This is kind of an old topic, but it is one that seems to never die. That is, does God exist? The debate between deists and atheists typically is centered around the Christian god with atheists rejecting God simply because they reject Christianity.  To be fair, though, there are some 4,200 religions in the world and the Christian god, therefore, is just one of 4,200 gods .

So, I pose these questions: In order to be intellectually honest, do atheists need to reject all 4,200 gods before declaring themselves to be atheists? And exactly what makes Christians feel that their god, amongst all of the 4,200 gods, is the one and only?

While my interest in this debate wanes by the day, I feel that it’s still worth a mention. To begin with, religious beliefs are claims rather than the truth. Holy books, however, may be considered to be the truth by a believer, even if it’s based solely on their faith. On the other hand atheism, is a religion too.  Michael Ruse, an evolutionist himself, admitted that, “Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion-a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality…Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.”

Scientists of all stripes have weighed in on this debate. Here’s a few thoughts from some of the great minds of science:

“I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.”

– Albert Einstein

Note: According to Wikipedia, Spinoza believed that “…everything is a derivative of God,  interconnected with all of existence.” Further, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy states that Spinoza’s God is an “infinite intellect.”

 

“The universe does not exist ‘out there,’ independent of us. We are inescapably involved in bringing about that which appears to be happening. We are not only observers. We are participators.”

– John Wheeler, physicist

“The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.”

– Carl Sagan, astronomer

Note: Of course, Sagan was admitting that there is super- intelligence in the cosmos, an intelligence which can think, extrapolate… and “know itself”.

 

“Our brains mathematically construct objective reality by interpreting frequencies that are ultimately projections from another dimension, a deeper order of existence that is beyond both space and time….”

– Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe

 

“Life is the most mysterious of all the wonders of creation because atoms have been assembled in such a way so that they can ponder their own existence.”

– Martin Rees, astrophysicist

 

“The secret of DNA’s success is that it carries information like that of a computer program, but far more advanced. Since experience shows that intelligence is the only presently acting cause of information, we can infer that intelligence is the best explanation for the information in DNA.”

Jonathan Wells, molecular biologist

 

“To me, it is clear that we exist in a plan which is governed by rules that were created, shaped by a universal intelligence and not by chance.”

– Michio Kaku, physicist

 

“Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe that was created out of nothing and delicately balanced to provide exactly the conditions required to support life. In the absence of an absurdly improbable accident, the observations of modern science seem to suggest an underlying, one might say, supernatural plan.”

– Arno Penzias, physicist

 

“It is easy to understand why many scientists like Sir Fred Hoyle changed their minds in the past thirty years. They now agree that the universe, as we know it, cannot reasonably be explained as a cosmic accident.”

– Frederic B. Burnham, historian of science

 

and philosophers:

 

“Beyond all finite experiences and secondary causes, all laws, ideas and principles, there is an Intelligence or Mind, the first principle of all principles, the Supreme Idea on which all other ideas are grounded.”

– Plato

 

and atheists:

 

“When it comes to the origin of life on this earth, there are only two possibilities: creation or spontaneous generation (evolution). There is no third way. Spontaneous generation was disproved 100 years ago, but that leads us only to one other conclusion: that of supernatural creation. We cannot accept that on philosophical grounds (personal reasons); therefore, we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance.”

– George Wald

“Super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature.”

– Antony Flew

 

These gentlemen hardly referred to God at all in explaining the origins of life. Therefore, I would suggest that the vast majority of concepts/perspectives about God (both pro and con) are incomplete, at best. Since the word God is generally associated with religion, I believe that it would be preferable to use the term “creator” instead.

 

Of course if there is a creator, he doesn’t have to be the god of any religion, now does he? So, if any of you are hung up over the illogic of religion, especially Christianity, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no God. It may simply mean that you have been looking for him in all the wrong places and calling him by the wrong name.

 

 

God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought.”

Joseph Campbell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Reality Real?

04/18/2016

Everybody I talk to is so certain of just about everything. It certainly gives the impression that no one is wrong about anything.  So, here’s a little pop quiz for those who think that they know everything.

What is a table made out of? If you answered wood, that’s fine. If so, then what is the wood made out of? In other words, what is the essence of matter? For those of you who answered the atom, very good. So what, then, does the atom mostly consist of?

Answer: Its 99.9% empty space. Show of hands. How many got that right?

Back to the original question: What is a table made out of? Best answer: Mostly empty space.

Then, what is reality you might ask. Good question. Karl Pribram, a neurophysiologist and physicist, says that we exist in a virtual reality matrix where our brains construct reality by interpreting frequencies that are projections from beyond space and time. In other words, the physical world is a projection from the quantum world. With regards to how we actually view our reality, science says that 2-D optical impulses are sent to the brain where they are converted into 3-D holographic images. So, where is it that we actually “see” an object? Perhaps, you can now see where I am going with this (no pun intended).

Sleep studies show that we roll over in bed at night, sometimes a lot. After all, we wake up in a different position than when we fell asleep. Since we’re asleep, who tells our body to roll over and why don’t we ever fall out of bed? For that matter, how would we even know where the edge of the bed is, since our eyes are closed? Obviously, we don’t understand what consciousness is and therefore we lack an understanding of who and what we really are.

Then there’s the curious case of our belief systems. Given what was just said, do we even have an accurate view of life? How can one make enough sense out of our perception of reality (since that’s all that it is) in order to make proper decisions (e.g. in order to be able to differentiate between right and wrong). Consider this: science has discovered that decisions are made in our mind even before we are consciously aware of them! So, who really made the decision?  Who are we?

One of the wisest men in history was the Greek philosopher Socrates. Socrates understood that no matter how much he knew, his knowledge would be dwarfed by what he did not know. Today, science has confirmed what Socrates knew intuitively. That is, reality is not understandable. As Einstein said, man will never be able to grasp the magnitude of the Universe and we now can appreciate why that is. The source of matter, and therefore the origins of reality, can be traced to the quantum world. It’s a world that we cannot penetrate. We can only theorize what it is like and what kind of natural laws might operate therein.

So you can probably see why I am a little skeptical when people tell me with absolute confidence that they know an answer to a particular question. As a Greek philosopher once said, “Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion” – and now we know that atoms are basically empty space as well.

Aside: Of course, there is no such thing as empty space as what we’re really talking about here is a quantum field.

Life is truly an enigma which scientists are still trying to figure out. As astrophysicist Martin Rees noted, “Life is the most mysterious of all the wonders of creation because atoms have been assembled in such a way so that they can ponder their own existence.” However, because we have a very limited understanding of reality, we can ponder our existence all we want but I believe that our opinions are just that – they are opinions, and not facts. After all, how can you prove something, indeed anything, that you do not understand in the first place? If you believe otherwise, please enlighten me.

 

“In the world of physics…the shadow of my elbow rests on the shadow table as the shadow ink flows over the shadow paper…the frank realization that physical science is concerned with a world of shadow…”

   – Arthur Eddington, astronomer, physicist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mind Of God

03/14/2016

Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku says that he understands the mind of God! In an interview, he said that, “The mind of God that Einstein eloquently wrote about…would be cosmic music resonating through eleven dimensional hyperspace.” So, the question is this: Exactly what kind of a god would that be?

Without really defining God, Kaku said that the laws of physics can give us an idea about what God is like. That is, God would not be a personal god or a god of intervention, a god who parts the waters.  However, a universe created by God would be a universe of order, beauty, harmony and simplicity.  In short, Kaku believes in the god of Einstein and Spinoza. No doubt, Kaku’s perspective won’t make either religious leaders or atheists very happy.

So, let’s take a look at the beliefs of Einstein and Spinoza.  Einstein said that, “I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.” While most people are familiar with Einstein, not too many people know about Spinoza. Baruch Spinoza was a famous 17th century Dutch philosopher.  According to Wikipedia, Spinoza believed that “…everything is a derivative of God, interconnected with all of existence.” Further, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy states that Spinoza’s God is an “infinite intellect.”

While some might disagree, it appears that both Einstein and Spinoza believed in Intelligent Design. However, there’s not much doubt that neither Einstein nor Spinoza believed in the god of the Bible, the god of intervention. So, who exactly, then, was the god of the Bible?  Well, let’s just say that the god of Genesis was an interloper of sorts. He definitely had a big ego since he told man that there were no other gods besides him, even though the Bible says that he was not the god Most High.  In any event, he certainly would not qualify as the god of either Einstein or Spinoza, that’s for sure.

“Beyond all finite experiences and secondary causes, all laws, ideas and principles, there is an Intelligence or Mind, the first principle of all principles, the Supreme Idea on which all other ideas are grounded.”

    – Plato

In his book The Grand Design, Stephen Hawking said that, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing.” The first question that comes to mind is how can something be created out of nothing? However, in addition, this statement raises other questions while providing no real answers. Let’s break it down.

How can you create something out of nothing (and from nowhere)?

In science, it’s impossible to create something out of nothing. Mathematically speaking, 0+0 will always equal zero.

The universe can and will create

So, exactly what kind of life force is this, anyway, that can create? After all, creation implies intelligence.

How is it that a Natural Law allows the universe to create?

Natural laws determine the process. They are predictive (only), but they do not create anything themselves. Besides, as Einstein said, “If there is a law there is a lawgiver.” Interestingly enough, theoretical physicist S. James Gates, Jr. says that his research indicates that the Natural Laws of the Universe contain embedded computer codes. If not a lawgiver, then, there must have been a super-intelligent computer programmer instead.

 

Theories, fossils and reverse engineering

So, what we really have here is an attempt to provide a quasi-scientific explanation for an ideology. How did we ever get to this point?  Well, to begin with, some scientific theories have been reverse engineered, so to speak. That is, scientists first started with a theory and then the framework for scientific enquiry was constructed on top of that, in order to hopefully provide the necessary observations to prove the theory; such was Darwin’s Theory of Evolution for example. Darwin realized that the fossil record did not, at that time, support evolution but he assumed that future examination of the fossil record would eventually produce the necessary observations of transitional fossil forms required to prove his theory. However, it was none other than Stephen Jay Gould, an evolutionist himself, who later admitted that those fossils couldn’t be found.

Aside: Of course, Darwin didn’t know anything about DNA (how could he have known?) and, if he had, I seriously doubt that he would have ever promulgated such a theory in the first place.

 

Where did time, space and matter come from?

Here’s the problem facing scientists on the issue of the origins of life in the universe. According to scientific theory, time, space and matter were all created simultaneously out of nothing (and from nowhere). The universe (poof) just popped into existence. Just poof.

Of course, science now admits that the universe had a beginning (The Big Bang). It was Michael Turner, a cosmologist at the University of Chicago, who observed, “If inflation is the dynamite behind the Big Bang, we’re still looking for the match.” It follows, then, that since the Big Bang had a match there must also have been a match lighter (i.e. a cause). In this case, the cause could only have come from beyond space and time.

As for “creation out of nothing,” it’s just a euphemism for the unknown, a way for science to claim that it understands something that can’t really be understood scientifically.  As the ancient Greek philosophers noted, the only thing that can be created from nothing is nothing.

 

Epilogue

In his book The End of Science, John Horgan raised the issue that there is a limit to knowledge as science attempts to push beyond what’s observable, since it is not possible to observe what exists beyond space and time simply by observing Nature. Yet, scientists do it everyday, with no thought about using the scientific method. Robert Lanza explained it thusly, “We have failed to protect science against speculative extensions of nature, continuing to assign physical and mathematical properties to hypothetical entities beyond what is observable in nature.” Stephen Hawking, of all people, should know better.

 

“Reality is not confined to space and time. The psyche is not under obligation to space and time alone.”

     – Carl Jung

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dueling Delusions

11/16/2015

One of the recurring themes in society today is the ongoing debate between creationists (with Christianity as their advocate) and evolutionists (with atheists as their advocate). The problem is that ideology, on both sides, is driving the discussion. As physicist David Bohm succinctly put it, “A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.” As a result, the diatribe rages on with no realistic chance of ever ending. I, myself, fall somewhere in the middle since I believe that they are both wrong.

Interestingly enough, both sides do agree on one thing. They both believe that the universe was created out of nothing, and from nowhere! Christianity believes that God created the heavens and earth (in six days no less) because a holy book said so and the atheists believe that we all evolved from a bunch of dead chemicals. So this, then, is the ultimate question of creation. That is, exactly how do you create something out of nothing? For me, it just doesn’t pass the smell test. That is, the only thing that can be made out of nothing…is nothing. The fact that both sides use the very same absurd argument is an indication that there is no proof. Therefore, we’re dealing with blind ideology. In fact, we not only have one religion, we have two – belief in God and the belief in materialism.

 

The God Delusion

Religious texts are not truths. They are simply claims, the word of man about God if you will. After all, how could man possibly understand the Infinite with his finite mind? As the Pascal Wager states, “If there is a God, He is infinitely incomprehensible.”

Religious texts only become “the truth” when a believer takes a leap of faith and adopts such a belief system. Then, and only then, texts are referred to (by the believer) as the Word of God. That’s not to say that God doesn’t exist, only that man’s idea of God is faith-based.

With respect to the Bible’s creation story, there is no evidence that the Garden of Eden was a real place, complete with talking snakes. The story was written by Jewish holy men who considered Genesis to be allegorical; even Origen, a prominent early Christian theologian, believed that to be the case. So, why then does Christianity insist on their Creation story being the Word of God? I hate being redundant and, since I’ve covered this topic in great detail in prior posts, I won’t burden you with having to read it again here as the explanation is quite lengthy.

So, let’s just say that Christianity has deluded itself with respect to its God. They worship an angry, vengeful and violent God (of the Old Testament). And why? Well, because they are joined at the hip with the Old Testament since they adopted it and its creation story. Is there really even one Christian out there who really wants to worship an angry, vengeful and violent God? Probably not, especially since almost all Christians consider God to be all-loving and good.

Bottom line: If there is a God and he created the universe (out of something), then Christianity doesn’t understand their own Creator. As Voltaire said, “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.” And so they did – invent him, that is.

 

The Hawking Delusion

Stephen Hawking says that, “One can’t prove that God doesn’t exist, but science makes God unnecessary.” The reverse, of course, is also true. That is if there is a God, then he would make science unnecessary. Since science can’t prove that God doesn’t exist, then science may (unbeknownst to everyone) already be somewhat irrelevant. After all, science wants us to believe that somehow the cosmos, with no intelligence behind it whatsoever, was able to (poof) materialize out of mindless nothingness. Just poof.

Atheists do not believe in God so they need an explanation as to how, and why, man came into existence without the help of a Creator. Thus, a belief in materialism. Geneticist Richard Lewontin, an atheist himself, explained just how that thought process works: “Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a priori commitment, a commitment to materialism.  It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.” As a result, ideology, not science, rules the day.

As Lewontin said, materialism is absolute. So, the atheist having accepted materialism, will embrace evolution. The attraction of evolution, according to neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky, an atheist himself, is that since evolution doesn’t require a blue print, it doesn’t require a blue print maker either. The end result is a worldview that life began, as physicist and Nobel laureate Arno Penzias noted, as the result of an absurdly improbable cosmic accident.

Bottom line: Science has deluded itself that it understands the cosmos, in direct opposition to what Einstein said that the human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe. However, who needs proof when you have Stephen Hawking?

“The difference between science and philosophy is that the scientist learns more and more about less and less until she knows everything about nothing, whereas a philosopher learns less and less about more and more until he knows nothing about everything.”

– Dorion Sagan

A Question of Time

11/09/2015

Life is somewhat a question of time. That is, between birth and death all you have is time. It’s such a mysterious and elusive thing that no one seems to know exactly what to make of it.

Nevertheless, almost everyone seems to have weighed in on the subject. In the eighteenth century, the philosopher Immanuel Kant described space and time as a priori notions that allow us to experience the world around us. Then, Einstein came along with his theory of relativity and said that space and time (space-time) were mathematical constructs. So, does time really exist? That’s the $64,000 question. Apparently, physicists aren’t sure. Simon Saunders, a philosopher of physics at the University of Oxford, had this to say about the subject, “The meaning of time has become terribly problematic in contemporary physics. The situation is so uncomfortable that by far the best thing to do is declare oneself an agnostic.”

In the field of cosmology, there is another factor apparently in play.  In an article in Nature, two prominent researchers called out the scientific community for breaking away from science’s mandate of experimental confirmation in the development of new theories. This comes directly on the heels of exotic theories such as String Theory, the Multiverse and supersymmetry. The two researchers who wrote the article, George Ellis, professor emeritus of applied mathematics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and Joe Silk, professor of physics at the Paris Institute of Astrophysics and at Johns Hopkins University, stated that “a theory must be falsifiable to be scientific.”

Yes, falsifiable, just as science philosopher Sir Karl Popper stated in his groundbreaking work Conjectures and Refutations.  Accordingly with respect to the Multiverse theory (for example), the additional universes of the multiverse would lie beyond man’s powers of observation, as they would be beyond space and time and, therefore, could never be directly investigated. So, a theory like the Multiverse Theory could only ever be, at best, an approximation of reality. At worst…well, let’s just say that it might make good science fiction.

As John Horgan discussed in his book, The End of Science, the conundrum for theoretical scientists is whether or not they can remain relevant. After all, there is a limit to knowledge as science attempts to push beyond what’s observable (beyond space and time). Theoretical science is almost by definition limited in that regard regardless of what scientists like Stephen Hawking might say. Quoting Stephen Hawking might make good press but it doesn’t necessarily make good science. For example, Hawking, in his book The Grand Design, said that, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing.” This is not a fact, but rather an unproven theory and, I would argue, tantamount to a declaration of faith (in an ideology). After all, Hawking has gone on record as saying that science makes God unnecessary.

So, from my perspective, scientific theory is a moving target and it’s only a matter of time before many of the current scientific theories get replaced with new ones. That’s why we have previously moved on from theories like the earth is flat and the sun revolves around the earth. Since some current scientific theories are incompatible with each other (e.g. the rules of general relativity seem incompatible with those of quantum physics), it’s only a matter of time before the next shoe falls, or as Adam Frank said in his book About Time, “In an era in which the search for quantum gravity has multiplied dimensions and the discovery of dark energy has sent cosmologists back to their blackboards, all the fundamentals seem up for grabs.”

Despite all of the research, time is still an enigma and that may not be changing any time soon. Great minds like Einstein and Planck concur that the fundamental laws of nature are beyond man’s ability to comprehend them. Despite that, scientists claim to understand the cosmos – that things called dark matter and dark energy make up most of the known universe. However, they have yet to find either. Perhaps, it has something to do with what Confucius once said, “The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat.”

 

“What a life in science really teaches you is the vastness of our ignorance.”

– David Eagleman, neuroscientist

 

Although not a scientist, I still occasionally opine on things scientific… without ever using any sort of scientific method. Oddly enough, science sometimes does the very same thing, itself. That’s how we got theories like the flat earth, the sun rotates around the earth…and the current poster child, The Big Bang Theory.

Some say that there’s a number of glaring scientific deficiencies in astronomical theories. Not being a scientist, though, it’s not something for me to expound on. I work on logic, with lots of intuition liberally applied.

 

How did we get here?

It has been my observation that scientists sometimes violate their own rules. That is, they simply fail to observe (and measure). So, just how is it possible that something so basic to the scientific process is so completely ignored? Well, Robert Lanza, a scientist himself, offered up an explanation of sorts, “We have failed to protect science against speculative extensions of nature, continuing to assign physical and mathematical properties to hypothetical entities beyond what is observable in nature.”

Speculative extensions of nature and hypothetical entities, those are big words.  What exactly did he mean by that? Speculative extension of nature has to do with the fact that science has pushed beyond what’s observable in nature. When that happens, you can no longer observe…so they speculate and hypothesize instead…and then pass it off as valid scientific theory. So, today, cosmological theories dealing with such things as black holes, singularities and dark matter, are just that – theories, and speculative theories to boot. None of them are based on observation and so none of them have followed the scientific method.

Aside: Einstein, himself, published a scientific paper saying that the existence of black holes would violate his Theory of Relativity.  Other scientists have since concurred that gravitational collapse is impossible.

Even scientific geniuses like Einstein recognized the struggle to find certainty in their own work. As Einstein stated, “The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe.” In other words, the fundamental laws of nature are beyond man’s ability to comprehend them. Yet, it didn’t keep Einstein from trying (The Theory of Relativity, for example).

By definition, theoretical science produces theories, not proof.  Part of the problem is that these theories are generally based on mathematics and their formulae exist only on chalkboards, rather than being based on experiments performed in the laboratory as one might expect. Worse, these very formulae use fudge factors like eternity, dark matter or Einstein’s infamous “cosmological constant.”  Einstein, himself, referred to the problem with math, as follows: “As far as mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.” 

So, what we wind up with is theories in search of some relevant facts. This is exactly backwards when compared to the proper process of scientific inquiry. Accordingly, even the scientists working on these theories often decry the state of affairs. For example, with respect to singularities, Professor Andrew Strominger of Harvard University, said that, “A singularity is when we don’t know what to do. What’s so embarrassing about singularities is that we can’t predict what’s going to come out of it.” That’s because scientists can’t even say for certain what a singularity is. I mean they believe that it exists because its part of their formulae, but no one has ever observed a singularity. As for The Big Bang Theory, Michael Turner, a cosmologist at the University of Chicago, stated, “If inflation is the dynamite behind the Big Bang, we’re still looking for the match.” In other words, as Prof. Strominger admitted, there are a lot of things that scientists don’t understand, and yet, strangely, they still describe them in a very precise way. That explains Richard Dawkins statement to a recent TED conference that now he has proof that evolutionary theory is correct.  The implication is that he must not have been certain in the past even though he said that he was.

Aside: Of course, since the Big Bang had a match there must also have been a match lighter. So science has developed some new, exotic theories to try and explain away the problem (see below).

 

The theory of everything

So, now that you understand a little bit of the process as to how science works, let’s tackle what Einstein and Stephen Hawking spent their whole careers searching for (in vain) – the Theory of Everything. Again, I’m not a scientist so I come from a totally different point of view. For me, such a theory can only be valid if it explains the basis of life. After all, a theory of everything, by definition, must explain how life operates and where it came from.

Back in the nineteenth century, world-renown microbiologist Louis Pasteur helped develop the Law of Biogenesis. Today, Pasteur has been relegated by many to the dustbin of science, although his theory is as valid today as it was then. What’s so important about his work is that Pasteur proved that it was not possible for life to have evolved from a bunch of dead chemicals (read: primordial soup). Life could only come from life. Even George Wald, an ardent evolutionist, eventually admitted that it had been scientifically proven that spontaneous generation of a living organism was impossible.

So, any theory which deals with the origins of the universe (e.g. The Big Bang Theory) has to allow for the evolution of life, especially that of man. Needless to say, The Big Bang Theory does not provide such an explanation.  Darwin, you understand, simply said that we evolved, randomly mutated as it were. Richard Dawkins expounded on Darwin’s theory saying that,”… life has no higher purpose than to perpetuate the survival of DNA….”

So, for Dawkins, DNA is superior to man, and why not.  DNA is a miracle. There are trillions of cells in our body each encoded with DNA instructions on how to operate and grow our bodies.  Bill Gates has said that, “DNA is like a computer program, but far, far more advanced than any software we’ve ever created.” More importantly, the work of Russian molecular biologist Pjotr Gariaiev, who was part of The Human Genome Project, has shown that DNA is self-organizing, self- directing and self-replicating. Further, neuroscientist David Eagleman duly noted that the brain’s neural circuitry uses algorithms undreamt of in modern science.  So our bodies are operated by a “living” biological system whose programming is far more advanced than any supercomputer. So, in one sense, Dawkins is right in that the level of sophistication of DNA virtually makes it a life-form unto itself.  

Aside: Yet, Dawkins never explained who created DNA. Inexplicably, science has been unable to identify the origins of DNA or the intelligence behind it.  Up until recently, most scientists even said that DNA was 90% junk – in other words, useless.

All of which brings us to consciousness, which is the nothing short of the trade secret of cosmology. Physicist Max Planck said, “I regard consciousness as fundamental. We cannot get behind consciousness. ” Yet, cosmologists usually eschew research on consciousness. Why?  That’s a big question but, for starters, consciousness infers Intelligent Design which is totally incompatible with evolutionary theory. Then, there’s all the sacred cows in cosmology which would have to be jettisoned (along perhaps with peoples’ careers). I, for one, wouldn’t lose any sleep over it, but I sincerely doubt that the scientific community would ever allow such a thing to occur.

 

The end of science

So, what we’re stuck with are a bunch of theories that have never been observed, let alone proven. For example in his much-discussed book, The End of Science, John Horgan talked about the limitations of science as it goes into areas that are unobservable (e.g. what lies beyond space and time). In order to remain relevant, science seems to feel obliged to try and go further back – back beyond The Big Bang. Otherwise, what we would all be left with is the incredible miracle of the universe instantaneously appearing out of nothing, and from nowhere. Oddly enough, the only people who might believe such a miracle would be the creationists, because that’s what they said that God did.

Accordingly, we now have a bunch of new theories that attempt to explain that while The Big Bang really was the beginning of our universe, it was not the very beginning of life. Life apparently came from other worlds (the Multiverse). However, if true, that only changes the question of how our universe was created to a question of how the Multiverse was originally created. Since that question will most assuredly never be answered, it will make it possible for anyone, indeed everyone, to espouse their favorite theory.  Since science will presumably not address the issue of life having to be created by life, it might even lead some people to posit that DNA might be some artificial form of intelligence, and that it created itself! Are you listening R.D.?

As shocking as that may seem, what’s more shocking is that Dawkins has actually admitted that DNA might have been the result of an “intelligent designer.”  Really, he said that?  Yes, in an interview with Ben Stein.  Check it out for yourself on YouTube.  It sort of harkens back to the Directed Panspermia theory of Francis Crick who won the Nobel Prize for discovering the molecular structure of DNA.

My conclusion is that the objections to Intelligent Design by scientists are usually based on ideology, rather than science.  As I’ve always said there are many different disciplines in science but really just two kinds of scientists – those that believe in a Creator and those that don’t.  Accordingly, science has developed a series of cosmological theories that I believe really have only one point – that the universe does not have an intelligent designer. Unfortunately, for some, DNA cannot be explained away in the usual fashion.  Genetics is moving so fast that it’s beginning to eclipse science in other disciplines, like cosmology and biology, with respect to the origins of man.

Epilogue

So that’s my take on everything from the Big Bang to the human genome. Like I said, my thinking is not scientific – but maybe that’s a good thing. After all, what would children’s books say if there was no Big Bang Theory. I might have to read a fairy tale to my kids entitled Once Upon a Bang-less Night.

 

 

“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

– Max Planck, physicist

 

 

 

 

I hear the same question from nearly everyone, deists and atheists alike. That is, what gives my life meaning? Everyone wants to know, since without that understanding living often seems futile. So, let me take a whack at it.

Animals, like say a zebra, have no purpose in life, other than possibly to sustain the feeding cycle for other animals. Neither are they even aware of the universe around them. Man alone, who is uniquely endowed with consciousness, ponders the question. After all, it takes consciousness to even ask the question.

Some people think that if they dedicate themselves to some cause, like making the world a better place, that this will give their life meaning. Props to you if you are one of those people but mere existence is ultimately meaningless, even if it leads to a better species. That is, towards what end does a species exist? To merely survive, even to thrive and to feel good about being alive? So having a purpose in life is one thing, but to have a life with meaning is altogether another thing.

That brings us back to the original question that people keep asking, even those of you who are “making a difference.” What is there about this question that is so elusive? Why do people from all walks of life keep searching for the answer?

To seek an answer to that question, let’s first start with Darwin. Evolutionary theory states that we are the by-product of natural selection of the fittest. So, according to evolutionary theory, then, we must be without plan or purpose, produced by random errors which are referred to as mutations. Darwin’s answer to the question why are we here is this: We are here simply because we evolved. Richard Dawkins further amplified Darwin’s theory. He stated that, Humans have always wondered about the meaning of life…life has no higher purpose than to perpetuate the survival of DNA…life has no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.”

Aside: Of course, Dawkins never stated where DNA came from and exactly who designed it. We’re talking about trillions of cells in our body each encoded with instructions on how to operate and grow our bodies. The neural circuitry in our brains, alone, uses algorithms undreamt of in modern science, way beyond the capabilities of the most sophisticated supercomputer.

Scientific theory states that all the matter in the universe and all the laws of nature came into existence in a split second – out of nothing. As Michael Turner, a cosmologist at the University of Chicago, put it, “If inflation is the dynamite behind the Big Bang, we’re still looking for the match.” Ah, the match that sparked the universe. So, since our universe had a beginning, it had to have had a cause (the match), and in that case a match lighter.

We are made up of atoms and since those atoms dissolve into the nothingness of the quantum world (according to the likes of Albert Einstein), what gives them any meaning? We can intellectualize all we want that we are real and that, being real, life must have meaning but the truth is that it’s the source of atoms that gives substance to our reality. Therefore, any meaning attached to our reality is predicated on that very same source.

I’ve compiled some thoughts on this matter from diverse fields of endeavor. Of course, I got to select them so I won’t apologize if they may seem slanted.

From the field of psychology:

“The decisive question is: Are we related to the infinite or not? The quest for the cosmic connection is a fundamental requirement of the self, thus the development of myths and religion”. – Carl Jung

From the field of science:

“Life is the most mysterious of all the wonders of creation because atoms have been assembled in such a way so that they can ponder their own existence.” – Astrophysicist Martin Rees

“Our brains mathematically construct objective reality by interpreting frequencies that are ultimately projections from another dimension, a deeper order of existence that is beyond both space and time….” – Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe

From the field of religion:

“If there is no God, then all abstractions are chemical epiphenomena, like swamp gas over fetid water. This means that we have no reason for assigning truth and falsity to the chemical fizz we call reasoning or right and wrong to the irrational reaction we call morality….”

– Douglas Wilson

From the field of philosophy:

“To believe in God means to see that life has a meaning.”

– Ludwig Wittgenstein

 

Epilogue

The source in question that I referred to above is beyond space and time, as obviously there was nothing in the instant before the Big Bang. Therefore, no one can say with any degree of certainty what “the source” actually is. Deists can’t prove that it is God and atheists can’t prove that it isn’t. One thing that we do know, though, is that there is such a source – something or someone so powerful that it created the universe out of nothing. Something caused the universe to come into being and that something, being incredibly intelligent as it would have had to have been, had awareness (unless it was a form of AI) and therefore a reason for its actions. That reason, whatever it is, is the meaning that our lives have.

I said at the beginning that I would take a stab at this issue. It was only just a stab. However, I only left out one detail. I’ll let you fill in the blank.

 

 

 

“The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.”

Carl Sagan

 

 

 

 

This is the last of my four part series on Genesis – Making Sense Out of Genesis, The Debate, Why Genesis Is Not Believable and lastly Why They Believe.

The origin of religious belief is simple; it’s because they were told to believe.

In Saudi Arabia, people grow up with Islam because they are told to. They are told that Islam is the Word of Allah. Questioning of their faith is not allowed. The same picture develops in other parts of the world. In India, they are primarily Hindus, in China they are Buddhists, in Israel it’s Judaism and in western civilization mostly Christianity, despite having freedom of religion. I say despite freedom of religion because where I grew up Catholics and Protestants would live next door to one another and yet their kids would also be Catholics and Protestants, respectively. So a person’s religion is simply based on the religion of their parents whose religion was based on the very same religion of their parents, and so on. It’s a social phenomenon based on cultural indoctrination. Rarely, does anyone ever question their faith.

If you’ve ever seen a video of life inside a madrassa, you know exactly what I mean. In a madrassa, young children are taught to recite from their holy book by chanting scripture. They don’t even know what the words mean. Actually, it’s not important what the words mean. It’s only important that one follows along with the mindless exercise. The same picture repeats itself at The Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. As adults, these very same children who were taught to mindlessly chant from their holy book are still doing the same thing. Talk about brainwashing.

Behind every belief system is a subconscious need to believe, or perhaps more accurately – to belong. That’s how clubs and cults operate. It’s also how the family system works. People are social creatures who need to belong (whether they realize it or not). The price of belonging is to follow the rules. In religion, it’s to be true to your faith – or to be more exact, to its dogma that was formulated by who knows who a couple of thousand years ago.

The beliefs of the various religions have some similarities and some things which are totally different. However, they generally have one thing in common. The origins of their beliefs usually started with some sort of extraterrestrial intervention. That is, Joseph Smith (the Mormon religion) received writings from an angel, Mohammed (Islam) received a revelation from an angel, Zoroaster (Zoroastrianism) received his holy Commandments on the top of a sacred mountain as did Moses (Judaism) and Paul (Christianity) had an unearthly encounter with Jesus. In cults, the usual story is that the leader is supposedly the reincarnation of some holy person, as if there even is such a thing. Of course, there would have been no way for any of  them to know for certain who or what they were dealing with. They simply accepted what they were told from some extraterrestrial entity. That is, that they were led to believe that they were being visited by an angel, by God or by Jesus, as the case might be.

So believing is easy. We all do it, all the time. Knowing the truth is altogether another matter. As wise a man as Socrates realized that the truth is ultimately unknowable. With respect to religion, the Pascal Wager sums this up quite nicely as follows, “If there is a God, He is infinitely incomprehensible.” Further, in the field of science, Einstein realized that the universe (creation) was unknowable, even to him. Despite this, religions of all stripes claim that they, above all others, are privy to the Word of God and believe that their holy book is the one and only authentic Book of God. In the final analysis, religion is really a no brainer for most people. Knowingly or unknowingly, they just accept what they’re told and they have faith that it’s right. That’s why it’s called a leap of faith.

 

” How can you say that you are wise and that you have the LORD’s teachings? The scribes have used their pens to turn these teachings into lies.”

– Jeremiah 8:8

 

 

Schrodinger’s Cat

05/13/2015

The next large California earthquake has been referred to as the “Really Big One.” However, for many people, the really big one refers to the question about one’s purpose in life. Who am I and why am I here? Without the answers to those questions, life often seems pointless.

On the TV series What We Still Don’t Know, cosmologist and astrophysicist Martin Rees did a program entitled “Are We Real?” As Rees said, life is the most mysterious of all the wonders of creation because atoms have been assembled in such a way so that they can ponder their own existence. It’s important to note, though, that such a process requires intelligent design.

However, the question should not be are we real. Of course, life is real, at least on some level. The question should be “What is Life?” Quantum physicists like Einstein, Planck and Bohm have stated that life is an illusion, that atoms are energy rather than matter. However, even these great scientific minds have been unable to grasp the mystery of life.

In The Republic, Plato argued that the objects we perceive are not the ultimate reality, but more like a shadow of reality. Lincoln Barnett similarly wrote in The Universe and Dr. Einstein, “ Along with philosophers’ reduction of all objective reality to a shadow-world of perceptions, scientists have become aware of the alarming limitations of man’s senses.” So all that we feel, smell, taste and see has been created from the information we receive through our sensory system. All we ever know of the world around us are the images produced in the mind. We never experience the physical world directly; color, sound and smell are not qualities of the physical world as they exist only in the mind. That’s all that our perception of reality is then – the mind’s interpretation of electrical signals.

Why is the human race unable to use its brain power to deduce the answer to this illusive question? Well, for starters science is limited to things that have both a cause and effect in this physical universe. The so-called scientific method is a process of measurement and observation. So with respect to what lies beyond space and time, science can only theorize about such things (like the multiverse or the existence of God).

Many prominent quantum physicists have come to the conclusion that the real mystery revolves around the idea that matter does not create consciousness but rather consciousness creates matter instead. Physicist David Bohm has stated that our reality is the result of the interaction of what he calls the implicate and explicate orders. Michael Talbot, in his book The Holographic Universe, described Bohm’s theory this way, “Our brains mathematically construct objective reality by interpreting frequencies that are ultimately projections from another dimension, a deeper order of existence that is beyond both space and time.” The inference is that the quantum world is real and is creating the physical world as a virtual reality.

So, is Schrödinger’s cat dead or alive? If you don’t know, or care, just take the blue pill and go back to sleep.

 

Epilogue

From a scientific standpoint, Einstein stated that time and space are not natural (somebody constructed them). In a similar vein, philosopher Immanuel Kant argued that time and space are not inherent qualities of the physical world but rather a reflection of the way the mind operates. Bottom line: the entire universe exists within the mind, not the other way around.

 

 

“The universe does not exist ‘out there,’ independent of us. We are inescapably involved in bringing about that which appears to be happening. We are not only observers. We are participators.”                

   – John Wheeler, physicist