A Naturalistic Fairy Tale-Part XXX

And because we know that you may be less than appropriately scared about global warming we do now turn to what we have discovered from history. We ask that you not be distracted by Climategate, and listen carefully to what we have to tell you about the past.

We did discover a fossil in Antarctica of an animal that lived 252 million years ago.1 It was during the time when Pangea was whole, and the volcanoes did emit high amounts of greenhouse gasses. This gasification of the Earth did produce catastrophic global warming resulting in the death of 80-95 percent of life in the oceans and on land (Praise Science).

So, we do imagine that this fossil is of an animal that had no fur and “probably laid eggs.” We imagine it on the line between reptiles and mammals. We did find some related fossils in Africa, and therefore pieced together that these animals migrated south and lived with other animals that were probably the ancestors of mammals.

The team’s findings, published in the journal Naturwissenschaften, may offer insights into potential survival techniques for modern day animals threatened by climate change .

“Countless species are threatened by global warming today,” said Frobisch. “A prime example of a threatened species is the polar bear, whose habitat becomes increasingly smaller as a result of melting sea ice in the Arctic Circle.”

“However,” he added, “it is questionable whether the polar bear or other threatened animals can respond in the same way as Kombuisia did in the Permian, simply because human activities severely limit the animals’ possibilities.”

He concluded: “The primary lesson we should learn from the studies of extinction due to climate change in the past is that it is of utmost importance today to control and reverse human induced global warming by taking counteractive measures, such as greatly reducinggreenhouse gas emissions.”

Anyway, the animals and fossils are irrelevant, because the point is, if we don’t act soon, we’ll all be dead in a couple hundred years (Praise Science). Please don’t give up on being terrified of the environment, because Mother Earth is very angry at what you are doing to her. She will punish and probably kill you if you don’t straighten up and curtail your gaseous emissions.

1) Ancient animals escaped warming in Antarctica

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A Naturalistic Fairy Tale – Part XXIX

The Multiverse

The Multiverse

Then did we, the Most High Scientist, through the use of calculations and formulas, imagine that there exists a great many more universes in the multiverse than we had previously imagined.  We did previously imagine through string theory that there are 10500 universes in the multiverse.  One of our Most High, Andrei Linde, did recently imagine through calculations that there are many more than 10500 universes in the multiverse (Praise Science).1 And let us first tell you why we do feel this is important.

“The idea that there is more than one universe, each with its own laws of physics, arises out of several different theories, including string theory and cosmic inflation. This concept of a “multiverse” could explain a puzzling mystery – why dark energy, the furtive force that is accelerating the expansion of space, appears improbably fine-tuned for life. With a large number of universes, there is bound to be one that has a dark energy value like ours.”

That pesky fine tuning might suggest to the less evolved of our species that universe may have been created or evidence hallmarks of design.  Of course we know that is ridiculous, as is attested to by our vivid imaginations.  And so, we endeavor to explain one “furtive” unmeasurable thing (dark energy) by invoking a larger quantity of unmeasurable things (even more universes).  Because if we do know anything at all, that is there is no design in the universe(s).  And we know you would have to agree, that with a great number of universes, “there is bound to be one that has a dark energy value like ours.”

So, we do now appeal to the god of chance, and evoke randomness in all its power and glory as is provided by quantum mechanics.  We do now calculate the existence of 1010^10,000,000 universes (Praise Science)!  We know how much you like large numbers, and have no doubt you are in awe of the large number we have invoked here.  We’ll also speculate a bit that an hypothetical observer determines how many universes can effectively exist because of quantum mechanical effects, but don’t be concerned, because that’s a really large number as well. We do hope you’ve been pleased by our Science and that you continue to be impressed by the power of randomness and imagination.  Rest assured, all of the appearance of design and fine tuning can, and will continue to be, explained away by chance and imagination.

1 Multiplying universes: How many is the multiverse? NewScientist, October 28, 2009.

A Naturalistic Fairy Tale – Part XXVIII

From time to time, we do like to use computers to look into the distant past. We know how impressed you are by computers. This time, we looked back 4.4 billion years in Earth’s history.(1) We do discover through the use A Tale of an Early Earthof our simulations that life may have survived the massive asteroid bombardment of the Hadean Eon (4.5 billion to 3.9 billion years ago). Although all traces of any such bombardment have been completely wiped away, we do know it happened by looking at the moon and Mars (Praise Science).

Although many of us did previously think that the bombardment would have sterilized the Earth, we now think that microbes could have arisen as early as 500 million years after the formation of the Earth and survived in subterranean environments.

We do now say:

“Even under the most extreme conditions we imposed, Earth would not have been completely sterilized by the bombardment,” Abramov said.

Given the context of this story that we have imagined, we again like the idea of hydrothermal vents giving rise to life. We hope that you will now be convinced that life arose from non-life, because we have given the process even more time to take place (Praise Science).

(1). How life may have outlasted early blasts

A Naturalistic Fairy Tale-Part XXVII

We do know that 3 months ago,(1) we did tell you that super volcanoes did cause the mass extinction at the P/T boundary ofPool of Death 250 million years ago (praise Science).  We did tell you before that it was from the impacts of asteroids, but we will now tell you that we do have a new idea.(2) We know you will like it.

We do now assert that the mass extinction may have been the result of climate change.  We do know that you are terrified of global warming (praise Science), and we hope you will be even more scared when we are done telling you about just how catastrophic climate change has been in the past.

We do now say that great salt lakes emitted a high level of halogenated gases, which did so dramatically change the composition of the atmosphere as to irretrievably damage vegetation.

According to one of our faithful:

“Our calculations show that airborne pollutants from giant salt lakes like the Zechstein Sea must have had catastrophic effects at that time”, states co-author Dr. Ludwig Weißflog from the Helmholtz-Center for Environmental Research (UFZ). Forecasts predict an increase in the surface areas of deserts and salt lakes due to climate change. That is why the researchers expect that the effects of these halogenated gases will equally increase.

With a great salt lake the size of France, we predict that the emissions would have been catastrophic.  We then make the direct link to today’s global warming and the CO2 cycle (praise Science).  We do hope you are paying attention, so we can save you from dying off like some of our last common ancestors did a long long time ago.  We do so, perhaps, knowing full well that we are standing in the way of our motto: “Through death comes life and progress.”

Based on both of these findings the researchers were able to form their new hypothesis: At the end of the Permian Age the emissions of halogenated gases from the Zechstein Sea and other salt seas were responsible in a complex chain of events for the world’s largest mass extinction in the history of the earth, in which about 90 percent of the animal and plant species of that time became extinct.

According to the forecast from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), increasing temperatures and aridity due to climate change will also speed up desertification, increasing with it the number and surface area of salt seas, salt lagoons and salt marshlands. Moreover, this will then lead to an increase in naturally formed halogenated gases. The phytotoxic effects of these substances become intensified in conjunction with other atmospheric pollutants and at the same time increasing dryness and exponentiate the eco-toxicological consequences of climate change.

We do hope you are pleased with our latest tale, and want you to know that we are working to incorporate this into future climate models in a desperate attempt to save your life.

References:

(1). New Theory on Largest Known Mass Extinction in Earth’s History, Science Daily, 3/31/09

(2). A Naturalistic Fairy Tale-Part XXII, 12/31/08

A Naturalistic Fairy Tale-Part XXVI

And then did we, the Most High Scientists, decide that life may have “been forged in a quantum crucible.”(1)  Not to be outdone by our fellow believers in Naturalism, the venerable biologists, we physicists did decide to weigh in on the matter of life’s beginning. 

Erving Schrödinger, the fellow who did imagine a cat being dead and not dead at the same time,(2) did also imagine other things about life.  Some 65 years later, do we weigh in on the issue.

Now, while some silly folk (i.e., creationists) do make wildly erroneous calculations about the probability of abiogenesis, we’ll give you a calculation in order to promote our theory.  We’ll deny it if the creationists do try to use it (Praise Science). 

But we do now focus in on one molecular machine, the ribosome, that protein factory of the cell that is capable of producing even more ribosomes.(3) 

So we did calculate that there could be 4165 possible primitive ribozyme structures based on 165 DNA base pair sequences.  We do know that most of these would not be self-replicators. 

“That’s more than the number of electrons in the universe,” he says. What’s more, life came about relatively soon after the planet formed, he says. “The puzzle is not only how life emerged, but how it emerged so fast.”

We shall now engage in a bit of anthropomorphism, (4) forgive us (Praise Science).  But do realize that it is completely naturalistic, and God is not needed.  Quantum processes did sort through and discard unwanted structures.  We’re certain you’ll have no problem with our use of the terms of “sort” and “unwanted” with regards to nature.  So, we do now think, that multiple mutated configurations did exist simultaneously (just like the cat was dead and un-dead a the same time).  This simultaneous existence of configurations allowed for the testing of a range of possibilities.  We do now know that quantum effects are a bit finicky; however, we do believe that they could act at the bottom of the Ocean (Praise Science). 

Davies also finds the idea promising. “These guys may have found a niche where quantum magic really could be at work,” he says. “But it is conjecture at this stage, just as all ideas for the origin of life are.”

We do also know that you know that when we use the term “magic” we don’t mean anything by it.  We certainly don’t mean “non-material” (Praise Science).  Once the configurations were sorted out and selected, the struture would become fixed, and unavailable to quantum effects. 

 

(1). http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19626332.700-was-life-forged-in-a-quantum-crucible.html

(2). Schrödinger’s Cat

(3). http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/R/ribosome.html

(4). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropomorphism

A Naturalistic Fairy Tale-Part XXV

Dark Flow

And then did we, the Most High Scientists, decide to share our latest discoveries. We know you will be impressed. We did discover that Dark Flow, that mysterious Dark Force that is causing cluster galaxies to move at an impossible 1000 kilometers/second, may tell us what lies beyond that cosmic horizon.(1) The cosmic horizon is 45 billion light years away. We did figure out that these clusters are moving at this incredible speed from looking at particle interactions with the cosmic microwave background (CMB), either that, or there is a fundamental problem with our cosmology (Praise Science). So we did get to wondering what could cause this Dark Flow. It can’t be invisible Dark Matter, because there is not enough of it in the universe (even though it’s invisible and unmeasurable, it makes up 95% of the mass of the universe). It can’t be Dark Energy (that unmeasurable force that is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate), because it’s spread evenly throughout space.

The Multiverse

So, we did continue asking the question, and we came up with an answer (Praise Science and Ourselves), just as you knew we would. So, we got to thinking that something outside of our bubble must be tugging on these galaxies. And then we did get to thinking that perhaps the pre-existing patch of space-time before the Big Bang did result in lots of bubbles, with a universe in each (Praise Science and the Multiverse). We even coined a new phrase, “Eternal Inflation.” We already predicted you would like it, and yet again, our predictions were confirmed. Others of us think that our bubble might have crashed into another bubble shortly after popping into existence. Others just think the standard model of cosmology is  incorrect, but we’ll print that later in the article, and go back to focusing on more interesting things.

(1). Dark Flow: Proof of another Universe?

A Naturalistic Fairy Tale-Part XXIV

And then did we, the Most High Scientists, discover that we may soon be able to look back before the Big Bang happened (praise Science).(1) We’ll go ahead and use the word “before” even though time did not exist, and please do not worry about it, because you would become confused anyway.  Because of the appearance of lopsidedness in the Universe, we do now think we can catch a glimpse of what existed before the Big Bang.

Indeed, when we did look in one direction in the Universe, we did notice that it looked different than looking in another direction.  We did notice that the Cosmic Microwave Background, seemed to be strangely larger on one side of the Universe.  We did development a new model as a result, and it gave us a glimpse of that inflationary period when the Universe almost instantaneously ballooned from the size of an atom to the size of a golf ball (praise Science).  Our theory did predict an even distribution in the CMB, but that is not what we have been seeing.  So we do now admit that things may have been a tiny bit more complex than previously thought.

So, we do now introduce the notion of two fields (inflaton and curvation).  We can now explain these variations.  Inflaton did cause the rapid expansion of the Universe and its energy variations, and curvation did cause density variations.

So we do now say:

“It’s no longer completely crazy to ask what happened before the Big Bang,” Kamionkowski said. “All of that stuff is hidden by a veil, observationally. If our model holds up, we may have a chance to see beyond this veil.”

Whereas it was completely crazy that some of our Own did previously ask what came before the Big Bang, we can now ask this question from a position of utter sanity and rationality (praise Science).  We’ll end by hedging our bets:

“So far it seems to be in the data, but that doesn’t mean it’s in the universe,” Carroll told SPACE.com. “There’s a chance this asymmetry is coming from errors in the data.”

So, we may go back to believing what we did before, and continue asking what now appears to be “crazy” if we do find that we have a problem with our data.  But, you should now know, that it will not be crazy then (praise Science).

(1). Glimpse before the Big Bang may be possible, MSNBC