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Astronomers Find Oldest Known Asteroids

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the peaceful-and-benevolent-doomrocks dept.

Space 72

Researchers from the University of Maryland have recently discovered three asteroids that appear to be roughly 4.55 billion years old, dating back to the formation of the Solar System. The scientists say that the asteroids have survived relatively unchanged since that time, and make good candidates for future space missions. "'The fall of the Allende meteorite in 1969 initiated a revolution in the study of the early Solar System,' said Tim McCoy, curator of the national meteorite collection at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. 'I find it amazing that it took us nearly 40 years to collect spectra of these [CAI-rich] objects and that those spectra would now initiate another revolution, pointing us to the asteroids that record this earliest stage in the history of our Solar System.'"

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Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (4, Funny)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837208)

It was created around the time Adam was riding his dinosaur.

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (1)

rigelstar (243170) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837360)

Eve actually took the dinosaur as her ride while Adam was forced to walk.

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (4, Interesting)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837634)

It's funny that you would make this joke because many in the scientific community put the same kind of "faith" in researchers that haven't even so much as touched these objects. It always amazes me that when science has to change it's findings on anything it's reported with hardly a whisper. This finding is based largely on the assumption that these calcium deposits or strata are going to occur only in this manner from a given time-period. Assumptions...almost...religious-like.

I know I know, I'm daring to distrust the gods of research. I get it. Flamebait me now for my insurrection.

Who is more credible? (5, Insightful)

microbox (704317) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837728)

Your point is well taken - the paper's findings are not bullet proof.

But your point about the "gods of research" is disingenuous... that is unless you believe that one is better off putting their faith in intelligent designers and corporate-science-sophistry. It's true that science could be *more* conservative with declaring findings, but really it's a question of who is more credible with the facts, and more pliable when it comes to standing corrected.

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (5, Insightful)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837762)

The difference with science is that, if you're honest about it, you mentally append to everything said "According to our current observations, ...". This is why science is in a state of CONSTANT revision, and always will unless we somehow become omniscient ourselves.

This is not a negative connotation, this is the whole point. If someone refuses to revise their opinion regardless of new data (whether the data is for or against or not), that is faith imo. It is also the antithesis of the scientific method.

The upshot is, to the open minded, science and spirituality are not mutually exclusive until such a time that we can observe _everything_, in which case there would be no more mysteries anyways and life would be quite boring.

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (2, Insightful)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837824)

The thing about Science is that it's ok to be wrong. Scientists are encouraged to prove each other wrong. What starts as an assumption will slowly morph into a solid fact as more and more scientist one-up the other in a quest to disprove/improve. With religion, that dosn't exist. Here is the absolute word of god, you cannot challenge it...you cannot disprove it and if you dont accept it, you can burn in hell. There is a very big difference between "faith" in science and "faith" in religion.

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837908)

Flamebait me now for my insurrection.

Oh, you're so tough. So daring. Such a rebel, speaking truth to power.

GMAFB. If you've got something to say (even if it's something which, like your post, is BS) just say it. Don't brag about it.

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (1)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837928)

Christians are into the whole masochism thing. You're just turning him on now.

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837974)

(snicker) Yeah, you're probably right. With people like that, the more you point out how wrong they are, the more they take it as proof that they're Persecuted Standard-Bearers Of The Truth.

scientists disagree all the damn time (1)

eean (177028) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837970)

Scientists disagree a lot. For instance just recently the species-hood of Homo floresiensis (the "hobbit people") has been called into question. Some researchers think it may have been malnutrition or genetic disorder of some old fashioned Homo sapiens.

This article isn't bringing in any opposing viewpoints regarding the research since it's a press release from the institution that the research is happening. Actual science articles from sources like New Scientist often bring in scholars of the field who aren't related to the research to comment on whatever the latest finding is, to perhaps provide an opposing viewpoint.

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (-1, Troll)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838000)

There are many holes in evolutionary theory and do you think those holes are discussed openly? Hardly. Finding scientists who speak out on such shortcomings are hard to find but they do exist and they will talk. There are also holes in theories such as how the Earth formed. Those holes make evolution impossible. Despite those shortcomings, scientists still put faith into evolution. Yes, faith.

Here are some examples (not all directly tied to evolution):


There are many examples of animals which could not have developed gradually through evolution without dying off because without all their current physical properties the animals would not survive for evolution to try again.

The existence of the Oort cloud, which is the cop out for explaining why comets always seem to exist over billions of years of revolving around stars which completely melt the comets into nothing, has never been proven. Scientists assume it has to be out there in order to provide an excuse for comets not melting completely given a universe billions of years old. If the excuse wasn't there then they would have to come up with something else to keep evolution's requisiste timeline propped up. Even so, it is being propped up by the faith of those scientists who think the Oort cloud is out there but have not seen it.

Geological formations show various kinds of evidence all pointing towards rapid erosion by lots and lots of fast moving water. Of course, this is indicative of a Great Flood, not millions of years of erosion which would be a pre-requisite to giving evolution time to work its magic. Geologists can't explain why formations show evidence of rapid erosion from water instead of slow gradual erosion from water. They realize it is a major problem for their theories, yet despite that they still believe in the opposite of what the evidence obviously shows in order to keep evolution afloat.

Even star formation hasn't been 100% confirmed. Assumptions are used to make the existing theories fit what we think we observe.

These areas of study which go against current theories require faith by scientists. This faith is what is currently being taught in schools. And yet I thought faith wasn't allowed to be taught in the school system.

I've gone a step further in my insurrection compared to you so I'll surely be flamed for my post but I'm glad you got an Interesting for yours. Typically, insurrection around here requires a troll or flamebait mod accompanied by a closed mind. See my sig which is a quote from Simon Singh (author of many books on cosmology).

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22838040)

Just in case you were not aware of it, you are retarded.

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (0, Troll)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838092)

Just in case you were not aware of it, you are retarded.

Wow, I think we have the winner for the Most Open Minded AC of the year. Kudos for coming back with a scientific argument backing up your contribution to the discussion. Coming from an AC, it means a lot, truly, it does. I'm saddened that there is no mod called Retarded that you can give to me because then I'd give one right back to you since you contributed so much more than I have. Rest assured, I'll probably end up with another mod that will vindicate you.

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (5, Insightful)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838320)

Your argument presents the Fallacy of Accident. Your saying that scientists are just as "guilty" as those who possess strong religious faith simply becuase they both use faith. This is like saying "Strong religious faith is wrong. Scientists use strong religious faith. Therefore, scientists are "equally" wrong." However, whether or not scientists strongly leverage faith is NOT the issue. The issue is the method in which that faith is applied and CHECKED against. Furthermore, how it is placed. Like I mentioned earlier, scientific "faith" is put under constant peer-review. You could say science IS evolutionary. What starts as abstract is evolved into something we hold true in the natural world overtime; even if the original idea was completly off base; thus, contrasting perspective and "faith" serves as a tool to accelarte investigation and uncover truth. No such checks-and-balance system exists in relgion. Science is like democracy, relies on checks-and-balances, while Religion is like a tyranny, God serves as the unquestionable truth and his "word" is authoratative despite if it's true or not. Your argument about evolution is weak. It's known as the Converse Fallacy of Accident. You take a specific example then you extrapolate that example into a generalization. I applied it above in my government example to "level" with you. Evolution is unique in the scientific community. Simply put, there is no challenging theory that can hold it's ground against the data we do have about evolution. Instead of sitting around and accepting it, like religious faith does, scientists are still investingating, researching, and uncovering new evidence to plug those holes. The whole process of science is evolution. Since science depends on checks-and-balances, it's only as effective as that system, but its still a heck of a lot better than saying accepting the questionable "divine" word of god as an absolute truth. Religious faith, on the contrary, does not have a process in which it is systematically challenged and verified. Religious faith is constant and unchanged. It yields only to god and cannot be "checked-and-balanced". It attempts to put the burden of proof on disproving god, when in reality, nothing can be disproved. Therefor, it is less ignorant to place faith in a method that can be disproved (science) rather than a method that cannot (most modern religions). The burden of proof is on religion, to prove all of its "divinity", "gods", "prophets", and "magic". Back to my argument, faith is not the factor. The factor is what system\method you place your faith in. Science is a superior system to entrust faith becuase it takes the responsibilty of the burden of proof with a checks-and-balance system. Religion is a poor system to entrust faith beause it does not take the responsibilty of proof. It has no checks-and-balances. Back to your fallacy, it really comes down to why people CHOOSE to put their faith in democracy versus faith in a dictatorship or tyranny.

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (0, Redundant)

unchiujar (1030510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22840784)

I would like you to introduce to you my little friend.

I call him the paragraph.

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (2, Interesting)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 6 years ago | (#22840158)

There are many examples of animals which could not have developed gradually through evolution without dying off because without all their current physical properties the animals would not survive for evolution to try again.

Name one. That's all I want to see. One single creature that you claim wouldn't have survived to reproduce to its current state.

I would also like to see a citation for the Great Flood claims made above as well. I've never seen a geologist claim there was one, though I've seen them talk about substantial flooding in the areas surrounding Mesopotamia. The only person I know personally that believes in a great flood is also rigid in his belief that the earth is 6000 years old and dinosaurs are a trick played on us by God. If he used any reference other than the bible or Kent Hovind I might give his claims some consideration, but alas that isn't the case.

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (1, Informative)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 6 years ago | (#22840780)

Name one. That's all I want to see. One single creature that you claim wouldn't have survived to reproduce to its current state.

Bombardier beatle [wikipedia.org] - read the defense mechanism section. Without having a series of explosions it would blow itself up. Without the catalysts it would blow itself up. It needs everything it has at once so it doesn't blow itself up.

Giraffe [wikipedia.org] - read the circulatory system section. Without the rete mirabile in the giraffe's skull it would get too much blood in its brain when it lowers its head to drink or faint when it raises its head at the sight of a predator. It needs that rete mirabile for it's existence otherwise evolution kills it off.

Woodpecker [wikipedia.org] - read the Physiology and behavior section. There is one thing that isn't listed there which is that a woodpecker closes its eyelids in between every peck. Scientists state this is not to prevent debris from hitting the eyes but to prevent the force from pecking from knocking the eyes out of the bird's skull. With that requirement and it's need for a special skeletal structure it would kill itself when it pecks on a tree without all those features at once.

There are others but I won't take the time to list them. I'll move on.

I would also like to see a citation for the Great Flood claims made above as well. I've never seen a geologist claim there was one, though I've seen them talk about substantial flooding in the areas surrounding Mesopotamia. The only person I know personally that believes in a great flood is also rigid in his belief that the earth is 6000 years old and dinosaurs are a trick played on us by God.

You actually think a scientist would stake his reputation on saying the Great Flood caused the Grand Canyon to form which would make evolution impossible? No wonder you can't find a claim for this but if you look hard enough you can. Rock formations such as those in Monument Valley, Zion Canyon, and Bryce Canyon in the US southwest show various evidence of rapid formation. There are also sub-surface problems:


1. flat layers of sediment such as coal indicate those layers were never the surface of the earth if they are flat (i.e. level) because the earth isn't level. Even with rock above pressing down on the lower layers there should be major undulations, indicative of millions of years of erosion but there isn't. "A puzzling characteristic of the erathern boundaries and of many other major biostratigraphic boundaries is the general lack of physical evidence of sub-aerial exposure. Traces of deep leaching, scour, channeling and residual gravels tend to be lacking, even if the underlying rocks are cherty limestones. These boundaries are paraconformities that are usually identifiable only by palaeontological evidence."[1]

2. rock doesn't require millions of years to form. New rock material is added everyday to stalactites and stalagmites in caves and it is visible enough of change to be measurable over a few months time frame. Calcium-rich water can easily form new rocks over a few months' time frame. Gem stones like malachite can be formed on demand by humans. Humans can now make diamonds in the lab without waiting millions of years so why are we told it takes millions of years for rocks to form in Nature?

3. At the present average rate of erosion and measured over billions of years, all the continents should have been washed into the oceans by now. "Even if it is accepted that estimates of the contemporary rate of degradation of land surfaces are several orders too high to provide an accurate yardstick of erosion in the geological past, there has surely been ample time for the very ancient features preserved in the present landscape to have been eradicated several times over. Yet the silcrated land surface of central Australia has survived perhaps 20 million years of weathering and erosion under varied climatic conditions, as has the laterite surface of the northern areas of the continent. The laterite surface of the Gufls region of South Australia is even more remarkable, for it has persisted through some 200 million years of epigene attack...The survival of these paleoforms is in some degree an embarrassment to all of the commonly accepted models of landscape development." [2]

4. As for the canyons and rock formations, river valleys that are V-shaped instead of U-shaped indicate rapid formation with fast moving water, not slow moving water over millions of years. Within the rock is also evidence of water currents. Monument valley should really be all flat but stubborn pillars of rock jut up from the ground in various places indicating fast erosion otherwise erosion averaged out over millions of years should have made all rock formations flat. Water has undercut rocks forming arches as well as leaving rock balancing on another rock (with water erosion in the middle making an hourglass shape) and parts of mountains which now sit on pillars of rock due to water rapidly flowing at the base.

Sources:
1. Norman D Newell, 1984. Mass extinction: unique or recurrent causes? In W.A. Bergren and John A. van Couvering, eds. Catastrophes and Earth History: The new Uniformitarianism. Princeton Univ. Press, New Jersy, P.125.

2. C.R. Twidale. 1976, On the survival of paleoforms. American Journal of science 276 (January):81.

Rubbish (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 6 years ago | (#22844464)

Rubbish.
this sort of impossibility twaddle is easily discredited. For example, tall buildings or arched/suspended bridges could not be erected without a scaffold or crane. But once erected those are removed. Just because there is no evidence to be found that they were there does not mean the buildings sprung into existence fully formed.

Same with sophisticated organisms.

Recently Behe's claim that the flagella motor protein could not have evolved because it's inoperable without one of it's many parts and thus has no function was shown to be wrong. SPikes used by some bacteria to penetrate others turn out to be almost identical to the motor protein assembly but with a few proteins removed. it's not a motor it's a syringe.

The first responder to your post got it right I think.

Itemized refutation (3, Informative)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 6 years ago | (#22844910)

Rubbish.
this sort of impossibility twaddle is easily discredited. For example, tall buildings or arched/suspended bridges could not be erected without a scaffold or crane. But once erected those are removed. Just because there is no evidence to be found that they were there does not mean the buildings sprung into existence fully formed.

Same with sophisticated organisms.

Recently Behe's claim that the flagella motor protein could not have evolved because it's inoperable without one of it's many parts and thus has no function was shown to be wrong. SPikes used by some bacteria to penetrate others turn out to be almost identical to the motor protein assembly but with a few proteins removed. it's not a motor it's a syringe.

Bombadier beetle.
Oxidative enzymes and fizzy action are good ways to digest something in your mouth cavity. It would be no surprise if the bombadier's enzymes were developed for digestion and then later recruited for defense. Many animals regurgitate or spray digestive juices as defensive or offensive weapons. Even single celled organisms secrete highly indesructable proteases to destroy the competition. Others, like the Spike bearing ones have cannons they can shoot this from. If single celled organisms can evolve this its not a stretch to imagine a beetle pulling it off.

Giraffe.
Many animals, like diving douplhins, seals, whales pull off similar stunts at orders of magnitude greater pressure differentials. Thus not only had such mechanisms evolved while we were all sea-bred creatures, and vestigal mechanisms potentialially latent in our DNA, but the specific machanism in Giraffes is not the only way to skin the pressure cat. For example, airplane pilots who work at High-Gs know that clenching muscles can prevent vaso-dialiation consequently fainting. It's not hard to imagine that early long necked creatures could survive without this adaptation, and the means to re-evolve it was possible in DNA

Woodpeckers:
this one can be dismissed. There are lots of birds that eat tree bugs by whatever means they can dig them out. trees come in all denisities. You don't need to evolve to be a wood pecker in one go.

Rapid Canyon formation.
I happen to live on the base of a caldera. My house is perched 200 feet over a straight drop to the steep walled canyon bottom. This was carved by a combination of massive floods and slow erosion. Simmilar examples abound around the area. But the origin of the massive floods is well known too. The caldera would periodically block it's outflows and then fill with water. when these dams burst torential fllods would scour the soft volcanic ash and aleufial sands into canons that would harden to rock. Similar stories can be said about the hells canyon area.

I've seen it happen in a small way in my own life time when forest fires glazed the mountain soils turning run-off trickles into 40 mile per hour flash floods digging 10 foot channels.

You really need to not assume the first silliness someone pours in your brain is the truth.

Re:Itemized refutation (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851214)

Rubbish.

this sort of impossibility twaddle is easily discredited. For example, tall buildings or arched/suspended bridges could not be erected without a scaffold or crane. But once erected those are removed. Just because there is no evidence to be found that they were there does not mean the buildings sprung into existence fully formed.

You miss the point (as you did many times in your post since I started from the bottom and worked my way up). Your analogy is incorrect. The "scaffolding" is still present in the animals I provided as examples. The "scaffolding" is also still needed and was always needed for the animal to survive. Your burden of proof involves showing these animals could survive without any one or more of the features I noted. If all those capabilities are required at once we have a problem.

Bombadier beetle.

Oxidative enzymes and fizzy action are good ways to digest something in your mouth cavity. It would be no surprise if the bombadier's enzymes were developed for digestion and then later recruited for defense. Many animals regurgitate or spray digestive juices as defensive or offensive weapons. Even single celled organisms secrete highly indesructable proteases to destroy the competition. Others, like the Spike bearing ones have cannons they can shoot this from. If single celled organisms can evolve this its not a stretch to imagine a beetle pulling it off.

It isn't a question of where the enzymes evolved from. The problem is the enzymes evolving all at once with the beetles other features to prevent itself from blowing up which you did not address. All you did was state that other organisms have the same capability. So what? That doesn't prove evolution gave it to them let alone gave it to the beetle in such a way that it wouldn't kill itself when using it's slowly growing explosion capability.

Giraffe.

Many animals, like diving douplhins, seals, whales pull off similar stunts at orders of magnitude greater pressure differentials. Thus not only had such mechanisms evolved while we were all sea-bred creatures, and vestigal mechanisms potentialially latent in our DNA, but the specific machanism in Giraffes is not the only way to skin the pressure cat. For example, airplane pilots who work at High-Gs know that clenching muscles can prevent vaso-dialiation consequently fainting. It's not hard to imagine that early long necked creatures could survive without this adaptation, and the means to re-evolve it was possible in DNA.

Wow, you are living way out there if you think we came from the sea. Hello merman. Oh wait, merman/maids are supposed to be fiction. I forgot we were picking and choosing what is real and what isn't.

Well if clenching muscles is the only thing needed then why do giraffes have the features they have? Why would evolution have developed them if they were unneeded? Where's the physical evidence it needed what it has instead of what water-based creatures use?

Woodpeckers:

this one can be dismissed. There are lots of birds that eat tree bugs by whatever means they can dig them out. trees come in all denisities. You don't need to evolve to be a wood pecker in one go.

The point isn't that only woodpeckers can eat bugs out of a tree.The point is that a present-day woodpecker's specific method of doing so would kill it if it did not have all at once the bodily features it has. If there is proof it could peck as fast (and with the same force) as it can now without having a skull structure that present-day woodpeckers have or that it didn't always close its eyes to prevent them from bursting out of its head then I'll concede the point.

Rapid Canyon formation.

I happen to live on the base of a caldera. My house is perched 200 feet over a straight drop to the steep walled canyon bottom. This was carved by a combination of massive floods and slow erosion. Simmilar examples abound around the area. But the origin of the massive floods is well known too. The caldera would periodically block it's outflows and then fill with water. when these dams burst torential fllods would scour the soft volcanic ash and aleufial sands into canons that would harden to rock. Similar stories can be said about the hells canyon area.

I've seen it happen in a small way in my own life time when forest fires glazed the mountain soils turning run-off trickles into 40 mile per hour flash floods digging 10 foot channels.

You really need to not assume the first silliness someone pours in your brain is the truth.

Massive floods? That's what I said. Well you just proved that torrential rains can make 10 foot channels in a day's time and sand turning to rock within your lifetime. I'm not sure exactly what silliness you are referring to unless your proof is also silliness.

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (1)

CFTM (513264) | more than 6 years ago | (#22859468)

Throughout your post, you merely posit view points with no evidence.

There are many examples of animals which could not have developed gradually through evolution without dying off because without all their current physical properties the animals would not survive for evolution to try again.
Please list the animals in question, along with evidence supporting your view point.

Can your view point explain why human beings hiccup? I'd really, really like to see your answer on that one...
In case you were wondering, the reason why we hiccup is because we descend from creatures of the sea! In case you're skeptical, I went and found a write up from "New Scientist" (A fairly credible layman's scientific source).
Why We Hiccup! [newscientist.com]

I would also like to see more evidence with regard to "Rapid Erosion" because I have never heard anything about this; this is not to say you are wrong merely that my standard of skepticism is far higher than yours.

And finally, with regard to "The Great Flood", I have a suggestion. Do a little research on where these 'creation stories' originate and you might notice an eery pattern. Namely, that the cultures producing flood stories are all centered in a central region in one part of the globe. Based on direct evidence (cultural location of these stories, time period from whence the story's came) and on circumstantial evidence (some scientists think they've found a massive impact crater off the coast of Madagascar but this claim has not be independently verified) and given the knowledge we have of deep ocean asteriod impacts, your great flood could be my great asteroid impact. I'm not saying that it is, but there is evidence to support this event occuring in this way.

Based off my life experience, which is limited I concede, I have not witnessed events caused by the divine. There is merely causality, and until I see evidence to the contrary that will be my view of the world.

Insightful !? (2, Insightful)

aepervius (535155) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838154)

There is no faith going on in the scientific community. At worst the is only trust. Those assumption on strata deposition are not religious-like any ANY way whatsoever. Firstly , if I recall correctly they were corroborated by other measurement (like radio emission measurement) secondly, if anybody came up with EVIDENCE contradicting the current supposition and theory, then stratta aging would be dropped out. Up to now , it was never the case.

You wanna religion ? Religion is trusting a little book (be it black and named bible, or be it red, or blue and speaking of thetan) and assuming this book contain the ABSOLUTE and unchanging truth, and that without evidence whatsoever. And if something contradict your religion, then that something must be wrong, not your religion. THAT , mister, is religious dogma. On the other hand scientist aren't, as a whole/at large, not dogmatic. If they were, science would still be stuck in the 18th century. You say scientific are not ready to accept change and whisper it ? Are you for real ? On the top of my head I can think of two MAJOR change which were certainly not whispered : quantum mechanic and relativity. Should i mention evolution ? That made a BIG BIG splash at the epoch. Wanna something more recent ? Look at the headlines of science.slashdot.org. You will find a plenty of those minor revision and maybe a major one.

You want us to flamebait us ? I am sorry, you don#t know what you are speaking about (science and dogma). you WERE the flamebait/troll. The worst is that at least 4 people modded you up. Now I know that a lot of people have a mindset anti science, but at least I would have hoped that geek visiting this site would be a notch above.

Re:Insightful !? (2, Insightful)

drerwk (695572) | more than 6 years ago | (#22841024)

While I am in agreement with the tone of your reply to the GP, I would point out one consideration for your claim

There is no faith going on in the scientific community
. As I have come to understand the basis on which I do work as a scientist, I have to take on faith that the Universe is rational, can be explained, and that the basis of those explanations are congruent with causality. Everything I've done is science assumes causality and I equate this to my faith in it.

It is not faith (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 6 years ago | (#22843250)

It is an "physical" axiom. You just happen to TRUST that the axiom is true. But if you are a true scientist, if you happen to stumble on evidence that the universe is irrational, then as a true scientist you will be the first on a rush to publish it. A true dogmatic / faithful person would sweep it under the carpet and try to forget it. And this is why I used the word trust instead of faith. A true scientific would not have faith in anything, at best he would only trust a few axiom which were never disproved, and for which he does not see falsification possible.

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (1)

sohare (1032056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838236)

You are not distrusting the gods of research so much as conflating two somewhat opposite notions of faith. Religious faith is absolutely nothing like scientific acceptance. It's a rather disingenuous (or purely ignorant) to try and see parallels between the scientific method and religious credulity. So yes, if you're being disingenuous, you should be modded flamebait. If you are purely ignorant, why the hell even bother with making inane comments? (I know, I know...this is Slashdot).

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (1)

troicstar (1029086) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838756)

but is it not better to find new and further evidence (corroborating or not) rather than accepting a religious explanation and not looking further into it ? I think that the change you speak of is a good thing, to have a good or complete understanding of nature and how it works only two decades after the first extra-solar planets were found is unrealistic. New findings are going to be inevitable, there is nothing whispery about the old ones. These will either be integrated and explained, observed to be incorrect or remain incongruous with the new ones and pending new working models.

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 6 years ago | (#22839804)

Well I would first point out that I didn't make a religious argument per se' so much as point out what to me is an interesting point about the state of science today. I contend that science is itself a system of faith. I say that because I believe "faith" and "belief" to be synonymous. Some would disagree. Science should be about collecting evidence, accepting the obvious, and making educated guesses and contemplation upon where that evidence leads. If time and more evidence leads logic elsewhere, the scientist goes there. He should be led, not kicking and screaming, but rather with his eyes open and with excitement.

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (2, Insightful)

lazyforker (957705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22839182)

It always amazes me that when science has to change it's findings on anything it's reported with hardly a whisper.

Einstein's GR blew away Newton's model spectacularly. Likewise Darwin's Theory of Evolution swept away all the "competing" hypotheses. Similarly Galileo caused a little bit of a fuss when he supported heliocentrism. Those corrections to earlier theories caused more than a "whisper".

Genuine peer-reviewed science journals contain corrections, addenda, clarifications, amendments etc. Occasionally they include retractions. Non-scientific media prefer sensational, exciting news - not non-results or corrections - because that's what most readers want to see.

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (1)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 6 years ago | (#22840090)

The difference is that Science has peer review and Religion has the Inquisition.

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (1)

guilliamo (977425) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837692)

What was there prior to the Universe being born and who did it?

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (1)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837852)

I found the answer to that question yesterday when I setup 6 virtual servers inside my dedicated server. Guess what...what I called my dedicated server, was actually another virtual server. I concluded that the universe is a giant fractal.

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (1)

mfnickster (182520) | more than 6 years ago | (#22839188)

Are you suggesting it's servers all the way down..?

Re:Wow that's almost 6000 biblical years! (1)

Teran9 (1163643) | more than 6 years ago | (#22843444)

What was there before god and who made hem?

and told him - "Get off My Lawn!!!!" (1)

infonography (566403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22842788)

It was created around the time Adam was riding his dinosaur.
And they told him to get off their Lawn

Leads to doom... (1)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837216)

2 light years later that same asteroid crashes into earth and kills all the animals. Humans already killed each other by then.

Re:Leads to doom... (0)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837398)

While things like nuclear destruction and massive climate failure remain possibilities for an end to human life, it might be best to continue to get people scared of asteroid impacts. The space infrastructure that would need to be set up to adequately detect and deflect asteroids would provide a good start at getting off this rock and colonizing the rest of the solar system, helping humanity survive even if life on Earth is wiped out.

This is the premise behind Michael Flynn's future history beginning with Firestar [amazon.com] , a series of novels that should have gotten much more attention from Slashdotters than it did.

Re:Leads to doom... (1)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837520)

I remember hearing a lecture from Mr. Hawking talking about how humanity will only survive by expanding into space. It eliminates tremendous threats like disease, war, planetary impact, sun blowing up, etc. Very similar to what your talking about. Mr. Hawking actually asked the question on yahoo answers here http://answers.yahoo.com/question/?qid=20060704195516AAnrdOD [yahoo.com] , a fun read.

Re:Leads to doom... (1)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837652)

I don't know about disease; I guess it depends on how fast travel between planets / stations is vs. how fast/virulent the disease is and how fast it could kill? I mean all these sci-fi stories of far-flung civilizations being wiped out by disease shared among locations by their supply ships don't seem that far out of the realm of possibility. I'd imagine something that kills quickly like Ebola wouldn't make it to the other locations, but that something slower - akin to a more virulent airborne thing with a kill time more like HIV could easily do it.

Re:Leads to doom... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22837468)

A lightyear is a unit of distance not time.

Re:Leads to doom... (1)

gimpeh (1209722) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837490)

A lightyear is a unit of distance not time.
It is? Does it take less than 12 parsecs to travel a lightyear?

Re:Leads to doom... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22837586)

A lightyear is a unit of distance not time.
Not relative to a photon.

Re:Leads to doom... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22837500)

1 light year = 9.4605284 × 1015 meters (Google calculator)
It's a measure of distance, not time.

Re:Leads to doom... (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838504)

2 light years later

Ummm, how many years would that be?

rj

Re:Leads to doom... (2, Informative)

3vi1 (544505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22839608)

248 Kessel Runs.

Old News (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22837250)

(Excuse the pun) but they've known about this for years. [yahoo.com]

- Lord Haw Haw

Re:Old News (1)

mfnickster (182520) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837258)

What pun is that? :-/

Re:Old News (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837328)

Well, I once went to the car dealer and bought a new Olds.

Re:Old News (1)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837362)

It was mean't to be an anti-joke http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-joke/ [wikipedia.org] . I failed. :(

Re:Old News (1)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837376)

I failed again, here is the correct link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-joke [wikipedia.org]

Re:Old News (1)

mfnickster (182520) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837456)

I would call it an 'arty-joke,' but it has no heart.

[pun threshhold met]

Re:Old News (4, Informative)

deepershade (994429) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837326)

Seriously. Don't click that link.

Re:Old News (3, Informative)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 6 years ago | (#22841458)

That link will open an infinite number of windows with porn crap and torn apart children, also lots of email messages if your email program is setup to allow mailto: Somebody must be very fucked up in his mind to even conceive something like that. What pisses me off the most is that web-browsers and operating systems seem to be entirely useless against this kind of junk. When the hell will programmers put some code so that the browser will block dozens of pop-up windows that appear at a fraction of a second intervals? Does it take a genius to think something like that? I'm actually using FireFox 3 beta 4, so far not impressed, most of my extensions don't work.

Re:Old News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22842972)

On a windows machine it also leaves a nice little virus masquerading as 'spoolsv.exe' in the Firefox Prefetch directory. Had to restore machine. Have turned off Firefox prefetch and will be reading the full headers rather than the 'headline' ones when clicking in Slashdot in the future. First time anything like this has happened without the Mcafee picking it up. Given the debate yesterday over FBI and 'clicked' child porn, I'm going to be a lot more careful.

Having to post anonymously as I modded the virus page as troll.

VIRUS WARNING. Mod parent up (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 6 years ago | (#22845026)

awful web page.

Re:Old News (1)

jecowa (1152159) | more than 6 years ago | (#22854064)

Hurray freedom of speech.

Obligatory (0)

errxn (108621) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837296)

"Hey, Rusty, do you have Asteroids?"

"No, but my dad does. Can't even sit on the toilet some days."

Re:Obligatory (1)

solitas (916005) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837400)

This is NO place to advertise for "Preparation A".

And then, (3, Funny)

RedRumRobot (1237340) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837466)

They blew them up with the oldest know Atari 2600.

So its the same age as Precambrian Rock! (2, Interesting)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837550)

If I remember Geology 101, that would place the Asteroid in the Precambrian time frame (if it were found on earth or if suspected it was originally sourced from earth material.)
http://nostalgia.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precambrian [wikipedia.org]

I am guessing that most of the rocky Asteroids are from the same formation time period. I had thought the Earth was mostly still being formed by asteroids and comets prior to 4.5 billion years ago? It is likely to be a part of the Earth from ~4.5 Billion years ago when the Moon is said to have formed via the giant impact hypothesis by planetoid Theia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theia_(planet) [wikipedia.org]

Unimpressive (3, Funny)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837554)

I would be impressed if they would have found the oldest unknown adstroid.

offtopic, flamebait (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22837558)

Slashdot sure has gone to shit over the last year+ here.

Slashdot. the new fark. but not as funny.

Perhaps Even Older (0)

Ailicec (755495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837580)

I'm fascinated by the idea that asteroids and maybe even planets from previous generations of stars might be floating around, perhaps passing through our solar system occasionally. It seems plausible, but they'd be rare and hard to spot. For free-floating planets, there could even be traces of civilizations from billions of years ago.

Re:Perhaps Even Older (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837630)

Free planets would be very cold and very dead.

Re:Perhaps Even Older (1)

eean (177028) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838030)

The Universe is only 13 billion years old and you need a generation of stars to create the heavier elements. I suppose that could leave some time for a previous generation.

But the Universe is really big, the chance of finding ancient alien artifacts is about 0.

early asteroids and rings round the sun (4, Insightful)

tinkerton (199273) | more than 6 years ago | (#22837714)

What do the models say? Does an early star have rings, like Saturn? I'd expect processes like this

- dust to lumps
- dust to rings
- lumps to sun
- lumps to planets
- rings to planets
- rings to sun

Depending on the speed of each of these factors you get different scenarios. Rings could never happen, they could disappear before the sun is created, they could be be created before , during or after planet creation. Planet creation could also start before the sun. You get the idea.

Re:early asteroids and rings round the sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22840984)

Solar systems start as giant blobs of gas and dust that gravitationally contract. In the process, they start forming a star (the biggest blob at the center), and planets (an accretion disc that forms around the protostar). The process more or less proceeds as you described, from smaller lumps to bigger lumps, eventually coalescing into planets and other debris in clearly-defined orbits.

Rings are a little bit different from the accretion disc, though. They exist in orbits where, due to tidal forces, larger objects can't accrete (read up about the Roche limit some time). Because of this, they're more or less permanent features (unless/until all the ring material falls into the main body).

Really, though, a few seconds of noodling around on Wikipedia would have told you all this. The general hypothesis isn't exactly controversial (we've detected solar systems at various stages of this process observationally), although the details aren't settled science, either (most of the solar systems we've discovered are bizarre compared to the classical model, although that's probably due to an observational selection effect--the bizarre systems are easier to detect).

Re:early asteroids and rings round the sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22849034)

Planet creation could also start before the sun.
That's one great pile of wrong. Planets can't be formed until a star has accreted enough material so that lumps of matter can be formed. Also, our general (not the evil IAU definition which excludes Pluto from being a planet) definition for a planet is something along the lines of "orbits a star or remnant of one", which definitely excludes your thought.

What it REALLY means for science ... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838110)

roughly 4.55 billion years old,

So it wasn't a supernova, just some much closer asteroid with a birthday cake with 4,550,123,724 candles on it ...

Recalibrating with this new constant, the universe is actually 1.4 light-years across, and only 341 years old. So much for "God created the universe 6,000 years ago." No cake for you!

Totally OT But Has Bothered Me Since I Was 6 (1)

florescent_beige (608235) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838568)

Doesn't it appear that the words asteroid and hemorrhoid got accidentally switched at some point?

Apologies to serious people I'll go away now...

Re:Totally OT But Has Bothered Me Since I Was 6 (1)

Mr Stubby (1122233) | more than 6 years ago | (#22838990)

Rusty: Ya' got Asteroids?

Cousin Dale: Naw, but my dad does. Can't even sit on the toilet some days.

-National Lampoon's Vacation

9Plus 4, Troll) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22838946)

OpenBSD guys. ThEey co8pletely before

We Won't Know Until... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22840048)

We won't know if these are actually the oldest asteroids until someone goes out there and checks their Best used by date.
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