What you see is what the funding has produced.
What you don't see is what private industry may have developed had the tax money not been taken and spent on NASA.
You have to think about "what is unseen" whenever thinking about what taxpayer/gov't spending does.
IOW, why assume that gov't bureaucrats are wiser than everyone else, when it comes to spending money?
Good lord no they are not. Not by a long stretch. It may or may not have, but I highly doubt that technology would be as advanced as it is if it were not for these pursuits. NASA needs to take a different approach, and they are starting to by the elimination of the shuttle program. I am sure it is a better use of money than say, homeland security... WTF is the military for right? TSA... Useless, I accidentally carried a pocket knife on a plane before. Oh, and don't forget, handing lazy illiterate druggies money.
Define "life." I'm serious. What does it mean to be "alive"?
I wont try to outdo the classical definition just for a couple posts on this forum. lets stick with that. and for the sake of requiring belief, we'll add in some amount of intelligence--enough to care that there may or may not be a diety like god. I don't think cats spend much time dwelling on their beliefs in other words.
We can get a bunch of the list of requirements from a computer:
1. homeostasis: it can self regulate
2. organization: it is definitely organized
3. metabolism: it can be designed and programmed to find itself an energy source
4. growth: it could be programmed to expand itself given sufficient programming
5. adaptation: more tricky... could it self replicate if there was no gallium handy?
6. response to stimuli: program whatever you want
7. reproduction: could you design a computerized machine that built that same computerized machine?
Intelligence: that's the tough one. getting "software" to truly think that it, itself exists.
But then what is it about our brains that makes us self-aware? Aren't we more or less a highly organized collection of electrical impulses?
I have seen enough in this world to begin to understand that what exists is beautiful, immensely complex, and did not happen by chance.
That's the biggest problem which I have with the concept of atheism in general.
Maybe it's just the engineer in me, but the idea that life, and the conditions required to sustain and nourish it, could spontaneously arise out of a heap of elemental flotsam just doesn't make any sense. Closed systems tend to increase in entropy, and the universe as a whole tends towards greater chaos, not greater order.
For example, let us say that I have a pile of sand on a table in front of me. I also have several pounds of iron ore, a small amount of gold, some bauxite, a few gallons of crude oil, some copper, a bit of gallium, some boron, a pinch of salt, and a copy of "Introduction to Electronics" by Forrest M. Mims III, all of which I place on top of the pile of sand. I pour water all over the table, and then detonate the 1lb block of C4 that was strapped to the underside of it.
Given this, would somebody please describe for me the circumstances under which I should reasonably expect an Xbox360, a copy of Halo 3, a 52" LCD television, and the entire Xbox Live Network to spontaneously arise out of this mess?
It's a bit like the old argument about a million monkeys and a million typewriters. Even under those conditions, the chances of the complete works of Shakespeare being produced are essentially zero, because it is not in the nature of monkeys to type in the first place- they would just fling poo at the typewriters.
I don't claim to have all the answers. But if I were to say "This must have all happened by accident, without any kind of input from an intelligent being" then I would be no less narrowminded than someone who says (tongue not in cheek) "The entire universe was created in six twenty-four hours days by a creature made from flying pasta, life cannot exist outside of earth, etc."
Why is it such an apparent contradiction to say "God exists and He created the universe (as we know it)," and ALSO to say "it is entirely plausible that the Big Bang occurred."? I mean, if I were God, that would probably seem like a pretty cool way to get the ball rolling.
Don't worry, Ben. Jason will soon provide a link to a blog which lets us know precisely why this latest publication is simply the product of collusion between large oil companies, the financial services industry, Fox News, and the department of homeland security, which are conspiring to discredit Hoover's findings, the reasons why they stand to profit from this, and what we can all collectively do about it.
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
(For all those of you who seem to think I've been mixing strong cold medicine and rum all last week, is this sufficiently "in-character" for me?)
The book "The Greatest Show on Earth" goes into detail about it.
I can't summarize it and do it justice. It's a good read.
I've downloaded the "preview" of it for Kindle- looks like the first chapter or so. I'll give it a read.
There's one thing (or rather, several related things) which I want to be clear on, and which I realize not everyone may have immediately grasped on a first reading of my last few posts:
Nothing which I have written should be interpreted as a claim that any or all of the physical processes which we have come to refer to as evolution, the "big bang", etc., absolutely did not take place. I realize that this assumption is a commonly accepted axiom (by both sides) when discussing modern interpretations of the Christian religion, but I simply do not see why that must be the case.
To the contrary, I see no problem in admitting that all of the matter in the universe as we currently perceive it may well have exploded outwards from a singularity quite a long time ago, or that life on earth, including mammalian life, may have undergone a progressive development, changing in form over a long span of time.
Where I differ with the conventional tenets of atheism is this: Why must the aforementioned processes have occurred spontaneously and randomly? Why is it inconceivable that these processes might have been set into motion and/or guided by God?
Let's say that there is no God, godlike entity, etc. If that's the case, and if we have an answer for everything (or at least a theory about it) then riddle me this:
Where did all of the matter and/or energy come from? What preceded it? If the "universe" is expanding, then it must have a finite size and thus an outer boundary- what lies beyond this boundary?
I don't know the answers, and I freely admit this. I feel reasonably confident, however, in positing that they are not "nowhere" and "nothing."