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God, science and other dark thoughts

Miranda Devine

September 27, 2008

This is the first of a two-page article. As you may know, John Templeton, for whom this lecture is named, was a champion and supporter of the effort to harmonize science and religion. Again, this is an article which shows how the revolutionary new discoveries in space science and physics are slowly but surely helping scientists look even further for the Truth of creation. The truth of The Urantia Book's revelations are slowly becoming known...

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.

In a lecture theatre on the second floor of the Physics Building at Sydney University on Wednesday, an American professor in jeans and sandshoes bounced around the seven blackboards, scribbling formulas, talking of quarks, gluons and multiverses, drawing chalk pictures of expanding galaxies and workshopping a few little mysteries of the universe.

What caused the Big Bang? What is dark energy? Does God exist?

Known as the "rock star of physics" for his lucid language and peppy style, Lawrence Krauss, 54, a theoretical physicist and best-selling author from Arizona State University, was briefly in town to present the Templeton Lecture at Sydney University and a small workshop for students the next day.

In the past decade a series of discoveries about the universe has prompted a revolution in scientific thinking, of which the average person is probably blissfully unaware.

Krauss is one of those scientists at the forefront of this new cosmological understanding - and of a corresponding renewed battle between science and religion. "The last 10 years have changed everything," he said in an interview after Wednesday's workshop. "Our ideas of what the universe is made of have changed … That's why physicists have gone so crazy."

For instance, we now know that the universe is flat (although we don't know if it has an edge). And we have discovered that 70 per cent of the energy of the universe is in empty space. But we don't know how that can be.

"The dominant part of the universe is dark energy - the energy associated with empty space. That implies something," he says. "Why is the universe driven by the energy of nothing?"

What's more, dark energy is "gravitationally repulsive", so it acts to push the universe apart. "The expansion of the universe is speeding up, but dark energy is constant … That is the biggest mystery in the universe."

Why is the energy density of all matter in the universe almost exactly equal to the density of dark energy today?

It is the great cosmic coincidence: we humans exist at the precise point in the life of the universe when those two numbers coincide. Physicists call it the "coincidence problem".

"The fact we happen to be close to the time when the two values are the same is absurd," says Krauss. "It's absurd. It drives me crazy."

The accepted explanation for how the universe began is the Big Bang theory, first proposed in 1927 by the Belgian mathematician and priest Georges Lemaitre, which holds that the universe expanded 13.7 billion years ago from a single dense point and has been expanding ever since. More recently came the discovery that the rate at which the universe is expanding is speeding up.

Link to External Source Article

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