Like a diamond in the sky

Astronomers have discovered a white dwarf star–basically, the burnt-out remnant of a star–that basically consists of crystallized carbon.  In other words, diamond.  It’s a diamond the size of the earth.  “Twinkle, twinkle little star. . . .” [Read more…]

Scientists claim that we’ll find alien life in 20 years

The government-funded effort to find alien life–known as SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Life)–is running out of money.  So its scientists testified before Congress, claiming that extraterrestrial life is a virtual certainty and that we should find it within 20 years.

Do you see anything wrong with that testimony? [Read more…]

How the Egyptians moved those big stones

No, it wasn’t aliens who moved those massively huge blocks for the Pyramids.  An ancient drawing shows builders dragging a monument on a sledge with someone pouring water in front of it.  Egyptologists interpreted that as some kind of purification ritual.  But scientists have discovered that pouring water on sand reduces the friction so that it would be possible to drag a multi-ton object on a sledge through the desert sand.  See the picture and an account of the research after the jump. [Read more…]

Dark matter and spiritual matter?

Our increasingly weird science now affirms that there is a reality that we cannot see, feel, or perceive in any way.  And yet it makes up 85% of the universe, which it basically holds together.  What does that remind you of?

Please note that I am not asserting an equivalence of dark matter and the spiritual realm, just noting parallels, as well as the curious phenomenon of science now recognizing that some kinds of reality elude our conventional materialistic categories. [Read more…]

The difference one person can make

Some say history is made by vast social and economic forces.  Others say that even vast forces are launched by the actions of individual human beings .  Yesterday’s newspaper, in two separate articles, showed the difference made by two individuals, one whose actions led to the deaths of millions; the other whose actions led to saving the lives of billions. [Read more…]

‘Cosmos’ calls out Bible believers

The much-hyped remake of Carl Sagan’s  TV documentary series Cosmos premiered on Sunday, replete with much-improved special effects, up-to-date scientific marvels, and an introduction by President Barack Obama.  But a major theme of the series is apparently to beat back creationists of every stripe.

From Bradford Thomas, at TruthRevolt:

The host of Seth MacFarlane’s new series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, argues that while religion and science can be compatible, religious scriptures like the Bible should not be confused with scientific textbooks, something he says “enlightened religious people” understand.

Cosmos—which features an introduction by President Obama—has already stirred controversy with a lengthy segment in the first episode which deliberately pits religion against science, providing an animated story about the Catholic Church’s persecution of the 16th-century monk and astronomer Giordano Bruno, which TIME argues provides a clear message to viewers: “there is a right side and a wrong side of intellectual history, and Cosmos is not afraid to say that science is on the right one.”

The thing is, though, the series completely confused the history of Giordano Bruno.  He wasn’t burned as a heretic for asserting the existence of “multiple worlds”–as if he anticipated today’s multiple universe hypotheses, though without any kind of scientific evidence for his assertions–but for his numerous theological heresies.  Details after the jump. [Read more…]