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Creationism and other doctrines. Was Mindforth

Erik Max Francis max at alcyone.com
Wed Dec 18 18:29:22 EST 2002

"John R. Strohm" wrote:

> Dennis, what you are missing is that you are in fact expressing
> "faith" when
> you express the concept of "observable" and "repeatable".  I.e., you
> are
> expressing FAITH that an observable, repeatable phenomenon is in FACT
> both
> observable and repeatable.

The problem here is that _faith_ is really a loaded word, especially
when you're talking about discussions of religion and science together.

It's true that science is based on a certain philosophy.  That
philosophy includes, among other things, the idea that the Universe is
comprehensible, that scientific methods will be able to meaningful
discover things about it (i.e., experients will be repeatable), and so

It takes something like "faith" to buy into this philosophy, but it's
obviously not the same kind of faith that religion employs.  So if you
call it "faith" you're automatically invoking religious imagery which is
going to, to say the least, put off your opponent.  And, obviously, this
philosophy works pretty well, so the "faith" in scientific philosophy is
not unwarranted and is reinforced.

> Dr. Stephen Hawking showed, many years ago, that existing theory
> allows for
> the existence of regions of space-time that are flat-out unobservable.
>  We
> DO NOT and CANNOT know what is happening in those regions.  He then
> went on
> to show that the boundaries of those regions were uncertain, and that
> phenomena could emerge from inside the unobservable region.

This doesn't apply to Hawking radiation, which is clearly where you were
going.  I think what you're getting at here is that in some certain
circumstances, casually disconnected spacetimes can become casually
reconnected, due to cosmological evolution (e.g., in a closed universe
which started with a burst of inflation; as it evolves toward its
collapsing state, more and more of the universe becomes visible to every
part of it).

> The executive summary is this: a black hole isn't completely black. It
> leaks, and furthermore it can leak ANYTHING AT ALL.  According to Dr.
> Jerry
> Pournelle, who attended Dr. Hawking's presentation at Caltech (on
> invitation
> from Dr. Robert Forward), Hawking finished his talk by saying "Of
> course, it
> might be a while before the black hole emitted one of the people in
> this
> room..."

He was, of course, being flippant.  Such an event would be horrendously
unlikely even on basic grounds (just as a human being self-assembling
out of a bucket of the necessary molecules would be), but furthermore a
black hole small enough to be emitting Hawking radiation that would
consist of actual particles (the "spectrum" of Hawking radiation changes
as it gets smaller -- and thus hotter -- so that it starts emitting
actual particles rather than just photons of increasing frequency) would
be exceptionally "hot," so not only would you have the unlikelihood of a
human being self-assembling out of its constituent particles, but
furthermore it would have to do so when those constituent particles had
temperatures of billions of kelvins (much higher, actually, I'm just
being illustrative).

It's a vague suggestion designed to tittilate the imagination, but it's
hardly plausible.  The Universe will long since have died of a heat
death (and all of the black holes in the universe completely evaporated)
before such an event were likely.

 Erik Max Francis / max at alcyone.com / http://www.alcyone.com/max/
 __ San Jose, CA, USA / 37 20 N 121 53 W / &tSftDotIotE
/  \ Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
\__/ Oscar Wilde
    Alcyone Systems / http://www.alcyone.com/
 Alcyone Systems, San Jose, California.

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