Philosophical Objections–Not Science–Guide Origin of Life Research

Michael Egnor recently wrote about the great difficulties faced by origin of life researchers and the great speculation they are willing to undertake to retain natural chemical explanations for origin of life. This reminds of events in the early 1900’s, when some leading scientists had philosophical objections to new ideas in cosmology. In 1931, leading cosmologist Sir Arthur Eddington wrote in response to Big Bang cosmology, “Philosophically, the notion of a beginning of the present order of Nature is repugnant . . . I should like to find a genuine loophole.” Even Einstein was troubled by the fact that his own theories showed “the necessity for a beginning.” In fact, he added a “cosmological constant” to his equations to avoid Read More ›

Real Estate Sale: High-Gravity Water-World with Weak Magnetic Field and Large Annual Temperature Fluctuations

Scientists recently discovered what the media is calling a “super-Earth” — a planet which may be able to house liquid water and has properties similar to earth’s own. Before you get ready to buy real estate, you should hear some other aspects of this “super-Earth” which may not be so cozy . . . or even habitable. The following was sent to us by astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, whose work has investigated the requirements for habitability in the universe: You are right about the host star being an M dwarf posing problems for habitability. The smallest planet’s eccentricity is comparable to that of Mercury, so it is probably locked into a 3:2 spin-orbit resonance. So, the planet will experience large temperature Read More ›

The Double Standard for Intelligent Design and Testability

Many proponents of intelligent design (ID) have argued for design of the cosmos based upon the highly improbable fine-tuning of our universe to permit the existence of advanced forms of life. Skeptics of cosmic-design often cite the possibility that there are infinite universes, or “multiverses,” where our universe just happened to win a cosmic lottery and get the right conditions for life. An infinite number of universes, they argue, reduces the odds that ours just “happened to get it right,” because it shows that some universe was just bound to eventually get the right conditions for life. We wouldn’t be here if ours hadn’t won. They argue this rationale provides the probabilistic resources to overcome a design inference based upon Read More ›

Dembski responds to Anti-ID article by SETI Astronomer has an article against intelligent design entitled “SETI and Intelligent Design” by Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer at the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) Institute. William Dembski has provided a clear response to Shostak’s article at Shostak’s essential argument is that SETI doesn’t search for intelligent design, but rather “artificiality” in the universe: “SETI were to announce that we’re not alone because it had detected a signal, it would be on the basis of artificiality. An endless, sinusoidal signal — a dead simple tone — is not complex; it’s artificial. Such a tone just doesn’t seem to be generated by natural astrophysical processes.” Incidentally, Shostak’s methods sound similar to how pro-ID philosopher Del Ratzsch argues we can detect design Read More ›