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Image by NASA

Ever since Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe is expanding, there has been a tug of war between those who provide evidence that the entire universe began as a single point at a finite time in the past and those who desperately wish to tell the opposite story, that the Big Bang never happened.

Prior to that time, the predominant belief among scientists was that the universe was essentially static and infinite, having existed for all time. Indeed, this was a primary “scientific” argument against Creation stories that posited that the universe came into being through divine action. If the universe existed forever, then it did not need a creator. …


In the late 19th century, Newton’s theory of gravity had hit a crisis mode. It had been incredibly successful in predicting the orbits of all the planets, save one, the planet Mercury. Mercury, named for the Roman messenger god, closest to the Sun, had an anomaly, first noticed in 1845, in its orbit of precisely 42 arcseconds per Julian century, a tiny amount that nevertheless hinted at a much bigger problem.

Ad hoc solutions were proposed. Some posited an additional inner planet that was tugging on the orbit, invisible mass unaccounted for. Others suggested that we should slightly modify Newton’s laws to make the problem go away. Yet, no extra planets were found. …


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Photo by Good Free Photos on Unsplash

Einstein’s theory of general relativity is, so far, our only validated theory of the universe as a whole. Without it we would have difficulty explaining where the universe came from and where it is going.

One of the earliest predictions of the theory was the universe’s expansion. The universe expands everywhere all at once like the surface of a balloon being blown up. We can see it expanding by looking at distant galaxies. Based on what we know about the composition of those galaxies, we have a good idea of what wavelengths of light they should be producing. But what we actually see is that those wavelengths are extended. …


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Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

A recent study on finding meaning in life showed that having meaning follows an “inverted U-shape”. People tend to have little meaning early in life, gain it in mid-life, and then lose it again in later life around 60. Meanwhile, searching for meaning follows a “U-shape” with the young and old both in search of meaning.

This problem of meaning is summed up well by famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson:

The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. …


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Photo by Jacob Bentzinger on Unsplash

In 2010 a Pew study on Religion showed that 80% of Americans believe in miracles (a Harris poll said 72% in 2005). That is not far from the percentage that believe in God.

Is such a belief justified?

In his short book, Miracles, C. S. Lewis points out that the existence of miracles is not a scientific question but a philosophical one:

[W]hether miracles occur can never be answered simply by experience. Every event which might claim to be a miracle is, in the last resort, something presented to our senses, something seen, heard, touched, smelled or tasted. And our senses are not infallible. If anything extraordinary seems to have happened, we can always say that we have been the victims of an illusion. If we hold a philosophy which excludes the supernatural, this is what we always shall say. What we learn from experience depends on the kind of philosophy we bring to experience. …


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Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

That evolution occurs is a fact. We can see it in the fossil record. We can observe it in the study of finches in the Galapagos islands. We can infer it in species like koalas that adapted to eat only one kind of food.

That human beings are also a product of evolution is clear. We are related to a number of species both by morphology (shape and function) and by DNA. …


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Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

There have been many cases where people, animals, and certainly microbes have been thought to be dead only to return to life. Microbes and some insects can be frozen and then brought back. Cryogenics aside, human beings can survive for a short time while being effectively “dead”.

All of these are examples of revival. That is, something alive has had its vital functions slowed or stopped to near nothing, and then it is reanimated to life.

Resurrection, however, is very different. A being that is resurrected is not reanimated or revived. …


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Image by Andres Nassar from Pixabay.

Science is an empirical endeavor, based on evidence and logic. Because of this many scientists have come to believe that anything that cannot be answered scientifically should be discounted as unproven to be doubted or dismissed.

Most scientists believe in the scientific method and the effectiveness of science. This well-founded belief is based on the huge range of discoveries that have drastically changed human existence over the last several centuries.

On the other hand, many scientists and non-scientists alike point to the lack of evidence for God as proof that God does not exist or at least that they should doubt his existence. …


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Image by Wikipedia User User:Alain r. (CCA-SA 2.5)

Wormholes promise the potential for faster than light travel and communications. They are also profoundly weird deviations from the ordinary rules of space and time. Now new experiments are beginning to give us a peek at how these strange objects can be used for teleportation.

Not all wormholes are created equal. Some are non-traversable because you would have to exceed the speed of light to traverse it. But there are also traversable ones that can be potentially stable if only we could discover some kind of matter or energy that would hold one open.

To build one, you just need to entangle two black holes such that they share a single quantum state. This quantum entanglement ensures that whatever affects one will affect the other. Then you send a message in one end. It becomes completely scrambled as it travels through the black holes, merging with the entangled matter inside; then, as if by magic, it emerges from the other end completely intact. …


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Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

Have you ever banged your head on trying to solve a difficult problem? Maybe it was a math problem or a relationship issue. Maybe it was in a game or real life. Perhaps it had a lot of variables and moving parts, unknowns, and branching directions. Maybe it seemed like there was only one direction, but it was the wrong one.

The point was that it wasn’t easy, but you kept at it. You thought you could solve it. You seemed to make progress for a while and then you hit a road block. Something was wrong. You couldn’t make it that way and you had to backtrack. …

About

Tim Andersen, Ph.D.

Studied statistical mechanics, general relativity, and quantum field theory. Principal Research Scientist at Georgia Tech.

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