Astronomy

Current Science and Creation

May, 2017

This month I report on various science news stories and articles from the secular and creationist literature from over the past few years. The topics will include origin of life research, the discovery of nearby earth-sized planets, the discovery of gravity waves, the competition between dark matter and Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND) for explaining astronomical observations, new evidence for a galactocentric universe, the use of DNA for computer memory, a conference on the historicity of Adam, and an upcoming total solar eclipse which will soon be visible near you.

Origin of Life

The origin of life—the transition from chemistry to the first self-replicating life form—has remained an enigma for materialists. There are a world of difficulties. The simplest living thing we are aware of already has fully functional DNA, RNA, proteins, various molecular machines such as ribosomes, enzymes, etc. The DNA/RNA/protein system in extant cells is irreducibly complex. The DNA has the information for building proteins. Proteins convert the information in DNA into an RNA version that is then read by a molecular machine (ribosome) consisting of unique RNA and proteins. The information read from the RNA is translated into a protein. Hence one needs proteins to read DNA, DNA to provide the blueprints for proteins, and RNA to shuttle information around. Remove any piece, and the system does not work.

The Big Stretch 2 - Evidence

February, 2017

The Twin Jet Nebula  ESA/Hubble [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In a previous article, The Big Stretch - Part 1, http://tasc-creationscience.org/article/big-stretch-1, a cosmological model was introduced, the Setterfield Plasma-ZPE model.

There have been various arguments raised against this model. In this article, we will examine some of those arguments, to try to determine if they are valid or not. 

We will start with a brief overview of the model; for more details, refer to The Big Stretch - Part 1 or to www.setterfield.org.

Pluto and New Horizons in review

December, 2016

The following article is reprinted with the author’s permission posted by Terry A. Hurlbut on November 4, 2016 at the Creation Science Hall of Fame, http://creationsciencehalloffame.org/2016/11/04/astronomy-2/space/pluto-.... The reader is directed to the Creation Science Hall of Fame web site for additional videos related to this article.

On 27 October 2016, controllers for the New Horizons deep-space mission achieved a milestone. They got back the last data from their spacecraft’s flyby of the dwarf planet Pluto. Alice Bowman, head of the mission team, said the team would first verify the data. They then will order New Horizons to erase its memories. New Horizons must do this ahead of a planned rendezvous with another Kuiper Belt object (2014 MU69). It will make this flyby on or about 1 January 2019).

New Horizons flew past Pluto on 15 July 2015. Now NASA and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL) have all the data it gathered in that passage. So now would be a good time to review what New Horizons found, and what it means. In fact, the Pluto findings mean a great deal, not only for Pluto, but also for Earth.

What New Horizons found in the Pluto system

New Horizons flew toward a body everyone thought was 4.6 billion years old, like the rest of the solar system. So the mission team expected to find signs of great age. Instead they found signs, not of age, but of youth. They also found or confirmed several things they still cannot explain.

One of the first articles from JHUAPL discussed the first shocking findings:

  1. Equatorial mountains on Pluto, made of water ice, rise 3500 meters (11,000 feet) above the surface.
  2. Charon, largest moon of Pluto, has cliffs, troughs, and a seven- to nine-mile deep canyon.
  3. Methane ice abounds on Pluto, in some places far more than others.

Equatorial region of Pluto

Fig.1:, showing mountains rising to 3500 feet above mean ground, and standing out in stark relief. Source: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Scientific Evidence That Points to a Creator

April, 2016

I was recently invited to give a talk on intelligent design to a college philosophy class on Darwin, Marx, and Freud. I have known the professor for a number of years and had presented to his classes before. He usually has had me come in and present the case for intelligent design (ID) at the start of the section on Darwinism. The professor is an atheist but interested in discussing various views. I can only imagine what he has to say about my presentations afterwards; no doubt he tries to counter my arguments. Since I only had one chance to speak to these students, I wanted to present them with what I considered to be the best evidences for theism. This article is based on that talk. The discussion here will be brief and in everyday language. References are provided for those who wish to learn more.

The title of my talk was “Science that Points to a Creator.” First I set the ground rules for investigation in the historical sciences (geology, archeology, cosmology, history of life, etc.) by discussing Causality and Inference to the Best Explanation. Then I presented six topics that point to a creator: The Universe Had a Beginning, The Fine-Tuning of Physics, The Origin of Life, The Origin of Phyla, The Origin of Humans, and Worldviews and Morality. Any one of these evidences suggests a designer. Taken together, they form a strong reason to believe in a supernatural creator. Here are the topics.

Creation Ministries Creation 2015 International Superconference

October, 2015

Dr. Dan Reynolds attended the recent Creation Superconference held in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina July 13-17. Dr. Reynolds has provided us a summary of each of the sessions at the conference.

My wife, Cassie, and I recently spent a week in Myrtle Beach where I attended 19 of 20 talks on creation and related topics given at the Creation Ministry International (CMI) Creation 2015 Family Superconference. Cassie, while supporting my interest in creation, only attended one session and spent the rest of her time sewing on her portable sewing machine in our hotel room! The conference was held at the Springmaid Beach Resort located right next to the ocean. The accommodations, food, and staff were excellent. Mornings and evenings were filled with talks while afternoons had options for free time, a tour of a nearby aquarium with Dr. Robert Carter of CMI, or playing chess with Jonathan Sarfati, former chess champion of New Zealand. And as usual, there was an extensive bookstore offering hundreds of books and videos, often at reduced prices. I came home with a couple of bags full!

Red Shift Riddles

January, 2011
Red Shift

 Shifts in the lines of absorption in the spectrum of visible light

When astronomers view distant objects through the telescope, they find that the more distant objects have a larger red shift. This means that their light is shifted towards the red end of the spectrum; in other words, the wavelengths have become longer than for similar objects seen close to us. They interpret this as meaning that these distant objects are receding from us and that objects farther away are receding from us faster. It’s a little like the Doppler effect that makes sound have a lower pitch when the source is traveling away from us. The faster an object travels, the larger the change in pitch. However, some properties of the red shift call this interpretation into question; these are the subject of the article that follows. One such property is the quantization of red shifts. They seem to occur in abrupt steps rather than continuously, which has interesting implications for the study of the universe. This suggests that the red shift may be caused by something other than the expansion of the universe, at least in part.

Rare Earth

March, 2004

It is interesting to put together all the data. Isaiah 28 mentions learning, teaching, doctrine and knowledge. It mentions line on line, here a little and there a little, and precept on precept. This is how we come to truth in mathematics—in a proof of a theorem, we see line upon line and concept used to prove another concept. Math builds on itself.

For example, we generally learn to crawl before we learn to walk. And, it is often necessary to put all the relevant information together to come up with the best interpretation. We have all heard of the blind men who examined the elephant. Alone, in isolation, they came to erroneous conclusions. This is because they had only a part of the data. Missing information was the problem. One thought the elephant was like a fan, because he had examined the ear. Another, however, who had examined (by touch—remember, these were all blind men) the elephant's leg, said the elephant was like a tree. Well, the part of the elephant that each man examined was as he found it, but that was not all there was to the elephant.

It does seem that we have been jumping to conclusions a bit too quickly in some areas, and in evolution in particular. For example, some scientists have said that dinosaurs evolved from birds, and others that birds evolved from dinosaurs. One must wonder, if there is room for such difference of opinion among scientists, whether the evidence is actually all that clear-cut and conclusive, after all.

Baby Picture

March, 2003

On February 11, 2003, a NASA press release announced "the best ‘baby picture' of the Universe ever taken." The "baby picture" shown here has subsequently been featured in prominent science journals and newspapers across the globe.1-4 It was taken about 1.5 million kilometers above Earth by NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), a satellite that measures the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB).

Copyright NASA 2003

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Astronomy