Friday, 07 January 2011

Pope Benedict Sees God in Big Bang

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Has science disproved God? Pope Benedict XVI has countered emphatically to the contrary. According to Fox News, the Pope declared on January 6 that Christians should reject the idea that the universe was created by accident, adding that God's mind was the driving force behind theories such as the Big Bang

Reuters reports that the Pope maintained: "The universe is not the result of chance, as some would want to make us believe. Contemplating it [the universe], we are invited to read something profound into it: the wisdom of the Creator, the inexhaustible creativity of God."

The “red shift” noted many decades ago shows that the stars and galaxies, wherever one looks, are moving away from Earth — and moving away very rapidly indeed. From this observation comes the “Big Bang” cosmological theory, which holds that at one point in time, all matter was compressed into an incomprehensibly tiny space, and that suddenly this matter was converted into energy, space, time, and matter.

Scientists have speculated about the first few minutes of Creation and tried to work backward in time to discover how the universe came into being; however, the closer they get to the beginning, the more their theories are simply guesses. Because they cannot recreate the conditions at the beginning,  it is impossible for them to empirically test any of these guesses. Scientists can fashion laws to explain anything; however, proof of these laws is how simply they explain events. For instance, the great scientist Ptolemy's view of the universe (geocentricity: the earth is the center of the universe) lost the battle to the view of Copernicus (heliocentricity: the sun is the center) because the theory of the Polish genius required so few extra steps.

If ordered simplicity is the heart of science, then scientists must ask which explanation of the origins of the universe makes more sense — an incredibly long series of hypotheses about superstrings and many dimensions whose attributes, laws and interactions man can never know, or the statement:  “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”?  Both are varieties of mystery, but only one presumes that reality is very clearly ordered by a divine mind. 

Physics tells man that he can know nothing, really, about that part of the universe which is traveling away from Earth at the speed of light.  Because superluminal speed is outlawed by Einstein’s theories of relativity (actually, the finite speed of light was first postulated theoretically by James Clerk Maxwell in the mid-1800s and then empirically proven by Michelson and Faraday decades before Einstein, but the rule remains the same: nothing which is traveling at the speed of light or slower can ever accelerate faster than the speed of light), not only can scientists not probe those sections of the cosmos moving away from Earth at luminal speed, but anyone on those bodies can know nothing of Earth. (Maxwell, one of the greatest scientific genuises in human history, was a devout Christian who emphatically rejected Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.)

Travel deep into the structure of matter, and the universe becomes even weirder than at the cosmological level. The Uncertainty Principle, almost as old as Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, states that the more we know about the velocity of a subatomic particle, the less we know of its direction or vector and the opposite is true:  the more we know about the vector of a subatomic particle, the less we know about its velocity. All of this may sound harmless to an agnostic, until its full implications are grasped. The absolute bar on information one can extract from the subatomic universe means that all the laws of behavior at this level of reality are ultimately statistical.

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Whole schools of physics have arisen from the implications of the Uncertainty Principle.  None of these theories presents a reality which is not hopelessly confusing to mortal minds. The Copenhagen Interpretation of Niels Bohr essentially states that nothing is real unless it is perceived. (That is, of course, a enormously condensed statement of his analysis, but an accurate general summation nonetheless.) Mortal man has very limited powers of observation. How, then, could the universe be real? Again, the elegance of religious faith can answer the question quite simply: God is omniscient. If God exists in the form in which Christians and Jews understand Him, then the universe exists because it is perfectly and entirely within the mind of the Creator.

The orderly development of life is yet another area of study in which a Creator is a much more logical explanation than Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. The complexities of life today are understood to be many times greater than what Darwin knew. Indeed, the holes in Darwin’s theory, which were well known and well argued in his own day, have become gaping chasms, even while “proofs” of his theory are still being taught in public schools.

One well known example is the survival by natural selection of black moths in industrial Britain while white moths, more visible in the dark smoke of factories, were easier prey for birds. Darwin saw this as evidence of evolution. However, no one ever questions that natural selection gives some creatures certain characteristic advantages over other members of the same species. But the idea that the rise of the black moths and the decline in the white moths exemplified some form of evolution by natural selection is now generally discounted. The superior survival chances of black moths proves absolutely nothing at all, any more than breeding dogs for certain purposes explains evolution. Though man has been selectively breeding animals for thousands of years, he has never created a new species.

Another example is the “primordial stew” created by introducing electricity (simulating lightning) on a solution of chemicals likely to produce protein. Though no self-replicating organisms (i.e. life) were ever produced by this experiment, its cachet among eager atheists was such that this “proved” that life could develop without God.

The rush to make God vanish from human understanding is not just intellectually incorrect but, ultimately, intellectually dishonest. The whole universe sings the music of order, purpose, and creation. The Second Law of Thermodynamics, which postulates that over time the order within a closed system decreases, even provides us — courtesy of our Maker — with an arrow to time. Science itself has flourished uniquely within the Christian world. Galileo was a devout Catholic, as was Copernicus.  Kepler was a pious Protestant, as were Maxwell and Kelvin. Newton devoted most of his life to Bible study. The giants of the Scientific Revolution trusted that God had created a reality that they could probe and study.

 “The fool in his heart says there is no God,” the Psalmist wrote many centuries ago. Nothing has changed. How can man know what he ought to know? “The fear [awe] of God is the beginning of wisdom.” That, also, is true now and forever. As the Pope knows, atheism is bad science.