Cosmology

Book Review: A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos, Part 2

November, 2019

Figure 1

The book A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos (Cambridge University Press, 2016, Fig.1), by Geraint F. Lewis and Luke A. Barnes, is one of the most recent and comprehensive books on the fine tuning of the physical laws of our universe. Last month, I reviewed the first six chapters of the book in which they summarized current thinking on the subject. 1 In this article, I’ll review the final two chapters. These chapters give Lewis and Barnes’s views on the various responses to fine tuning they have encountered from people who have read their book or heard them speak. They also lay out their own personal interpretations of fine tuning.

The first six chapters of the book explained how the fine tuning of physics is seen in the masses, electrical charges, and spins of elementary particles; the four elementary forces; the number and type of dimensions in our universe; the geometry of space-time; and the various symmetries and constants associated with physical laws. We also touched upon quantum mechanics, wave-particle duality, coupling constants, radioactivity, the Big Bang, inflation, nucleosynthesis, and more. We now turn to what people think about fine tuning.

Chapter 7: A Dozen (or so) Reactions to Fine Tuning

Here are several common responses the authors have encountered to fine tuning.

Book Review: A Fortunate Universe:Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos, Part 1

October, 2019

Figure 1

The book A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos (Cambridge University Press, 2016, Fig. 1) by Geraint F. Lewis and Luke A. Barnes is one of the most recent and comprehensive books on the fine tuning of the physical laws of our universe. The “fine tuning of physics” refers to the discovery that the laws of nature, as currently understood, are just what they must be for life forms such as us to exist. Change any of these laws even slightly, and life as we know it would be impossible. The authors explain the various ways the universe is fine-tuned and then explore what fine tuning may imply. Lewis and Barnes examine particle physics, the funda- mental forces, cosmology, inflation theory, the flatness and horizon problems, the idea of a multiverse, string theory, the nature of the constants in the equations of the laws of physics, quantum mechanics, relativity, dark matter, dark energy, the double slit experiment, and much more. Both authors accept the standard cosmological and biological evolutionary stories including deep time. Nevertheless, even within the Big Bang/inflationary paradigm, fine tuning is seen everywhere from quarks to galaxy clusters. As we shall see, the fine tuning of physics renders naturalistic explanations untenable. Much of the discussion is useful to biblical creationists as the fingerprints of God are clearly seen throughout the created order.

Lewis and Barnes are both graduates of the University of Cambridge (Fig. 2). Lewis holds a PhD in astrophysics while Barnes has a PhD in astronomy. Both men work at the Sydney Institute of Astronomy in Australia. Both men freely acknowledge fine tuning but differ in their interpretation of it. Lewis looks to the multiverse to explain fine tuning. Barnes, a Christian, argues for theism as the best explanation.

The book is accessible to layman yet informative to specialists. The concepts are laid out logically and clearly with an occasional dash of humor.

This review will discuss some of the highlights of the book, chapter by chapter.

Restoring the Truth About Origins: Book I—Introduction, Availability and Overview

March, 2019

Figure 1 - Front cover of the book

We are excited to announce that TASC‘s Restoring the Truth About Origins: Book I is now available! We pray and hope you will purchase copies for yourself, family, and associates as gifts to enjoy and be even better edified on this important topic of origins. What we think about our origins has had a profound influence on the thinking and actions in our society in the past and will today and in the future. So we encourage you to get copies today (see ordering information under Availability and Purchasing heading below)!

Creation News

January, 2019

This month we will discuss several notable findings in the recent scientific literature that have relevance to the creation issue. The topics were selected by the author and are by no means exhaustive. Background reading for some of the topics is provided in the references.

Fossils

Chitin

Chitin. Wikipedia < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chitin > Accessed 2018 Dec 10

Evidence for intact chitin-protein complex from 310 Ma scorpion has been found. 1 The authors determined that 59% of the chitin-protein complex survived.

The authors speculated that an associated saturated fatty acid layer protected the material from water, enzymes, and other organisms.

A Few Modern Creationists

December, 2018

I was recently asked to speak on creation in my Sunday school class. TASC had been helping organize the recent Origins Truth conference at the time, so I decided it might be encouraging to share something about the lives and work of two of the invited speakers for the conference: John Sanford and Russ Humphreys. I then added three more scientists: Matti Leisola, James Tour, and our very own Gerald Van Dyke to the talk. Each of these scientists has a unique story and has given glory to God through their life and research. Here, I share the essence of that presentation.

Matti Leisola (biotechnology)

Matti Leisola

We’ll begin with Matti Leisola. Dr. Leisola earned his DSc in biotechnology from Helsinki University in 1979. He is a recognized enzyme chemistry expert. He has spent much of his career optimizing enzymes for synthetic applications in industry, among other things. Dr. Leisola started his career as an atheist. He mocked those who doubted evolution. He is now a fully convinced creationist. Dr. Leisola came to see that scientific truth rests upon results of experiments, not authority. He realized evolutionists have stories, not evidence.

Creation News

May, 2018

May’s newsletter is dedicated to recent findings in science related to creation. It reflects the author’s interests and is by no means comprehensive or exhaustive. 

Jonathan Sarfati, Russ Humphreys, and John Sanford Are Coming to the Triangle This Fall

These three men are some of the finest creation scientists alive today! Plan now to take advantage of these rare opportunities.

Jonathan Sarfati of Creation Ministries International and author of Refuting Compromise will be visiting the Triangle this September. He will be speaking at Cornerstone Baptist Church on Sunday morning September 23 at 9:30 PM. On Sunday night he will be at Friendship Baptist Church. On Monday night, September 24, the goal/plan is to get him on the NC State campus. On Tuesday night, September 24, he will be back at Cornerstone at 7:00 PM. Then on Wednesday night, September 25, he will be at Community Baptist Church in south Garner. Mark your calendars! Tell your friends!

A Review and Response to the Book "The Grand Design" by Stephen Hawking

May, 2011

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking is Professor of mathematics at Cambridge University where he held the Lucasian Chair at Cambridge for 30 years. He is author of the best-selling book A Brief History of Time. Hawking suffers from ALS. His most recent book, The Grand Design, was published in 2010 by Bantam Books.

In The Grand Design Hawking attempts to show metaphysical naturalism is supported by science. He claims the fine tuning of physics in our universe is not hard to explain because there are at least 100500 universes, according to some theories, each with its own unique set of physical laws and constants—we just happen to be living in one of the few universes with the right laws and constants that allow us to exist. The book develops this argument by retracing the history of physics. Attempts to marry quantum mechanics with relativity have led to theories that imply the universe created itself, says Hawking.

Issues in Cosmology

May, 2008

The Big Bang is the most widely accepted theory among scientists for the origin of the universe. It specifies that the universe began as a very small speck of space filled with incredibly dense matter. Then the universe began expanding at an astounding rate; in a billionth of a trillionth of a second, the newborn universe doubled and redoubled 100 times over, stretching each atom-sized volume to the size of a galaxy. 1 This was the so-called "inflation phase" in which the universe expanded much faster than the speed of light. This cosmology assumes that quantum fluctuations in the early universe led to the distribution of galaxies in the universe.

Accurate Predictions Based on the Young Earth Creation Model

January, 2008

Good scientific theories are able to explain data and make testable predictions. For the Christian, a third element is required, that the theory be in harmony with the clear teachings of scripture. Some creation scientists even begin with scripture to formulate theories and hypotheses. In this essay, we will look at three predictions ultimately based on scripture, made by physicist Russell Humphreys of the Institute for Creation Research. The predictions deal with (1) the magnitude and dynamics of planetary magnetic fields, (2) the existence of a cosmic rotation axis, and (3) diffusion of helium through zircons. All of these predictions are in accord with a young earth interpretation of Genesis 1. As we will see, the data fit the predictions well.

D. Russell Humphreys, Ph.D.

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