From Nature Magazine...If our planet were just a little closer to the Sun, a runaway greenhouse effect would render it unliveable, a climate model suggests. The simulation, which helps to define the inner edge of a star system?s 'habitable zone', drastically reduces the fraction of Sun-like stars that might harbour a rocky planet suitable for life, according to some scientists. But others note that the model, although detailed, might be too restrictive because it applies only to Earth-like planets on which water is abundant.
Of course we are also asked to believe that the right planet, just at the right distance from its star, will naturally generate life from non-living chemicals...
As reported in ENV (and many other outlets)...NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) just dumped a lot of fuel on the fire of David Coppedge's discrimination lawsuit by firing him on Monday. Coppedge's lawsuit against JPL alleges discrimination because he was prevented from talking about intelligent design (ID).
This could potentially expose JPL to a claim of wrongful termination and increase the merits of Coppedge's claim that JPL retaliated against him. According to Coppedge's attorney William Becker, JPL claims the firing resulted from downsizing in the face of budget issues, but Coppedge is the most senior member of the team that oversees the computers on NASA and JPL's Cassini Mission to Saturn. Coppedge doesn't seem at all like the first person who would normally be forced to leave in such a situation.
In Uncommon Descent, it is written that "The blogosphere is abuzz with reports about a physics paper, Evidence against fine-tuning for life, written by an evangelical Christian physicist named Don Page, professor of physics at the University of Alberta. The paper is surprisingly non-technical and very easy to read. Also worth reading is Dr. Don Page's non-technical online presentation, Does God so love the multiverse?
In a USA Today article...
it is claimed that...the universe blasted itself into existence spontaneously, following M-theory's rules to create physical laws that we call gravity, magnetism and so on, purely by chance. "He's (Hawking) pointing to a crucial and fascinating feature of Einstein's general relativity (law of gravity): universes are free!" says Caltech physicist Sean Carroll in an e-mail. He's the author of From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time. "It costs precisely zero energy (and zero anything else) to make an entire universe. From that perspective, perhaps it's not surprising that the universe did come into existence."
What is that "fascinating feature of Einstein's general relativity" that allows something to come from absolutely nothing? Or is it not really absolutely nothing, but, in fact, "something" from which the universe arrives. As pointed out by those in the know...it is assumed that the space-time continuum can be created in an inflationary big bang while maintaining zero net energy. If true, the universe might be the ultimate example of a free lunch. If not, then the quantum vacuum state might be the "something" from which the universe sprang as a physical entity. It has yet to be demonstrated that a quantum vacuum with the right energy density and growth rate can accompany the birth of a general relativistic, big bang universe. It is merely an article of faith on the part of some theoretical physicists that it can be so. One of the present issues is that the quantum vacuum energy density is about 120 orders of magnitude different from what can be reconciled with the apparent rate of acceleration of the expanding universe. But too many physicists don't want to let that stubborn fact get in the way of a good, just-so story.
It is clear that chance has no being (ontology); therefore chance is powerless. Chance turns out to be a label we give for processes we don't understand. If Parmenides was correct (ex nihilo nihil fit), and chance is powerless, then Hawking and Sean Carroll are wrong, as was John Stuart Mill and Bertrand Russell. With regard to the infinite regress, it is not "everything must have a cause", but rather, "every effect must have a cause". For example, the Judeo-Christian God is eternal, and not an effect, therefore, God (the intelligent designer?) was not caused.
More critique of Hawking's ideas found...
Popular writer Frank Turek writes in townhall.com on the fine-tuning of the universe.
"When I debated atheist Christopher Hitchens recently, one of the eight arguments I offered for God's existence was the creation of this supremely fine-tuned universe out of nothing. I spoke of the five main lines of scientific evidence."
NewScientist reports that it's not just the nature of dark matter that's a mystery - even its abundance is inexplicable. But if our universe is just one of many possible universes, at least this conundrum can be explained.
The total amount of dark matter - the unseen stuff thought to make up most of the mass of the universe - is five to six times that of normal matter. This difference sounds pretty significant, but it could have been much greater, because the two types of matter probably formed via radically different processes shortly after the big bang. The fact that the ratio is so conducive to a life-bearing universe "looks like a tremendous coincidence", says Raphael Bousso at the University of California, Berkeley.
Seems as if scientism will continue to bow to their transcendent "maker", multiverse. Intelligent designer or eternal multiverse. Which is more plausible?
Regis Nicoll, a freelance writer, has a column in Breakpoint. It discusses the challenges of Black Holes and Multiverse creating our cosmos.
The folks at Panspermia.org advocate that panspermia (life seeded from outer space) is an idea that traces back to the Greeks. It is one way to deal with the lack of evidence on earth for the chemical evolution of life, but doesn't it just beg the question? What is the source of the "genetic programs" that were seeded here from outerspace? This sounds more like design theory than an answer for the problems facing chemical evolution theory. At least these folks are a little more "honest" with the data than the chemical origin of life proponents. Here are a few snippets from their into page:
"Cosmic Ancestry is a new theory pertaining to evolution and the origin of life on Earth. It holds that life on Earth was seeded from space, and that life's evolution to higher forms depends on genetic programs that come from space. (It accepts the Darwinian account of evolution that does not require new genetic programs.) It is a wholly scientific, testable theory for which evidence is accumulating."
"We are calling the union of Lovelock's Gaia with Hoyle and Wickramasinghe's expanded theory of panspermia Cosmic Ancestry. This account of evolution and the origin of life on Earth is profoundly different from the prevailing scientific paradigm â€” the theory challenges not merely the answers but the questions that are popular today. Cosmic Ancestry implies, we find, that life can only descend from ancestors at least as highly evolved as itself. And it means, we believe, that there can be no origin of life from nonliving matter in the past. Without supernatural intervention, therefore, we conclude that life must have always existed. Although these conclusions cut across the boundaries between science, philosophy, and religion, we believe they are grounded in good evidence. In fact, new data that support many aspects of Cosmic Ancestry are coming in rapidly."
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Evolution has become a favorite topic of the news media recently, but for some reason, they never seem to get the story straight. The staff at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture started this Blog to set the record straight and make sure you knew "the rest of the story".
A blogger from New England offers his intelligent reasoning.
We are a group of individuals, coming from diverse backgrounds and not speaking for any organization, who have found common ground around teleological concepts, including intelligent design. We think these concepts have real potential to generate insights about our reality that are being drowned out by political advocacy from both sides. We hope this blog will provide a small voice that helps rectify this situation.
Website dedicated to comparing scenes from the "Inherit the Wind" movie with factual information from actual Scopes Trial. View 37 clips from the movie and decide for yourself if this movie is more fact or fiction.
Don Cicchetti blogs on: Culture, Music, Faith, Intelligent Design, Guitar, Audio
Australian biologist Stephen E. Jones maintains one of the best origins "quote" databases around. He is meticulous about accuracy and working from original sources.
Most guys going through midlife crisis buy a convertible. Austrialian Stephen E. Jones went back to college to get a biology degree and is now a proponent of ID and common ancestry.
Complete zipped downloadable pdf copy of David Stove's devastating, and yet hard-to-find, critique of neo-Darwinism entitled "Darwinian Fairytales"
Intelligent Design The Future is a multiple contributor weblog whose participants include the nation's leading design scientists and theorists: biochemist Michael Behe, mathematician William Dembski, astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, philosophers of science Stephen Meyer, and Jay Richards, philosopher of biology Paul Nelson, molecular biologist Jonathan Wells, and science writer Jonathan Witt. Posts will focus primarily on the intellectual issues at stake in the debate over intelligent design, rather than its implications for education or public policy.
A Philosopher's Journey: Political and cultural reflections of John Mark N. Reynolds. Dr. Reynolds is Director of the Torrey Honors Institute at