Scientific Turnaround (Audio & Video)

 

Scientific Turnaround (Audio & Video)

Articles, audio recordings, and videos in this posting:

Is There A Creator In The World?

Genesis & The Big Bang Theory and Origin of Life by Dr. Gerald Schroder audio links:

Intelligent Design video by Dr. Gerald Schroder:

Article written by Dr. Gerald Schroder:

The Fine Tuning of the Universe

The Wisdom In Your Cells Video:

The Stroll

The Moral Approach To God’s Existence

What are the theological implications of modern cosmology?

Signature of God (Audio)

Design in the world revealed through nature

At first, the scientific world believed that the universe was eternal. Then in 1978, the director of NASA’s Goddard Space Center, Dr. Robert Jastrow, published a piece in the New York Times Magazine outlining the overwhelming evidence that our universe inexplicably burst into existence, and concluded saying:

“This is an exceedingly strange development, unexpected by all but the theologians. They have always accepted the word of the Bible: In the beginning God created heaven and earth… For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

On the one hand, these constant reversals prevent the scientific community from speaking with any real authority. On the other hand, it is fascinating to note how the reversals in recent years have more often than not bolstered the Torah perspective. The writings of many of today’s top astronomers, chemists, biologists and physicists are entirely consistent with our tradition. And even in the words of those who despise religions and religious values, and who would never consciously offer support for God’s existence, we can often detect inadvertent arguments for our perspective.

Is There A Creator In The World?

Does God Exist? Proof Evidence for God | Is there a Creator | God in the World?
 

 

“The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe. We are like a little child entering a huge library. The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written these books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books – a mysterious order which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects.”

~Albert Einstein

 

Genesis & The Big Bang Theory and Origin of Life by Dr. Gerald Schroder audio links:

Genesis & The Big Bang Theory by Dr. Gerald Schroeder

Origin of Life by Dr. Gerald Schroeder

 

Intelligent Design video by Dr. Gerald Schroder:

Intelligent Design by Dr. Gerald Schroeder

 

Article written by Dr. Gerald Schroder:

Intelligent Design

 

The Fine Tuning of the Universe

An amazing array of scientists are bewildered by the design of the universe and admit a possibility of a designer.

(See the full presentation of this and other themes on the 2001 Principle Website.)

According to growing numbers of scientists, the laws and constants of nature are so “finely-tuned,” and so many “coincidences” have occurred to allow for the possibility of life, the universe must have come into existence through intentional planning and intelligence.

In fact, this “fine-tuning” is so pronounced, and the “coincidences” are so numerous, many scientists have come to espouse The Anthropic Principle, which contends that the universe was brought into existence intentionally for the sake of producing mankind.

Even those who do not accept The Anthropic Principle admit to the “fine-tuning” and conclude that the universe is “too contrived” to be a chance event.

In a BBC science documentary, “The Anthropic Principle,” some of the greatest scientific minds of our day describe the recent findings which compel this conclusion.

Dr. Dennis Scania, the distinguished head of Cambridge University Observatories:

If you change a little bit the laws of nature, or you change a little bit the constants of nature—like the charge on the electron—then the way the universe develops is so changed, it is very likely that intelligent life would not have been able to develop.

Dr. David D. Deutsch, Institute of Mathematics, Oxford University:

If we nudge one of these constants just a few percent in one direction, stars burn out within a million years of their formation, and there is no time for evolution. If we nudge it a few percent in the other direction, then no elements heavier than helium form. No carbon, no life. Not even any chemistry. No complexity at all.

Dr. Paul Davies, noted author and professor of theoretical physics at Adelaide University:

“The really amazing thing is not that life on Earth is balanced on a knife-edge, but that the entire universe is balanced on a knife-edge, and would be total chaos if any of the natural ‘constants’ were off even slightly. You see,” Davies adds, “even if you dismiss man as a chance happening, the fact remains that the universe seems unreasonably suited to the existence of life—almost contrived—you might say a ‘put-up job’.”

According to the latest scientific thinking, the matter of the universe originated in a huge explosion of energy called “The Big Bang.” At first, the universe was only hydrogen and helium, which congealed into stars. Subsequently, all the other elements were manufactured inside the stars. The four most abundant elements in the universe are: hydrogen, helium, oxygen and carbon.

When Sir Fred Hoyle was researching how carbon came to be, in the “blast-furnaces” of the stars, his calculations indicated that it is very difficult to explain how the stars generated the necessary quantity of carbon upon which life on earth depends. Hoyle found that there were numerous “fortunate” one-time occurrences which seemed to indicate that purposeful “adjustments” had been made in the laws of physics and chemistry in order to produce the necessary carbon.

Hoyle sums up his findings as follows:

A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintendent has monkeyed with the physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce within stars.

Adds Dr. David D. Deutch:

If anyone claims not to be surprised by the special features that the universe has, he is hiding his head in the sand. These special features ARE surprising and unlikely.

UNIVERSAL ACCEPTANCE OF FINE-TUNING

Besides the BBC video, the scientific establishment’s most prestigious journals, and its most famous physicists and cosmologists, have all gone on record as recognizing the objective truth of the fine-tuning.

The August ‘97 issue of “Science” (the most prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journal in the United States) featured an article entitled “Science and God: A Warming Trend?” Here is an excerpt:

The fact that the universe exhibits many features that foster organic life—such as precisely those physical constants that result in planets and long-lived stars—also has led some scientists to speculate that some divine influence may be present.

In his best-selling book, “A Brief History of Time”, Stephen Hawking (perhaps the world’s most famous cosmologist) refers to the phenomenon as “remarkable.”

“The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers (i.e. the constants of physics) seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life”. “For example,” Hawking writes, “if the electric charge of the electron had been only slightly different, stars would have been unable to burn hydrogen and helium, or else they would not have exploded. It seems clear that there are relatively few ranges of values for the numbers (for the constants) that would allow for development of any form of intelligent life. Most sets of values would give rise to universes that, although they might be very beautiful, would contain no one able to wonder at that beauty.”

Hawking then goes on to say that he can appreciate taking this as possible evidence of “a divine purpose in Creation and the choice of the laws of science (by God)” (ibid. p. 125). Dr. Gerald Schroeder, author of “Genesis and the Big Bang” and “The Science of Life” was formerly with the M.I.T. physics department. He adds the following examples:

1) Professor Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in high energy physics (a field of science that deals with the very early universe), writing in the journal “Scientific American”, reflects on

how surprising it is that the laws of nature and the initial conditions of the universe should allow for the existence of beings who could observe it. Life as we know it would be impossible if any one of several physical quantities had slightly different values.

Although Weinberg is a self-described agnostic, he cannot but be astounded by the extent of the fine-tuning. He goes on to describe how a beryllium isotope having the minuscule half life of 0.0000000000000001 seconds must find and absorb a helium nucleus in that split of time before decaying. This occurs only because of a totally unexpected, exquisitely precise, energy match between the two nuclei. If this did not occur there would be none of the heavier elements. No carbon, no nitrogen, no life. Our universe would be composed of hydrogen and helium. But this is not the end of Professor Weinberg’s wonder at our well-tuned universe. He continues:

One constant does seem to require an incredible fine-tuning—The existence of life of any kind seems to require a cancellation between different contributions to the vacuum energy, accurate to about 120 decimal places.

This means that if the energies of the Big Bang were, in arbitrary units, not:

100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000,

but instead:

100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000001,

there would be no life of any sort in the entire universe because as Weinberg states:

the universe either would go through a complete cycle of expansion and contraction before life could arise, or would expand so rapidly that no galaxies or stars could form.

2) Michael Turner, the widely quoted astrophysicist at the University of Chicago and Fermilab, describes the fine-tuning of the universe with a simile:

The precision is as if one could throw a dart across the entire universe and hit a bulls eye one millimeter in diameter on the other side.

3) Roger Penrose, the Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, discovers that the likelihood of the universe having usable energy (low entropy) at the creation is even more astounding,

namely, an accuracy of one part out of ten to the power of ten to the power of 123. This is an extraordinary figure. One could not possibly even write the number down in full, in our ordinary denary (power of ten) notation: it would be one followed by ten to the power of 123 successive zeros! (That is a million billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion zeros.)

Penrose continues,

Even if we were to write a zero on each separate proton and on eachseparate neutron in the entire universe—and we could throw in all the other particles as well for good measure—we should fall far short of writing down the figure needed. The precision needed to set the universe on its course is to be in no way inferior to all that extraordinary precision that we have already become accustomed to in the superb dynamical equations (Newton’s, Maxwell’s, Einstein’s) which govern the behavior of things from moment to moment.

Cosmologists debate whether the space-time continuum is finite or infinite, bounded or unbounded. In all scenarios, the fine-tuning remains the same.

It is appropriate to complete this section on “fine tuning” with the eloquent words of Professor John Wheeler:

To my mind, there must be at the bottom of it all, not an utterly simple equation, but an utterly simple IDEA. And to me that idea, when we finally discover it, will be so compelling, and so inevitable, so beautiful, we will all say to each other, “How could it have ever been otherwise?”

 

 

The Wisdom In Your Cells Video:


Nuclei, proteins and lipids move with bug-like authority, slithering, gliding and twisting through 3D space.

All of those things that you see in the animation are going on in every one of your cells in your body all the time,” says XVIVO lead animator John Liebler, who worked with company partners David Bolinsky, XVIVO’s medical director, and Mike Astrachan, the project’s production director, to blend the academic data and narrative from Harvard’s faculty into a fluid visual interpretation.

“First, we couldn’t have known where to begin with all of this material without significant work done by Alain Viel, Ph.D. [associate director of undergraduate research at Harvard University], who wrote and guided the focus to include the essential processes that needed to be described to complement the curriculum and sustain an interesting narrative. I’ve been in the medical animation field for seven years now, so I’m a little jaded, but I still get surprised by things. For instance, in the animation there’s a motor protein that’s sort of walking along a line, carrying this round sphere of lipids. When I started working on that section I admit I was kind of surprised to see that it really does look like it’s out for a stroll, like a character in a science fiction film or animation. But based on all the data, it’s a completely accurate rendering.”
short excerpt from: http://bit.ly/aBlkX

click here to watch this video with scientific narration.

click here to watch a documentary called “Unlocking The Mystery of Life”

 

The Stroll

Imagine if you will that you are taking a stroll on the beach. There is no breeze. The tide is out. Suddenly, to your amazement, all the grains of sand on the beach rise up and start assembling themselves into a series of precisely patterned buildings with symmetrical rooms and lighting mechanisms. Now your instinctive reaction to this phenomenon would be to try to explain it. What strikes you as astonishing is not simply the coming to be of a brilliantly architected set of buildings but the mystery of how mere grains of sand could pull it all off acting in tandem and following specific pathways. You conclude that the sand has somehow been programmed to act as it does. But then you ask, what gave birth to the program, how was it inserted at the granular level and who watches over the enterprise to ensure that there are no deviations from the program? You are stunned both by the existence of the program and the fact that it could be orchestrated and implemented at such a fundamental level.

This beach-house tale is fanciful. But its main failing is inadequacy, not exaggeration. A grain of sand, which has a size of about 100 microns, for instance, is made up of a million atoms and each atom is about a millionth of a millimeter. Each atom is a universe in its own right with protons and neutrons, themselves made up of quarks, and electrons that are all held together by electromagnetic forces. Atoms contain huge reservoirs of energy. The energy in a single gram of any kind of matter, reports the noted scientist Gerald Schroeder, can boil 34 billion grams of water into steam. It was not for nothing that the poet William Blake talked about seeing a world in a grain of sand. Which brings us back to the same questions we asked with respect to the analogy: How was the sand programmed to be the way it is and how was the program inserted and then enforced.

Excerpt from “The Wonder of the World”

BACK TO:

 

The Moral Approach To God’s Existence


by Lawrence Kelemen

MANY PEOPLE BELIEVE in universal ethics, i.e., standards of right and wrong that extend across all geographic and temporal boundaries. The popular idea that murder is always wrong—that there is something unethical about slaughtering guiltless, non-threatening human beings in any country at any period in history—is an example of just such a universal ethic.

The moral approach to God’s existence begins with the question: Why is murder wrong? That is, who or what has the authority to establish such a universal ethical principle? Who or what made murder wrong?

There are many possible answers to this question.

PART I.

Perhaps murder is wrong because reason—abstract logic—so dictates.

The problem with such a proposal is that reason dictates that we take whatever actions will most effectively achieve our goal. Depending on our goal, reason may or may not rule out murder. If our goal is to permanently stop someone from having an effect on the world, the most effective means to that end is to murder that person.

There are those who might object that everyone’s ultimate goal is survival, and that the most reasonable way to ensure everyone’s survival is to live by and spread the ethic: refrain from doing to others what you would not want done to yourself (e.g., murder). But such an objection is doubly flawed.

First, for many people survival is not the highest value. The Japanese Kamikaze pilots who gave their lives to win World War II were not lunatics; they were highly intelligent military officers who valued Japanese victory more than their own lives. Any student of history could easily list a dozen similar examples of rational people who were willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of abstract ideals.

Second, even those who consider their own survival their highest value might logically conclude that murdering others is a good idea. Murder, when one can get away with it and benefit in the long run, might be quite rational.

In short: Even the most perfect logic, if founded on an immoral premise, will generate an immoral conclusion. We therefore need not assume that “moral” and “rational” are equivalent. Morality and reason might be completely unrelated. Certain acts might be moral albeit irrational, and others might be immoral yet eminently reasonable. Because there is no inherent relationship between morality and logic, reason cannot be the source of the “murder is always wrong” ethic.

Part II.

Maybe murder is wrong because someone decided that it is.

This proposal is problematic for two reasons.

First, why should one person set the world’s ethical standards? What unique trait could grant him alone the right to dictate world morality? Is it logical that the person with the highest I.Q. or the biggest army or the bluest eyes should determine absolute right and wrong? Should any human quality confer upon its possessor the status of supreme ethical authority? (1)

Second, what was murder’s moral status before this person was born and what will it be after he dies? If someone earned the right to dictate morality by being the most unique person alive, then others must have earned this right before him and still others will do so after him. Murder’s moral status would then be subject to change every eighty years or so. Thus we would not be able to affirm the premise that murder is always wrong. At best we could say that murder is wrong so long as a certain arbiter is alive. Murder can be eternally and universally unethical only if some eternal, authoritative source says so.

PART III.

Those who would propose that murder is wrong because our society (or country) decided that it is encounter the same two problems:

There are many societies besides ours. What makes the West a moral authority over certain Eastern and African civilizations that condone infanticide, cannibalism, and other murderous behaviors? Is it logical that one group of people should dictate morality to all the others just because they speak the most articulate English or earn the highest per capita income or boast the highest geographical density of fast-food restaurants? (2)

Paralleling our previous objections, we must also ask what murder’s moral status was before Western man condemned it and what it will be after our society’s demise. Ostensibly the crown of moral arbiter was bequeathed to our society by earlier civilizations, and will in turn be passed on to some future society. Again we cannot affirm the premise that murder is always wrong. If murder were wrong only because our society said so, then we could at best affirm that murder has been wrong and will be wrong as long as our society survives. But murder can only be eternally and universally unethical if some source older and more authoritative than a society says so.

PART IV.

Maybe a federation of humanity established the eternal, universal moral principles that no person or society can.

Maybe murder is always wrong because the majority of mankind decided so.

This suggestion eliminates the first problem we’ve encountered (deciding which of many coexisting individuals or societies should rule). Since there is only one group which includes all mankind, that group is clearly the ultimate human authority. This suggestion does not, however, solve the second problem (deciding which of many sequentially existing people or societies should rule). While there is only one humanity, the members of that group keep changing. Every time someone is born, or someone dies, humanity changes. Which era, therefore, has the right to establish the ethical principles for all subsequent generations? What gives the people of 500 BCE or 1500 BCE more moral authority than the people of 500 CE or 1500 CE? Which humanity is the more logical heir to the moral throne?

Ultimately we must admit that murder cannot always be wrong just because a particular generation said so. Once again, we need a more authoritative source for eternal ethics.

The suggestion that murder is wrong because mankind said so generates a practical objection as well. During certain periods of history, the majority of mankind did not seem especially opposed to murder. After all, early man is believed to have spent much of his time either killing people or evading those who sought to kill him.

Even without speculating about prehistoric human values, we can demonstrate that modern man occasionally sanctions murder. Adolf Hitler attempted to murder every Jew in Europe, and he encountered the military opposition of fewer than twenty of the world’s approximately one-hundred nations. Moreover, given that not a single unthreatened country declared war against Hitler, we can even wonder whether the handful of countries that did were motivated by a moral opposition to murder or by a survival instinct. (3)

One might argue that countries were afraid to challenge Hitler because he commanded the most aggressive army on earth, but that—in its heart—humanity opposed his genocidal campaign. But if most countries disapproved of murdering innocent Jews, then after the war—after Germany’s defeat and Hitler’s death—they should have enthusiastically condemned the Nazis. Yet, in 1946, when England, France, the United States, and the USSR sought global support for the establishment of an international court to condemn war crimes and try war criminals, only nineteen countries responded. (4)If the world kept silent during the war years only out of fear, then why—when humanity finally had a safe opportunity to declare its disapproval—were only about a fifth of the world’s nations interested?

History suggests that most of humanity did not care what Hitler did, as long as he did it to someone else. Every day of the war, for half a decade, the world reaffirmed its apathy towards Hitler and genocide. (5)And when the war was over, 80 percent of the world’s nations declared their indifference by refusing to participate in the Nuremberg trials. If murder was wrong between 1939 and 1946, it was not because humanity made it wrong. Most of humanity did not care.

Thus, for philosophical as well as practical reasons, humanity cannot be the source of our ethic that murder is always wrong.

PART V.

Maybe murder is wrong because it is unnatural.

Immediately, we re-encounter the question of when in history the ultimate moral principles were established. Nature is always changing, since individual fungi, bacteria, plants, and animals are constantly passing in and out of existence. The natural world we might have consulted a thousand years ago differs radically from our natural world. What gives prehistoric creatures more moral authority than those alive today, or vice versa? Again, any polling date we propose is necessarily arbitrary.

Moreover, even if the coalition of all living things has always agreed on basic ethical principles, that coalition might fall apart tomorrow. At best we could affirm only that a behavior has been historically considered good or evil. What that behavior’s moral status will be in the future remains undecided. If we still wish to affirm the premise that murder is eternally wrong, we need a more stable source than nature.

The suggestion that murder is wrong because nature said so also generates a practical objection. If, at any point in history, we polled all living things (again, by watching their behavior), they would almost unanimously be in favor of murder. In nature, life has always been a matter of survival of the fittest, kill or be killed. Lions survive by eating innocent deer (and innocent lions, too, when the deer supply runs short). Weeds survive by strangling other plants and taking over their food supply. Bacteria, fungi, viruses, and their comrades follow similar strategies. Were we to learn any lesson from living things, it would be that murder is acceptable, if not recommended, behavior. And inanimate objects and forces are no kinder. Landslides, tidal waves, earthquakes, and lightning bolts murder indiscriminately. If murder is always wrong, it cannot be because nature made it so.

If murder is always wrong, it must be because nature was overruled. If murder is always wrong, it must be because something greater than nature decided that it should be.

PART VI.

There is a term for that which is greater than nature: the supernatural. One who wishes to affirm eternal, universal ethics like “murder is always wrong” must admit the existence of a supernatural moral arbiter, a God. There is just no other source for such ethics.

This is not a conclusive proof that God exists. Some people believe that morality is an individual, virtually aesthetic preference; that there are no universal rights or wrongs; and that murder is not absolutely evil. There are also people who prefer to believe that murder is absolutely evil, but who will abandon such a position in order to preserve their agnosticism. Both groups will be unmoved by the moral approach to God’s existence. There is, however, a third group—a group persuaded that murder is universally and eternally wrong, and that other absolute moral standards also exist—and for this group the moral approach to God’s existence offers permission to believe.

Reprinted with permission from
Permission to Believe, by Lawrence Kelemen

NOTES

(1)Should one propose that the first man, being the first, had the right and authority to establish ethical principles for all his descendants, we would face the following two problems:
First, why should being first grant some sort of moral authority? Admittedly there was only one first man. But there was also only one second man, and one third man, and one millionth man. Every individual’s position in history is unique. Why should being born earlier than other people endow someone with more moral authority?
Second, the archaeological record suggests that man has crafted weapons throughout his history, and anthropologists confirm that murder was in fact no less common among primitive peoples. That would lead us to believe that the first man, the progenitor of the most self-destructive species on earth, was opposed to murder?

(2) And should one suggest that the kindest (most moral) country should be appointed the world ethical authority, whose values would determine which country is the kindest? It is obviously tautological to say that the most moral country should establish what is and is not moral behavior.

(3)Notably, even the United States involved itself only after being attacked at Pearl Harbor, and Great Britain declared war only after Hitler publicly identified England as his next target.

(4)Greece, Denmark, Yugoslavia, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Belgium, Ethiopia, Australia, Honduras, Norway, Panama, Luxembourg, Haiti, New Zealand, India, Venezuela, Uruguay, and Paraguay.

(5)Contrary to naive claims that people were silent only because they did not know what Hitler was doing, the government documents and newspaper clippings assembled since 1945 suggest that knowledge of the Holocaust was widespread even during the war. For example, on July 29, 1942, the New York Times reported that “Nazi authorities in Poland are planning to ‘exterminate’ the entire Warsaw ghetto, whose population is estimated at 600,000 Jews….” For a detailed survey of this literature, see Martin Gilbert’s Auschwitz and the Allies (London: Arrow Books Limited, 1984).

by  Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen

 

What are the theological implications of modern cosmology?

Until the early twentieth century, astronomers entertained three possible models of the universe:

A) The universe could be static. It might be an infinite splash of stars and planets exhibiting no uniform motion. Even according to this theory, the mutual gravitational attractions of stars and planets might hold these astronomical objects together in the form of solar systems and galaxies. But each of these stellar/terrestrial groups would slide through space along its own random trajectory, unrelated to the courses tracked by other groups of stars and planets. The beauty of the static model is that it works for atheists and believers: Such a universe could have been created by God at some point in history, but it also could have existed forever without God.

(B) The universe could be oscillating. It might be a cosmic balloon alternately expanding and contracting. For a few billion years it would inflate into absolute nothingness. The gravitational attraction of every star and planet pulling on every other would eventually slow this expansion until the whole process would reverse and the balloon would come crashing back in upon itself. All that existed would eventually smash together at the universe’s center, releasing huge amounts of heat and light, spewing everything back out in all directions and beginning the expansion phase all over again. Such a universe could also have been created by God or could have existed forever without God.

(C) Or, finally, the universe could be open. It might be a cosmic balloon that never implodes. If the total gravitational attraction of all stars and planets could not halt the initial expansion, the universe would spill out into nothingness forever. Eventually the stars would burn out and a curtain of frozen darkness would enshroud all existence. Such a universe could never bring itself back to life. It would come into existence at a moment in history, blaze gloriously, and then pass into irrevocable night. Crucially, this model proposes that before the one-time explosion, all the universe’s matter and energy was contained in a singularity, a tiny dot that sat stable in space for eternity before it detonated. This model proposes a paradox: Objects at rest – like the initial singularity – remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force; and yet, since the initial dot contained all matter and energy, nothing (at least, nothing natural) existed outside of this singularity that could have caused it to explode. The simplest resolution of the paradox is to posit that something supernatural kicked the universe into being. The open model of the universe thus implies a supernatural Creator.

In 1916 Albert Einstein released the first drafts of his Theory of General Relativity and the scientific world went wild. It appeared that Einstein had revealed the deepest secrets of the universe. His equations also caused a few problems—technical dilemmas, mathematical snags—but not the sort of thing of interest to newspapers or even popular science journals.

Two scientists noticed the glitches. Late in 1917 the Danish astronomer Willem de Sitter reviewed General Relativity and returned a detailed response to Einstein, outlining the problem and proposing a radical solution: General Relativity could work only if the entire universe was exploding, erupting out in all directions from a central point. Einstein never responded to de Sitter’s critique. Then, in 1922, Soviet mathematician Alexander Friedmann independently derived de Sitter’s solution. If Einstein was right, Friedmann predicted, the universe must be expanding in all directions at high speed.

Meanwhile, across the sea, American astronomer Vesto Slipher actually witnessed the universe’s explosive outward movement. Using the powerful telescope at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, Slipher discovered that dozens of galaxies were indeed rocketing away from a central point.

At the end of World War I, de Sitter, Friedman and Slipher independently shared their findings with Einstein, but he strangely resisted their solution – as if, in his brilliance, he realized the theological implications of an exploding universe. Einstein even wrote a letter to Zeitschrift fur Physik, a prestigious technical journal, calling Friedmann’s suggestions “suspicious;” and to de Sitter Einstein jotted a note, “This circumstance [of an expanding universe] irritates me.” In another note, Einstein reassured one of his colleagues, “I have not yet fallen in the hands of priests”—a veiled reference to de Sitter, Friedmann and Slipher.

In 1925, the American astronomer Edwin Hubble, dealt the static model of the universe a fatal blow. Using what was then the largest telescope in the world, Hubble revealed that every galaxy within 6 x 1017 miles of the Earth was receding. Einstein tenaciously refused to acknowledge Hubble’s work. The German genius continued teaching the static model for five more years, until, at Hubble’s request, he traveled from Berlin to Pasadena to personally examine the evidence. At the trip’s conclusion, Einstein reluctantly admitted, “New observations by Hubble… make it appear likely that the general structure of the universe is not static.” Einstein died in 1955, swayed but still not fully convinced that the universe was expanding.

Ten years later, in 1965, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson were calibrating a super-sensitive microwave detector at Bell Telephone Laboratories in New Jersey. No matter where the two scientists aimed the instrument, it picked up the same unidentified background noise—a steady, three-degree Kelvin (“3K”) hum. On a hunch, the two Bell Labs employees looked over an essay on General Relativity by a student of Alexander Friedmann. The essay predicted that the remnants of the universe’s most recent explosion should be detectable in the form of weak microwave radiation, “around 5K, or thereabouts.” The two scientists realized they had discovered the echo of the biggest explosion in history: “the Big Bang.” For this discovery, Penzias and Wilson received the Nobel Prize.

The discovery of the “3K hum” undermined the static model of the universe. There were only two models left: one worked without God and one did not. The last issue to be settled was: Had the primordial universe exploded an infinite number of times (the oscillating model)? Or only once (the open model)? Researchers knew that the issue could be settled by determining the average density of the universe. If the universe contained the equivalent of about one Hydrogen atom per ten cubic feet of space, then the gravitational attraction among all the universe’s particles would be strong enough to stop and reverse the expansion. Eventually there would be a “Big Crunch” which would lead to another Big Bang (and then another Big Crunch, etc.). If, on the other hand, the universe contained less than this density, then the Big Bang’s explosive force would overcome all the gravitational pulls, and everything would sail out into nothingness forever.

Curiously, the death of the static model inspired panic in many quarters of the scientific world. Mathematicians, physicists, and astronomers joined forces to prove the eternity of the universe. Dr. Robert Jastrow, arguably the greatest astrophysicist of the time and director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Goddard Center for Space Studies, was named head of the research project. For fifteen years Jastrow and his team tried to demonstrate the validity of the oscillating model, but the data told a different story. In 1978 Jastrow released NASA’s definitive report, shocking the public with his announcement that the open model was probably correct. On June 25 of that year, Jastrow released his findings to the New York Times Magazine:

“This is an exceedingly strange development, unexpected by all but the theologians. They have always accepted the word of the Bible: In the beginning God created heaven and earth… [But] for the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; [and] as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

Dr. James Trefil, a physicist at the University of Virginia, independently confirmed Jastrow’s discovery in 1983. Drs. John Barrow (an astronomer at the University of Sussex) and Frank Tipler (a mathematician and physicist at Tulane University) published similar results in 1986. At the 1990 meeting of the American Astronomical Society, Professor John Mather of Columbia University, an astrophysicist who also serves on the staff of NASA’s Goddard Center, presented “the most dramatic support ever” for an open universe. According to the Boston Globe reporter covering the conference, Mather’s keynote address was greeted with thunderous applause, which led the meeting’s chairman, Dr. Geoffrey Burbridge, to comment: “It seems clear that the audience is in favor of the book of Genesis – at least the first verse or so, which seems to have been confirmed.” In 1998, Drs. Ruth Daly, Erick Guerra and Lin Wan of Princeton University announced to the American Astronomical Society, “We can state with 97.5 percent confidence that the universe will continue to expand forever.” Later that year, Dr. Allan Sandage, a world-renowned astrophysicist on the staff of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, was quoted in The New Republic saying, “The Big Bang is best understood as a miracle triggered by some kind of transcendent power.” Newsweek columnist George Will began his November 9, 1998 column with this quip: “Soon the American Civil Liberties Union, or People for the American Way, or some similar faction of litigious secularism will file suit against NASA, charging that the Hubble Space Telescope unconstitutionally gives comfort to the religiously inclined.” The same year, Newsweek reported a recent and unexpected swing of opinion among the once passionately agnostic: “Forty percent of American scientists now believe in a personal God—not merely an ineffable power and presence in the world, but a deity to whom they can pray.”

There are, of course, mathematicians, physicists, astronomers, and cosmologists who choose not to believe in God today. For a variety of reasons, they choose instead to have faith that new natural laws will be discovered or that new evidence will appear and overturn the current model of an open, created universe. But for many in the scientific community, the evidence is persuasive. For many, modern cosmology offers permission to believe.

by  Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen

 

 

Signature of God (Audio)

By Mr. Harold Gans

Have you ever wondered why a sunset is so beautiful, a flower so fragrant, or an apple so tasty? What are the chances that God’s primary intent was to please us? Using scientific data about the planets, elements and spiritual forces, Mr. Gans describes how the world’s incredible beauty is just another “signature” that G-d uses to reveal His guiding hand.  Click here for “Signature of God”  by Mr. Harold Gans from AishAudio.com

 

Design in the world revealed through nature


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Origin of the Moon

Scientific Data Supporting Creation

 

 

 

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