Where are the extraterrestrial civilizations?

Introduction

While having lunch with colleagues Edward Teller and Herbert York, who were chatting about a recent cartoon in the New Yorker depicting aliens abducting trash cans in flying saucers, physicist Enrico Fermi suddenly blurted out, “Where is everybody?” [Webb2002, pg. 17-18]. His question is now known as Fermi’s paradox.

Behind Fermi’s question was this . . . → Read More: Where are the extraterrestrial civilizations?

What are the ultimate constituents of the universe?

Introduction

One of the more intriguing questions posed by modern physics is what are the ultimate constituents of the universe. Most of the lay public, and many professional scientists for that matter, believe that the universe consists of fundamental particles (electrons, protons, neutrons, etc.), together with force fields (gravity, electromagnetism, etc.) that govern how they . . . → Read More: What are the ultimate constituents of the universe?

Is science or religion to blame for moral decline?

Introduction

It is widely believed that modern society is in sharp decline. Among the ills cited are skyrocketing rates of crime, divorce, teenage sex, teenage births and drug abuse and a general decline in personal morality and religiosity.

Religious fundamentalists frequently pin the blame on modern science in general, and on evolution in particular. For . . . → Read More: Is science or religion to blame for moral decline?

How fast can evolution operate?

One of the most common arguments against evolution raised by creationist and intelligent design writers is that whereas minor changes may occur within an established “kind,” nothing fundamentally new can come through “random” or “undirected” evolution. In any event, so they argue, no significant changes have ever been observed in biological species, so that evolution . . . → Read More: How fast can evolution operate?

Is the universe one or many?

For decades physicists have dreamed of a theory of everything that would precisely give all known physical particles and their interactions. Physicists have also hoped that this theory would be so simple and compelling as to be the self-evident “natural” way the universe must be constructed.

Physicists have definitely made progress on the first objective. . . . → Read More: Is the universe one or many?

Are there benefits to religious belief and participation?

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, who collectively are often called the “new atheists” [Dawkins2006; Dennett2006; Harris2006; Hitchens2007]. In his book, prominent biologist Richard Dawkins asks us . . . → Read More: Are there benefits to religious belief and participation?

Criminology, sports drug testing and evolution

DNA evidence in forensics

On March 18, 2013, a Florida man was found guilty of burglary and criminal damage to property, in an attempt to steal an ATM machine from a store. But the burglar had dropped his hat, and subsequent analysis of DNA in the hat matched that of a suspect. Based on this . . . → Read More: Criminology, sports drug testing and evolution

The last Japanese WWII holdout: A lesson for creationists

The saga of Hiroo Onoda

March 2013 is the 39th anniversary of a curious milestone of 20th century military history: On March 9, 1974, nearly 29 years after World War II supposedly ended with the Japanese surrender, Hiroo Onoda, the last Japanese holdout, turned over his sword and rifle to his commanding officer and ceased . . . → Read More: The last Japanese WWII holdout: A lesson for creationists

Did God create the world through evolution?

Introduction

Many religious fundamentalists reject the notion (adopted by many scientists as well as theologians) that God accomplished the creation of the earth or even the entire universe indirectly through natural processes. More to the point, these fundamentalists deny that God accomplished the creation of life on earth via an evolutionary process.

Typical of those . . . → Read More: Did God create the world through evolution?

Who are more stubborn? Fundamentalists or atheists?

Recently (on 12 Feb 2013), well-known MIT physicist Max Tegmark, together with co-authors Eugene Lee and Meia Chita-Tegmark, released results of a new study on science, religion and origins. See also Max Tegmark’s Huffington Post article summarizing these findings.

It is well-known that, according to a recent Gallup poll, approximately 46% of Americans believe that . . . → Read More: Who are more stubborn? Fundamentalists or atheists?