February 14th, 2013
The bulk of my graduate research is focused on the work and thought of Max Tegmark, an MIT astrophysicist/cosmologist, who’s responsible for a tremendous contribution to multiverse models. In honor of Charles Darwin’s 204th birthday he did an article for the Huffington Post, “Celebrating Darwin: Religion and Science are Closer Than You Think.” There are some very interesting survey results regarding faith and conflict between evolution and big bang cosmology.
So is there a conflict between science and religion? The religious organizations representing most Americans clearly don’t think so. Interestingly, the science organizations representing most American scientists don’t think so either: For example, the American Association for the Advancement of Science states that science and religion “live together quite comfortably, including in the minds of many scientists.” This shows that the main divide in the U.S. origins debate isn’t between science and religion, but between a small fundamentalist minority and mainstream religious communities who embrace science.
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January 10th, 2013
Michael Ruse classifies creation science as pseudoscience. Additionally, what makes creation science so unattractive is that it is completely void of the possibility of being falsifiable unless the antecedent conditions (the interpretation) have been falsified. This makes the issue of accounting for anomalies so absurd that creation science doesn’t really account for anomalies; rather, it produces extreme ad hoc explanations to account for contradictions to its theory. There’s a distinction between anomalies and refutations. Refutations are falsifiers. Additionally, scientific theories are true regardless of any religious understanding. Religious belief, like I mentioned earlier, begs the question on certain scientific matters. Religious belief, when used as a hermeneutic for interpreting scientific data and developing scientific theories, is also a controversial methodology. Its appeal to method isn’t necessarily objective (as close to objectivity can be) and is not commonly accepted (though not to be used as an argumentum ad populum).
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September 16th, 2012
By Hugh Ross
No one approaches the Bible completely free of bias. Mine was a secularist’s assumption that this book, like other texts considered “sacred,” would be easy to dismiss as a culturally important yet humanly crafted document. I did not disbelieve in a Being beyond the universe. I had studied enough to see growing evidence for the universe’s transcendent beginning and, thus, the reality of a transcendent Beginner. I felt no compelling need, however, to find the Bible either true or false.
Some may consider my early attraction to astronomy as a bias, but I see no basis for discounting a researcher’s truth filters — such as the rules of logic and evidence — as if they are inappropriate study tools. So this is where I started. I could not have imagined where my inquiry would lead.
From where I stand today, with full confidence in the truth of Scripture and high regard for the prolific scientific enterprise that sprang from widespread access to the Bible, I cannot help but wonder if something other than exegetical difficulties is fueling the creation controversy. The push to choose either a high view of the Bible or a high view of nature’s record seems to come from a sense of vulnerability — an apprehension that discoverable facts might somehow, someday clash irreconcilably with biblical theology. And then what? I simply do not see that danger as real. God’s constancy and consistency of character, observed in both Scripture and nature, takes it away.
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August 21st, 2012
A reader of the blog recently contacted me about the Magis Center for Reason and Faith. I’ve since added it to the Resources page. A few years ago I was able to listen to Fr. Robert Spitzer give a presentation on the fine-tuning of physics. (I don’t remember if you can see me in the video but I’m in the house right.) There’s a wonderful resource, the Physics FAQ, which I’ve linked below.
The Magis Center of Reason and Faith is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to explaining the consistency between science and spirituality in contemporary physics. In the past ten years, implications of transcendence in physics, philosophy of mathematics, and metaphysics have become more pronounced. Indeed, no other decade in history has revealed more or better evidence for God. So what is this evidence?
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June 14th, 2012
The Borde-Vilenkin-Guth Theorem states that any universe, which has, on average, a rate of expansion greater 1 that system had to have a finite beginning. This would apply in any multiverse scenario as well. There are four exceptions to the theorem.*
For a greater context please see the first exception to the BVG theorem, which is Initial Contraction (Havg<0).
The second exception: Asymptotically static (Havg=O)
Example: asymptotically static universe is an emergent model class.
An asymptotically static space is one in which the average expansion rate of the universe over its history is equal to zero, since the expansion rate of the universe “at” infinity is zero. The problem is that we observe expansion today and if at any moment there is expansion then the Havg must be greater than 0.
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May 1st, 2012
Einstein’s GTR [and aspects of STR] has made incredible contributions to natural theology. Given the fixed speed of light, that nothing can travel faster than light, and the billions of light-years separation between the earth and other stars, it follows that the universe is billions of years old. This has created a problem for young-earth creationists. Current estimations for the age of the universe have been set at 13.73±2 billion years old. Young-earth creationists have adopted three main approaches: (1) embrace a fictitious history of the universe in the spirit of Philip Gosse’s 1857 work Omphalos; (2) view the speed of light as having decayed over time; and/or (3) interpret Einstein’s GTR so that during an “ordinary day as measured on earth, billions of years worth of physical processes take place in the distant cosmos.”
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March 11th, 2012
A recent paper published by Professor G. Fanti (University of Padua) in the Journal of Imaging Science and Technology arguing that the Shroud of Turin’s image may have been caused by the corona discharge effect (a form of electrical discharge). Fanti told the Italian, La Stampa, newspaper that:
[Ever] since the Italian photographer Secondo Pia obtained the first photographic reproductions of the Shroud in 1898, many researchers have put forward image formation hypotheses, many interesting hypotheses have been examined to date, but none of these is able to explain the mysterious image fully. None of the reproductions obtained manages to portray characteristics that are similar to the ones found on the Turin Shroud.
During my research I also considered the possibility of the combination of more than one mechanism in the image’s formation, returning to the ideas of those who, as of the second half of the last century, started to doubt the authenticity of the Shroud and therefore started suggesting image reproduction techniques used by medieval artists.
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February 21st, 2012
Scientific theories should not have religious import. This may certain have tensions with Augustinian science but religious import is much more than mere metaphysical import. Religious belief imports something that is considered to be internally authoritative (as in within that system of belief–though I don’t believe it will ever conflict). The applicability of some of the beliefs may be universal but using religious belief as a grid for interpreting what is and what is not science is methodologically irresponsible. Religious belief is not itself scientific but may have scientific beliefs and in sync with science. There’s a categorical difference.
For instance, using Scripture to interpret science or empirical data is circular in its reasoning. Scripture would already have the conclusion and then uses the reasoning process to conclude with that Scripture may be advocating. Since I’m coming from a religious perspective I would argue that science and Scripture are harmonious and congruent. It’s necessary to have a scientific understanding of nature and agency prior to interpreting Scripture.
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