Extraterrestrial life Intelligent Design SETI

From Live Science: Search for alien life just got 1,000 times bigger after new telescope joins the hunt

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Harry Baker writes:

One of the world’s largest telescopes has just joined the hunt for signs of alien life elsewhere in the cosmos.

A pair of dishes from the MeerKAT telescope in South Africa. The night sky has been overlaid with radio bubbles observed by the telescope. Image credit: South Africa Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO).

Since 2016, the Breakthrough Listen project has been quietly using radio telescopes to listen for unusual radio signals, or technosignatures, from potential advanced extraterrestrial civilizations within the Milky Way. The project, launched in part by the late Stephen Hawking and funded by Israeli entrepreneur Yuri Milner, already uses the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia in the United States and the Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia, as well as other radio telescopes from across the globe, to scan nearby stars. But now, the MeerKAT Telescope — an array of 64 individual dishes in South Africa, and currently the largest radio telescope in the Southern Hemisphere — has joined the party. 

After more than two years of integrating their programs into the MeerKAT system, Breakthrough Listen scientists have finally started using data collected by the array of dishes to look for unusual signals from nearby stars, according to a statement released Dec. 1.

The inclusion of MeerKAT will “expand the number of targets searched by a factor of 1,000,” Breakthrough Listen representatives wrote in the statement. This will greatly increase the chances of detecting a technosignature, if there are any out there to be found, they added. 

MeerKAT drastically improves the number of targets that Breakthrough Listen can analyze because its dishes can lock onto up to 64 different targets at once, while other telescopes can only focus on one at a time.

“MeerKAT can see an area of the sky 50 times bigger than the GBT can view at once,” Andrew Siemion, principal investigator of Breakthrough Listen and director of the University of California Berkeley’s Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Research Center, said in the statement. “Such a large field of view typically contains many stars that are interesting technosignature targets.” 

Breakthrough Listen will access a continuous datastream from MeerKAT without interfering with scheduled astronomical research. Instead, data collected from other studies will be fed into a supercomputer, which uses a special algorithm to scan signals that it does not recognize as coming from known cosmic phenomena such as pulsars, stellar flares or supernovas. When a strange signal is detected, a researcher can then analyze the signal. 

Using MeerKAT, Breakthrough Listen will be able to scan more than 1 million stars during the next two years, which is “very exciting,” Cherry Ng, an astrophysicist at the University of Toronto and a project scientist at Breakthrough Listen, said in the statement. 

One of the first stars that will investigated in more detail by MeerKAT and Breakthrough Listen will be Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to our solar system, which has two exoplanets that lie within the star’s habitable zone, researchers said. 

In June, Chinese astronomers using the enormous “Sky Eye” telescope in Guizhou, China — the largest radio telescope on Earth — announced that they had detected a possible alien signal. But this was quickly debunked by one of the study authors who revealed the signal was almost definitely human radio interference.  

Live Science

It’s clear that these researchers believe that they can distinguish between a radio signal produced by an intelligent being and a radio signal produced by natural causes. Why should the design in living organisms not stand as evidence that biological design is produced by an intelligent source of ultimately supernatural origin? If you say, “We know that natural processes can produce the design seen in living systems,” I’m afraid that you are mistaken.” If you say, “We know that there is nothing beyond nature,” then you are mouthing words without knowledge.

9 Replies to “From Live Science: Search for alien life just got 1,000 times bigger after new telescope joins the hunt

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Why should the design in living organisms not stand as evidence that biological design is produced by an intelligent source of ultimately supernatural origin?

    What design would that be? In the absence of compelling evidence for the existence of a non-human designer it seems to me that we only have the appearance of design.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Sev quotes this question from Dr. Hedin, (PhD. physics), “Why should the design in living organisms not stand as evidence that biological design is produced by an intelligent source of ultimately supernatural origin?”

    and then, after that, Sev asks, “What design would that be? In the absence of compelling evidence for the existence of a non-human designer it seems to me that we only have the appearance of design.”

    Sev, perhaps you missed Dr. Hedin’s comment right after your quoted question?,,, “If you say, “We know that natural processes can produce the design seen in living systems,” I’m afraid that you are mistaken.” If you say, “We know that there is nothing beyond nature,” then you are mouthing words without knowledge.”

    As to the “words without knowledge” part, I believe Dr. Hedin is making an allusion to Job 38:2, where God asks Job, “Who is this who darkens counsel By words without knowledge?”

    Job 38:2-5
    “Who is this who darkens counsel
    By words without knowledge?
    Brace yourself like a man;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.
    “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.
    Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?

    Moreover, the specific question that God asked Job in that passage, “Who stretched a measuring line across it?”, is enough, in and of itself, to establish that the universe and life “is produced by an intelligent source of ultimately supernatural origin”.

    You see Seversky, the universe is found to be exceptionally ‘flat’, but there are “no laws of physics that predict or restrict the topology” of the universe to being flat,

    Yes, the world (universe) really is flat – December 8, 2016
    Excerpt: The universe has all sorts of deformations in space-time where it varies from the perfectly flat. Any place where there’s mass or energy, there’s a corresponding bending of space-time — that’s General Relativity 101. So a couple light beams would naturally collide inside a wandering black hole, or bend along weird angles after encountering a galaxy or two.
    But average all those small-scale effects out and look at the big picture. When we examine very old light — say, the cosmic microwave background — that has been traveling the universe for more than 13.8 billion years, we get a true sense of the universe’s shape. And the answer, as far as we can tell, to within an incredibly small margin of uncertainty, is that the universe is flat.,,,
    ,,, but there are also no laws of physics that predict or restrict the topology.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....y-is-flat/

    Yet, if the universe were not exceptionally flat,

    “The Universe today is actually very close to the most unlikely state of all, absolute flatness. And that means it must have been born in an even flatter state, as Dicke and Peebles, two of the Princeton astronomers involved in the discovery of the 3 K background radiation, pointed out in 1979. Finding the Universe in a state of even approximate flatness today is even less likely than finding a perfectly sharpened pencil balancing on its point for millions of years, for, as Dicke and Peebles pointed out, any deviation of the Universe from flatness in the Big Bang would have grown, and grown markedly, as the Universe expanded and aged. Like the pencil balanced on its point and given the tiniest nudges, the Universe soon shifts away from perfect flatness.”
    ~ John Gribbin, In Search of the Big Bang

    The universe is flat as a pancake. Coincidence?
    Dark energy is smoothing the expanding cosmic curves – but only exactly the right amount can make that happen – Oct. 2016
    Excerpt: NEXT time you fancy doing something really frustrating, try balancing a pencil on its sharpened tip. Your efforts will succeed for a second at most. Yet the universe has been succeeding at a similar gravitational trick for the last 13.8 billion years.,,,
    https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23230970-800-cosmic-coincidences-the-universe-is-flat-as-a-pancake/

    Flatness problem
    Excerpt: Data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (measuring CMB anisotropies) combined with that from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and observations of type-Ia supernovae constrain ?0 to be 1 within 1%.[9] In other words, the term |? ? 1| is currently less than 0.01, and therefore must have been less than 10^?62 at the Planck era.
    Implication
    This tiny value is the crux of the flatness problem. If the initial density of the universe could take any value, it would seem extremely surprising to find it so ‘finely tuned’ to the critical value Pc. Indeed, a very small departure of ? from 1 in the early universe would have been magnified during billions of years of expansion to create a current density very far from critical.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flatness_problem#Measurement

    ,,, yet, if the universe were not exceptionally flat, then our ability to apply mathematics to the universe would be all but impossible. As the following article states, “We say that the universe is flat, and this means that parallel lines will always remain parallel. 90-degree turns behave as true 90-degree turns, and everything makes sense.,,”

    How do we know the universe is flat? Discovering the topology of the universe – by Fraser Cain – June 7, 2017
    Excerpt: With the most sensitive space-based telescopes they have available, astronomers are able to detect tiny variations in the temperature of this background radiation.
    And here’s the part that blows my mind every time I think about it. These tiny temperature variations correspond to the largest scale structures of the observable universe. A region that was a fraction of a degree warmer become a vast galaxy cluster, hundreds of millions of light-years across.
    The cosmic microwave background radiation just gives and gives, and when it comes to figuring out the topology of the universe, it has the answer we need. If the universe was curved in any way, these temperature variations would appear distorted compared to the actual size that we see these structures today.
    But they’re not. To best of its ability, ESA’s Planck space telescope, can’t detect any distortion at all. The universe is flat.,,,
    We say that the universe is flat, and this means that parallel lines will always remain parallel. 90-degree turns behave as true 90-degree turns, and everything makes sense.,,,
    Since the universe is flat now, it must have been flat in the past, when the universe was an incredibly dense singularity. And for it to maintain this level of flatness over 13.8 billion years of expansion, in kind of amazing.
    In fact, astronomers estimate that the universe must have been flat to 1 part within 1×10^57 parts.
    Which seems like an insane coincidence.
    https://phys.org/news/2017-06-universe-flat-topology.html

    Simply put, without some remarkable degree of exceptional, and stable, flatness for the universe, (as well as exceptional stability for all the other constants), Euclidean (3-Dimensional) geometry simply would not have been applicable to the universe at large, and this would make modern science, (particularly the mathematical analysis of the universe), for all practical purposes, all but impossible for humans to achieve.

    Specifically, Newton, the father of modern physics, was crucially dependent on Euclidean geometry in order for him to make his crucial breakthrough into modern physics. And in Euclidean geometry, the line is considered a mathematically ‘unprovable’ primitive object that is axiomatically assumed to be true,

    “Isaac Newton explicitly referred to the authority of Euclidean geometry as a justification for the conservative form of the proofs in his Principia,,,”
    https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1086/691412

    Line (geometry)
    Excerpt: Euclid described a line as “breadthless length” which “lies equally with respect to the points on itself”; he introduced several postulates as basic unprovable properties from which he constructed all of geometry, which is now called Euclidean geometry to avoid confusion with other geometries which have been introduced since the end of the 19th century (such as non-Euclidean, projective and affine geometry).,,,
    – per wikipedia

    primitive
    A primitive is a geometric figure that is left undefined.,,, In Euclidean geometry, the primitives are typically taken to be point, line, and plane.

    Thus, although there are “no laws of physics that predict or restrict the topology” of the universe to being flat, if the universe were not exceptionally flat, then we would have never been able to apply mathematics to the universe in the first place. i.e. Mathematically speaking, the universe would have been ‘mathematically unintelligible’ for us. In short, it is a ‘mathematical miracle’ that the universe would be exceptionally flat so that it might make mathematical sense to us.

    And you don’t have to take my word for it, Eugene Wigner and Albert Einstein are both on record as to regarding it as a ‘miracle’ that math should even be applicable to the universe. Moreover, Wigner questioned Darwinism ability to produce our ‘reasoning power’ whilst calling it a miracle, and Einstein even went so far as to chastise ‘professional atheists’ in his process of calling it a miracle.

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: ,,certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,,
    It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind’s capacity to divine them.,,,
    The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
    https://www.maths.ed.ac.uk/~v1ranick/papers/wigner.pdf

    On the Rational Order of the World: a Letter to Maurice Solovine – Albert Einstein – March 30, 1952
    Excerpt: “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way .. the kind of order created by Newton’s theory of gravitation, for example, is wholly different. Even if a man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the ‘miracle’ which is constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.
    There lies the weakness of positivists and professional atheists who are elated because they feel that they have not only successfully rid the world of gods but “bared the miracles.”
    -Albert Einstein
    http://inters.org/Einstein-Letter-Solovine

    And the last time I checked, miracles are considered the sole province of God,

    mir·a·cle
    a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency.

    Verse:

    Isaiah 26:7
    The path of the righteous is level;
    You clear a straight path for the righteous.

    Supplemental note,

    Essential Judeo-Christian presuppositions that were necessary for the rise of Modern science in Medieval Christian Europe.

    ,,,, Presupposition 2: The intelligibility of nature
    “Modern science was inspired by the conviction that the universe is the product of a rational mind who designed it to be understood and who (also) designed the human mind to understand it.” (i.e. human exceptionalism),
    “God created us in his own image so that we could share in his own thoughts”
    – Johannes Kepler,,,
    – Stephen Meyer on Intelligent Design and The Return of the God Hypothesis – Hoover Institution
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_8PPO-cAlA

    “O, Almighty God, I am thinking Thy thoughts after Thee!”
    Johannes Kepler – 1619, stated shortly after discovering the third law of planetary motion.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    OT:

    Last ‘mic drop’ moment from the Dr. Tour’s video,

    Dr. Tour: “So we agree, you and I agree Lee, that how we got from small molecules to life, it happened, but we don’t know how.”
    Lee Cronin: “Exactly.”
    – Dave Farina’s “Experts” completely DEBUNKED. The Religion of Prebiotic Soup – Lee Cronin Part 01
    https://youtu.be/4rwPi1miWu4?t=1832

    Of note:

    James Tour: The Origin of Life Has Not Been Explained (in fact, the more we know, the worse the OOL “problem” gets for materialists)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4sP1E1Jd_Y

    Information Enigma: Where does information come from? – Stephen Meyer & Doug Axe
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aA-FcnLsF1g

    Verse:

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

  4. 4
    tjguy says:

    @1 Seversky

    “What design would that be? In the absence of compelling evidence for the existence of a non-human designer it seems to me that we only have the appearance of design.”

    Well, unless you are a true man of faith in the almighty powers of evolution which have yet to be demonstrated, the presence of codes, interdependent codes that can be read backwards and forwards, nano-molecular machines necessary for life that are more complex and efficient that the best that man can make, systems in the body, volumes and volumes of complex specified information/software that the hardware of life requires, seemingly irreducibly complex systems, machines, organs, & processes, the fine tuning of the universe, the existence of the mind and conscience, the existence of language, the existence of beauty and the ability to appreciate it, etc etc etc seem to strongly support the design hypothesis.

    Everyone believes in miracles, sir.

    The only difference is that the atheist has no sufficient cause to justify his belief in miracles. He believes they happen by chance. Plus he is forced to believe in far more miracles than the theist. These miracles of random mutation are necessary to explain his view of the world. On the other hand, the theist points to an all powerful God of wisdom as the source of miracles and design. This seems to match human experience much better than faith in innumerable miracles of chance, because any time we see design, codes, machines, systems, etc. in human experience, there is always a mind, a purpose, intentional design behind it.

    But, it is true that we all have our biases and have a tendency to believe whatever our worldview requires in order for us to keep the faith.

  5. 5
    Caspian says:

    Sev @1 asks:
    “What design would that be? In the absence of compelling evidence for the existence of a non-human designer it seems to me that we only have the appearance of design.”

    Are you serious?
    So many levels of design are evident in living systems. Just one, from an engineering point of view, is that a well-designed system is one that functions well to meet a desired end. Consider any system within our bodies, and you’ll find a magnificent degree of this sort of design.

  6. 6
    EDTA says:

    Let’s say we agree on the appearance of design. That leads immediately to the next question: What is the best explanation for the appearance of design in the case of life:

    1) just an illusion; not real design
    2) actual design, even though we can’t point a physical finger at the designer

    Because we can easily eliminate #1 based on its improbability, we are left with #2 as our inferred
    and best conclusion.

  7. 7
    TAMMIE LEE HAYNES says:

    Dear Caspian

    Please try to have more patience with our nice Atheist friends. First becuase they must be despondent nowadays with Creationism back in the catbird seat, thanks to fine tuning, the failure of the naturalistic origin of life project, and the tanking of the theory of evolution. How would you like to be in their shoes?

    And second, they are clueless about basic concepts of evidence, probably cause they didnt get a good education like I did at my Creationist high school.

    For example, I learned what any lawyer could tell you, that appearance is evidence. And in the case of design, the evidence is not just compelling, it’s overwhelming. As an aside, supernatural events (also called miracles) are supported by the compelling evidence of the testimony of large numbers of independent witnesses, (e.g. John 2, 1-12.)

    I mean, the testimony of the witnesses establishes that God turned water into wine. When He showed that He could do that, any reasonable person would figure He could do anything He wanted.

  8. 8
    relatd says:

    TLH at 7,

    I think you misjudge our atheist friends. Some are here only to promote atheist naturalism regardless of the evidence to the contrary. To cause confusion here. Plenty of evidence has been presented to them here but they will continue to repeat their beliefs, over and over. It’s like being a salesman. Selling the product – evolution – is all that matters.

    I have read the testimony of those that witnessed miracles in the recent past. The “experts” brought in to review their claims and the associated evidence, were not able to provide an explanation.

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    at 5, Caspian’s challenge to Sev: ” Consider any system within our bodies, and you’ll find a magnificent degree of this sort of design.”

    To wit just uploaded,

    The Body’s Supply Chain Problem (Your Designed Body)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6vyt4o50xo

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