Astute readers will remember a couple of encounters I had with Sal Cordova from Uncommon Descent a few months ago (here, in the comments, and here). Not too long after that, Sal made a fairly big deal about the fact that he was returning to grad school, and had to stop blogging at UD because the dastardly darwinists would damage his academic prospects if he continued. He played the standard creationist-martyr role, poor guy, persecuted by
all the horrible non-believers. Naturally, it didn’t last long. He’s got his own blog now, called “Young Cosmos”, where he writes his usually pathetic quote-mining, plus what he calls “Advanced creation science”. Naturally, advanced creation science involves doing very, very bad math. In fact, so far, he’s doing the worst math – which, as you’ll of course recall, is no math. To be specific, he’s spouting off about math, without actually doing any.
Sal is shocked – shocked to discover that Fourier transforms are used in both
quantum mechanics (particularly Schrodingers equation) and in electrical engineering. Naturally, being
a brainless creationist, the fact that Fourier transformations are used in the design of electrical circuits and also in the analysis of physical phenomena must mean that the physical phenomena
are designed just like the circuits! It’s obvious, isn’t it?
He claims it’s going to take him a year of posts to explain this brilliant insight of his. Frankly, I’ve never seen a topic which makes sense to write about as a year of blog posts – blogs really aren’t good for that kind of extended explanation. I think that I sometimes push the limit of how long you can keep a topic coherent here with some of my series. But a whole year? It’s an interesting challenge, but to be able to write about a single specific topic for a whole year, while keeping each post independently engaging is a feat beyond the skills of all but the very best writers. And that is something that Sal is most definitely not.
He starts off his blogging adventure with what he calls “The Fundamental Theorems of Intelligent Design”.
It’s a bloody awful start. He gives two things which he says are theorems. Alas, Sal doesn’t seem to understand the difference between a theorem and an equation. First, he gives an
equation which he claims is derived from Shrodingers equation:
ψ = ΠnΣi,kψikOink
That’s all he says about it. Literally. He gives that equation – but instead of doing it with an HTML
rendering like I just did, or with MathML, he just clips a bitmap of a scanned image of it. And that
clipped image of the equation is all he says. He doesn’t say what the equation is supposed to
mean. He doesn’t even define the symbols! He seems to think that it’s enough to post an impressive-looking
equation, without even telling you what the symbols mean, is enough to make his point. (Like I said – the very worst math: this isn’t math at all. This is just notation.)
For the second glorious fundamental theorem of ID, he tells us even less. What he
says is “It’s on page 25 of Dembski’s “Exploring Large Spaces” paper”. He doesn’t even bother to tell us what it is!
The only thing that he actually says anything in detail about is some of Tipler’s babbling about his book “The Physics of Immortality”, which as far as I can tell says absolutely nothing, zip, zero, nada about “the fundamental theorems” that the post is about.
He does go on to make a second post about his discovery of the fourier transforms… But all it contains is two equations defining the Fourier transform… Once again without bothering to explain
just what any of the symbols mean. He really doesn’t get this math thing at all.
Anyway – his point, such as it is, is that he finds it astonishing that Fourier transforms have applications in both quantum mechanics and circuit design, and that this must be indicative of some deep connection between the two. To anyone with a clue, this isn’t suprising. Fourier transforms
are incredibly common in all sorts of fields – not just quantum physics, but sound analysis, speech analysis, fluid dynamics, differential equations, and tons of other things. Fourier transforms are a fundamental tool of analysis. Anyone with a clue would not be the least bit surprised at seeing
Fourier transforms showing up in lots of different places, without inferring any relationship
With respect to Sal’s two specific examples: one particular canonical way of using fourier transforms are widely used in any kind of analysis that includes something that can be described as a wave. In electronics, think of things like AC current, signal transmissions, etc. In quantum mechanics, think of the wave-behavior of particles. There’s the connection for you – the Fourier transform is used for doing a mathematical analysis of wave-like behaviors. It can applied to analyzing electronic circuits which have a wave-like component in their behavior, and it can be applied to analysis quantum phenomena which have a wave-like component in their behavior. To quote Pee Wee Herman: “Big Fat Hairy Deal.”