Astronomy

Book Review: A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos, Part 2

November, 2019

Figure 1

The book A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos (Cambridge University Press, 2016, Fig.1), by Geraint F. Lewis and Luke A. Barnes, is one of the most recent and comprehensive books on the fine tuning of the physical laws of our universe. Last month, I reviewed the first six chapters of the book in which they summarized current thinking on the subject. 1 In this article, I’ll review the final two chapters. These chapters give Lewis and Barnes’s views on the various responses to fine tuning they have encountered from people who have read their book or heard them speak. They also lay out their own personal interpretations of fine tuning.

The first six chapters of the book explained how the fine tuning of physics is seen in the masses, electrical charges, and spins of elementary particles; the four elementary forces; the number and type of dimensions in our universe; the geometry of space-time; and the various symmetries and constants associated with physical laws. We also touched upon quantum mechanics, wave-particle duality, coupling constants, radioactivity, the Big Bang, inflation, nucleosynthesis, and more. We now turn to what people think about fine tuning.

Chapter 7: A Dozen (or so) Reactions to Fine Tuning

Here are several common responses the authors have encountered to fine tuning.

Book Review: A Fortunate Universe:Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos, Part 1

October, 2019

Figure 1

The book A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos (Cambridge University Press, 2016, Fig. 1) by Geraint F. Lewis and Luke A. Barnes is one of the most recent and comprehensive books on the fine tuning of the physical laws of our universe. The “fine tuning of physics” refers to the discovery that the laws of nature, as currently understood, are just what they must be for life forms such as us to exist. Change any of these laws even slightly, and life as we know it would be impossible. The authors explain the various ways the universe is fine-tuned and then explore what fine tuning may imply. Lewis and Barnes examine particle physics, the funda- mental forces, cosmology, inflation theory, the flatness and horizon problems, the idea of a multiverse, string theory, the nature of the constants in the equations of the laws of physics, quantum mechanics, relativity, dark matter, dark energy, the double slit experiment, and much more. Both authors accept the standard cosmological and biological evolutionary stories including deep time. Nevertheless, even within the Big Bang/inflationary paradigm, fine tuning is seen everywhere from quarks to galaxy clusters. As we shall see, the fine tuning of physics renders naturalistic explanations untenable. Much of the discussion is useful to biblical creationists as the fingerprints of God are clearly seen throughout the created order.

Lewis and Barnes are both graduates of the University of Cambridge (Fig. 2). Lewis holds a PhD in astrophysics while Barnes has a PhD in astronomy. Both men work at the Sydney Institute of Astronomy in Australia. Both men freely acknowledge fine tuning but differ in their interpretation of it. Lewis looks to the multiverse to explain fine tuning. Barnes, a Christian, argues for theism as the best explanation.

The book is accessible to layman yet informative to specialists. The concepts are laid out logically and clearly with an occasional dash of humor.

This review will discuss some of the highlights of the book, chapter by chapter.

Restoring the Truth About Origins: Book I—Introduction, Availability and Overview

March, 2019

Figure 1 - Front cover of the book

We are excited to announce that TASC‘s Restoring the Truth About Origins: Book I is now available! We pray and hope you will purchase copies for yourself, family, and associates as gifts to enjoy and be even better edified on this important topic of origins. What we think about our origins has had a profound influence on the thinking and actions in our society in the past and will today and in the future. So we encourage you to get copies today (see ordering information under Availability and Purchasing heading below)!

Creation News

January, 2019

This month we will discuss several notable findings in the recent scientific literature that have relevance to the creation issue. The topics were selected by the author and are by no means exhaustive. Background reading for some of the topics is provided in the references.

Fossils

Chitin

Chitin. Wikipedia < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chitin > Accessed 2018 Dec 10

Evidence for intact chitin-protein complex from 310 Ma scorpion has been found. 1 The authors determined that 59% of the chitin-protein complex survived.

The authors speculated that an associated saturated fatty acid layer protected the material from water, enzymes, and other organisms.

Red Shift Riddles

January, 2011

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.

Accurate Predictions Based on the Young Earth Creation Model

January, 2008

Good scientific theories are able to explain data and make testable predictions. For the Christian, a third element is required, that the theory be in harmony with the clear teachings of scripture. Some creation scientists even begin with scripture to formulate theories and hypotheses. In this essay, we will look at three predictions ultimately based on scripture, made by physicist Russell Humphreys of the Institute for Creation Research. The predictions deal with (1) the magnitude and dynamics of planetary magnetic fields, (2) the existence of a cosmic rotation axis, and (3) diffusion of helium through zircons. All of these predictions are in accord with a young earth interpretation of Genesis 1. As we will see, the data fit the predictions well.

D. Russell Humphreys, Ph.D.

Evidences and Events of the Flood

December, 2007

Geological structures give considerable evidence about the sequence of events during the world-wide flood described in Genesis and also give evidence for the flood itself. These structures include the chalk deposits during the Cretaceous period, paleocurrents, which indicate the direction of water flow when fossils were deposited, coral formations, and others. Astronomical findings also give us information about the flood and its development.

Figure 1

He Made the Stars Also

July, 2006

What is the reason for life, the universe, and everything else? It is a loaded philosophical question that the answer of “42” just really does not seem to answer well. It is humorous when we read the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams, to have the answer to such mysteries given in such a simplistic manner. But putting science fiction and humor aside we can give some simple answers also; they exist for very much the same reason every created thing does exist. They exist to give glory to their creator!

Image

Figure 1 - This is the famous horsehead nebula. Actually it is a dark nebula classified as Barnard 33. From the Astrophotography Gallery of Bobby Middleton. Used by permission

Evidences for a Recent Creation: Part 3

December, 2005

Parts I and II mentioned young carbon 14 dates as evidence that very old isotopic dates correspond to true ages in the thousands of years. Also, helium retention in zircons and the pattern of discordances in isotopic dates suggest an increase of decay rates in the past. There is also evidence that human mutation rates were faster in the past, which is consistent with a higher level of radiation. Furthermore, the genetic diversity of humans and other organisms suggests an origin a few thousand years ago. Several references by Anderson and Spangler suggest that decay rates can vary.

Comets - Their Silent Testimony

March, 2014

For ages, man has viewed comets with awe, even with fear. Comets are one of the most amazing phenomena to be seen in the sky. Often, comets have induced fear of possible portending doom. 1 Yet, comets are also arguably some of the most wonderful, majestic and beautiful spectacles ever seen in the sky, as you can see from the images in this article.

Komet Hyakutake von Franz Haar (1)

Figure 1 - Comet Hyatuke

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