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July 09, 2012

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Jay Dee

Perhaps they do discuss this somewhere but I've found you can be pushed off a forum pretty quickly if you dare to question the orthodoxy. I had that experience a few years ago when I dared to question that c was a constant. After all, we've only been able to accurately measure the speed of light for less than two centuries; an instant on cosmological time scales.

Michael Prescott

The Big Bang produced helium as well as hydrogen. Otherwise the first generation of stars would have burned pure hydrogen, and would not have served as efficient cosmic furnaces for the creation of heavier elements. Some helium (but not too much) was required to get the process going. The calibrations are very fine; there was remarkably little room for error.

"The availability of neutrons as the universe cools through temperatures appropriate for nuclear fusion determines the amount of helium produced during the first few minutes of the big bang. If the weak nuclear force coupling constant were slightly larger, neutrons would decay more readily, and therefore would be less available. Hence, little or no helium would be produced from the big bang. Without the necessary helium, heavy elements sufficient for the constructing of life would not be made by the nuclear furnaces inside stars. On the other hand, if this constant were slightly smaller, the big bang would burn most or all of the hydrogen into helium, with a subsequent over-abundance of heavy elements made by stars, and again life would not be possible."

Source: http://tinyurl.com/73z7e4c

Ken Mitchell

As you fuse atomic nuclei together to build heavier atoms, you get a little bit of extra energy left over. That happens fusing hydrogen into helium, with a bit less extra energy when you fuse helium into carbon or oxygen, and a little less all the way through the Periodic Table. This is called, non-intuitively, the "packing fractions" curve. And as you fuse heavier and heavier elements, you get less and less energy.

Until you get to iron. Iron is at the trough of the packing fraction curve. It takes extra energy to be put IN to fuse iron together into something heavier. So where did the gold, lead, uranium and other really heavy elements come from? During the final moments of a REALLY big star's life, there's enough extra energy in to stellar core to begin fusing iron - but because iron fusion sucks energy out of the star, the star begins to collapse. The enormous heat and pressure of the outer layers restore the heat lost by iron fusion in the core, and in a very short time, the entire star begins to collapse in on itself.

The mid-levels of the star suffer a sort of rebound explosion, and the core of the star is crushed unimaginably into a neutron star or black hole, while the middle and outer layers, subject to the truly titanic energies being released, fuse everything into heavier elements on past uranium - in the same instant that the matter is being blasted back into space. The exploding star is a nova, or a supernova (depending on its original mass) and the core of the star itself winks out as it is crushed to neutron star or black hole.

We know that our solar system is at least a third-generation, formed from the dust and gas of many previous supernova explosions. The iron in your blood and the gold in your jewelry was forged in the cores of massive stars.

john jay

ken:

thank you for your note.

i understand the basic process, though this explanation of energy surplus until we get to iron i did not know about.

but, you miss the central topic of my post.

and, that is this little point of "process."

it is an amazing process, is it not, this whole business of nuclear fusion creating the elements, and, ultimately, us.

and, the end result is intelligence.

i am suggesting, with all due humility, that the end also reflects an intelligence at the beginning, a suggestion that to my mind cannot be overcome by assertions of mere chance guiding the whole process.

to my mind, this is the issue that science will not meet.

surely, there must be a physicist somewhere in the world who can calculate the levels of improbability of this whole chance of events being random.

and, the whole chain of unlikely events starts w/ an extra neutron, and the fusion process itself, which is driven, at least to my rudimentary understanding, by gravity itself.

no gravity, no compaction and accretion of the hydrogen in stars, and no fusion. no fusion, no building blocks, as it were.

it has not escaped my notice that all the proponents of the big bag put into a single room cannot yet explain or define the workings of gravity.

nor to my satisfaction, how it got here. you may notice, that gravity big bang, big bang gravity, is the very most basic form of a tautology, and is untenable as explanation.

ball in your court.

john jay

Adam Robert Ryan

When two protons collide with enough energy to overcome their mutual electromagnetic repulsion, they become bound together by the so-called strong nuclear force. Then one of the protons is transformed into a neutron and a positron, which is ejected from the nucleus of what is now deuterium. You can get all the neutrons you need by similar processes. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta_decay

Adam Robert Ryan

Am I right that you are working your way toward the teleological argument for the existence of God? This can be a pretty persuasive argument for the universe having some kind of Designer, but note that it as much an argument for Deism as for Abrahamic Monotheism or for any other religion.

john jay

adam:

1.)thanks for the note on neutrons. interesting this transformation, ain't it.

2.)as to the teleological argument for the proof of god you mention, ... , no, i am not working my way up to it in any formal manner.

i am somewhat leery of "proofs" based upon human logic and reason, believing it of limited utility in proving divinity. i do believe in the existence of good and evil, and in a supreme source of good and evil.

i suppose that is an admission that i believe in god. notice that i said i believe in god, find comfort in that believe, but such belief is as limited a proof as anything i can imagine.

i have read the classic aristotelean proof of god until i have turned blue, and when you get down to it, find it limited.

what i am saying, as well as i can, is that i do not believe that: 1.)the big bang is conclusively proved, and 2.)even if persuasive and interesting, as it is, it is in no respect any kind of definitive refutation of the existence of god.

that scientists think it is simply "faith" based assumption on the part of those who do not want to get to the issue of process, design, logic, ... , and, of course on the issue of "designer."

i simply note that no less a mind than that of charles darwin was content to refer to the "creator" in several places in my late edition of "the origin of species." with a capital "c."

darwin said quite clearly any number of times that he did not mean to speak of creation in his theory, only to explain the observable changes in species over time and to explain the mechanics of it all.

his mind was firmly rooted in the physical & material world that he could observe. the metaphysical and religious impact of that observation he left alone.

what's good enough for darwin is good enough for me.

as to the big bang "proving" that no god exists because the universe sprang from nothing ... . in my view, simply a limp of faith. most definitely not any sort of "leap" compelled by logic or reason.

john jay

Adam Robert Ryan

John,

I personally find the teleological argument convincing and every religion I've ever been exposed to unconvincing. I suppose this makes me the last Deist on earth.

Adam

john jay

adam:

i walk a lot along country roads in the middle of the north east oregon wheat belt, which travels roughly north to south on the western slopes of the blue mountains.

it sort of progresses northerly until subsumed by the great palouse to the north.

i watch the seasons, the flora & fauna (we have a lot of raptors and such around, because the agriculture supports a lot of mice and other little furry critters), and the seasons.

i see sufficient proof every day of a divine hand in all this.

how shall i put this?

maybe this is suitable. .... .

it seems to me that science and religion have been wrong enough on enough important issues in the past, that they should not be too full of themselves in terms of confidence in the absolute surety of their positions, and ought to take a little firmer grasp in their daily lives & profession in the simple humility that an acknowledgment of limited knowledge should bring them. they ought to take a little more studied view of the various infirmities presented in the path to knowledge that humans have followed.

science especially is pretty heady right now with its new found prowess, and needs to remember, that a lot of things have come in the past 100 years or so ... hardly a historical basis for the conceit most scientists display.

on the big bang.

on the weather.

on the surety with which they approach the rather thorny issues presented by "death" and "treatment" panels. medical ethicist right now seems a bit of an oxymoron.

just a little humility, and more interest in grace, and a realization that they are not so very much smarter than anyone else.

they are people. not gnostics.

john jay

p.s. as to my views on religion. i do not attend church. i read milton on occasion. and, walt whitman. i may get into whitman's contemporaries & colleagues, i should live so long.

i enjoyed the bible last summer, front to back, word for word.

the koran was very disappointing, almost pedestrian in comparison.

i have enjoyed a rudimentary exploration of the talmud.

i am thinking of dropping in for services at a local small synagogue. i like the jewish mind. it is very lively, quite subtle and adroit. yet, supremely human & humanistic.

if that all makes sense.

john jay

adam:

i doubt very much that you are the last deist.

hold a convention.

see who comes.

john

p.s. don't forget to have a gift for the person who travels the longest distance to get there.

john jay

p.s. perhaps it would be appropriate for two gifts, for the longest distance both spiritually & physically.

the contest on the former might be interesting.

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