Monthly Archives: December 2008

My statement of Belief

I believe that the creation of the universe and life is the act of an intelligent creator; that contingent beings or creations cannot be created except that there be some non-contingent being whose very nature provides and requires aseity and eternality in its nature.

I believe that true science and true religion do not contradict each other rather they uphold and support each other, and as Sir William Bragg said that Science and Religion are opposed, only such as the forefinger and the thumb are opposed. That with Science and Religion together, you can grasp anything.

I believe that the state of the world today is not as it was intended to be; the wars, the hunger, the death, pain and dying. I believe it is the result of a disobedience to a given mandate provided by the creator of life and the universe.

I believe that our cultural mandate as human beings is to work to restore the original state of creation; by learning to love and provide for other people as we love and provide for our own.

I believe that our religious experiences should not be held separate from all other experiences in our world, and that a world view must remain consistent in all areas and portions of life and existence.

I believe in life after death, that mankind was created with value that extends beyond the dust of the earth and that our experiences, our trials and our undertakings here encourage, strengthen and prepare us for a future life that will unfold through the annals of history.

My Letter to God

Dear Lord,

I was asked to sit down today and think about my strengths and think about my weaknesses, and this is what I came to realize:

I am weak, but you are strong. However, I have found that I can do all things when you strengthen me. When I think I know something, when I think I understand, I find I am a fool. You alone are wise. When I ask of you, you give me freely of the fountain of your wisdom. I confess that I am selfish, and self-willed, but you are compassionate and shelter even the smallest of your creation. Through you I understand pure and undefiled religion. I lose my cool so quickly Lord, but you are slow to wrath. Through your patience I learn to wait on you and you give me strength. I am unloving and calloused, I mistreat even those closet to me, but you are love Lord, you love even those who despise you, and through you I find compassion for your creatures.

I realize that I am weak in all things, but through your sufficiency your power is made manifest in me, you strengthen me in all things, and I am reborn:

Lord, I am yours.

Your son,

Jediah

 

 

So what came before that?

 

This thought came from a “What caused the Big Bang” type of discussion.

 

Something had to cause the Big Bang, unless the Big Bang always existed (which is not possible, as it would have always existed as a point of singularity unless acted upon by an outside force – so then the question would be where did that force come from, and you would end up in a impossible series of circular questioning).

 

So, when discussing the Big Bang – something caused it – it is not possible to have something come from nothing (ex nihilo nihil fit) [Out of nothing, nothing comes].

 

In order for something to come from nothing, it would have to create itself. And something would have to predate itself before it could create itself. That is, it would have to exist, before it existed. This is a logical impossibility.

 

Nothing has ever come from nothing – philosophically and logically speaking, if there was ever a point in existence where nothing existed, then nothing would still exist – and because we do exist, we know there was never a time when nothing existed (Thomas Aquinas makes this argument in his Quinque Viae).

 

In fact, not even God could create himself; therefore God must have always existed (which is a central claim to the Judeo-Christian doctrine).

 

Additionally, God would be changeless (RE: The same, yesterday, today and tomorrow) – another foundational claim to central Judeo-Christian teaching, and God would need nothing, He would be complete and whole in his personage, being able to exist eternally without input or output (another central claim to the Judeo-Christian doctrine).

 

🙂

Predators in the dark

Ok, we’ve seen them down the road before; and we’ve heard them out in the woods – and I once even witnessed a pack take down a deer a couple miles from here – but when they show up in your back yard, licking their chops (I have chickens and children) – what are you supposed to do?

They’re almost to magnificent to kill – but I think the winter kill of the deer last year was so significant that we’re likely to have a big problem with them this year….

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.

 

Stellar Lifecycles – A final Paper

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stellar Lifecycles

PHY1000 SECTION 1

Monday, December 08, 2008

Jediah Logiodice

 

Contents

 

Introduction    3

Terra Mater – Surviving on Planet earth    3

Stellar Properties    5

Stellar Life    6

Conclusion    8

References    9

 

 

Introduction

 

One commonly held view of the creation of the universe states that “In the beginning, God created the heaven’s and the earth” (Gen 1:1 New International Version); another common view of the creation, while not contradictory, definitely less mystical goes a little something like this: “Bang!”.

Fast forward some 14 billion years, and zoom in billions of light years to this spiral galaxy called the Milky Way, into this cluster of planets within a solar system that surrounds a small, yellow dwarf sun, to a tiny little planet, that at first seems quite insignificant, and yet with a careful study of the universe it is found that creation has been tuned to bring about a species called humanity apparently for the very purpose of allowing humans to ask the most basic of fundamental questions like: “Where did we come from?”, “Why are we here?” and “Where are we going?”.

Terra Mater – Surviving on Planet earth

 

To begin our journey, we find that this planet maintains a very delicate harmony with aerated oxygen compounds, with nitrogen cycles, and with water cycles which provide a basic substance for life to flourish. These components all maintain coherence within an atmosphere that not only provides a base for these complex cycles, but also traps heat warming the surface and filtering out harmful radiation from bombarding the flora and fauna that has taken up residence.

On top of this atmospheric cocoon we find a magnetic shield also providing protection from harmful forms of radiation. We find a moon in harmonious dance, feeding into tidal waves that pull the oceans to and fro aerating the oceans and providing for a flourishing of oceanic life. And still, even further out, we have this star, called the sun that provides heat and warmth and the breath of life through photosynthetic planetary life. By whatever appropriate means you come to the final conclusion, it appears undeniable that the universe and everything within it was finely tuned to produce life. And thank goodness for that, or otherwise, I would not be here writing this paper, and you, in turn would not be reading it.

A further review of this tiny little planet would show that while most of these tiny little objects we call humans are busy scurrying around from day to day, unaware sometimes of how immaterial they really are, we also find that among these humans there are those that will pause, look up and think about what is out there, somewhere beyond the troposphere, beyond the stratosphere, the thermosphere, and even beyond the exosphere; far out in the dark night sky.

The story of this astronomical undertaking begins with such an individual; his name was Isaac Newton.

While there were many important names attributed to discoveries and classifications of astronomy long before Newton, like Johannes Kepler, who provided fundamental concepts around planetary motion, it was Isaac Newton who created three universal laws that explained motion on a grand scale. Newton’s laws were so fundamental to the understanding of the universe, that Newtonian Physics dominated the world of physics for a few hundred years, until the introduction of Quantum mechanics in the late 1800s.

 

Stellar Properties

 

While Newton’s version of Kepler’s third law of planetary motion was able to provide information about the mass of stars when found in a binary system, he had even more to offer within the world of astronomy than just the laws of motion, for it was Newton who first provided insights into the nature of light (Bennett, Donahue, Schneider, & Voit, 2007, p. 148).

Through advancements of the study of light (spectroscopy) that came later, scientists and astronomers found that through emission and absorption lines they could determine the chemical makeup of distant light producing objects (Bennett, Donahue, Schneider, & Voit, 2007, p. 162).

Additionally, by examining the spectrum provided by these objects in conjunction with observational laboratory studies of spectral lines of known chemicals, scientists could also determine if objects where moving towards our planet, or away from our planet, and could even determine how fast these objects were themselves rotating (Bennett, Donahue, Schneider, & Voit, 2007, p. 168). Another use for spectral lines was later found in categorizing the surface temperature of stars (Bennett, Donahue, Schneider, & Voit, 2007, pp. 508, 509).

Further investigations of stars provide detailed information about the stars luminosity and their apparent brightness. By measuring a stars visual brightness, and measuring a stars distance (e.g. through parallax) we can then determine how bright a star really is through the inverse square law.

And so, we find that Newton and his discoveries paved the way for understanding a stars luminosity, temperature, density, and chemical composition!

 

Stellar Life

 

As we look out into the night sky, we can tell, sometimes even with the naked eye, that not all stars are created equal. Based on a stars surface temperature, some stars produce reddish light, some stars produce white light, and some stars produce yellow light, and some stars may even produce blue light (Bennett, Donahue, Schneider, & Voit, 2007, p. 508). While some may be tempted to speculate that the more yellow and white stars are happier stars than the redder (angry) and bluer (sad) stars; for a star, brightness depends not on its cheery disposition, rather it depends on its most fundamental property at birth: mass.

From birth to death, a stars lifetime is strongly influenced by the mass it is first created with. The larger a star, the faster and hotter it burns, the heavier the elements it produces through its nuclear fusion process which are essential to life, and the more spectacular its final days of destruction will be.

While a massive star will end in a supernova that leaves behind a neutron star, smaller main sequence stars will most often outlast these stars by millions of years.

A main sequence star will begin by the compression of hydrogen and helium until the force of gravity heats the core enough to initiate nuclear fusion. The main sequence star will continue in this state through gravitational equilibrium for millions of years, which is the state that the sun is currently in.

Once the main sequence star has used up all of its hydrogen fuel, there is no longer enough outward pressure to keep the star from collapsing under the great gravitational weight. As the star begins to collapse inwardly, layers of hydrogen surrounding the collapsing core will heat up until the layers reach the point of nuclear fusion.

This will cause the star to expand becoming a red giant, which can, at its peak be “100 times larger in radius, and more than 1,000 times brighter in luminosity [than the sun] (Bennett, Donahue, Schneider, & Voit, 2007, p. 551).”

As the layers of hydrogen burn up, they will deposit helium into the shrinking core, which will continue to heat up. Once the helium core reaches 100 million Kelvin it will start nuclear fusion in the inner core as well.

Now that the star has both a helium nuclear active core and hydrogen nuclear active layers, eventually the star will undergo a helium flash, expanding the hydrogen layers, which will subsequently cool causing the star to produce less visible light.

Once the star has completely converted hydrogen to helium to carbon, nuclear fusion will cease, the star will cast off its outer layers in a brilliant show of lights called a planetary nebula, and all that will remain is a white dwarf. This white dwarf will continue to produce light until such time as it has cooled in the near distant future.

Both massive and not-so-massive stars have one thing in common: they create and recycle elements within the universe, and provide the building blocks that feed into the creation of existence of life on earth. They are a fundamental part of our circle of life.

 

Conclusion

 

In the end, we find that this massive beautiful universe as we can currently observe has played a significant role in the creation and maintenance of the very lives that we have been given. This very existence allows us to study and observe the universe, and should leave us within the fullness of wonder and awe.

However, without the capability to see beyond the stars and the universe as it exists, the scientific pursuit into origins ends at the moment of creation, and provides no further means to research these existential questions, and thus, within science alone, we are left in the state as if waking from “a bad dream (Jastrow, 1992, pp. 106,107).”

To build upon Einstein’s thoughts when he said: “the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible (BrainyQuote.com, 2008)”, I would leave you with the final question that remains unanswered and incomprehensible from a scientific perspective, and that question asks “why?”.

 

 

 

References

 

(2008). Retrieved December 08, 2008, from BrainyQuote.com: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins125369.html

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

Jastrow, R. (1992). God and the Astronomers. United States: Readers Library, 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.