Where are the extraterrestrial civilizations? (Fermi’s paradox)

Where are the extraterrestrial civilizations? (Fermi’s paradox) Updated 8 December 2022 (c) 2022

Introduction

In 1950, while having lunch with colleagues Edward Teller and Herbert York, who were chatting about a recent cartoon in the New Yorker depicting aliens, physicist Enrico Fermi suddenly blurted out, “Where is everybody?,” a question now known as Fermi’s paradox.

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How are distances to the stars and galaxies calculated?

How are distances to the stars and galaxies calculated? Updated 8 December 2022 (c) 2022

Introduction

Many of us, while still in grade school, learned about the staggering distances to planets, stars and galaxies. The sun is approximately 150 million km or 93 million miles away, a distance that is known as the “astronomical unit”

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How solid is the evidence for the big bang?

How solid is the evidence for the big bang? Updated 8 December 2022 (c) 2022

Introduction

The “big bang” is a name given to the origin event of our universe, which scientists now date at roughly 13.8 billion years ago, according to the latest data released by the Planck project [Cho2013]. The term was actually

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What is the anthropic principle of cosmology?

What is the anthropic principle of cosmology? Updated 8 December 2022 (c) 2022

Definition of the anthropic principle

The term “anthropic principle” was first introduced into the scientific literature in 1974 by Brandon Carter [Carter1974, pg. 291]. In discussing the “large number” coincidences then evident in physics and cosmology, Carter used the term to refer

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Is scientific progress real?

Is scientific progress real? Updated 8 December 2022 (c) 2022

Denials of scientific progress from the right and the left

The fact that scientific research has made immense progress over the past years, decades and centuries is taken for granted among professional scientists and most of the lay public as well. But there are others,

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How has the idea of progress shaped modern society?

How has the idea of progress shaped modern society? Updated 8 December 2022 (c) 2022

The idea of progress in Judeo-Christian thought

Robert Nisbet defines the “idea of progress” as the notion that mankind has advanced in the past, from barbarism and ignorance, is now advancing, and will continue to advance through the foreseeable future

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Is modern science socially constructed and forever tentative?

Is modern science socially constructed and forever tentative? Updated 8 December 2022 (c) 2022

Introduction

Writers from the discipline known variously as “postmodern science studies” or “sociology of scientific knowledge” are often cited in discussions of science, philosophy and religion. Some of these writers, notably Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn, have had significant impact on

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Have science and religion always been at war?

Have science and religion always been at war? Updated 8 December 2022 (c) 2022

Introduction

In the recent Cosmos series, as well as in some widely available science videos distributed by the Learning Company (and available on Netflix), noted physicist/cosmologist Neil deGrasse Tyson reviews, in a very entertaining yet informative way, the history of science

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Is modern society in decline?

Is modern society in decline? Updated 6 January 2023 (c) 2023

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; war; and a general decline in personal morality and religiosity. There is also concern that

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What does the atheist literature say about science and religion?

What does the new atheist literature say about science and religion? Updated 8 December 2022 (c) 2022

The “new atheists”

Recently numerous books and articles have been published with rather strong criticisms of religion and the practice of religion. The four most prominent authors are Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens, who

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