Thursday, April 27, 2017

Denisovans, Humans and the Chromosome 2 Fusion

With that as background, we are now prepared to appreciate a new finding that comes from genomics work done on the Denisovan hominids, an archaic species that is more closely related to Neanderthals than to us, but that nonetheless interbred with some anatomically modern humans as they migrated out of Africa and populated the globe. (For those not familiar with the Denisovans, or the evidence for our interbreeding with them, both Darrel Falk and I have written on this previously, here and here). Recently, a more detailed understanding of the Denisovan genome was published, and nested in the new information is the discovery that the Denisovans share the 46 chromosome set with the same fusion that we have. This strongly supports the hypothesis that the fusion event predates the separation of our species. If we were to represent this on a phylogeny, we can now place this event with more accuracy than before ..

Monday, April 10, 2017

Has the dark matter mystery been solved?

Unseen dark matter has been invoked several times to solve problems in astrophysics and cosmology. Historically the most significant problem has been the rotation curves of galaxies, particularly spiral galaxies. Using the Doppler Effect the speeds of the stars and gases in the disk regions of spiral galaxies can be measured. See Figure 1.

By now hundreds of thousands of galaxies have been measured this way. What is observed is that the speeds of the stars, and the gases beyond where the stars are observed, are much greater than it would appear Newtonian physics allows for. 

As a result it has been suggested that there is an invisible halo of cold non-interacting matter. This putative invisible halo has the needed gravitational effect on the stars and gases but it cannot be seen, hence it is called dark matter. Dark matter is alleged not to be normal atomic matter, made from protons and neutrons (which are known as baryons), but some sort of slowly moving (cold) exotic non-baryonic matter. Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) were suggested.

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Science of God Conference

The Professor and the Prophet in an exclusive exploration of the marvels of God….Join us in this discovery.
Looking at the vast expanse in the cosmos above or the depths of the blue oceans below, they speak volumes of the splendor of God who was directly involved in His creation. As humans we marvel at the enormous complexity which is breathtaking. God also gave us wisdom and an enormous capacity to explore His creation, which today tell us specific details of the "how" and "what" of His creation.
As he unleashes His love and shower His glory upon us, we obediently study His word, get closer to Him and adore Him day by day for this beauty and marvel of this creation.
Here is your opportunity to take a tour of the specific examples from the field of science , a deeper exposure to His word and a chance to bathe in His love and Glory
While we tackle issues, such as, the Big bang, expanding universe....

quantum theory, Fibonacci sequence, Uniqueness of His blood, DNA, Heart intelligence and more, you will also have adequate time to worship, release your addictions and hear from Him.......
Join us at Hotel Taj on 29 April

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

How to Fine-Tune Arguments for God’s Existence

One of the main points Bussey develops in his book is based on the following observation:

"At the very least, our own planet must be of a suitable kind, located in a suitable region of the universe, such that human life is possible on it. This is obviously true, and there are many planets for which it is not true, drawing our attention to the fact that not all planets can generate advanced life. Much more significant is the fact that for us to be here, the universe itself must have suitable properties. (...) This statement is normally called the "weak anthropic principle"' (p.94).

The emergence and continued existence of complex life in our universe is fragile. I believe this can trigger a genuine sense of wonder about Creation that can ultimately point to God. However, it appears to me that Bussey's way of presenting the argument is not "fine-tuned" enough to actually do the job.

For starters, we need to focus on the big picture. Together, the laws of nature form an integrated whole that sustains the complexity of conscious life. It's easy to get lost in the details by compiling a long list of properties of the universe that are precisely suitable for complex life on earth. Bussey writes: "With the complex history of the universe kept in mind, we are in a position to write a basic 'shopping list' of conditions that would allow a planet with advanced life to form" (p.96)He goes on to list about ten physical constants that are "right" within ranges that appear to be quite narrow.[1] I am sceptical of reliance on the narrow range of these physical constants. A hypothetical alien race in a hypothetical parallel universe might be wondering about completely different constants that were essential to its development. It is more relevant to emphasize the entire structure and pattern of our universe that sustains the complexity we observe. That beauty is essentially what triggers the "wow factor."

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Challenging the Standard Models of Science and Faith

As someone with a passion for understanding the relationship between science and theology, I've read innumerable books on the subject. In my experience, book-length introductions to the science and theology conversation often resort to surface-level tropes about the general relationship between the fields, rarely presenting the core debates in more than a cursory manner. Jim Stump's Science and Christianity: An Introduction to the Issues, on the other hand, presents the actual academic arguments in the key debates, and in a manner accessible to non-experts while still being scholarly enough to satisfy even the seasoned academic. The book covers topics as wide-ranging as young-earth creationism and Intelligent Design, cosmology, divine action, the soul, and the problem of natural evil. In other words, the book is remarkably comprehensive in the range of debates it covers, without sacrificing clarity and nuance. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Christmas Timeline of the Biblical Account

When December hits, many familiar questions surrounding the birth of Christ come to mind. For example, some ask about making Christmas sermons relevant, the origin of Christmas and if it was pagan, the star of Bethlehem, the "inn" where Jesus was born, and many others. Of course, these are important topics, but it is also important to understand the timeline of events surrounding the birth of Jesus.

The Christmas timeline of the biblical account is called into question by many skeptics. They claim the nativity accounts of Matthew and Luke do not line up, and therefore the accounts should be discarded. Sometimes they go so far as to say that few are even aware of the issues with the Christmas timeline.

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Is the Origin of Life a Scientific Question?

Science is supposed to be about things that are observable. That is, science can probe only things that we can detect with our five senses. Science also must be repeatable. This means that when an experiment or observation is repeated, we get the same results. These restrictions on science have led to what we call the scientific method, the general rules that we follow in doing science. The scientific investigation of the origin of life presents us with at least two problems. First, since life began before people were around, we hardly can observe the process. Second, since the origin of life appears to have been a unique event, we hardly can repeat it.

How do these four possibilities stack up? The fourth possibility doesn't really explain how life came about, but instead passes the question off to some other location. Many would object that the third option is unscientific and hence ought not to be considered. If we restrict the definition of "scientific" to questions that can be answered through the application of the scientific method to natural processes, then option three may be considered unscientific. However, what is the status of the other two options? Option one is the assertion of abiogenesis, the belief that life must have arisen from non-living things through a natural process. However, abiogenesis has never been observed. To the contrary, it has been shown numerous times that biogenesis is true, that only living things give rise to living things. That is, abiogenesis has been scientifically disproved. To persist in belief in abiogenesis, one must believe in something that clearly is unscientific.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen?

A car crash claims the life of a Christian college student on her way home, a faithful pastor receives a cancer diagnosis, a family is away on vacation only to receive the call that their house was destroyed in a fire.

One of the most common questions believers and unbelievers alike ask is why a loving and all-powerful God would allow bad things to happen. When many believers are asked this question, they freeze, not knowing what to say. Or they weakly reply, "Well, we don't know why bad things happen, but we need to trust God." But those of us who start with the right foundation, God's Word, have a solid answer that is based in the history of God's Word. But those who don't start with God's Word have a difficult time providing a satisfactory answer to this important and often emotionally charged question.

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