Why Was this Litigated to SCOTUS?

First Amendment – Bill of Rights: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The US Supreme Court was busy this week, once again, trying to protect religious liberty in California. This time, the order focused on restrictions related to household religious gatherings.

The case before the justices involved two residents of Santa Clara County in the San Francisco Bay Area, who want to host small, in-person Bible study sessions in their homes.

The SCOTUS order blasted the 9th Circuit for its repeated rulings, which have supported limitations on religious activities beyond those established for secular ones. In California, you could lawfully  go to a bar or a strip club but could not gather with people in a private home for a non-public religious observance/service, study and prayer.

“This is the fifth time the court has summarily rejected the 9th Circuit’s analysis of California’s COVID restrictions on religious exercise.”

The order spoke for Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote the dissent for herself, Breyer, Roberts and Sotomayor, asserting that the court’s majority was hurting state officials’ ability to address a public health emergency.

It’s amazing that Justices, Kagan, Sotomayor, Breyer and Chief Justice Roberts can’t read the Constitution and interpret it faithfully. They’re scum.

 

Science Requires Positive Evidence

Finding explanations to what we observe is the essence of what science is. At the simplest level is it looking at the world and making sense of why we see what we see.

The science comes when we seek explanations in a systematic way. We take what we have observed, find an explanation that fits what we have observed and then, and this is the hardest part, question our assumptions to see if we should change our explanation, or more likely, expand our explanation.

While I have written this as a simple processes, understanding this process requires applying the process of science to the process of science itself. In the end you end up with a greatly expanded understanding of how not just science works but also how we interact with the universe.

Explaining this is not something that can be done in a single blog post, or even a single book, but it is a lifetime of learning. What I can do is provide examples of how science is either properly or improperly applied. Here I will give one example of a misapplication of science.

A few years ago an asteroid, that we named ʻOumuamua, from outside our solar system passed through our solar system. This was the first asteroid to be positively identified as having an unbound orbit. It was something that got a lot of attention and there were a few ideas proposed, such as gasses venting from the inside, or even we had measured its shape and mass incorrectly because it was spinning rapidly, or any number of possibilities.

Two astronomers at Harvard proposed the idea that ʻOumuamua was actually a spacecraft from an alien race. Their argument rested on the fact that as ʻOumuamua began its journey out of the solar system its velocity was not changing as we would expect. Its velocity was consistently too high. This would mean that there was something giving ʻOumuamua a push on its way out.

There is nothing wrong with proposing that something is evidence for extra-terrestrial life, it is after all an open question in science. But their motivation for their conclusion was flawed. Their argument rested on the fact that our measurements of ʻOumuamua’s motion did not fit with our other measurements of its properties. Put simply, there was a difference between what was measured and what was calculated for its speed.

The problem with the alien spaceship theory was that there was no positive evidence pointing towards that idea. There only existed uncertainty in how it’s motion could be explained by our other measurements of ʻOumuamua.

In the measurements of ʻOumuamua there was some uncertainty of its dimensions, spin, composition, and mass. ʻOumuamua’s motion was not outside the possibility that it was just an asteroid and nothing else, just unlikely. Thus its motion did not constitute positive evidence for ʻOumuamua being an alien spacecraft.

Something is positive evidence iff its presence, or our knowledge of it, can only be explained by the proposed theory. That is, if the explanations needed to accommodate the new observations break our current understanding and theories at a fundamental level.

In the case of ʻOumuamua the difference between the measurements and calculations did not fundamentally break our understanding of physics. It didn’t even make it exceptionally difficult to find other explanations that did not require it to be an alien spacecraft. Hence it could not count as positive evidence for it being an alien spacecraft.

If, for example, ʻOumuamua had been emitting regular radio signals with a defined pattern, then that would be positive evidence. In our understanding of physics there is no way for a hunk of space rock to make radio signals with a regular pattern. But to have its motion be slightly off from what we calculated, that is not positive evidence. Therefore not only is the idea not supported by the evidence, but proposing the idea was not supported by the evidence.

The critical thing that separates new scientific ideas from normal speculation is that there must be positive evidence first. This is a minimum bar to separate science from non-science. Finding evidence of aliens is perfectly within the realm of science, but we must be careful because not all things can be positive evidence for aliens.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Why did that case reach the Supremes? Why has any Gun Case not been squashed by any of the Supremes?

    Because the Supremes have always been political, sometimes more political, sometimes less political, but always political.

    Thus, well, you get candidates who, during their confirmation hearings, openly state they will not follow the Constitution but will follow their hearts (their little, black, Satan-controlled hearts.)

    As to the ‘artifact’? Well, gee, why not it being an alien construct since so many of our fellow sapiens firmly believe that Mankind couldn’t ever make pyramids, grok advanced math – even today, but especially pre-Newtonian and positively not, oh, the pre-Columbians, the Egyptians, the early Chinese, the Greeks, the Romans, the Celts and, really, just about everyone except sub-Saharan Africans exclusive of the ancient Ethiopians.

    Scientific method includes postulating a concept out of one’s ass. Then includes taking the ass-concept and formulating it into a hypothesis. Nothing becomes a theory until it can be tested and verified, repeatedly.

    And that’s the issue. The Media (who are, well, butt-sphincters) and other leftist-non-thinking-jerkwads confuse theory with WAG (wild ass guesses.) Yes, post the WAGs, but post them as WAGs.

    Like, you know, Newton publishes that he has had three WAGs. If he tries to say they are actual, you know, theories, then the rest of the scientific and non-scientific world can rightly point to Newton and say, “STFU, you dumb-arse. Luzer! LOL!! Show us the science, Newb!”

    But if, like he actually did, Newton hypothesizes the three laws of motion, then experiments and verifies that, yep, the hypos are real, then they are theories. Prove them hard enough, they become Law.

    It’s like that stupid Drake Equation, that too many people think is a real Law of the Universesesese (add echo to the end of the Universe for the correct effect.) Jerk professor says that since there are buttload of X stars, of which a smaller buttload have Y planetary systems, of which a smaller buttload of Z have planets in the habitable zone, then (scratches ass, gets an idea) there must be XYZ% of Advanced Civilizations, not to mention just plain old life out there.

    No. Just… No. Firstus, prove it. So far it is maybe a hypothesis. And so far a failed hypothesis, since all the testing so far has found bupkis.

    When you factor in the totality of factors that allowed an Earth-sized planet in a habitable zone with a large enough moon that has two really big brothers (Jupiter and Saturn) to run interference on asteroids and comets, all circling around a smallish star of just the right spectrum to not throw out a mega-shiteload of deadly radiation (so much that said radiation penetrates both the magnetic sphere of the planet and the atmosphere) and (starts adding up all the very narrow parameters) it is far more likely that We and Life on Earth in general are quite unique. All of which is a strong hypothesis heading towards a potential theory since all of the parameters of the hypothesis are rapidly being proven true.

    All of which means, just because some dumb-butt braniac says it’s so doesn’t make it so. Don’t trust, and verify your lack of trust, often. And then still question.

          • My wife switches from calling me “Mr. Wizard” due to me knowing a little about so much, and just sitting back and listening to me expound upon things much like I did above.

            Super Powers Activated!!!!

        • Elegant and amazing as in watching a drunken bloated ostrich try tapdancing across a field of caltrops.

          Yeah…

          It’s truly amazing that I have only broken my foot while walking, instead of somehow actually killing myself (yes, was walking, lost balance, stepped wrong on left foot, broke a couple bones… on flat, level ground without any stray gravitational anomalies being detected. pesky grav anomalies, they pester me so…)

          Maybe a fat, drunken dodo… For they were ever such elegant creatures…

          • Ok, now yer just showing off:

            “…as in watching a drunken bloated ostrich try tapdancing across a field of caltrops.”

            That’s a thing of beauty right there, just the visual alone.

  2. “It’s amazing that Justices, Kagan, Sotomayor, Breyer and Chief Justice Roberts can’t read the Constitution and interpret it faithfully. They’re scum.”
    Should we be surprised? After all, our so called President stated quite clearly the other day that “NO amendment is absolute”

    If that doesn’t finally wake people up to the complete Anti-American leanings of the upper elite, nothing will

  3. Positive evidence? Spelled out in English, or any language, and mathematically provable? How very racist. Report yourself, immediately.

    In the meanwhile, the giant UFO/Asteroid is cool.

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