Sunday, March 18, 2012

Why Does Anything At All Exist?

Here's my lecture at SUNY Albany in late February 2012 on Leibniz's Cosmological Argument from Contingency.


video

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Design of the Cosmos Part 9: The Late Heavy Bombardment - Preparing Earth for Life


Let's step back a bit from plate tectonic activity and the Earth's great oxygenation events to a time between 4.4 and 4.2 billion years ago, a time before the era dubbed The Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB) era.

During the LBH epoch which occurred around 3.9 to 3.8 bya, asteroids and comets continuously pummelled the Earth turning its surface into molten magma several hundred kilometers deep. This condition covered the entire surface of the Earth from shortly after its creation 4.5 bya (and therefore shortly after the impactor event which struck the Earth to create the moon) up until about 3.8 billion years ago.

New studies suggest that life on Earth may have appeared earlier than previously thought. Previously, science taught us that life first appeared on the scene shortly after the end of the LHB era, at about 3.8 bya, when the Earth began cooling from its molten state. New studies suggest through research done on ancient zircon crystals dating between 4.4 and 4.2 bya, that conditions on the Earth were not as hellish as previously thought, indicating that life may have existed at this time.

It's possible that life did exists prior to 3.8 bya and this has implications for RTB's creation model.

Here is what the Reasons To Believe (http://www.reasons.org/) creation model predicts concerning the origin of life (taken from an excellent article written by Dr. Fazale Rana PhD titled "Insight into the Late Heavy Bombardment and RTB's Creation Model":
  1. 1 Life appeared early in Earth's history.
  2. 2 Life appeared under harsh conditions.
  3. 3 Life miraculously persisted under harsh conditions.
  4. 4 Life arose quickly.
  5. 5 First life on Earth was complex.
  6. 6 Life in its minimal form is complex.
While Dr. Rana goes on to state that the life on Earth after the LHB era consisted of complex singled celled microbes such as archea and bacteria, it's now hard to determine if point 4 and point 5 in the above model can be proven due to the results from these zircon studies. The new research does not, however, remove the intractable problems remaining from a naturalistic origin of life scenario and the record of nature. It simply means that RTB has to refine points 4 and 5 of their model.

However, point 6 is a crushing blow to a Darwinian and/or naturalistic position on the origin of life, because it requires the intervention of a Designer. Here is Dr. Rana's perspective on life in its minimal form being complex, not simple:

"It is also important to keep in mind that work in genomics indicates that for life to exist independently in the environment it requires approximately 2,000 genes. And to exist as a minimal form, life needs about 400 genes. This intrinsic molecular complexity suggests that when life emerged on Earth, it had to appear in a biochemically complex form, which still satisfies our model's prediction that life in its minimal form is complex."

I just wanted you to be aware of RTB's efforts to remain faithful to the findings of science in the record of nature.

Amazingly, Genesis 1 still records the early Earth's conditions as being totally covered with water and unfit for life, and these zircon studies buttress what the Bible taught thousands of years ago:


Genesis 1

The Beginning
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

6 And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

9 And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.


I'll be finishing up this series on the Design of the Cosmos next time. I'm excited to begin a new series coming in December called "Darwin's Doubt".

Until then, may God bless you.


Cheers
Tom

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Design of the Cosmos Part 8: Plate Tectonics - God's Shake N Bake Recipe for Life



I've been awol from my blog for a while, but I've got a few minutes tonight to finally get to my post on plate tectonics. I also wanted to tell you that I finally finished grad school and my MBA is mine! Awesome to be done but it was great to study and learn and interact with great professors at UGC.




I never knew this before, but did you know that the Earth would be a water world today were it not for fine tuned plate tectonic activity and vulcanism? If not for powerful and sustained (and finely tuned) plate tectonics, water would have covered the entire surface of the Earth removing a habital zone for we human beings. Advanced civilization would not therefore be possible without precise plate tectontic activity in the early Earth.


Remember on my last post on Earth's Oxygenation events how the cyanobacteria played a huge part in preparing the Earth for more advanced life later on by helping to oxygenate the Earth while helping to reduce the greenhouse gases forming in Earth's atmosphere as the Sun increased in luminosity? Well, these cryptogamic colonies of bacteria chemically conditioned the soil of the newly formed landmasses which appeared as plate tectonic activity increased (more about this later) on the early Earth. These early land masses were both hot and soil-deficient, but these colonies helped transform the soil into nutrient rich landmasses which the vascular plants needed to proliferate the Earth. These colonies also cooled the environment and oxygenated the atmosphere (see my previous blog entry on Earth's Great Oxygenation Events).


It took 2 to 3 billion years of this cryptogamic activity to condition the soil and oxygenate the atmoshphere to prepare the Earth for more advanced life. This tells of careful planning by a creator.


From Hugh Ross's book, "More than a Theory" here's why:

"Though cryptogamic colonies needed only a few small islands to survive, advanced life needed continents. A combination of both continents and large oceans were also necessary for regulating Earth's surface and atmosphere to compensate for the Sun's increasing brightness. However, continents were not a given. Continents formed out of light silicate rocks that 'floated' above the denser basaltic rocks comprising ocean floors. The separation of Earth's primordial crust into silicates and basalts occurred through the dynamics of crustal plate pressures and movements.

Stable, long standing plate tectonics required three things: (1) a powerful, long lasting source of radioactive decay in Earth's interior, (2) a stable efficient dynamo (electric generator) in Earth's core, and (3) an abundant supply of liquid water on Earth's surface. Each of these essentials had to exist at a precisely fine-tuned level.

For example, an abundance of long-lived radioactive elements requires (among other things) a concert of highly unlikely, perfectly timed and placed supernova events, as well as the amazingly fine-tuned collision that formed the Moon. (see my previous blog entry on the Moon) The stability and efficiency of Earth's dynamo depends on the exact regulation of at least seven major geophysical features." page 154.


Let me help unpack each of these three requirements for long standing plate tectonics for you:

1) A powerful, long lasting source of radioactive decay in Earth's interior: When certain elements undergo radioactive decay, energy is released providing heat. This heat was the catalyst that generated convective cells throughout Earth's mantle, and thus began the process of continent building. The cells are like large eddies that circulate in the Earth's mantle from just under the Earth's crust to just above it's core. Things get a bit technical here, so let me have Dr. Ross explain further:

"Different eddies associate with different crust regions. At the boundaries of these regions, subduction (the sliding of one crustal plate under another) can occur, but only if a huge amount of high density, low temperature liquid water was available to lubricate the sliding. Subduction is governed by the rate at which minerals in the area where two underwater plates come together (the subduction zone) chemically react with water to form hydrated minerals. The hydration process in the downward moving slabs leads to production of a talc layer that reduces and stabilizes the sliding friction between adjoining plates. A just right level of lubrication permits efficient movement of one tectonic plate under another. At these subduction zones, some basaltic slabs become hydrated. This lowers the newly hydrated minerals' melting point. Once enough of these silicates began to float above the nonhydrated basalts, Earth's mountains and continents began forming. Given their lower melting point, the silicates stayed liquid at depths closer to the surface, thereby facilitating the formation of volcanoes. The ongoing development of mountains and volcanoes resulted in landmasses poking up above the water's surface. With yet more time, these landmasses grew to become continents. However, they had to continue growing at the just right rates througout life's history for the Sun's increasing luminosity (see my previous blog entry on the Sun) to be properly compensated." page 155



If I may sum up, here's the kicker: As the Sun increases in luminosity, greenhouse gases build up in Earth's atmosphere, meaning that for there to be any hope of removing enough of these greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, continental landmasses must buildup through plate tectonic activity at such a rate as to exceed and later keep up with the reduction of continental land masses through the process of erosion. However, because radioactive decay energy release decreases over time, this would mean that erosion rates might exceed continental buildup rates, meaning that these greenhouse gases would stifle any advance life forms from filling the Earth.


Seems like a dilemma for advanced life, doesn't it? Not for the Creator. Remember from my previous blog on the moon that due to it's large size and position relative to the Earth, the Moon acts as a tidal brake on the rotation rate of the Earth. A slower rotation rate would mean less erosion, and thus the problem of the decline in the rate of continent buildup over time was accompanied by a decline in the rate of continent erosion. This timing is truly of the miraculous.



2) A stable, efficient, dynamo:

Dr. Ross goes on to describe these seven features of the Earth's dynamo. Let me briefly describe them for you:

1. Relative abundances of silicon, iron, and sulfur in Earth's solid inner core.

2. Viscosities at the boundaries between this solid inner core and the liquid outer core and between the liquid outer core and the mantle.

3. Ratio of Earth's inner core to outer core radii.

4. Ratio of the inner core to outer core magnetic diffusivity (measure of how well a magnetic field diffuses throughout a conducting medium)

5. Magnetic Reynolds number (a measure of viscous flow behavior) for the outer core.

6. Gravitational torques from the Sun and Moon

7. Earth's core precession frequency

3) An abundant supply of water covering the Earth (see my previous blogs - bible passages referring to water covering the early Earth)



Without plate tectonics, we'd have no place to live because there would only be water and because we'd be all boiled to death by the trapped greenhouse gases in our atmosphere which plate tectonic activity would have otherwise helped to dissipate. Read what Dr. Jeff Zweerink has to say to help sum things up in his article: Evidence of Early Plate Tectonics and also Fine Tuning Allows Essential Plate Tectonics to Take Off.



Also, without the decreasing energy release over time from radioactive decay rates, we'd also be experiencing far more frequent and devastating earthquakes than we do today, such that advanced life would not be possible.


Here's a great passage on the subject from the Bible in Psalm 104:


5 He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.
6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.
7 But at your rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;
8 they flowed over the mountains, they went down into the valleys, to the place you assigned for them.
9 You set a boundary they cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth.


It truly is amazing to look at the mountains. Without them we would not be here.


Cheers until next time

Tom

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Design of the Cosmos Part 7: Precision Timing of Earth's Great Oxygenation Event






Well, I made it through my Capstone class - did very well actually. Now I have a few weeks off to catch up on my blog. I hope to spend a few weeks on the fine tuning design of the Earth - I'll probably spend the next 3 or 4 entries on Earth's fine tuning, then we'll move to the Milky Way Galaxy for our next series.

First, thanks to NASA for this amazing photo of the Earth.

Second, the fact that you can see through Earth's atmosphere in this photo is nothing but a miracle. We should have a thick atmosphere like Venus. In fact, the early Earth's atmosphere was very think, so thick that light could not penetrate to the surface from the Sun (along with much interplanetary debris in our solar system). Darkness was at its surface.

Interestingly, the Bible describes these conditions in precise detail. I have them here for you from Genesis 1 and Job 38:

Genesis 1

The Beginning
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.


Job 38:4-9 (New International Version)

4 "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.

5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?

6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone-

7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?

8 "Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,

9 when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,

In the Genesis account, notice how the frame of reference changes from "outerspace" as it were in verse 1, to the surface of the Earth in verse two. This is key to correctly interpreting the passages that follow. Also in verse two, please notice that from the vantage point of a hypothetical observer on the surface of the Earth, that the Earth was dark, covered with water, and unfit for life. Next, in verse 3, God transforms the atmosphere such that for the first time, light was able to reach the surface (from the Hebrew Haya meaning "let the light be" rather than Asa meaning create light for the first time - we understand that the Sun and stars were created prior to the formation of the Earth) You may be doubting my hermenutics, but hang in there with me. Now, let's skip to Job 38 where we see God describing how He formed the Earth. Notice in verse 9 that the early Earth, which is described as bursting forth from the womb, was wrapped in thick darkness due to a very thick cloud layer. We know from modern science that this condition of the early Earth is correct. Thus, this Job 38 creation account actually gives us more data to better interpret the Genesis 1 text.

Obviously, somehow God transformed the early thick (opaque) atmosphere of Earth of mostly carbon to the present day transparent atmosphere containing 20.9% oxygen (see my previous entry regarding the formation of the Moon). This huge abundance of oxygen makes large land animals and advanced life possible. This oxygen abundance also sets Earth apart from the other rocky planets.

Hugh Ross, in his book More Than a Theory states: (page 160)

"Scientists know only one way for a planet or a moon to gain such a large amount of free oxygen - through the long-term activity of superabundant photosynthetic life."

It was the photosynthetic bacteria in Earth's oceans which played the major role in taking our Earth's atmosphere from 2 percent oxygen to over 20% oxygen roughly 2.5 billion years ago. Astrophysicist Jeff Zweerink writes about this event in an article titled "Oxygen Prepares Earth for Advanced Life." In the article Dr. Zweerink describes the early Earth (before 3 billion years ago) as having only trace amounts of free oxygen, and yet at about 2.5 billion years ago a great oxygenation event began to occur. The super abundance of marine bacteria began to fill the Earth's oxygen sinks, and once fully saturated, then began to fill the atmosphere with oxygen. This process continued for the next 2 billion years until it reached a level which could support advanced marine life. At this point, roughly 500 million years ago, the Cambrian Explosion occurred (see my previous blog entry on this topic) which produced 40 or so phyla of complex marine animals. Interestingly, since this time only five or six new phyla appeared while about fifteen have gone extinct, meaning that evolution has been going in the wrong direction all this time. Even more interestingly, the photosynthetic bacteria that we see in the fossil record within Stromatolites (which would be of the earliest of all life forms and from which we presumably all evolved) looks remarkably similar to present day photosynthetic bacteria. Why is this so interesting, you ask? Because if all life evolved from simple bacteria, why do we still see that bacteria today in living form? Shouldn't this life have evolved into other life forms?

The main point here is that a careful plan to oxygenate the Earth's atmosphere was prepared in order to bring about optimal conditions for more advanced life to appear on the scene. Without the Great Oxygenation Events in Earth's history, advanced life on Earth would not be possible.

Tune in next time as we explore the role of plate tectonics for the preparation of advance life (human life).

God bless (cheers)

Tom




Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Design of the Cosmos Part 6: Our Solar System Fine Tuning


Have you ever thought about just how special and unique within the universe is our galaxy, solar system, Sun, and planets? I'll save our Milky Way galaxy for a future time, so for this blog I'd like to show you just a few features of the Sun within our solar system which makes life possible on Earth.

The Sun: Our Sun is a very uncommon star. It too has been fine tuned for the benefit of human life on Earth. How do I know this? Because astronomers have yet to find a star considered to be a solar twin. And they've been searching the Milky Way galaxy for over fifty years, a galaxy containing over two hundred billion stars. One would expect to find stars similar to our Sun within a galaxy with such a vast number of stars, right? Do you know how many stars they have found similar to our Sun? Three. However, they are all considered "quasi solar twins" to our Sun according to Jorge Melendez and Ivan Ramirez, astronomers who have spent most of their careers in search of a star similar to our Sun which could make intelligent life possible on a planet orbiting it.

The three stars that come close in likeness to our Sun are 18 Scorpii, HD 98618, and HIP 56948. Here is a table taken from Hugh Ross' book, More than a Theory (page 123) which describes certain characteristics of each star in terms of a fraction of our Sun's value:
Characteristics 18 Scorpii HD 98618 HIP 56948
Mass 1.02 1.02 1.00
Luminosity 1.03 1.06 1.15
Metallicity 1.05 1.12 1.02
Age 0.85 0.91 1.26
Rotation 0.90 0.96 ?
Temperature 1.01 1.01 1.00


18 Scorpii and HD 98618's characteristics seem somewhat similar. However, according to Hugh Ross;

"life requires a virtually identical twin. Because of obvious differences when compared to the
Sun, Melendez and Ramirez eventually dubbed the stars 'quasi solar twins.' Not only do
key features (luminosity, metallicity, and age) differ from the Sun, but both stars also
possess a lithium abundance that's a factor of about three times higher than the Sun's."
source: More than a Theory by Hugh Ross, page 123.

The lithium levels in these two stars would destroy all life on Earth if our Sun had these similar levels. The third star, HIP 56948, (I know, astronomer's naming conventions are a bit bizarre) has an identical mass, temperature, as well as lithium abundance. However, HIP 56948 is 1.2 billion years older than our Sun and 15% more luminous (bright). As a star ages, it continues to grow more and more luminous (the result of nuclear fusion turning hydrogen into helium) in the star's core. The helium in the star's core increases the density of the star's core, which then causes nuclear fusion to increase in efficiency, causing the star to become more luminous. An increase in our Sun's luminosity of 15% would also make life on Earth impossible. In fact, just a few percentages brighter (see my previous blog) would destroy life on Earth. This added age of HIP 56948 is consistent with it's added brightness. According to Dr. Ross:

"The greater age and increased luminosity of HIP 56948 interfere with its potential to
support an advanced life carrying planet. If Earth's Sun shone brighter by just 0.4 percent
(as it will when it's only 0.2 percent older), advanced life would become extinct."
source: More than a Theory by Hugh Ross, page 124

Dr. Ross goes on to state that it is amazing that while our Sun has been becoming brighter and brighter all throughout Earth's history (since life first appeared some 3.8 billion years ago), life has been sustained by God's compensation mechanisms. Dr. Ross writes:

"The carefully timed introduction of the just right amounts and kinds of life and the just
right removal of certain earlier life forms gradually brought down the quantity of
greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere to perfectly compensate for the Sun's increasing
luminosity. Yet that compensation cannot continue much longer...Astronomers calculate
that within the next 30 million years, either the Sun will heat Earth's surface beyond what
life can tolerate, or the quantity of carbon dioxide and water vapor in Earth's atmosphere
will dwindle to levels inadequate to support life capable of efficient photosynthesis."
source: More than a Theory by Hugh Ross, page 124


Dr. Ross goes on to point out that while finding a twin for our Sun has not been achieved, it's not because twins of stars are rare. On the contrary, many twins have been discovered for stars other than our Sun.

In summary then, those characteristics shown in the above table have to be "just right" for life to exist on Earth. Change those values ever so slightly, and there is no life on Earth. In addition, our Earth has many, many fine tuning characteristics which I'll speak about next time. But just to give you a taste, the Earth's magnetic field (the formation of which is itself a miracle) helps to shield the Earth from harmful radiation from our Sun.

We'll, it's late and I'm done for tonight. I'm almost finished with my Capstone class at UGC, the intensity of which has prevented me from writing to you sooner. My hope is to write next time on the fine tuning of the Earth, then some other solar system characteristics, then move on to the Milky Way galaxy's fine tuning properties.

When you take all of these together as a cumulative case, the evidence for God's supernatural interventions in the design of the universe, Milky Way galaxy, solar system, and Earth (and life on Earth) are overwhelming.

As American physicist Freeman Dyson states:

"The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more
evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known that we were coming."
source: Disturbing the Universe by Freeman Dyson, page 250

Until next time (March), may God richly bless you as you open your minds to his creation.

Cheers
Tom

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Design of the Cosmos Part 5: The Lunar Anthropic Principle / Intro to Our Solar System


I used to ask my daughter around the age of 1 or so, "Who made the moon?" She would answer, "God!" (I taught her well) This was before I learned just how fined tuned the moon must be for human life to be possible here on Earth.

Did you know that without the precise size and location of the moon, life on Earth would not be possible? For instance, science has discovered that the moon serves many purposes to support life on Earth. One such example is that it serves to stabilize the tilt of the Earth's rotation axis. Get this: If the moon's mass were only 2 percent larger (increase the radius of the moon by just 7 miles), then the tug of the enlarged moon's gravity would significantly pull the Earth's axial tilt out of balance (it's tilt is currently stable at a 23 degree angle) causing catastrophic climactic changes (decreases in rainfall and increases in life threatening temperature changes). (Al Gore eat your heart out)

However, if the mass of the moon were just 2 percent less (decrease the radius of the moon by just 7 miles) then the moon's gravity would be too weak to put brakes on the Earth's rotation rate, which in turn would mean that the Earth would rotate in just a few hours, instead of 24. The results of a faster rotation rate of the Earth would also be catastrophic for life, resulting in overwhelmingly frequent hurricanes and tornadoes, and with longer durations. While it's true that a slightly less massive moon would eventually slow the Earth's rotation rate, the time it would take would be considerably longer than the 4.5 billion year time window in which our Sun requires to enter into it's most stable burning phase, (which begins when the Sun is about 4.5 billion years old - which is right now in human existence) and this would mean that the Sun's burning phase would be unstable, also making life impossible on Earth.

So, what do you think? Do you think the moon's size and location as beneficial to life on Earth is just a lucky, random chance event or coincidence? Or, is it more plausible to think that an intelligent Agent (God) fine tuned it for our benefit? Before you answer, consider the way that scientists now believe how the moon was formed in the first place.

According to the latest scientific theory called the Giant Impact Hypothesis, the moon was formed from a just right mars sized object which struck the young Earth at just the right velocity and at just the right angle, crashing into the Earth and blowing away the thick early Earth atmosphere (see verse 9 of Job 38 which describes the very thick early Earth atmosphere, so thick that from the vantage point of an observer on the surface of the Earth, the observer would experience darkness) and replacing it with an atmosphere thin enough for light to pass through (see Genesis 1 verses 2 and 3 where the once thick atmosphere of the Earth is changed to allow for the first time light to reach the surface - note the frame of reference is of that of an observer on the Earth's surface). The resulting debris field from the impact coalesced to form the moon. Here's a section from Hugh Ross's book, "Creation As Science": (page 111)

"Most of the time, a major crash constitutes a catastrophe. But one gigantic collision proved just the opposite. When primordial Earth was only 30 to 50 million years old, a planet between 11 and 14 percent the mass of Earth (for comparison's sake, Mars = 0.107 Earth masses) smashed into Earth at a 45 degree angle. The speed of the planet upon impact was surprisingly slow (less than 4 kilometers per second). This astonishing crash:

  • Replaced Earth's thick, suffocating atmosphere with one thin enough (about 100 times thinner) for light to pass through. The new atmosphere had the just right chemical composition to foster life's existence.
  • Boosted the mass and density of the Earth just enough to allow Earth's gravity to retain a large, but not too large, quantity of water vapor for billions of years.
  • Raised the amount of iron in Earth's core closer to the level needed to provide Earth with a strong and enduring magnetic field. This magnetic field shield's life from deadly cosmic rays and solar X-rays.
  • Delivered to Earth's core and mantle quantities of iron and other associated elements in the just right ratios to produce sufficiently long lasting, continent building plate tectonics. (Earth began without any continents) Plate tectonics also play a crucial role in compensating for the Sun's increasing brightness so that life can be sustained on Earth for billions of years.
  • Increased the iron content of Earth's crust in a way that permits a huge abundance of ocean life that in turn supports advanced land life. (see Genesis 1:20)
  • Played a major role in salting Earth's interior with an abundance of long lasting radioisotopes, the heat from which drives most of the Earth's tectonic activity and volcanism.
  • Gradually slowed Earth's rotation rate so that a wide variety of lower life forms could survive long enough to provide the resources needed for the existence of advanced life forms. This slowing was also directly significant to advanced life, which cannot survive the high wind velocities of a more rapid rotation rate. (due to the creation of Earth's moon as a result of the impact)
  • Stabilized the tilt of Earth's rotation axis, protecting the planet from rapid and extreme climatic variations." (due to the creation of Earth's moon as a result of the impact)
He goes on to state that each of these beneficial results of the impact made conditions for the possibility of advanced life far more favorable.

Now, with all of that said, now I want you to ask yourself the same question as before. Was the formation and fine tuning of the moon to make life on Earth possible just a product of random chance, coincidence, or the result of carefully orchestrated engineering by an incredibly intelligent, powerful, Agent?

If you answered an intelligent Agent, what if I could show you that the Bible's various creation accounts match the most recent scientific accounts of the creation of the universe, Earth, moon and life on Earth? Wouldn't that mean that the Bible is true and trustworthy?

I love in Genesis 1 and Job 38, the exact conditions of the early Earth are described in detail and match what science has discovered some 3000 years later. See the references for yourself above.

Well, I'm out of time - I was going to introduce you to the Solar System today but I'll save that for next time.

Until then, have a great and Merry Christmas!

Cheers
Tom

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Design of the Cosmos Part 4: The Anthropic Principle Inequality


To plan the average wedding, it takes usually over one year of preparation to get ready for an event that lasts a very short length of time by comparison. Often, there is also a great amount of money spent for an event that lasts usually less than 5 hours. But no one would consider such an effort of planning, coordinating, and preparation and expense a waste. Why? It's because the wedding ceremony is of such a high purpose both for those getting married, and for the ones who love those who are getting married.

It's the same way with the universe and human life on planet Earth. Let me explain. Brandon Carter, a British mathematician, in 1983 introduced what he termed the "anthropic principle inequality" to the scientific community. His idea was that a minimum of several billion years or so is required to prepare a place for advanced life, yet that advanced life can only exist for a few million years, an obvious inequality. Here's what Hugh Ross has to say about this inequality from page 113 of his book, "Why the Universe is the Way it is?"

"Carter took note of the fact that several billion years is the minimum time required for the existence of the human race or a similarly advanced species. Yet, according to his calculations, the maximum time window in which the cosmos can possibly sustain such a species amounts to less than a few million years. In other words, it took a very long time to prepare the universe to sustain humans for a relatively short time."

Since Carter's discovery in 1983, Physicists John Barrow and Frank Tipler in 1986 showed that the amount of time that an advanced civilization can be sustained is much, much less. Dr. Ross writes;

"They estimated that global human civilization - something more than just a few low-population groups existing in one or two regions using Stone Age - type tools - could last no more than 41,000 years. According to their calculations, this limit would apply to any physical intelligent species with a sophisticated global civilization living anywhere in the universe."

Here are some of the characteristics of the universe which Barrow and Tipler noted in their work which all contribute to this short duration for the existence and survival of the human race or any advanced life:
  • The laws of physics (especially the 2nd law of thermodynamics-the running down of energy in the universe to an eventual state of unconsciousness in the entirety of the universe, which includes life on Earth)
  • The characteristics of the universe (especially the expansion rate or "dark energy" of the universe - which will increase at a faster and faster rate, with the cosmic expansion ultimately being so rapid that all intelligent life anywhere in the universe will lose the ability to draw adequate energy for work from the heat flow of the universe; thus all metabolic reactions will cease, and therefore all life will not exist anywhere in the universe.
  • The properties of life (temporal and not eternal)
  • The Earth's rotation rate slows (disturbing the delicate 24 hour period advanced life on Earth requires/increasing inhospitable environmental changes/atmospheric changes detrimental to life on Earth)
  • Fossil fuel supplies (will run out eventually)
  • Solar stability (solar flares and radiation will increase with respect to time as the Sun becomes less and less stable, making conditions on Earth inhospitable for life)
  • Solar luminosity (the sun will continuously brighten to a point where human life cannot survive under such luminosities)
  • Plate tectonics (plate tectonic activity will continuously decline, dramatically impacting environmental conditions on Earth)
  • Declining birthrates
  • Increasing genetic disorders
  • Environmental catastrophes (either from mankind or from a nearby supernova or other cosmic disasters)
  • Socio-political upheaval
Here is an incredible article you can read for yourself a more in depth survey of this topic. The article is called, "The Anthropic Principle: A Precise Plan for Humanity". What I find most fascinating is that in this article, Dr. Ross states that most probably, the maximum time left for the human race to exist in an advanced state is something less than 20,000 years. Since human beings have existed on this planet for approximately 50,000 years since they first "appeared" on Earth, and since science has measured the universe to be approximately 13.7 billion years old, that means that the maximum survival time for human beings is one millionth of the time it took to prepare the universe and Earth for we human beings to reach an advanced civilized state.

This amount of preparation and fine tuning requirements within the universe to support advanced human life suggests very powerfully of the high purpose that we human beings must have been gifted from the Creator, for the amount of the inequality between the time necessary in preparation for conditions to be just right for us to the maximum time we can possibly exist is extreme.

Here are some excellent Bible verses which support these scientific discoveries of the fact that the universe, Earth, and human life on Earth will someday come to an end:

Psalm 102:25-26 (New International Version)

25 In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.

26 They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
and they will be discarded.

2 Peter 3:5-13 (New International Version)

5But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

8But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

11Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.13But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

Please don't despair, for if you accept Christ's work on the cross and resurrection as payment for your sins, you have no need to despair. For God will create an entirely new "heavens and earth" as stated in Revelation 21:

Revelation 21

The New Jerusalem
1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

5He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

6He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."

9One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." 10And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. 14The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. 16The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. 17He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits thick, by man's measurement, which the angel was using. 18The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.

22I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.23The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

So, most of the evidence for a personal Creator and Savior of the universe is in. Your job is to evaluate the evidence, repent of your sin, and accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. If you do this, your salvation is certain, you have the gift of eternal life!

But don't take my word for it. Listen to the Apostle Paul:

Romans 3:23-30 (New International Version)

23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

27Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. 28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.29Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.

And one more, listen here:

Romans 6:23 (New International Version)

23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks - but He is a gentleman, and will not force himself upon you. He's waiting for you to open your heart, and if you do, He promises to come in and save you!!

We'll so much for my sermon! Please write to me if you have made a confession of faith - I can give you some advice as your start your journey of faith. If you live in the Capital region, I have a great church where you can begin. It's called Grace Fellowship of Latham. Go to the website to see what it's like at www.gracefellowship.com

Next time I plan on talking to you about the Lunar Anthropic Principle and the fine tuning of our Solar System to support life on Earth (but I've got to figure out a way to shorten the title!)


Cheers

Tom