Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements - the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution and for life - weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way for them to get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today.
The amazing thing is that every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements - the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution - weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way they could get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today.
If we wish to draw philosophical conclusions about our own existence, our significance, and the significance of the universe itself, our conclusions should be based on empirical knowledge. A truly open mind means forcing our imaginations to conform to the evidence of reality, and not vice versa, whether or not we like the implications.
Of course, supernatural acts are what miracles are all about. They are, after all, precisely those things that circumvent the laws of nature. A god who can create the laws of nature can presumably also circumvent them at will. Although why they would have been circumvented so liberally thousands of years ago, before the invention of modern communication instruments that could have recorded them, and not today, is still something to wonder about.
In 5 billion years, the expansion of the universe will have progressed to the point where all other galaxies will have receded beyond detection. Indeed, they will be receding faster than the speed of light, so detection will be impossible. Future civilizations will discover science and all its laws, and never know about other galaxies or the cosmic background radiation. They will inevitably come to the wrong conclusion about the universe......We live in a special time, the only time, where we can observationally verify that we live in a special time.
Metaphysical speculation is independent of the physical validity of the Big Bang itself and is irrelevant to our understanding of it.
Now, almost one hundred years later, it is difficult to fully appreciate how much our picture of the universe has changed in the span of a single human lifetime. As far as the scientific community in 1917 was concerned, the universe was static and eternal, and consisted of a one single galaxy, our Milky Way, surrounded by vast, infinite, dark, and empty space. This is, after all, what you would guess by looking up at the night sky with your eyes, or with a small telescope, and at the time there was little reason to suspect otherwise.
The universe has a much greater imagination than we do, which is why the real story of the universe is far more interesting than any of the fairy tales we have invented to describe it.
It's hard to imagine a more extraordinary claim than that some hidden intelligence created a universe of more than a hundred billion galaxies, each containing more than a hundred billion stars, and then waited more than 13.7 billion years until a planet in a remote corner of a single galaxy evolved an atmosphere sufficiently oxygenated to support life, only to then reveal his existence to an assortment of violent tribal groups before disappearing again.
[I]n science we have to be particularly cautious about 'why' questions. When we ask, 'Why?' we usually mean 'How?' If we can answer the latter, that generally suffices for our purposes. For example, we might ask: 'Why is the Earth 93 million miles from the Sun?' but what we really probably mean is, 'How is the Earth 93 million miles from the Sun?' That is, we are interested in what physical processes led to the Earth ending up in its present position. 'Why' implicitly suggests purpose, and when we try to understand the solar system in scientific terms, we do not generally ascribe purpose to it.
The one thing that I want every single child to have experienced at some point in their life, as part of their education, is to have some idea they hold to be true, and at the very basis of their being, proved to be wrong.Because that opens your mind to the realization that the world is different than you thought it would be, and you have to begin to open your mind to the possibilities of existence.And opening your mind frees you, it doesn't constrain you. It makes the world more wonderful, more exciting, and more worth living in.
We need to live our experience as it is and with our eyes open. The universe is the way it is, whether we like it or not.
If the universe doesn't care about us and if we're an accident in a remote corner of the universe, in some sense it makes us more precious. The meaning in our lives is provided by us; we provide our own meaning.
A universe without purpose should neither depress us nor suggest that our lives are purposeless. Through an awe-inspiring cosmic history we find ourselves on this remote planet in a remote corner of the universe, endowed with intelligence and self-awareness. We should not despair, but should humbly rejoice in making the most of these gifts, and celebrate our brief moment in the sun.
The saddest thing about these imagined deathbed conversions is that, even if they were real, they could hardly be seen as victories for Christ. They are stories in which the final pain of a fatal disease, or the fear of imminent death and eternal punishment, is identified as the factor necessary for otherwise rational people to believe in the supernatural.If mental torture is required to effect a conversion, what does that say about the reliability of the fundamental premises of Christianity to begin with? Evangelicals would be better advised to concentrate on converting the living. Converting the deceased suggests only that they can't convince those who can argue back. They should let the dead rest in peace.
I've told you two things : First, you're much more insignificant than you ever imagined and second, the future is miserable. But you should be happy, because we may live in a universe without purpose but that means the purpose in our lives is the purpose we create. And we should consider ourselves fortunate to have evolved in this place in the middle of nowhere and evolved a consciousness so we can understand the universe from the earliest moments of the big bang to the far future. So instead of being depressed, you should enjoy your brief moment in the sun.
A physicist, an engineer and a psychologist are called in as consultants to a dairy farm whose production has been below par. Each is given time to inspect the details of the operation before making a report.The first to be called is the engineer, who states: The size of the stalls for the cattle should be decreased. Efficiency could be improved if the cows were more closely packed, with a net allotment of 275 cubic feet per cow. Also, the diameter of the milking tubes should be increased by 4 percent to allow for a greater average flow rate during the milking periods.The next to report is the psychologist, who proposes:The inside of the barn should be painted green. This is a more mellow color than brown and should help induce greater milk flow. Also, more trees should be planted in the fields to add diversity to the scenery for the cattle during grazing, to reduce boredom.Finally, the physicist is called upon. He asks for a blackboard and then draws a circle. He begins: Assume the cow is a sphere....
The Internet is a clear example of how our lives have changed in ways we couldn't have imagined: a distributed information source, which is invisible to everyone, where you can access anything, and it's distributed throughout the whole world. Basically, communication is instantaneous.
Empty space is a boiling, bubbling brew of virtual particles that pop in and out of existence in a time scale so short that you can't even measure them.
I cannot stress often enough that what science is all about is not proving things to be true but proving them to be false.
I don't know if science and reason will ultimately help guide humanity to a better and more peaceful future, but I am certain that this belief is part of what keeps the 'Star Trek' fandom going.
When a person's religious beliefs cause him to deny the evidence of science, or for whom public policy morphs into a battle with the devil, shouldn't that be a subject for discussion and debate?
Organized religion, wielding power over the community, is antithetical to the process of what modern democracy should define as liberty. The sooner we are without it, the better.
No one intuitively understands quantum mechanics because all of our experience involves a world of classical phenomena where, for example, a baseball thrown from pitcher to catcher seems to take just one path, the one described by Newton's laws of motion. Yet at a microscopic level, the universe behaves quite differently.
The root cause of the looming energy problem - and the key to easing environmental, economic and religious tensions while improving public health - is to address the unending, and unequal, growth of the human population. And the one proven way to reduce fertility rates is to empower young women by educating them.
It never ceases to amaze me that every second of every day, more than 6,000 billion neutrinos coming from nuclear reactions inside the sun whiz through my body, almost all of which will travel right through the earth without interruption.
The illusion of purpose and design is perhaps the most pervasive illusion about nature that science has to confront on a daily basis.
By no definition of any modern scientist is intelligent design science, and it's a waste of our students' time to subject them to it.