So… still at it are we?
Well I seem to have generated a little bit of a ruffling of feathers with my last article, suggesting that Science and Religion may well be two different perspectives on similar events.
At least some people took the trouble to read my article before commenting, and some of their criticisms and questions were indeed well founded. I would like to pursue the matter a little further herein, to maybe illustrate more clearly why I believe that we are actually saying something very similar, albeit in fundamentally different languages.
To the other group of critics, who never took the trouble to properly read what I said, and merely launched out on another of their cynical “ghostbusting” tirades… shame on you. I do not care to justify myself against your shallow attacks… Read the article properly you fools!
Now to those who questioned the validity of my statement that I believe that much of the Old Testament is a symbolic or metaphoric account of actual events, depicted in the language and writing style of the times…
Let us look at possibly the most obvious example of a biblical account which sounds just too far fetched to be true… The Great Flood.
The biblical account in summary, if we initially ignore all the theistic and moral implications, is that it rained for forty days and nights, until the whole earth was flooded, and everyone and everything drowned, except those saved by Noah and his ark.
So a zillion questions arise:
How could the whole earth be flooded simultaneously? How did Noah go about getting the required number of animals into the ark? (Not two of each, by the way… read the account) What about all the insects and things which actually would have lived for less than 40 days due to short life cycles? How did he prevent them eating each other? The list is endless…. And the worst of all, this was supposedly managed by a man 600 years old!!
The atheists among us think no further. It is too much trouble to apply the scientific research they keep harping on about… It is far too difficult to gather the available evidence, to ensure we filter the fact from the fiction….
Has anyone ever read up on the fact that almost all major religions recognize a “great flood episode” somewhere in history? That most of them acknowledge divine intervention (albeit from a host of divinities) having saved mankind from this tragedy?
Have you ever wondered what science and natural history have to say about this? Ever heard of the Ice Ages?
Graham Hancock, in Underworld: The mysterious Origins of Civilisation (reference below) details massive studies done on ocean levels in the various Ice Ages, and proposes a theory whereby massive ice lakes could have been created, which would have catastrophically burst, exposing large populations around the world to flash flooding, and rapidly rising sea levels.
He proposes therefore that geographically separated ancient cultures around the world could have been exposed to similar scenario’s at a similar time in history. To each, within the confines of what they regarded as the “known world” this would have appeared to be certain doom, and the end of the world.
Granted, we don’t see any accounts in this author’s work of a man in a boat saving the Hebrews from obliteration, but…. We do have a possible correlation between what scientific evidence reveals to be a time of massive flooding, and the fact that diverse scriptural writings reflect such an event in history.
Once again, I couldn’t care if there really was a Noah or not! I believe in the concept, that God the almighty could, and still can provide a way out to those he chooses to save from whatever may threaten them.
I as someone with a very basic knowledge of physics and biology admittedly find it very difficult to believe the biblical account of the flood…. And can understand why so many scoff at it… but… some of our widely accepted principals of physical science also don’t always make so much sense….
Let us steer away for a moment from religion, and look at pure physics and dynamics of motion…
Let us consider the hypothetical case of a mosquito flying southwards down the N1 highway on a balmy summer’s evening. I have no idea what a mosquito weighs, but let us for argument’s sake suppose that it weighs one hundredth of a gram. Can we also suppose him to be flying at one meter per second? (maybe there is a light breeze behind him…)
Without getting too technical here, I am sure that many readers will concede that the velocity of our little fellow is determined by his speed and the direction he is heading. His momentum (or kinetic energy) is a factor of his mass and his speed.
Without going into the mathematics of this, I am sure that we can all concede that our little mosquito doesn’t pack too much punch, in terms of the amount of energy he could transfer if he were to fly into anything…. Right?
Now let us consider a fully laden 18- wheeler, heading northwards up the N1. At a mass of perhaps 30 tons and a speed of 100 km/ hr I am sure that we would all agree that the vehicle carries exponentially more energy and momentum? Some of us may have been awe- struck by the amount of damage such a vehicle can cause on impact…
What happens though, if our mosquito and the truck were to collide? Instinct would suggest that without a doubt the mosquito would come off second best…. Would anyone consider for a moment that it would be possible for the mosquito to actually bring the truck to a dead stop if they were to collide? Hell no???
But what does physics suggest? The undisputed laws governing matter and the way it behaves may surprise you!!
We have it as given that our little mosquito was initially travelling southwards at 1 meter per second before the collision. I think we can also take it for granted that shortly after the collision, the remains of the mosquito will be travelling northwards at 100 km per hour, firmly stuck to the windscreen of the truck….
Yes, yes, I can hear the aetheists all shouting “impossible” because the N1 is a dual carriageway and the Southbound mosquito and the Northbound truck should be in separate lanes…. But I digress….
Would I be correct in saying, that in order for the mosquito to change it’s velocity from 1 meter per second southwards to 100 km/ hr northwards, it would need to slow down rather rapidly, come to a standstill, and then accelerate even more rapidly in the opposite direction? Correct?
So then, our little mosquito in order to change direction by 180 degrees, would need to come to a standstill at some point, before accelerating in the opposite direction… Yes?
And would the point of standstill not be a moment shortly after crashing into the windscreen of the truck? Errr … yes…
So the mosquito, which is not moving for that brief moment in time, is stuck to the windscreen …. Which must then also be standing still…. And the entire truck must then have come to a very temporary halt? Err… emmm…. Yes???
So our miniscule little mosquito must have, for a minute moment in time actually have stopped the freight truck?
Well, actually yes… and physics would suggest that the time the truck stands still is related to the difference between their masses….
Now I don’t for one moment purport to be a physicist… or to know better than Dr Isaac Newton, but I am sure that there are many readers who are looking at this puzzle, and saying huh??? So you want me to believe that every time I have an insect slam into my vehicle I come to a stop without realizing it???
In my humble opinion, this just serves as one example of how I don’t understand the laws of thermodynamics well enough to unravel a particular mystery… but that certainly doesn’t mean everything Newton says is untrue!!
I choose to suspend my disbelief, and bow to the superior knowledge and wisdom and to accept that the fundamentals of physics are true, and that I cannot dispute them, simply because I don’t believe that a mosquito can stop a freight truck…
Now, back to the matter of religion…. I really don’t believe for one moment that the earth is only 6000 years old. In fact that figure is never mentioned anywhere in scripture. It is an assumption made by some who had nothing better to do than add up a whole lot of dates and time frames which are mentioned, and just assume that nothing was lost in translation from the original Hebrew and Greek, and that Genesis is to be taken literally.
I personally also don’t believe the details of the story of Noah… for that matter I also choose to believe that Adam (meaning male) and Eve (meaning female) were not singular people, but groups of males and females….
Just like I don’t throw away everything Newton says, simply because I cannot understand how a mosquito could strop a truck…. So too, I choose to uphold the core of the Christian doctrine. I really don’t expect everyone to believe along with me…
I also don’t believe that mainstream “religion” today is anything like it was intended to be… Just like other phenomenal doctrines like Maoism or Communism, or for that matter even Democracy… they sound really good and practical and do- able until they become corrupted by human greed and pride.
Entire churches have been founded on the lust of a king, or the whim of a leader who believed he knew better… many churches today struggle to justify many of their traditions and sacriments, because they have deviated so far from the scriptural blueprint, that they can’t find any similarities….
I believe it was Ghandi who said, he would have accepted Christianity, were it not for the Christians…
I am not suggesting that anyone should be pressurized into any faith or doctrine. I wholeheartedly respect everyone’s right to make his own informed decision as to what he chooses to believe or refute… as long as you will afford me the same privilege.
All I am trying to suggest though is that one should really try to look beyond all the contentious issues, and see that in many instances Scientific evidence may actually be a lot closer to religious opinion than one would believe.
I am comfortable in accepting the Big Bang… there is enough evidence to support it, I just choose to believe that when God said something like “Let there be light” there was an almighty bang, and then everything started.
Likewise I believe that the “days” in Genesis could just as well be interpreted “ages” or “periods of time” and that although I choose to believe in a grand designer, I am open minded enough to reconcile the Genesis account of life originating in the oceans, then on land, then in the air, with the model of evolution…
Two different descriptions of the same book… one giving credit to the author and the literary style, and the other paying attention to the factual content…
Really nothing to get so aggressive about at all….
· Hancock, Graham (2002). Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization. New York: Crown. ISBN 1-4000-4612-2.
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