Monday, July 14, 2014

"The Universe Has A Purpose"- Roger Penrose

This idea of intentionality in the Universe is such a cumulative and compelling case that involves many different disciplines that even scientists who have no religious affiliation, who describe their personal views as agnostic, or outright atheist are offering the view that random chance just could not be the answer to this wonderful and complex Universe, from the  Microcosmic world of DNA to the Macro world of Cosmology and the Big Bang. However there seems to be a growing number of atheist fundamentalists who appear hell bent on determining that the secret doesn't get out. How do we know this? Well if Ben Stein's documentary Expelled, is anything to go by, that should at least give some indication.

There is a small but growing number of top people who are at least open-minded to the idea that this Universe is the product of purpose, rather than a completely random and arbitrary process, and a number of them have no religious affiliation, some are agnostic, some are atheists, some are religious.

"The future is here now"
Some clever person said that "The future is here now, it's just not widely published" meaning that in any age there are those people who have such a vision of reality that they can accurately tell us what the world will be like years ahead of that actuality. They are years ahead of their time. Those people at the top of their game see things that the general population will take years to appreciate because the tide of opinion is so slow to turn. Such is the slow progress of understanding from the cutting edge of science to the grassroots level such as myself and the general population. Sometimes it takes years for genuine scientific knowledge to filter down to the ordinary person of the street, because the ruling paradigms have such a grip on the imagination of the people. While this is true as a generality, it doesn't therefore necessarily follow that we cannot take a look into their world, if we know where to look.

Robert Jastrow 1925 –2008) was an American astronomer, physicist and cosmologist. He was a leading NASA scientist, populist author and futurist.

Although he was not a believer, but rather an agnostic, in an interview with Christianity Today, Jastrow said:

 "Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner
 because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began
 abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of
 every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the
 earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of
 forces they cannot hope to discover. That there are what I or anyone
 would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a
scientifically proven fact."

He went on to say:

  There is a kind of religion in science; it is the religion of a
 person who believes there is order and harmony in the Universe. Every
 event can be explained in a rational way as the product of some
 previous event; every effect must have its cause, there is no First
 Cause. … This religious faith of the scientist is violated by the
 discovery that the world had a beginning under conditions in which the
 known laws of physics are not valid, and as a product of forces or
 circumstances we cannot discover. When that happens, the scientist has
 lost control. If he really examined the implications, he would be

 "For the scientist... the story ends like a bad dream."

 "For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason,
 the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of
 ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls
 himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians
who have been sitting there for centuries." —Robert Jastrow, The Enchanted Loom: Mind in the Universe, (1981), p. 19.

To be fair to scientists, not all of them are physicalists, to some this comes as no surprise.

Roger Penrose is just one such scientist who has worked with perhaps the worlds best known scientist, Stepen Hawkings.

the universe has a purpose," Roger Penrose

Sir Roger Penrose calls string theory a "fashion," quantum mechanics "faith," and cosmic inflation a "fantasy." Coming from an armchair theorist, these declarations might be dismissed. But Penrose is a well-respected physicist who co-authored a seminal paper on black holes with Stephen Hawking. He argues that known laws of physics are inadequate to explain the phenomenon of consciousness. Penrose does not hold to any religious doctrine, and refers to himself as an atheist. In the film A Brief History of Time, he said:

  "I think I would say that the universe has a purpose, it's not somehow
  just there by chance ... some people, I think, take the view that the
  universe is just there and it runs along – it's a bit like it just
  sort of computes, and we happen somehow by accident to find ourselves
  in this thing. But I don't think that's a very fruitful or helpful way
  of looking at the universe, I think that there is something much
  deeper about it."

You don't have to be a religious fundamentalist to acknowledge that this Universe has more mystery in it than can be explained by a purely materialistic view of reality. I say religious fundamentalism because this is the accusation levelled at people who simply have a "blind faith" and therefore evidence to them is neither necessary or desirable, they just believe. The thing is that this description fits many atheists as well as some religious people. Some people will not admit the idea of intelligent design as a matter of personal bias.

As Penrose shows, (although an atheist) in the light of saying the Universe has "purpose" it is not at all unreasonable to posit a supreme being. Admitting purpose, is an admission of intentionality,  and intentionality is perfectly consistent with, and implies personality and will. So as a logical progression, the atheist Penrose- in observing the Universe has purpose- has tacitly implied at least that the Universe bears the stamp of intention and design. Even the atheist fundamentalist Richard Dawkins says organisms certainly "look" like they are designed. Well what if they are?

The real agenda of atheist fundamentalism is to shut down discussion rather than get into the debate. It sort of reminds me something which the famous statesment Ghandi wrote:

 "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." Ghandi

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Earthquakes Helping To Support The Genesis Flood Account?

The following story has come from an article in the online New Scientist, and it is fascinating how from calibrating seismic measurements throughout the earth a picture of the internal structure and makeup of the Earth can be determined. Of particular interest is the conclusion drawn at the end. There is so much water there apparently, that if this pattern is indeed a complete layer throughout and not just under the North American continent, then  mountaintops throughout the Earth would be the only things uncovered if that amount of water was at its surface. But the statement does not deal with the reality that eons ago, those mountaintops that are evident now, may not have been, or most definitelly not been, as high as they are now. Leading to the reality that all mountain tops may have at one time been underwater. Just as it was briefly after the great flood recorded in Genesis.

Massive 'ocean' discovered towards Earth's core
19:00 12 June 2014 by Andy Coghlan

A reservoir of water three times the volume of all the oceans has been discovered deep beneath the Earth's surface. The finding could help explain where Earth's seas came from.

The water is hidden inside a blue rock called ringwoodite that lies 700 kilometres underground in the mantle, the layer of hot rock between Earth's surface and its core.

The huge size of the reservoir throws new light on the origin of Earth's water. Some geologists think water arrived in comets as they struck the planet, but the new discovery supports an alternative idea that the oceans gradually oozed out of the interior of the early Earth.

"It's good evidence the Earth's water came from within," says Steven Jacobsenof Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. The hidden water could also act as a buffer for the oceans on the surface, explaining why they have stayed the same size for millions of years.
Pinging the planet

Jacobsen's team used 2000 seismometers to study the seismic waves generated by more than 500 earthquakes. These waves move throughout Earth's interior, including the core, and can be detected at the surface. "They make the Earth ring like a bell for days afterwards," says Jacobsen.

By measuring the speed of the waves at different depths, the team could figure out which types of rocks the waves were passing through. The water layer revealed itself because the waves slowed down, as it takes them longer to get through soggy rock than dry rock.

Jacobsen worked out in advance what would happen to the waves if water-containing ringwoodite was present. He grew ringwoodite in his lab, and exposed samples of it to massive pressures and temperatures matching those at 700 kilometres down.

Sure enough, they found signs of wet ringwoodite in the transition zone 700 kilometres down, which divides the upper and lower regions of the mantle. At that depth, the pressures and temperatures are just right to squeeze the water out of the ringwoodite. "It's rock with water along the boundaries between the grains, almost as if they're sweating," says Jacobsen.
Damp down there

Jacobsen's finding supports a recent study by Graham Pearson of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. Pearson studied a diamond from the transition zone that had been carried to the surface in a volcano, and found that it contained water-bearing ringwoodite, the first strong evidence that there was lots of water in the transition zone (Nature,

"Since our initial report of hydrous ringwoodite, we've found another ringwoodite crystal, also containing water, so the evidence is now very strong," says Pearson.

So far, Jacobsen only has evidence that the watery rock sits beneath the US. He now wants to find out if it wraps around the entire planet.

"We should be grateful for this deep reservoir," says Jacobsen. "If it wasn't there, it would be on the surface of the Earth, and mountain tops would be the only land poking out."

Journal reference: Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1253358

Michael Gerson: The strange tension between theology and science- Article in the Washington Post

Michael GersonBy Michael Gerson Opinion writer April 24

In the late 1920s, astronomer Edwin Hubble established that the light we detect from galaxies is shifted toward the redder colors of the spectrum, indicating that they are moving away from us at enormous speeds. And the farther away galaxies are, the faster they are fleeing. Rewinding that expansion through mathematics — dividing distance by speed — indicates that something extraordinary happened about 14 billion years ago, when the entire universe was small, dense and exceedingly hot.

Scientists such as Alexander Friedmann and Georges Lemaitre had anticipated the big bang — which Lemaitre described as a “Cosmic Egg exploding at the moment of creation.” Others theorized that such an event would have left a detectable residue of hydrogen plasma grown cold over time. In the 1960s, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson duly detected it — finding microwave background radiation in every direction they pointed their telescope. The whole sky glows faintly at a temperature of about 3 degrees above absolute zero. Part of the static between channels on broadcast television is an echo of the big bang.
Michael Gerson is a nationally syndicated columnist who appears twice weekly in The Post.View Archive

These are some of the most regularly confirmed, noncontroversial findings of modern science. Yet a recent poll found that a majority of Americans are“not too” or “not at all” confident that “the universe began 13.8 billion years ago with a big bang.”

Some of this skepticism, surely, reflects the inherent difficulty of imagining unimaginable scales of time and space. And some fault must lie withAmerican scientific education, which routinely transforms the consideration of wonders into a chore and a bore. But the poll also found that confidence in the big bang declines as belief in a Supreme Being increases.

This is not easy to explain. The predominant cosmological picture that predated the big bang — a static universe without beginning or end — would have pleased the ancient Greeks, who preferred their cosmos orderly and eternal. People influenced by the book of Genesis should feel more at home in a universe with a dramatic, cataclysmic beginning. Lemaitre, in fact, was a priest, whom some suspected of sneaking theological assumptions into his science. He didn’t, and carefully (and correctly) insisted that the big bang is consistent with both materialist and religious convictions. But the idea of a universe that began in a flash that flung stars, galaxies and clusters of galaxies across the vast canvas of space is, to put it mildly, compatible with Jewish and Christian belief: “Let there be light.”

So why this theological resistance to scientific assertions that are intuitively consistent with Christian theological views? The polls don’t settle this question, but I can hazard a guess. Many conservative Christians equate modern science with materialism — a view conditioned by early 20th-century debates over evolution and human origins. Science is often viewed as an alternative theology, with a competing creation story. Some religious communities define themselves by resisting this rival faith — and filter evidence to reinforce their identity.

This approach raises two protests. First, it will eventually fail. 
It is a deep weakness for any theology or ideology to be wrong about the scientific nature of the universe. 
The children of believers are presented with a cruel and false choice: In order to accept the scientific method, they must abandon the beliefs of their community. And many will naturally choose science. If theological conservatives define themselves by their skepticism about the (marvelous, breathtaking, compelling) findings of modern science, they will eventually lose — not only in public debates but in the minds of their own children.

Second, this strategy is completely unnecessary. The scientific method is the proper way — actually the only way — to understand the physical universe. There is no philosophical or theological method to study the structure of a star or a starfish. But this does not mean that the knowledge revealed by the physical sciences is the only valid type of human knowledge. There is ethical reasoning. There is also theological belief — involving the possibility that the Creator might suspend the laws of nature in certain circumstances, such as the parting of the Red Sea or the Resurrection.

The problem comes when materialism, claiming the authority of science, denies the possibility of all other types of knowledge — reducing human beings to a bag of chemicals and all their hopes and loves to the firing of neurons.
 Or when religion exceeds its bounds and declares the Earth to be 6,000 years old. In both cases, the besetting sin is the same: the arrogant exclusive claim to know reality.


I myself was not particularly enamoured with the final remark of this piece but otherwise agree with it. Science is no less than good philosophy applied to the material realities, science has a philosophical underpinning. So to say therefore that science is better than philosophy is rediculous. Philosophy, is greater in its scope, however since it has questions that admit realities other than the material realm. It has metaphysical questions and so it probes the religious and theological questions. It is not arrogant to claim some reality, which is what science, philosophy and theology all lay claim to (and rightly so) The real arrogance is when each discipline claims to have a monopoly on truth. I hope that was what the last comment was suggesting but it didn't seem quite clear, to my mind anyway.