Cosmology Mavericks Turn On the Red Light

first_imgAccording to the majority of astronomers, redshifts are “cosmological”: that is, they represent the effect on spectral light of the expansion of the universe.  A minority group of astronomers, however, claims otherwise, that at least a component of redshift represents intrinsic motion effects of rapidly moving objects irrespective of cosmic expansion.  For evidence, they point to active galaxies that appear to have quasars with very different redshifts apparently associated with them; their theory is that quasars have been ejected from the galactic nuclei.  These maverick astronomers include Halton Arp, Geoffrey and Margaret Burbidge, J.V. Narlikar, M. B. Bell and the late Fred Hoyle.  Some of these have also been vocal critics of the Big Bang theory.    Bell has published a new paper in The Astrophysical Journal1 (Dec. 1) providing more evidence for the ejection theory.  He studied the redshifts that appear to cluster at preferred (“quantized”) distances and examined the “wings” or distributions around the peaks.  If the redshifts were cosmological, one would expect the wings to be symmetrical.  If quasars (also called quasi-stellar objects, or QSOs) were ejected from active galactic nuclei, the average velocity vectors for a sample due to ejection would be spherically symmetric with respect to the host galaxies.  But from our vantage point, the radial components receding from us by the ejection would be additive to the cosmological component along our line of sight.  This should produce a larger wing on the red side of the spectral peak, and that is what Bell claims he has found in two samples, one at large redshift and one at lower redshift.  “These results offer further evidence,” he argues, “in favor of the model proposing that QSOs are ejected from active galaxies.”    Bell does not claim that this overthrows the standard Big Bang model, but says, “inflation may be in trouble if it suggests that all the density structure in the universe (e.g., galaxies and clusters) was preset during the inflationary period.”  He believes, instead, that quasars are smaller objects that were ejected early in the evolution of active galaxies, and represent the seeds of new galaxies in the early universe.  Still, his findings cast doubt on the usual interpretation of redshift, and means that quasars are not the superluminous bodies at vast distances usually assumed, because such beliefs come “entirely from the assumption that their redshifts are cosmological,” he says.    There are still many mysteries out there.  The Hubble Space Telescope just took a picture of a nearby “baby” galaxy (see Astronomy Picture of the Day) that astronomers claim is just now forming stars out of a gas cloud that formed after the big bang, according to New Scientist.  Why this galaxy should wait so long after others have matured is a puzzle.  (The evidence is merely low metallicity in this particular small galaxy; the story is concocted to fit it into the standard model.)  The Hubble press release puzzles over this galaxy assumed to be 500 million years old, nearly yesterday in cosmological terms: “Our Milky Way galaxy by contrast is over 20 times older, or about 12 billion years old, the typical age of galaxies across the universe.”1M.B. Bell, “Distances of Quasars and Quasar-like Galaxies: Further Evidence That Quasi-stellar Objects May Be Ejected from Active Galaxies,” The Astrophysical Journal, 616:738-744, 2004 December 1.The ongoing debate about redshifts has attracted the attention of creationists and other skeptics of Big-Bang-to-man philosophy.  This paper does not call into question any age estimates for the universe, since Bell believes it fits into the age estimates for the standard model, but it reinforces doubts about the interpretation of redshifts.  It also provides some support for the idea that redshifts are quantized, i.e. that they cluster around preferred distances like waves in a pond.  Does this provide support for the idea Earth is located somewhere near the center of the universe?  Will the maverick astronomers succeed in overcoming the dogma of the majority of cosmologists?  Since Bob Berman of Astronomy thinks the majority party is clueless anyway (see 11/06/2004 headline), it seems open season to offer alternatives.  No claims are made here about the validity of this paper other than to give it a hearing for interested researchers.  But please, please, don’t think that willingness to be a maverick justifies emulating the Los Alamos caveman.(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Science Cannot Defend Moral Relativism

first_imgIf morality evolves, then why do some scientists cast judgment?Science reporters occasionally make the case for moral relativism: the idea that moral judgments can vary from culture to culture, depending on what the people in a culture were taught is right or wrong. Live Science, for instance, teaches that “Right or Wrong: How You Judge Others Depends on Your Culture.” But in other articles, they will promote abortion rights, gay rights and other moral questions in an absolutist manner (e.g., 3/13/16).In another case, PNAS published results of surveys about whether people take reason into account when they make moral judgments. “It is widely considered a universal feature of human moral psychology that reasons for actions are taken into account in most moral judgments,” the summary begins. “However, most evidence for this moral intent hypothesis comes from large-scale industrialized societies.” So who’s right? Aren’t hunter-gatherers closer to the pristine evolved state of Homo sapiens? Isn’t industrialized society a recent anomaly? If they believe that, it undercuts their reason for writing this paper, since natural selection considered our ancestors fully fit without “reasons for actions” for millions of years, according to consensus theory.Modern secular science is in a hopeless dilemma. Evolutionary scientists and their reporters teach that morality evolved, but want to speak with authority about right and wrong. Some recent examples:“Oregon’s new birth control law increases access, but more still to be done” (Science Daily). The headline makes a moral judgment on a divisive issue that is currently pitting the Obama Administration against the Little Sisters of the Poor (and other religious institutions) in an important case facing a deeply divided Supreme Court. Yet the academics behind the article say, “This law is a step forward for contraceptive access.”“‘Abortion Pill’ Gets New Label: 5 Things to Know About Mifepristone” (Live Science). Try as she does to present a straightforward, factual explanation of the infamous abortion pill, Rachael Rettner delivers a list of “5 things to know” that omits the very most important aspect: whether the pill causes a murder of an unborn human baby. Some of the facts and terms are useful to know, but one cannot be neutral on a moral issue this important that is dividing the country and the world. She ends by focusing only on the potential risks and side effects for the mother, totally omitting reference to the other human being inside of her. You can’t find the words baby, unborn, or even fetus in the article.“Breeding humans: Utopias from the early modern period” (Science Daily). The opening sentences show moral relativism: “The idea to improve humans and to optimise procreation emerged long before genetic engineering. As far back as the 18th century, concepts did exist that appear unthinkable from the modern perspective.” But if it wasn’t unthinkable for them, was it morally right?Sometimes Big Science can’t handle the moral hot potatoes. There was the notorious “evolution of rape” controversy a few years ago (7/18/03). More recently, scientists published in PNAS a defense of polygyny (plural marriage) in some contexts as healthy for children, or at least not harmful. That was too much for a couple of sociologists who responded in PNAS with criticism of the claim, not so much on grounds that polygyny is “immoral” as to argue that the conclusions were not supported by the data. “Additional evidence could be collected,” Rieger and Wagner say, “about cowives and inheritance conflicts and longitudinal nutritional and educational outcomes for children of polygynous families to gauge whether polygyny is really harmful for children in the long run.” Gauging harm is a moral question.To that, the original authors stuck to their guns. In PNAS, they defended their opinion on purely pragmatic grounds (e.g., “our demonstration that (male-headed) polygynous households are relatively food secure and wealthy compared with monogamous households.” But is their final rationale neutral? “In studying ‘harmful cultural practices’ it is vital that we apply equivalent standards of evidence independent of whether results meet or contradict conventional expectation.”But if it’s merely a question of conventions, those are relative. It’s clearly conventional to the families in Tanzania. How does one measure what is harmful? If it is harmful to children but not their polygamous father, why don’t his values trump those of his children?Let’s apply the scientists’ relativistic morality back on themselves. Is it just a convention to study other human tribes and report on them in journals? What would they say if ISIS bombed their labs? Would that just be an Islamic cultural convention? We can continue this line of thinking on the earlier stories. Would it have been Rachael Rettner’s mother’s “convention” to take the abortion pill, preventing Rachael’s embryonic self from being born? Is our process of reasoning about one another’s intentions to make moral judgments an illusion from our evolutionary past? That destroys both reason and morality, robbing them of any foundation. If a society breeds humans, will those humans have free will if they disagree with the morality of breeding humans?Moral relativism has a way of biting the ones who promote it.Everybody has a worldview, even the person who says he has no worldview. Everyone espouses a philosophy, even those who say philosophy is dumb or worthless. Nobody can escape making moral judgments and believing his or her judgments are justified, even the one who says morality is relative. To see why this must be true, ask each of these scientists if they feel their own writings and research are justifiable. If they say no or balk, they become purveyors of nonsense.The only escape from the self-refuting trap of moral relativism is to believe in moral absolutes. And the only One who can give us moral absolutes is a timeless, omniscient, holy Creator. Then, the project of moral judgments consists of comparing one’s assertions to the standard. Unless morality is immutable, it is not moral. The same goes for truth. (Visited 159 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Brand South Africa and InvestSA Embark on an Investment Promotion Roadshow

first_img–  Brand South Africa in collaboration with the Department of Trade and Industry’s InvestSA will be embarking on an investment promotion roadshow to Switzerland, Germany, France and India from 19 – 30 March 2019.The primary objective of the investment promotion roadshow is to engage with stakeholders from government and business to discuss factors pertinent to enhancing South Africa as a more attractive investment destination partner to these important markets.General Manager for Global Markets at Brand South Africa, Dr Judy Smith-Höhn said: “Today, South Africa is one of the most sophisticated, diverse and promising emerging markets globally. Strategically located at the tip of the African continent, and ranked as one of the most powerful economies on the continent, the country is a key investment location, both for the market opportunities that lie within its borders and as a financial services gateway to the rest of the African continent.  Overall South Africa performs well in the Nation Brand Index and engaging business in these markets is important for Brand SA. The investment announcements that have been made by companies since the launch of President Ramaphosa’s investment drive attests to our competitiveness profile. It has boosted the economy and positioned South Africa as a key global partner for growth and investment.”Acting Deputy Director General for InvestSA, Mr Yunus Hoosen, says the investment promotion roadshow is in alignment with South Africa’s five-year investment drive which seeks to raise R1.2 trillion in domestic and international investments as a means to reigniting the economy. As part of InvestSA’s mandate to support investors exploring opportunities in South Africa by helping with information, facilitation and aftercare, the roadshow will focus on Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act, local content, Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE), Equity Equivalent Investment Program, Intellectual Property and well as update on Protection and Promotion of Investment Act.“South Africa offers a combination of developed first world economic infrastructure and a growing emerging market. Its investment potential lies in its diversity of sectors and industries. It is also a major trading nation, exporting and importing more than $167 billion worth of goods every year, from a location that makes it an ideal gateway into African and other global markets.“Our objective as InvestSA is to facilitate the increase in the quality and quantity of foreign and domestic direct investment by providing an investment recruitment, problem-solving and information service to retain and expand investment in South Africa and into Africa. As well as to actively market, promote and facilitate investment in key high-yielding growth sectors of the South African economy,” added Hoosen.The India leg of the investment promotion roadshow will be hosted in collaboration with the South African High Commission and the South African Consulate-General, with business engagements scheduled to take place in New Delhi and Mumbai respectively.This visit follows on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state visit to India in January where a three-year strategic programme of cooperation was signed by both President Ramaphosa and Prime Minister Modi.Switzerland, Germany and France have been long term investors in South Africa with many of their Multinationals located in South Africa. These countries are also key trading partners of South Africa.In addition to its role as an important emerging economy, South Africa is also seen as regional manufacturing hub to other African markets by investors.  Apart from the traditional economic sectors for which South Africa is renowned for, new industries and investment opportunities in energy and infrastructure, the information and telecommunication industry, clean tech as well as the health care market are considered attractive future markets for potential investorslast_img read more