Where Science and Faith Converge
  • A Supermassive Black Hole Like No Other, But Optimal for Life

    May 20, 2019

    I have a problem with the Star Wars movies. Each saga film opens with the famous words, “In a galaxy far, far away.” We astronomers have observed thousands of far, far away galaxies and, unfortunately for Luke Skywalker and friends, none possess the features that support advanced life. Our Milky Way Galaxy is the only known life-friendly galaxy.

    • Fine-Tuning
    • Milky Way Galaxy
    • Galaxy Design
    • Earth Design
  • No Nearby Nasty Supermassive Black Holes

    May 13, 2019

    Medical doctors tell us that it is not good for our health and wellbeing to possess a pot belly. They warn us, too, that the bigger the pot belly in proportion to our total body weight the greater the impact on our health, wellbeing, and longevity. As it is for human beings, so, too, for galaxies.

    • Fine-Tuning
    • Milky Way Galaxy
    • Galaxy Design
  • Fine-Tuned India-Asia Collision Cools Earth for Human Habitation

    May 6, 2019

    Earth has experienced many tectonic plate collisions throughout its history. By far the most dramatic collision began 50 million years ago and continues to this day between Asia and the Indian subcontinent (see figure 1).1 Currently, the Indian subcontinent moves 5 centimeters per year in a northeasterly direction and, so far, has pushed a little more than 2,000 kilometers (1,300 miles) into the Eurasian plate.

    • Fine-Tuning
    • Sun
    • Plate Tectonics
    • Earth Design
    • Atmosphere
  • Helium Hydride Detection Affirms Big Bang Creation Model

    April 29, 2019

    Astronomers’ unusual but effective means of detecting helium hydride has generated excitement among researchers by helping to account for the “missing helium hydride” in big bang creation models. This discovery also supports how the Bible describes the universe’s beginning, history, and structure.

    • Big Bang Theory
    • Origin of the Universe
    • Universe Design
    • Stars
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  • Life and Magnetic Field Variations

    April 22, 2019

    In last week’s blog about Earth’s magnetic field1 I wrote about recent research by three Australian astronomers that demonstrated the possible existence of life on a planet critically depends on that planet possessing a strong enduring magnetic dipole moment. Now, Harvard University astronomer Manasvi Lingam has published a paper in which he has determined the degree to which variations in the strength of Earth’s magnetic field impact life on Earth. He also shows the degree to which variations in the magnetic field strength of ancient Mars and of planets beyond our solar system impact the habitability of these planets.2

    • Life Design
    • Stars
    • Exoplanets
    • Mars
    • Sun
    • Earth Design
    • Early Earth
    • Bacteria
  • Earth, an Extraordinary Magnet for Life

    April 15, 2019

    We might take it for granted, but our planet’s magnetic field is no sure thing. A just-published research paper by three Australian astronomers shows that a strong, long-lasting magnetic field is essential for the survival of advanced life and that such magnetic fields must be extremely rare among rocky extrasolar planets.1

    • Requirements for Life
    • Earth Design
    • Fine-Tuning
    • Exoplanets
    • Sun
    • Solar System Design
  • Life Requires Galactic and Supergalactic Habitable Zones

    April 8, 2019

    Zones where advanced life can exist in the universe just became stricter. Astronomical researchers have discovered that livable neighborhoods must include not only favorable planet-to-star conditions but also galactic and supergalactic features.

    • Solar System Design
    • Galaxy Design
    • Universe Design
    • Milky Way Galaxy
    • Fine-Tuning
  • Origin of Our Amazing Nitrogen

    April 1, 2019

    For several decades, astronomers have known that Earth’s atmosphere possesses a nitrogen abundance that is exquisitely fine-tuned for advanced life. Now, a team of four astronomers has discovered the origin of Earth’s atmospheric nitrogen.

    • Solar System Design
    • Earth Design
    • Comets
    • Atmosphere
    • Moon & Its Formation
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  • Solar and Lunar Tides Designed for Complex Life

    March 25, 2019

    In August 2017, Reasons to Believe organized a conference on the fine-tuned design of the Sun and Moon that makes advanced human civilization possible. We held the conference on a site and at the time of a total solar eclipse. We not only witnessed a spectacular solar eclipse but also learned in several different ways how the Sun and Moon are exquisitely designed to enable the existence of human beings on Earth.

    • Ocean life
    • Solar System Design
    • Oceans
    • Sun
    • Moon & Its Formation
    • Fine-Tuning
    • Earth Design
    • Animals
  • Earth’s Surface Water Percentage Is Fine-Tuned for Life

    March 18, 2019

    Seventy-one percent may seem like average, but when it comes to Earth’s surface water percentage, that number appears to be ideal for advanced civilization. A scientific agency like NASA recognizes that life cannot exist without liquid water—thus, their long-held astrobiology mantra is to “follow the water.”1 That pursuit leads astrobiology researchers to look for evidence of life or life’s remains on astronomical bodies where there is at least a possibility of surface liquid water.

    • Life History
    • Human Origins
    • Oceans
    • Ocean life
    • Earth's History
    • Earth Design
    • Animals
    • Fine-Tuning
    • Exoplanets
  • Moist Greenhouse Threshold Doomsday

    March 11, 2019

    Considerable political and scientific discussion today concerns the possible effects of global warming. Not much attention, however, has been given to potential future water loss—in other words, death by drying out. A major reason why Earth’s water loss has not been publicized is due to large uncertainties in water loss models. A recent paper in the Astrophysical Journal has now brought a measure of certainty to Earth’s inevitable future water loss.1 Is there reason to worry?

    • Solar System Design
    • Sun
    • Fine-Tuning
    • Earth Design
    • Atmosphere
  • Tiny Habitable Zones for Complex Life

    March 4, 2019

    Scientists’ quest to find a habitable planet like Earth continues to drive extraterrestrial research. However, new studies show that planets capable of sustaining complex life must be extremely rare. Astronomers have discovered eleven different planetary habitability zones—locations relative to the distance from the host star where life could conceivably exist. See table 1 for a list of these habitability zones.

    • Fine-Tuning
    • Requirements for Life
    • Solar System Design
    • Life on Other Planets
    • Stars
    • Exoplanets
    • Earth Design
    • Atmosphere
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  • How Whales Increase Fish Stocks and Help Control Global Warming

    February 25, 2019

    One of the most popular blogs I wrote in 2010 discussed how the recovery of the sperm whale population from near extinction to 12,000 individuals in the Southern Ocean had greatly increased that ocean’s biomass and had helped to mitigate global warming.1 Now, studies on blue whales, fin whales, and humpback whales establish that they, too, are making an enormous contribution to increasing the marine biomass and in helping to mitigate global warming.

    • Ocean life
    • Life Design
    • Global Warming
    • Animals
  • The Great “Cene Change” That Made Civilization Possible

    February 18, 2019

    Theater aficionados know that noise and commotion behind the curtain during intermission of a theatrical performance intensifies expectation. Then, when the curtain rises after intermission, the audience sees that the scene has been radically altered and their “wow” factor is heightened. Earth’s scene (or ‘cene) has also changed dramatically in history to bring about surprising changes for humanity’s benefit.

    • Fine-Tuning
    • Earth Design
    • Oceans
    • Atmosphere
    • Geophysics
    • Asteroids
  • More Anthropic Reasons for the Extreme Fine-Tuning of Dark Energy

    February 11, 2019

    Years ago, in a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal, theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss referred to dark energy as presenting “the most extreme fine-tuning problem known in physics.” Dark energy is energy embedded in the universe’s space surface that makes up about 70 percent of all the stuff of the universe (see figure 1). Krauss determined that the fine-tuning level is more extreme than one part in 10120! He has been joined by several other theoretical physicists who conclude that the required fine-tuning of dark energy is “the most difficult problem in physics.” The obvious question is does this most difficult problem point to a causal agent with the capacity to fine-tune to a degree far, far beyond anything we humans are capable of manifesting?

    • Earth Design
    • Stars
    • Universe Design
    • Dark Energy & Dark Matter
    • Anthropic Principle
    • Animals
  • We Are Living at the Optimal Terrestrial Mammal Moment

    February 4, 2019

    Large terrestrial mammals bring delight to everyone. Such pleasure explains why zoos, wild animal parks, and safaris are so popular. It also explains why so many of us enjoy the close encounters we experience with wild terrestrial mammals when we visit national parks and wilderness areas. To add to our enjoyment, a paper1 published in a little-known science journal, Acta Oecologica, provides research showing that we humans are living at an especially optimal time to experience and benefit from large terrestrial mammals.

    • Earth's History
    • Ecosystems
    • Fine-Tuning
    • Requirements for Life
    • Earth Design
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  • Quest for an Improved Cosmic Creation Model

    January 28, 2019

    Ongoing development in high-precision cosmology may soon provide yet even more compelling evidence for the supernatural origin of the universe. Astronomers’ ability to accurately measure distances to “standard candle” stars has been the limiting factor in their quest to build a precision model for the origin and history of the universe. However, a recent measurement has lowered this limit by a factor of nearly five times.

    • Cosmic Expansion
    • Universe Design
    • Origin of the Universe
    • Big Bang Theory
  • Cosmic Creation Model Passes Another Test

    January 21, 2019

    Last May I debated with Peter Atkins, Oxford University chemist and well-known atheist, on the Unbelievable? radio show and video podcast. Toward the end of the debate, moderator Justin Brierley asked each of us to name a possible scientific discovery that, if proven true beyond any reasonable doubt, would cause us to abandon the philosophical worldview we were advocating. You can watch the debate here.

    • Milky Way Galaxy
    • Universe Design
    • God
    • Origin of the Universe
    • Big Bang Theory
  • Living on the Edge

    January 14, 2019

    During our mountaineering trips I am always the cautious one, carefully charting the safest routes to our destinations. Not so much my wife. Whenever we get to the edge of a chasm, she loves to dangle her legs over the cliff’s edge and gaze for several minutes at the vista.

    • Galaxy Design
    • Milky Way Galaxy
    • Design
    • Anthropic Principle
  • How Cyclical Volcanic Activity Benefits Humanity

    January 7, 2019

    When we think about volcanoes, the images that typically come to mind are violent eruptions that devastate the surrounding landscapes and bring death or serious injury to anyone so unfortunate as to be in the vicinity. Figure 1, for example, shows the lava flows from the 1985 eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano, which killed more than 23,000 people and destroyed the town of Armero, Colombia.

    • Ocean life
    • Ecosystems
    • Earth Design
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