Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The big bang and mythology

“I believe in one God. The Father, the Almighty, The creator of heaven and earth and of all things seen and unseen.”

“I believe in the almighty big bang., The creator of heaven and earth and of all things seen and unseen. (dark matter)”

People believe in all sorts of things. The big bang is a theoretical construct based on a lot of painstaking research over decades. Every year volumes of research are added to the existing information about the big bang.

The Nicene Creed – quoted above - was the “best guess” of Christians in AD 325 in an attempt to explain the fundamentally unexplainable. However as an explanation it is different in kind from the Big Bang theory.

When a child asks you “why does the sun shine?” you might answer “it is like a flame giving off heat and light” If they are a bit older you can tell them a lot of fascinating stuff about hydrogen fusing to form helium. This does not answer the question. The question was “why” not “how”.

The big bang – as a theoretical construct – tells us a lot about how. It tells us nothing about why.

Bertrand Russell’s clinching argument for the non-existence of God was this: if you say God created the universe – after all the universe “must have come from somewhere” – this just pushes the question back a stage. God “must have come from somewhere” too.

And the Big Bang? Well AFAIK it came out of nowhere…

Belief in the Big Bang does not carry any moral implications. I believe in the Big Bang therefore I should forgive those who trespass against me? Not logical captain! Logic and science do not lead you to that conclusion.

Jesus believed you should treat other people as you would have them treat you. St Paul said it was the one commandment which contained all the others. That’s good enough for me. (and for Abraham, Lao Tse, Buddha, and the prophet Mohammed). But I can't prove it.

There is an Arthur C Clarke story in which an entity enters the solar system and immediately begins to communicate with Earth scientists. During the time of its stay in the solar system (it is using the slingshot effect of the sun to continue on elsewhere) it astounds scientists on Earth with knowledge which advances Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology by decades.

Just as communication is fading out, they explain the concept of God to it and ask for an opinion. The response? “I understand there is an answer to this question. Unfortunately it is far beyond my capability to understand it!”

God bless :)

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