I subscribe to a Facebook discussion group of very high IQ people (members of Triple Nine Society) and recently a discussion was started on how people can believe in God when science explains essentially everything. The person who posed the question admitted that there are still gaps in human knowledge but science is steadily reducing or eliminating them. I did not respond on Facebook because I don’t think it is possible to make a reasonable response in the few lines that people will read on Facebook. So, I am responding here.
When I was in school, many years ago, I was taught about Newton’s laws of motion. Today we know that these laws do not apply universally. They are true and correct for normal human use but they fail in extreme cases. We also learned about the newer idea – Einstein’s theory of relativity and how that completely changes physics. Now we hear about string theory and other ideas stemming from quantum mechanics and how relativity is wrong in some cases.
The only absolute statement that can be made about scientific knowledge is that it will change over time. Anything that is accepted today can and probably will change in the future as we continue to learn. However, many philosophers, physicists, intellectuals and scientists will readily accept the latest theory that is proposed by a recognized expert. If the theory is accompanied by a mathematical proof it is generally accepted as fact, at least until it is proven wrong.
At the same time, these philosophers, etc.will aver with absolute certainty that there is no God.
How is it possible that intelligent people will accept a range of ideas that they know will change, but reject the concept of God? I believe it is because all religious ideas are thought of as a single concept. The uneducated, ultra conservative Christian who believes that God created the universe in six consecutive twenty-four hour periods is considered the same as the Roman Catholic Pope who has many years of education and clearly understands the difference between science and religion. The television evangelists who ‘cure’ people on every show while they ask for money are assumed to be the same as the priests, ministers, rabbis, imams and other religious leaders.
Because religions are made up of people, there will always differing views, sometimes crazy views, of what God is and what we are supposed to do for God. Even within a select group of religious leaders, there is a range of views and beliefs. Not all Catholic priests completely agree on all religious ideas. Not all Orthodox Rabbis agree with each other. Not all Wisconsin Synod Lutheran Ministers agree with each other.
The diversity of human opinions does not negate the existence of God; it simply shows the lack of understanding humans have in contemplating God.
So, with all of that said, is there a God? By faith, absolutely there is. By science, maybe. I think science has made a case for God but, due to the constant change and new discoveries of science, it is impossible to unequivocally say yes. How, you may ask, has science made a case for God?
Consider the scientific view of the origin of the universe. The most commonly accepted theory is the big bang. In addition, there are several newer theories like intersecting membranes, that are using quantum mechanics concepts to create a new description of the origin. However, all of these have one thing in common; they all start with something that is already existing. The big bang starts with a pre existing singularity. Membrane theory says the universe begins with existing membranes.
Consider also, the second law of thermodynamics states that the universe will degrade into absolute entropy. In that law it is specified that the law applies to a closed system and the universe can be considered closed in that it is bounded by the end of all matter and energy. This entropy would obviously take a very long time to occur but it should happen if that law of physics is correct. Once that state is reached, no further change can ever occur since there is no outside force to disturb the system. No stars willl shine, no life will exist, there will be no planets or black holes. Nothing will exist except a stable, uniform distribution of all matter and energy. Nothing can evolve from it, and it can not reform itself into a new universe.
Therefore, the universe cannot exist across infinite time and be in the dynamic state we see today. And, we have no idea how it began. We only have ideas of how it developed after it began to exist. To me that sounds like creation, and consequently God, has to be added to the solution to make it work.
I wonder what the mathematical symbol for God is.