Cosmology

Galaxy started forming stars only 200 million years after the Big Bang?

From the “earlier than thought” files, galaxies From ScienceDaily (Apr. 12, 2011): Using the amplifying power of a cosmic gravitational lens, astronomers have discovered a distant galaxy whose stars were born unexpectedly early in cosmic history. This result sheds new light on the formation of the first galaxies, as well as on the early evolution Read More…

Books of interest Cosmology

Uncommon Descent Saturday contest: What would be acceptable evidence for other universes?

(Contest is now judged. Results are here.) First, here’s Nobel Prize winner Steven Weinberg: … There is also a less creditable reason for hostility to the idea of a multiverse, based on the fact that we will never be able to observe any subuniverses except our own. Livio and Rees, and Tegmark have given thorough Read More…

Cosmology

Cosmology: One of cosmic inflation theory’s creators now questions own theory

A theory that attempts to account for the fine tuning of the universe for life may be “deeply flawed,” we learn in Paul J. Steinhardt’s “The Inflation Debate.” Steinhardt is one of the theory’s creators, nevertheless asks, “Abstract: Is the theory at the heart of modern cosmology deeply flawed? Cosmic inflation is so widely accepted Read More…

Atheism Cosmology Intelligent Design

Proponent of multiverses and “our universe as possible simulation” wins this year’s Templeton Prize

Proponent of the multiverse and the universe as simulation wins this year’s Templeton Prize The Prize has been awarded to Martin Rees. As Daniel Cressey tells it in Nature (6 April 2011), Controversial ‘spirituality’ award goes to a scientist for fourth year in a row. Martin Rees, an astrophysicist at the University of Cambridge, UK, Read More…

Books of interest Cosmology Culture Design inference Fine tuning Intelligent Design Multiverse Physics Religion Science Society

Martin Rees wins Templeton Prize

A fine tuning and multiverse advocate, Martin J. Rees, today won the 2011 Templeton Prize. The astrophysicist with no religion won the Prize originally “for Progress in Religion.” The 2011 Templeton Prize was announced today. LONDON, APRIL 6 – Martin J. Rees, a theoretical astrophysicist whose profound insights on the cosmos have provoked vital questions Read More…

Cosmology

Why Sean Carroll at the California Institute of Technology thinks that God isn’t needed, and how do you reply?

Here: Big Bang? One sometimes hears the claim that the Big Bang was the beginning of both time and space; that to ask about spacetime “before the Big Bang” is like asking about land “north of the North Pole.” This may turn out to be true, but it is not an established understanding. The singularity Read More…

Cosmology

Coffee!! : The Yeesh files – dark matter as key to habitable planets in outer space

“Dark matter could make planets habitable” (New Scientist, 30 March 2011), Maggie McKee tells us: No one knows what dark matter is – astronomers merely detect its gravitational pull on normal matter, which it seems to outweigh by a factor of five to one. But many researchers believe it is made of particles called WIMPs, Read More…

Cosmology

Coffee!! One of the few who really care advances a possible law of nature to explain why it looks as though we are alone

In “All alone and no one knows why” former nanotechnology watchdog Mike Treder tells us (Ethical Technology, Mar. 2, 2010) In 1950, the physicist Enrico Fermi famously wondered, “Where is everybody?” He was referring to the strange silence in the universe, the apparent lack of any advanced civilizations beyond Earth. Fermi reasoned that the size Read More…

Cosmology Creationism Darwinism Design inference Education Evolutionary biology Intelligent Design Philosophy Religion Science science education

The Epistemological Deficiencies of Barbara Forrest

Denyse O’Leary writes about Barbara Forrest’s fact-free attack on Frank Beckwith, which recently appeared in Synthese. While Denyse focused more on Beckwith’s response to Forrest’s scholarly article diatribe, it might be worth taking a closer look not only at Forrest’s article, but the entire issue of Synthese in which it is found. First Forrest. In Read More…

Cosmology

Progress: After 3000 years, we have achieved a mathematical model of how an eternal universe might work

While searching Discover, I ran up against this from Perimeter Institute cosmologist Neil Turok, “Will We Discover That the Universe Had No Beginning and Has No End?” (October 2010): In the conventional picture of the origin of the universe, the Big Bang is the beginning of time. This is one of the greatest mysteries in Read More…

Cosmology

If we could just get rid of those pesky constants, we could …

While rummaging through Discover Magazines Top 2010 stories relevant to our blog’s interests, I sailed into #46: Do Physical Laws Vary From Place to Place? by Tim Folger (January-February special/December 16, 2010) by These tentative findings raise the possibility that the physical laws that allow life to exist may hold true only in our particular Read More…

Cosmology Extraterrestrial life

Nature authors on exoplanets: Earth-sized, not Earth-like

Here’s the abstract of a just-published paper: Nature 470, 438 (24 February 2011) doi:10.1038/470438b NASA’s Kepler mission to find habitable planets orbiting Sun-like stars has turned up its first rocky planet. The project uses the Kepler space telescope to identify extrasolar planets by watching for dips in the intensity of light from up to 170,000 Read More…