Let me Explain
So, you have a friend who likes to corner a new “born again Christian” and deride him about the verity of the Bible? I place him in the category of bully. He is like a big boy who tries to prove that he is tough by picking on smaller boys. Has your friend ever confronted a minister or priest about the errors found in the King James Version of the Bible? I suspect not. He uses those errors in translation as proof that the Bible is not the infallible word of God. I would venture to guess that he claims to believe in science. He “believes in science” because he has never studied it beyond high school chemistry. He believes that science hold all the answers of the universe.
Well let me tell you what I know and what I don’t know. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nevada with a major in mathematics and a minor in physics. And probably the most significant lesson I learned from that course of study is that the more I learn the more I realize how little I know. Invariably, whenever I manage to find an answer to one question, several more questions arise.
For example: what is gravity? Before Sir Isaac Newton came along, the majority of people never thought to even ask the question much less try to answer it. I suspect your friend falls into that category. But even Newton admitted he didn’t know the cause of it. He described it as a mysterious force between massive objects, and formulated the equation for it. His equations worked so well that at the beginning of the 20th century most physicists thought that they had it all pretty well wrapped up except for a few loose ends, and in fact they thought all of the really useful inventions had been thought of, and would prompt the closing of the patent office.
Then along came Einstein. Now Einstein worked for the patent office, and he didn’t want to lose his job so he came up with two crazy ideas called the special and general theories of relativity. And the world hasn’t been the same since. Talk about opening a can of questions! He claimed that gravity is the curvature of space caused by massive objects such as the stars and planets, people, rocks and apples, and even light. But if space is empty how can it be curved? What is space made of? And what is light made of that it can be pulled by gravity? (see what I mean about more questions?)
My point is that while science can answer a lot of questions, it always raises new questions, which infers that our knowledge is finite, and our ignorance is infinite.
You see these stacks of books? This stack is my college math text books, and that stack is my physics texts. And you see this book is on atomic physics in which (I am proud to say) I found an error, and I suspect that there are a few more in this book that I didn’t find, and about as many in each of the other books. So my question to you is, does the fact that there are errors in these books invalidate the study of physics? This would be the same logic that your friend uses to invalidate the Bible. Keep in mind that all bibles that are written in modern languages are translations of the original texts, and are therefore, subject to error. This third stack is my collection of Bibles. Most are in English, one is in French and one is in Adangbi. I would challenge anyone to read any two of these English translations, (without using a list of the errors that have been found) and find any significant difference in the message conveyed.
When a person begins to study science, he becomes involved in the history of the scientific process, and the theories that were formed and replaced by more up to date theories proceeding to the most modern theories we have to date. “Theory” implies an element of doubt. To say that “this is an absolute fact” is supercilious. History has proven that it is wise not to be so arrogant, because invariably, sometime in the future someone will find the need to modify or replace the theories of today. So the best that we can say is that modern science is our finest effort, to date, to understand the nature of the universe and life within it. I have often heard people say, “I believe in science, because the theories have been thoroughly tested”, but that is like saying “I will build my house on this frozen mud flat, because it is good and solid.” Not realizing that in a few months the ice will melt and the house will sink in the mud.
Darwin wrote “Origin of Species” ,and “the Descent of Man” based on his careful observations during his voyage to South America and the Galapagos Archipelago. It describes the process of evolution, but was never intended to disprove the existence of the creator.
As an analogy, a man hires an architect to design his dream house and a contractor to build it. He wants to record the daily progress, so he sets his camera on a tripod a safe distance away and snaps one picture a day. The house was finished in three hundred days, so he decides to take the 300 photos and create a motion picture with them. He invites his friends over to see the motion picture, and they are amazed, because they see a house going up without any builders! He took the pictures each day after the workmen had gone home. Now a primitive man, who had never seen a house being built, might marvel at it, but of course any modern person would instantly know what he had done, and that workmen had been involved in the process, because houses don’t simply build themselves.
So why would any intelligent person assume there is no creator simply because he knows the process by which we evolved, and he cannot see the creator at work?
December 30, 2009