Monday, December 31, 2018

A New Particle Lurking?

In 1995 when I was a post-doctoral researcher at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in California, the top quark was discovered by two experiments at Fermilab near Chicago. This was an exciting event, for the top quark was the sixth and last quark predicted by the standard model of particle physics and had been searched for since 1977 when the bottom quark was discovered. (Quarks come in pairs so when the bottom quark was discovered, which was the fifth known quark at the time, a sixth quark was predicted to also exist. For a brief discussion of quarks and the standard model of physics see a previous post about the top quark.)

A physicist who was collaborating on one of the experiments that discovered the top quark at Fermilab came to give a lecture at SLAC to explain the details of this significant discovery to a packed auditorium. When the presentation ended I was walking out of the auditorium with a graduate student and I remarked, "Wow, that was great. They discovered the top quark." The student replied, "No it wasn't great. It looks exactly what we expected to find." In that moment, I realized the graduate student was correct and had taught me a lesson about scientific inquiry. In general, the most significant discoveries are not those that are predicted based on what we already know, but rather those that are completely unexpected. Though the discovery of the top quark was extremely important in the field of particle physics, it was indeed, exactly what we had expected to find.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Creator Revealed: Now a Lighthouse Book

Every once in a while it is a good idea to break out of the usual routine and do something different. So in this post, rather than my usual discussion of science and Christianity, I'm going to share some encouraging news and even indulge in some self promotion. About six months ago my book The Creator Revealed: A Scientist Examines the Big Bang and the Bible was published by WestBow press. When the book was first published I devoted a blog entry to outline the contents of the book, discuss some of my motivation for writing it, and describe some of the story of how it eventually was published. As I said in my previous post, "There are many good books that discuss the relationship of science and Christianity and describe how science agrees with and supports the Bible. But almost all of those books are written in relatively technical language that can be difficult to read and understand, even for well-educated people who may not be scientifically minded. In contrast to most books on this subject, The Creator Revealed is written in simple conversational language that is entertaining and engaging."

The encouraging and exciting news is that Westbow Press will soon be re-releasing The Creator Revealed within their "Lighthouse Recognition Program." This program is reserved for Westbow books that have shown growth and promise within the marketplace. Lighthouse books are published with the special Lighthouse logo as can be seen in the picture of the new back cover above.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Adam and Eve as Federal Representatives of Humanity

If you have ever competed on a debate team then you have probably had to argue for a position that you don't actually believe is true. A good debater understands the various sides of an issue and can make a plausible argument either for or against a certain position even if they personally hold a different view about that particular issue. In this blog post, I will attempt to be a good debater and argue for a position that I currently don't think is correct.

In my previous four blog posts I have discussed various issues about Adam and Even including the genetic evidence that points to a common female and male ancestor of all humans, the origin of modern human behavior, some options about who Adam and Eve were and when they lived, and some comments on the scientific and biblical viability of the four different views on Adam and Eve. In discussing these issues I have ventured outside of my physics expertise and into the realm of genetics and archeology. Two of the possible ideas that were proposed about Adam and Eve, the Genealogical View and the Federal View, would imply that they were not the genetic ancestors of all humans throughout history. If that were true, then many questions arise about whether or not such a view could be compatible with the biblical account of the fall of humans and of the universality of sin and a fallen human nature. To answer these types of questions I have to continue this journey outside of my arena of physics expertise and into the arena of theology. I also have to propose and defend a position that I currently do not think is correct. So I'll put on my debater's hat and dive right in.

In this journey which may take us far from the traditional understanding of Adam and Eve, let's address three questions (1) is Genesis 2 written as a historical narrative or a figurative narrative, (2) what does Paul say about Adam's sin and its consequences in Romans 5, and (3) if Adam and Eve were not the genetic ancestors of all humans, how do humans inherit their fallen nature? Remember that in this post I am promoting ideas I do not currently think are true, but I do think have some viability and could possibly be true if some other certain propositions were confirmed.