Category Archives: News

The production of carbon from lighter elements is fine-tuned to an amazing degree

Fine-tuning of the strong nuclear force and the fine structure constant
Fine-tuning of the strong nuclear force and the fine structure constant

If there is one thing that science fiction is good for, it’s for popularizing the phrase “carbon-based life”. Everyone has heard that carbon is essential for life. But do you know why carbon is so important? And did you know that the reaction that produced the carbon in our universe is actually fine-tuned, and therefore evidence for a Creator and Designer of the universe?

Hugh Ross has a new article up in Salvo magazine, which I found thanks to a post at Uncommon Descent.

Now he starts off with a discussion of how the mass density of the universe needed to be fine-tuned in order to produce elements heavier than hydrogen from the (only) hydrogen that was present at the creation event. I’ve talked about that reaction previously, but I won’t repeat that here. Nucleosynthesis is one of the most important chemical reactions in science, and something every Christian should know and understand well enough to explain it.

You can’t make complex embodied intelligent creatures such as ourselves out of only hydrogen and helium, but you can’t make a life permitting universe without some hydrogen and helium. For one thing, you can’t have liquid water without some hydrogen.

But the element carbon is the center hub of all of the molecules inside of us that allow for the storage and processing of information necessary for life.  And it turns out that the reaction that creates carbon from elements lighter than carbon is fine-tuned to an amazing degree.

Excerpt:

But cosmic mass density is not the only thing that must have been exquisitely fine-tuned for the universe to contain any carbon. The nuclear resonance (or energy) levels for helium, beryllium, carbon, and oxygen also had to be exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon to exist. Here’s how that happens.

Stars fuse carbon and oxygen from helium through a series of reactions known as the triple-alpha process, in which three helium nuclei are combined to make one carbon nucleus. In the first step in this process, two helium nuclei (with 2 protons each) fuse together to make beryllium (which has 4 protons). Next, a helium nucleus fuses with a beryllium nucleus to make carbon (which has 6 protons). Then, some carbon nuclei fuse with helium nuclei to make oxygen (which has 8 protons).

The only reason that the triple-alpha process produces any carbon or oxygen at all is because in the first step, the ground state energy level (i.e., the state of an atom when all of its electrons are at their lowest energy levels) of the beryllium-8 nucleus (containing 4 protons and 4 neutrons) almost exactly equals the ground state energy level of two helium-4 nuclei (2 protons and 2 neutrons each). In the second step, the ground state energy level of a beryllium-8 nucleus plus a helium-4 nucleus almost exactly equals the energy level of an excited state of a carbon-12 nucleus (6 protons and 6 neutrons). In the third step, the ground state energy level of a carbon-12 nucleus at 7.65 million electron volts is just slightly larger than the ground state energy level of an oxygen-16 nucleus (8 protons and 8 neutrons) at 7.12 million electron volts.1

If it were not for the near equivalences or resonances of the nuclear energy levels of two helium nuclei relative to a beryllium nucleus, and of a beryllium nucleus plus a helium nucleus relative to a carbon nucleus, the universe would contain very little or no carbon and very little or no elements heavier than carbon. Life would be impossible.

Furthermore, unless the difference in the nuclear energy levels between a carbon nucleus and an oxygen nucleus were precisely 0.53 million electron volts, the universe would contain either a lot of carbon and no oxygen or a lot of oxygen and no carbon. Either way, physical life would be impossible in the universe.

In the early 1950s, astronomer Fred Hoyle and physicist Willy Fowler were the first to understand how critical the relative nuclear energy levels of helium, beryllium, carbon, and oxygen were for making life possible in the universe. Commenting on the highly fine-tuned nature of these nuclear energy levels, Hoyle wrote in an article he published in Engineering & Science,

A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion beyond question.2

The article continues to explain that there is an additional problem of carbon fine-tuning related to habitability.

The carbon formation problem is one of the best examples of fine-tuning, and as you can see, it’s even admitted by atheists. It’s not the easiest one to explain (because resonance levels are not familiar in every day life), but it’s worth knowing about all three of the fine-tuning topics in the post.

Keep in mind that the more science has made progress, the more fine-tuning problems we have discovered. The trend is very bad if you are a naturalist. But very good if you are a theist. Evidence matters, and scientific evidence is the best kind of evidence.

How will men adapt to violence against men and false accusations?

A massive decline in marriage rate
A massive decline in marriage rate (per 1,000 of population in America)

A couple of women who write for the Daily Wire keep posting scary stories of men being mistreated by women. I’m going to link to a few of their stories below, from last week. Then I want to say something about why these sorts of events are happening so frequently, and what message it sends to men who might want to have a committed relationship with a woman.

The two women writers at Daily Wire are Amanda Prestigiacamo and Ashe Schow.

Here is one from May 8th, by Amanda:

Thirty-six-year-old Kenan Basic spent weeks in jail, lost his relationship, and was repeatedly slandered after a woman falsely accused him of sexual misconduct.

According to Australia-based 7NEWS, Basic was accused of “indecently assaulting and stalking” Caitlyn Gray, a 19-year-old woman, after he stopped to help her when her car broke down late last year.

Basic apparently spent two hours fixing Gray’s vehicle. As shown by surveillance footage, the smiling pair seem happy, hugging after the car is fixed and eventually parting ways. But according to the news station, “Gray told police Basic had allegedly propositioned her for sex in return for his help before he pursued her in the car and later indecently assaulted her at a different location.” Authorities investigating the incident called Basic’s behavior “predatory.”

Months later, however, the truth about the incident finally came out: Basic never assaulted the woman. The 19-year-old confessed to police during an interrogation that she fabricated evidence and made up the assault whole-cloth.

So what lesson would a man learn from this? Well, he would learn that women can’t be trusted to be grateful when they are given help.

More:

The falsely accused man noted that he’s “never been jailed, never had a criminal record or anything.”

“I always help people, all my life,” he said. “And this was the first time a snake bit me.”

The 36-year-old said he’ll “probably never help again, ya know. I don’t want that to happen again.”

I don’t know why this woman made this false accusation. Studies show that women generally make false accusations for attention, for an alibi, to get revenge, or to get sympathy after they’ve chosen to have sex with someone who ignored them after. This case doesn’t fit any of these scenarios. Maybe she felt slighted because he didn’t try anything with her, and that made her feel unattractive. But the message to good men who want to help women is clear: the risk is too great.

Here’s another story from May 11th, by Ashe:

Ah to be one of those poor, oppressed women who have fewer privileges than men.

A woman like Jazzmin Fry, who was so oppressed that when she stabbed a complete stranger — a man — with one of her stilettos for literally no reason, she only had to pay a $250 fine as punishment. Her conviction wasn’t even recorded outside of the press.

[…]The victim, Kyle Johns, 19, was taken to the hospital and needed two staples in his head to repair the wound.

What lesson will men learn from stories like this one? Well, they’ll learn that there is a double standard in the justice system, such that men are held accountable for their choices, but women are not. That’s because men are seen as responsible for their actions, and women are not seen as responsible – no matter how much harm they cause.

Ashe says:

Women in the justice system — whether in Australia, or the U.K., or the U.S. — get off much easier than men for the same crimes. One of the biggest disparities can be found in sexual assaults against minors. When women commit these crimes — whether against a young boy or girl, or teenager — they receive much lighter sentences than men do for the same crime.

As I have written previously, men who abuse children (rightly) receive harsh punishments. A 32-year-old man who sexually abused a young girl over the course of several years faced 366 years to life in prison. Yet a 25-year-old woman who pleaded guilty to raping young boys at a trailer park only received five years probation.

[…]In 2012, University of Michigan professor Sonja Starr researched the gender disparities in federal criminal cases and found that “men receive 63% longer sentences on average than women do” and that “Women are … twice as likely to avoid incarceration if convicted.”

Men are very aware of disparities in the criminal justice system, but when I talk to women about it, they are rarely aware of it. But this is just one example of an area where men are at a disadvantage, and the problem only gets worse as more and more feminists take control of legislation, law enforcement and criminal courts. Almost every man knows a story of about how divorce courts treated a man badly, whether it be with unfair alimony or child support, false accusations, or even jail. And it seems like all the momentum in society is to make everything better for women, and worse for men. This is easily seen by looking at studies of how the public schools – which are dominated by  female teachers and administrators – discriminate against boys.

Here’s a third one from May 13th, by Amanda:

A false accusation of sexual assault turned deadly last month in Utah when a teen girl’s brother sought vengeance over the claim of sexual assault that never was.

A 16-year-old girl, whose identity has not been revealed because she’s a minor, told her 17-year-old brother that Michael Fife, 62, sexually assaulted her on a Cache Valley Transit District (CVTD) bus. The 17-year-old tracked down Fife and physically attacked him when he got off the bus; wounds from the altercation left him dead.

According to Logan Police Department, reviewed surveillance footage from the bus revealed that the alleged assault never happened.

According to the police, “the video showed Mr. Fife walking past the girl, but no sexual assault occurred.” Did she lie just to see what effect it would have on her brother?

My thoughts

Here is a fourth story about an NFL player who refused to have sex with a woman, and he was falsely charged with raping her, as reported on May 10th, in The College Fix.

This one is important, because this guy lost millions of dollars in salary, because he was kept out of the NFL two years, when his accuser had no evidence whatsoever. That’s how unfair the system has become for men, and men with more to lose have more reason to avoid any relationships with women. Men with more money have more to lose to a false accusation. And these stories are so common in our age.

When a man measures up how much a woman adds to his life, and compares it to the risk of being cleaned out on a fact-free false accusation, it’s not a good value proposition. Women often look at things only from the woman’s point of view, and so they are mystified by how men could think like this. They just can’t seem to put themselves into men’s shoes to understand how dangerous women have become to men. And then men get told how weak and cowardly they are for refusing to ask women out, for refusing to commit, etc.

I think that the only women who are safe are women who have put in the effort to learn about these injustices towards men. If you are interested in a woman for a relationship, then ask her to name a few challenges that men face in this anti-male society. Ask her if she has a male relative who has faced a false accusation. Ask her if she has experience battling for men’s rights. If she doesn’t stand up for good men before marriage, she won’t respect you after marriage.

Women of the previous generation knew how to prepare herself for wife and mother roles, and present herself to a man in order to persuade him to marry her. Too many women in today’s generation have lost that ability to be feminine. They have lost the ability to be a real friend and support to a man. They don’t want to nurture his ability to be a masculine leader in a home.

It is rare to find a woman who is putting in the work to learn about things like abortion, divorce, and same-sex marriage. Most of them are instead focused on single motherhood by choice, delaying marriage for career, surrogacy, etc. Most women aren’t prepared to fight against anti-marriage, anti-child forces, and men sense from this that they aren’t serious about marriage as it really is: a self-sacrificial commitment requiring female and male natures.

Most young, unmarried women take on the priorities of the culture: animal rights, global warming, equal pay, abortion rights, gun control, higher taxes, single payer healthcare, public schools, etc. But most know very little about how to prepare themselves for a husband, or prepare themselves to provide for their children.

Atheist gets her PhD in astronomy and astrophysics and finds evidence for God

Christianity and the progress of science
Christianity and the progress of science

Christian apologist Terrell Clemmons tweeted this testimony by Sarah Salviander, a research scientist in astronomy and astrophysics at the prestigious University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Salviander writes:

I was born in the U.S., but grew up in Canada. My parents were socialists and political activists who thought British Columbia would be a better place for us to live, since it had the only socialist government in North America at the time. My parents were also atheists, though they eschewed that label in favor of “agnostic.” They were kind, loving, and moral, but religion played no part in my life. Instead, my childhood revolved around education, particularly science. I remember how important it was to my parents that my brother and I did well in school.

I just want to point out that I hope that all you Christian parents are taking seriously the obligation to make your kids do well in school, because even if they start out as atheists when they are young, they can still find their way back to God through study, as Sarah did.

She had a bad start, that’s for sure:

I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, a time when science fiction was enjoying a renaissance, thanks largely to the popularity of Star Wars. I remember how fascinated I was by the original Star Wars trilogy. It had almost nothing to do with science—it’s more properly characterized as space opera—but it got me thinking about space in a big way. I also loved the original Star Trek, which was more science fiction. The stoic and logical character of Mr. Spock was particularly appealing to me. Popular science was also experiencing a renaissance at that time, which had a lot to do with Carl Sagan’s television show, Cosmos, which I adored. The combination of these influences led to such an intense wonder about outer space and the universe, that by the time I was nine years old I knew I would be a space scientist someday.

Canada was already post-Christian by the 1970s, so I grew up with no religion. In retrospect, it’s amazing that for the first 25 years of my life, I met only three people who identified as Christian. My view of Christianity was negative from an early age, and by the time I was in my twenties, I was actively hostile toward Christianity. Looking back, I realized a lot of this was the unconscious absorption of the general hostility toward Christianity that is common in places like Canada and Europe; my hostility certainly wasn’t based on actually knowing anything about Christianity. I had come to believe that Christianity made people weak and foolish; I thought it was philosophically trivial. I was ignorant not only of the Bible, but also of the deep philosophy of Christianity and the scientific discoveries that shed new light on the origins of the universe and life on Earth.

She documents a phase of following Ayn Rand and embracing “Objectivism”, but eventually she rejects it for failing to answer the big questions of life.

More:

I began to focus all of my energy on my studies, and became very dedicated to my physics and math courses. I joined campus clubs, started to make friends, and, for the first time in my life, I was meeting Christians. They weren’t like Objectivists—they were joyous and content. And, they were smart, too. I was astonished to find that my physics professors, whom I admired, were Christian. Their personal example began to have an influence on me, and I found myself growing less hostile to Christianity.

This is why I think it is so important for Christian parents to raise their children to get advanced degrees… either to become professors themselves, or to finance others (e.g. – our own children) to do advanced degrees. It is so important for university students to see Christian professors on campus. And failing that, it’s important that we bring Christian speakers in to debate non-Christian speakers on the important issues. This will not happen unless we recognize how important it is, and then make a plan to achieve it.

More:

I had joined a group in the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences (CASS) that was researching evidence for the big bang. The cosmic background radiation—the leftover radiation from the big bang—provides the strongest evidence for the theory, but cosmologists need other, independent lines of evidence to confirm it. My group was studying deuterium abundances in the early universe. Deuterium is an isotope of hydrogen, and its abundance in the early universe is sensitive to the amount of ordinary mass contained in the entire universe. Believe it or not, this one measurement tells us whether the big bang model is correct.

If anyone is interested in how this works, I’ll describe it, but for now I’ll spare you the gruesome details. Suffice it to say that an amazing convergence of physical properties is necessary in order to study deuterium abundances in the early universe, and yet this convergence is exactly what we get. I remember being astounded by this, blown away, completely and utterly awed. It seemed incredible to me that there was a way to find the answer to this question we had about the universe. In fact, it seems that every question we have about the universe is answerable. There’s no reason it has to be this way, and it made me think of Einstein’s observation that the most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it’s comprehensible. I started to sense an underlying order to the universe. Without knowing it, I was awakening to what Psalm 19 tells us so clearly, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

That summer, I’d picked up a copy of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas and was reading it in my off hours. Previous to this, I’d only known it as an exciting story of revenge, since that’s what the countless movie and TV adaptations always focused on. But it’s more than just a revenge story, it’s a philosophically deep examination of forgiveness and God’s role in giving justice. I was surprised by this, and was starting to realize that the concept of God and religion was not as philosophically trivial as I had thought.

All of this culminated one day, as I was walking across that beautiful La Jolla campus. I stopped in my tracks when it hit me—I believed in God! I was so happy; it was like a weight had been lifted from my heart. I realized that most of the pain I’d experienced in my life was of my own making, but that God had used it to make me wiser and more compassionate. It was a great relief to discover that there was a reason for suffering, and that it was because God was loving and just. God could not be perfectly just unless I—just like everyone else—was made to suffer for the bad things I’d done.

The Count of Monte Cristo is one of my favorite, favorite books as well, and had the same impact on me as it did on her.

OK, that’s enough for this post. Go read the rest, and please share it.

I spoke to her recently and she told me that she is working on several projects that are designed to get people more familiar with science and Bible issues. This woman is an expert Christian apologist and her life will have an influence. Are you going to be like her? Will you mentor others to be like her? Will you marry someone like her? Will you raise children who are like her? I think we should all have a plan to study the areas that are important and have an influence for God with what we learn.

Positive arguments for Christian theism

New study: more than half of all female-to-male transgender teens attempt suicide

Anti-marriage gay activists vandalize church
Anti-marriage gay activists vandalize church

A recent study by a researcher out of Brown University found that the exploding rates of transgender young people is being driven in part by social factors. In particular, coming out as transgender gives young people instant popularity, and everyone around them feels obligated to affirm them and agree with them. Or else. What’s missing? What’s missing is any sort of warning about the dangers of transgenderism.

The Daily Wire reports on a new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Excerpt:

A new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics found an alarming number of teens who identify as transgender or nonbinary have attempted suicide at least once, showcasing the dangers of the transgender movement. More than half of all female-to-male transgender teens, for example, have attempted to end their lives.

Researchers behind the study used data collected from more than 600 teens over a 36-month period, June 2012 to May 2015, from the “Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes and Behaviors” survey.

The study found that female-to-male trans teens had the highest suicide attempt rate of all other identity groups surveyed: 50.8%. Unsurprisingly, other gender-confused teens had outrageously high rates of suicide attempts, too. Nonbinary adolescents, meaning teens who do not identify exclusively as female or male, were found to have a 41.8% suicide attempt rate; male-to-female trans teens had a 29.9% rate; and “questioning” teens had a rate of 27.9%.

By comparison, teens who identified as their biological sex and corresponding gender suffered relatively low (though still too high) rates: females were found to have a 17.6% rate while males had the lowest of any other group at 9.8%.

When I tell LGBT people about the health risks of their choices, and cite peer-reviewed studies, the most frequent response is that they get angry and even violent and demand approval. I have even heard threats that if I don’t approve of what they feel like doing, then they will kill themselves, and their blood will be on my hands.

The thing is, there is a study about that. Even though LGBT people think that approval will make them feel better about what they are doing, it’s not true. In societies where social approval and government support of LGBT behaviors are HIGHER than in America, the suicide rates are still extremely high.

Life Site News explains:

A study out of Sweden published last month has found that suicide risk among active homosexuals is high even in a region that is highly tolerant of same-sex behaviour.

Published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, the authors found that men in same-sex “marriages” were at three times greater risk of suicide than men who are married to women.

The authors note in their abstract:

Even in a country with a comparatively tolerant climate regarding homosexuality such as Sweden, same-sex married individuals evidence a higher risk for suicide than other married individuals.

Just in passing, what a strange way to respond to disagreement. I have people disagree with my chastity, my Christianity, my conservative politics, etc. all the time. It never occurs to me to threaten to commit suicide if they don’t approve. I also don’t try to get them fired, insult them, shame them, vandalize their property, assault them, murder them, or drag them in front of a government-run political correctness panel. I don’t even mind that they use their free speech to disagree with me. After all, they are people made in the image of God, with an equal right to be in a relationship with God. I can’t do anything that is going to cause them to think that God doesn’t love them.

It’s useful to remember that the Christian view on life is not to neglect God’s design and tell people to do whatever they want. The Christian view is to tell people God’s design, set boundaries, and encourage people to make good decisions. Christians don’t believe in love as mere acceptance. Christians believe in “love warns”. I tell young people not to run up student loan debt studying useless non-STEM degrees. They might feel bad, but it’s the truth: they won’t be able to find a job that allows them to pay the money back. Warning people about sexual issues is the same thing, in my mind.

If white Americans are racist, how come Asians do so well in America?

Asians marry before they have children, so the kids have two parents
Asians marry before they have children, so the kids have two parents

This article is written by the far-left radical Nicholas Kristof, writing in the radically-leftist New York Times. (A former newspaper)

Excerpt:

THIS is an awkward question, but here goes: Why are Asian-Americans so successful in America?

It’s no secret that Asian-Americans are disproportionately stars in American schools, and even in American society as a whole. Census data show that Americans of Asian heritage earn more than other groups, including whites. Asian-Americans also have higher educational attainment than any other group.

[…]Does the success of Asian-Americans suggest that the age of discrimination is behind us?

A new scholarly book, “The Asian American Achievement Paradox,” by Jennifer Lee and Min Zhou, notes that Asian-American immigrants in recent decades have started with one advantage: They are highly educated, more so even than the average American. These immigrants are disproportionately doctors, research scientists and other highly educated professionals.

It’s not surprising that the children of Asian-American doctors would flourish in the United States. But Lee and Zhou note that kids of working-class Asian-Americans often also thrive, showing remarkable upward mobility.

Part of the problem is that non-Asian Americans take a passive view of life, believing that high grades come to those who are naturally smart – not to those who work harder:

There’s also evidence that Americans believe that A’s go to smart kids, while Asians are more likely to think that they go to hard workers… Asian-American kids are allowed no excuse for getting B’s — or even an A-. The joke is that an A- is an “Asian F.”

And, as the image I posted above shows, Asian girls are given boundaries on their sexuality, causing them to choose men who will be good husbands and fathers, and making those men marry before being given sex – factors proven to improve marital stability:

Strong two-parent families are a factor, too. Divorce rates are much lower for many Asian-American communities than for Americans as a whole, and there’s evidence that two-parent households are less likely to sink into poverty and also have better outcomes for boys in particular.

So, let’s be real – if white racial discrimination held non-white groups back, then Asians would be in the same situation as blacks and hispanics. But Asians are not being held back, because of their strong marriage culture and focus on hard work. Whites don’t hold anyone back. This is just a myth that Democrats use to make blacks (and hispanics) think that they need government to save them from the bogeyman. Asians don’t need saving, and neither should any other non-white groups.

We can start by shaming women of all races who choose to have sex with men who are not ready for marriage. There are lots of men out  there who are willing to marry, and that should be what women are looking for most if all in a man. That change alone will probably erase most of the achievement gap between different racial groups. Does anyone have the courage to tell young women (of all races) to be more responsible with their sexual decisions? The out-of-wedlock birth rate for blacks is over 70%. This causes massive poverty and crime in the black community. Does anyone have the courage to tell blacks that they are doing this to themselves?