The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning and the Universe Itself?

Review in brief of the book: “The Big Picture, On the Origins of Life, Meaning and the Universe Itself,” by Sean Carroll a theoretical physicists at the California Institute of Technology. The book is the winner of the 2013 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books.

Front cover of book. Published by Oneworld Publications, London, 2016, 470 pages.

On the inside book cover these questions are written:

Where are we? Who are we? Do our beliefs, hopes and dreams mean anything out there in the void? Can human purpose and meaning ever fit into a scientific worldview?

Carroll’s message in this book is that there is no ultimate purpose, we are only the product of matter and material forces, there is no meaning to life, there is no afterlife and meaning and purpose do not fit into any scientific worldview. But the author tries to dress it up saying that it’s what you put into your life that counts. Beauty is found in the observer. But he cannot escape his own bondage because his worldview ultimately does not allow for intrinsic meaning or purpose. He is just dead in the end.

There is nothing new in this book but a lot of atheistic philosophy stemming from Enlightenment philosopher David Hume. The author uses circular reasoning and begging the question. By assuming there is no Creator because He is not needed in the universe, to cause it or operate within it, and by assuming everything in the past evolution of the universe, and life in it, is explained by man’s current knowledge (Darwinian evolution of mutation and natural selection) then everything can be explained how it came to be. The universe needs no reason to exist. It simply is. Life needs no reason, it simply is. There was nothing before time began in the big bang so no question can be asked what was before? There is no First Cause because either the universe came into the existence with the beginning of time itself, or, time is fundamental and always existed so from it and the laws of physics the universe spontaneously arose from some quantum fluctuation. Now that we are smarter we have become to understand this true fact.

He talks of methodological empiricism as the correct way to learn the truth about the universe but he offers no direct empirical evidence for the origin of the universe in a big bang, or for the initial alleged low entropy state it started in, or for the spontaneous origin of life by random chance, or for the alleged Darwinian evolution of living organisms by natural selection over eons of history. We are essentially asked to just believe these as given facts as much as the author seems to. Only he offers up stories to justify his beliefs. As a book alleged to give the Big Picture of the Universe and all life in it, it fails on the very premise the author sets out to use—direct observation of the world to discover the truth. Continue reading

Does Dark Matter matter?

Cosmology and astrophysics nowadays is dominated by the need for the inclusion of Dark Matter at every scale, from galaxy size, to cluster size, to super-cluster size, to the size of the whole Universe. It is needed at every scale size to get the physics to agree with the observational data. After 50 years of looking in local laboratory experiments there has not been a single trace of it found anywhere. And it would not be overstating the case to say Dark Matter is in serious crisis!

dm-livesThis situation reminds me of a current political trend in America, that is, “Black Lives Matter”, which has turned into a major movement. The proponents of it, describe it as a response to virulent anti-Black racism that they claim permeates the US society.

With that in mind, and in response to a discussion on Dark Matter, a friend sent me this graphic (see Fig. 1), quite obviously as a joke. It is funny but on another level it highlights a problem in the cosmology/ astrophysics society that is not so funny. The problem is that the majority are saying “Dark Matter Lives”. And they are saying that despite the actual experimental evidence to the contrary. In their minds it only “lives” because without it the standard paradigm is “dead”.

Big bang cosmology and the dynamics of galaxies and clusters of galaxies require that “Dark Matter Lives”. Those who voice the obvious fact that Dark Matter is not real, or, should I say, is “dead”, are sidelined or ridiculed. The secular physics community hold that those who express such opinions are expressing a sort of anti-science bias because it ultimately involves a rejection of the big bang paradigm.

Recently the Dark Matter crisis has deepened even more. The admission by a group of theoretical physicists that the physics theory called supersymmetry (SUSY) has been all but disproven by 10 years of experimental searching with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has made matter worse.1  That meant one of the last hopes of a dark matter particle was the expected lowest mass supersymmetric particle, which has not been detected. Other searches for dark matter particles among neutrinos have also not been successful. After 50 years of searching no Dark Matter has ever been found. It existence is purely a matter of faith. Continue reading

Giants are not mythological creatures

I have been told that the Bible mentions several mythological creatures. These include giants, unicorns, satyrs, cockatrices and dragons. But are they mythological? Or is the assumption that they are only due to a prejudice born from a disbelief that the Bible is an accurate record of not only history but also of science? Let’s examine one of the claims that giants are a myth. (Others will be examined in future articles).

Giants today

jackbean

Figure 1: Children’s story of Jack and the beanstalk with the giant descending the beanstalk.

When people hear the word giant they are immediately drawn to the likes of “Jack and the beanstalk” (see Fig. 1) and other such fairy stories. But real life giants do exist today.

macaskill

Figure 2: Angus MacAskill was born in 1825 on the Isle of Berneray in the Sound of Harris, Scotland. His height was 7 foot 10 inches (238.8 cm).

There are records of true giants in modern times. In 1981 the Guinness Book of World Records recognized Angus MacAskill as the largest true giant to have ever lived, the strongest man who ever lived and the man with the largest chest measurements of any non-obese man.

In adulthood, MacAskill stood 239 cm (7 ft 10 in) tall and weighed an astonishing 263 kg (580 lbs). His shoulders measured 112 cm (44 in) wide, the palm of his hand was nearly 30 cm (1 ft) wide and his shoes measured 48 cm (19 in) in length.1

MacAskill was able to lift a 1.27 tonne (2800 lb) ship’s anchor to chest height. Was known to carry barrels weighing over 136 kg (300 lbs) under each arm, was able to singlehandedly set a 12-metre (40-foot) mast into a schooner deck and was also known to lift a full-grown horse over a 1.2-metre (4-foot) fence.1 Continue reading

Richard Dawkins is a hypocrite

As you may have heard Richard Dawkins suffered a stroke and recently was interviewed on the BBC. The interviewer even asked him about whether the stroke caused him to think about the afterlife. He affirmed there that he does not believe that there is anything else. That, in itself, is sad as he does not have too long left in this life.

But when asked about challenging religion and people who hold to religion, he said he only uses intellectual arguments. He said the way to argue is

“to always to do it on intellectual grounds, always to do it using argument, evidence, rather than insult.” (emphasis added)

(Watch between 3:54 – 4.01 mark in the video below) But he even went on in that interview to agree that it doesn’t matter to him if someone feels insulted by what he said.

What a total hypocrite! Previously on several occasions he has said that the way to argue is to use ridicule, which is the same as insults. See the video below. Continue reading

God, science & miracles: as conversations go

—A biblical creationist in the skeptics lion’s den

by John H.1 (this is not me, John Gideon Hartnett, see footnote)

Daniel in the lion’s den is an event I can vaguely relate to. Some years ago I attended a movie screening held by the NSW Humanists in Sydney. I was the lone Christian and Biblical creationist at a meeting attended by scientists, atheists, Skeptics and hard-core Darwinians. I had attended the meeting to secure a public debate between a visiting leading American Christian Apologist, Dr John Warwick Montgomery, and the then President of the Australian Skeptics, Mark Plummer, both lawyers. The subsequent debate was well attended and reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Sir_Peter_Paul_Rubens_-_Daniel_in_the_Lions'_Den_-_Google_Art_Project

Daniel in the Lion’s Den by Sir Peter Paul Rubens. Credit : Wikipedia

After the screening that night, I engaged in a lively conversation with the head of the science department of a major Sydney university. We both enjoyed the conversation. He gave me a draft copy of his forthcoming book on evolution, and invited me to be his guest at the post screening dinner to continue our discussion.

During the meal I asked him whether he was an atheist or otherwise. He said he was probably an atheist. So, the following exchange took place:

John H: Do you regard yourself as a hard-boiled atheist, or a soft-boiled atheist?

Scientist 1: What’s the difference?

John H: Well! The hard-core atheist says that God doesn’t exist.

Scientist 1: Yes that’s probably my position.

John H: Einstein said he had less that 1% of all available knowledge. How would you compare yourself to Einstein? Would you have more or less knowledge?

Scientist 1:
I would have to say less.

John H: So, how can you say with any certainty that God doesn’t exist when you have less than 1% of knowledge? You would need 100% knowledge of all that exists to affirm that no God exists. You can’t substantiate that, can you? Continue reading

A letter from a reader

The following is a letter from a reader of Bible Science Forum with my comments in square brackets […].

UniLecture1004May I take the liberty of suggesting that you should be a theologian teaching the simplicity of faith – Christian faith – Belief in The Redeemer – if one believes in the Redeemer, one believes in His Word – that He is the Truth, the Way and the Life – will believe Him when He says that He is the Creator –  believe His account of Creation week.

The entire faith hinges on just Belief – HE is The Redeemer; yet man prefers unbelief or lies.

Scientific concepts:

The sum of all natural numbers 1+2+3+4+…. ∞ =  -1/12
And they prove that by starting with [the series sum] 1-1+1-1….∞ = 1/2. Depending on whether the series is stopped at a positive or a negative number will determine whether the initial answer is 0 or 1; therefore an average of 1/2 is taken as the final answer.
Then they do a few other series of steps and voila — the sum of all natural numbers 1+2+3+4+…. ∞ =  -1/12.
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Non-measurability: The one-way speed of light from a star or galaxy –  as a continuous ray or wave from the original that can never be replicated, a one-way speed is not directly measurable and thus physicists assuming uniformitarianism resort to use the ECS (and hence the two-way speed of light) as a convention (as you have so convincingly established).  [See How do we see distant galaxies in a 6000 year old universe?
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These are just a few of the assumptions made for each and every scientific theory which people have to accept as far better the Gospel truth. We swallow — hook, line and sinker.

Continue reading

Three books worth taking the time to read

Over the past two months I have read a few excellent books, which I recommend to you. Of the three, my top choice read is Jerry 10-2-601_8Bergman’s book “Hitler and  the Nazi Darwinian Worldview” (Joshua Press)

How the Nazi eugenic crusade for a superior race caused the greatest Holocaust in world history.

This book takes a fresh look at Germany’s most influential Nazi leaders, examining their backgrounds, education and convictions. It provides compelling evidence that the rising influence of Darwinism, eugenics and race theory in early twentieth-century society set the foundation for the Nazi pursuit of engineering a German “master race”—and exterminating European Jews, Gypsies, Blacks, most Slavs and the Christian religion in the ensuing madness of the Holocaust of World War II.

The effect of social Darwinism, eugenics and anti-Semitism, and their relative acceptance in the scientific and medical communities of Germany and many other countries worldwide, opened the door to mass murder, medical experimentation and military conquest. This title examines the roots of Nazi ideology and unmasks the Darwinian “survival of the fittest” theory behind it.

A review is found here

For a long time there has been speculation about Adolf Hitler’s alleged Jewish ancestry. On page 53 Bergman writes in regards to this:

Genetic research indicates the possibility that Hitler had Jewish background, which makes his inferiority concerns somewhat ironic. … Geneticists identified groups of genes called haplogroups that define populations. Hitler’s dominant haplogroup, E1b1b, is relatively rare in Western Europe, but between 50 to 80 per cent of North Africans share Hitler’s dominant group, which is especially prevalent among in (sic) the Berber tribes of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Somalia. Hitler’s second most dominant haplogroup is the most common in Ashkenazi Jews.  “The findings are fascinating if you look at them in terms of the Nazi worldview, which ascribed such an extreme priority to notions of blood and race. This pure type of ‘superman’ and the [Nazi] breeding programs to perfect ‘purity’ were sheer fabrications.” (The author cites Haaretz Service, “DNA test reveal Hitler’s Jewish and African roots,” Jewish World (August 4, 2010): 1.) (emphasis added)

Continue reading