Reasons to Believe

RTB's Dark Energy Articles

Accumulating Evidence for Dark Energy and Supernatural Design

Astronomers now know that the observable universe contains about 200 billion medium and large-sized galaxies and about a hundred times more dwarf galaxies.1 It all adds up to about 50 billion trillion stars. That’s a lot of light bathing the cosmos! Yet all these—stars, galaxies, gas clouds, planets with their heat and light, and burnt out extinct stars—make up just 0.27 percent of the “stuff” in the universe.

Darkness comprises 99.73 percent of the universe. It comes in three forms: ordinary dark matter, exotic dark matter, and dark energy. Of these forms, dark energy is predominant; it also reveals the greatest level of fine-tuning design for life’s benefit.

Dark energy is best described as the self-stretching property of the cosmic surface, along which all matter, energy, space, and time is constrained. Dark energy is the most significant factor governing the rate at which the universe expands. If the universe expands either too rapidly or too slowly at different epochs throughout cosmic history, the stars and planets essential for life either will never form or will form at the wrong times.

If the dark energy density level were changed by as little as one part in 10120, the universe would be unable to support life.2 Dark energy, in the words of Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, delivers “the most impressive fine-tuning” evidence.3 Nowhere else in science do we see such a high level of measurable fine-tuning design. The best examples of human fine-tuning design fall short by much more than a factor of a quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion times (greater than 1090 times).

This is an extraordinary example of fine-tuning design for the specific benefit of life. It comports well with the Bible, which stood alone for millennia in predicting that the universe expands continuously under constant laws of physics from an actual beginning of all matter, energy, space, and time.4 No wonder some atheistic physicists have insisted that dark energy cannot be real.5

Clearly, much is at stake theologically in the reality of dark energy. Astronomers have gone to great lengths to test both dark energy’s reality and cosmic dominance. The principle is that, given an adequate number of independent experiments and observations, if every possible method of testing produces results consistent with a particular hypothesis, then scientists (and the rest of humanity) can be assured the hypothesis is correct.

Because of this principle, I often refer to nine different lines of observational evidence that establish dark energy’s reality and dominance in my talks. These nine are:

1.    radial velocities of type Ia supernovae;
2.    WMAP of the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR);
3.    ground-based measures of the CMBR;
4.    Sloan Digital Sky Survey of galaxies and galaxy clusters;
5.    Two-Degree Field Survey of galaxies;
6.    gravitational lens measurements of distant galaxies and quasars;
7.    distributions of radio galaxies;
8.    galaxy velocity distributions; and
9.    x-ray emissions from galaxy clusters.
 

In the last several years, astronomers have added seven additional lines of observational evidence, bringing the total to sixteen. These seven are:

10.    Lyman-alpha forest measurements;
11.    polarization measures of the cosmic microwave background radiation;
12.    stellar ages;
13.    cosmic inhomogeneities;
14.    gamma-ray bursts;
15.    evolution of galaxy clustering; and
16.    galaxy cluster angular size measurements.

Over the years, the Reasons To Believe (RTB) scholar team has written numerous articles about discoveries relating to the first nine lines of evidence and some of the last seven. For ease of searching, I’ve pulled together this collection of RTB’s dark energy articles. The collection includes three sections:

•    Articles written for Today’s New Reason to Believe (TNRTB) from 2007 to 2011 or published in Connections (RTB’s former newsletter). These are all available individually on our website, so I’ve simply provided links to these posts and citations of the papers they discuss.

•    Articles written for TNRTB from 2003 to 2006. These articles are not yet available individually on our website. Therefore, I’ve included them here in their entirety.

•    Citations to the most recent astronomical research literature documenting the best observational confirmations of dark energy and the remaining lines of evidences that RTB has not yet covered.

This compilation of evidence for dark energy provides yet one more example of how the more we learn about the universe the more evidence we accumulate for the existence of the God of the Bible. It also shows God’s exquisite design, care, and love for life, especially human beings. The reality and the dominance of dark energy testify of the reality and dominance of God in each of our individual lives.    

 

 



Dark energy articles from TNRTB 2007–present or Connections, including journal paper citations (currently available on RTB’s website)

 



Dark energy articles from TNRTB 2003–2006 (not yet available individually on RTB’s website; reprinted here in their entirety)

 

Small Dispersion of Random Velocities in Local Galaxies
Today’s New Reason to Believe, July 2003

An article in the Astrophysical Journal demonstrates that the random velocities of local galaxies are small. That these velocities are so small in spite of the clearly lumpy distribution of visible matter shows that the cosmological constant (a.k.a. space energy density) must be all-pervasively dominant. This discovery provides another independent piece of evidence that the dynamics of cosmic expansion are governed by two density parameters (mass density plus space energy density). Both of these parameters must be so extremely fine-tuned for the possibility of life’s existence as to demand the operation of a supernatural Being. Accurate distance measurements were also made as part of this discovery, supporting the conclusion that the universe has been continuously expanding for 14 billion years.

Frank Thim et al., “The Cepheid Distance to NGC 5236 (M83) with the ESO Very Large Telescope,” Astrophysical Journal 590 (June 2003): 256–70.

 

Cosmic Constraints from Cluster Baryon Mass
Today’s New Reason to Believe, July 2003

An article in the Astrophysical Journal demonstrates that the ratio of baryon mass (mass made up of protons and neutrons) to total mass (ordinary plus exotic mass) in a cluster of galaxies is a universal fixed quantity throughout the universe. Since astronomers can measure the baryon mass with much higher precision than the total mass, baryon mass measures now permit powerful constraints on cosmic creation models. Initial results are remarkably consistent with the WMAP announcement that the total cosmic mass density = 0.27 and the space energy density = 0.73. We argue these data help confirm the universe must have been supernaturally designed.

A. Vikhlinin et al., “Cosmological Constraints from the Evolution of the Cluster Baryon Mass Function at z ~ 0.5,” Astrophysical Journal 590 (June 2003): 15–25.

 

Very Small Array Confirms Cosmic Dark Energy and Mass Densities
Today’s New Reason to Believe, July 2003

Initial maps of the cosmic background radiation—produced by a new antenna array—provide tight constraints on the cosmic density parameters that are consistent with supernovae results and the WMAP. We assert this finding strengthens the case for divine design.

José Alberto Rubiño-Martin et al., “First Results from the Very Small Array – IV. Cosmological Parameter Estimation,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 341 (June 2003): 1084–92.

 

Two-Degree Field Survey Confirmation of Dark Energy
Today’s New Reason to Believe, August 2003

In combining the WMAP cosmic background radiation results with the distribution of galaxies seen in the Two-Degree Field Galaxy Redshift Survey, astronomers may have discovered early quintessence. That is, they apparently found that dark energy possesses at least two components: one that hyper-expands the universe when it is old and another that hyper-expands the universe when it is young. This finding adds another design feature to the development of the stars needed for eventual life.  

Robert R. Caldwell et al., “Early Quintessence in Light of the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe,” Astrophysical Journal Letters 591 (July 2003): L75–L78.

 

Ground-Based CBR Maps Confirm Dark Energy and Exotic Dark Matter
Today’s New Reason to Believe, August 2003

Ground-based cosmic background radiation (CBR) maps and large-scale structure surveys confirm independently (at the same level of precision) the cosmic age, geometry, and density measurements achieved by the WMAP satellite. Within the RTB creation model, this confirmation strengthens the case for God’s design of the universe for humanity’s benefit.

J. L. Sievers et al., “Cosmological Parameters from Cosmic Background Imager Observations and Comparisons with BOOMERANG, DASI, and MAXIMA,” Astrophysical Journal 591 (July 2003): 599–622.

 

Four Different Confirmations of Dark Energy
Today’s New Reason to Believe, August 2003

Four different sets of observations (positions of blue-shifted light relative to matter-dense regions) independently confirm that dark energy plays a major role in governing the expansion dynamics of the universe. These confirmations strengthen the evidence for dark energy’s pervasive influence and for its extreme fine-tuning.

Pablo Fosalba, Enrique Gaztañaga, and Francisco J. Castander, “Detection of Integrated Sachs-Wolfe and Sunyaev-Zeldovich Effects from the Cosmic Microwave Background-Galaxy Correlation,” Astrophysical Journal Letters 597 (November 2003): L89–L92; M. R. Nolta et al., “First Year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe Observations: Dark Energy Induced Correlation with Radio Sources,” Astrophysical Journal 608 (June 2004): 10–15; Stephen Boughn and Robert Crittenden, “A Correlation Between the Cosmic Microwave Background and Large-Scale Structure in the Universe,” Nature 427 (January 1, 2004): 45–47; Ryan Scranton et al., “Physical Evidence for Dark Energy,” submitted July 20, 2003 to Physical Review Letters, http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/astro-ph/0307335.

 

Constraints on Dark Energy from Stellar Ages and the CMB
Today’s New Reason to Believe, September 2003

Astronomers discovered a new independent tool for measuring the cosmic expansion rate and the age of the universe. This tool yields the same numerical results as do the best alternate methods. Such remarkable confirmation strengthens the case for the supernatural design of the factors governing cosmic expansion and helps establish a creation event only 13.7 billion years ago.

Raul Jimenez et al., “Constraints on the Equation of State of Dark Energy and the Hubble Constant from Stellar Ages and the Cosmic Microwave Background,” Astrophysical Journal 593 (2003): 622–29.

 

Instrumental Effects Not a Factor in Dark Energy Confirmations
Today’s New Reason to Believe, September 2003

A NASA astronomer re-analyzed data from the WMAP satellite and the Far Infrared Absolute Spectrometer on the COBE satellite. His goal was to eliminate criticisms against the big bang that claimed results from both satellites may be attributed, in part, to instrumental effects. He reports:

  • The consistency of these data from very different instruments with very different observing strategies provides compelling support for the interpretation that the signal seen by WMAP is temperature anisotropy of cosmological origin.

Based on this confirmation, we argue the evidence from the WMAP results for supernatural design in the cosmic density parameters still stands.  

D. J. Fixsen, “The Spectrum of the Cosmic Microwave Background Anisotropy from the Combined COBE FIRAS and WMAP Observations,” Astrophysical Journal Letters 594 (September 2003): L67–L70.

 

Dark Energy Established from Supernovae Data Alone
Today’s New Reason to Believe, September 2003

The High-z Supernova Search Team discovered eight new supernovae that extend the distance range of known type Ia supernovae. With these more distant supernovae, the team made the first accurate measurements, based on supernovae alone, of the cosmic expansion parameters and the universe’s age. Their results agree with those from the WMAP team. We view this agreement as confirmation of extreme cosmic design that points to a supernatural Creator.

John L. Tonry et al., “Cosmological Results from High-z Supernovae,” Astrophysical Journal 594 (September 2003): 1–24.

 

Large Angular Scale Temperature Fluctuations Confirm Dark Energy and Exotic Matter
Today’s New Reason to Believe, October 2003

The largest angular scale temperature fluctuations (beyond angular scales of 60°) in the WMAP results are weaker than what a flat, spatially infinite universe model would predict. This property in the WMAP results would be well explained, however, by spatially finite universe models either in the shape of a higher dimensional donut (a 3-torus) or a dodecahedron. Such spatially finite universe models also predict some duplicate temperature fluctuation features would show up at smaller angular scales. An analysis of the WMAP data, however, fails to confirm such features. The next round of WMAP results may determine which of the competing big bang models is correct. In any event, we assert the WMAP results still support the case for supernatural design.

Jean-Pierre Luminet et al., “Dodecahedral Space Topology as an Explanation for Weak Wide-Angle Temperature Correlations in the Cosmic Microwave Background,” Nature 425 (October 2003): 593–95; George F. R. Ellis, “Cosmology: The Shape of the Universe,” Nature 425 (October 2003): 566–67; Charles Seife, “Polyhedral Model Gives the Universe an Unexpected Twist,” Science 302 (October 2003): 209; Neil J. Cornish et al., “Constraining the Topology of the Universe,” Physical Review Letters 92 (May 2004): id. 201302.

 

Cosmic Density Measures from Galaxy Pair Velocities
Today’s New Reason to Believe, November 2003

Astronomers have developed an independent confirmation of the cosmic mass density. Using relative velocities for 300 different pairs of galaxies, a team of 13 astronomers from seven different nations determined the cosmic mass density to be 0.30 ± 0.10 of the density needed to explain the universe’s flat geometry. This measurement compares well with those arising from cosmic background radiation and galaxy survey maps and from supernova measurements (0.27, 0.28, and 0.27, respectively). This measurement is one of the most profound evidences for supernatural design. Thus, this additional confirmation helps increase our confidence that the universe is indeed fine-tuned to make life possible.

H. Feldman et al., “An Estimate of Ωm without Conventional Priors,” Astrophysical Journal Letters 596 (October 2003): L131–L134.

 

Radio Galaxy Measures of Cosmic Expansion Rates
Today’s New Reason to Believe, November 2003

Astronomers have demonstrated that a certain kind of radio galaxy makes a good standard candle. Therefore, these galaxies can be used to measure cosmic expansion rates at great distances (where tests for supernatural design are most sensitive). Using 20 radio galaxies out to redshift z = 1.8, astronomers determined for the first time—independent of any assumptions about a cosmic model—when the universe transitioned from deceleration to acceleration. This took place at z = 0.45, which corresponds to about 5 billion years ago. This new measurement definitively establishes that two fine-tuned parameters (space energy density and mass density) are governing the expansion of the universe so that life is possible.

Ruth A. Daly and S. G. Djorgovski, “A Model-Independent Determination of the Expansion and Acceleration Rates of the Universe as a Function of Redshift and Constraints on Dark Energy,” Astrophysical Journal 597 (November 2003): 9–20.

 

Radio Galaxy Distributions and Dark Energy
Today’s New Reason to Believe, January 2004

Astronomers have discovered a correlation between the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) data and the structure of the x-ray background radiation and the distribution of distant radio galaxies. Dark energy’s presence in the early universe would slow down the gravitational collapse of matter. Astronomers have now seen this slowing in the distribution of distant radio galaxies and in x-ray background radiation structure. Furthermore, they’ve seen it at the level predicted by the WMAP measurements of dark energy in the CMBR.

These new observations establish that astronomers are witnessing the dynamical effect of dark energy throughout all cosmic history. These observations significantly strengthen the evidence that the mass density and space energy density are the most exquisitely designed of all cosmic parameters and that a big bang creation event aptly explains the universe’s history.

Stephen Boughn and Robert Crittenden, “A Correlation between the Cosmic Microwave Background and Large-Scale Structure in the Universe,” Nature 427 (January 1, 2004): 45–47.

 

Dark Energy Constancy
Today’s New Reason to Believe, March 2004

At a February 20, 2004 press conference, astronomers announced new measurements on cosmic dark energy. These measurements include six of the seven most distant type Ia supernovae yet discovered and indicate that the dark energy factor either does not change over cosmic history or “if it’s changing, it’s not changing very quickly.” The measurements also show that the universe transitioned from a decreasing expansion rate to an increasing rate about 5 billion years ago. The indicated value of the dark energy factor demonstrates a level of fine-tuning at least 1097 times superior to the best example of human engineering design. This new information strengthens our conclusion that dark energy yields the greatest evidence for supernatural design.

Charles Seife, “Light from Most-Distant Supernovae Shows Dark Energy Stays the Course,” Science 303 (February 27, 2004): 1271.

 

New Supernovae Yield Accurate Measures of Dark Energy and Cosmic Mass Density
Today’s New Reasons to Believe, March 2004

A team of astronomers announced the discovery of 23 distant supernovae. This finding enabled them perform measurements that resulted in accurate determinations of both the cosmic mass density and dark energy density. We argue these two cosmic parameters provide the greatest evidence for supernatural design. The team’s results were consistent with measurements based on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the WMAP data.

Brian J. Barris et al., “Twenty-Three High-Redshift Supernovae from the Institute for Astronomy Deep Survey: Doubling the Supernova Sample at z > 0.7,” Astrophysical Journal 602 (February 2004): 571–94.

 

Evolution of Galaxy Clustering and the Cosmic Density Parameters
Today’s New Reason to Believe, April 2004

A team of astronomers discovered a new tool for measuring cosmic characteristics that we believe could provide additional evidences for supernatural design. Specifically, the team established that a tight correlation exists between a galaxy cluster’s redshift (which correlates with distance) and how strongly clustered those galaxies are. Consequently, astronomers can use measurements of these redshifts and clustering strengths as independent tools for determining the various density parameters of the universe (all powerful indicators of supernatural design).

Neta A. Bahcall et al., “Evolution of the Cluster Correlation Function,” Astrophysical Journal 603 (March 2004): 1–6.

 

Supernovae Constraints on Dark Energy
Today’s New Reason to Believe, May 2004

Italian astronomers analyzed measurements of 176 type Ia supernovae, enabling them to place the best limit (to date) on the possible level of any “quintessence” (variation of cosmic dark energy). They found the dark energy factor either does not change over cosmic history or, at least, does not change quickly or by much. We argue the indicated value of the dark energy factor and the limit these astronomers placed on quintessence demonstrates a level of fine-tuning at least 1097 times superior to the best example of human engineering design.

P. Caresia, S. Matarrese, and L. Moscardini, “Constraints on Extended Quintessence from High-Redshift Supernovae,” Astrophysical Journal 605 (April 2004): 21–28.

 

Gravitational Lenses Confirm Dark Energy Density
Today’s New Reason to Believe, June 2004

Astronomers used the most extensive survey (to date) of gravitational lenses at cosmological distances to establish independently a measure of the cosmic dark energy density. Though less accurate than measurements based on type Ia supernovae, the WMAP data, x-ray profiles of large galaxy clusters, and redshift surveys of hundreds of thousands of galaxies, the gravitational lensing-based results are entirely consistent with those measures. We assert this confirmation strengthens the evidence for the big bang creation event and for the supernatural design of the dark energy factor.

Kyu-Hyun Chae et al., “Constraints on Scalar-Field Dark Energy from the Cosmic Lens All-Sky Survey Gravitational Lens Statistics,” Astrophysical Journal Letters 607 (2004): L71–L74.

 

Supernovae, Dark Energy, and Cosmic Expansion
Today’s New Reason to Believe, June 2004

Recently, an astronomy team’s measurements on 194 type Ia supernovae produced a number of intriguing results. First, the measurements—at distances as great as 9 billion light-years—produced the most accurate supernova measurements to date on the cosmic density parameters. The team found that the cosmic dark energy density = 0.71 ± 0.04 and the total cosmic mass density = 0.29 ± 0.04 in units of the density required for a perfectly flat geometry universe. These results are remarkably consistent with those obtained from both the WMAP satellite and the x-ray profiles of large, dynamically relaxed galaxy clusters.

The same team also produced one of the most accurate measurements for the average rate of cosmic expansion, namely 66 ± 5 kilometers/sec/megaparsec, which is consistent with a 14-billion-year-old universe. Additionally, they determined the expansion of the universe transitioned from deceleration to acceleration 5 ± 1.4 billion years ago. Finally, the team’s supernova measurements demonstrated that if quintessence (variation in the dark energy constant) exists at all, it is quite small and could be present only when the universe was young.

The philosophical bottom line is that the team’s research on the dark energy factor dramatically establishes the big bang creation model and the conclusion that dark energy yields the greatest evidence for supernatural design.

Yun Wang and Pia Mukherjee, “Model-Independent Constraints on Dark Energy Density from Flux-Averaging Analysis of Type Ia Supernova Data,” Astrophysical Journal 606 (May 2004): 654–63; Adam G. Riess et al., “Type Ia Supernova Discoveries at z > 1 from the Hubble Space Telescope: Evidence for Past Deceleration and Constraints on Dark Energy Evolution,” Astrophysical Journal 607 (June 2004): 665–87.

 

Galaxy Cluster X-Rays and Dark Energy
Today’s New Reason to Believe, June 2004

Astronomers used data from the Chandra x-ray telescope to yield independent proof that dark energy is the dominant density component of the universe. Because the x-ray gas mass fraction for large, dynamically relaxed galaxy clusters is constant, the team was able to use Chandra measurements of the x-ray radiation from 26 galaxy clusters situated at distances ranging from 1–8 billion light-years. They detected the effects of both dark energy and dark matter on the universe’s expansion. They found the cosmic dark energy density = 0.75 ± 0.04 and the total cosmic mass density = 0.26 ± 0.05 in units of the density required for a perfectly flat geometry universe. These results remain consistent with those obtained from both the WMAP satellite and the measurements of Type Ia supernovae. We posit these findings strengthen the evidence for the biblically predicted big bang creation event and for the supernatural design of the universe.

S. W. Allen et al., “Constraints on Dark Energy from Chandra Observations of the Largest Relaxed Galaxy Clusters,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 353 (September 2004): 457–67.

 

Cosmic Density Constraints from Galaxy Cluster X-Rays
Today’s New Reason to Believe, October 2004

An astronomer’s analysis has provided yet another confirmation that dark energy is the dominant density component of the universe. Using data from the Einstein Extended Medium Sensitivity Survey, he showed the x-ray temperatures and luminosities of distant galaxy clusters produce measures for the cosmic dark energy density and the cosmic mass density consistent with those obtained from 1) the WMAP satellite measures of the temperature fluctuations of the cosmic background radiation, 2) the measurements of Type Ia supernovae, and 3) measurements of x-ray temperatures and luminosities of other galaxy clusters. We argue such confirmation fortify the case for biblical creation, particularly the big bang creation event.

 

J. Patrick Henry, “X-Ray Temperatures for the Extended Medium-Sensitivity Survey High-Redshift Cluster Sample: Constraints on Cosmology and the Dark Energy Equation of State,” Astrophysical Journal 609 (July 2004): 603–16.

 

Polarization of Cosmic Background Radiation Confirms Dark Energy and Exotic Matter
Today’s New Reason to Believe, November 2004

We believe that, in confirming that the cosmic background radiation manifests significant polarization, astronomers bolstered the case for the biblical cosmic creation model. Measurements performed over two periods with the Cosmic Background Imager confirmed conclusions from the WMAP results, namely that:

  • dark energy and exotic dark matter are the dominant constituents of the universe;
  • the geometry of the universe is either flat or very nearly flat;
  • and the matter distribution in the universe is consistent with inflationary big bang creation models.

The indicated values for the dark energy density and for the density of exotic dark matter demonstrate levels of cosmic fine-tuning 1097 and 1037 times, respectively, superior to the best example of human engineering design. The demonstration of a flat or nearly flat cosmic geometry and the demonstrated consistency with inflationary big bang models strengthens the evidence for the biblically predicted features of the universe (transcendent beginning of space, time, matter, and energy; continuous expansion from the creation event; and physical laws that remain constant throughout cosmic time).

A. C. S. Readhead et al., “Polarization Observations with the Cosmic Background Imager,” Science 306 (October 2004): 836–44.

 

Radio Galaxies Yield Model-Independent Confirmation of Dark Energy
Today’s New Reason to Believe, November 2004

Two astronomers obtained the first direct measurement of the universe’s expansion as a function of cosmic time independent of assumptions about dark energy’s properties. Assuming only that the universe is spatially flat and that general relativity reliably explains the dynamics of the matter existing in the universe, the astronomers determined from a set of distances to supernovae and radio galaxies that the universe transitioned from decelerating to accelerating expansion approximately 5 billion years ago. They also showed that a cosmological constant best fits their measures of dark energy.

Their measurements of expansion and dark energy throughout cosmic history confirm that the level of fine-tuning needed in these parameters for life to exist is extreme. These same measurements also validate that the universe has expanded continuously from a single transcendent creation event in finite time, just as the Bible declared more than 2,500 years ago.

Ruth A. Daly and S. G. Djorgovski, “Direct Determination of the Kinematics of the Universe and Properties of the Dark Energy as Functions of Redshift,” Astrophysical Journal 612 (September 2004): 652–59; Ruth A. Daly and S. G. Djorgovski, “A Model-Independent Determination of the Expansion and Acceleration Rates of the Universe as a Function of Redshift and Constraints on Dark Energy,” Astrophysical Journal 597 (November 2003): 9–20.

 

Inventory of the Stuff of the Universe
Today’s New Reason to Believe, January 2005

We believe the research of two Princeton University astronomers has supplied stronger evidence for both the anthropic principle (the universe manifests fine-tuned design parameters for humanity’s support) and for consistency of the biblically predicted big bang creation model. The researchers performed an exhaustive compilation of the best astronomical measurements of the 40 leading components that make up the density or the “stuff” of the universe. Their analysis showed that all the constituents of the universe are now well accounted for and that the uncertainties in these constituents’ relative amounts has shrunk dramatically over the past two years. Stars and stellar remnants account for only 0.27 percent of the universe’s density whereas dark energy, exotic dark matter, and the intergalactic plasma make up the other 99.7 percent. The Princeton duo demonstrated that confidence in the big bang model and in the extraordinary fine-tuning is justified.

Masataka Fukugita and P. J. E. Peebles, “The Cosmic Energy Inventory,” Astrophysical Journal 616 (December 2004): 643–68.

 

Gravitational Lens Test for Cosmic Design
Today’s New Reason to Believe, April 2005

A team of American astronomers has developed yet another accurate confirmation of the two most highly fine-tuned cosmic design parameters. Combining the Cosmic Lens All-Sky Survey with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the team produced the first accurate determination for the cosmic mass density (22–26 percent of the total cosmic density) and the cosmic dark energy density (74–78 percent) based on gravitational lensing. Their measured values agree very well with those achieved by the WMAP (of the cosmic background radiation) and by type Ia supernovae (of the velocities of distant galaxies).

Jonathan L. Mitchell et al., “Improved Cosmological Constraints from Gravitational Lens Statistics,” Astrophysical Journal 622 (March 2005): 81–98.

 

Inhomogeneities Don’t Explain Away Dark Energy
Today’s New Reason to Believe, August 2005

Research by two University of Florida physicists strengthens the case for continuous cosmic expansion. We believe the recently discovered acceleration of this expansion reveals design in the universe. Type Ia supernovae data over the past 10 years show that the cosmic expansion began accelerating about 5 billion years ago. The simplest explanation for the acceleration relies on a space energy density, or dark energy, that mimics the cosmological constant in Einstein’s equations of general relativity.

However, the required value of the dark energy is incredibly fine-tuned when compared to the value predicted by particle physics. Some scientists hoped that inhomogeneities in how matter/energy was distributed in the universe would explain the acceleration without need for dark energy. Results by the University of Florida researchers removes this hope by demonstrating that inhomogeneities contribute negligibly to the cosmic expansion and never mimic the effects of dark energy. We argue this research supports the case for the biblically predicted cosmic creation model and a super-intelligent designer.

E. R. Siegel and J. N. Fry, “The Effects of Inhomogeneities on Cosmic Expansion,” Astrophysical Journal 628 (July 2005): L1–L4.

 

Baryon Peaks in Sloan Survey and WMAP
Today’s New Reason to Believe, December 2005

Recent results provide dramatic confirmation of crucial components of RTB’s creation model. The images of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) from the WMAP satellite provide a remarkable picture of the universe when it was only 380,000 years old. From those images, scientists can measure precisely several fundamental parameters of the universe. Using the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), astronomers are now able to make measurements of those same parameters at a much later age of the universe. The results derived from the SDSS match those extracted from the CMB, providing a remarkable confirmation of scientists’ understanding of how the universe developed over the past 14 billion years. Consequently, this confirmation puts RTB’s creation model on firm ground.

Daniel J. Eisenstein et al., “Detection of the Baryon Acoustic Peak in the Large-Scale Correlation Function of SDSS Luminous Red Galaxies,” Astrophysical Journal 633 (November 2005): 560–74.

 

Confirmation of Type Ia Supernovae as Standard Candles
Today’s New Reason to Believe, March 2006

The measurement of the existence of space-energy density in the universe remains one of the most telling examples of fine-tuning consistent with the idea of a supernatural Designer at work in the universe. Astronomers use type Ia supernovae to make that measurement. However, if type Ia supernovae have changed during the history of the universe, conclusions based on these supernovae are bound to be wrong. A team of international astronomers measured spectra from a large number of distant type Ia supernovae and compared the spectra to nearby type Ia supernovae. The team found no evidence to support the idea that the nature of these supernovae changed as the universe developed, thus strengthening the conclusion that space-energy density currently dominates the dynamics of the universe. The high degree of fine-tuning required by the space-energy density strongly implies that a supernatural Creator formed and maintains the universe.

I. M. Hook et al., “Spectra of High-Redshift Type Ia Supernovae and a Comparison with Their Low-Redshift Counterparts,” Astronomical Journal 130 (December 2005): 2788–803.

 

Final 2-Degree Galaxy Survey and CMB Confirms Dark Energy
Today’s New Reason to Believe, April 2006

Analysis of a survey of galaxy distances provides more evidence consistent with a supernatural Designer’s work in creating the universe. A team of international scientists derived many cosmological parameters by quantifying the clustering of galaxies in the 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey data. The measured parameters matched values obtained from numerous other techniques, as expected from a good scientific model of the universe. In particular, the team determined that the space-energy density is consistent with a cosmological constant. If truly constant, the space-energy density represents one of the most fine-tuned characteristics of the universe yet discovered. RTB’s cosmic creation model predicts the degree of fine-tuning measured by scientists will continue to grow as scientists make more detailed measurements of the universe.

Ariel G. Sánchez et al., “Cosmological Parameters from Cosmic Microwave Background Measurements and the Final 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey Power Spectrum,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 366 (February 2006): 189–207.

 

Galaxy Velocities Confirm Cosmological Density Parameters
Today’s New Reason to Believe, April 2006

A new technique to measure cosmological parameters affirms earlier measurements and, we argue, provides additional support for RTB’s cosmic creation model. Precise measurements of the velocities and distances for galaxies in the Local Supercluster provide a means to put stringent constraints on the mass density of the universe. The values determined by a team of international scientists match those measured by other methods. Further, using input from other techniques, the team derived a value of 13.5 +/- 0.2 billion years for the age of the universe. This value perfectly matches the value extracted from the cosmic microwave background radiation. The consistency of cosmological parameters measured by different techniques continues to buttress RTB’s biblically based creation model.

Roya Mohayaee and R. Brent Tully, “The Cosmological Mean Density and Its Local Variations Probed by Peculiar Velocities,” Astrophysical Journal Letters 635 (December 2005): L113–L116.

 

Evolution of Galaxy Clustering Establishes the Dominance of Dark Energy
Today’s New Reason to Believe, April 2006

Analysis of correlations between galaxy clustering and cosmic microwave background fluctuations further buttresses RTB’s cosmic creation model. RTB’s model predicts that dark energy comprises a major part of the universe. A team of European astronomers looked at correlations that occurred at many different times in the history of the universe. Looking at different timescales showed that the significance of the correlations grows much stronger. The data independently confirm the presence of dark energy and dark matter at levels matching measurements derived from other experiments. Further, the data also indicate that dark energy is constant, further supporting the fine-tuning required by a cosmological constant. The validation of predictions and confirmation of previous results testify to the scientific integrity of RTB’s cosmic creation model.

Enrique Gaztañaga, Marc Manera, and Tuomas Multamäki, “New Light on Dark Cosmos,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 365 (January 2006): 171–77.

 

Gamma-Ray Bursts Confirm Cosmological Density Parameters
Today’s New Reason to Believe, June 2006

Scientists can continue testing successful models by developing new, independent testing methods. A pair of Chinese astronomers developed a novel technique for extracting cosmological parameters using distant, powerful gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). The usefulness of GRBs lies in their tremendous energy output, which enables astronomers to see them at larger distances than supernovae. Using GRBs, the Chinese astronomers determined the mass density and space-energy density of the universe and found that both values matched previously determined quantities. We argue this independent confirmation of the cosmological parameters affirms the validity of RTB’s cosmic creation model.

F. Y. Wang and Z. G. Dai, “Constraining the Cosmological Parameters and Transition Redshift with Gamma-Ray Bursts and Supernovae,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 368 (May 2006): 371–78.

 

Additional dark energy research in publication order (not yet covered by RTB)

 

Yungui Gong, Xiao-Ming Zhu, and Zong-Hong Zhu, “Current Cosmological Constraints on the Curvature, Dark Energy and Modified Gravity,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 415 (August 2011): 1943–49.

Olga Sergijenko, Ruth Durrer, and Bohdan Novosyadlyj, “Observational Constraints on Scalar Field Models of Dark Energy with Barotropic Equation of State,” Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 8 (August 20, 2011): pp. 004.

M. Sullivan et al., “SNLS3: Constraints on Dark Energy Combining the Supernova Legacy Survey Three-Year Data with Other Probes,” Astrophysical Journal 737 (August 2011): id. 102.

Marek Biesiada, Beata Malec, and Aleksandra Piórkowska, “Dark Energy Constraints from Joint Analysis of Standard Rulers and Standard Candles,” Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics 11 (June 2011): 641–54.

Yun Chen and Bharat Ratra, “Galaxy Cluster Angular Size Data Constraints on Dark Energy,” (May 2011): eprint arXiv:1105.5660.

E. Komatsu et al., “Seven-Year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) Observations: Cosmological Interpretation,” Astrophysical Journal Supplement 192 (February 2011): id. 18.

T. Schrabback et al., “Evidence for the Accelerated Expansion of the Universe from Weak Lensing Tomography with COSMOS,” Astronomy and Astrophysics 516 (June–July 2010): id. A63.

P. Teerikorpi and A. D. Chernin, “The Hubble Diagram for a System within Dark Energy: The Location of the Zero-Gravity Radius and the Global Hubble Rate,” Astronomy and Astrophysics 516 (June–July 2010): id. A93.

Vicent J. Martínez et al., “Reliability of the Detection of the Baryon Acoustic Peak,” Astrophysical Journal Letters 696 (May 1, 2009): L93–L97.

M. Kowalski et al., “Improved Cosmological Constraints from New, Old, and Combined Supernova Datasets,” Astrophysical Journal 686 (October 20, 2008): 749–78.

Tommaso Giannantonio et al., “Combined Analysis of the Integrated Sachs-Wolfe Effect and Cosmological Implications,” Physical Review D 77 (June 2008): id. 123520.

John P. Blakeslee et al., “Discovery of Two Distant Type Ia Supernovae in the Hubble Deep Field-North with the Advanced Camera for Surveys,” Astrophysical Journal 589 (2003): 693–703.

Ryan Scranton et al., “Detection of Cosmic Magnification with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey,” Astrophysical Journal 633 (November 2005): 589–602.

Daniel J. Eisenstein et al., “Detection of the Baryon Acoustic Peak in the Large-Scale Correlation Function of SDSS Luminous Red Galaxies,” Astrophysical Journal 633 (November 2005): 560–74.

 

Subjects: Astronomy and the Bible, Universe Design

Dr. Hugh Ross

Reasons to Believe emerged from my passion to research, develop, and proclaim the most powerful new reasons to believe in Christ as Creator, Lord, and Savior and to use those new reasons to reach people for Christ. Read more about Dr. Hugh Ross.

References:

  1. For a discussion of the complete inventory of the universe, see my book Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008), 30–41.
  2. Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design (New York: Bantam Books, 2010), 161–62.
  3. Ibid., 161.
  4. Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2004), 139–48.
  5. Lisa Dyson, Matthew Kleban, and Leonard Susskind, “Disturbing Implications of a Cosmological Constant,” Journal of High Energy Physics 10 (October 2002): 011. The last sentence in the free downloadable paper (page 17) states, “Perhaps, the only reasonable conclusion is that we do not live in a world [universe] with a true cosmological constant [dark energy].”