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Trying to help a creationist on YouTube

AndromedasWake

New Member
Recently, I was sent a message by YouTube user thelambreturn and, perhaps foolishly, believed it to be a sincere astronomy related question. As a result, I responded but having seen a comment from him on my channel mentioning the bacterial flagellum, realised what I was dealing with. Still, his first response seemed genuine, so I continued. After one more he got himself quite wound up and started preaching. See for yourself.

Messages begin.
thelambreturn said:
ok explain me why,the sun his always a different size?

AndromedasWake said:
I'm not quite sure what you're asking. The apparent size of the solar disk changes periodically over the course of a year, because our orbit around the Sun brings us closer to it during the Northern Hemisphere Winter. We are closer to the Sun now and will be furthest from it in 6 months. Although the change is not very great, it is the reason we see annular eclipses (like the one recently seen in Northern Africa and India). When our orbit brings us closest to the Sun, and the Moon's orbit takes it furthest from the Earth (remember, neither of these orbits is perfectly circular), the disk of the New Moon cannot cover the disk of the Sun at totality. The correct word is annularity, because we still see the Sun's limb and some of its face as an annular shape.

You may be alluding to the periodicity of the Sun's diameter. This is a pretty controversial topic, since previous measurement's have been shown to be wrought with experimental error giving us a very poor historical record of the variations, but we expect the variation nonetheless because the Sun, like all stars, varies periodically in its luminosity. We expect the more active Sun to inflate somewhat, because the increased radiation pressure slightly outmuscles the gravity holding the star together. Of course, over long periods the two are effectively balanced, but on short periods they are continuously fighting. This leads to a small variation in size, though it is difficult to measure precisely. Sofia et al. published an interesting summary of the problem in 2005, which can be found here: http://is.gd/6J89n

Hope that helps!
-TK

thelambreturn said:
my question his,if we roll on a space time continium,around the sun,like hellicentrism say,why then the sun his not the same size at each time of the day,why we have a sun 3 time bigger one day at 3 ,the day after 3 time smaller,and why they say that at the speed of light time stop,and in the same theory they say it take 8,2 minutes to light to travel sun to earth!

Then, shortly afterwards....
thelambreturn said:
hmmm maybe its 8,3,but what do we know since WE,i mean you and me,never been to space,and test all this,they (THEY) can say waterver what they want to say,how could WE be sure.

AndromedasWake said:
I have formal scientific training in astrophysics, which is the study of the motions of celestial bodies and the forces which govern those motions. In that sense, I am one of "them". You do not need to go into space to calculate the distance to the Sun, the mathematical proof is very simple. The ancient Greeks were the first to make decent estimates by calculating firstly the distance to the Moon in terms of Earth radii (they found the Earth's radius by measuring its curvature using shadows and assuming it to be spherical). Once you have the distance to the Moon you can construct a trigonometric problem when the Moon is half-lit, but you have to estimate the size of the Sun. For a long time, most people believed the Sun to be about 20 times further away than the Moon. The true figure is around 400 times further away, but how did we determine that?

Well, the Europeans and Islamic astronomers raced to pin down the answer, but Europe won when Kepler published his laws of planetary motion, which accurately described the paths all the planets took around the Sun. By observing Mercury and Venus, the two inferior planets, astronomers like Kepler were able to calculate how close they were to the Sun, and how close we are relative to them. His earliest estimates put the distance at around 250 times, much closer to the actual value of 400. Further refinements came with better observations, and the figure of about 150,000,000 km was well established by the 20th Century. Today, we can use RADAR to accurately measure the distance to the other planets and we can trace the periods of their orbits extremely accurately, so we have a very good picture of the Solar System. And it's just as well, because knowing the distance to the Sun and other planets has allowed us to send spacecraft all over the Solar System. In fact, there is a future mission planned which will actually go to the Sun!

Now, your question seems to be about the apparent size of the Sun. I can assure you (because I'm an astronomer, and the Sun is one of my favourite things to study through a solar-filtered telescope) that the Sun is not bigger or smaller from one day to the next. It always subtends an angle of 0.5 degrees on the sky (that's about half the width of your little finger).

It may look bigger or smaller because of the weather. If you see the Sun through thick cloud, much of the glaring light (which is scattered off the sky) is stripped away and you see less of it, whereas on a clear day if you look at the Sun you'll see a big white disc, because the light is scattering all over the place. But the Sun's disk is always the same size. It may also look bigger at sunrise/sunset, because the Sun and the Moon look bigger when they're near the horizon. This is purely an optical illusion caused by our brains to make things look bigger when they're low enough to be compared with the ground, and smaller when they're high overhead.

Hope this helps.

P.S. NEVER EVER look at the Sun through a telescope without getting help from an astronomer. You need a special filter to take away over 99.9% of its light, including 100% of the UV light or you will blind yourself!

thelambreturn said:
you dont answer,you tuen around and say totaly irrlevant things,you know nothing,all you supposed wisdom his fake,bla bla bla,my question his simple,WHY you say time stop at light speed,and it take 8,3 minutes to light to travel sun to earth,and why the sun his not always the same size if we are rolling on a space time continium,it should be the same size no,let me guess your answer,gaz effects,ok then,why the moon when its out in the day,his not full,if shes full at night because of supposed gravity bend light,why when shes in direct contact with light of the sun its not full,you know it would help you to read the bible,cause the time his near.

Messages end.

On reflection, I made a couple of mistakes that could cause potential confusion. Most notably, I told him the solar disk changes in apparent size throughout the year, but not from one day to the next, which is contradictory. It is merely not noticeable from day to day, and to the unaided eye will always appear about 0.5 degrees. This is what I meant to imply, but could have phrased it better. I am still considering how to respond, and will update the post (after this paragraph) with any further messages.
 

MRaverz

New Member
WHY you say time stop at light speed,and it take 8,3 minutes to light to travel sun to earth,

From what I gather, he's asking why if you were to travel at light speed why would time stop? Then continues to ask how something could take 8.3 minutes to get here if it's travelling at a speed where time would not exist.

Does that make sense at all? D;
 

AndromedasWake

New Member
That question finally got through to me after re-reading it several times, and will be the subject of my next response to him. I clearly can't decipher the bit about the Sun changing size :?
 

e2iPi

New Member
you know it would help you to read the bible,cause the time his near.
It would probably help for this guy to read something OTHER than the bible. He obviously has absolutely no understanding of even the most elementary physics or the spacial relationship between the Sun, Moon and Earth. If he is truly looking to gain knowledge, I'm all about passing that knowledge on, but it sounds to me as if he is one of those who has their mind made up and is simply regurgitating failed arguments from some wackjob's website with no understanding of their (flawed) foundations.

That's my two cents (or pence, if you prefer :D )

-1
 

borrofburi

New Member
AndromedasWake said:
In fact, there is a future mission planned which will actually go to the Sun!
You mean the SDO? <3 Nasa, it does all this work and I as a layman get knowledge the best of the greeks would envy.
AndromedasWake said:
Most notably, I told him the solar disk changes in apparent size throughout the year, but not from one day to the next, which is contradictory. It is merely not noticeable from day to day, and to the unaided eye will always appear about 0.5 degrees.
I do not think this is where his confusion lies.
 

Pulsar

New Member
thelambreturn said:
ok then,why the moon when its out in the day,his not full,if shes full at night because of supposed gravity bend light,why when shes in direct contact with light of the sun its not full,you know it would help you to read the bible,cause the time his near.
That actually hurt my eyes... his profile says he's 35, but I really hope he isn't. How can these people figure out how to use a computer?
thelambreturn said:
WHY you say time stop at light speed,and it take 8,3 minutes to light to travel sun to earth.
Good luck explaining relativity to him, when he doesn't even grasp lunar phases.
thelambreturn said:
why then the sun his not the same size at each time of the day.
I also thought he was talking about the Moon illusion, but you already mentioned that. Ask him for a source, cause I have no idea what he's talking about.
 

MRaverz

New Member
AndromedasWake said:
That question finally got through to me after re-reading it several times, and will be the subject of my next response to him. I clearly can't decipher the bit about the Sun changing size :?
I can understand the confusion, the English is terrible. D;
 

australopithecus

Active Member
Seems like your typical "I don't know, therefore no one can know" personal incredulity schtick. Obviously the language barrier is clouding it a little, but I've had this trouble when debating. How exactly can you convince someone who is convinced that we cant know the answer to something that we do actually know the answer to something?
 
this is what I would answer.
you dont answer,you tuen around and say totaly irrlevant things,you know nothing,all you supposed wisdom his fake,bla bla bla,my question his simple,
Do you want a simple answer? Not applicable. Did that explained to you anything? I don't think so.
WHY you say time stop at light speed,and it take 8,3 minutes to light to travel sun to earth,
Because the 8.3 min are not measured in the frame of reference of the light.
and why the sun his not always the same size if we are rolling on a space time continium,it should be the same size no,
Apparently you are confusing what they are with what they look like.
let me guess your answer,gaz effects,ok then,why the moon when its out in the day,his not full,if shes full at night because of supposed gravity bend light,
No, the gravity of the earth doesn't bend light that much, you are only assuming that during the night the moon must be on the shadow of the earth, which doesn't.
why when shes in direct contact with light of the sun its not full,
If you are looking at the moon during the day you will also be looking at side of the moon which is not facing the sun.
you know it would help you to read the bible,cause the time his near.
Obviously not, because apparently you read it and you are still stupid.
But then again I don't have any patience for people like this and this is not your style. It would be a conversation stoper.
 

xman

New Member
Wow. Language barrier and belief structure. I'd say there is no way to get through to him, but he did agree eventually with the time it takes for the sun's light to reach the earth so I must admit it could be possible.

re. "read the bible" I think it is important to dismiss this notion immediately. State that you have read it even if you have only read part and even if you haven't mention that it is not relevant to the discussion at hand. Unless he can be directed to look for answers in the appropriate place there will always be too many obstacles.

Good luck.

X
 

jomen112

New Member
AndromedasWake said:
On reflection, I made a couple of mistakes that could cause potential confusion.

One can not ask someone to read before they learned the alphabet.

A possibility is that you may be dealing with ignorance of basic scientific knowledge in combination with overconfidence in own abilities (check out the Dunning-Kruger effect). We all suffer from this to a more or lesser extent. However, if a person does not respond to a statement meant to correct a faulty belief it may suggest they did not understood the correction to start with which in turns suggest they may lack more basic knowledge in order to even understand the statement of correction.

The "cure" to this is patience and humbleness. And you will need lots of both as there is no guaranteed result of success. In the end it is your choice if you think it is worth your time trying to educate this kind of people or not.
AndromedasWake said:
That question finally got through to me after re-reading it several times, and will be the subject of my next response to him. I clearly can't decipher the bit about the Sun changing size :?

Since there clearly is a language barrier then do not try to second guess questions - that will just make your answer more confusing to him (in case you guessed wrong). Make clear that you do not understand what it is he is asking and ask if he is able to to rephrase the question or a make a clarification. When you think you understand what the question is, write down the question in your own word and confirm if this is the question that was made. If still no yes answer; repeat from the start. Patience is a virtue....

You will also need to think physics very hard, not just read the questions as it is but try to translate whatever may sound strange into terms that makes perfect sense. Many years ago a guy that knew nothing about computers ask me: Should I get a hard drive that stand up or lays down? I tried to explain for him it did not matter until I realized he was wondering if he should get a tower or desktop model. He simply had named the computer box hard drive because he did not know any better. But it kept me confused for about an hour or so.

If we assume people think rational and says rational thing when they speak but lack knowledge then if they say something that sound weird you may need to try to substitute meanings in order to understand. The problem may also be not due to that he lacks knowledge but that you know to much and that prevents you from understanding what he ask - you are not thinking at the same level. In such case it is your responsibility to lover your level because he can not raise his. I am not saying this is easy to do and that is the reason why teaching is so hard. It is much easier to disssmiss somebody as a foul than realize it is a matter of different way to think about things.

And this is indicative of that this may be the case:
you dont answer,you tuen around and say totaly irrlevant things,you know nothing,all you supposed wisdom his fake,bla bla bla,my question his simple,WHY you say time stop at light speed,and it take 8,3 minutes to light to travel sun to earth

He sees what you says as a contradiction. It does not make sense to him in his scope of knowledge. It is then your resposibility to lover your level here.

Also remeber that words help use think and it may be so that our (rational) thinking is limited to the words we knows. It takes tons of patience to teach.
 

jomen112

New Member
australopithecus said:
How exactly can you convince someone who is convinced that we cant know the answer to something that we do actually know the answer to something?

Have you taken in consideration that the problem may not be the other person but the method you are using? Since you ask the question I assume you do, however if they have clearly stated that they will not be convinced no matter what you say then there is no point in trying to convince them. So why bother to try? Do you need to convince other people to reassure yourself your are right? I do not think you do, but do consider that question before you try to convince anybody of anything.

Anyway, this is my thought in this matter:

When people trust their emotion more than rational reasoning you will always fail with rational reasoning. We (read: all of use) are much more prone to follow our feelings than we want to admit to our self. For instance fear of something can make you believe in any irrational thing whatsoever. Have you ever been afraid of the dark? Have you ever felt that "there is something there" and tried to reason with your self that that is not the case to calm the fear? If you have then you will understand how difficult it is to reason with emotions. I would think that something similar goes on in people with irrational beliefs. It doesnt matter what you tell them - they will feel what you say are wrong. You can not argue with peoples emotions however you can "talk" to their emotions and slolvy start a process to convince them that way.

For instance if people think the bacterial flagellum is a miracle made by god, then politely point out the suffering bacterias causes. Do not do this in offensive way, do not accuse or ridicule, but stick to the facts, just like you do not argue offensive in a rational debate.
 

jomen112

New Member
Prolescum said:
You may want to check the date of posts you're considering responding to beforehand.

Thank for pointing this out to me, a bit embarrassing this I have to admit. I have tried to locate a posted date, but I do not see any date when things been posted and have simply assumed the top post to be the most recent. (Apparently I have not check carefully enough - if you can hint me where I can see it I would appreciate that).

Note added afterward: I think I figured that out now. ;-) Anyway, thanks for your feedback comment.
 
jomen112 said:
Prolescum said:
You may want to check the date of posts you're considering responding to beforehand.

Thank for pointing this out to me, a bit embarrassing this I have to admit. I have tried to locate a posted date, but I do not see any date when things been posted and have simply assumed the top post to be the most recent. (Apparently I have not check carefully enough - if you can hint me where I can see it I would appreciate that).

Note added afterward: I think I figured that out now. ;-) Anyway, thanks for your feedback comment.
How did this even happen? Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against thread necromancy and I even do it myself sometimes. However, I don't understand how one can do it accidentally. How did you respond in this thread without knowing how old it is?
 
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