Category Archives: science

The Unnoticed War?

Wow! I’m watching Expelled: No Intelligence allowed right now. While I know that today biology speaks strongly against the undirected, random chance of evolution; most people do not.

Most people think of evolution as classical Darwinism (random and accidental), despite what science is now teaching about what appears to be design in creation. That’s typically because of the polarization that the secular and religious world views continue to propagate against each other – speaking at each other, instead of to each other.

However, above it all, understanding that the views of classical Darwinism is more than just a theoretical discussion – it is surprising to begin to understand how much classical Darwinism has really brought to our society: Nazism, Abortion, Eugenics and Euthanasia to name just a few.

I’ve never thought of the full implications of classical Darwinism – but now that I’ve been exposed to it – I can now see that for one to remain consistent with their world-views; if one was to fully embrace classical Darwinism, those other positions must necessarily follow.

Perhaps there is more of a war going on then we realize…

How do you define ‘life’

Has anyone ever thought about the irony of the way we use the word ‘life’?

For example, I’m studying Astronomy right now. Scientists state that the evidences show that there was life on earth at least 3.5 billion years ago. This life was in the form of microscopic organisms. This scientific evidence shows that life has been around on planet earth for at least 3.5 billion years (Bennett, Donahue, Schneider, & Voit, 2007, pp. 709, 710).

On the other hand you have people who still want to claim that the zygote in the womb of a living human does not constitute ‘life’.

Does there seem to be some inconsistencies here? I think so!

References

Bennett, J., Donahue, M., Schneider, N., & Voit, M. (2007). The Cosmic Perspective 4th Ed. San Fransisco: Pearson Education, Inc.

 

The comprehensible universe vs. the incomprehensible creator

 

“The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.” —Albert Einstein, physicist, Nobel Prize Laureate.

This quote reminds me of a quote by Blasé Pascal: “Incomprehensible that God should exist; Incomprehensible that He should not.” (Pascal, 2008, p. 148)

While the universe appears incomprehensible; it is made up by the same substances and under the same physical laws that we exist within. Therefore, the universe itself is within our grasp, our reach, and our understanding.

And yet, in reference to God, I quote Him as saying:

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,

    so are my ways higher than your ways

    and my thoughts than your thoughts. ” – ISA 55.9 (NIV)

 

 

References

Pascal, B. (2008). Pensees and Other Writings (Oxford World’s Classics). New York: Oxford University Press Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

Evidences for the Big Bang?

The evidences for the Big Bang are a bit blotchy at best – that is to say; they are built upon assumptions that are built upon assumptions that are built upon assumptions (etc.) that are built upon laws that seem to correlate with the observed universe. If any one of those assumptions were to be incorrect (or even slightly flawed), the entire solution of the Big Bang could be irreducibly inconsistent with reality.

I am now coining this problem for the proof of the Big Bang as the Fibonacci disturbance. That is, if you have one number wrong in a Fibonacci sequence every subsequent number will be wrong. Additionally, as my Fibonacci disturbance will show, the further you get away from the origin of your calculation the further off your solution will be.

Considering the ‘Big Bang’ is billions of years in the past; and the sequence of events leading to our belief in the big bang is a bit anecdotal (e.g. we say that our theoretical evidences seem to indicate that the universe is made up of a certain composition, and then state that the Big Bang also seems to indicate that the universe should be made up of a certain similar composition, and we then use these two theoretical evidences to support the existence of each other).

Now, philosophically, theologically, and theoretically I don’t have a problem with the concept of the Big Bang. I think the universe must have been created, as it is not possible for it to exist infinitely in both time and space; but to-date, the theoretical evidences themselves do not push me to feel compelled to believe it. And yet, I would agree, that from a scientific perspective, to date, the Big Bang seems to be the reigning solution that seems to account (at least from a perceptual level) what the universe is like, comparatively to how we think it formed.

Some things the Big Bang really can’t account for on its own, is the apparent intentionality in creation, the fact that the universe seems so finely tuned for intelligent life to be created. The Big Bang can’t answer why the universe is so uniquely uniform, and it can’t answer the question of origins or purpose.

In the end, it’s at least a useful target to keep aiming at, as we shoot for the stars (so to speak) in trying to uncover the deeper meanings within creation and existence!

 

 

 

The Universe in 10^100 years!

 

If anyone is depressed in the bleak view that some astronomy course textbooks show as the final state of the universe in 10^100 years [that is everything will be ripped apart and peter out like the tail sparks of a firework that has burst], keep in mind that there are other theories that do not require such a slow spluttering dissolution. These alternate theories, at least to me, have been presented with more voracity than those within our textbook.

 

Frank Tipler (one of my favorite astrophysicist if you haven’t guessed by now) lays out proofs in his book The Physics of Christianity that while the universe appears flat, laws of physics like the Bekenstein bound principle and Unitarity require it to be closed and spatially compact (although so large that to any observer inside of the universe it would appear flat).

 

Our course book seems to reference this spherical concept on page 699 with the picture of the ant on the balloon, showing that to an ant, a huge balloon would appear to be flat, although the book still continues to assure us that the universe is flat. I believe it’s probably likely (?) that the book is leaving the state of the universe as flat by means of making our ‘introduction to astronomy’ just that: an introduction. The conclusion of a closed spatially compact universe becomes necessary for multiple reasons as Tipler documents in his book, but I won’t go into here.

 

While it is stated in both our course textbook and Tipler’s book, that the universe will continue to expand at an increasing rate based on current data, this continuous expansion, according to TIpler, won’t occur forever.

 

Tipler goes into more detail of the expansion of the universe by discussing the Higgs field which is believed to be a negative vacuum that would cause the universe to collapse in on itself excepting that it is not in its true vacuum state (the cosmological constant causing the expansion is only partially cancelled by the Higgs field).

 

While under normal circumstances, as our course book discusses, the gravitational pull of the universe (and all things therein) will decrease as astronomical objects are pulled further and further away from each other – that is if the universe continues to expand forever; Tipler believes that new forms of energy consumption will be developed (through baryon annihilation) and they will cause the Higgs to reach it’s state of absolute vacuum, and then cause the universe to collapse in on itself.

 

This ‘big crunch’ is not the end though; Tipler goes on to describe the ‘Omega Point’ and what it necessarily infers – although I’ll leave that information for your own discovery if you choose to read his book.

 

In the mean time, I’ll state the obvious by saying that I’m not a physicist or an astronomer by any means; so I don’t claim to have represented this information very accurately; but – I wanted to put this information in the forums just to say that if you are interested in this topic; Tipler’s book is a great resource to discuss some alternate views.

 

 

 

The Sun will burn out in the next 4.5 billion years – then what?

 

 

Frank Tipler in his book The Physics of Christianity has a lot to say about this topic. Tipler is writing this book from a standpoint of Science answering all questions, even questions of religion. Tipler believes that within the next couple hundred years humanity is going to discover new forms of energy through baryon annihilation, and that technology governed by Moore’s law and the Bekenstein Bound principle will allow mankind to reproduce (resurrect) life in a digital format, and travel through the stars looking for a new place to live. Through this baryon annihilation Tipler believes that the universe will begin to collapse once again, bringing the universe to its final state of what he refers to as the “Omega Point” (similar to the singularity point that begun the universe). Tipler makes these arguments both from science (unitarity) and philosophy (teleology) and religion (Judeo-Christian).

 

I, myself, am not so convinced of this scientific explanation, as I hold to a little more literal interpretation of the biblical accounts of the end of days. However, that being said, I can’t begin to even speculate what is going to happen within the next 4-5 billion years of human existence during the timeframe that the sun is expected to expand and then burn-out.

 

According to our Astronomy textbook, within the next 3-4 billion years the earth is going to suffer from an extreme greenhouse effect as the sun expands and slowly burns the last of its’ hydrogen fuel. The earth will be left scorched and unable to sustain anymore life.

 

We know from a scientific, philosophical and religious perspective, they all agree in one thing: that life and the universe had a beginning. It seems just as likely, scientifically, that life, at least, will have an end on this earth. As to what the end will be; I take personal comfort in seeing the great levels of intelligence and design that has been put into the universe that speaks to me of a purpose (teleology) of the creation as it exists today – so while I’m going to be dead billions of years before the sun actually burns out and destroys earth – I rest at night, comfortable in the fact that we’re in good hands!

 

My new Address is on the Planet of Mars…

 

I think humans have to be very careful in their future endeavors. I love knowledge, don’t get me wrong; but sometimes I think that we’re going to destroy ourselves in our ever relentless pursuit of knowledge.

By examining the observations within our own world and our universe, we put together all these rules and theorems that seem to explain everything, and yet, we don’t really know. If science has shown us anything over the last couple centuries, it’s that even when we think we know things; most often we’re not entirely correct, and sometimes we are completely wrong.

What would happen if in the process of terraforming mars we change some dynamic about mars that causes it to become unstable, how might that impact earth? What would happen if while testing options for terraforming mars on the moon we cause the moon to become unstable, how would that impact earth?

Even science understands the vast improbability (in non-scientific terms ‘the miracle’) of the universe producing the earth so finely tuned for biological existence as we know it; I have to admit that I’m a bit concerned that in our desire for knowledge, we are going to cause a catastrophe that will be beyond our control and our technology to suppress.

On the other hand, the curiosity in me says that I think it’s interesting that we’re starting to examine moving outwards into the solar system; according to the Physicist Frank Tipler in his book The Physics of Christianity this is an inevitable goal of mankind, and necessary for survival.

In my mind, it is entirely possible to create manmade structures like a ‘bio dome’ to inhabit planets such as mars; however, I find it unlikely that we will ever change the atmosphere and temperature of mars in such a way that would allow humans to inhabit it as we do the earth today.

I do find it much more likely, as Tipler describes in his book previously referenced that through using principles defined in the Bekenstein Bound and the availability of future computer technologies based on Moore’s Law and the process of baryon-annihilation which he states will be developed in the future to provide an extremely efficient mass to energy conversion, humanity will become digital, and we shall find the ability to download ourselves into a digital framework and travel through interstellar space at the speed of light, at which point we can then live out our existence as a virtual process on a piece of hardware, not requiring any of the current biological necessities that the earth offers.

Sounds like the Wachowski brothers were closer than we imagine! J

 

What was there before ‘God’

 

The question of “What was before God” is interesting – although; the answer must be “Nothing”.

 

Whether god is, as to some, the atoms and molecules that make up existence, or god is the personal creator described in the Judeo-Christian doctrines. There is an old Latin saying that says “Ex nihilo nihil fit” which means roughly – if there was ever a time that there was nothing – there would still be nothing today (i.e. out of nothing, nothing comes).

 

The idea of God is that God is that which there is no greater. So if there is something before what we call god, then what we call god is not god, and its predecessor is in fact God (an adaptive form of the argument from ontology by Anselm of Canterbury).

 

Additionally there can’t be an infinite regress of causes (that is – there has to be a first cause) – and that first cause is what we call God (from Aquinas’ Quinque viae).

 

In my science courses at the University, I am always amazed, and delighted to see how discussions of science and humanity inevitably come back to discussions on God!

Will science ever discover the origins of life?

 

While there are very few limits of science in answering metaphysical questions, even science itself cannot answer some questions of science as was discovered in the early 1900s by Werner Heisenberg as a result of work done by Max Planck (Hawking, 1998).

 

Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle led Heisenberg, and others, to create a new theory based on the uncertainty of the ability to make predictions about packets of light called quanta, resulting in a new theory called Quantum Mechanics (Hawking, 1998).

 

The result of this fundamental law of uncertainty means that, not only will science fail to make accurate simultaneous measurements of the speed and position of quanta, but science will never be able to make accurate measurements of the future. So while the future may itself be deterministic, science will never be able to determine it (Tipler, 2007).

 

Like the future, the question of the origins of the life will definitely be challenging if not impossible for science to answer. How can one test in a reproducible fashion, the state in which the early universe was in leading up to the evolution of life, without being able to accurately reproduce that state?

 

One of the hallmarks of scientific learning is to be able to test in a reproducible fashion a theory that has been devised. I don’t ever see humanity recreating the Big Bang without a consequent of the unintentional annihilation of humanity (we’ll see what the LHC produces over the next few years!).

 

I also don’t think science is equipped to answer existential questions, like “Why am I here”, “What is my purpose”, “Where am I going”.

 

So, while science may continue to build on the hypothesis of the origin of life, I find it unlikely that we will ever be able to reproduce the initial creation of life, nor answer the questions of the meaning and purpose of life. Those answers are beyond the limits of science.

 

Of course, if Heisenberg taught me anything, it’s that the future is uncertain from a human standpoint – so who knows for sure!

 

References

Hawking, S. (1998). A Brief History of Time. New York: Bantam Books.

Tipler, F. J. (2007). The Physics of Christianity. New York: Doubleday.

 

Science & Religion


In our post-modern milieu, there are a growing number of scientists that are starting to understand that faith and religion does not have to be mutually exclusive; that true science and true religion doesn’t have to contradict each other – rather it supports each other.

If you have an interest in reading some writers that believe the sciences show some form of intelligent design (Which is the basis of most all major world religions); I could recommend:

Francis Collins – Biophysics
Robert Jastrow – Astrophysics
Frank Tipler – Mathematical Physicist
Paul Davies – Astrobiology
Alister McGrath – Molecular Biophysics

References

Bennett, J., Donahue, M., Schneider, N., & Voit, M. (2007). The Cosmic Perspective 4th Ed. San Fransisco: Pearson Education, Inc.