Mold and Michio Kaku

roseweeed
Superfan
roseweeed's picture
Posts: 46
Joined: 2011-01-02
User is offlineOffline
Mold and Michio Kaku

 

Does anyone "get" Michio Kaku?  I don't.  I used to -- used to listen to him on NPR where he sounded like a real scientist talking in lay terms about interesting physics -- rare on the radio in those days.  After he became popular on TV, though, I began to be a bit more skeptical as he seemed too much the eager cheerleader for seemingly every exotic new theory out there.  I get his FB feed and today he talked in cozy terms about the Anthropic prinicple, i.e., the universe fine-tuned for the purpose of supporting life.

That's backwards -- take mold, for example.  It doesn't grow everywhere, but with the right warm, dark, moist conditions, it flourishes.  I imagine certain molds require VERY precise conditions and are fatally sensitive to minor environmental changes.  Driving the California desert landscape, I see cactus species that exist only in a narrow elevation bandwidth.  We don't say that the reason those conditions occur is so that mold or cactus can have a place to grow -- rather, we say that those species of life are a by-product when certain conditions occur in just the right propportions.  So, I don't really get the Anthropic principle OR Michio Kaku.  It isn't that the Earth and the solar system are situated purposefully just so life will have a planet on which to exist -- it is that when celestial bodies happen to end up situated in a certian way, then life is a consequence.  Of a billion star systems with a billion slightly different star/planet relationships, we can vouch for  one.  Odds are, there are more similar to ours, but it isn't at all remarkable that life flourishes in the star/planet relationship-spectrum only where it can, and does not where it cannot -- where else would one expect to find living things, if not in an environment conducive to their existence?  

roseweed

_______________________________________________

Everything that happens, happens somehow.


Brian37
atheistSuperfan
Brian37's picture
Posts: 13607
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
Even atheists can have their

Even atheists can have their pet woo. Harris gives me a lip twitch when he talks about Buddhism.

Something many atheists pride themselves on is not giving fellow atheists a pass just because we hold the same position.

I don't see how Kaku could lend any credibility to the "fine tune" argument. He might be fishing for a non-god version of such, but instead of saying "fine tune" simply saying "the conditions are rare" would be more accurate.

I have no doubt that if we could find every planet in the universe we would find others with some sort of biological life. But it would still be a minority. Most of the universe is hostile to life and for anyone, even an atheist to imply any kind of tuning, is absurd.

You look at the amount of energy that goes into any system, be it biological or cosmic, most energy is bleed off in waste. In layman's terms there is always more input than output. If something is to be described as "fine tuned" it should reflect a better output, not a poor output.

The energy in the universe is hardly used to a maximum output. And even with biological life there are far more attempts at a newer generation that do nothing and a low output of per attempt that do make it.

Rarity in luck is not fine tuning, it is a reflection of random chaos and the laws of nature.

So I am not sure what Kaku is trying to say. But I hope he is not caving into even a "secular woo" in some attempt to placate believers.

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10610
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
I never heard of him, but

I never heard of him, but from the descriptions here, I'd have to guess he's just a layman himself. And he's been too busy doing shows to keep up with science.

That or its a network thing, and he was forced to talk about it or leave.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
 Actually Vastet, he is a

 Actually Vastet, he is a real physicist who has done quite a bit of work in the general field. His early studies include working on nuclear weapons and in later work he has moved on to string theory. So no layman here.

 

The thing is that in the past dozen or so years, he has gained a foothold in the public awareness with a series of books intended to popularize science. Sadly, he has used that as a platform to push ever farther out into the world of social policy and his own political agenda.

 

I have missed his points on the anthropic principal but then I largely stopped paying him any mind after he did a series of talks about shipping hazardous waste in containers that have been verified as reasonably safe through intentionally trying to destroy them. When you fire a missile at one and it holds the stuff inside safely (despite the impact energy being far in excess of what such a container could possibly be exposed to in a real life situation), he then states crap like about how you never know, a train full of waste could be hit by a passing missile. The fact that if something like that ever happens, we will probably have far more immediate issues to deal with seems to be lost on him.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10610
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
So disappointing.

So disappointing. Sad

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


roseweeed
Superfan
roseweeed's picture
Posts: 46
Joined: 2011-01-02
User is offlineOffline
You can read Kaku's article

You can read Kaku's article to which I referred, here:

http://bigthink.com/ideas/38513

I'm not really sure WHAT he's trying to say.  He's always quoting String Theory as if it's gospel -- jury's still out, for me . . .

roseweed

_______________________________________________

Everything that happens, happens somehow.


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
 OK, that was an odd

 OK, that was an odd article. Although, I think that he is trying to say something very different from what it might seem at first impression. Not to rip him a new one but let me cover a few points:

 

He had a teacher years ago who told him that the orbit of the Earth is “just right”. OK and he graduated high school back in 1964. I don't have immediate data on CA law from that time but in many states, it was still illegal to teach evolution back then. Perhaps he just had a poor teacher?

 

In any case, the question comes to mind: Just how big is our goldilocks zone?

 

I have had a related discussion with a number of theists who make an anthropic appeal and claim that if the orbit of the Earth was shifted by a thousand miles either way, we would be pushed out of the zone. Umm, not so fast there! The eccentricity of the Earth's orbit is just about five million km. So the zone must be at least that big and a good deal bigger as life has survived much more dramatic climate extremes than we see today.

 

Another point would be that he asserts that astronomers have not yet found any other goldilocks planets. OK, that is not exactly accurate. There are several candidate planet which are being studied. The thing is that we have a couple of methods for finding them and the best one for finding rocky planets would be the Kepler telescope checking for planets which have an orbital plane that crosses the disk of the star.

 

Kepler can't see such planets unless the orbital plane is oriented correctly. Even then, it has only checked a tiny slice of the sky and only out to a tiny fraction of the distance across the galaxy. Even so, it has found a bunch of planets that merit further study.

 

Then too, Not only can Kepler only get to the “low hanging fruit” of the galaxy but we will need follow on telescopes to check the atmospheres of candidate planets. Any significant atmospheric oxygen would be a dead giveaway of some incredible dynamic process going on.

 

Past that, why would we assume that there is a single set of conditions that comprise a goldilocks zone? This is a bit farther out as far as speculation goes but I saw a talk by Niel Degrasse Tyson a while back on the matter. He pointed out that the first place to look for life would be planets where the conditions are similar to the one where we know life to exist. However, that does not mean that life can't form in other less hospitable places but rather that we don't have any reason to be looking there right now.

 

Really, there are plenty of places right here on earth that wee know to have life but we would not be able to live there without taking a piece of our own environment in the form of protective gear. The thing here being that not having a reason to look inside a gas giant is not equivalent to not looking because we have a good reason to think that there is nothing to find.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10610
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
I remember looking into that

I remember looking into that in a debate with a theist once. The HZ is huge, and moves as the sun ages.

 

The colour boxes indicate the HZ. Currently, it streches from near Venus to near Mars. Earth could be a lot closer to the sun, or a lot further away, and still easily support life as we know it.

I should note that this chart uses different types of stars, not the sun at different stages of life.

I should also note that a star alone does not necessarily make all the difference. It`s quite possible that there`s a liquid ocean under the surface of Europa, kept liquid by Europa`s interactions with Jupiter. If so, then stars aren`t even necessary for life as we know it, in a more primitive state and environment of course, to form.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Ken G.
Bronze Member
Posts: 1352
Joined: 2008-03-20
User is offlineOffline
Vastet wrote: he's just a layman himself !!!

  No he's not, he work with Edward Teller on the Hydrogen Bomb, at Los Alamo's, he tried to build a atom smasher in his garage at the age of 16, he's a Genius, he also wrote many scientific papers, he not Carl Sagan, but he is very smart.

Signature ? How ?


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10610
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
There were no exlamation

There were no exlamation marks in what I wrote... Sticking out tongue

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


roseweeed
Superfan
roseweeed's picture
Posts: 46
Joined: 2011-01-02
User is offlineOffline
Nice chart, Vastet, thanks.

Nice chart, Vastet, thanks.  

Ken G -- Kaku IS a smart guy, and I've followed his work.  It's just that in recent years he seems to have cultivated a popular niche as the fringe visionary for theoretical physics.  Nothing wrong with that, except for my taste it sounds a bit whimsical at times -- and I suspect he might now be playing to that end of the spectrum to maintain his popularity.   The recent article I cited is an example, and if you read some of the comments below it, there's no criticality -- just adoring fans . . .

 

roseweed

_______________________________________________

Everything that happens, happens somehow.


Ken G.
Bronze Member
Posts: 1352
Joined: 2008-03-20
User is offlineOffline
roseweeed wrote: a popular niche as the fringe visionary........

 Well,it's surprising to me that a man such as him,would fall for fame, instead of concerning himself with just the theoretical physics that is far more important than fame,what a shocker !   

Signature ? How ?