Cosmology Intelligent Design

Cosmologist George Ellis on the philosophical problems of cosmology — and a note from Rob Sheldon

Ellis: Humans have demonstrably contemplated purpose and meaning and ethics for millennia and their existence is data on how things are. The existence of these possibility spaces is part of the deep structure of the cosmos, in the way that I have proposed above. In that sense, meaning is built into the foundations of existence.

Cosmology Intelligent Design

Sabine Hossenfelder despairs over vacuum energy. Rob Sheldon responds

These specialty controversies are an interesting backdrop to the current war on math. Sabine Hossenfelder and Rob Sheldon would likely agree that 2 + 2 = 4. But survey the vast degreed hordes for whom such a statement is an instance of white supremacy and colonialism and we will see the real problem facing our civilization: Far too many people have degrees (and grievances!) but no insight into what knowledge is.

Extraterrestrial life Intelligent Design

Could the unusual ET phenomena be animal types – not human types – of life forms?

Rob Sheldon offers some thoughts on NASA and the unexplained phenomena that prompted the recent report

Readers may remember our recent note that the Pentagon is rethinking the practice of merely making fun of odd findings reported by pilots.

Our physics color commentator Rob Sheldon offers some thoughts:

Not to enflame the alien hunters out there, but videos of the UFO’s taken by jets show two characteristics:
a) high speed (altitude)
b) high acceleration.

The shape is less important, but being pill-shaped means you are not aerodynamically suited for high velocities in high density air.

Humans can go at these high speeds, Mach 25 for the space shuttle, but it takes an enormous amount of fuel and rocket power. Plus, the shuttle has to have special tiles to dissipate the heat. Tiles and fuel = heavy and bulky which these UFO’s are not.

Second is the acceleration. Pilots wear “g-suits” that tighten when maneuvering, so that all the blood does rush to the head or feet. Even so, 3-5 g’s is typically the maximum a pilot sustains and at 9 g’s they typically go unconscious. These videos show UFO’s that appear to be pulling 20 or more g’s. I’d have to analyse them frame-by-frame to get the actual acceleration. But if you or I were in that craft, they’d be scraping off the cockpit with a spatula. Most s/c instruments that I build for satellites cannot handle 15 g’s, so we prefer liquid fuel boosters.

So the observation is a light weight, non-aerodynamic high-speed, ultra-high acceleration object. Is it human made? Hardly. Is it weather phenomenon? Unlikely, though not ruled out. Is it US research? I wish. Is it little green men? Only if their biology is very unlike ours. Once again, having seen what extraterrestrial life looks like (cyanobacteria on comets) it is very likely that any ET is built like us, so I don’t think this is LGM. That leaves “other” as a category.

Where is this taking us? Well I think that these objects show purpose. Their motions aren’t random like Brownian motion or determined like meteor trails. So there is a rudimentary sensory/propulsion system apparent. But the need to handle high g’s means it is very rigid. The lack of rocket or fuel system suggests they are also very light. Their shape is also reminiscent of bacteria, where the surface/volume ratio is maximized. This leads me to think that they are biological, they are mostly air, and the biology is in a thin surface material or skin. Their energy source must be at high altitude, because they aren’t designed for thick atmosphere. The only energy sources at those altitudes are electric, with large electric potentials present over thunderstorms or in the aurora. Electrostatic forces can create very high forces, and that would be the form of propulsion. One way to check, is to see if the electric field is parallel to their motion, or if the magnetic field is perpendicular to their motion.

So in summary my best guess is that these are space cows, grazing on the energy in the high atmosphere and inflated by hydrogen. Perhaps if we knew what they ate, we could put a deer stand in the Space Station.

Once again, I let ID direct me toward biology, instead of knee jerk reaction the ID leads to mechanical space probes. It fits with what we know of biology, but is a compete projection of our insecurities when we think of it as a machine made by an alien race. Like Father Brown in GK Chesterton’s novels, who said “It wasn’t a ghost because I believe in ghosts”, likewise I think it is biological because I believe in human ID and biological ID, and it certainly isn’t human.

Note: Rob Sheldon is also the author of Genesis: The Long Ascent and The Long Ascent, Volume II .

No, it’s not necessarily aliens. But smirk is not a good approach to science or any other body of knowledge.

See also: The Pentagon’s UAP (UFO) report signals a sharp attitude change The brass have committed themselves to going “wherever the data takes us.” No, they didn’t report UFOs. But they reported enough mysteries to stop merely debunking and discrediting… and follow the evidence.

Intelligent Design Multiverse

Science writer critiques the “many worlds” (multiverse) fantasy; Rob Sheldon weighs in

But the multiverse isn’t really about evidence or falsifiability. The theory is held in defiance of the demand for evidence and believed in such a way as to make falsifiability sound unCool. As Ball perceptively notes, “Even though most physicists dismiss or even deride it, it is often eagerly embraced by physics popularizers and their audiences.” Perhaps it is best described as a lifestyle choice.

'Junk DNA'

Rob Sheldon on Larry Moran and the junk DNA

Sheldon: If I recall correctly, the original definition of “functional” was whether that piece of DNA was turned into a protein, which depended on finding a “start” and a “stop” codon. The Human Genome Project reported that some 90% of the human genome didn’t have these “start/stop” features, and hence was “non-functional”. [“Non-functional” underwent considerable revision later.]