03 Aug

list of scientists that embrace creationism

I’ve been arguing on Facebook with some people that seem convinced that by showing a list of scientists that are also creationists, they somehow “prove” that there is a controversy over evolution.

The list can be seen here, and contains 214 entries at the moment.

Of that list, only 35 of them are biologists. The rest really don’t matter. Who cares if a food scientist doesn’t believe in evolution?

So, the list of remaining biologists:

Dr Kimberly BerrineMicrobiology & Immunologydoes not appear to exist
Prof. Vladimir BetinaMicrobiology, Biochemistry & BiologyDoes not appear to have ever mentioned his opinion either way
Dr Raymond G. BohlinBiologyBiased: leads a religious ministry.
Dr Andrew BosanquetBiology, MicrobiologyNo evidence he supports creationism. A number of published articles on evolution of the p53 protein [1] [2]
Dr Robert W. CarterMarine BiologyBiased: works for Creation Ministries.
Prof. Chung-Il ChoBiology EducationNo evidence he is a creationist. Has written articles providing evidence for evolution. [1] [2]
Dr Ken CummingBiologyBiased: dean of the Institution of Creation Research.
Dr David A. DeWittBiology, Biochemistry, NeuroscienceBiased: Associate Director of the Center for Creation Studies at Liberty University.
Prof. Carl B. FliermansProfessor of BiologyBiased: member of the technical board for the Institute for Creation Research, teaches biblical studies
Prof. Robert H. FranksAssociate Professor of BiologyDoes not appear to exist. The only references I can find to him are in this list, or here (which makes him about 80 and probably dead).
Dr Pierre JerlströmMolecular BiologyBiased: staff scientist at Creation Ministries International, and editorial co-ordinator of Journal of Creation [1].
Dr Arthur JonesBiologyBiased: works for the Christian Schools’ Trust. Taught religion at two UK schools.
Dr Dean KenyonBiologyBiased: fellow of the Discovery Institute [1]. No longer a professor. Witness for the losing side of two important evolution/creationism court cases. [2].
Prof. Gi-Tai KimBiologyDoes not appear to have published an opinion for or against evolution [1].
Dr John W. KlotzBiologyHas been dead for nearly twenty years.
Dr Leonid KorochkinM.D., Genetics, Molecular Biology, Neurobiologyis NOT a creationist. One of his articles [1] says he is an “adherent of the macromutation evolution”.
Dr Wolfgang Kuhnbiology researcher and lecturerThis guy has been dead more than ten years.
Dr Heather KuruvillaPlant Physiology, Senior Professor of Biology, Cedarville UniversityDoes not appear to have ever given an opinion on evolution or creationism
Dr John G. Lesliebiochemistry, molecular biology, medicine, biblical archaeologyhas no biology education [1]
Prof. Lane P. LesterBiology, GeneticsBiased: on the board of directors of the Creation Research Society.
Dr Ian MacreadieMolecular Biology and Microbiologyappears to be professionally unbiased but blinkered. reading through one of his articles [1], I can see signs of him simply discarding evolutionary ideas, instead of exploring them.
Dr John MarcusMolecular Biologydoes not appear to exist [1]
Professor Douglas OliverProfessor of BiologyBiased: associate director of Center for Creation Studies.
Prof. Chris D. OsborneAssistant Professor of BiologyBiased: works for Logos Research Associates. Hasn’t published in over 20 years.
Dr Gary E. ParkerBiology, Cognate in Geology (Paleontology)Biased: founder of Creation Adventures Museum.
Dr Terry PhippsProfessor of Biology, Cedarville UniversityBiased: Cedarville University is a biblical school, not an unbiased school.
Dr Jung-Goo RoeBiologyDoes not appear to exist outside this list [1]
Dr Ariel A. RothBiologyhas stated that “creation science” is not a science [1].
Dr Alicia (Lisa) SchaffnerAssociate Professor of Biology, Cedarville UniversityBiased: teaches at a christian school [1].
Dr Timothy G. StandishBiologyBiased: works for the Geoscience Research Institute.
Dr Dennis SullivanBiology, surgery, chemistry, Professor of Biology, Cedarville UniversityBiased: Cedarville University is a biblical school.
Dr Larry ThaeteMolecular and Cellular Biology and PathobiologyHe’s a gynaecologist and obstetrician. doesn’t study anything to do with evolution [1].
Dr Joachim VetterBiologyGerman. Dead. [1]
Dr Sung-Hee YoonBiologyDoes not appear to exist [1]
Dr Henry ZuillBiologyRetired professor. Does not appear to have ever written a peer-reviewed article.

Of the above 35,

  • 16 are biased – they get paid to promote a creationist viewpoint.
  • 4 don’t appear to exist. I could find no reference to these people outside this list.
  • 3 are dead.
  • the rest appear to have no opinion either way on evolution, or don’t have any professional link to evolution.

In short: this list is rubbish.

27 Dec

The universe is wonderful

When someone says they believe in a god that created the heavens and the earth, in their minds they consider the earth to be large and the heavens to be a backdrop. Because the world appears so personal, it makes sense to them that they would be the focus of an intentional creation.

It’s only when you step back and objectively consider how very very small the earth is, that you realise that we are not special.

We are discovering lately that pretty-much every star has at least one planet around it, and it’s looking likely that we will discover habitable planets soon, and those are stars that are within tens of light-years of us. The part of the universe that we can see is roughly 28 billion light-years in diameter. And that’s only the observable universe. How many habitable planets is that?

Religions tend to dismiss everything that is outside the Earth. For example, in the old testament, God spent 7 days working on the Earth, and on one of those days, he created the stars for the sole purpose of shining onto the Earth.

There are roughly 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the observable universe. And we are told that these were all created one evening by God, just to shine on the Earth. Seriously?

When I tell people that I am an atheist, they tend to pity me, because I am apparently missing out on something. Well, I pity them, because their imaginations are so laughably small – such a wonderful universe, and all they can see is this inconceivably tiny part of it!

30 Oct

Vegetarianism (and veganism)

I’ve been vegetarian for more than half of my life, and recently took a step further and cut out all animal products completely from my diet. Some people have asked why, so I am writing the answer here.

When I was a kid, I thought the idea of eating something that had once been living – with blood, veins, guts and brains – was disgusting. My parents made me sit at the dinner-table until I ate the damn stuff anyway. This made my disgust even stronger. Not only did I not want to eat the stuff, but I was being forced to eat it.

When I got a bit older, I was able to dictate my own diet, and settled on a diet which was mostly meat free. I would only eat meat that was not immediately recognisable as a part of an animal. This meant that I would eat burgers, for example, but would not eat ribs. I would eat pepperoni, but not steak.

My reasoning had not yet become clear. I couldn’t justify why one type of meat was okay, and another was not. This disturbed me.

So, when I was about 16/17, I decided to make my rules clear. I would not eat anything which involved the direct killing of an animal.

It’s a very simple rule, and it’s very easy to stick to.


Even then people ask me /why/. I mean, ignoring that it’s utterly disgusting to put dead things in your mouth, why should we not eat animals?

Some of the reasons that people have given me:
1. “God put animals here for us to eat them.” Ignoring that I am an atheist, this is simply not true. In Genesis, it is made clear that herbs, fruit, etc. are for eating. Animals were simply to be taken care of.
2. “Meat tastes nice.” This is an utterly unethical thing to say. If you came across someone that was beating their kids and they said “it makes me feel good”, would you say “oh, okay”? Of course not!
3. “Meat is good for you.” No it is not.

When given the choice between killing an animal, and not killing an animal, I choose not to kill an animal. This is not hard to understand.

Turning Vegan

A few weeks ago, after 20 years of vegetarianism, I decided to re-evaluate my diet.

I was an “ovo-lacto vegetarian”, which means that I didn’t eat meat, but would eat eggs and dairy products such as cheese or butter.

I made a decision to cut out all animal products altogether. After all, being a “normal” vegetarian was easy, so how difficult could being a vegan be?

Again, there is the question of “why?”.

Milk (and its by-products) seems harmless. Advocates of milk say you should milk cows (etc) because if you don’t, you will be hurting them. Well, the milk that we are getting from cows is supposed to be drank by the cows’ babies. Why isn’t it? Because those babies are removed from their mothers almost as soon as they are born. Male calves are reared and then slaughtered for meat. Female calves are reared and become dairy cows themselves. So, by drinking milk, you continue the cycle of slaughter and general slavery.

Eggs. Battery eggs are obviously cruel. The chickens are kept in small cages where their eggs are automatically collected. What happens to male chicks? They are killed.

Even with free-range eggs, there is still the question of what happens with the roosters? Are they all killed as soon as the farmer can tell the difference between male and female? Or are they allowed to roam with the hens? If they are killed, this is obviously cruel. If they are allowed to roam, then how can you tell the difference between a fertilised egg and a non-fertilised egg?

To avoid all potential animal cruelty, I opted to avoid all animal products.

21 Sep

Acceptable evidence for there being a god

Wow, what fun!

Over at the Facebook page for Atheism Ireland, Brian Cullen asked a deceptively simple question; “What would be acceptable evidence for there being a God”.

This started a long discussion, and I think I might be the main protagonist in it… A load of examples of evidence were mentioned, but each of them had problems; in that they could possibly be explained by chance, hallucination, or an incomplete understanding of physical law.

I think the largest problem was that the question did not include a very important definition: What is a god?

When asked, Brian elucidated: “God , in it’s basic form as we would think of when the word is mentioned .”

But the problem there is that everyone has a different picture in their heads of what that means. Many people think of a god as a Santa Claus-like figure dressed in white instead of red, and go no further than that.

I would define a “God” (in the context of this question) as:

  1. an intelligent being
  2. that created itself from nothing
  3. then created the universe
  4. and can do almost anything that it wants.

I think most people would agree with that definition.

It is easy to think of examples of evidence that would prove points 1 and 4.

A very good example was a being which writes a book that can unambiguously be read and understood by every person that reads the book. This shows that the being is intelligent enough to write legibly, and is able to achieve something which is probably impossible.

However, this does not prove points 2 and 3, that the being created itself, and created the universe.

In fact, no matter how awesome the miracle you envisage, not one single shred of evidence can possibly prove that the being created itself and also created the universe.

Even the being taking you back through time to witness its own creation and the creation of the universe is not proof, because any being that can do that can surely also simply slip you a hallucinogenic drug and convince you that you’ve seen the described events…

It was suggested that demonstrating miracles might be evidence. For example, moving the stars to form a word, or bringing a person back to life after a week of decay.

Each of those are evidence of great power, but they do not address the identity of the being.

Not one piece of evidence in the whole thread (which went on for /ages/) was anything that could point towards the being creating itself or creating the universe.

In fact, when we got down to the more extreme demonstrations of power (like signing your name right across the sky in stars), those are actually evidence that you are not living in the real universe, but are in a “matrix” of sorts.

It was suggested that a being outside the laws of the universe can break the laws of physics or manipulate the universal constants.

But, if you can possibly change a universal constant, then it’s not a constant after all. And if you can break a law of physics, then it is not a law. If either of these happened, they would actually be evidence that we do not know all the /real/ laws and constants in physics. They would not be proof that something can somehow break laws and constants at whim.

23 Jul


I was just watching a clip of Ricky Gervais being bewildered by a Christian.

The girl in the clip talks about a soul wafting its way to Heaven to go play with the ghosts of friends, pets, etc.

I’ve a number of problems with this.

Rewarding a soul with heaven for whatever it does during life is stupid. Life has been likened to a bird flying through endless night, then very briefly flying through a lit room, and out the other side into endless night again. The idea that the eternity of journey /after/ that brief visit to life is judged by what you do during life is preposterous.

If a soul exists, and controls the body, then it must somehow be connected to the body in order to control its actions. In return, it is logical that the body can affect the soul. This implies that a soul is affected by physical laws, yet there is no evidence that a soul has ever been detected using physical tools.

If there is exactly one soul per human being, then this implies that souls can be created to match the need for them, and are created by the simple act of men and women having sex with each other. To say otherwise is to imply that the creation of a soul somehow causes men and women to have sex with each other to create a body for the soul to live in.

I don’t understand the need for a soul anyway. According to common theology, only humans have souls, yet the rest of the animal kingdom appears to get along just fine without souls. What are they needed for?

19 May


I’ve been an atheist most of my life, and I find it very strange when people don’t understand.

So, this article will try to explain why I am an atheist.

First, we need to define what a “god” is. Incredibly, this first step annoys some people! When I ask people what they mean by “god”, they say things like “well, you know…” (no, I don’t), or “what do you mean?” (was I not clear?).

Let’s define a god based on the most common christian beliefs:

Each one of these criteria is incredibly unlikely.

Seven Day Creation

The first one, “Can create a whole universe in 7 days right down to animals” is easily disproved.

By simply looking at the night sky, measuring the distance of stars and how the further stars are from us, the more their light is shifted to the red, we can measure the age of the universe pretty confidently to about 13.75 billion years.

That’s not 7 days. And if the religious apologists reply by starting “well when the bible says ‘days’, what it means is …” – stop right there. If the bible said “days”, then the bible meant “days”. Otherwise the bible is incorrect.


Next, we have “can create itself”.

Obviously, it is possible for something to come from nothing. This is self-evident.

Things that exist either existed forever, or they came into being from nothing.

The idea that everything that exists has always existed was believed for a very long time, but it causes a load of unanswered questions, such as why, after an eternity of existence, everything is not either compressed to a single un-moving point, or spread out to a completely uniform volume.

The idea that things can come from nothing causes a few questions as well, such as “how?”.

Combining the two, modern science shows that something can come from nothing, through a quantum effect called the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, and yet the sum total energy still equals zero. In other words, the universe is both eternal, and yet its material can have emerged a set length of time ago.

On the religious side, Christianity does not believe in an eternal universe. If the universe is eternal, it does not need a creator, and therefore there is no need for a god.

Christianity believes that something can be intentionally created from nothing. They say that God created himself from nothing (example 1), and then created the universe from nothing (example 2).

So, based on two explanations of how things can come from nothing, we have a choice of which to believe.

Choice 1:

  1. God intentionally created God from nothing.
  2. God then created the universe from nothing.

Choice 2:

  1. The universe emerged naturally from nothing.

Occam’s Razor suggests that when given the choice between two explanations, you should choose the one that is the least complex.

Even if there were no God, the universe would have created itself from nothing anyway. Quantum mechanics ensure this.

We do not need to invoke a god to create a universe.

Creation of Life

According to the bible, God simply created life one day. As simple as that.

And then after all of the animals were created, a human male was created. From clay.

And then a human female was created. From the male’s rib.

Compare that to the idea of evolution, where simple molecular reactions “evolve” over time through competition to eventually become the hugely diverse life-forms that cover the planet today.

I don’t even know why I need to explain this one. Seriously – created from clay? And a rib?

Evolution is the only viable explanation for life and its huge variety.

Everything else is fairy-tales.

Selectively Infinite Caring

Priests say that “God loves us, every one”, and then they claim that you will go to hell if you don’t worship him.

As an aside: in 1999, Pope John Paul II changed the Catholic church’s stance on Hell, demoting it from an actual place to a mere state of being. This changed 2000 years of supposedly infallible truth that Hell was a place.

I guess “infallible” doesn’t mean the same thing to me as it does to them.

Anyway – apparently, God sees everything and knows everything, and cares for all of his children, but only those that worship Jesus.

This means that, if the christian God exists, then every person that has never heard of Jesus, or that doesn’t believe he is the son of God, will be punished eternally.

Yeah… right.

Personally, if I created a universe (for example, a computerised simulation), I really don’t care about the individuals. I might find the civilisations interesting, but the individuals are not interesting.

Similarly, for someone studying ants does not find any individual ant interesting, but the colony would be fascinating. Even if they do focus on an individual ant, it’s not that specific ant that they are interested in, but the type of ant it is (soldier, queen, worker).

And even if any individual was interesting, why is their belief somehow a criteria for whether they should be rewarded or not?


Well, there it is.

So, I don’t believe in gods for the simple reason that I don’t see any compelling evidence that gods (of any type) exist.

17 Aug

immortality and the multi-verse

Hello kiddies – it’s madness time!

Don’t worry – these are just idle thoughts. I’m not going over the hill into the twilight zone.

The science madness

A number of ideas in recent (last 100 years) physics revolve around the idea that there are multiple universes, or that the same universe keeps splitting into separate universes every time a quantum decision must be made.

As far as I know, these ideas are not testable, but a lot of physicists think that a multi-verse is the simplest solution to a lot of questions, and as Occam’s Razor says, the simplest solution is usually the right one.

The idea that’s bandied about most often is that the universe splits every time a choice is made, so that both choices actually happen – one in one universe, and the other in another universe.

This has the effect that every possible configuration of the universe’s contents exists at some point. In other words, “in an infinite universe, anything is possible“.

What this means, is that at any point in your life where you had to make a decision – get on the plane, talk to the girl, take the job – a version of you exists for every possible decision.

Personally, I don’t believe that the universe splits at each decision – it seems a bit silly. But, I do believe that in infinite time and space, if the “big bang” can happen once, it can happen again, and each time, it just has to be the tiniest bit different, so in effect, there is a universe somewhere for every single moment of this one’s existence, which differs in just one respect. A consequence of this is that even if the universe doesn’t physically divide at each decision, a universe exists for each decision anyway, so it’s as if it happened anyway.

What is you?

In a lot of those universes, a version of you exists. For all purposes, it is you. It has your memories, is built of exactly the same molecules, and lives in a world exactly like yours.

You can ignore all of the universes that don’t have a you in them (and there are an infinite number of those!), because if you paraphrase the anthropic principle, you realise that they really don’t matter – the only universes you could ever experience are those that you exist in (history is written by the victors. In other words, your present you is only possible because all of the failed “you”s are dead and therefore can be written out of history).

In each of these universes, you had a load of different experiences – you lived, died, were rich, poor, etc., which is interesting to think about intellectually (Remember all those times that you wish you’d done something different? Well, you did in at least one other universe.), but not very useful to dwell on, because that’s them, and you’re more interested in you.


I’m writing this post because I’ve survived some interesting things in the past – self-harming during my late teens, standing on the edge of a 5-storey building pissing off the edge while totally drunk, all the narrow misses while skateboarding, getting beaten to a pulp a number of times, breaking my skull when I was 2.

Every one of those events had an alternative where things went the other way. But I’m here right now, which means that in this universe, I’ve survived.

The fact that you’re reading this is very interesting. You have survived all of the events of your past, and have gotten to this point.

What is “you”? The grammar-nazi in me complains about that sentence, but I mean it that way.

“You” is the sum of experiences that makes up your identity – your “soul”.

Here’s an interesting question: when you go to sleep at night, and you don’t dream, there are a few hours during which you are essentially dead to the world. What if you were transported at this point to another universe during those hours which was exactly the same – when you woke up, it would be as if you simply continued living from the previous day in the previous universe and you would be none-the-wiser.

The multi-verse idea says that this happens all the time, that every moment that you experience could very possibly be in a totally different universe that has been rebuilt from scratch.

Quantum immortality

Now we get to the freaky shit.

What if an accident were to happen right now – a meteorite drops through your ceiling, or a microwave explodes, or your partner slips in the middle of knitting and impales you.

In some universes, you would die, and in some, the event would be narrowly missed (and in some, not occur at all).

The important thing to note is that the only “you” that would experience the event is the “you” that survived. You may be damaged by the event, but you would survive and live another day (otherwise, you would not, and that universe can be ignored).

Please dwell on that thought – the only possible you that is reading this article is a you that has survived all previous experiences, but as a consequence of this crazy logic, you will also survive all future events as well.

Let’s look at the logic again:

  • There are an infinite number of universes.
  • There are an infinite number of universes that have “you”s living in them.
  • Every time there is the slightest chance that you would survive an event, there are an infinite number of universes in which you do survive that event.

A very weird consequence of this is that you, the you that is reading this, will never die. Every time an event happens that might lead to your death – a choice you made, a decision someone else made, a natural accident – there are infinite universes in which that event does not happen, and so “you” survive.

No-one else, though

Unfortunately, because of the probabilistic nature of physics, everyone else will die in time. Yes, there are an infinite number of universes in which your loved ones will survive with you, which there are many “bigger” infinities in which they die, and those win out.

This is another mind-bender, because it makes everything very subjective.

From my point of view, I am immortal, and you will eventually die, but that’s because my own experience leads me through a different set of infinities where I am the immortal one.

Every other person that exists has their own set of infinities as well that leads them to immortality.


Well – that’s my moment of madness concluded for today.

In short – shit will happen, but you’ll get over it, a million million times over the next load of centuries.

02 Jan


“Jesus is the only son of God, and if you don’t follow him, you will not be getting through the gates into Heaven”.

Anything wrong with that? Yes – it’s blasphemous, to just about every religion on Earth which is not Christian.

And so, Dermot Ahern, in his infinite wisdom, has just made the central tenet of the religion of one third of the entire planet illegal.

Well done, sir. Fucking genius idea, that.

How about this one then – “Jesus is not the son of God”. Now I’m blaspheming against Christianity.

There’s absolutely no way to win against this except to be completely silent and never discuss what you believe with anyone at all. And that means it wasn’t just Christianity that the idiot has made illegal to speak about, but all religions.

By the way, I’m an atheist. I believe in thinking about what is “true”, and in discussing it with people that are interested, and in not pushing my own beliefs on others.

I hear the door knocking – the thought police are here to take me away. Pray for me…

15 Jan

aw man…. 7 things

I thought I’d escaped this one. Everyone in the PHP world appears to have been “tagged” by now. Ken passed the buck to me, though, so I guess I’d better play.

Hmm… 7 things that people don’t already know about me? Hard task…

  1. I used to be into piercings, and if the piercing was common, then I wasn’t into it. Mostly, I was into surface piercings, and had a number of them down my sides and arms. I had planned on building a platform for a watch which would then be “embedded” in the arm, but never got around to it.
  2. I used to do “side-show” tricks, and have performed them on stage. This includes tricks such as “skewer through face” (horizontal – never got around to learning vertical), “human blockhead”, “face in glass”, eating glass, fire-eating, fire-blowing, and other weird stuff. Each of these is surprisingly safe when you know the trick.
  3. My first computer was a Commodore Vic 20 which I got when I was possibly 7 or 8. The highlight of that machine was writing (in BASIC) an animation of a bird which flew across the screen and “pooped” on a tank. I didn’t really consider that as “programming”, though – just playing. That machine was followed a year or two later with a Spectrum 48k+, which is where I really started – with 3d wire-frame graphics and text adventures. My first “real” computer was an Amstrad PPC640, where I learned QBASIC. My first CGI experience was writing applications (forums, etc) in C. That was followed by Perl, and finally I started writing php in about 1999 or so. Now I’m secretary of the Irish PHP User’s Group. Yay me! Oh, and Go Linux! I’ve been using Linux as my main OS since the 20th century as well.
  4. I can play a number of instruments. I played violin (rather, fiddle) for my school in a number of Feis Ceoil events and still have an electric violin that I pick up every now and then. I played Bagpipes in two separate pipe bands in Dublin – anecdote: in school, a music teacher was evaluating our playing of the tin whistle, and when he came to me, he saw immediately from the way I was holding it that I had training in a “pipe” instrument (uillean pipes and bag pipes are fingered similarly). I’ve played guitar in a few bands and like to get on stage at the Monaghan Blues Jam whenever I can (last compliment I got at one of them was “I like your playing – it’s /clean/ – very 70s”). I am looking for a classical guitar teacher at the moment. I also play keyboards, and have written music before (example).
  5. I’ve been vegetarian for more than half my life. This is not because of any hippy feelings towards animals. The two main reasons are 1) it’s disgusting to put dead animals in your mouth, and 2) it’s illogical, inefficient and cruel to kill animals for your food when you really don’t need to. I have no problem with people eating meat as long as they have no problems with me (and my family) not eating meat.
  6. I believe that the universe doesn’t really exist, but is a sort of shared illusion (look, it’s complex, ok!). Basically, it works like this – if the equation 2x-2x=0 is true, then you might consider that ‘x’ is a “real” object even though the sum of the equation is ‘0’ (ie; from nothing, comes something). This maps onto reality if you swap ‘x’ with ‘particle’, and ‘-x’ with ‘anti-particle’. I am always coming across situations where physicists discover this is true. Hawking radiation, for example, is an example of energy/matter spontaneously bursting into existence,, and is an exact analogy because you end up with ‘x’ (the radiation coming out of the black hole) and ‘-x’ (the radiation going into the black hole). Oh, and if you’re thinking it’s mad to think that ‘x’ could be real… in a computer game, all characters are “real” to each other, but not to an outsider looking in. In our case, we are those characters, and in an equation, each element is one of those characters. In the context of the equation/universe, all parts are real relative to all other parts, even if from the outside, they’re not.
  7. I used to do contact juggling. In fact, I founded the biggest contact juggling website. My son, Jareth, is named after David Bowie’s character from The Labyrinth where the goblin king (with the help of Michael Moschen) does some contact juggling (called “crystal ball manipulation” in the credits). I even wrote a book on the subject.
  8. Everyone in the world appears to have been tagged for this already, so I won’t bother tagging anyone.
    edit: suppose I’d better…

    1. Conor Mac Aoidh – local chap. Bright and enthusiastic. I feel that he’ll be producing sterling work soon and will be a credit to the Irish PHP community.
    2. St̩phane Lambert Рtireless compiler of PHP Whitebook trivia, and host of a damned good neo-classical metal radio show.

    I can’t think of any other PHP developers that I know that haven’t already been tagged. Really! Now go away and read something else!


    • Link your original tagger(s), and list these rules on your blog.
    • Share seven facts about yourself in the post – some random, some weird.
    • Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
    • Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs and/or Twitter
03 Dec

thought about "lopsided universe" idea

Sorry if this post is totally bonkers – I’m a layman but like to think about this stuff.

Got an email newsletter from Galaxy Zoo today. In it was a link to a recent Telegraph article pointing out the apparent lopsidedness of the universe. In short, most galaxies that we see in the universe appear to be rotating in the same direction, where the direction should be random.

I had a thought about this, and it occurred to me that this could be explained if there was some sort of “coriolis force” acting on space itself.

How can this be? Surely space is just space? Well, not according to quantum loop gravity, which describes space as a load of interlinked nodes. Where you think there is nothing, there is actually a load of interlinked points.

The “coriolis force” is hard to explain. A short explanation might be this: on a planet that is spinning, if you have a solid object which is sitting still (relative to the planet surface) on any latitude of the planet other than 0 or at the axis, then one side of the object is actually moving through space faster than the other because of the slight difference in radius of the sides’ paths through space as the planet rotates. Yeah – headrush.

Anyway – what it means is that objects sitting on the “north” hemisphere tend to turn clockwise instinctively, and vice versa.

So, what does this have to do with galaxies?

Well, if most galaxies are rotating in a specific direction, then that could indicate a coriolis effect happening on space itself. This could happen if the universe itself was rotating.

A further implication is that if you map the rotation of all galaxies and analyse them carefully, you may find that you can actually pinpoint the centre of that rotating universe. This is something that traditionally has been thought of as impossible, because the universe might not have a “centre” at all.

Anyway, please comment if you think this is stupid, but give a reason why it is.