ElShamah - Reason & Science: Defending ID and the Christian Worldview
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ElShamah - Reason & Science: Defending ID and the Christian Worldview

Otangelo Grasso: This is my library, where I collect information and present arguments developed by myself that lead, in my view, to the Christian faith, creationism, and Intelligent Design as the best explanation for the origin of the physical world.

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Fine Tuning of the Solar System

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1Fine Tuning of the Solar System Empty Fine Tuning of the Solar System Sat Dec 21, 2013 2:07 pm



Fine Tuning of the Solar System


The universe, our galaxy, our solar system, and the Earth–Moon double planet system demonstrate clearly some remarkable evidence of highly intelligent design. If we consider them separately, each characteristic appears to be highly improbable due to random chance. When taken all of them together, the probability of random chance becomes as small as to be impossible. An alternative thought, designed by an intelligent creator is a more realistic explanation to many of the civilized people. In either way, we must admit that we are nothing but a product of a miracle—either a miracle of chance or a miracle of design. 3

Argument from the formation of the sun in a cluster 
1. Scientists determined that the Sun formed in a cluster of stars containing at least one massive star that died in a supernova explosion.
2. The distance to that supernova must have been close enough to enrich the solar nebula adequately, but not so close that it would have destroyed the disk from which the planets formed.
3. Such fine-tuning indicates design of the solar system that could have been done only by The Supreme Engineer, God.
4. God necessarily exists.


The Finely Tuned Parameters of the Solar System include:
- Our Sun is positioned far from the Milky Way's center in a galactic goldilocks zone of low radiation
- Our Sun placed in an arm of the Milky Way puts it where we can discover a vast swath of the entire universe
- Earth's orbit is nearly circular (eccentricity ~ 0.02) around the Sun providing a stability in a range of vital factors
- Earth's orbit has a low inclination keeping it's temperatures within a range permitting diverse ecosystems
- Earth's axial tilt is within a range that helps to stabilize our planet's climate
- the Moon's mass helps stabilize the Earth's tilt on its axis, which provides for the diversity of alternating seasons
- the Moon's distance from the Earth provides tides to keep life thriving in our oceans, and thus, worldwide
- the Moon's nearly circular orbit (eccentricity ~ 0.05) makes it's influence extraordinarily reliable
- the Moon is 1/400th the size of the Sun, and at 1/400th its distance, enables educational perfect eclipses
- the Earth's distance from the Sun provides for great quantities of life and climate-sustaining liquid water
- the Sun's extraordinary stable output of the energy
- the Sun's mass and size are just right for Earth's biosystem
- the Sun's luminosity and temperature are just right to provide for Earth's extraordinary range of ecosystems
- the color of the Sun's light from is tuned for maximum benefit for our plant life (photosynthesis)
- the Sun's low "metallicity" prevents the destruction of life on Earth
- etc., etc., etc.


Requirements Related to the Solar System
Correct number and mass of planets in system suffering significant drift
Correct orbital inclinations of companion planets in system
Correct variation of orbital inclinations of companion planets
Correct inclinations and eccentricities of nearby terrestrial planets
Correct in-spiral rate of stars into black holes within parent galaxy
Correct strength of magnetocentrifugally launched wind of parent star during its protostar era
Correct degree to which the atmospheric composition of the planet departs from thermodynamic equilibrium
Correct delivery rate of volatiles to planet from asteroid-comet belts during epoch of planet formation
Correct amount of outward migration of Neptune
Correct amount of outward migration of Uranus
Correct star formation rate in parent star vicinity during history of that star
Correct variation in star formation rate in parent star vicinity during history of that star
Correct birth date of the star-planetary system
Correct number of stars in system
Correct number and timing of close encounters by nearby stars
Correct proximity of close stellar encounters
Correct masses of close stellar encounters
Correct distance from nearest black hole
Correct absorption rate of planets and planetismals by parent star
Correct star age
Correct star metallicity
Correct ratio of 40K, 235,238U, 232Th to iron in star-planetary system
Correct star orbital eccentricity
Correct star mass
Correct star luminosity change relative to speciation types & rates
Correct star color
Correct star rotation rate
Correct rate of change in star rotation rate
Correct star magnetic field
Correct star magnetic field variability
Correct stellar wind strength and variability
Correct short period variation in parent star diameter
Correct star’s carbon to oxygen ratio
Correct star’s space velocity relative to Local Standard of Rest
Correct star’s short term luminosity variability
Correct star’s long term luminosity variability
Correct amplitude and duration of star spot cycle
Correct number & timing of solar system encounters with interstellar gas clouds and cloudlets
Correct galactic tidal forces on planetary system
Correct H3+ production
Correct supernovae rates & locations
Correct white dwarf binary types, rates, & locations
Correct structure of comet cloud surrounding planetary system
Correct polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon abundance in solar nebula
Correct mass of Neptune
Correct total mass of Kuiper Belt asteroids
Correct mass distribution of Kuiper Belt asteroids
Correct injection efficiency of shock wave material from nearby supernovae into collapsing molecular cloud that forms star and planetary system
Correct number and sizes of planets and planetesimals consumed by star
Correct variations in star’s diameter
Correct level of spot production on star’s surface
Correct variability of spot production on star’s surface
Correct mass of outer gas giant planet relative to inner gas giant planet
Correct Kozai oscillation level in planetary system
Correct reduction of Kuiper Belt mass during planetary system’s early history
Correct efficiency of stellar mass loss during final stages of stellar burning
Correct number, mass, and distance from star of gas giant planets in addition to planets of the mass and distance of Jupiter and Saturn




Of Gaps, Fine-Tuning and Newton’s Solar System


New research is providing a fascinating new perspective on fine-tuning and a three hundred year old debate. First for the context. When Isaac Newton figured out how the solar system worked he also detected a stability problem. Could the smooth-running machine go unstable, with planets smashing into each other? This is what the math indicated. But on the other hand, we’re still here. How could that be?

According to the Whig historians, Newton, a theist, solved the problem by invoking a divine finger. God must occasionally tweak the controls to keep things from getting out of control. It explained why the solar system hasn’t come to ruin, and it provided a role for divine providence which, otherwise, might not be needed for the cosmic machine that ran on its own.

About a century later, Whig history tells us, the French mathematician and scientist Pierre Laplace solved the stability problem when he figured out that Newton’s bothersome instabilities would iron themselves out over the long run. The solar system was inherently stable after all, with no need of divine adjustment, thank you.

Newton’s sin was to use god to plug a gap in our knowledge. What a terrible idea. First, using god to plug gaps is a science-stopper. Why investigate further if god fixes the tough problems? And second, it damages our faith when science eventually solves the problem and the divine role is further diminished. The key to avoiding this problem is to sequester religious thinking to its proper role. Science and religion must be separated lest both be damaged.

That’s the Whig history. Now for what actually happened. Instead of Newton being wrong and Laplace being right it was, as usual, the exact opposite. Newton was right and Laplace was wrong, though the problem is far more complex than either man understood.

And Newton was not the doctrinaire and Laplace was not the savior as the Whigs describe. Again, the truth would be closer to the exact opposite. Newton was more circumspect than is told, and Laplace didn’t actually solve the problem. True, he thought he had solved the problem, but his claim may indicate more about evolutionary thinking than anything to do with science.

And Newton’s allowing for divine creation and providence never shut down scientific inquiry. If that were the case he never would have written the greatest scientific treatise in history.

After Newton, the brightest minds were all over the problem of solar system stability (though it is a difficult problem and would take many years to even get the wrong answer). And no one’s faith was shattered when Laplace produced his incredibly complicated calculus solution because they were banking on some Newtonian interventionism.

But what did raise tempers was the very thought of God not only creating a system in need of repair, but then stooping so low as to adjust the controls of the errant machine. The early evolutionary thinker and Newton rival, Gottfried Leibniz found the idea more than disgraceful. The Lutheran intellectual accused Newton of disrespect for God in proposing the idea the God was not sufficiently skilled to create a self-sufficient clockwork universe.

The problem with Newton’s notion of divine providence was not that it is a science stopper (if anything such thinking spurs on scientific curiosity) or a faith killer when solutions are found. The problem is that it violates our deeply held gnosticism, which is at the foundation of evolutionary thought.

Darwin and later evolutionists have echoed Leibniz’ religious sentiment time and again. Everyone knew what the “right answer” was, and this was the cultural-religious context in which Laplace worked.

Indeed, Laplace’s “proof” for his Nebular Hypothesis of how the solar system evolved came right out of this context and was, not surprisingly, metaphysical to the core. You can read more about that here.

Today the question of the solar system’s stability remains a difficult problem. It does appear, however, that its stability is a consequence of some rather fine-tuning. Fascinating new researchseems to add to this story. The new results indicate that the solar system could become unstable if diminutive Mercury, the inner most planet, enters into a dance with Jupiter, the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest of all. The resulting upheaval could leave several planets in rubble, including our own.

Using Newton’s model of gravity, the chances of such a catastrophe were estimated to be greater than 50/50 over the next 5 billion years. But interestingly, accounting for Albert Einstein’s minor adjustments (according to his theory of relativity), reduces the chances to just 1%.

Like so much of evolutionary theory, this is an intriguing story because not only is the science interesting, but it is part of a larger confluence involving history, philosophy and theology.

Besides the cosmic dust accumulation on the surface of the moon being revealingly shallow, the planetary plane argues for Someone to have put the planets in this pancake arrangement rather recently. Over a long period of time, the arrangement would cease to hold its pattern. Original random orbits (or even orbits decayed from the present-day plantary plane) cannot account for this orderly arrangement in our day. What are the chances for three planets to be on the same flat plane? Astronomically slim. What are the chances for eight planets to accidentally and randomly come into this orderly arrangement? About 1x10 to the 17th power. One chance in 100 quadrillion. (See "Science Speaks" -Robert Stoner). The chances are so exceedingly improbable that they are below the threshold of ever possibly occurring. Thus, the arrangement of the planets in our solar system argue for an incredibly powerful, smart, and organized mind to have put the planets in their present orbits since random chance has logically been utterly and conclusively ruled out entirely.


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