---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 6 Jun 1997 19:48:05 -0400
Subject: 3rd notes on Phil. Stott
I have received the following reply of Phillip Stott to the 3rd set of
notes on his lecture in America that appeared on the net.
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Fri, 16 May 1997 09:22 EST
> Subject: Stott Notes #3
> This is my final list of notes from the astronomy problems talk delivered
> April 25 in Maryland.
> 23. Comets (here I must take a pot shot - I'm sure he used a photo of a
> meteor - red, bring "tail", bright background) are shortlived critters.
> They emit massive amounts of gas/dust. Therefore there continued
> presence argues for a young solar system.
Sorry, your pot shot is wrong, the slide showed comet Ikeye-Seki.
> 24. The theory of the Oort cloud is totally unproven, along with any
> traveling neighbor star. The orbits of comets show that they could not
> have come from such a symmetrical source. Therefore the solar system is
Rather, therefore the Oort explanation is not tenable, hence
there is one less ad hoc explanation of how the solar system could be
old. The main point here was to introduce Carl Sagan's statement:-
"Many scientific papers are writen each year about the Oort cloud -
its origin its properties its evolution. Yet there is not a shred of
observational evidene for its existence." My comments were not aimed so
much to the conclusions to be drawn for the age of the solar system,
but on the value of "science" which is built on "not a shred of
> 25. Astronomers are dishonest - publishing theories already known to be
> false in peer reviewed journals. Deminson (sp), Feedler, Johnson
> reported a disappearing Quasar in NATURE (couldn't read the date). They
> theorized a drifting cloud had obscured it. Others in ASTRONOMY state
> that the author's mechanism is known to be false. Therefore all
> astronomers are dishonest people.
Dennis, Fiedler and Johnson (NATURE April 16 1987).
Review of their paper in ASTRONOMY December 1987)
In this paper Gerrit L. Verschuur points out the dishonesty I
referred to (though not critically!) and comments:-
"Like all good scientists they are prepared to tolerate the
ambiguities in their model." The conclusion I pointed to is that
according to Verschuur, not only astronomers but "all good
scientists" are behaving like this.
> I am troubled by the zeal of some Christian speakers, and audiences in
> finding fault in science and scientists. The chuckles from the audience
> at several points is sad.
My lectures use citations from the scientists themselves (as in the
above paragraph) to show that they realise that science
today is riddled with inconsistency, ambiguity and even dishonesty. I
think that anyone who does not see that science at the
end of the 20th century is in a critical state needs to look into
the matter more deeply.