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Science and Religion Part II

17 February 2014, 14:40

In my previous article, I got a lot of flack for the position that I took concerning whether religion and Science can agree. In that article I claimed that the bible should not be taken literally and that God’s tools of creation were hidden from us in the creation account of Genesis in a form of “abstraction”. And by abstraction, I meant that although Genesis does not talk about concepts like evolution and natural selection, it does not mean that “God” did not use them in creation. I also highlighted that even though the atheist has not seen God, it does not mean he does not exist. So in a nutshell, I’m a Christian who studies astrophysics and quantum mechanics, and one who embraces the Big Bang theory and Evolution.

Most of the respondents who disagreed with my position claimed that I have no proof concerning my faith in God and that consequently, I wasn’t a true scientist as I claimed. To this I present the following counter arguments concerning why I think it’s within reason to suspect that there “might” be a God. And since we cannot, with scientific certainty, prove or disprove the existence of God, let us therefore consider the merit of the alternative argument which claims that God does not exist. As an exercise, and taking the legal approach to resolving arguments, I can picture a trial by jury in which this question can be argued. My client, Religion,stands accused of being a lier. He claims that the Universe was created by God, and the other side (the prosecution/atheists), claim that Religion is a lie, and that the Universe created itself and that by random coincidence and luck, we exist. At this stage of human evolution and scientific advancement, I have absolutely no concrete or admissible evidence concerning God, besides the age old assertion that life is too complex, and the universe too well organized to have been the product of random coincidences. Therefore my best, indeed my only argument, is to attempt to generate enough room for “reasonable doubt” in the jury against the concise and logical arguments put across by the prosecution!

I will begin my argument by examining the DNA molecule.Now, the secrets to how we function and operate as a species is locked up in a complex molecule we call DNA, whose sole purpose is to carry coded genetic information. It determines your sex, your skin color, allergies and pretty much explains most things about our physical characteristics as humans. Instructions in the body and indeed for most cell based life-forms, for how to synthesize all the necessary proteins is encoded within DNA. Yet to assume that such a complex molecule could have been the product of random interactions is far fetched at best. Fred Hoyle, a known atheist credited for his contributions to the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis, once compared the random emergence of even the simplest cell to the likelihood that "a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747". Hoyle also compared the chance of obtaining even a single functioning protein by chance combination of aminoacids to a solar system full of blind men trying to solve Rubik's Cubes simultaneously. Its these kind of odds that you are dealing it once you delve into the random creation theory.

The second challenge I have concerns the Big Bang theory and the antimatter problem. According to the Big Bang theory, we had a large body of energy lying around, and that by the energy/mass equivalence (E=MC²), matter was created from the energy. Now if you understand physics, you'd also know that for every atom of matter you create, you must also create an anti-matter atom. Unfortunately these two immediately annihilate each other and we return back to the energy state. So we have no idea where all the anti-matter went after the Big Bang to justify the existence of the universe in its current state consisting of normal matter and no trace antimatter. Assuming that some yet unknown process may have done away with the antimatter in that early universe that did not have any laws at the time, I find it extremely hard to conceive how that process was a completely random, probabilistic event. If the universe was truly random, the energy to matter/antimatter conversion seesaw would in all likelihood be still taking place today.

The third problem that boggles the mind is how we came to have laws governing the way matter interacts in the first place. I mean, “how can we have laws without a law-giver?”. And if laws somehow created themselves, how or what keeps those laws intact? In a truly random system, if laws can randomly appear, surely they can also randomly disappear as well? In our current universe, what prevents us from returning back to lawlessness that existed in the early universe?

These are some of the problems concerning the random creation theory. The odds are extremely small, and it currently leaves a lot unexplained, though time may prove otherwise. So to close my argument; I view science’s explanations for existence as credible, but contentious at best. Therefore the alternate, simpler argument becomes a view that should at-least be considered. Not to say that this proves “God” exists. But since “God” is the only other viable alternative to existence besides the highly unlikely random coincidence theory, can the logical mind still categorically, and without reasonable doubt, deny God’s existence?

I personally don’t see how, at-least, not with current scientific evidence. And as Occam’s razor states; "when you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better." And the simpler theory here states that there was a driving force or intelligence behind our existence, the alternative theory claims that through several unlikely events and coincidence, we exist. The two theories both claim that the universe had a beginning, and both also claim it will have an end. The beginning is described in Genesis for the religious, and by the Big Bang for the scientifically astute. The end, according to religion, will conclude with the shattering of space, and according to science, and through an application of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, the universe can theoretically exist for an extremely long period of time, yet ultimately all matter will decay back to energy as governed by the inequality ET < h (where E is energy, T is time, and h is the Planck’s constant). This in no way means that we must discourage scientific research because “God made everything”, but if life has an author, I would want to know him and his creation in full.

Yet, I feel that even though scientists are aware of these odds concerning random coincidence and the genuine and plausible chance of a creator, I think many scientists feel that opening the room to God might slow down scientific progress? The opposite is perhaps true for religion as well, which demands faith “without evidence”, while science demands “faith” only by evidence and proof. I think that many scientists feel that for science to truly advance, it must completely castigate “God”. And because science has generally viewed faith as something the weak and lazy rely on in the face of human hardship and the yet unexplained, religion is viewed with negative sentiment among the “enlightened”. What also doesn't help this relationship were the unfortunate events of the past millenia in which the church has been repeatedly proved wrong concerning ideas such as geocentrism, which claims that everything revolves around the Earth. So time has not been kind to the idea that a creator may in fact exist because of mistakes made by a fallible church. These unfortunate events certainly confirm that “religion without science is blind”, yet the odds concerning random coincidence remain the same, highly unlikely.

To sum this up, I can without doubt say my faith has sustained me through many, many challenges. It also gives me a moral code for existence, among other, numerous benefits. Yet the benefits of Science are obvious to me as well. Therefor I embrace both. But in the act of doing so, I do not allow my faith to blind my quest for knowledge. So much like Steven Hawking, “My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all”. I believe that the one true scientist, if he exists, is God himself. And as a scientist, I predict that as science progresses and the more we understand the universe, we will find more and more indicators to answer the “God question”. Which is something sorely missing in today’s discourse. 

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