Physics

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.

A Review and Response to the Book "The Grand Design" by Stephen Hawking

May, 2011

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking is Professor of mathematics at Cambridge University where he held the Lucasian Chair at Cambridge for 30 years. He is author of the best-selling book A Brief History of Time. Hawking suffers from ALS. His most recent book, The Grand Design, was published in 2010 by Bantam Books.

In The Grand Design Hawking attempts to show metaphysical naturalism is supported by science. He claims the fine tuning of physics in our universe is not hard to explain because there are at least 100500 universes, according to some theories, each with its own unique set of physical laws and constants—we just happen to be living in one of the few universes with the right laws and constants that allow us to exist. The book develops this argument by retracing the history of physics. Attempts to marry quantum mechanics with relativity have led to theories that imply the universe created itself, says Hawking.

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.

A Biblical and Scientific Analysis of the Big Bang

February, 2007

The Big Bang is defined today as, everything we see in the Universe today having evolved out of a random 1 explosion of matter 2 that took place between 10 and 20 billion years ago. But the author of this paper believes the Big Bang is not a theory. Why? Because a theory is defined as, a scientific hypothesis that survives experimental testing. Then, is the Big Bang a hypothesis? No. A hypothesis is defined as, a testable statement about the natural world. Then what is the Big Bang? It is merely an idea, defined as, a personal view or estimate.

COBE Image

NASA’s view of the Universe through liquid helium COBE’s eyes. Colors indicate warmer (red) and cooler (blue) spots. The image is a combination of diffuse infrared, far-infrared and microwave frequencies.

The Big Stretch - Part 2 - Objections

February, 2017

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

Figure 1

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.

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.

Carbon 14 Dating of Fossils

June, 2017

Organic matter in the fossil record generally dates by carbon 14 (C14) dating to about 20,000 to 40,000 years. Other radioactive dating methods such as potassium/argon (K/Ar), rubidium/strontium (Rb/Sr), uranium/lead (U/Pb), thorium/lead (Th/Pb) and others that are based on decay of longer-lived isotopes often give ages in the millions or hundreds of millions of years for these fossils. Why is this? Why are the dates so different?

Many creationists believe that radioactive decay was faster in the past. However, in this talk I want to concentrate on reasons to believe the C14 dates are more accurate and that they give evidence that all life on earth is very young. If decay rates were faster in the past, then even the C14 dates could be too old.

How Carbon 14 Is Produced and Decays

Carbon 14 is an isotope of carbon with two extra neutrons in the nucleus. It is produced in the upper atmosphere. The rate at which this happens varies to some extent. Perhaps there was less C14 produced in the past, which would imply that even the relatively young C14 dates are too old.

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