Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Science of the Gaps

One phrase used by atheists and Christians alike is "god of the gaps". The phrase originally meant that that it is not helpful to say that whatever science can't explain is God, because someday science may explain it. Today, however, it is used as a panacea in ay discussion about the existence of God. But, as Isaac Asimov's Salvor Hardin remarks in Foundation (one of the greatest SF books of all time), "It's poor atom blaster that won't point both ways."

The book of Genesis is often scoffed at as being unscientific, but the scoffers miss an important point - it is not a science text. However, it does impart some truths which are scientifically verifiable, but which atheists throughout history have railed against, even to the point of distorting science. Creation, for instance. Genesis teaches that the universe, and everything in it was created, and created over time.

And so we have early natural philosophers (for so were physicists called) declaring that the Earth was static and unchanging. Until it was incontrovertibly shown that mountains and oceans did rise and fall, and there were earlier forms of life, and even a time when the Earth itself wasn't. No, problem, must be the stars that are eternal. But then we saw stars die, and eventually, be born, and that was no longer defensible.

OK, cried the astronomers, but the universe itself is in a steady state and has existed forever. Until the "primeval atom" or "big bang" (which was the creation deniers' own derogatory term for it) destroyed that claim. Now atheists embrace the big bang, and we hear that the universe might come and go, but it's just because the multiverse is eternal. Except now that idea too appears to be false, as the BVG theorem says that any multiverse with universes with an expansion rate greater than zero (like our own universe) has to have a beginning.

I know, I've written about this before in "Belief Part 3", but this is a blog about what I think. I think it seems like the creation deniers' "gap" is getting smaller and smaller.


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