Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Life, the Universe and Most Everything

I have debated for a long time whether or not it would be a good idea to put into words my "philosophy", "theology", or whatever it is I believe to be Reality. So, here goes-

The Universe is a created thing, which, by definition, requires a Creator. Wars have started and ended over what the True Name of this is Creator is. Simply put - God. I really don't care, and I doubt He/She/It cares any more than I do. Again, for the sake of simplicity, I'll just refer to God in the masculine. It's much easier than arguing over what "sex" God considers Himself to be. The Holy Bible, the only true source material states:

 "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:26-27 KJV)

Note the use of the third person pleural pronoun "our", as if God did not consider Himself one thing or another, rather as simply a Creator. So, please, Feminists, put away your hurt feelings. God created both man and woman in Their Image.

I should state here that God is not just the Creator, but the Destroyer as well. Actually, you cannot have one with out the other. Out of Creation comes the seeds of Destruction, and out of Destruction comes Creation. So many species came before us, had there not been extinction events, this poor planet would would be crammed so full of Life nothing could survive. So just accept that Destruction is a Creative force and Creation means the destruction of things that came before.

In the Beginning... So it goes. However, that is a loaded statement. In physics there is still a debate raging if time existed before the Creation (again, for simplistic reasons, I'll just say Creation as opposed to the "Big Bang", which, after all, was a term of derision used by the great astrophysicist Fred Hoyle, when the whole idea was first put forward, arising as it did from General Relativity). According to our best guess, which is the all we have right now, the Universe started as a something about the size of an atom, infinitely dense, and infinitely hot. An atom, no matter of what element, is a very, very small thing. And being infinitely dense and hot would have made it infinitely unstable. 

But where did it come from?

According to Stephen Hawking and a few others, it arose out the nothingness of quantum uncertainty. 

Run that by me again? The Universe came into being from a state of nothingness. Now I accept Quantum Mechanics as a good starting point for giving us some semi-workable theories for how things work down at the ground state of Existence and Reality, but they are only theories, that cannot be proven by the scientific method, yet. Since Quantum Mechanics works under the principle of uncertainty (by statistical probabilities, that may or may not truly describe the ground state), any half-wit could create a universe that way. It's the same as saying:

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. (Genesis 1:1-5 KJV)"

Both statements are equally uncertain as far as proof and replication are concerned. Both must be accepted on "Faith". Hawking, in his anger at God (I know, I'm making a psychological assumption as to Hawking's motivation for his theory) would have us take his word on faith, the same as I take the poetic Bible's creation story on faith. 

That's the key point. Genesis was written, if we accept that Moses wrote it all himself, by a Bronze Age, well educated man (by Ancient Egyptian standards), but not schooled in any other than the pseudo-science of astrology and other such arts, particularly, as the adopted son of Pharaoh, in military science and as member of the ruling class. Therefore his view of the Universe was more poetic that scientific.

After being banished by the society he grew to manhood in, wandered the desert of the Sinai, was taken in by a family of nomadic herders, and found God, or God found him. It can be taken both ways. Regardless, his story was the oral tradition of his true people, the Hebrews, who worshiped just the one Nameless God.

When Moses attempted to describe the Creation, it was from this perspective of a Bronze Age man, not one of the much later Greek philosophers, Renaissance early scientists (who "rediscovered" scientific principles of the Greeks and Muslims who preceded them), or even the true scientists of the 19th and 20th centuries. His description was for the masses, to attempt to explain the inexplicable. However, in many ways his description was very close to the event described in General Relativity, just, as I've said more poetry than scientific observation and theory.

The description by Moses of the creation of humans, to me at least, was a description of the first of our species, Homo Sapiens. Our "sudden" awakening 35 to 40,000 years ago, with the beginnings of language and abstraction of the Universe is ill described even by evolutionists. The "why" of how our brains suddenly grew so much larger, with a neocortex more complex than any other hominid is still a mystery? The development of Broca's Area (the language center of our brain) and the ability to reduce the Universe to abstract concepts adds to this mystery. Straight-line evolution can't explain it. Our brain is a fairly radical mutation by evolutionary standards. And I pity females because their pelvises didn't keep up with this radical change in head size, which is why birthing for them is so painful. But I digress...

The strange thing about this argument we're engaged in is the old "apples versus oranges" or nonsequitur. Unfortunately, the great astrophysist, Fred Hoyle, muddled the question when he was quoted in his later years that the creation of the DNA molecule was something akin to "...a tornado going through a junkyard and assembling a fully functional 747." Gleefully, the anti-evolution crowd pounced on this quote. However, I believe, the point Hoyle was trying to make was that the DNA molecule is so complex that it's evolution must be equally complex, which is why it took life roughly 4 billion years to arise. This does not, however, take God out of the equation, it does mean that, for the most part even He works within the laws He created (the exception, of course, is miracles, which by their very definition require the suspension, temporarily, of the normal laws). 

The bottom line is this - both science and religion have to, by their very nature, be taken on faith until proved or disproved. Science has a rigorous set of rules which must be followed in order for a theory to be accepted (which is why I'm a loud critic of "Human Caused Global Climate Change" or is it "Human Caused Global Temperature Increase", both of which were and are based on "models" (guesses) of what might be happening with climate). So far, both science and the Bible aren't averaging too well in the prediction realm. I blame science more than the Bible, since the Bible is poetic, not formulaic.

The Bible is, as I've said throughout, a poetic description of Creation and Human's relationship with God and each other. Its primary drive is to lay out a way to a happy, God-filled life. This may be huberous on my part, but I don't think think God meant His Holy Word to be scientific, rather His rules for living together and nothing more. God evolved in us a brain to question the inner workings of His physical laws, not our interpersonal relationships. Those two perspectives don't touch at any point that I know of.

God, also, in granting us "free will" gave us the ability to believe or not believe in Him. I don't think of God as some petulant child who'll throw a fit if we all don't bow down and worship at His feet. He gave us the gift of being willing, of our own free will, to come to Him. If we refuse, He could always move a rock out in space to squash us, but I really don't think it would be out of animus, only that we were a failed experiment He was running. Yet, I believe so long as the least of us has faith, then He will be content.

Science gives no comfort. It's simply a description of how we think the physical universe operates. It was never going to replace God, or prove His Existence one way or the other. Good scientists will freely admit that there are certain things about the Universe that will be forever unknowable. Science can answer or give us reason why we are here, only that we are and nothing else. God gives us a reason, which should be enough.

I leave the questions of science to scientists. I leave the questions of God and Existence to the philosophers and theologians. I leave the really big questions to God Himself.

We are still an infant species. With only about 40,000 years of Existence to our credit, compared to 13.5 billion years of the Universe's existence, I only think we've just barely scratched the surface. Yes, we're an impatient lot, so I take the position in my latter years of sitting under my own tree and contemplating why I have a navel. They are fun to play with, after all.


2 comments:

  1. I can live with this. I would possibly word some bit somewhat differently, but neither of us is the other. Behind it all is the the Creator God of the Hebrews and Christians.

    ReplyDelete

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