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Thread: Speed of light, distance, and time: does it matter to the F&G commissioner debate?

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    Default Speed of light, distance, and time: does it matter to the F&G commissioner debate?

    I have read with some amusement the ongoing debates on the qualifications of the commissioner for fish and game.

    As the New Year started off with a bang of fireworks that lit up some sections of our northern sky, I will throw out a question to debate:

    From a professional science perspective: is it appropriate to ask for a person's understanding of distance and time, as it relates to the scienctific knowledge of the speed of light, the distance light travels, and how that relates to the scientific knowledge of the size and age of the sun, the earth, the solar system, the Milky Way galaxy, the other billion plus galaxies, and the Universe in general?

    The speed of light: approximately 186,282 miles per second.

    It takes reflected sunlight from the Moon to the Earth about 1.25 seconds.

    It takes sunlight about 499 seconds to travel from the Sun to the Earth, a distance known as one astronomical unit.

    Light travels about 6 trillion miles in one year (6,000,000,000,000 miles).

    One light year (ly) is equivalent to 6 trillion miles.

    2 ly is the maximum extent of the sun's gravitational dominance - beyond that is the true interstellar medium.

    4.22 ly is the distance to Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the sun.

    8.6 ly is the distance to Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky.

    20 ly is the distance to Giliese 581g, the first discovered candidate for habitable planet.

    310 ly is the distance to Canopus, the second brightest star in the night sky.

    26,000 ly is the distance to the center of the Milky Way galaxy, our galaxy that the sun and earth reside within.

    100,000 ly is the distance across the Milky Way galaxy, and has between 200 to 400 billion stars.

    165,000 ly is the distance to R136a1, located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, the most luminous star known at 8,700,000 time the luminousity of the sun.

    2,500,000 ly is the distance to the Andromeda Galaxy, which is visible in the night sky.

    3,000,000 ly is the distance to the Triangulum Galaxy, the most distant object visible to the naked eye.

    59,000,000 ly is the distance to the Virgo Cluster, the nearest large galaxy cluster.

    250,000,000 ly is the distance to the Great Attractor, a gravity anomaly in intergalactic space within the range of the Centaurus Supercluster that reveals the existence of a localised concentration of mass equivalent to tens of thousands of Milky Ways, observable by its effect on the motion of galaxies and their associated clusters over a region of hundreds of millions of light years across.

    1,200,000,000 ly is the distance to the Sloan Great Wall, a giant wall of galaxies (a galactic filament) and, as of 2010, is the largest known structure in the Universe. It measures 1,370,000,000 ly across, or about 1,370 times larger than the Milky Way galaxy.

    2,400,000,000 ly is the distance to 3C 273, optically the brightest quasar to date in the Universe.

    300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 is the most current estimate of the number of stars in the Universe.

    13,750,000,000 years is the approximate age of the Universe since the Big Bang.

    4,540,000,000 years is the approximate age of the earth, a first generation planet, and the sun, a second generation star, both of which were created after the first generation star in this region of the Universe exploded at the end of its star cycle.

    The above statements are generally recognized by professional scientists as statements of fact, based on our best available knowledge to date.

    Is it OK to ask a Commissioner, who heads a department that is based on the tenets of science as one of its core foundations, if there are any personal or professional issues with the current state of scientific understanding of the above statements?

    If it is OK to follow that line of questioning, is there any response that would be fatal to a Commissioner being able to run a department that has science as a pillar of its foundation?

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    Quote Originally Posted by North Star View Post
    I have read with some amusement the ongoing debates on the qualifications of the commissioner for fish and game.

    As the New Year started off with a bang of fireworks that lit up some sections of our northern sky, I will throw out a question to debate:

    From a professional science perspective: is it appropriate to ask for a person's understanding of distance and time, as it relates to the scienctific knowledge of the speed of light, the distance light travels, and how that relates to the scientific knowledge of the size and age of the sun, the earth, the solar system, the Milky Way galaxy, the other billion plus galaxies, and the Universe in general?

    The speed of light: approximately 186,282 miles per second.

    It takes reflected sunlight from the Moon to the Earth about 1.25 seconds.

    It takes sunlight about 499 seconds to travel from the Sun to the Earth, a distance known as one astronomical unit.

    Light travels about 6 trillion miles in one year (6,000,000,000,000 miles).

    One light year (ly) is equivalent to 6 trillion miles.

    2 ly is the maximum extent of the sun's gravitational dominance - beyond that is the true interstellar medium.

    4.22 ly is the distance to Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the sun.

    8.6 ly is the distance to Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky.

    20 ly is the distance to Giliese 581g, the first discovered candidate for habitable planet.

    310 ly is the distance to Canopus, the second brightest star in the night sky.

    26,000 ly is the distance to the center of the Milky Way galaxy, our galaxy that the sun and earth reside within.

    100,000 ly is the distance across the Milky Way galaxy, and has between 200 to 400 billion stars.

    165,000 ly is the distance to R136a1, located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, the most luminous star known at 8,700,000 time the luminousity of the sun.

    2,500,000 ly is the distance to the Andromeda Galaxy, which is visible in the night sky.

    3,000,000 ly is the distance to the Triangulum Galaxy, the most distant object visible to the naked eye.

    59,000,000 ly is the distance to the Virgo Cluster, the nearest large galaxy cluster.

    250,000,000 ly is the distance to the Great Attractor, a gravity anomaly in intergalactic space within the range of the Centaurus Supercluster that reveals the existence of a localised concentration of mass equivalent to tens of thousands of Milky Ways, observable by its effect on the motion of galaxies and their associated clusters over a region of hundreds of millions of light years across.

    1,200,000,000 ly is the distance to the Sloan Great Wall, a giant wall of galaxies (a galactic filament) and, as of 2010, is the largest known structure in the Universe. It measures 1,370,000,000 ly across, or about 1,370 times larger than the Milky Way galaxy.

    2,400,000,000 ly is the distance to 3C 273, optically the brightest quasar to date in the Universe.

    300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 is the most current estimate of the number of stars in the Universe.

    13,750,000,000 years is the approximate age of the Universe since the Big Bang.

    4,540,000,000 years is the approximate age of the earth, a first generation planet, and the sun, a second generation star, both of which were created after the first generation star in this region of the Universe exploded at the end of its star cycle.

    The above statements are generally recognized by professional scientists as statements of fact, based on our best available knowledge to date.

    Is it OK to ask a Commissioner, who heads a department that is based on the tenets of science as one of its core foundations, if there are any personal or professional issues with the current state of scientific understanding of the above statements?

    If it is OK to follow that line of questioning, is there any response that would be fatal to a Commissioner being able to run a department that has science as a pillar of its foundation?
    In a word...No. What's your point?

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    Let's see, in a word, creationism.

    The Governor ducked the question of the age of the world in the gubernatorial debates. Does it mean the Governor is a creationist - no - but it does mean it is an unresolved question.

    So, did the Governor appoint a creationist as Commissioner of Fish and Game, and if so, does it matter? It is a rumor going round in some circles.

    If so, how old do you believe the Earth is?

    Does a person's basic understanding and belief in how old the world is influence how that person approaches management of fish and game resources?

    Do you believe the world is 6,000 - 10,000 years old, or do you believe the world is 4.54 billion years old?

    Does your belief in the age of world rest in religious belief, or science?

    99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999999+% of the stars in the universe are more than 10,000 light years away from Earth.

    When a person looks up at the night time sky, and you see the stars - is it your understanding that the light from stars come from the stars, or from some supernatural imposition of light created in transit 10,000 years ago?

    If a person believes the world is 10,000 years old, then in my opinion that person is not scientifically literate.

    Is it important to have a scientific literate person as commissioner of fish and game, or not?

    If a person is not scientifically literate, can that person still be commissioner of fish and game and do an adequate job in that position?

  4. #4

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    This debate was settled in the other thread. Science and the scientists agendas are but one leeetle tiny piece of the puzzle. The Commish has to be able to weed out the nonsense and make decisions based on their interpretations of the entire process. Science is about .00000000000001% of the equation, hardly relevant.
    Cora Campbell will do just fine, in spite of the opposition by those narrow-minded enough to think they have all the answers. If they are so smart...why weren't they selected to serve? But, I think you already know the answer to that!!!
    "96% of all Internet Quotes are suspect and the remaining 4% are fiction."
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    Quote Originally Posted by North Star View Post
    I have read with some amusement the ongoing debates on the qualifications of the commissioner for fish and game.

    As the New Year started off with a bang of fireworks that lit up some sections of our northern sky, I will throw out a question to debate:

    From a professional science perspective: is it appropriate to ask for a person's understanding of distance and time, as it relates to the scienctific knowledge of the speed of light, the distance light travels, and how that relates to the scientific knowledge of the size and age of the sun, the earth, the solar system, the Milky Way galaxy, the other billion plus galaxies, and the Universe in general?

    The speed of light: approximately 186,282 miles per second.

    It takes reflected sunlight from the Moon to the Earth about 1.25 seconds.

    It takes sunlight about 499 seconds to travel from the Sun to the Earth, a distance known as one astronomical unit.

    Light travels about 6 trillion miles in one year (6,000,000,000,000 miles).

    One light year (ly) is equivalent to 6 trillion miles.

    2 ly is the maximum extent of the sun's gravitational dominance - beyond that is the true interstellar medium.

    4.22 ly is the distance to Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the sun.

    8.6 ly is the distance to Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky.

    20 ly is the distance to Giliese 581g, the first discovered candidate for habitable planet.

    310 ly is the distance to Canopus, the second brightest star in the night sky.

    26,000 ly is the distance to the center of the Milky Way galaxy, our galaxy that the sun and earth reside within.

    100,000 ly is the distance across the Milky Way galaxy, and has between 200 to 400 billion stars.

    165,000 ly is the distance to R136a1, located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, the most luminous star known at 8,700,000 time the luminousity of the sun.

    2,500,000 ly is the distance to the Andromeda Galaxy, which is visible in the night sky.

    3,000,000 ly is the distance to the Triangulum Galaxy, the most distant object visible to the naked eye.

    59,000,000 ly is the distance to the Virgo Cluster, the nearest large galaxy cluster.

    250,000,000 ly is the distance to the Great Attractor, a gravity anomaly in intergalactic space within the range of the Centaurus Supercluster that reveals the existence of a localised concentration of mass equivalent to tens of thousands of Milky Ways, observable by its effect on the motion of galaxies and their associated clusters over a region of hundreds of millions of light years across.

    1,200,000,000 ly is the distance to the Sloan Great Wall, a giant wall of galaxies (a galactic filament) and, as of 2010, is the largest known structure in the Universe. It measures 1,370,000,000 ly across, or about 1,370 times larger than the Milky Way galaxy.

    2,400,000,000 ly is the distance to 3C 273, optically the brightest quasar to date in the Universe.

    300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 is the most current estimate of the number of stars in the Universe.

    13,750,000,000 years is the approximate age of the Universe since the Big Bang.

    4,540,000,000 years is the approximate age of the earth, a first generation planet, and the sun, a second generation star, both of which were created after the first generation star in this region of the Universe exploded at the end of its star cycle.

    The above statements are generally recognized by professional scientists as statements of fact, based on our best available knowledge to date.

    Is it OK to ask a Commissioner, who heads a department that is based on the tenets of science as one of its core foundations, if there are any personal or professional issues with the current state of scientific understanding of the above statements?

    If it is OK to follow that line of questioning, is there any response that would be fatal to a Commissioner being able to run a department that has science as a pillar of its foundation?
    The foolish profess to be wise once again.

    North Star you are using old Newtonian Physics to argue physics that can only be explained by modern day Einstein theories.

    First of all, you are right that the speed of light can be measured, using a simple mathematical equation of V=D/T. And you are right that using this logic, you can extrapolate enormous amounts of time for the observable universe.

    But, what you failed to mention was...

    #1) Let's talk about time. Einstein demonstrated that at the speed of light, time travels so slow, that light could travel for millions and billions of years by time, as observed from Earth, but from the relative perspective of a person traveling at the speed of light, time did not change, or at least very light change occurs. So, did the light really travel for millions or billions of years? From whose perspective are you observing? Time is not a constant.

    #2) Let's talk about distance. Assuming you are an astronomer, I am sure you are familiar with parallax trigonometry. If you are familiar then you will know, that it is virtually impossible to know with 100% certainty the distance to stars beyond a given point. Just to measure the distance to a star using parallax trigonometry at 100 light years away is extremely difficult and highly imprecise to say the least, let alone stars that are 1,000,000,000 light years away. We don't have the scientific capability of measuring these distances. Distances are only guessed using pulsars, and this is highly speculative science also. But, for the sake of argument, Let's assume we know the distances. Even if we know the distances, we almost certainly do not know the distances are the same as they always have been. In fact, based on the red shift argument, the universe is expanding. So, if the universe is expanding, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the light that is in transit is being stretched out and therefore the source of the light used to be much closer to Earth.

    #3) Let's talk about velocity. The velocity of light is not always a constant. Scientists have in fact been able to slow light down to about as fast as the speed of a bullet in the laboratory using temperatures close to absolute zero. There are many places in the universe that are only a few degrees above absolute zero. Light can slow to a complete stop in a gravitational well like in the case of a black hole. You know the little black dot in the center of a black hole. That is called an event horizon. The event horizon is dark because the gravity is so strong at the center of that black hole, that light is actually being sucked backwards into the hole.

    #4) You mentioned the big bang. Well if all life and observable matter originated from nothing but an explosion, then why is our universe anisotropic. That is to say, why are there supposedly millions and billions of light years of voids, separated by nebulas and brilliant galaxies. If it really was caused by a big bang, the laws of physics would have caused it to be spread out evenly, not in dense clumps separated by voids.

    #5) What about anti matter? In all the tests that have tried to model the big bang, all our data suggests that the universe should be filled with equal amounts of matter and anti matter? Why have we not found any anti matter yet? There should be massive amounts of anti matter all over the universe. None has been discovered.

    Lastly, what on Earth does astronomy and the age of the earth have anything to do with managing fish and game? I see this as a pointless argument that can never be resolved and it has nothing to do with managing fish and game.

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    I'm not sure I read this right, but it would seem that the OP is suggesting our governor ignore fairness in hiring laws regarding religious beliefs when selecting a commissioner.

    Civil Rights act of 1964, SEC. 2000e-2. [Section 703]
    (a) Employer practices
    It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer -
    (1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individualís race, color, religion, sex, or national origin;

    A person cannot be discriminated against for a state job based on their religion. Period. But what I am hearing is that the absolute DISqualifier for a commissioner is a belief that this universe was created- a religious belief. Any other religious belief, as long as it doesn't involve a creator, is ok for a commissioner to hold.

    Its really no surprise that someone would bring it up. After all, the commissioner elect's age and sex have already been brought up as reasons not to hire her, so why not religion? Now we just need to name her color and national origin as further reasons she'll be a bad commish, and we'll have failed the discrimination test on all fronts!

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    Quote Originally Posted by North Star View Post
    Let's see, in a word, creationism.

    The Governor ducked the question of the age of the world in the gubernatorial debates. Does it mean the Governor is a creationist - no - but it does mean it is an unresolved question.

    So, did the Governor appoint a creationist as Commissioner of Fish and Game, and if so, does it matter? It is a rumor going round in some circles.

    If so, how old do you believe the Earth is?

    Does a person's basic understanding and belief in how old the world is influence how that person approaches management of fish and game resources?

    Do you believe the world is 6,000 - 10,000 years old, or do you believe the world is 4.54 billion years old?

    Does your belief in the age of world rest in religious belief, or science? . . .

    If a person believes the world is 10,000 years old, then in my opinion that person is not scientifically literate.

    Is it important to have a scientific literate person as commissioner of fish and game, or not?

    If a person is not scientifically literate, can that person still be commissioner of fish and game and do an adequate job in that position?
    So what does all that have to do with the price of cheese in Denmark? Sounds like a sneaky attempt to stir up the old Atheistic/Scientific/Philosophical Materialism versus Theism debate.

    Have been gone for a while, but last I knew such topics were off-limits on these fora. Have things changed?

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    Bushwack Jack,

    Wonderful response........scientific one, too!

    Ted

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    Quote Originally Posted by North Star View Post
    So, did the Governor appoint a creationist as Commissioner of Fish and Game, and if so, does it matter? It is a rumor going round in some circles.
    I can't definitively answer this, but I've known Cora for a number of years and I really, really doubt this to be true. Welcome to the forum North Star, but you've picked a heck of a wild rumor for your first posts. That has not gone around in my "circle".


    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    Its really no surprise that someone would bring it up. After all, the commissioner elect's age and sex have already been brought up as reasons not to hire her, so why not religion?
    Who ever brought up her gender? I have followed all of this fairly closely and haven't seen it anywhere.

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    Default Gender reference . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by MRFISH View Post
    Who ever brought up her gender? I have followed all of this fairly closely and haven't seen it anywhere.
    Here's the closest thing i could find in print. It's from an article, Resume inflation won't help acting Fish and Game commissioner, by Craig Medred in the Alaska Dispatch:

    The acting commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Cora Campbell, is a 31-year-old woman . . .
    http://alaskadispatch.com/voices/med...e-commissioner

    Had Campbell been a male, would Medred's line have read "The acting commissioner is a 31-year-old man"?

    I doubt it . . . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    Here's the closest thing i could find in print. It's from an article, Resume inflation won't help acting Fish and Game commissioner, by Craig Medred in the Alaska Dispatch:



    http://alaskadispatch.com/voices/med...e-commissioner

    Had Campbell been a male, would Medred's line have read "The acting commissioner is a 31-year-old man"?

    I doubt it . . . .
    It is also stated in almost every post on this very forum...for those that might want to recognize it for what it is..."she, her, woman, female, yada, yada" These folks know what they are saying/writing, make no mistake.
    "96% of all Internet Quotes are suspect and the remaining 4% are fiction."
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    Quote Originally Posted by North Star View Post
    ... 13,750,000,000 years is the approximate age of the Universe since the Big Bang ... The above statements are generally recognized by professional scientists as statements of fact, based on our best available knowledge to date.

    It seems logical and consistent with observed phenomena that there probably was a Big Bang 13.7 B years ago, but there are certain oddities that leave it increasingly unclear. For one, very soon after what we believe was the Big Bang occurred, the Universe already had expanded to most of its current size. To do so, it would have had to have expanded faster than the speed of light as it exists here and now. This could mean that the speed of light was actually far different under the almost infinite pressures and temperatures present in the Big Bang. Which is possible. Or maybe, as some now hypothesize, the universe had collapsed to the point where the balance between dark matter and dark energy became such that it began expanding again. Right now, dark energy appears to make up about 75% of the Universe, and dark matter appears to make up about 25% of the Universe, and the matter and light in the Universe we can see and feel makes up only a fraction of 1% of the Universe. And every scientist admits that we donít know much about dark matter and dark energy. They have to be the reason that spiral galaxies, like the Milky Way, donít spin apart. The outer spirals spin at the same rate as the inner ones. That would be like Pluto or Uranus (heh, heh, I just like to say that one) spinning around the sun at the same rate as the Earth or Mercury. It would just spin off away from our solar system. The only reason that the outer bands of a spiral galaxy can spin at the same rate as the inner bands (which is true) has, almost certainly, something to do with dark energy and/or dark matter.

    Earlier in the Universe, dark matter appears to have had the upper hand. Right now, however, dark energy appears to have the upper hand, which is why the Universe is accelerating apart. But we donít know if this will continue on forever like this or why it might or might not. We can guess, but thatís about it.

    Without knowing more than we do, the images we have from the early Universe do not foreclose the possibility that the Universe was contracting 13-14 billion years ago, and then started expanding again.

    I donít know anything about the Commissioner, but my dad is a ďprofessional scientistĒ (a physicist) and heís pretty much assumed for decades that the Big Bang occurred and about 13.7 billion years ago. But he, and some others, have increasing doubts, or at least questions about that, in recent years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    ... #3) Let's talk about velocity. The velocity of light is not always a constant. Scientists have in fact been able to slow light down to about as fast as the speed of a bullet in the laboratory using temperatures close to absolute zero. There are many places in the universe that are only a few degrees above absolute zero. Light can slow to a complete stop in a gravitational well like in the case of a black hole. ...
    I know gravity can impact the speed of light, but I have never heard of temperature doing that. You may be correct, but can you tell me more about this test? It sounds illogical to me because it is not that "[t]here are many places in the universe that are only a few degrees above absolute zero"--it is that in the vast majority of the Universe, the temperature is near absolute zero (in the vast spaces between galaxies, or individual stars, or other matter, which make up most of the Universe). Thus, if the speed of light in a vacuum near absolute zero was the same as the speed of any bullet, the light from most of the Milky Way, let alone other galaxies, would never have reached us. I don't think that's correct.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarineHawk View Post
    I know gravity can impact the speed of light, but I have never heard of temperature doing that. You may be correct, but can you tell me more about this test? It sounds illogical to me because it is not that "[t]here are many places in the universe that are only a few degrees above absolute zero"--it is that in the vast majority of the Universe, the temperature is near absolute zero (in the vast spaces between galaxies, or individual stars, or other matter, which make up most of the Universe). Thus, if the speed of light in a vacuum near absolute zero was the same as the speed of any bullet, the light from most of the Milky Way, let alone other galaxies, would never have reached us. I don't think that's correct.
    I Googled "temperature speed of light" and came up with this. Have no idea what I'm looking at, but it might be of value for your question?

    Scientists Put the Deep Freeze on Light
    and Slow It Down to 38 Miles Per Hour!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    I Googled "temperature speed of light" and came up with this. Have no idea what I'm looking at, but it might be of value for your question?

    Scientists Put the Deep Freeze on Light
    and Slow It Down to 38 Miles Per Hour!
    Interesting. Thanks.

    But, as it says, light traveling through a vacuum is constant. The light we can see from many (billions of) distant galaxies is traveling through empty space (I.e., a vacuum). Thus, we know how far away they are.

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    Ahh, but do we know space has always been a vacuum, marine?

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