noun ( pl. -nies)
the branch of science that deals with the origin of the universe, esp. the solar system.
There are only two cosmogonies (possibilities) for the creation of the universe; for everything within the universe; for why we are even here:
Origin of the Universe
With Einstein's general theory of relativity and the discovery of cosmic background radiation in 1964, the "Big Bang Theory" and its related Inflation Universe theories are today's dominant scientific theories for explaining the origin of the universe. The universe was created between 13 and 20 billion years ago from the cosmic explosion (or expansion) of a subatomic ball that moved space, time, matter and energy away in all directions. Everything came from an initial speck of infinite density (also known as a "singularity"). This speck for some reason exploded (started expanding). Before that explosion, there was no time, no space, no energy, and no matter. Over a period of approximately 10 billion years, the newly formed space, time, matter and energy evolved into remarkably designed and fully functional stars, galaxies and planets, including our earth. - Other less common (or non-mainstream) scientific theories to explain the origin of the universe and/or the period prior to the Planck epoch include: alternative Chaos Theories incorporating Bubble Universe or Multiverse, the Bouncing Theory (or Big Bounce) and Ekpyrotic.
Origin of Life
There have been many theories over the years with respect to the origin of life. Today, this continues to be a very active area of research (Abiogenesis) and there is truly no standard theory. - It is believed that in the early stages of the earth, organic life evolved from inorganic matter through a natural mechanistic process. That initial life form then evolved into more complex life forms through a natural process of random mutations and natural selection. Various theories have the initial life form being created due to various factors including lightening, hydrogen cyanide, methane and/or ammonia; in montmorillonite clay; in micelles; in submarine hydrothermal vents; in a warm pond; in autocatalytic chemical networks; below the earth's surface and so forth. See Self-Guided Section
Origin of the Universe
With guided theories, the origin of the universe is theory specific. Because of general relativity and the discovery of cosmic background radiation showing the universe is finite; the fine-tuning of the laws and constants of physics throughout the universe; the complexity of the universe and everything we observe within including: our planetary system with large outer gas planets that act as shields for the earth; the earth's location in the ; the earth orbiting the perfect G2 dwarf star (sun) with a perfect temperature within the circumstellar habitable zone; the existence of a moon to stabilize the earth; the ideal observation of solar eclipses from earth; the earth having a nearly circular orbit and correct mass; the fine-tuning of our terrestrial environment which includes an oxygen rich atmosphere and liquid water; culminating with the low mathematical improbability of everything being that finely-tuned and coming together in one place unguided in much less than 10^18 seconds (~5x10^17): one could conclude that the universe has been guided and finely tuned by a designer.
Origin of Life
As with the universe, the origin of life is theory specific. Life could have been seeded and guided by a divine creator, an alien intelligence and so forth. Based on the discovery of digital information in the cell; the information-processing system of the cell; the overall complexity of DNA; the mathematical improbability of unguided amino acids sequencing correctly; the irreducible complexity of molecular machines and circuits in the cell; the protein synthesis process; the pattern of appearance of the major groups of organisms in the fossil record; and even the phenomenon know as "homology" (evidence previously thought to provide unequivocal support for neo-Darwinism): these are strong signs of an intelligence. Looking at the digital information in DNA we can ask what are the possible solutions (or as Charles Lyell coined, "causes in operation") for specified information / digital code being produced (i.e. how does a computer program get coded)? As Charles Darwin said, "we go with the best explanation until a better one comes along." The best and only explanation for digital code / specified information being produced is via an intelligent source. See Guided Creation Section