Second to last post

This is more of a status report than anything.

I'm busy in the throes of finishing my PhD and going through the logistics of moving and starting a postdoc. So, don't expect to see anything here for a few months.

The next post that you see should be the announcement of my new blog! In the meanwhile, you can find me commenting at some of the blogs in my blogroll.



Psiloiordinary said...

Hey Tom,
Good luck with the PhD!

Looking forward to the new blog.

Best regards,


Cliff Martin said...


Please keep us posted on your progress and career path. Do you facebook?

~ Cliff

Tom said...

You can find/friend me on FB, but I don't really use it much. You can see my full name in my profile.

Sarah said...

At any rate, I liked some of the vadlo postdoc cartoons!

Mike Beidler said...

Obviously, I've been out of the loop almost as much as Tom has, with my language studies and all. (Less than two weeks left!)

Anyhoo, good luck on finishing up your PhD! (Or congrats if you've already completed it by the time I post this!)

Tom said...

Hi Mike.

I am happy to say that I am done with my PhD. Unfortunately, I have not had time to start the new blog as I immediately started a postdoc. I'll be looking to get going on the blog hopefully within the month.

Anonymous said...

Still waiting for the new blog :-(

piet said...

Dear Mr Tom,

To promote skepticism/critical thinking I wrote some questions for the Christian believer. Are you able to put the link to these questions at your blog.

Thank you very much,

Piet - Rotterdam - Netherlands.

The original questions
The translation

zuma said...

Let’s assume that this universe should be formed through Big Bang theory. Questions have to be raised. Why is it that Big Bang theory could create perfect galaxies that a planet would revolve around another instead of the danger that anyone of the planets would crash with another easily and that would cause the earth not to be in secure position? For instance, the moon always revolves around the earth and it would not crash it and the distance between them remains constant. The same is for the earth to the sun. How could Big Bang theory be able to create these perfect galaxies unless there is one behind that controls all the planets that causes perfect galaxies to be formed. For religious people, i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Muslims, call it as God.
For instance, if this world would be formed in random order through the Big bang theory, the following events would appear: The earth might be formed too near the sun and to cause many inhabitants to be hurt; or the earth might be flying everywhere in the universe without guidance due to these be formed in random order through Big Bang theory; or the sun might well be formed stagnant in one place and leaving the earth to fly everywhere among the galaxies so much so that all the inhabitants might not be able to enable sunlight; or the earth might fly everywhere or even worse, the danger to hit against the sun; or etc. What if the earth would be formed too far from the sun, all the inhabitants would be in the darkness for 24 hours. Currently, all the galaxies in this world seem to revolve around the sun instead of the other way round. It seems to be that there must be some kind of supernatural being controls it. Religious people call it, God.
If the universe would be created from Big Bang theory, the above is the likeliness of the world since nothing is controlling it and everything is formed in random or messy order. The whole universe would be disorganized and one could find hard to determine which planet was rotating against which.
From the above, it would come to the conclusion that Big Bang theory is unrealistic

Tom said...


Thanks for checking out my blog. You are correct that the Big Bang theory leads to many unanswered questions. Answering these questions is the aim of astronomical science. I am in no way an astrophysicist, but your interpretation of what would happen in the Big Bang is quite naive. We frequently see pockets of order within larger amounts of disorder (and vice versa). Gravitational and anti-gravitational pulls would induce larger patterns.

Consider forensic science. Remnants from explosions can be analyzed such that they can be recreated, in a sense, through modeling. They unfold in various ways, exhibiting both randomness and predictively following laws of physics to give a pattern to the way they unfold. I find it hard to believe that firefighters can find the source of a blaze in what I would look at as a charred mess. Nevertheless, simply because I cannot understand how they analyze the data and make their determinations, does not make them wrong. Their science continues to help us understand the physical world we live in.

The fine-tuning argument really fails against science because part of science is about building models to describe how patterns and order came to be. As science explains that, it whittles away the need for a God. If you want to believe in God, you have to ask how it all fits into the master plan.

zuma said...

The following are the various methods that are adopted by scientists to assess the age of the earth:
a)Using sea composition to compute the age of the earth:
Scientists used sea composition to derive the age of the earth. This method has its derivation from Edmond Halley (1656-1742). In his opinion, the rain would have dissolved all salt from the ground and would bring down to the sea with the assumption that there would be no salt in the sea initially.
In 1910, George F. Becker found the age of the earth to be between 50 and 70 million years by means of salt clock method.
However, the measurement by means of seawater composition does not give an accurate age of the earth on the condition if the sea might have been formed initially with much salt in the beginning. If that would be so, it is irrational to measure sea composition to determine the age of earth since much salt would have been in the sea already during its creation.
b)Lord Kelvin in 1862 did compute the age of earth through the estimation of the coolness of the earth from its original molten state in which he concluded that the age of the earth was between 20 to 400 million years ago.
However, its assumption that the earth would be in the molten state might not be accurate on the condition if the earth would have been formed in solid state initially instead of in molten. If that would be so, the computation of the age of this earth that is by means of the computation of the time taken for earth to be cooled down would not be reliable.
c)Erosion method: The assessment of the age of the earth is by means of the observation with presumption that erosion would take place at about 1 ft every 5,000 years. With this method, they assess Canyon would start out flat and it would take 30,000,000 years for the Colorado river to erode 600 ft of the Grand Canyon.
The computation above suffers a shortfall with the assumption that it would start up flat. What if the place does not start up flat or it would be that the place has already been created nearer to current condition in the beginning of its creation, the computation would not give the accurate period of erosion.
Another query is why the erosion rate should be consistent at 1 ft every 5,000 years and not 1 ft every 4,000 years or otherwise.
Thus, the computation of the earth by means of erosion method would be subjective and not reliable.
d)Using radiometric dating methods to compute the age of the earth:
The derivation of radiometric dating methods or radioactive dating methods came in the late 1940s and 1950s. These methods focus on the decay of atoms of one chemical element into another. This technique is based on a comparison between the measured amount of a naturally occurring radioactive element and its decay product, assuming a constant rate of decay – known as half-life.
Using this technique, scientists could analyze the rock to assess the age of the earth through uranium and lead, plug those values along with the half-life into a logarithmic equation. They have arrived with the conclusion that the age of the earth should be 4.5 to 4.6 billion years.
However, what if both the parent isotopes, i.e. Samarium-147, Rubidium-87, Rhenium-187, Lutetium-176, Thorium-232,Uranium-238, Potassium-40, Uranium-235, Beryllium-10, Chlorine-36, Carbon-14, Uranium-234 and Thorium-230, that have been commented by Scientists to be the products (daughter) of Neodymium-143, Strontium-87, Osmium-187, Hafnium-176, Lead-208, Lead-206, Argon-40, Lead-207, Boron-10, Argon-36, Nitrogen-14, Thorium-230, and Radium-226 respectively, might have co-existed in the beginning of the world during its formation, it is erroneous to comment that there would be relationship among them and to use them to assess the decay rate of half life in order to use it to compute the age of the earth or fossils since all these materials might have been created ever since the beginning of the earth. As that could be so, it is erroneous to use it to compute the age of the earth to be billion years.

Tom said...


Please stop littering my blog with unrelated pastes of litter you are leaving on other blogs. If you want to have a relevant conversation, then let's have one. In the meanwhile, if you are there and listening, scientists are simply trying to explain why things are the way they are. If you disagree with particular methods or data, then do what other scientists do -- find evidence for the flaws. Otherwise, please weave me a meaningful story for Thorium-230's role in our purposeful universe.

zuma said...

When you mention the disorderliness of the universe, what kind of disorderliness that would occur in this univers. I would be grateful if you would raise for discussion.

zuma said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
zuma said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tom said...


Again, stop littering my blog with your past litter on other blogs. I've deleted your last comments because of that. Start a blog yourself if you simply want to make statements. I cannot tell if you are really here or not because you do not follow any conversation flow.

With respect to your comment on Sept 1, I will answer by saying that you are not answering my question. I am arguing that you have a yen and yang of order and disorder. If you have nothing but disorder and everything is random, then there are no rules, nothing meaningful happens. Ironically, if everything is ordered, then everything is completely predicted and also therefore meaningless.

You want an ordered universe, which I assume you equate with God. God runs this ordered script: So what? If order is everything, then you should be able to describe the role of Thorium-230 within this master plan. Again, what is the meaning of Thorium-230? Mustn't it have a teleological reason for being present?