Daily Archives: March 31st, 2009

Life From Ceres and a Real Good Rant!

Michael Gmirkin laments in an article for Thunderbolts.Info about the habit of “framing hypotheses” in science nowadays, especially concerning one about how life on Earth might’ve been carried from the planetoid Ceres in the asteroid belt in the early solar system:

It seems that, of late, science has reverted to the habit of “framing hypotheses.” In other words, hypotheses and thought experiments are being treated as though they are not in fact unproven.

That scientists seem comfortable with accepting such flights of fancy as worthy of serious consideration is worrisome. Should not theory proceed from observation, rather than the other way around? If we frame hypotheses and then go looking for confirmatory data, will science become overly susceptible to “confirmation bias” (wherein one interprets data as being in support of one’s preconceived ideas rather than allowing the data to speak for itself, even if it is disconfirmatory)?

Whether or not peroxide-based life is or isn’t found on Ceres is perhaps less important than taking away an attitude of rational skepticism about flights of theoretical fancy. It seems like now is a ripe time to revisit Newton and return to a more empirical and less “fantastical” form of science, where observations precede the theory and theories can be falsified based upon real-world data.

One would also be tempted to insist that Ockham’s Razor be applied and that scientists be extremely wary of positing new hypothetical entities (dark matter and dark energy are prime examples) before all existing theories and entities have had their chance at providing answers to existing anomalous data (such as the plasma cosmology explanation of galaxy formation and rotation curves, which does not require the invention of dark matter).

I’ve read the article in question and I found the hypothesis wanting too, although I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a cosmologist or an astrobiologist.

The mainstream seems to have no lack of people spouting “unfalsifiable” theories as fact, like the “tinfoil” community!

A Tale of Earth Life Seeded from Ceres…

Hat Tip


I don’t partake of partisan politics much anymore, but I know a first class rant when I read one, this time about a person who worked at AIG and can’t understand the public’s righteous anger about bankster bail-outs:

“I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to AIG. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down.” via Op-Ed Contributor — “Dear AIG, I Quit!” — NYTimes.com

Like a lot of people, I read Wednesday’s New York Times editorial by former AIG Financial Products employee Jake DeSantis, whose resignation letter basically asks us all to reconsider our anger toward the poor overworked employees of his unit.

DeSantis has a few major points. They include: 1) I had nothing to do with my boss Joe Cassano’s toxic credit default swaps portfolio, and only a handful of people in our unit did; 2) I didn’t even know anything about them; 3) I could have left AIG for a better job several times last year; 4) but I didn’t, staying out of a sense of duty to my poor, beleaguered firm, only to find out in the end that; 5) I would be betrayed by AIG senior management, who promised we would be rewarded for staying, but then went back on their word when they folded in highly cowardly fashion in the face of an angry and stupid populist mob.

I have a few responses to those points. They are 1) Bullshit; 2) bullshit; 3) bullshit, plus of course; 4) bullshit. Lastly, there is 5) Boo-Fucking-Hoo. You dog.

You have to read the full post to get the impact. The writer is a lot more eloquent in his prose that I would be, which in fact would have more expletive descriptions that his did.

But hey, I don’t write for a living either! 😆

AIG Exec Whines About Public Anger…

Hat Tip________________________________