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Posts Tagged ‘intelligent design’
Why Life on Earth Coincides with a Vital Shift in the Makeup of the Universe
Sunday 26th October, 2008
Canberra, Oct 26 : Scientists have come up with an answer to the puzzling question of why life on Earth coincides with a momentous shift in the makeup of the universe.
According to a report by ABC News, research into finding an answer to this mystery was done by Ph.D. student Chas Egan and Charley Lineweaver from Australian National University.
The conundrum has its roots in the way the universe changes as it expands, explained Egan.
Soon after the Big Bang, some 14 billion years ago, most of the energy in the universe was in the form of heat. Later, as the universe cooled and expanded, matter, such as stars and planets, became dominant.
As the expansion continues, it is expected that “dark energy” – a mysterious force that causes the expansion of the universe to accelerate – will become most important.
Over the past 10 years, observations of the universe have shown that the expansion is accelerating, suggesting that the gradual transition from the current matter-dominated phase to the dark-energy era is underway.
“We’re right on the cusp between the matter-dominated and dark energy-dominated epochs,” said Egan.
Astronomers have been puzzled why this shift is happening right now, just when humans are here to observe it.
“When theorists see something like that, that indicates something suspicious. It looks like a coincidence,” said Egan.
Various efforts have been made to explain this coincidence problem over the years, but none of the ideas raised have gained widespread acceptance.
Now, Egan and Lineweaver have taken a pragmatic approach, reasoning that the only time in the history of the universe that it would be possible for us to exist is around now – when stars have been formed, galaxies coalesced and planets have evolved for us to live on.
“It struck us that it’s kind of silly to think that observers could have occurred anywhere during the whole history of the universe,” said Egan.
“If we are tied to terrestrial planets, then we could not possibly have observed the radiation era, and when the universe gets large and diffuse and so on then we could not possible observe that late future either,” he added.
“The results are important for the direction of dark energy research,” Egan said.
“It means we can focus on other problematic aspects of dark energy with some confidence that there is a reasonable explanation for the coincidence problem, regardless of what dark energy turns out to be,” he added.
“In a prior article about the human brain; “A Single Brain More Poweful Than All Computers Ever Made”, a comparison was made between memory capacity of modern computers and that of the human brain. This article compares the “speed of thought” between the two and –the human brain wins.
These authors mention design a number of times, apparently quite unselfconsciously. We would have to agree that design rather than random, undirected mutation explains why the brain is so fearfully and wonderfully made”….s8int.com
By Naveen Nagarajan and Charles F. Stevens
University of California at San Francisco and The Salk Institute, PO Box 85800,
Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, San Diego California 92138-9216, USA
“In the early part of the 20th century, the Harvard University Observatory employed a small army of women Ã¢â¬â they were known at the time as girl computers ÃâÃ¢â¬â to identify images of stars on photographic plates and then to record the intensity and location of each identified star.
The job done by these girl computers has long since been taken over by the digital sort. We all know that digital computers are much better than we are at doing arithmetic, but over the past few decades computers have been taking over jobs, like playing chess or recognizing speech or carrying out symbolic mathematical manipulations, that we used to think of as the province of the human brain.
How close are computers, like HAL in the movie 2001, to matching those things that now only our brains can do? Our goal here is to compare the capabilities and speeds of the brain with those of modern-day computers.”
by David Berlinski
(Video of Berlinski not related to the book but gives an idea of the kind of analysis he applies to the problem)
I read this great book over the weekend. Berlinski is smarter, wittier, more urbane and certainly better informed than Dawkins and Hitchens, two militant Atheists who’ve both made a pile of money recently denigrating God and religion, particularly Christianity. Berlinski takes them and their “scientific Atheists” brothers apart without breaking a sweat and with some humor. We say, if you only read one book this year; read the Bible but if you’ve got more time on your hands, read this book (along with Saboe’s “Days of Peleg”…s8int.com
“David Berlinski received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University and was later a postdoctoral fellow in mathematics and molecular biology at Columbia University. He has authored works on systems analysis, differential topology, theoretical biology, analytic philosophy, and the philosophy of mathematics, as well as three novels. He has also taught philosophy, mathematics and English at such universities as Stanford, Rutgers, the City University of New York and the Universite de Paris. In addition, he has held research fellowships at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria and the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques (IHES) in France.
Recent articles by Dr. Berlinski have been featured in Commentary, Forbes ASAP, and the Boston Review. Two of his articles, “On the Origins of the Mind” (November 2004) and “What Brings a World into Being” (March 2001) have been anthologized in The Best American Science Writing 2005 , edited by Alan Lightman (Harper Perennial), and The Best American Science Writing 2002, edited by Jesse Cohen, respectively.”..Discovery Institute
Reviews of “The Devil’s Delusion”
Ã¢â¬ÅBerlinski knows his science and wields his rapier deftly. He makes great sport with his opponents, and his readers will surely enjoy it.Ã¢â¬Â
Ã¢â¬âTom Bethell, bestselling author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science
Ã¢â¬ÅA powerful riposte to atheist mockery and cocksure science, and to the sort of philosophy that surrenders to them. David Berlinski proceeds reasonably and calmly to challenge recent scientific theorizing and to expose the unreason from which it presumes to criticize religion.Ã¢â¬Â
Ã¢â¬âHarvey Mansfield, Professor of Government, Harvard University
Ã¢â¬ÅBerlinskiÃ¢â¬â¢s book is everything desirable: it is idiomatic, profound, brilliantly polemical, amusing, and of course vastly learned. I congratulate him.Ã¢â¬Â
Ã¢â¬âWilliam F. Buckley Jr.
Ã¢â¬ÅWith high style and light-hearted disdain, David Berlinski deflates the intellectual pretensions of the scientific atheist crowd. Maybe they can recite the Periodic Table by heart, but the secular Berlinski shows that this doesnÃ¢â¬â¢t get them very far in reasoning about much weightier matters.Ã¢â¬Â
Ã¢â¬âMichael J. Behe, Professor of Biological Sciences, Lehigh University, bestselling author of DarwinÃ¢â¬â¢s Black Box and The Edge of Evolution
Ã¢â¬ÅDavid Berlinski plus any topic equals an extraordinary book.Ã¢â¬Â
Militant atheism is on the rise. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens have dominated bestseller lists with books denigrating religious belief as dangerous foolishness. And these authors are merely the leading edge of a far larger movementÃ¢â¬âone that now includes much of the scientific community.
Ã¢â¬ÅThe attack on traditional religious thought,Ã¢â¬Â writes David Berlinski in The DevilÃ¢â¬â¢s Delusion, Ã¢â¬Åmarks the consolidation in our time of science as the single system of belief in which rational men and women might place their faith, and if not their faith, then certainly their devotion.Ã¢â¬Â
A secular Jew, Berlinski nonetheless delivers a biting defense of religious thought. An acclaimed author who has spent his career writing about mathematics and the sciences, he turns the scientific communityÃ¢â¬â¢s cherished skepticism back on itself, daring to ask and answer some rather embarrassing questions:
Has anyone provided a proof of GodÃ¢â¬â¢s inexistence?
Not even close.
Has quantum cosmology explained the emergence of the universe or why it is here?
Not even close.
Have the sciences explained why our universe seems to be fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life?
Not even close.
Are physicists and biologists willing to believe in anything so long as it is not religious thought?
Has rationalism in moral thought provided us with an understanding of what is good, what is right, and what is moral?
Not close enough.
Has secularism in the terrible twentieth century been a force for good?
Not even close to being close.
Is there a narrow and oppressive orthodoxy of thought and opinion within the sciences?
Does anything in the sciences or in their philosophy justify the claim that religious belief is irrational?
Not even ballpark.
Is scientific atheism a frivolous exercise in intellectual contempt?
Berlinski does not dismiss the achievements of western science. The great physical theories, he observes, are among the treasures of the human race. But they do nothing to answer the questions that religion asks, and they fail to offer a coherent description of the cosmos or the methods by which it might be investigated.
This brilliant, incisive, and funny book explores the limits of science and the pretensions of those who insist it can beÃ¢â¬âindeed must beÃ¢â¬âthe ultimate touchstone for understanding our world and ourselves.
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