Don E. Bray, College Station, Texas Copyright 2020
Domains, worm holes and a cache of gold
The announcement of the discovery of the merger of two neutron stars via gravitational wave monitoring by LIGO is extremely interesting (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/cosmic-first-gravitational-waves-telescopes-140000356.html). Gravitational waves and their monitoring is very similar to seismic wave monitoring on the Earth, so this is not totally unfamiliar. In this case, however , the issue is space time, as discussed in the movie Interstellar.
The story of the movie Interstellar is that Earth has become dry and dusty and is running out of food and reaching the population limits that it can support. The hero, a NASA engineer, leaves his family on Earth to go hunting for a colleague who might have found a planet in another universe where Earth people could move. To reach this, he finds a wormhole enabling him to travel to the other universe and he travels at warp speed going and coming, which slows his aging. Then, when he returns to Earth he goes to visit his daughter, (Murph), who has aged normally and is old and in a nursing home. He, of course, is still young.
In the case of the recent gold find in the cosmos, 130 million light years from Earth, the fact is that it is already here, having arrived at the geological formation of the Earth, and presently seen in our rings, jeweler and even tooth filings.
One could ask why the interest in exploring extraordinarily remote, inhospitable locations to which the movement of even a small percentage of Earth population is unlikely? Is not the better option to control our changing environmen so that Earth could remain hospitable for future generations?
An excellent presentation describing blackholes, wormholes and parallel universes is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pAnRKD4raY
Facts, faith and frontiers
“It is now allowed that there are thousands, if not millions, of worlds, besides this in which we live…. What Is Man? ” “When I consider thy heaven, the work of thy fingers, the moon and stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man” Psalm 8:3, John Wesley, Sermon 103 (1783), written after the development of the telescope. The telescope is referenced in Sermon 110 (1761). Undoubtedly, he used images of the cosmos gathered with telescopes in forming the material for these sermons.
Our senses indicate the state of our environment, of our being. In the frontiers of life, for example, our senses indicate light and dark, and sound and quiet. As our civilizations grow, borders spread across oceans and land; frontiers expand. In the universe though, the significant role of our senses remains. While, touch, smell, hearing, taste etc. might be done remotely, sight stands as our most important sense in exploring the universe.
The role of senses in exploring and discovery is well described by John Wesley in Sermon 110, “On Discoveries of Faith.” In his discussion he views the senses as the monitors of known and unknown, factual and spiritual, Earthly and Divine. John Wesley, Sermon 110 (1761).
Sensing beyond the known is felt by some to be extrasensory perception. Throughout history, our eagerness to press our senses has led to discoveries, and that certainly is true for our present discussions on faith. Faith and fact are redefined. Modern physicists have labeled as metaphysical the realm beyond physical explanation, where fact and faith may commingle. Also, multiple universes are proposed, where physical laws are different than in our Milky Way. An example, here, is the mathematical solution to the square root of a negative number; there are two roots, one real and another labeled imaginary, or into another domain or universe. Faith can enhance the likelihood of choosing the right solution for our situation, our conditions, but it does not assure it. In this area, science can constrain events (i.e. present choices) but does not determine which events occur (Gingerich, 2006).
It has been proposed that the human soul is the source of imagination, of creativity. Will Randolph has discussed this in a post on the United Methodist Church web page (The Language of the Soul, 2015)
What sets humans apart from other life forms in the universe is our ability to reason. Our interaction with other humans and our creativity may be largely based on activities at the quantum level (Barr, Stephen M., University of Notre Dame Press, February 28, 2003, 328 pp.).
The link below is an insightful view of the relationship of the cosmos and mankind by Mariah Mitchell (1819-1889), the first female astronomer at Harvard.
Our view of the creation is a matter of faith. Surely, it is a divine event; there is no other logical choice. Genesis 1:3 states “Let there be light.” Astronomical research of the heavens convincingly shows that all that we see can be traced to the first explosion yielding a hot broth of particles and photons. Formation of atoms came later. (Geach, 2018) And, it continues today. The energy of the initial event had to come from somewhere. Following the creation, the evolution of the cosmos, including the planets and other matter in the universe as well as the living organisms, has followed the laws of physics and chemistry as described by math and statistics, which also must have come from the creation. Numerous astronomical observations support this hypothesis including the physical motion of the planets and the birthing of new planets in the nebulae. Further, geological observations from the explored planets, the Earth and its moon, and others such as Mars, Saturn, Venus and the various asteroids also support this hypothesis. These are discussed in the material on these pages.
A history of space research and analysis, looking back in time and describing the full breadth of the cosmos using video and text, is given in the links below.
Two fundamental elements coming together and initiating the formation of the universe does not preclude a Creator, just the opposite. The elements and the laws of physics had a beginning. Where in this discussion belongs the subject of black holes, where galaxies and other bodies are disappearing, sucked back into non existence? This raises an argument for completeness of the creation story as well as suggesting the event of Jesus’ resurrection. The discussion here is simply about the science of the development of the universe where science has testable hypothesis which can be repeated in a variety of ways with either the same result or an understanding of why the deviation occurred.
The AstroPhysics primer is a brief although more in depth discussion of the universe than is finished here. In the Astroappendix section are numerous details about the universe such as sizes and distances. The reader is directed there and to the various references for further information.
John Wesley asks the question “What is Man?” in two sermons, 103 and 109. In 103 he cites the likelihood that there are thousands if not millions of other planets and worlds, hence man is insignificant in comparison. In 109 he cites the spiritual as well as man’s relationship with the laws of science. Note that he studied Newtonianism at Oxford and corresponded with Sir Isaac Newton at Cambridge.
More detail on John Wesley and other areas on this topic are in Faith and Science, where all of the references are detailed.
Imagine standing under a full field of stars, on a clear night without light pollution, as Moses and other early writers experienced, how can we respond to Wesley’s question?
Photo credits in banner
Left to right- Soul Nebulae in Cassiopeia, Anjal Sharma, sharma-astro.nebulae.html; M83 – Southern Pinwheel, Mark Spearman, Regina Caelorum Observatory, Wheelock, Texas; Arctic Tern, W. Benjamin Bray, Fresh Water Lake, near Barrow, Alaska 2012; Jeff Bray, Cozumel, Mexico, 2004.