Posts tagged ‘cosmology’

October 28th, 2013

Top Ten Podcasts for the Christian Thinker

by Max Andrews

The following are a list of podcasts that I’ve been following and listening to that have been quite helpful in my philosophical, scientific, and theological studies.  The criteria for consideration are based on 1) quality of content, 2) accurate presentation of the material, 3) constructive and respectful criticism of opposing views, 4) frequency of podcast release, and 5) a broad range of topics/issues discussed.

Aside from my ‘official’ list I have my own podcast: EavesdroppingEavesdropping provides a conversational, informal podcast that is sometimes a monologue or dialogue with guests concerning various topics including philosophy, theology, science, contemporary events, and random meanderings of a philosopher. The primary focuses are philosophy of science, multiverse scenarios, and Molinism.

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 12.24.53 PM#1. Unbelievable? – Hosted by Justin Brierly with Premier Christian Radio.  Unbelievable? is a UK-based public radio program, which airs every Saturday afternoon with an occasional podcast posting mid-week.  Justin brings in several leading scholars in theological and philosophical matters and they debate and dialogue particular issues ranging from ethics, comparative religions, the existence of God, science, doctrinal differences, and current events.

October 6th, 2013

Cosmic Darwinism: Evolving Laws of Nature?

by Max Andrews

The following are a few questions raised in light of Rupert Sheldrake’s The Science Delusion: Freeing The Spirit Of Enquiry. 

The argument that he advances in the chapter involves something he calls ‘habits’, which are “a kind of memory inherent in nature”. (From what I understand, he has also advanced this within a theory of ‘morphic resonance’ in his other published works.) Putting aside his case for these ‘habits’, three questions that he poses to materialists at the end of the chapter caught my eye:

1) If the laws of nature existed before the Big Bang, and governed the Big Bang from its first instant, where were they?

2) If the laws and constants of nature all came into being at the moment of the Big Bang, how does the universe remember them? Where are they ‘imprinted’?

3) How do you know that the laws of nature are fixed and not evolutionary?

August 1st, 2013

Transcript and Thoughts on My Debate with Justin Schieber

by Max Andrews

Over the last month or two I’ve been working on a written/audio debate with Justin Schieber of Reasonable Doubts. The topic of the debate was “Does the Christian God Exist?” I imagine the debate may have been released earlier had it not been for my delayed responses due to health issues and moving out of our house and preparing to embark on our move to Scotland. I have apologized to Mr. Schieber concerning this and I extend apologies to the readers and listeners.

I was actually expecting much stronger arguments from Mr. Schieber. Two arguments were off topic and the other one was a far metaphysical and modal stretch. You’ll be able to read his arguments in full but here are my thoughts :

July 22nd, 2013

Peter Atkins on the Origin of Everything: Much ado about Nothing

by Max Andrews

The Origin of Everything: Much Ado About Nothing” is a talk by physical chemist Peter Atkins on the boundaries between science and philosophy when it comes to examining the origins of the universe and nothingness.

June 24th, 2013

Q&A 28: The Multiverse, Many Worlds, and the Problem of Evil

by Max Andrews

Question:

Hey Max,
This was a great idea to start this Q&A section!  I have a question regarding the Problem of Evil that I have been working on for a couple months now.  I haven’t yet found an intellectually satisfying answer, but hopefully through you, God will provide one.  (I almost didn’t want to ask it because I enjoy the “chase” as Christ reveals Himself to me through the process!)
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June 9th, 2013

The Philosophy of Science Directory

by Max Andrews

This is a compilation of posts, which focus on the philosophy of science. These posts will cover a broad spectrum within the philosophy of science ranging from multiverse scenarios, scientific theory, epistemology, and metaphysics.

  1. MA Philosophy Thesis: “The Fine-Tuning of Nomic Behavior in Multiverse Scenarios”
  2. Natural Law and Scientific Explanation
  3. Science and Efficient Causation
  4. Which Comes First, Philosophy or Science?
  5. The Postulates of Special Relativity
  6. There’s No Such Thing as Creation Science–There’s Just Science
  7. Time Travel and Bilking Arguments
  8. “It’s Just a Theory”–What’s a Scientific Theory?
  9. Exceptions to a Finite Universe
  10. Teleology in Science
  11. Duhemian Science
  12. The Relationship Between Philosophy and Science
  13. The History of the Multiverse and the Philosophy of Science
  14. Where’s the Line of Demarcation Between Science and Pseudoscience?
  15. Miracles and the Modern Worldview
  16. Mass-Density Link Simpliciter
  17. Scientific Nihilism
  18. Q&A 10: The Problem of Defining Science
  19. Q&A 6: Scientism and Inference to the Best Explanation
  20. The Quantum Universe and the Universal Wave Function
  21. The History and Macro-Ontology of the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Physics
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May 29th, 2013

MA Thesis Available Online — “The Fine-Tuning of Nomic Behavior in Multiverse Scenarios”

by Max Andrews

My Master’s thesis is now available for download.

Department: Philosophy

Degree: Master of Arts

Chair: W. David Beck

Primary Subject Area: Philosophy; Physics, Astronomy and Astrophysics; Religion, General; Physics, Theory; Physics, General

Keywords: cosmology, fine-tuning, information, multiverse, philosophy of science, quantum

Disciplines: Astrophysics and Astronomy | Cosmology, Relativity, and Gravity | Philosophy | Philosophy of Science | Quantum Physics | Religion

Abstract: The multiverse hypothesis (the view that there is not just one world or universe in existence, bur rather that there are many) is the leading alternative to the competing fine-tuning hypothesis (the laws of physics and constants are fine-tuned for the existence of life).

April 26th, 2013

Exceptions to a Finite Universe

by Max Andrews

The Borde-Vilenkin-Guth Theorem states that any universe, which has, on average, a rate of expansion greater 0 that system had to have a finite beginning. This would apply in any multiverse scenario as well.  There are four exceptions to the theorem.*

1. First Exception: Initial Contraction (Havg<0) … (The average rate of the Hubble expansion is less than zero)

  • Main Problem: Another problem this raises is that this requires acausal fine-tuning.  Any attempt to explain the fine-tuning apart from a fine-tuner is left bereft of any explanation.

2. Second Exception: Asymptotically static (Havg=O)

  • Main Problem: The exception is that it does not allow for an expanding or evolutionary universe.  This model cannot be true.  The best evidence and empirical observations indicate that the universe is not static; rather, it is expanding and evolving.  This might have been a great model under Newton but not since Einstein’s field equation concerning the energy-momentum of the universe.
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April 8th, 2013

A List of Physical Constants and Their Values

by Max Andrews

Physical constants are the values of certain spacetime, energy, and natural laws that have a set parameter that determine the structure and function of a life-permitting universe. Constants will vary in value from universe to universe in multiverse scenarios. When I refer to ‘constants’ here I mean what we presently observe as being constant. For example, the value of gravity may vary from universe to universe. The following are this universe’s constants and their values.[1]

Constants of Space and Time.

  1. Planck length (the minimum interval of space), lp = 1.62 x 10-33 cm.
  2. Planck time (the minimum interval of time), tp = 5.39 x 10-44 sec.
  3. Planck’s constant (this determines the minimum unit of energy emission), h = 6.6 x 10-34 joule seconds.
  4. Velocity of light, c = 300,000 km/sec.
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April 6th, 2013

An Abductive Fine-Tuning Argument

by Max Andrews

The fine-tuning argument argues that when physics and the laws of nature are expressed mathematically their values are ever so balanced in a way that permits the existence of life. I’m merely arguing that the universe is finely tuned for the essential building blocks and environments that life requires.

  1. Given the fine-tuning evidence, a life permitting universe (LPU) is very, very unlikely under the non-existence of a fine-tuner (~FT): that is, P(LPU|~FT & k) ≪ 1.
  2. Given the fine-tuning evidence, LPU is not unlikely under FT (Fine-Tuner): that is, ~P(LPU|FT & k) ≪ 1.
  3. Therefore, LPU strongly supports FT over ~FT.[1]

Defense of 1: Given the fine-tuning evidence, a life-permitting universe is very, very unlikely under the non-existence of a fine-tuner.

So what are some of the evidences for fine-tuning?

  1. Roger Penrose calculates that the odds of the special low entropy condition having come about by chance in the absence of any constraining principles is at least as small as about one in 1010^123.[2]
  2. Strong Nuclear Force (Strong nuclear force coupling constant, gs = 15)
    1. +, No hydrogen, an essential element of life
    2. -, Only hydrogen
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