Origins News Roundup for June 25, 2014
As part of a project supported by a BioLogos Evolution & Christian Faith grant, physicist and Calvin College professor Dr. Loren Haarsma recently spoke at a conference of Christian Reformed Church leaders on the topic of reconciling science and biblical faith. Haarsma focused his talk on historical Adam and Eve, offering up multiple understandings of the biblical couple. For related reading, check out this blog post from Denis Alexander, the Emeritus Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, titled “How Are Christianity and Evolution Compatible?”
The recent discovery of gravitational waves in the cosmic microwave background has been reviewed and found wanting. A relevant BBC article, titled “Cosmic inflation: Confidence lowered for Big Bang signal,” reports, “Scientists who claimed to have found a pattern in the sky left by the super-rapid expansion of space just fractions of a second after the Big Bang say they are now less confident of their result.” Essentially, the initial findings need to be checked against other data to determine whether they indicate the hoped-for gravitational waves or merely patterns of cosmic dust. Princeton physics professor Paul Steinhardt describes the issue in detail for Nature magazine:
The BICEP2 team identified a twisty (B-mode) pattern in its maps of polarization of the cosmic microwave background, concluding that this was a detection of primordial gravitational waves. Now, serious flaws in the analysis have been revealed that transform the sure detection into no detection. The search for gravitational waves must begin anew. The problem is that other effects, including light scattering from dust and the synchrotron radiation generated by electrons moving around galactic magnetic fields within our own Galaxy, can also produce these twists.
In other news from the world of computer science comes the announcement that a computer has successfully defeated the Turing test, convincing over 30% of “human interrogators” that it was human in a test designed by Alan Turing, according to an article in the Guardian. This announcement is quite controversial in the computer science community, however; noted technologist Ray Kurzweil provides one of the best responses.
Finally, enjoy this short “doodle” of C.S. Lewis’ essay “Religion and Science” from Youtube artist C.S. Lewis Doodle.