Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Tell-All?

 Current prominent publicity is circulating concerning the upcoming unclassified government release of information on UAPs during the month of June 2021. The subject has at times dominated public conversation for decades. The event is an official government release of information on what were dubbed “flying saucers” in 1947. There is scarcely a person alive who has not heard about UFOs (unidentified flying objects). Today they are more commonly known as UAPs (unidentified aerial phenomena). 

Most people have offered their opinions concerning the reality or unreality of UAPs—What are they? How do they work? Who pilots them, humans or extraterrestrials? Did they originate on this world or on other worlds? Are they a threat to humanity? Most important, are they real, or are they figments of human imagination and faulty perception? Currently, many other questions have been raised. Answers to these questions variously provide certainty, uncertainty, amusement, indifference, fear, doubt, frivolity, and a variety of other reactions. For several years the story has increasingly become the subject of media commentary. Previously our national government attempted to suppress its importance.


A government task force in December 2020 was authorized to present findings to Congress, then to the public within six months to answer what the US government knows about UAPs. Our government authorities have hedged, avoided, and diverted public attention for years on UAP phenomena. Now they are scheduled to present documented evidence collected by military personnel. Senator Marco Rubio, vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee (SIC) has instructed the task force to reveal government knowledge of the unidentified objects increasingly observed the last few years.


Senator Rubio’s comments duplicate many other statements from military personnel and politicians. He states “We cannot allow the stigma of UFOs to keep us from seriously investigating this.” The term “stigma” is fascinating in this context. It implies our government suffers disgrace and embarrassment related to our lack of knowledge. The core meaning of science relates to knowledge. Our military scientists, however, do not currently possess knowledge of answers to questions posed above. 


One undergirding pillar of modern science is our ability to observe carefully. Our ability to observe has been substantially enhanced in recent decades, but our ability to explain UAPs has not been enhanced. Modern technology has established that UAPs have physical capabilities far beyond anything currently known. They manifest no obvious propulsion or braking system, but are capable of incredible acceleration including sudden starts, stops, and changes in direction able to produce G-forces fatal to humans. They are generally soundless and often travel at incredible hypersonic speeds. Their flight characteristics cannot be explained by our current knowledge of physics. The modern mantra “follow the science” becomes meaningless with respect to the observed behavior of UAPs. The discipline of science has not provided true knowledge concerning UAPs. It is no wonder that scientists suffer the stigma of ignorance. In this existential sphere, scientists do not have explanations we have come to expect. Most scientists negate the possibility of alien extraterrestrial beings. Secret U.S. military technology is virtually ruled out along with foreign military technology, but some still speculate on these possibilities. Science journalists and politicians privy to some of the task force information recently warned us “unidentified” aerial phenomena may remain unidentified, even after the task force mandate for public disclosure has been fulfilled. 


Most professional scientists maintain science does not investigate theological realities. This includes a study of God, the Creator of All Things, as a provable scientific reality. By extension, we may conclude the spirit world of demons is also not a provable scientific reality. Many volumes have been produced concerning the mystery of theodicy—the reality of evil. Much as we abhor this reality, we are forced to acknowledge the reality of evil. The coexistence of evil and righteousness in the world of God’s Creation is a mystery we may not understand until the Creator Himself reveals it. Christians have free will—freedom—either to choose and obey righteousness, or to choose and obey evil.


In the mundane context of UAPs, however, the categorization of UAPs as a manifestation of demonology may be accurate. We encourage readers to investigate the meaning and mystery of theodicy. Evil manifests itself in many spheres: physical, moral, and metaphysical.


Plentiful scientific commentary concerning the current phenomena does not mention the possibility that UAPs are manifestations of the world of the spirit—specifically, the world of the evil spirit. Science professionals apparently do not permit mention of demons as scientific reality in the same way they do not professionally countenance the scientific reality of God, the Creator. Apparent evidence of God, however, is permitted by believers in scripture but the evidence does not rise to the standard of secular scientific “proof.” (See Romans 1:18-20.) But neither would evidence of demonology driving the UAP phenomena rise to the level of scientific proof. Perhaps this explains why this possibility is not posed to the public.


Science professionals prefer to explain UAPs according to conventional scientific laws and experience with conventional causes and effects. If however, these objects are a product of the spirit world, scientists may experience frustration. UAPs have been pronounced “real,” but scientists, military personnel, and the public have not yet accessed the sort of reality they desperately seek.  


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In our series of ten posts from 11/16/19 to 1/30/20 we covered many aspects of the UAP phenomenon in some depth. Multiple authors have covered the topic in great depth from many different vantage points. We invite you to access our posts by clicking the initial link and continue clicking NEWER POSTS to read all ten posts:  


https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2019/11/of-this-world.html


                      

Thursday, May 27, 2021

God's Sustainment of Matter and Life

 When the universe was created, the Bible tells us that God created the heavens and the earth. Much information inheres in that statement. At first, the God-created universe was composed of physical, non-living matter for a period of time. Later, when physical conditions permitted, God created living things from the dust of the ground. This exemplifies dualism, a feature of many situations of life on this planet. In this case we contrast non-living and living.

Human experience is composed of many examples of dualism: night and day, winter and summer, good and evil, mind and body, science and non-science, non-living and living. Sometimes the dualistic elements are opposite, sometimes they are contrasting, and sometimes they are complementary. Many other adjectives could describe our multiple dualistic life experiences.


Let’s consider the dualism of the non-living creation and the living creation. The physical non-living creation is a marvel, even without life. Were we to observe the physical creation prior to the divine creation of life, we would express wonder at its beauty and orderliness. Even on billions of lifeless planets in our Milky Way Galaxy, and trillions more in galaxies outside our home galaxy, physical matter is governed by an orderly set of characteristics called physical constants. Several dozen physical constants have been described. Physical reality would be chaotic if these physical constants did not operate. The matter in our universe would consist of a sea of particle-less, disordered matter. In short, the universe would consist of physical chaos.

 

What are physical constants? Scientists describe several dozen fundamental, invariant quantities by which our universe operates. Science texts describe physical constants as fundamental, invariant quantities in nature. This esoteric definition may become clearer by giving a few examples with which most people identify: The speed of light is 186,282 mi/sec and never varies. The mass of protons, neutrons, and electrons and the strength of their electrical charges is known precisely. These quantities never vary. The gravitational constant derives from the product of the masses of two bodies and the inverse square of the distance between them. In non-technical terms laymen commonly refer to a “law of gravity” which results from the gravitational constant, a well-known physical constant. Many other more esoteric examples may be cited.


Many years ago an uncle inquired of me, “Who formulated the Laws of Nature?” He was not a scientist, but as a student of nature, he was acutely aware of a Creator who authored multiple coherent and consistent laws. If he were still living he may endorse a layman’s description of physical constants. In previous posts we illustrated these constants with athletic references to “Rules of the Game.”


http://jasscience.blogspot.com/2009/05/rules-of-game.html

http://jasscience.blogspot.com/2009/05/physical-constants.html


Astrophysicist and science writer Ethan Siegal states, in Forbes Magazine, “When we think about our Universe at a fundamental level, we think about all the particles in it and all the forces and interactions that occur between them. If you can describe those forces, interactions, and particle properties you have everything you need to reproduce our Universe, or at least a universe virtually indistinguishable from our own in its entirety.” In the same article Siegal describes several puzzles that may require additional constants. This signals that our scientific knowledge is incomplete—an exciting prospect for ongoing research in science.


Many wonderful scientific discoveries are yet in store for humanity. We propose each discovery strengthens our belief in the reality of the omniscient Creator of All Things. Our lament is that many scientists feel empowered by their scientific knowledge rather than the omnipotence of the Creator Himself. 


We introduced our current post by discussing physical constants in the non-living world. Physical constants, of course, also operate in the living world even more powerfully. Living things exist in the physical world which is governed by the many physical constants and scientific laws derived from them. Hundreds of fine-tuning parameters describing our universe have physical constants as their foundation. The popular Anthropic Principle finds support in our modern understanding of coherent physical constants and fine-tuning of our cosmos.


Living things have an enlarged design feature—a code of information which produces complex life. The sequence is DNA>RNA>and finally proteins to build the living organism. Physical constants still govern construction of the matter of living things. In many past posts we have described the DNA molecule as a code—the unequivocal product of an intelligent mind. In this case, the DNA code originated in the mind of the Creator.


John 1:3: Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (NIV)   




 


    









  

Friday, May 14, 2021

Eagle Symbolism

 Eagles are highly popular and inspirational. Historically, these animals have been highlighted in art and sculpture by cultures and nations for centuries. Characteristics of eagles are well known—powerful, intelligent, and superior. In 1782 one famous eagle species, the bald eagle, was selected as the national symbol of the United States. In the same year the bird appeared on the Great Seal of the United States and has been portrayed frequently on US coins and currency.  

The Bible contains at least 28 references to eagles. One of the most famous is found in Isaiah 40:31: “…..but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Several chapters later, the prophet Isaiah quotes God who says through the writings of the prophet, “…..I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me” (Isaiah 46:10 NIV). Eagles call to mind divine characteristics, but the Creator is superior to the apexes of His creation works, including majestic eagles!


Many eagle species inhabited Bible lands. It is uncertain which species of eagle was referenced in Scripture. It is more certain that all eagle species share similar traits setting them apart from other avian species. There are 60 species of eagles in the world, most of them inhabiting Eurasia and Africa. Outside those areas, there are only 14 eagle species in other regions of the world. Of the 60 eagle species there are several well-known groups including the sea eagles, also called fish eagles. Bald eagles belong to this group because their diet consists of 70-90% fish, although they are opportunistic and consume other foods as well. These eagles live near rivers, lakes and tidewaters where their main food, fish, is accessible. Since bald eagles are indigenous only to North America, residents of the U. S. no doubt think of the this species first when they think of eagles. The only other eagle species commonly found in the U. S. is the golden eagle which consumes mainly small mammals. It is distributed more widely around the world but bald eagles are solely a North American bird.


Bald eagles manifest a diverse and fascinating suite of characteristics. They are most admired for their intelligence, strength and manifold skills in hunting, flying, and nest building to mention only a few. Each living creature is endowed with a set of abilities setting them apart from other creatures. It is incumbent upon humanity to respect the ecological roles assigned to each species. Most U. S. residents are aware that the bald eagle population diminished substantially during the 20th century. Bald eagles were ravaged by several factors including habitat loss, indirect poisoning by lead shot left in the environment by hunters, and indirect poisoning by the insecticide DDT remaining in the environment, later working into the diet of eagles via consumption of fish. Eagles ingested DDT chemical residues in their food, causing thinning and breakage of their eggshells during incubation. Strict regulation of the insecticide has solved the problem since 1972. Rebecca Heisman, writing in an American Bird Conservancy Publication states, “In the United States, there may be no greater avian icon — or impressive wildlife story — than the Bald Eagle.” In 1963 there were only 417 nesting pairs. Today the number has increased to 70,000, a scientific success story!


Several personal experiences with eagles come to mind. I did not observe a bald eagle until approximately 1995. These animals were still on the endangered list, not to be officially removed from the list until 2007. My wife and I moved to Dubuque, IA in 2000. Friends notified us of a startling phenomenon in progress at Lock and Dam #11 on the Mississippi River, only about two miles from our residence. Dozens of bald eagles were catching and feeding on fish in the ice free water at the base of the dam in late December. The weather was brutally cold but we managed to produce video pictures of the skilled birds fishing and flying to trees on the shoreline with prey in their claws. In Alaska in 2007 we observed many eagles in trees on a shoreline. Their dark bodies topped with white heads presented a startling spectacle. In Alaska bald eagles were never endangered. Bald eagles develop mature adult white heads after several years. Due to our proximity to the Mississippi River, the birds fly over our extreme northwestern Illinois neighborhood skies with reasonable frequency.


A restaurant on the Iowa River in Iowa City, IA enables views of bald eagles cruising over and fishing on the river. This occurs in mid-city. One more example of bald eagles’ people-friendliness has occurred at the home of our son just a few miles from Iowa City. A mere two blocks from their home a bald eagle pair resides with their large nest constructed of sticks in a tall pine tree. My grandchildren are excited by these avian residents who decided to share a human neighborhood location for raising their family. Several times we have observed these birds incubating eggs on their nest through scopes and field glasses. All neighborhood residents seem intent on leaving the eagle family undisturbed. The natural phenomenon is exciting and instructive for the residents.


“Spaceship Earth” teems with life. Each species of life is functionally adapted to its environment. Bioscientists have reported accurate, detailed physical descriptions of each animal, their body systems, and their unique abilities. The more we study, the more we discover the beauty of all life forms along with fascination for their capabilities. We exult in the creative skill of the God of Creation.  


    


   


  

    


 

Friday, April 30, 2021

Mankind's Planet Earth Perspective

 Psalm 8 goes beyond devotional significance into the realm of ancient science: “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?…..O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the Earth” (vs 3,4,9 NIV). The Scripture quotations above contain references to (1) observation, (when I consider), a necessary scientific skill, (2) intelligent design, (the work of God’s fingers) (3) divine orderliness, (“set(ting) in place” of the moon and stars), and finally, (4) devotional worship (how majestic is your name,) an outgrowth of David’s recognition of God’s mindfulness of mankind and His care for them.   

This psalm is well known in terms of profound theological and scientific significance. It was penned by King David long before the formalization of scientific method. The passage highlights observational skills and suggests an intelligent cause and effect relationship between the existence of heavenly bodies and the Creator’s role in forming them. The physical knowledge we possess of sequential events forming planets, the moon, and the stars, including our life-giving solar companion, focus our understanding on complex cosmic processes which seem unlikely to develop or exist purely by chance or accident.


The concept of intelligent design mentioned in the above two paragraphs may be a sticking point among secular scientists. Here is a link to our previous post (10/1/10) suggesting why human intuition paired with induction are valid indicators of intelligent design:


https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2010/06/intuition-and-induction.html


The deepest devotional thoughts of King David are apparent in Psalm 8. It was written about ten centuries before Christ, long before the concept of a spherical Earth was established in human awareness. Actual human photographic and visual evidence of Planet Earth’s circular profile did not occur until about 90 years ago, a startling truth in view of many other telescopic visualizations of astronomical bodies hundreds of years before. Even in the 1930s there was only an incomplete profile of the terrestrial sphere. Humans were intellectually aware of Earth’s curvature long before they were able to see it either visually or photographically. This speaks to the startling fact that the oldest residents alive in our day were unable to perceive the complete Earth sphere.


Commanders of balloon flights in 1931, 1933, and 1935 ascended to about 10, 12, and 14 miles above Earth’s surface. There is debate whether the subtle curvature of our planet was discernIble. Some have proposed the curvature of Earth may not be visible even at 120,000 ft.—almost 23 mi. In 1946 a photograph was taken at 65 mi. by a captured WWII V2 rocket. The curvature was clearly observable but we were not close to visualizing the entire planet at once.


The first complete Earth globe photograph was taken by the Russian satellite Molniya on May 30, 1966. Many other photographs taken by the USA were composites of multiple different surface pictures. The Russian communication satellite’s ability to produce such a picture was due to its very distant highly elliptical orbit.


The Apollo 8 Moon exploration program enabled scientists to produce our country’s first inspiring complete Earth photograph on December 24, 1968. It was entitled “Earthrise,” although the Earth never rises above a stationary angle of elevation. This is because the Moon is “tidally locked” to the Earth—one side of the Moon always faces Earth. However, the Earth appears to rise and set if observed by astronauts in orbit around the Moon!


Returning to King David’s exuberant Psalm 8 worship experience, we describe a mysterious phenomenon reported by modern astronauts—the “overview effect.” We quote a Wikipedia article which utilizes many sources: “The overview effect is a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from outer space. It is the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of the Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, ‘hanging in the void,’ shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere…..” We link our previous post on the “Overview Effect:”


https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2014/12/overview-effect.html?m=0


We cite two other popular instances of the human view of Planet Earth from outer space. The “Blue Marble” is a photograph of Earth as seen by the crew of Apollo 17 in December 1972. It has become one of the most famous photographs of all time. The Earth was nearly fully illuminated with the sun shining from behind the astronauts.


The “Pale Blue Dot” is a photograph of Earth taken about 4 billion miles from the sun, farther than the orbit of Neptune. It is a barely perceptible tiny dot in the photograph. It was produced by the Voyager I spacecraft in 1990 just before technicians switched off its cameras while the craft was in the process of exiting our Solar System. The picture was suggested by Carl Sagan who argued for one last “family” portrait of the Solar System. In Carl Sagan’s 1994 book “Pale Blue Dot” he wrote, “Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.” He went further, describing Earth as “a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” It may be the ultimate “overview effect” photograph. 


We offer a partial timeline of astronomy discoveries:  (1) spherical planets (other than Earth) and stars—observed ever since humans inhabited Earth  (2) intellectual (non-visual) understanding of Earth as a sphere—500 BC  (3) photographic and eyesight visualization of only a fraction of Earth’s curvature—1931-1966  (4) First visual and photographic proof of the complete Earth sphere—1966  (5) High quality complete visualization of the Earth globe—1968 to present  (6) Extremely distant Pale Blue Dot Earth photographs—1990.


King David’s deepest spiritual emotions were expressed in Psalm 8. The Israelite King had experienced only discovery (1) in the timeline catalog offered above. How much more spiritual awe and wonder should we experience in the 21st century? Could we describe the experience as a spiritually heightened overview effect?   






 

Monday, April 19, 2021

Our Home on Spaceship Earth

 In our contemporary time frame we possess abundant knowledge of our home on “Spaceship Earth.” The term derives from a photograph taken by the astronaut crew of Apollo 8 orbiting Earth’s Moon on December 24, 1968. Of many photographs, this rendition has been dubbed “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken.” 

Spaceship Earth is a sphere. The concept of human habitation on a sphere rather than a flat surface has been known to man for only about 2500 years. It is unlikely any authors of Old Testament scripture were aware of these Classical Greek discoveries beginning about 500 years BC. Many skeptics have claimed that authors of Old Testament Scripture proposed the Earth was flat. 


Almost all Old Testament books were composed before the advent of the Classical Greeks. Greek scholars in the 500 years prior to Christ’s advent brilliantly proposed and defended many spherical Earth beliefs. Included were Pythagoras, Anaxagoras, Aristotle, Aristarchus, and Eratosthenes.


All of the Greek scholars were unable to visually observe the Earth as a sphere, but their intellectual achievements were noteworthy. They observed various phenomena such as the shape of Earth’s shadow on an eclipsed moon, apparent differences in height of visible stars above the horizon as we travel north or south, and the differing angle of incidence of the sun’s rays on the same date in cities widely separated. The myth that the informed public believed in a flat Earth rather than a spherical one has not been true since the start of the Classical Greek period. With few exceptions, even Dark and Middle Ages residents did not hold flat Earth beliefs.


Skeptics of Scripture point to Old Testament books which seem to indicate inaccurate scientific beliefs. One example is found in texts such as Psalm 104:5 “He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.” Many similar passages have been offered to show that the Bible contains errant science. Almost all of the Old Testament was written before the Classical Greeks offered their scientific and intellectual insights. Keep in mind that OT writers stressed their God-centered perspectives and devotional focus. Even though Greek intellectuals of a later era produced startling scientific insights concerning physical reality, the writers of Scripture should not be diminished for lacking modern scientific insights. Their writings were observational, practical, and often metaphorical. We may appreciate their conceptual model for what it was, not according to our current model of advanced scientific knowledge.


Citing supposed inaccuracies or absence of modern scientific knowledge in order to promote belief in the errancy of Scripture is a serious mistake. Beyond the discovery of planetary sphericity, we pose another serious conceptual deficiency of the Greeks which persisted for almost 2000 years—the belief in geocentrism rather than heliocentrism. This is defined as the belief that the sun revolves around planet Earth rather than Earth revolving around the sun. This belief resulted from an observational error—a false trust in what appears to be rather than what actually is. The confusion results from the difficult task of distinguishing the real from the apparent. This error makes the study of observational astronomy challenging, yet interesting for astronomy students of our current day.


The history of establishment of the spherical Earth concept together with the knowledge of Solar System heliocentrism presents an interesting study at many levels of detail. How do these topics impact our contemporary culture? Proponents of scientific naturalism are not impressed by evidence of intelligently designed features in our natural world. If we link evidence of a spherical Earth with evidence of heliocentrism, some naturalists and some theists may respond with indifference. But these two characteristics are just the introduction in the catalogue of multiple intelligently designed features of our Solar System.


The Discovery Institute based in Seattle is a famous scientific think tank. They have dozens of scholars who promote the concept of intelligent design in the natural world. In their Center for Science and Culture they publish a well-known list of fine-tuning parameters. Jay Richards has described the “most celebrated and widely accepted examples of fine tuning for the existence of life.” He enlarges by explaining “such features include the initial conditions and ‘brute facts’ of the universe as a whole, the laws of nature or the numerical constants present in those laws (such as planets’ distance from its host star). The basic idea is that these features must fall within a very narrow range of possible values for chemical-based life to be possible.” Hugh Ross, president of Reasons to Believe, has long published an extensive and nearly identical list of fine-tuning parameters in his publications. Readers are encouraged to explore a vast wealth of knowledge pointing to multiple examples of fine-tuning—the actions of a Divine Creator.


Spaceship Earth is a spherical planet in a system of planets orbiting our magnificent companion in the Solar System. That companion is the SUN, around which all planets, including Earth revolve.


Psalm 33:6; ‘By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.” (ESV)

 

Friday, April 9, 2021

Weather and Climate on a Spherical Earth

 Modern residents focus on current weather and contemporary climate trends. Most weather and climate reporters understandably highlight recent events and predict events in the near future. They devote less attention to ancient weather and climate phenomena, preferring to comment “in the moment.” How did weather and climate “in the moment” evolve to its lofty importance? The simple response: Weather and climate relate to the behavior of water in its various states, the atmosphere, and the flow of heat energy to power Earth’s dynamic physical weather/climate system.


Who originated our physical weather/climate system? We propose it was the Judeo-Christian God of Creation. The initial creation event of Genesis 1:1—the ex nihilo creation of the universe “from nothing”—triggered a multitude of wondrous existential events.


In our present day we have access to scientific evidence of past and present (ongoing) creation events. Since the initial creation event, dating to 13.8 billion years ago, the universe has experienced many captivating physical transitions. Millions of years after transitional events take place, scientists are able to infer what happened in the distant past. We refer to the formation of spherical planets long after the initial creation event. There are many hypotheses for how planets formed. For example, a NASA publication has published photographic evidence that “golf ball-size clumps of space dust formed the building blocks of our terrestrial planets.” This phenomenon is inferred by examining some meteorites which manifest a process called “pebble accretion.” Scientists acknowledge they are not sure of the exact nature of the process of planet formation.  


(Our Science/Faith posts of February 2021 discussed divine creation events which occurred long after the initial Big Bang creation event. Our 2/5/21 post referred to ‘leftovers’ of the initial creation event. Our 2/19/21 post reinforced the concept that creation events still occur.)


God’s creative activity was powerfully manifest when He created spherical planets to revolve around a central star. Our timeless God could have created a fully functional universe in a single instant. Moreover, he could have designed a system where the entire human population resides on a flat surface. Instead, He produced a physical Solar System consisting of the Sun and the gas and ice giant planets—Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. A short time later, much smaller spherical inner planets—Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars became part of the Solar System. They are rocky planets with metallic cores. Earth is unique in its habitability. Insofar as we know, there is no other location in the universe suitable for human habitation.


A spherical, axis-tilted, rotating planet revolving around a stationary central star results in unequal heating of the surface of Planet Earth for several reasons. The low latitude equatorial regions of our spherical Earth receive more heat than mid-latitude regions and much more heat than high latitude polar regions. This is a result of the varying angle at which the sun’s rays strike. Our rotating Earth causes the angle of the sun’s rays to change constantly. In addition, the Earth’s axis tilt causes changes in the sun’s angle from season to season. Latitude, time of day, seasonal variation, and axis tilt all relate to the flow of heat energy on our spherical planet. Solar energy drives Earth’s weather and climate.


The interlocking relationships of water, atmosphere, and heat energy on our spherical planet produce a weather/climate system which sustains human life. Details of the fine-tuned system are the province of expert scientists who study the life-sustaining interaction of these three factors. Our universe is fine-tuned for the existence of human life. Our timeless Creator is the author of this fine-tuning. 


“For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the Earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited): ‘I am the Lord, and there is no other.’” (Isaiah 45:18 ESV)

  




   


  






Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Earth's Dynamic Annual Weather

 Contemporary websites report a surfeit of detailed information about Earth’s seasonal weather. For residents in middle latitudes, winter inspires some of their most vivid recollections of memorable weather in personal family history. Family lore produces lurid tales of mighty winter storms from our childhood. The recent North American winter season supplied residents with several highly unusual events which will be recounted for many years to come. The infamous Texas winter storm, unofficially dubbed Uri by the Weather Channel which struck the week of Feb. 13-17, 2021, claimed 57 lives. 

It is likely that memories of deep snows of winter blizzards from our youth have created an indelible impression upon people whose early childhood heights were a fraction of those of their adulthood. It is less likely that long-term droughts produce the same exciting long term memory. One reason may be the unpleasant environmental harm caused by droughts on agricultural crops and food supply. Secondarily, we coped with restrictions on residential water supply, dust, and dried out lawns, to mention a few deleterious effects. Our juxtaposition of blizzards with droughts is a way to enlarge upon our term “dynamic” to develop our description of planetary weather. 


The presence of water on our planet is the single most important factor in producing dynamic weather. We describe dynamic in terms of weather a little later in this post. But for now we cite one of the most fundamental truths concerning our home planet—the unique presence of water as a necessity for life as we know it. Jon Tennant’s blog published in Nature (2013) states, “What we normally consider unique and beautiful about our own planet is its abundance of water, but it may be that in reality our unique trait is not the presence of water, but the ability to have it remain on the surface of the Earth in liquid form for so long. It is this trait that has allowed life on Earth to thrive and diversify…..”


Following is a catalog of generally harsh weather episodes on our home planet. In each event water is present and drives diverse weather conditions directly or indirectly: Blizzard, cold wave, derecho, drought, flood, hail, heat wave, hurricane, ice storm, rainstorm, snow storm, thunderstorm, tornado. 


Evaporation and condensation of water are processes which transport substantial heat energy from place to place on Earth. Often precipitation events follow. These processes, in combination with convection and radiation, drive Earth’s weather. If water were not present on Earth, there would be no weather and no life. Weather events listed above are reminders of the necessity of water distribution on our home planet. Virtually all Earth life depends on water. Moreover, most physiological processes of our bodies rely on the marvelous qualities of water.


When our Creator designed our planet He designed a dynamic system of weather. The components of this system were in place long before the arrival of fully human creatures. This truth is evidenced by the geological record of events occurring on Earth for countless eons. As a “water world” our planet was shaped by energetic, vigorously active, changing systems. Dynamic is an adjective describing these systems.  Media weather forecasters enjoy a much larger audience when they are able to report on dynamic weather events. When we optimistically tune in to forecasters to affirm that our picnics, athletic events, and outdoor gatherings will be blessed with favorable weather, we may agree that dynamic weather is often higher on the human interest scale. This may be because, at some level, we are grateful that precipitation is available to sustain the needs of our gardeners and agriculturalists. Dynamic weather produces a beneficial distribution of necessary water, notwithstanding a few inconvenient or tragic episodes. Overall, the benefits of dynamic weather far outweigh its adversity. Humanity is gifted with wisdom to avoid the most disastrous outcomes.


Readers interested in the role of water and the benefits of dynamic weather systems may refer to our thread of past posts (Feb. 2012) for more information:


https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2012/02/earth-water-world.html


https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2012/02/everyday-water-cycle.html


https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2012/02/water-of-life.html


https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2012/02/dissolving-power.html


https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2012/02/just-plain-water.html


https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2012/02/waters-anomalies.html