More things in Heaven and Earth: 1 of 2: "Why Science Does Not Disprove God" by Amir Aczel.

Jul 30, 02:20 PM


(Photo: English: Using 39 of the 66 antennas of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), located 5000 metres up on the Chajnantor plateau in the Chilean Andes, astronomers have been able to detect carbon monoxide (CO) in the disc of debris around an F-type star. Although carbon monoxide is the second most common molecule in the interstellar medium, after molecular hydrogen, this is the first time that CO has been detected around a star of this type. The star, named HD 181327, is a member of the Beta Pictoris moving group, located almost 170 light-years from Earth.

Until now, the presence of CO has been detected only around a few A-type stars, substantially more massive and luminous than HD 181327. Using the superb spatial resolution and sensitivity offered by the ALMA observatory astronomers were now able to capture this stunning ring of smoke and map the density of the CO within the disc.

The study of debris discs is one way to characterize planetary systems and the results of planet formation. The CO gas is found to be co-located with the dust grains in the ring of debris and to have been produced recently. Destructive collisions of icy planetesimals in the disc are possible sources for the continuous replenishment of the CO gas. Collisions in debris discs typically require the icy bodies to be gravitationally perturbed by larger objects in order to reach sufficient collisional velocities. Moreover, the derived CO composition of the icy planetesimals in the disc is consistent with the comets in our Solar System. This possible secondary origin for the CO gas suggests that icy comets could be common around stars similar to our Sun which has strong implications for life suitability in terrestrial exoplanets.

The results were published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society under the title “Exocometary gas in the HD 181327 debris ring” by S. Marino et al.)

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More things in Heaven and Earth: 1 of 2: "Why Science Does Not Disprove God" by Amir Aczel.

Starred Review In Aczel, Richard Dawkins and his fellow New Atheists face a formidable opponent. As a mathematician with a Berkeley-Harvard résumé, Aczel wields impressive intellectual weapons in demolishing the New Atheists’ claims that science has disproven the existence of God. With compelling reasoning, Aczel demonstrates that whenever Dawkins and his allies turn their attacks against anything but naively literal readings of the Bible, they distort or misrepresent the methods and findings of science. Darwinism has provided no godless explanation of how human consciousness emerged. The attempt to reduce the astounding fine-tuning of the big bang to quantum physics likewise leaves huge questions unanswered. Disproofs of God’s existence based on probability theory similarly fail under scrutiny. When the New Atheists buttress their flawed science by appealing to the authority of Einstein, Aczel catches them cherry-picking quotations, so hiding complexities in the great physicist’s metaphysical thinking. Those who truly grapple with modern science, Aczel finally avers, discover not a disproof of God but rather perplexing mysteries, such as the stunning vistas of infinity that the intensely religious theorist Georg Cantor glimpsed behind his revolutionary continuum hypothesis. Such mysteries may not signify the presence of the divine, but they will surely stir deep wonderings. --Bryce Christensen -