Thursday afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansies

Honestly, I thought the debate was over and the science settled about . . . the Big Bang. Turns out, there may be another, better theory out there, which envisions a giant, four-dimensional star collapsing.

It was funny to read that post because I am slowly working my way through Jim Holt’s Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story. The book’s actual question is “Why is there something, rather than nothing?” Are we an accident? An anomaly? A science experiment? Or (which Holt really doesn’t want to be true) the product of an eternal divinity, with no beginning or end, who created our universe for reasons we cannot fathom? Holt’s book, of course, is premised upon the Big Bang. One wonders if it would change in any way if it had to be premised on “The Big Collapse.”

All I can say is that, whether universe started with an explosion or a collapse, we still have no answer about what came before, something that indicates to me that divinity is as likely an answer as any other theory that scientists and theologians proffer.

Oh, and I can rub in one more time that there is nothing as to which the science is settled.  New data demands new analyses, along with possible new outcomes to old questions and tentative answers.

***

Yeah, it’s not just the conservative fever swamps that are noticing that there’s a stunning similarity between Rosemary Wood’s Nixonian erasure and the IRS’s spectacular ability to lose two years worth of computer data, all hard drives, and all back-ups, and only on those computers that are the subjects of House subpoenas.

Left or right, nobody does a leaner job of summarizing the IRS’s despicable, fraudulent posture than Ace.

***

I also notice that others are coming around to saying what I said last year, which is that the IRS scandal is the worst scandal ever to hit American politics. In a scathing indictment of the entire Obama presidency, Daniel Henninger pretty much echoes my conclusion:

The IRS tea-party audit story isn’t Watergate; it’s worse than Watergate.

The Watergate break-in was the professionals of the party in power going after the party professionals of the party out of power. The IRS scandal is the party in power going after the most average Americans imaginable.

Yeah, what he said, which is what I said.

***

You know how we could solve (or go a long way to solving) all federal budget problems? Shut down every federally funded green energy initiative.

I’m not talking only about budget items dedicated to green energy. I’m talking about all the agencies that fritter away on green energy money meant for other purposes. Exhibit A is the fact that the VA spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on windmills for cemeteries even as veterans were dying from want of care.

***

You know that I hate — absolutely hate — bag bans, whether the ban is on paper or plastic. I’ve ranted and raved about the risk of disease and the dubious environmental benefits, not to mention the fundamental loss of freedom when we’re denied choice about something as basic as the way in which we wish to carry our groceries. (Here’s a good example of my bag ban ire.)

The Reason Foundation has come out with a study backing my instincts. That study is summarized here, along with some additional commentary about health and environmental woes flowing from the bag Nazis’ edicts.

***

Liberty Island is looking for crowd-funding so that it can publish hard-copy versions of fiction from conservatives and libertarians. It’s a superb cause. I’ve mentioned before my passion for junk novels, and I’m always very aware when a junk book author has a political viewpoint she’s trying to sell. Most people, though, aren’t as aware as I am, and absorb without thinking the Leftist world view that permeates so much modern fiction. It would be great to have a counterweight.

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  • BombthePeasants

    Book, about 10 years ago, when I was a man with a devastating addiction and a compulsive disorder and no will to live, I discovered a ministry called “Reasons to Believe” run by an astronomer/physicist named Dr. Hugh Ross, and his partners Dr. Fazale Rana, a biochemist, and Ken Samples, a philosopher. Their ministry led me to Christ, because they point to the fact that the scientific record is inescapable: The entirety of all creation (matter/energy/space/time) all have a definite beginning, and that it is the product of an infinitely powerful & knowledgeable Personal Creator. It took my years to finally acknowledge Him for who He says He is, but the intellectual battle had been won. As for this article, it seems as if yet again, someone is resurrecting an oscillating universe model, but these never pass the smell test, because they rely on exotic mathematical modeling, something that doesn’t pertain to the physical universe. In other words, this is cosmologists and mathematicians playing with funky models. I have noticed a theme in many of your posts for the last couple of years, and that is a grappling with the Creator. Please visit Reasons.org and peruse their content; As an intellectual yourself, I think you’d appreciate their approach.

    • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

      What I no longer do, BombthePeasants, is deny a Creator.  The greater our knowledge about the universe, the greater our awareness of the new mysteries being revealed.  

      I am so happy that you found a path to personal redemption and, clearly, happiness.  I’m don’t know if my life will lead me to that path, but I do know that I’d be an arrogant fool to deny its obvious virtues.

  • BombthePeasants

    As for the idea of “settled science”, in the words of Bill Shatner, “Irony can be pretty ironic sometimes”. The Theory of General Relativity and the Space Time Theorems are the most exhaustively tested principles in all of science, and they’ve passed the test. The inescapable conclusion is that there is a Causal Agent beyond space and time that manifests the attributes of infinite knowledge, creativity, and personality. It has profound theological overtones, thus the exotic oscillating models and multiverse theories, plus there’s no money to be made (or stolen) in this field, nor can governments find a way to manipulate us with it. At the opposite end of the scientific spectrum is climate science, where the data is weak, the models are flimsy, the money to be made is never ending, and it’s a weapon to wield against the citizenry.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    “’ve mentioned before my passion for junk novels”
     
    That’s not a very good marketing label “junk” novels. Should call them “Speak Truth to Power” novels.

  • Charles Martel

    From the article Book linked to: “. . . new findings from the European Space Agency found fluctuations in ancient microwaves that match the Big Bang theory but not this new black hole theory. The team says they’re still tweaking their models, so nothing’s for sure yet.”

    For some strange reason, this reminds me of the global warming fanatics who seem to have a like proclivity for dicking around with the models. As BombthePeasants says so very well, the beauty of these theories is that they cannot possibly be tested in this universe. But the thought is so pleasant: “Imagine a universe that needs no God, it’s easy if you try!”

  • lee

    The bag bans frost my buns. When I lived in Manhattan, those little plastic bags fit perfectly down the garbage chute. I never bought any trash bags when I lived there–I got free ones when I went to the grocery store. I was also a grad student, bleeding money. And I did NOT have a penny to spend on trash bags, or lunch bags, or even grocery bags. Five cents here and there adds up when you HAVE NO MONEY.

    These bleeding heart tree huggers don’t give a rat’s a$$ about people who are poor.

    • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

      The Left wants to keep the poor people in their place, so they don’t flood into their mansion homes demanding equal pay for equal work.

  • Mike Devx

    Charles Martel says,
    For some strange reason, this reminds me of the global warming fanatics who seem to have a like proclivity for dicking around with the models.

    Someone among us proves a Climatista Global Warming Model wrong. “Damn it”, the climatistas mutter, and they tweak it and say, “Here’s a new model!” We prove that one wrong. They tweak it, and say, “Ha Ha! Here’s a new model!” We prove that one wrong. They tweak it… and on and on. FOREVER!

    Perhaps we ought to institute the “Three Strikes And You’re Out” rule here, too. It’s not just for harsh prison sentences. If you’re a Climatista who’s submitted three invalid climate models, you are barred from sumbitting a fourth!

    I suggest all science organizations, journals, university depts, and government agencies institute this rule. Maybe then we could start taking scientists, and their so-called “science”, seriously again.

    • Mike Devx

      I wish I could edit my posted comments. Really, I promise you, I don’t love italics THAT MUCH! Dang my invalid italics-closing tag!