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Saturday, July 01, 2017
But what about the scientific naturalist, for whom the Cosmos is the supreme entity or being? Sometimes language used by scientific naturalists suggests that the cosmos has a certain numinous quality, at least at the metaphorical level, but perhaps occasionally at a much deeper level. This is the case, for example, when Carl Sagan begins his 1980 book and documentary television series Cosmos with the powerful words, "The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be" (p. 4). Sagan continues:
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"Those of us that are religious, will recognize the presence of God, but you don't have to make a theological leap to search for the truth," Br. Consolmagno said. "There are many things we know we do not understand. We cannot be good religious people or scientists if we think that our work is done."
The summit is also taking place in recognition of Fr. Georges Lemaître, the Belgian physicist and mathematician who is widely credited with developing the "Big Bang" theory to explain the origin of the physical universe.
Addressing common misconceptions surrounding the Big Bang, such as the idea that it did away with the need for a creator, Br. Consolmagno said the solution isn't just to put God at the beginning of things and call that good, either.
Thursday, April 27, 2017
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Tuesday, March 28, 2017
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. 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."Click to read