Fine tuning and Fermi’s paradox

A “freakishly” fine-tuned universe

Ever since the time of Copernicus, the overriding worldview of scientific discovery has been that there is nothing special about Earth and humanity: the Earth is not the center of the solar system — we are merely one of several planets orbiting the Sun; the Sun is not the center of

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Can there be harmony between science and religion?

Introduction

The progress of modern science over the past few decades is nothing short of astounding. Just in the past 50 years, science has unlocked the code of life and read the complete DNA of many organisms (including humans), traced the history of the known universe back to nearly the big bang, and discovered a

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Does a secular worldview lead to greater rejection of pseudoscience?

Introduction

In Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion (pg. 23-24), he asks us to imagine “a world with no religion … no suicide bombers, no 9/11 no 7/7, no Crusades, no witch-hunts, no Gunpowder Plot, no Indian partition, no Israeli/Palestinian wars, no Serb/Croat/Muslim massacres, no persecution of Jews as ‘Christ-killers,’ no Northern Ireland ‘troubles,’ no

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Are Hollywood stars qualified to comment on science?

Hollywood stars as public spokespersons

Nowadays it is not at all unusual for Hollywood stars to lend their public celebrity status to endorse or promote some cause. For example, Angelina Jolie has lent her name and support to international efforts dealing with the refugee crisis. Sean Penn personally assisted efforts to deal with the Haiti

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Exoplanets, 4 billion-year-old life, Fermi’s paradox and zero-one laws

What do exoplanets, four-billion-year-old life, Fermi’s paradox and zero-one laws of probability theory have to do with each other? Quite a bit, actually. Let us review these developments, one by one:

New exoplanet discoveries

Depiction of the seven exoplanets of the TRAPPIST-1 system. Courtesy NASA.

On 22 February 2017, a consortium of NASA and

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Christmas 2016: Benefits of a charitable life

Introduction

Recently several books written by prominent authors have been published that attack religious belief as a pernicious delusion. The four most prominent authors are Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens [Dawkins2006; Dennett2006; Harris2006; Hitchens2007]. Along this line, physicist Victor J. Stenger, in his book God: The Failed Hypothesis and other writings,

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Why science needs the humanities

Introduction

Foster in Contact, saying “They should have sent a poet”

Earlier this year, Kentucky governor Matt Bevin declared that state colleges and universities should educate more electrical engineers and fewer French literature majors: “All the people in the world that want to study French literature can do so, they are just not going

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Bacteria adapt to antibiotics before your eyes

How fast can evolution operate?

A common arguments against evolution raised by creationist and intelligent design writers is that no significant changes have ever been observed by humans in biological species, so evolution must be regarded only as a “theory.” In a previous Blog, we mentioned how this argument is refuted by recent research results,

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How fast can evolution operate?

Creationists often argue that evolution is “only a theory” [Miller2008]. This claim of course confuses the vernacular meaning of “theory” (a half-baked conjecture that has not been seriously tested) with the scientific meaning of “theory” (a solid, falsifiable hypothesis that has led to a rich literature of quantitative, empirical science). Behind the creationists’ comment

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Are Noah’s ark and flood literal scientific facts?

Introduction

In Williamstown, Kentucky, a full-scale reproduction of Noah’s ark is now open to the public. Claimed to be the largest all-wood structure in the world, it is 155 m (510 ft) long, 26 m (85 ft) wide, and 16 m (51 ft) high, closely corresponding to the biblical dimensions, given in Genesis 6:15, namely

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