck Dinerstein — June 16, 2018
    Excerpt: The researcher’s regression analysis suggested that the effect of volunteering and participation accounted for 20% or 1 year of the impact, while religious affiliation accounted for the remaining four years or 80%.
    https://www.acsh.org/news/2018/06/16/can-religion-extend-your-life-13092

    Atheism and health
    A meta-analysis of all studies, both published and unpublished, relating to religious involvement and longevity was carried out in 2000. Forty-two studies were included, involving some 126,000 subjects. Active religious involvement increased the chance of living longer by some 29%, and participation in public religious practices, such as church attendance, increased the chance of living longer by 43%.[4][5]
    http://www.conservapedia.com/Atheism_and_health

    On top of that, it is also found that learning and reading about the afterlife and/or about Near Death Experiences is ‘generally quite successful not only in reducing suicidal thoughts but also in preventing the deed altogether.,,,’

    Knowledge of the afterlife deters suicide. Lessons From the Light by Kenneth Ring and Evelyn Elsaesser p.257-258:
    As far as I know, the first clinician to make use of NDE material in this context was a New York psychologist named John McDonagh. In 1979, he presented a paper at a psychological convention that described his success with several suicidal patients using a device he called “NDE bibliotherapy.” His “technique” was actually little more than having his patients read some relevant passages from Raymond Moody’s book, Reflections on Life after Life, after which the therapist and his patient would discuss its implications for the latter’s own situation. McDonagh reports that such an approach was generally quite successful not only in reducing suicidal thoughts but also in preventing the deed altogether.,,,
    Since McDonagh’s pioneering efforts, other clinicians knowledgeable about the NDE who have had the opportunity to counsel suicidal patients have also reported similar success. Perhaps the most notable of these therapists is Bruce Greyson, a psychiatrist now at the University of Virginia, whose specialty as a clinician has been suicidology. He is also the author of a classic paper on NDEs and suicide which the specialist may wish to consult for its therapeutic implications. (14)
    Quite apart from the clinicians who have developed this form of what we might call “NDE-assisted therapy,” I can draw upon my own personal experience here to provide additional evidence of how the NDE has helped to deter suicide. The following case,,,
    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/201.....lains.html

    Thus, it is readily apparent that the Atheist’s attempt to create illusory meaning and purposes for his life, minus belief in God and an afterlife, falls short in a rather dramatic fashion on both the mental and physical level.

    Thus Polistra, in conclusion, I would argue that advances in astronomy that have overturned the Copernican Principle and/or the Principle of mediocrity, far from serving no purpose as you have claimed, do in fact serve a very important purpose in ‘scientifically’ establishing the fact that our lives do indeed have purpose and significance.

    As the evidence that I have laid out from psychiatry makes clear, knowing that our lives actually do have significance and purpose IS NOT a minor thing for a person to know as far as that person’s mental health is concerned! And is just as important, if not more important, for a person to know than whatever trying physical circumstances a person may find himself to be in.

    Jeremiah 29:11
    For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    Does The Next 30 Years Of Astronomy Depend On A Single Report?

    You mean another Big Bang?

  4. 4
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77/2

    For instance, and in regards to serving a purpose, advances in astronomy have led to the profound discovery, (and/or the profound empirical confirmation), that the earth in general, and humanity in particular, have a purpose for their existence.

    No, they haven’t. This is called grasping at straws.

    Which is a discovery that is in direct opposition to Copernican Principle and/or the Principle of Mediocrity which, for a few centuries now, has held that the earth in general, and humanity in particular, have no special purpose and/or significance to their existence.

    That’s right.

    Yet in response I would argue that the nihilistic despair that results from falsely believing that our lives have no purpose or significance is on par, if not worse, than the despair of not having enough food, clothing, or housing.

    I see no special meaning or purpose but neither have I fallen into nihilistic despair

    As Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist and Auschwitz survivor, observed, “”Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”

    I disagree. There are cases of people who find the circumstances of their lives unbearable – such as those suffering from painful and untreatable illnesses – and there are those like myself who don’t find a lack of meaning or purpose makes life unbearable.

    Although Atheists like to pretend that they can invent their own imaginary meanings and purposes for their own lives, (minus any belief in God and an afterlife),,,

    How is any purpose we define for ourselves any more imaginary than that of your God? How do you know your God didn’t come up with it on the spur of the moment just to help while away eternity?

    For instance, and to back up Viktor Frankl’s claim, Professor Andrew Sims, former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, states, “The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally.”

    You notice Sims says religious or spiritual belief in general has beneficial effects. It’s not just from Christianity, so you can’t appeal to this article to support your Christian beliefs. I’m sure if I joined the Jedi Knights and we met each Thursday to meditate on The Force, we would find similar benefits.

    On top of that, it is also found that learning and reading about the afterlife and/or about Near Death Experiences is ‘generally quite successful not only in reducing suicidal thoughts but also in preventing the deed altogether.,,,’

    I’m sure it’s very comforting to believe in an afterlife but that, of itself, does not mean it actually exists.

    As the evidence that I have laid out from psychiatry makes clear, knowing that our lives actually do have significance and purpose IS NOT a minor thing for a person to know as far as that person’s mental health is concerned!

    I’m sure it can be very beneficial to a person’s mental health but that doesn’t make it true, just that it acts as “the opium of the people”.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Well Seversky seeing that it is you, a Darwinist who ignores any and all scientific evidence that contradicts your atheistic belief system, I’m really not surprised that you would, once again, deny all the scientific evidence I presented that overturns the Copernican principle.

    But that is the funny thing about scientific evidence, it is what it is and could care less if you personally refuse to accept what it says or not.

    July 2021 – the Copernican Principle and/or the Principle of Mediocrity has now been overturned by both General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, our two most powerful theories in science:
    https://uncommondescent.com/darwinism/richard-lewontin-1929-2021/#comment-733949

    Shoot Seversky, besides ignoring scientific evidence that overturns the Copernican Principle, in your post you didn’t even try to hide your unreasonable and irrational hostility towards Christianity in particular when you gave the other Theistic belief systems a pass and ignored the fact that it is your very own atheistic belief system itself that substantially increases mortality. Needless to say, that is NOT a minor point for you, an atheist, to overlook in your obsessive, even compulsive, bias to attack Christianity in particular.

    So, even though you tried to contradict my post at 2 with you post at 4, thanks anyway Seversky for clearly demonstrating, for all to see, just how unreasonably, dogmatically, and irrationally biased Darwinian atheists can be in their beliefs.

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, Astronomy [and by extension Astrophysics] is in effect the oldest of the physical sciences, now in effect part of broader Physics. This is the discipline that launched the Scientific Revolution. Calculus, gateway to modern Math, was in key part invented to solve its problems. Newton’s laws came up in that context. This field provides actual observations on our cosmos, which is a large scale natural experiment. Applications to navigation are patent, though perhaps slightly old fashioned now; however if we continue to do stupid things with geostrategy such as we are doing, stellar navigation is what we will have to rely on. Beyond, solar system colonisation and if we can get breakthroughs, interstellar travel and settlement, are the future if we manage to survive this century reasonably intact. Let us learn the lesson of Cheng Ho* and let us not stupidly lock down exploration because it does not fit our agendas and biases. KF

    * Include, pondering the perversity of a power culture that castrates captives.

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