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  • A Theology for Synthetic Biology, Part 1 (of 2)

    January 22, 2012

    It’s just a matter of time before synthetic biologists create artificial life in the lab. This endeavor causes many Christians concern and raises a number of important philosophical and theological questions. It has become apparent to me that there is a need for a theology for synthetic biology. Part 1 of this series provides an introduction to synthetic biology and a brief status report about its progress, and also addresses key philosophical concerns. Part 2 proposes a theology for synthetic biology derived from Genesis 1:26–31 and applies it to the most important questions raised by this emerging discipline.

    • Artificial Life in the Lab
  • TNRTB Classic: Big Bang Cosmology

    January 19, 2012

    On Monday I discussed a recent discovery that boosts confidence in the big bang theory. Numerous tests of increasingly detailed aspects continue to affirm the model and, thus, give scientists a good reason for assurance in the validity of big bang cosmology. This previous TNRTB discusses confidence-boosting discoveries from the past 20 years and shows why prominent young-earth creationists’ arguments against big bang cosmology don’t really hold water. In an ironic twist, the particular issues young-earth creationists pegged 20 years ago as problems for big bang cosmology now provide some of the strongest support for it.

    • Big Bang
  • Gas Clouds Found Sans Metals

    January 16, 2012

    Four minutes after the big bang, hydrogen and helium constituted the only elements in the universe (except for minute amounts of lithium). No heavier elements—which astronomers refer to as “metals”—existed until the first stars formed a few hundred million years later. The initially fruitless search for gas clouds that reflect this lack of metals cast some doubt on the validity of big bang cosmology. But recent observational efforts found two clouds with no detectable metals and the amount of deuterium measured in the clouds provides direct confirmation of the standard big bang model.

    • Big Bang
    • Astronomy and the Bible
  • Podcast Highlight: Busy as a Beaver

    January 12, 2012

    If you were asked to name an animal that has greatly impacted the economic growth of the North American nations, would beavers come to mind? If not, they definitely should. Thanks to ground-penetrating radar readings from satellites, scientists have discovered that beaver dams—once abundant throughout North America—were instrumental in the subterranean sediment buildups that comprise this continent.

    • Life Design
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  • Podcast Highlight: The Elephant in the Room

    January 9, 2012

    Does the elephant’s sixth “toe” represent an example of common descent or common design? Recent extensive research, using modern technologies, weighs in on a centuries-long debate over the origin and purpose of the elephant’s sixth toe. Fossil records indicate that the toe first appeared in elephant anatomy 40 million years ago when elephantine species began to undergo changes in size and habitat.

    • Convergence
  • TNRTB Classic: More Standard Candles

    January 5, 2012

    Earlier this week I discussed the newly discovered advantages of using active galactic nuclei as standard candles for improving precision cosmology. In the past, other standard candles have helped astronomers explore remote regions of the cosmos from the safety of planet Earth. Check out these previous TNRTB posts for details on the brightness of the “tip of the red giant branch” and Type Ia supernovae and their usefulness as standard candles.

    • Universe Design
    • Big Bang
  • Active Galactic Nuclei: A New Standard Candle

    January 2, 2012

    The ability to test, in detail, the properties of the universe during its early epochs has huge implications for establishing the validity of the Christian faith.

    • Big Bang
    • Universe Design
  • TNRTB Classic: Colliding Galaxies

    December 22, 2011

    As I explain in Monday’s post, galaxies collide regularly with one another. These collisions play a significant role in galaxy structure—particularly the formation and maintenance of the spiral arms as well as provide fuel for ongoing star formation. Check out this previous TNRTB post to learn how astronomers observe the outer regions of the Milky Way to find evidence of these abundant collision events.

    • Galaxy Design
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  • Steady Diet of Dwarf Galaxies Maintains Milky Way Spirals

    December 19, 2011

    The Milky Way Galaxy’s spiral arms play a prominent role in ensuring the habitability of Earth. Recent simulations demonstrate that this spiral structure relies on regular collisions between the Milky Way Galaxy and other smaller galaxies. Too few or too many collisions would disrupt the spiral arms, as would collisions with galaxies that are too large. Thus, the collision rate and the size of the colliding galaxies exhibit fine-tuning.

    • Galaxy Design
  • TNRTB Classic: Optimizing the Genetic Code

    December 15, 2011

    In my book The Cell’s Design, I illustrate how optimization indicates intelligent design. That is, when humans create objects and/or systems, they optimize their creations to handle trade-offs.

    • Biochemical Design
  • Protein Life Times: Just-Right Evidence for Design

    December 12, 2011

    A recent study by scientists from Belgium and Spain exemplifies the unremitting stream of apologetically significant research in biochemistry. It turns out that protein amino acid sequences, production rates, and the duration of protein existence inside the cell are carefully optimized so these “workhorse molecules of life” possess maximum structural stability, while minimizing the likelihood that they will aggregate.

    • Biochemical Design
  • TNRTB Classic: The Hunt for Dark Matter Continues

    December 8, 2011

    In my Monday post on Today’s New Reason to Believe, I explained the significance of dark energy, a substance that, together with the other dark “stuff,” makes up 99.73 percent of the universe. Its quantity in the universe is also one of the most outstanding examples of fine-tuning.

    • Universe Design
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  • Accumulating Evidence for Dark Energy and Supernatural Design

    December 5, 2011

    Astronomers now know that the observable universe contains about 200 billion medium and large-sized galaxies and about a hundred times more dwarf galaxies.1 It all adds up to about 50 billion trillion stars. That’s a lot of light bathing the cosmos! Yet all these—stars, galaxies, gas clouds, planets with their heat and light, and burnt out extinct stars—make up just 0.27 percent of the “stuff” in the universe.

    • Universe Design
  • RTB's Dark Energy Articles

    December 4, 2011

    Accumulating Evidence for Dark Energy and Supernatural Design

    • Astronomy and the Bible
  • TNRTB Classic: A Tangled Evolutionary Tree

    December 1, 2011

    On Monday, I outlined the reasoning that leads researchers to disregard important data in their search for genomic evidence to support the theoretical relationship between humans and great apes. In this week’s class TNRTB offering, my colleague Fuz Rana shows how studies of human and ape genomes don’t live up to evolutionists’ expectations.

    • Evolutionary Trees
    • Humans vs. Chimps
  • Assumptions, Circular Reasoning, and a Literal Adam and Eve

    November 28, 2011

    Many scientists claim that genetic evidence clearly demonstrates humans are descended from chimps and the original population of humans was much larger than a single man and woman (the biblical Adam and Eve). They base these claims on theoretical models of the evolutionary relationship between humans, chimps, gorillas, orangutans, and rhesus monkeys. In this article, I explain the erroneous assumptions and the process used to support this conclusion.

    • Adam & Eve
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  • TNRTB Classic: Beneficial Catastrophes

    November 24, 2011

    The migration of the gas giant planets in the early solar system could have destroyed Earth or at least its capacity to support life. Yet it happened in such a way that enhanced Earth’s habitability.

    • Extrasolar Planets
  • Solar System May Have Started with Five Gas Giants

    November 21, 2011

    Many events and processes in Earth’s history could have destroyed the planet’s capacity to support life, yet they often enhanced it. Astronomers know that the solar system’s gas giant planets formed in different orbits and then moved to their current locations at a later time. A recent study shows how this migration could have occurred in a way that ensured Earth’s habitability but at the expense of a gas giant being ejected into space.

    • Extrasolar Planets
  • TNRTB Classic: The Top-Down Approach to Artificial Life

    November 17, 2011

    Earlier this week, I wrote about recent advances in the creation of artificial cells from the bottom-up. Researchers have also made significant progress in creating artificial life from the top-down.

    • Artificial Life in the Lab
  • Artificial Life: Ready or Not Here It Comes

    November 14, 2011

    A number of scientists are trying to create life in the lab, specifically artificial cells.

    • Artificial Life in the Lab
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