Sunday, January 09, 2011

Pope: God's mind behind complex theories...

Big Bang, for example:

God's mind was behind complex scientific theories such as the Big Bang, and Christians should reject the idea that the universe came into being by accident, Pope Benedict said Thursday.
"The universe is not the result of chance, as some would want to make us believe," Benedict said on the day Christians mark the Epiphany, the day the Bible says the three kings reached the site where Jesus was born by following a star.
But what about simpler scientific ideas - hmm...such as Newton's laws of motion? Or at least these seem relatively simple to us now. Or - what about the law of reflection. This is really simple - so really no need to bring in God's mind here. Fluid dynamics? Difficult, but it is almost too neatly explained by some not so simple ("complex" - ha!) mathematics. What about the formation of the Moon. Well, it is quite complex and the answer is still uncertain. So unless those pesky astronomers get to it quickly, lets provisionally place God's mind behind it. The formation of our Solar system? No -no. There is no need to bring in God in this discussion. This is a relatively straightforward problem of the collapse of a gaseous nebula, and then it basically follows the laws of thermodynamics. Yes, there was a time when we thought that our Solar system was the entire universe, and that the formation of the Solar system was beyond the purview of science. But we know better. So no need for proclaiming God's mind behind the formation of the solar system. Virgo Cluster of galaxies? Well...this is kind of a silly question. Of course, we have a rough idea about the formation of galaxy clusters and much of the large scale structure of the universe - even though our explanations need dark matter and dark energy. Hmm...so this may be a bit dicey to place God's mind behind dark matter / dark energy. After all, this is a bit dicey and can turn out to be wrong. Oh - but there is strong evidence for the Big Bang (thank you Microwave Background Radiation). Hmm...and this is quite a complex idea, and astronomers are, at present, quite clueless about the cause of the Big Bang (despite Hawking's recent proclamations). So...God's mind must be behind the Big Bang. I mean, one can argue that God's mind is behind the law of reflection too - but saying that is not very satisfying. But attributing God's mind behind an unsolved problem really sounds impressive. Of course, we hope that those pesky astronomers don't start figuring out causes for the Big Bang. We are safe for the time being. In case, they really pull up something, we can always ascribe God's to the next unsolved question regarding the universe.

Or you can essentially reduce the above paragraph to the God of the gaps problem.

Actually in all fairness, the problem with Pope's statement lies in the creation of the dichotomy between God's mind and the creation of the universe "by chance". But why not simply put God behind the creation of chance as well? I.e. why not take a broader sweep and say that God is the reason why there is something instead of nothing - and that this is a matter of pure faith independent of any scientific ideas? May be this is what the Pope was trying to say in the first place, but is unfortunately using the term Big Bang. And yes, Stephen Hawking's recent statement that God did not create the universe may only be accurate for this universe, and ultimately a statement of faith (in atheism) regarding the existence of something instead of nothing. So lets call it even here.

Read the full story here.

In case, you are wondering if astronomers are really serious about ways to test out the existence of other universes, here is an example: Observing the Multiverse from Cosmic Variance. Before, I start getting comments that this is all speculation, well at this time of course it is. But my point is that people are seriously looking to test out these ideas.

Related posts:
Hawking, God and the Universe
Lecture Video: Paul Davies - Origin of the Laws of Physics
Multiverse theory: Leave it to science

4 comments:

Ali said...

"Before, I start getting comments that this is all speculation, well at this time of course it is. But my point is that people are seriously looking to test out these ideas."

Even if tested and proved to be true, there is no reason why that would mean God did not create the universe (or even the multiverses for that matter).

What I fail to understand is what convinces people that we do not need God to create the universe.

Ali said...

Aww Salman, somehow this blog probably "considers" my comments as spam. May be i post too much too often? I posted a comment to this post but I cannot find it here.

Salman Hameed said...

Yup - it was in the spam. But your next comment was not. Do you use different addresses to login?

"Even if tested and proved to be true, there is no reason why that would mean God did not create the universe (or even the multiverses for that matter). "

That was exactly the point of my post. That's why there is no reason to make Big Bang a special point for creation - and you can keep on getting back and back and back...

"What I fail to understand is what convinces people that we do not need God to create the universe."

This is exactly the point of faith. As far as "need" is concerned, that is a different issue. First of all, you can ask, how does God create any thing? If it is via physical laws - then one can trace physical ways of the formation of the universe - and whether one ascribes the origin of physical laws to God or not - then becomes a matter of faith. If the creation is not by physical laws - then sure, science cannot find answers there. But then how can we know this is the limit of science?? After all, formation of the Solar system, at one point, was considered as the limit of science. But that turned out to be wrong. The same may end up being the case for Big Bang. So in the absence of the clear-cut boundary, the question of ultimate origins, can only be answered from pure faith.

Anonymous said...

From the time of the very auspicious inception of the civilization, mankind is continuing to find out the correct answer to the question about universe creation or creator. Aborigines have taking up the considerations of the causes by religious thoughts in different ways as consolations as there was no practical answer or solutions to the questions. Scientist Stephen Hawking clearly said in his research paper about the religious thought that, there is no limit in the place of this universe, there is no beginning or end of time and there is nothing that can be done by the creator. Again he said that when opened full work of creation, then we are known with God and mankind is share-hold of that knowledge. Recently, Professor Hawking announced “There is no place for God in theories on the creation of the Universe” Yet, see folloing below the website http://shahidurrahmansikder.wordpress.com/2010/10/07/294/ Allah/God/Creator is at once and always omnipotent, omnipresent, omnivorous or united in all things.