astronomy Cosmology Physics

Accelerating Universe: Standard ‘light bulbs’ not so standard

I once wrote about one of the problems of determining distance using the so-called standard ‘candle’ of the type Ia supernovae.1  That method is considered to be the gold standard in cosmic distance determination and hence in testing of the expanding universe paradigm. From those measurements, by two independent teams, an accelerating expansion of the Universe was claimed in 1998, for which the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded in 2011.

That same galaxy in a NASA Swift image is shown, with bars indicating the location of supernova SN 2011fe. The Swift image is a false-color image with UV emission blue and optical emission red. Credit: NASA/Swift
An optical image of the galaxy M101, with bars indicating the location of supernova SN 2011fe. This NASA/Swift image is a false-color image with UV emission shown in blue and optical emission shown in red. Credit: NASA/Swift

Type Ia supernova were (are) believed to be a class of stellar explosions that resulted from progenitor stars with a very small range of masses and chemical properties. It was (is) believed that these could be accurately modelled and therefore they could be relied upon to produce the same intrinsic brightness in their explosions. It was believed therefore that they varied only by a very small degree in a distribution around a well established intrinsic brightness or absolute magnitude near MB ~ -19. That means they were believed to all have the same intrinsic brightness.

Belief in God Creation/evolution Decay of society hermeneutics Roman Catholic church

Two challenges to the infallibility of the Holy Scriptures

Figure 3: Charles Darwin developed the idea of the general theory of evolution, which Smolin has copied by analogy.
Charles Darwin developed the idea of the general theory of evolution.

Charles Darwin published his “On Origin of Species” in 1859, which began a major attack on the veracity of the Word of God. Darwin’s message essentially was an attack on the true history in Genesis, even the actual historicity of the Genesis account of creation and the events that followed shortly thereafter. That ultimately means it was a challenge to the trustworthiness of the Bible.  Since that time we have seen a rapid decline of faith in the veracity and authority of God’s Word, starting with Genesis. The visible church has fallen in great apostasy.

Here when I write of God’s Words and their veracity and infallibility I refer to the God breathed Words in the original autographs, which for the New Testament were largely written in the ancient Greek vernacular.

Bishop Brooke Foss Westcott and Professor Fenton John Anthony Hort were conservative, Anglican (Church of England), scholars who produced a new Greek New Testament based on the Alexandrian codices (uncial books), mostly Vaticanus B and Sinaiticus ℵ (Aleph), which are believed by many to be among the oldest extant Greek texts. But age does not guarantee purity of a form closest to the original.

Testimonies Trials and temptations

What? A miracle, or, What a miracle!

“God is still on the throne and prayer changes things.”–Virginia Brandt Berg, The Promises of God Are Streams That Never Run Dry

On Friday morning of April 10, 2015, I went to my doctor at a local GP clinic because I was experiencing some chest pains. I had had them for a few days but because I have recurrent gastric reflux, and had experienced this sort of thing before, I was not too worried. However, I had some pain on my left side, which was new, so I thought, to be safe, I should get myself in there to get checked out. (In fact, I had planned another meeting a few hours after my visit to the GP clinic, and was not expecting anything out of the ordinary.)

The doctor sent me down to their nurse, who did an ECG scan. I expected this as routine for someone presenting with chest pains. Then I went back to and waited at the doctor’s door. When he was ready he called me in and he said that I have had a heart attack. He said the ECG scan shows that I have had a Myocardial Infarction (heart attack) in the past. It could have been just recently, and I should get down to an ER hospital as soon as possible.

astronomy Cosmology Creation/evolution Science

Cosmic storytelling

A never-ending storyBB history

The big bang is a good story … as far as storytelling goes.

“Storytelling has been the single most powerful communication tool for thousands of years and we are just starting to understand how relevant and significant it is today.”1

But as Mark Twain once is reputed to have said:

 “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story,”

astronomy Cosmology Creation/evolution Physics Science

Theory of Everything by Dark Matter

A letter to a colleague written April 1st, 2015, published April 6th, 2015.

Dear Obsidian Noire,

Thank you so much for you recent theoretical proofs in the Dark Matter Sector. The following is how I usually explain Dark Matter and those other entities from the Dark Sector to those who have doubts.

God said “Let there be light!”  The reason: the Universe began in total darkness.

For a long time the correct meaning of this statement in Genesis chapter 1 had been once lost in darkness, but we now know for science has shown us what it really means. The author of the text really meant that because even God could not see what He was doing, He created light. He had to. Once the light separated from the Darkness He could see enough to start sorting out the chaotic mess that had formed. But this way of speaking was just how the ‘early primitives’ thought and spoke about the Universe. We now know better. I will try to explain this in the simplest terms.

Einstein quoteAt the beginning the Darkness was all around in many forms including Dark Energy, Dark Radiation, Dark Flows, Dark Holes (also called black holes) and the most ubiquitous stuff of all, Dark Matter. All these entities belong to what we call in physics the ‘Dark Sector’, which now has become firmly established through modern science.

The Dark Ages was that period in the history of the Universe just after the big bang, when Dark Matter assembled the necessary materials to build all stars and galaxies. God was not involved so much in that as He was busy keeping the Darkness out while He created normal matter—protons and neutrons etc., the stuff we do observe in the Universe. Well, He started off the Universe in a big bang, that took a lot out of Him, and as a result the Darkness eventually won.

Belief in God Biblical doctrines

The Resurrection of the Just


Luke 14:14 And you shall be blessed … for you shall be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. (KJVER)

THIS IS THE BELIEVER’S GLORIOUS PROSPECT, GOD’S SURE PROMISE, because Jesus rose from the dead. When He appears, the dead in Christ shall rise first. They shall rise incorruptible, powerful, spiritual, and glorious, in full conformity to His glorious body. His voice will rouse them, His power will raise them, and His glory will surround and adorn them. They shall be like Him, for they shall see Him as He is. What a glorious dawning will the resurrection morning be! How deeply we are interested in it, and yet, how little it exercises our thoughts, or excites our anticipations. It may be the very next morning we shall see, for we may die in our sleep; or for aught we can tell, Jesus may come tomorrow. Are we ready? Are we justified before God through faith in Jesus? Are we just with men, rendering to all their due? The resurrection of the just will be most glorious; they shall come forth perfect in holiness and beauty. We ought often to think of that day, to prepare for it daily, to live and act as if it was just at hand, to do as Paul did, who laboured, suffered and prayed, “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection.—Daily Remembrancer April 6 Evening

DR April 6 E

Belief in God Biblical doctrines

The Final Resurrection

Today is Good Friday which is still recognized in the post-Christian West as a memorial and celebration of the Easter Friday that Jesus Christ willingly gave His life on the Cross, as the Passover Lamb, to vicariously pay our penalty, owed to God the Father, for our sins. He gave His life so that those who accept His once-only-forever-never-to-be-repeated sacrifice, by trusting in Him, as Lord and Saviour, might be redeemed to the Father, whose justice is served, who then cannot even see our sin. We are washed clean in the blood of the Lamb. This covenant was sealed and perfected in Christ’s resurrection, which is celebrated on Sunday.

The following is a summary of what John Calvin wrote on the matter.

by John Calvin (abridged)1,2

calvin3-686x3502. None of the ancient philosophers, except Plato, acknowledge the chief good of man to consist in his union with God. But of the nature of this union, Plato had not the smallest idea. We know what is the only and perfect happiness even in this earthly pilgrimage; but it daily inflames our hearts with increasing desires after it, till we shall be with its full fruition—the resurrection.

3. Let the importance of the object sharpen our pursuit. Paul argues, that if there be no resurrection of the dead, the whole Gospel is vain and fallacious; for we should be “of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:13-19). To this subject, the most important of all, let us give attention never to be wearied by the length of time.

Creation/evolution Science

Science the new religion

Science has become the new religion. Those who dare challenge the dictates of ‘science’ are often declared crackpots, pseudo-scientists or just plain crazy. If you deny or doubt evolution, or anthropogenic global warming (AGW), now called ‘climate change’, or the effectiveness or safety of certain vaccines, or the universal safety of genetically modified foods, as compared with natural breeding and hybridization practices, you are called nasty names. These might include ‘flat-earther’, particularly if you deny Darwinian evolution.1

It has come to a point now that to be called a ‘creationist’ is a big negative, like you are a pseudo-scientist, or follower of astrology, or witch doctors, etc. Such a person is thinking irrationally and cannot be trusted according to the new paradigm.

Then there are those who are called some sort of ‘climate change denier’, who must be funded by ‘big oil’, as though they must have a corrupt vested interest or be just plain crazy. As a physicist I have analyzed the global temperature data, spanning the last 100 years, downloaded from the Met Office Hadley Centre.2 I have no vested interest here, but I find that a continued warming trend is not supported by the data. But I remain skeptical. The main problem I see is the limitation of human time scales and the lack of any really robust model that successfully predicts developing trends.3