Tuesday, December 30, 2008

432)A Shot in the Dark: More Signs of Universal Dark Energy; Quotes of Aga Khan IV and others.

"As we use our intellect to gain new knowledge about Creation, we come to see even more profoundly the depth and breadth of its mysteries. We explore unknown regions beneath the seas - and in outer space. We reach back over hundreds of millions of years in time. Extra-ordinary fossilised geological specimens seize our imagination - palm leaves, amethyst flowers, hedgehog quartz, sea lilies, chrysanthemum and a rich panoply of shells. Indeed, these wonders are found beneath the very soil on which we tread - in every corner of the world - and they connect us with far distant epochs and environments. And the more we discover, the more we know, the more we penetrate just below the surface of our normal lives - the more our imagination staggers. Just think for example what might lie below the surfaces of celestial bodies all across the far flung reaches of our universe. What we feel, even as we learn, is an ever-renewed sense of wonder, indeed, a powerful sense of awe – and of Divine inspiration."(Aga Khan IV, Ottawa, Canada, December 6th 2008)

"The Holy Qur’an sees the discovery of knowledge as a spiritual responsibility, enabling us to better understand and more ably serve God’s creation. Our traditional teachings remind us of our individual obligation to seek knowledge unto the ends of the earth - and of our social obligation to honor and nurture the full potential of every human life."(Aga Khan IV, May 2oth 2008, Dhaka, Bangladesh)

"Islam is fundamentally in its very nature a natural religion. Throughout the Quran God's signs (Ayats) are referred to as the natural phenomenon, the law and order of the universe, the exactitudes and consequences of the relations between natural phenomenon in cause and effect. Over and over, the stars, sun, moon, earthquakes, fruits of the earth and trees are mentioned as the signs of divine power, divine law and divine order."(Aga Khan III, Karachi, Pakistan, April 4th 1952)

"Tarkib' is composition as in the compounding of elements in the process of making more complex things, that is, of adding together two things to form a synthesis, a compound. Soul composes in the sense of 'tarkib'; it is the animating force that combines the physical elements of the natural universe into beings that move and act. Incorporating is an especially apt word in this instance. It means to turn something into a body, as in 'composing'. But it is actually the conversion of an intellectual object, a thought, into a physical thing. Soul acts by incorporating reason into physical objects, the natural matter of the universe and all the things composed of it"(Abu Yakub Al-Sijistani,10th century Fatimid Ismaili cosmologist, d971CE, from the book, 'Abu Yakub Al-Sijistani: Intellectual Missionary', by Paul Walker)


A shot in the dark

Dec 18th 2008
From The Economist print edition

More signs of universal dark energy

IT IS hardly surprising that something called dark energy is hard to study. It is important, though. If it exists at all, it makes up about three-quarters of the stuff in the universe. And if it does not exist, then existing theories of physics will have to be scrapped.

The latest evidence that dark energy really does exist was produced on December 16th by Alexey Vikhlinin, of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and his colleagues. They used an orbiting X-ray telescope called Chandra to study the way that clusters of galaxies grow. They discovered that this growth is stifled in exactly the way that dark-energy theory predicts.

The idea of dark energy was dreamed up ten years ago, to explain why the expansion of the universe that began with the Big Bang seems to be accelerating, rather than slowing down. That unexpected finding was the result of studies of supernovas whose apparent brightness (and therefore distance) did not match the previous theory. Dark energy causes the acceleration by pushing space itself apart, altering the distances to the supernovas as it does so.

Dark energy is also a convenient explanation for another curiosity. Geometrically, space is flat. For it to be held that way, rather than getting more and more curved over time, the amount of matter and energy it contains must be at a particular, critical density. Without the dark energy needed to explain the acceleration, the universe would have only a quarter of the necessary density. It is therefore a relief that Dr Vikhlinin's results agree with the theory: the pushing apart of space that dark energy causes makes it harder than it otherwise would be for galactic clusters to grow.

This result does not bring physicists much closer to understanding what dark energy actually is. The favoured explanation is the so-called cosmological constant—an as-yet-unobserved consequence of the general theory of relativity. But that theory predicts a force far more powerful than the one actually seen. So the truth is that physicists are still in the dark.

Easy Nash

The Qur'an itself repeatedly recommends Muslims to become better educated in order better to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
The Quran tells us that signs of Allah's Sovereignty are found in the contemplation of His Creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
This notion of the capacity of the human intellect to understand and to admire the creation of Allah will bring you happiness in your everyday lives: Aga Khan IV(2007)
Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2006)
The first and only thing created by God was the Intellect(Aql): Prophet Muhammad(circa 632CE)