March 11, 2015

Parameters

Today there are more than 200 known parameters necessary for a planet to support life—every single one of which must be perfectly met, or the whole thing falls apart.

Without a massive planet like Jupiter nearby, whose gravity will draw away asteroids, a thousand times as many would hit Earth’s surface. The odds against life in the universe are simply astonishing. Yet here we are, not only existing, but talking about existing. What can account for it? Can every one of those many parameters have been perfect by accident? At what point is it fair to admit that science suggests that we cannot be the result of random forces? Doesn’t assuming that an intelligence created these perfect conditions require far less faith than believing that a life-sustaining Earth just happened to beat the inconceivable odds to come into being?.... Eric Metaxas: Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God - WSJ

HT: Sense of Events

Posted by gerardvanderleun at March 11, 2015 4:32 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

It just becomes so boring and silly. I mean, is that what your life amounts to? Really?

Posted by: ghostsniper at March 11, 2015 8:31 AM

Better to live with God than have a pointless life in a dead universe.

Posted by: Odins Acolyte at March 11, 2015 9:45 AM

Actually, life abides. It endures no matter what the obstacles. There is life in 500ºC undersea vents. There is life in – within! – solid rock two miles deep.

Life swims against the current of entropy, and overcomes it. Life is tough, and if a thousand times more asteroids hit the earth, life would still abide.

Not arguing against religion. That's personal. But don't sell life short. It endures very harsh environments. And when things are better, it thrives.

Posted by: Smokey at March 11, 2015 11:48 AM

It's inconceivable whether there is or is not a God.

Posted by: Duncan Winn at March 11, 2015 12:23 PM

What are the 200 known parameters necessary for a planet to support life? When I search the term everything I find points back to the WSJ article or the video. I hope the presence of a large mass planet nearby is not one of them. I imagine the presence of an asteroid belt nearby the habitable planet is not a common feature throughout the galaxy.

Posted by: D S Craft at March 11, 2015 12:47 PM

Please check out http://http://www.reasons.org/. It's an organization dedicated to detailing and explaining the harmony between Christianity and science.

Posted by: Scott M at March 11, 2015 12:52 PM

@Odins, if that was the only choice I'd agree.

Posted by: ghostsniper at March 11, 2015 1:14 PM

Life Endures
Why do things ever have to end?

The answer eludes me.
But everything does.
Everything on this Magic Blue Marble has an end. Every leaf turns brown and rots.
Every caterpillar, bronze sculpture, tennis ball,
elephant, season, and passion gives way eventually.
Even sturdy granite wears away and turns to dust.
And you and I, too. We have a rendezvous with dirt.

All around us is change and death.
We feel it in our bones.
We hesitate and stumble as we make our way along the steepening path.

But then, we recall:
Endings are also beginnings.
As the tree dies and rots it prepares the soil for new life.
The delicate flower petal withers, but a seed floats to earth, awaiting spring rains and sunshine to spring forth into glorious life.
The salmon makes its deadly run to deposit new life in stream gravels.
Even as mountains are ground down, new ones are building.

Yes, it is a circle.
Birth, life, death, and rebirth - a circle of life.
Our task is to hold our candles steadfastly against the dark as we tread the upward leading path.
Safe in the knowledge that life endures.

Posted by: Jimmy J. at March 11, 2015 2:11 PM

People of Faith have a logical idea of what Life is all about.

Posted by: chasmatic at March 11, 2015 9:08 PM

Statements along the lines of "Such-and-such numerous conditions have to be met for life to exist in a given setting. That all those conditions have been met for this place called Earth is proof that God exists, or at least strongly suggest His existence" irritate the crap out of me.

I'm no atheist, mind you. I'm Catholic. Not a very good one, but Catholic nonetheless. And by choice, too.

What irritates me is the thoughtlessness of the statement. The Universe is a very big place, and has been around for a very long time. It's like they say -- given enough monkeys pecking away at enough typewriters for a long enough time, one of them will produce the King James Bible by accident. The laws of probability and statistics guarantee it.

We just happen to be living examples of the monkey-produced King James Bible. The long shot happened for us. Otherwise, we wouldn't be here to remark on it. What does that prove? Absolutely nothing, one way or the other. Maybe God exists (and I like to think He does), or maybe He doesn't. But our existence proves nothing.

I also find such statements irritating in another way -- they tend to pull God down to our level. We can't (by definition) comprehend the subtleties of God's mind, and so tend to put limits on what He can do. It may well be that He is so powerful and subtle that He wrote the physical laws of this Universe in such a way that life would happen somewhere, somehow, with no direct Divine Intervention needed.

A third point occurs to me, and I know I spouted off on it in another comment-thread here somewhere. If God's existence can be proven somehow, what room is left for faith? What merit is there in believing in God when His existence is beyond any possible doubt? In Heaven, of course, we will see Him directly. But this world ain't Heaven, and I think it would quickly become Hell if God were to tip His hand as the "science-can-prove-the-existence-of-God" crowd asserts that He has. I refuse to believe that God is so perverse as to let that happen.

My two cents' worth, as usual.

Hale Adams
Pikesville, People's still-mostly-Democratic Republic of Maryland

Posted by: Hale Adams at March 11, 2015 9:53 PM

Re my second point about pulling God down to our level, the term I was groping for was "lèse-majesté". Yes, God will forgive us that, but it's better to be respectful in the first place.

And yes, as my name suggests, there's a strong "New England" streak in my mental make-up. It doesn't help that my first name (which I don't use) is Amos. "Nomen est omen", as the Latin saying has it. :-)

Hale Adams,
Pikesville, People's still-mostly-Democratic Republic of Maryland

Posted by: Hale Adams at March 11, 2015 10:05 PM

I taught my children "Everything breaks." It's best not to think too deeply about that, as you'll fall down a rabbit hole real fast.

It's a foolish hope, but we'd best be doing the discovering and the colonizing before we get colonized.

Posted by: John A. Fleming at March 11, 2015 11:08 PM

If one wants to be a stickler one person cannot prove the existence of any other person, nor their own existence. There is no danger of proving, with a capital P God's existence to people that REALLY don't want to reach that conclusion, until The Sorting takes place that is. EVERY conclusion involves a certain amount of stepping across a chasm. Some chasms are smaller than others.

What I find humorous is the speed with which agnostics/atheists have embraced multiverse theories so as to avoid any theistic explanations. Multiverses, by definition, cannot have proof in this universe. To avoid allowing one supernatural cause to infect their mind they embrace an infinite number of other universes that cannot, once again by definition, be known by us. They are choosing a more pleasing invisible and fantastic fantasy just as surely as they claim theists are choosing a more pleasing fantasy. Nothing in The Bible precludes multiverses. Multiverses are suggested from the equations of cosmic inflation. People like Lawrence Krause believe everything came from nothing. A special kind of nothing with rules and constants that anyone else would call a something. So how do they avoid a cause for the something with rules and constants, they IMAGINE every, strike that, an infinite set of somethings with an infinite number of rules and and infinite number of constants. There is no fantasy some people will not retreat to to avoid the alternative.

Whether one believes or not doesn't change what ultimately is. I don't think even the dope smoking hippies still hold to the "each of us has our own universe and set of rules rules do they?"

Posted by: Scott M at March 12, 2015 1:39 AM

Is there evidence for anything infinite? Is it more reasonable to believe in 1 infinite thing or an infinite number of infinite things? Which is a bigger leap?

www.reasons.org

Posted by: Scott M at March 12, 2015 1:44 AM

Believers cannot convince non-believers with any kind of logical argument.
Belief requires a "Leap of Faith", a suspension of any rational thought or logic and a trust that the surrender is to a higher power, a better way.

I believe in God and live a Christian life. Other folks are not believers. We all walk along Life's path and at death we will see what's on the other side. Be some surprises I can tell you!
Jesus advised his disciples that, when spreading the Gospel and making salvation available to any and all they came across, that when they were not well received they should just leave that place, no muss, no fuss. Shaking the dust can be seen as a gesture like "OK, no problem, see ya later".

"And whoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when you depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet." Mat 10:14

Posted by: chasmatic at March 12, 2015 6:34 AM

Belief requires a "Leap of Faith", a suspension of any rational thought or logic and a trust that the surrender is to a higher power, a better way.

====================

Well there ya go, thanks Chas.
In that I can agree.

Posted by: ghostsniper at March 12, 2015 9:02 AM

When I was in grade school the debate was whether there were ANY other stars with planets. Sounds pretty silly now that we know that the great majority of stars do, doesn't it?

We will find life everywhere. The long odds claimed are not against life, but against intelligent life, and as soon as one comprehends the number of worlds in the galaxy, and the fact that our sun is recycled from several generations of stars that presumably had solar systems and then grew old and died, those odds become trivial.

I have heard it said that in our searches for signs of life so far, we have searched the equivalent of a thimbleful of water in an ocean.

Posted by: Ray Van Dune at March 12, 2015 1:01 PM

May I recommend Nancy Pearcy's brand new book: http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Truth-Principles-Secularism-Substitutes/dp/0781413087/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

It's also worth looking at Gottfreid Wilhelm Leibniz's argument:

1.) Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence
2.) If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God
3.) The universe exists
4.) Therefore, the universe has an explanation of its existence
5.) Therefore, the explanation of the existence of the universe is God

Craig William Lane's book: On Guard has a great walk through the argument and others based on logic and reason.

He states: For think of what the universe is: all of space-time reality, including all matter and energy. It follows that if the universe has a cause of its existence, that cause must be a nonphysical, immaterial being beyond space and time.

Posted by: Brian in BC at March 12, 2015 1:47 PM

The whole thing is alive. Sentient life forms are "G_d's" way of having self experience.

Arche’ (Greek) as davar (Hebrew), word or thing, action of God in space/time. From root word “dibur” meaning “to speak”. “Every davar expresses a dibur—a spoken message. Every physical object or phenomenon, in addition to its physical reality, conveys a spiritual comment on existence.”

We ought to avoid believing in something beyond ourselves which makes it impossible to be ourselves.

Posted by: John Hinds at March 12, 2015 7:28 PM

William Lane Craig, as mentioned above, has a ton of videos on YouTube.

Ravi Zacharias is also informative and well represented on YouTube.

www.reasons.org has hundreds of podcasts and divides them among philosophy, hard sciences, questions and answers. Their specialty is comparing the latest science against their testable creation model. Every day there are more reasons to believe.

Posted by: Scott M at March 13, 2015 2:02 AM

This is not rocket science. Those that do not believe in God can go along their merry way with no faith, no hope, nothing to look forward to and no justification for living.

Those that believe in God, in whatever spiritual framework that belief might be expressed, those folks will have hope and a faith that will see them through all of life's vicissitudes.

I'm sure Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob won't mind my paraphrasing the steps that will help people out of the morass of mere existence:

1.We admitted we were powerless — that our lives had become unmanageable.
2.Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3.Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

it's as simple as that.

Posted by: chasmatic at March 13, 2015 6:25 AM

Very well said, chas.

Posted by: Jimmy J. at March 13, 2015 8:00 AM

I wrote this in 2007, but it fits here I think.

WHY?

In the beginning of our time,
We looked up at the sky at night,
And asked the most important question
Of them all:
“Why?”

The Universe was silent, waiting, as
These first stirrings of our Wonder
Crept into its shadows.
And then it asked itself
“What is this star-stuff with a mind?
This creature
That of all that Is
Was doubly touched by God —
This much of raw Creation,
That much of Mystery.”

It felt the wonder grow
As we had found our voice—
For now the Universe could speak.
It asked itself again:
“Why alone of all Creation
Does this Humankind exist
And ask such questions
Now of me?
Why alone of all Creation
Does it seek to find the secret paths
Hidden in the natural labyrinth
Of time and place and circumstance?
Why does it matter?
Why do they need to know?”

And then the Universe understood,
And in its depths it whispered silently:
“Go forth and find the answers
That you seek.
I’ll wait here, all around you,
And come to know you as you come to know Yourselves.
I am the Universe that God created.
I need to know all I can learn—
I’ll come to know myself
By the searching of your mind,
By the patterns that you make
By the wonders you invent.
I’ll come to know myself because
I’ll see it through your eyes,
And feel it through your hands,
And hear it through your ears,
And taste it with your tongues,
And smell its wild bouquets
Through you,
Until I am so filled with all the
Magic of your senses
And the mystery and mastery of your minds
That then at last we’ll come to know.
What we were meant to be.
Re-create me, humankind.
We need to know.”

Posted by: Minta Marie Morze at March 13, 2015 8:59 PM

By some miracle, a massive explosion (expansion), the Big Bang, blasted particles outward at the speed of light in all directions, and somehow, all this stuff at a later time coalesced into more or less orderly systems.
This would be akin to dynamiting a large stack of wood, glass, cement, etc., and the end product would be a house.
Give me a F'n break.

All systems naturally tend to entropy ; a higher state of disorder. We see this very clearly when something is blown up with explosives which never, ever produces something MORE orderly.
Yet, the Big Bang theory postulates just this.

I have ZERO idea how our universe formed; ZERO.
But to believe the Big Bang hypothesis (which started out the size of ONE ATOM !!!! -
really ?? then were did all that mass that comprises the planet earth, the sun, planets, stars, etc., come from ?? Does not E=mc^2 and thus m = E/c^2 ?? ) is a far more fantastical notion of a GOD creating the universe.

Posted by: JohnTyler at March 14, 2015 8:54 AM

I was out running errands, standing in the line at Walmart for meds. Behind me comes this guy, looked like he was on a Polack bowling team.

Mid-forties, wouldn't know matching colors if they bit him in the butt.

"Whassatcha got?" He asks, pointing to the cafe curtain rod I'm holding.

I spoke not a word, showed him.

"Oh" he sez, "thought it was one a them canes. My buddy has one with four feet".

"Yes, when we get older we lose equilibrium." I said (my mistake).

"Oh" he sez, "I lost my equilibrium when I had that aneurism, back in '97."

"You're lucky to be alive" sez I.

"I dunno, I'm waiting for them to come get me. Y'know, go up into space".

"I'm five foot ten." I said with finality, "you won't need any money up there."

He nodded sagely and I saw behind his eyes he'll be chewing on that for a while.

The art of conversation, one of my strong suits.

Posted by: chasmatic at March 15, 2015 7:56 AM

I wrote a column last week on this topic. A reader referred me to this video. Here's the column: http://thecoloneloftruth.blogspot.com/2015/03/creation-creates-problem.html?m=1

Please feel free to comment/share.

Posted by: Robert at March 17, 2015 2:40 PM