Showing posts with label cosmology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cosmology. Show all posts

23 Jul 2017

Adam and the Animals



I think pursuing knowledge and truth is a good idea. That's probably why Tennyson's "Ulysses" is one of my favorite poems.

It's the source of my Google Plus tagline: "To follow knowledge like a sinking star, Beyond the utmost bound of human thought." (March 26, 2017)

I'll be talking about science, faith, and why I see no problem with admiring God's work. Also the Flat Earth Society's origin, and my own silly notion: a doughnut-shaped Earth.

But first, an excerpt from Apollodorus that reminded me of the pottery metaphor in Genesis 2:7:
"...Prometheus moulded men out of water and earth and gave them also fire...." (Apollodorus, The Library, Book 1, 1.7.1; via The Theoi Classical Texts Library)
Bible translations I grew up with often called the material in Genesis 2:7 "clay." The Hebrew the word is אדמה, adamah/adama. It means ground, land, or earth — dirt.

I use the The New American Bible these days, where Genesis 2:7 says that God formed Adam "out of the dust of the ground." The meaning seems clear enough. We're made from the stuff of this world and God's breath....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

14 Apr 2017

Mars: Leaky Red Planet

What we're learning about Mars, and a new type of really small spacecraft, reminded me of earth, air and kilts.

Also pharaohs, Thomas Paine, and Lord Kelvin. By then I was running out of time to write something more tightly-organized.

I figured you might be interested in some of what I have written. On on the other hand, maybe not. So I added links to my ramblings before and after what I said more-or-less about the science news, and figure you can decide what's interesting and what's not.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

24 Mar 2017

Baryons, Gravity Waves

These are exciting, or disquieting, times.

Which it is depends partly on how much a person likes living in a world where scientific knowledge is rapidly changing.

I like it, a lot....

...Since this is a "religious" blog, I'll be discussing — briefly, for me — how my faith relates to experiments using CERN's Large Hadron Collider and science in general....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

30 Sep 2016

Europa, Mars, and Someday the Stars

Scientists think they've detected more plumes of water, shooting up from near Europa's south pole. It's early days, but we may have found a comparatively easy way to collect samples from the Jovian moon's subsurface ocean.

Stephen Hawking says humanity needs to keep exploring space. I agree, although not quite for the reasons he gave.

SpaceX tested an engine they plan to use on their Mars transport, and Gaia's data seems to have raised as many questions as it answers.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

28 Aug 2016

Faith, the Universe, and Wisdom

I think the universe is billions, not thousands, of years old; Earth isn't flat; Adam and Eve aren't German; poetry isn't science; and thinking is not a sin.

If you've been reading my posts, you know why being a Christian doesn't interfere with my interest in science.

Feel free to skip the rest of this post. It's mostly about reading the Bible, the universe, and getting a grip.

I'll be back next Friday,1 most likely talking about Proxima Centauri b, a planet orbiting the next star over from ours: in Proxima's habitable zone.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

15 Apr 2016

Starshot, SETI, and the Universe

We may be within a generation of sending probes on flyby missions to other stars, high-energy jets from several distant galaxies all point in the same direction, and we're learning more about hot super-earths.

That sort of thing fascinates me, your experience may vary.

Meanwhile, SETI researchers will be checking out red dwarfs: which may be more promising places to look for neighbors than we thought.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

14 Aug 2015

Neutrinos and a Fading Universe

We knew this universe was fading, but now scientists have a much clearer picture of how fast the lights are going out....

...Other scientists are pretty sure they're detecting neutrinos generated inside Earth. "Pretty sure" isn't "really sure," though, so they're still working on that research....

...Right after a very quick glance at natural philosophy becoming science, I'm going to say why I do not believe that thinking is a sin — again.

You've probably read that sort of thing on this blog before, so skip ahead to Portrait of a Fading Universe, teach yourself origami, read a good book, whatever....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

14 Jun 2015

The Universe: a Magnificent Tent

Folks have looked up and been impressed for a long time:
"1 Think! The heavens, even the highest heavens, belong to the LORD, your God, as well as the earth and everything on it."
(Deuteronomy 10:14)

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky proclaims its builder's craft."
(Psalms 19:2)
That galaxy is M31, the Andromeda Galaxy. Back when I was in high school, a fair number of books I read called it the "Great Andromeda Nebula." More up-to-date books occasionally called it an "island universe."

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

10 Apr 2015

Large Hadron Collider: There’s More to Learn

The world's largest and most powerful particle collider, CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC), is back in operation.

Scientists will be studying conditions like those just after this universe began: at about twice the energies they used back in 2013.

I'm excited at the prospect of learning more about the workings of matter and energy: and news about the LHC is already starting to get goofy.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

29 Mar 2015

Humility, Science, and Accepting Reality

I could be a Christian, following my Lord, if I believed that we live on a flat plate with nothing between us and the cosmic ocean but a sold dome that holds the stars.

But my faith doesn't depend on maintaining ignorance of what we've learned in the last two dozen or so centuries.

Imagery in 1 Samuel 2:8 and Psalms 148:4 is beautiful, poetic, and consistent with Mesopotamian cosmology: hardly surprising, considering where the Hebrews lived.

That was then, this is now, and we've learned quite a bit about the universe since the days of Kubaba and Enmerkar. Some details of their lives seem exaggerated, but folks still pad their resumes, and that — isn't another topic....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

26 Sep 2014

Schrodinger's Cat(s); and Gravitational Waves, Revisited

Quantum mechanics makes more sense if the Many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics is right, and we're still not sure whether BICEP 2 detected gravitational waves: or polarized dust.

If you've been here before, and know why I don't see a conflict between science and faith, feel free to skip straight to "Who Killed Schrodinger's Cat?" (No animals were harmed in the writing of this post)...

...Since I'm a Catholic, I believe that God created, and is creating everything. Since I also believe that God isn't a liar, and that truth cannot contradict truth: honest research cannot hurt faith. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 144, 159)...

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

21 Sep 2014

Scientific Discoveries: an Invitation to "Even Greater Admiration"

ESO/INAF-VST/OmegaCAM, OmegaCen/Astro-WISE/Kapteyn Institute; via Wikimedia Commons; used w/o permission.This universe has been around for about 13,798,000,000 years, give or take 37,000,000. That's the current best estimate, from 2013.

It's big, too. The photo shows part of the Hercules Cluster of galaxies. Light from that bunch of galaxies traveled for about 500,000,000 years before reaching us.

What we see is the Hercules Cluster as it was around the middle of the Cambrian here, roughly when the first trilobite showed up.

Taking the universe 'as is' makes sense: for me, anyway. I would much rather learn more about this wonder-filled creation, than insist that the Almighty is limited to what folks knew a few centuries back.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

15 Jul 2014

Science, Faith, and Leaving the 19th Century Behind


(From Peter Kennett, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
(M31, the Great Andromeda Galaxy, one of 54 galaxies in the Local Group, photographed in 2005.)

Folks can see the Andromeda Galaxy from Earth's northern hemisphere: on a clear night with no moon, anyway. Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi gets credit for 'discovering' it: but I'm pretty sure that quite a few folks had seen it before he mentioned "A Little Cloud" in "Book of Fixed Stars," somewhere around 964.

Knowledge and Change


In 1764, Charles Messier, another astronomer, put the galaxy in his catalog as a nebula: object M31.

By the 19th century, astronomers realized that some light from the Andromeda "nebula" resembled light from stars. In 1925, Edwin Hubble used observations of Cepheid variable stars to demonstrate that the Andromeda Galaxy was another "island universe:" far outside our Milky Way Galaxy.

Light from the Andromeda Galaxy passing Earth today has been traveling for about 2,540,000 years. It began its journey when Australopithecus garhi, africanus, and afarensis lived. Some of those folks made the earliest stone tools we know about, so I'm inclined to see them as people: even if they didn't look like we do today.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

30 May 2014

Jadeite from Space; a Moon of Mars; and Kepler's New Mission

A century ago, we didn't realize that mountains fall from the sky at irregular intervals. A century from now, we'll probably be mining asteroids. Today, we're learning that there's much more to learn....

...Knowledge and Dominion


(From ESA/Hubble, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
"Today I would like to highlight another gift of the Holy Spirit: the gift of knowledge. When we speak of knowledge, we immediately think of man's capacity to learn more and more about the reality that surrounds him and to discover the laws that regulate nature and the universe. The knowledge that comes from the Holy Spirit, however, is not limited to human knowledge; it is a special gift, which leads us to grasp, through creation, the greatness and love of God and his profound relationship with every creature...."
(Pope Francis, General Audience. (May 21, 2014))
We live in a beautiful, good, ordered universe: surrounded by wonders which had remained unknown until recent years; and almost certainly many more which we will, in time, discover....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America

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