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RESOLVING THE FERMI PARADOX

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#51 Araguaia

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 02:54 PM

An octopus or a chimpanzee may not be able to build spaceships, but with a few million years of evolution they could get there.  They have the basic structures in place.

 

Assuming life on other planets, what we observe here on Earth indicates that it is likely to become complex, and that some of the complex life forms are likely to develop basic intelligence.  It happened here independently several times.

 

Given a few million planets with intelligent life, it is not unreasonable to expect that in some of them - again, 0.1% is more than enough - technology-capable life will evolve.

 

What we have no evidence for is that such life forms can continue to develop their technology without fouling the nest until they reach the stars.  


 

#52 Araguaia

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 03:04 PM

About the Kepler data, it is not representative of the occurence of Earth-like planets because: 

 

1) Kepler cannot detect planetary systems around most stars because the orbital plane does not cross the star.  So most of the 150 thousand stars yield no data.

 

2) Most detections are of large planets close to the stars, where they transit more often.  It takes longer to detect smaller planets further out.  


 

#53 BillP

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 03:08 PM

An octopus or a chimpanzee may not be able to build spaceships, but with a few million years of evolution they could get there.  They have the basic structures in place.

 

The chimps might..."IF" all the evolutionary pressures were juuuust right.  Probability probably very small and the species more likely to die off before that would happen.  I say that because look at all the other mammal species out there since the dawn of time...our tree branch was the only one.  So using what we currently know, likelihood very small.

 

As for the octopus...I've been thinking that lately.  Just not seeing how to smelt ore and extract and form metal while underwater.  I can't visualize a process anyway....maybe the octopus could though lol.gif


 

#54 BillP

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 03:24 PM

Btw, I think I found the 1 in 5 reference the OP makes...

 

https://www.popsci.c...e-earth-planets

"Out of those 42,000 stars, the team found 603 planets, 10 of which fit the bill for orbit and size similar to Earth's. But if left it at that, there would be a significant number of planets unaccounted for. So, using custom-built software called TERRA, Petigura corrected for the challenges associated with finding all of the planets orbiting stars in the Kepler field, and reached a total of 8,000 Earth-like planets."

 

So Kepler data shows .02% of planets around the 42,000 "Sun-like" stars Kepler looked at had Earth-like planet in the habitable zone.  Some unknown heuristics is a software program called TERRA Petigura then said that since our techniques are not perfect for finding exoplanets that we missed a whole lot and those 42,000 stars have instead of 10 habitable planets have 8,000.  Now that is an "extrapolation" that I feel entirely uncomfortable with and would not bet my life on it or even take it to the bank.

 

For the sake of argument might want to say that anywhere from .02% to 19% Sun-like stars probably have Earth-like planets in a habitable zone.  That would be more accurate and shows well just how much we don't know.  Btw, Kepler examined 150,000 stars so presume that only 42,000 of them were "Sun-like", or 28%. 

 

Not sure how many stars from a general population are "Sun-like".  Most sources I find say about 10% of all stars in Milky Way are Sun-like.  So let's say the 10% is accurate.  Milky Way is estimated to have 100-400 billion stars.  10% of that is 10-40 billion.  Means that potential Earth-like planets would be between 2-8 million to 1.9-7.6 billion.  Quite a large range. 

 

The Kepler data shows the number is .02%.  Granted we probably missed a lot due to a variety of reasons.  But don't think we'd be off by a factor of 800x as TERRA Petigura suggests.  I think maybe 100x off would be a more reasonable factor, so 2%.  This would pring the number of habitable planets in Milky Way that are around Sun-like stars to 200-800 million.


 

#55 BillP

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 03:27 PM

Good points, Bill.  And responding to them leads us right back to the Drake equation, and its unknown factors that we still need to work on.

 

I agree.  The Drake equation IMO is a best method heuristic for something like this.  of course though, in the context of what we know today it needs to be upgraded to include the lots more parameters we now understand.  So the equation needs to evolve to include new parameters as we discover their relevance.


 

#56 BillP

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 03:30 PM

I am not aware of any prevalent scarcity of potassium in population I stars.

 

 

I'm sorry...I meant phosphorus.

 

https://www.techtime...fe-unlikely.htm


 

#57 Araguaia

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 03:42 PM

 

 

So Kepler data shows .02% of planets around the 42,000 "Sun-like" stars Kepler looked at had Earth-like planet in the habitable zone.  Some unknown heuristics is a software program called TERRA Petigura then said that since our techniques are not perfect for finding exoplanets that we missed a whole lot and those 42,000 stars have instead of 10 habitable planets have 8,000.  Now that is an "extrapolation" that I feel entirely uncomfortable with and would not bet my life on it or even take it to the bank.

 

 

It is not some mysterious software.  It is simple statistics.  If the orientation of the orbital plane of planets is random, in most cases it the planet will never transit the star as seen from Earth.  So we know from the outset that only a percentage of existing planets will be found, but we know exactly what percentage.  Not much uncertainty there. 

 

Same for the higher likelihood of finding a planet that transits more often during a finite mission, and for most other factors that make Kepler miss most planets.  These factors are well known and easily calculated from basic geometry.


 

#58 llanitedave

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 06:20 PM

The problem with chimpanzees is that they've gone from being generalists, as was our common ancestor with them, to arboreal specialists.  That makes it harder for them to re-generalize in the future.  Actually, bonobos are slightly less specialized than their cousins are.  

 

As for octopi, they may be clever, and the most intelligent of invertebrates, but they really need to work on their communication skills.


 

#59 rekokich

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Posted 21 September 2018 - 12:50 AM

Bill,

 

Octopodes can not smelt iron...

Plants do not think...

 

All right.

 

I am now convinced that evolutionary pressures did not favor the emergence of intelligence on Earth

 

Hopefully, things are different on some of these planets present around 20% of red dwarfs and Sun-like stars, which constitute the vast majority of the stars in the galaxy.

 

http://www.pnas.org/...909110.full.pdf


Edited by rekokich, 21 September 2018 - 12:23 PM.

 

#60 orangeusa

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Posted 21 September 2018 - 01:28 AM

Butt, butt, why do the extraterrestrials insist on the probing ? 

 

(Somebody had to ask.. ) 


 

#61 Araguaia

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Posted 21 September 2018 - 04:40 AM

 

 

As for octopi, they may be clever, and the most intelligent of invertebrates, but they really need to work on their communication skills.

Have you seen how cuttlefish communicate using their mantle like a LED billboard?  Few vertebrates have such range of expression.

 

Cephalopods could smelt.  They first would need to live out of the water, but their relatives the slugs and snails had little problem with that.  Think of the wicked tools and instruments an eight-armed metalworker could mill!  grin.gif


 

#62 llanitedave

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Posted 21 September 2018 - 08:15 PM

Have you seen how cuttlefish communicate using their mantle like a LED billboard?  Few vertebrates have such range of expression.

 

Cephalopods could smelt.  They first would need to live out of the water, but their relatives the slugs and snails had little problem with that.  Think of the wicked tools and instruments an eight-armed metalworker could mill!  grin.gif

Some cephalopods eat smelt.  Just sayin'.

 

Snails and slugs may be related to cephalopods, but they're about as closely related to them as we are to sharks.  Or maybe smelt.

 

Actually, I'd love to see a tentacled land creature that communicates by light and color patterns on its body, and can build machines and memory storage.  I wonder what they would say about us?


 

#63 Araguaia

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Posted 22 September 2018 - 04:01 AM

Actually, I'd love to see a tentacled land creature that communicates by light and color patterns on its body, and can build machines and memory storage.  I wonder what they would say about us?

They would say:

 

"Of course it is not possible for vertebrates to develop higher intelligence or technology.  They can't change their skin color to communicate, their limbs are insensitive, inarticulate, and stiff because of their skeleton, and anyway, how could you forge steel, build fine machinery, or even change lenses in a telescope with just two arms and no suction cups?"


 

#64 George Blahun Jr

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Posted 22 September 2018 - 08:57 AM

Interesting article.  Statistics aside, the tenacity and early prevalence of basic life on this planet suggest that life may be the rule rather than the exception.  Stromatolites, for instance, were present over 3 billion years ago on earth.  This is pure speculation, but if intelligent life is anywhere near us, they are aware of our presence and have chosen not to engage us openly.  


 

#65 llanitedave

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Posted 22 September 2018 - 01:11 PM

They would say:

 

"Of course it is not possible for vertebrates to develop higher intelligence or technology.  They can't change their skin color to communicate, their limbs are insensitive, inarticulate, and stiff because of their skeleton, and anyway, how could you forge steel, build fine machinery, or even change lenses in a telescope with just two arms and no suction cups?"

Admittedly, suction cups do come in handy!

 

Of course, geckos do pretty well without them too.


 

#66 Araguaia

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Posted 22 September 2018 - 02:08 PM

Collimating a long-tube Dobsonian would be a breeze with eight arms and suction cups... you could even do the secondary simultaneously!


 

#67 TOMDEY

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Posted 23 September 2018 - 07:08 AM

But suction cups don't work in a vacuum, and only marginally on Mars. Rumor has it that magneto-suction digit terminals naturally-evolved on non-planet Pluto over a billion years ago. But, alas, since we demoted Pluto, will not be sending probes there anymore... sigh...  Tom, shunning Pluto Tom


 

#68 llanitedave

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 01:36 AM

But suction cups don't work in a vacuum, and only marginally on Mars. Rumor has it that magneto-suction digit terminals naturally-evolved on non-planet Pluto over a billion years ago. But, alas, since we demoted Pluto, will not be sending probes there anymore... sigh...  Tom, shunning Pluto Tom

Nothing about an octopus would work in a vacuum.  Spraying ink would not end well.

 

Gecko toes, though...


 

#69 John Verderame

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 11:13 AM

As always, fascinating to read comments on an article like this.  There really is a simple solution to the Fermi Paradox:  If evolution never happened, the FP falls apart.

 

Evolution never happened.  Ergo...  Despite the fancy graphs and equations, this is really not about science.

 

I see Evolution as our modern secular religious myth, whose purpose is to try to answer the basic questions we all ask, viz, Who am I?  Why am I here?  Where am I going?  We're all force-fed the mantra that we came from stardust.  Oh, really?  Anyone actually see that happen?  Can it be tested and repeated in a laboratory?

 

If there's one thing I try to do, which I did myself, it's get people to QUESTION evolution.  If you do, usually fanatics come out of the closet and attack you for being anti-science, a religious fanatic, and so on.  Which of course, demonstrates to me the religious nature of evolution.

 

As one who became a non-evolutionist by simply questioning what my biology and science teachers and textbooks were telling me back in the 1970s, before I knew anything about what the "other side" believed, that is, just "going on the evidence," I encourage others to simply ask questions.  Do the real science.  Don't just accept things because some "expert" says it.  Much of what we call "science" nowadays is speculation, imagination, and fantasy.  It's not science.  Creating scenarios that use words like "may be, might be, could be, possibly, we think, we believe," just because it suits your imagination is good science fiction, but put it to the test, ask where the actual evidence is; ask questions.

 

For instance, we hear all the time about water being necessary for life as we know it.  Yup.  But the presence of water permeates the universe, and is absolutely meaningless.  A bunch of chemicals in a puddle of water won't turn themselves into living things.  Just doesn't happen.  Even if you add Evolution's miracle worker, TIME, to the equation, it just doesn't happen, and won't happen.  All the "real science" indicates that the evolutionary scenario will break down before it even gets started.

 

Take it by faith. 

 

After all, that's what much of evolutionary belief requires.  Much of what we claim as "truth" about the distant past can neither be tested empirically, nor repeated, and changes almost weekly.  What we call "evolution" usually is "adaptation," requiring genetic information and phenotypic structures to ALREADY be present, and tells us nothng about how they got there in the first place.  Even Stephen Gould, one of evolution's high priests, admitted, for instance, that the lack of transitional species was the "trade secret" of paleontology, and had to invent the desperate concept of Punctuated Equilibrium to try to respond to it.  And his admission is just the tip of the iceberg.

 

So, the Fermi Paradox might be good for a Star Trek episode, but it's not science.

 

Now, I know this'll raise some hackles, but I've said my piece here and care not to get into any arguments.  Have been studying this topic over four decades now, from the perspectives of biology, astronomy, geology, history, sociology, religion, etc., and am more convinced of my postion than ever.  Someone has to have a dissenting idea.  We can't all, like blind sheep, or like the Aristotelians in Galileo's day, just accept the status quo unquestioningly.  And unfortunately, often those who do ask questions suffer the consequences.  So be it. 

 

[Edited to add that those who know history are aware that Galileo was first attacked by his peers at the University of Padova [Padua if you wish], not the church.  That came later because the church bought into the notion that the Earth was the center of the universe, which was the generally accepted tenet of the day.  Now much of the church has bought into Evolution.  No surprises there.  Also, Galileo was attacked more because he was a threat to the church's power than for his cosmology.  As usual, we don't normally get the full story when there's an agenda behind it.]


 

#70 MG1692

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 11:26 AM

 

I see Evolution as our modern secular religious myth, whose purpose is to try to answer the basic questions we all ask, viz, Who am I?  Why am I here?  Where am I going?  We're all force-fed the mantra that we came from stardust.  Oh, really?  Anyone actually see that happen?  Can it be tested and repeated in a laboratory?

 

Well the first problem is you are asking evolution the wrong questions. Evolution does not pretend to have the answers to our philosophical questions, those are for other realms and disciplines.

 

Most physical theories and laws can not describe the why, they just describe the how. Example we don't know why gravity works, we just know how it affects things. It does not stop us flying to the Moon, but will probably be the reason we wont be developing anti gravity devices any time soon 

 

And to answer your question about the stuff of stars and can we actually see it happen. It is called transmutation and we use here on Earth in reactors

 

https://en.wikipedia...f_nuclear_waste


 

#71 Araguaia

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 11:46 AM

A rather lame attack on the theory of evolution.  Gould and mutations are easily explained.  You should try for at least the foramnifera polemic, or the evolution of the eye!   grin.gif

 

I suppose that because the light I see from Messier galaxies comes from the distant past, and no one has actually measured the distance to them, or seen the motion of their stars, they are not really whirlpools of billions of distant worlds, but just fuzzy lights in the sky.  Perhaps scratches on the cristaline firmament...


 

#72 MG1692

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 11:55 AM

A rather lame attack on the theory of evolution.  Gould and mutations are easily explained.  You should try for at least the foramnifera polemic, or the evolution of the eye!   grin.gif

 

 

It is interesting the poster attacked Aristotelian thinking, while at the same time using Aristotelian thinking to defend his position


 

#73 llanitedave

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 09:25 AM

As always, fascinating to read comments on an article like this.  There really is a simple solution to the Fermi Paradox:  If evolution never happened, the FP falls apart.

 

Evolution never happened.  Ergo...  Despite the fancy graphs and equations, this is really not about science.

 

I see Evolution as our modern secular religious myth, whose purpose is to try to answer the basic questions we all ask, viz, Who am I?  Why am I here?  Where am I going?  We're all force-fed the mantra that we came from stardust.  Oh, really?  Anyone actually see that happen?  Can it be tested and repeated in a laboratory?

 

If there's one thing I try to do, which I did myself, it's get people to QUESTION evolution.  If you do, usually fanatics come out of the closet and attack you for being anti-science, a religious fanatic, and so on.  Which of course, demonstrates to me the religious nature of evolution.

 

As one who became a non-evolutionist by simply questioning what my biology and science teachers and textbooks were telling me back in the 1970s, before I knew anything about what the "other side" believed, that is, just "going on the evidence," I encourage others to simply ask questions.  Do the real science.  Don't just accept things because some "expert" says it.  Much of what we call "science" nowadays is speculation, imagination, and fantasy.  It's not science.  Creating scenarios that use words like "may be, might be, could be, possibly, we think, we believe," just because it suits your imagination is good science fiction, but put it to the test, ask where the actual evidence is; ask questions.

 

For instance, we hear all the time about water being necessary for life as we know it.  Yup.  But the presence of water permeates the universe, and is absolutely meaningless.  A bunch of chemicals in a puddle of water won't turn themselves into living things.  Just doesn't happen.  Even if you add Evolution's miracle worker, TIME, to the equation, it just doesn't happen, and won't happen.  All the "real science" indicates that the evolutionary scenario will break down before it even gets started.

 

Take it by faith. 

 

After all, that's what much of evolutionary belief requires.  Much of what we claim as "truth" about the distant past can neither be tested empirically, nor repeated, and changes almost weekly.  What we call "evolution" usually is "adaptation," requiring genetic information and phenotypic structures to ALREADY be present, and tells us nothng about how they got there in the first place.  Even Stephen Gould, one of evolution's high priests, admitted, for instance, that the lack of transitional species was the "trade secret" of paleontology, and had to invent the desperate concept of Punctuated Equilibrium to try to respond to it.  And his admission is just the tip of the iceberg.

 

So, the Fermi Paradox might be good for a Star Trek episode, but it's not science.

 

Now, I know this'll raise some hackles, but I've said my piece here and care not to get into any arguments.  Have been studying this topic over four decades now, from the perspectives of biology, astronomy, geology, history, sociology, religion, etc., and am more convinced of my postion than ever.  Someone has to have a dissenting idea.  We can't all, like blind sheep, or like the Aristotelians in Galileo's day, just accept the status quo unquestioningly.  And unfortunately, often those who do ask questions suffer the consequences.  So be it. 

 

[Edited to add that those who know history are aware that Galileo was first attacked by his peers at the University of Padova [Padua if you wish], not the church.  That came later because the church bought into the notion that the Earth was the center of the universe, which was the generally accepted tenet of the day.  Now much of the church has bought into Evolution.  No surprises there.  Also, Galileo was attacked more because he was a threat to the church's power than for his cosmology.  As usual, we don't normally get the full story when there's an agenda behind it.]

I find it fascinating, in a certain way, that after claiming to have "studied" biology, astronomy, geology, history, sociology, religion, etc. for four decades, one can still be so totally and obviously clueless about what science even does, or how it works.  I can believe that you have been absorbing the mistakes and logical errors of creationist apologists for decades, because the  tropes that you repeated here date back at least that far, if not further.

 

It's also interesting that you can write a long, detailed but fact-free screed, and then say you don't want to debate the topic.  That's kind of like the internet equivalent of ringing the doorbell and running away, isn't it?

 

Funny too, that you should mention Stephen Jay Gould as a "high priest" of evolution.  This is pretty definitive evidence that you haven't read the works of Gould himself, or those of his colleagues and critics, but only know of him third-hand through your religious sources.  Gould was one of those who worked the hardest to find accommodation between science and religion, with his concept of NOMA, or "Non-Overlapping MAgesteria", trying to show that science and religion fit into two different conceptual realms, and thus had no intrinsic conflict.  One fly in that ointment was the creationists who decided that their religious ideas did indeed encompass the realm of natural history, and that those teachings contradict and trump science.  The other fly was that Gould was simply wrong about that particular issue, and was misled by his own desire to find accommodation.

 

Gould, of course, would never have considered himself a "high priest" of anything.  If there was a topic that he felt religious fervor over, it was baseball, and in that field he considered himself an acolyte, not a priest.  Anyway, Gould died in 2002, and it's telling about your "four decades of study" that you couldn't find any more current material to rebut.  There's been a lot of research since then.

 

Now it's almost trivial to agree that if Creationism were true, there would be no Fermi's Paradox.  It's also the case that if the Earth were a flat disk supported by turtles all the way down, there would still be no Fermi's Paradox.  If Athena had sprung fully-formed from the forehead of Zeus, there would be no Fermi's Paradox.

 

There are a near infinity of claims you could make about the origin and history of life that would remove the idea of a Fermi's Paradox.  Few of these would surpass the breathtaking inanity of the claim you have already made.


 

#74 MG1692

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 09:49 AM

 

 

Funny too, that you should mention Stephen Jay Gould as a "high priest" of evolution.  This is pretty definitive evidence that you haven't read the works of Gould himself, or those of his colleagues and critics, but only know of him third-hand through your religious sources.  Gould was one of those who worked the hardest to find accommodation between science and religion, with his concept of NOMA, or "Non-Overlapping MAgesteria", trying to show that science and religion fit into two different conceptual realms, and thus had no intrinsic conflict.  One fly in that ointment was the creationists who decided that their religious ideas did indeed encompass the realm of natural history, and that those teachings contradict and trump science.  The other fly was that Gould was simply wrong about that particular issue, and was misled by his own desire to find accommodation.

 

I don't think Gould is as wrong as you portray. There are always those on both sides who will blur what he was trying to do, even as the majority of people with a dog in the fight do instinctively respect those boundaries.

 

The difficulty comes when militants on both sides try to claim priory over the other. The reality is the vast majority of people on this little blue dot move through their lives with science and their faith compartmentalized and rarely if ever in conflict.


Edited by MG1692, 25 September 2018 - 09:50 AM.

 

#75 llanitedave

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 01:05 PM

I don't think Gould is as wrong as you portray. There are always those on both sides who will blur what he was trying to do, even as the majority of people with a dog in the fight do instinctively respect those boundaries.

The difficulty comes when militants on both sides try to claim priory over the other. The reality is the vast majority of people on this little blue dot move through their lives with science and their faith compartmentalized and rarely if ever in conflict.

Gould’s attempt was sincere, but I think misguided. He attempted to impose conceptual boundaries onto both science and religion that neither naturally possesses. As long as there have been belief systems or methods of investigation they have inevitably involved any and every aspect of human thought and behavior. Even such topics as the afterlife have gone through at least one period where scientific investigation was considered legitimate, snaring such luminaries as Alfred Russell Wallace. Ethics and morality, as aspects of human culture and social behavior, are clearly within the purview of science.
By the same token, religion since very early on, has incorporated statements about the physical nature of the world and its history. The Church in Galileo’s time was linearly the same Church as today, the fear of being burned at the stake for an unapproved theory of planetary motion was real.

So you’re correct that people can and often do compartmentalize these concepts into different realms, but that compartmentalization is a matter of practical convenience or even social necessity rather than fundamental principle. The walls of those compartments are not naturally or rigorously defined, they’re not unbreachable, and as the recent post and my own response to it illustrate well, not everyone can remain within them.

In the end, the only natural boundary to science is that of the testable and falsifiable. Any question that can be investigated in those terms belongs to science. And this is where Gould failed. As a scientist, he was in no position to impose boundaries on religious thought. And since science has no priesthood, its boundaries are not arbitrarily imposed by apologists or even philosophers, but derive naturally from its methodology. For Gould to allow religion to address only questions which are fundamentally untestable and nonfalsiable would leave it intellectually impoverished indeed.

It’s a dilemma I can’t answer, but whatever the answer turns out to be, denial of science is the wrong one.
 


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