Artist’s impression of exoplanet orbiting two stars
This artist’s impression shows a gas giant planet circling the two red dwarf stars in the system OGLE-2007-BLG-349, located 8 000 light-years away. The planet — with a mass similar to Saturn — orbits the two stars at a distance of roughly 480 million kilometres. The two red dwarf stars are a mere 11 million kilometres apart. The artist's impression is based on observations made with Hubble that helped astronomers confirm the existence of a planet orbiting The two stars in the system. The system is too far away for Hubble to take an image of the planet. Instead, its presence was inferred from gravitational microlensing. This phenomenon occurs when the gravity of a foreground star bends and amplifies the light of a background star that momentarily aligns with it. The particular character of the light magnification can reveal clues to the nature of the foreground star and any associated planets. The Hubble observations represent the first time such a three-body system has been confirmed using the gravitational microlensing technique.
An exoplanet (artist’s rendering), by ESA/Hubble [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Exoplanets and the Fermi Paradox

We are living during a golden age of discovery in astronomy. Arguably, it began with the dawning of the space age in 1957. By 1989 our probes had visited every planet in the Solar System (in 2015 New Horizons visited the former planet Pluto). Then, in 1995 we discovered the first planet around another star (an exoplanet). Read More ›

A Slightly Technical Introduction to Intelligent Design

Intelligent design — often called “ID” — is a scientific theory that holds that the emergence of some features of the universe and living things is best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID theorists argue that design can be inferred by studying the informational properties of natural objects to determine if they bear the type of information that in our experience arises from an intelligent cause. Proponents of neo-Darwinian evolution contend that the information in life arose via purposeless, blind, and unguided processes. ID proponents argue that this information arose via purposeful, intelligently guided processes. Both claims are scientifically testable using the standard methods of science. But ID theorists say that when we use the scientific method to explore nature, the evidence points away from unguided material causes, and reveals intelligent design. Read More ›
Word Fake changing in to Fact

The Truth About Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture

Misinformation and mischaracterization are rampant in the media coverage of the debate over evolution. Because Discovery Institute’s views and positions recently have been inaccurately reported, and because Discovery Fellows have been maligned in the media in the past, over the past few years we have published a number of Truth Sheets to set the record straight. Read More ›

Not By Chance

In December 2004, a renowned British philosopher, Antony Flew, made worldwide news when he repudiated a lifelong commitment to atheism, citing among other factors, evidence of intelligent design in the DNA molecule. In December, the ACLU filed suit to prevent a Dover, Penn. school district from informing its students about the theory of intelligent design. And in February, The Wall Street Journal reported that an evolutionary biologist with two doctorates had been punished for publishing a peer-reviewed scientific article making a case for this same theory. More recently, the Pope, the President of the United States and the Dalai Lama have each weighed in on the subject. But what is this theory of intelligent design? And why does it arouse such passion and inspire such apparently determined efforts to suppress it? Read More ›
Child dressed in cardboard astronaut costume and rocket

Molecular Machines

This article presents an overview of the key ideas in biochemist Michael Behe's book Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution. A more detailed discussion of these ideas can be found in the book itself. Those interested in the debate over intelligent design in biology should also check out Michael Behe's extensive responses to various critics. Read More ›