Monday, January 14, 2008
my 200th post -- the God post!
Over winter break, the topic of belief in God came up briefly with Offspring #2. I use the word "briefly" because I couldn't articulate my thoughts well enough on the spot to make it a more lengthy discussion. So, I've thought about things more and here's why I give the nod to God. (I guess you'll be the judge if I can articulate any better at this point!)
I should perhaps start by saying that I've always been interested in both science and theology -- especially where they 'intersect'. (I'm sure that explains why several of my undergraduate electives were theology classes while getting my biology degree.) It's not that I'm trying to use science to either prove or disprove the existence of God (that can't be done anyway), but I believe one's 'faith' shouldn't contradict reason either. I've never been willing or able to suspend my brain activity for the sake of any 'religion'.
Having said that, I do think science provides some 'evidence' that points to a transcendent cause. For starters, there is this incredibly narrow band of parameters which made complex forms of life and consciousness a possibility. In fact, Stephen Hawking made the comment that if the rate of expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even 1 part in 100 thousand million, the universe would have recollapsed. He said, "The odds against a universe like ours emerging out of something like the Big Bang are enormous. I think there are clearly religious implications." Of course you can argue if this is design or accident, but the numbers, at least in my mind, are pretty compelling.
Then there's the fact that nature obeys laws. For me, this begs the question "What brought about these laws of physics to make evolution possible?" I find the newest work by physicists on string theory and M-theory particularly fascinating. Some physicists believe that it will be possible one day to write a single (and beautifully simple) 'ultimate equation' from which all laws of reality can be derived. So, then I'd have to ask: Why that particular equation? And, Who 'wrote' it?
It's enough to make a brain hurt so I'll just close with a limerick written by George Gamow (a physicist and cosmologist) which seems appropriate for this post:
There was a young fellow from Trinity
Who took the square root of infinity
But the number of digits
Gave him the fidgits;
He dropped Math and took up Divinity.
I'd welcome any comments out there in bloggerland!
(Big Bang pic from here. It's difficult to find good Big Bang photos. Hmm... guess there weren't many cameras around at the time.)