It is said that Sciences do not accept anything unless it is experimentally proved. This in itself is an unscientific principle because the existence of anything, material, law or anything else, is not dependent on its proof by experiments.
Dr. Javed Jamil | Caravan Daily
FROM time immemorial man has talked of God. Most of the humans have believed that God created the universe and sustains it. A minuscule percentage of humans have argued that man created or invented God and their psychological and social needs sustain Him.
In sciences too, there has always been huge controversy on the role of God in the creation and sustenance of the universe.. The debate between what we understand as Sciences and Religion today – the two concepts attained their current understanding only in the last 2-3 centuries – has been quite vociferous. But what was missed altogether was the impact of the emerging philosophies in Political and Economic domains on the dichotomy between the two.
The evolution of knowledge including natural sciences in the last two centuries has been under the influence of what I call Economic Fundamentalism. Industrial Revolution resulted in progressive strengthening of the grip of the industrialists over the world and the ideology they propagated. I would like to quote a paragraph from my book, “The Devil of Economic Fundamentalism” which sums up the actions taken by the forces of economics in strengthening their grip on the world:
“In short, from historical standards, the rise and growth of economic fundamentalism has been quite rapid taking hardly a few centuries. The think-tank of the world of economic fundamentalism has taken innumerable steps to strengthen their hold. They have sacrificed the goddess of justice before the eyes of the Statue of Liberty. They have transformed through political manoeuvres the state into their estate. They have incessantly and relentlessly been trying to organise a grand farewell for religion. They have captivated the people’s imagination through the media. They have got the attire of society redesigned so that it looks gorgeous and inviting to their eyes. They have industrialised sex, in which they have discovered the hen which always lays golden eggs.
“They have relocated the entire educational set-up on the Wall Street. They have monopolised the tree of economy. Its fruits and shadows are only theirs; others can only admire its beauty from a safe distance. They have taken science and technology as their mistresses, ever keen to offer their glorious best to them. They have nipped all the challenges in the buds by masterminding the popular movements. They have lynched the ‘civilisation’, which has been given a new incarnation; and now Bohemians are called civilised. Last but not the least, they have been busy colonising the good earth in the name of globalisation.”
The impact of the economic fundamentalism on the growth and form of sciences has been one of the issues that need a threadbare analysis. The two leading economic theories of the recent times, Capitalism and Socialism and their variants have all been primarily anti-God and anti-religion, though in varying degrees, and their virtual control over all the international institutions including scientific philosophy has led to the predetermined positioning of a “scientific” philosophy regarding God and Creation, which has in fact absolutely nothing scientific about it. How the economic fundamentalists said goodbye to religion and how they used the sciences as their mistresses will be discussed later. But let us first concentrate on the debate about the role of God in Physics.
As I have said earlier, both capitalism and socialism, the two great faces of economic fundamentalism had anathema for God whose fear and love created “unnecessary” impact on human “morals.” It was therefore accepted as a fundamental principle by scientists all over the world that God has to be kept out of science at all costs. Heisenberg confirms this when he says:
“The mechanics of Newton and all the other parts of the classical physics constructed after its model started from the assumption that one can describe the world without speaking about God or ourselves. This possibility soon seemed almost a necessary condition for natural sciences to grow.”
Why should natural sciences start on “the assumption that one can describe the world without speaking about God” if there was no urgency to disprove God?Speaking about “ourselves” might have rightly been an impediment because it would make things more subjective rather than objective. Moreover, “we” made an appearance only recently in the long long long history of the universe. But why deny God? Had God’s existence been accepted, what harm could it have done to sciences?
Still, sciences could have tried to understand “God’s mind” and His creation and the laws that governed the universe. The only plausible reason behind this position may be that this would have weakened the position of the economic fundamentalists against religion, which (with the exception of only a few religions like Buddhism and Jainism that appear to be agnostic if not atheistic) had belief in God as the foundation on which it rested. Religion posed huge risks to the advance of the economic designs of the forces of economic fundamentalism.
Religion promoted morality, abstinence from certain practices like alcohol, gambling, extramarital sex, homosexuality and simplicity in life. All these positions were seen as the foes of “development”, and religion therefore was not acceptable. Faith in God and His punishment to the evildoers would greatly reduce the speed of the “growth”.
It is said that Sciences do not accept anyting unless it is experimentally proved. This in itself is an unscientific principle because the existence of anything, material, law or anything else, is not dependent on its proof by experiments. Experiments continue to grow in quality and quantity and what was beyond the experimental reasoning three centuries ago is within its reach now. This process will go on.
If a few centuries back, we had no idea of supernova, quasars or planets outside Solar system, it did not prove that they do not exist. If even today there are no experimental proofs of a highly intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, it does not prove that they are not there. The truth is that we are still in a very early stage of exploring, and depending on experiments alone is highly irrational. Even greater is the truth that we are limited by certain other factors which do not allow us to see the present status of the phenomena and objects particularly in the distant world.
Experimentally, there is no way we can prove what was exactly there in the universe around 10000 or 1 million or 1 million years back. We can only theorise on the basis of what we can observe today, the laws we have discovered and the properties we have studied. None of these is beyond revision. Our knowledge after 300 years will be vastly different from what it is today in the 21st Century. Experimentally, it was not proved around 1000 years back that Alcohol causes Cirrhosis or Promiscuity and Homosexuality are open invitations for sex transmitted diseases, That would not prove that they were safe practices from the medical point of view.
The two most sought out and most debated theories – Creation of the Universe and Organic Evolution are nothing but a predetermined, motivated and preposterous attempt to prove that the universe and the life evolved on their own.This is another matter that this was clearly the violation of the Cause and Effect the humans understand from very early times and is a universally accepted law of Physics today. But as the forces ruling the world would not like to see the Creation and Evolution guided by some God or Supernatural Being, they immediately jumped to popularise these theories as the biggest revolutions in the field of Sciences. Darwin and Einstein became gods of science as their theories (even if they were not atheists themselves) created a room for a self-evolved universe.
In spite of the general antipathy in the scientific community towards religion and God, sciences could never get free of God altogether. Top scientists couldn’t keep away from talking of God. Einstein and Bohr had constant debates about the role of God in the formation and functioning of the universe. In response to the idea of uncertainty that Quantum Mechanics advanced, Einstein, in the now famous duel with Bohr, remarked, “God does not play dice”. To this Bohr retorted, “Don’t try to tell God what to do!” The creation of the universe automatically warranted such discussion. Still, every attempt was made to prove that there was no need of God in the creation of the universe and evolution of living beings.
Scientists have always wondered at the beauty of the universe, especially how it has led to the creation or evolution of intelligent beings like us. There is a certain beauty in the underlying plan. John Polkinghorne says:
“…the universe, in its rationale, beauty and transparency, looks like a world shot through with signs of mind, and maybe, it’s the “capital M” Mind of God we are seeing……..there is some deep-seated relationship between the reason within (the rationality of our minds – in this case mathematics) and the reason without (the rational order and structure of the physical world around us). The two fit together like a glove.”
Another important discussion is centred about the Anthropic Principle. Before the 16th Century, the general understanding of man’s position in the universe was based mainly on theological and other ancient concepts, which were represented by Ptolemic principle. This principle states that we have a privileged position, perhaps in the centre of the universe. Galilee and Copernicus countered this and went on to pronounce that we have no privileged position in the universe. They argued that the part of universe we are living in was like any other part of the universe.
But the 20th century cosmology again led to a visible transformation in thinking. It was argued that we ourselves are in fact the products of the evolution of the universe, and had we not been there, there would have been none to appreciate the beauty of the universe. This position is represented by three principles called Anthropic Principles. These three are Trivial, Weak and Strong. Trivialprinciple regards the existence of human beings as nothing but a mere datum and does not give it any other significance. The Weak and Strong Anthropic principles are based on the acceptance that the existence of human beings is extraordinary.
The creation of the human being depends upon a series of striking coincidences. Hawking says, “The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.” (A Brief History of Time, p 138) Isn’t this strikingly intriguing in itself that on the one hand Hawking talks of “striking coincidences” and on the other of “the remarkable fact…. that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life”? Hawking further says, “If the rate of expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million millions, the universe would have recollapsed before it ever reached its present size.”
The truth is that the “striking coincidences” and “fine adjustments” cannot go together and are opposite to one another. This is like saying that some people , not knowing one another, randomly threw thousands of stones and all of them fell in a way that a fine straight road got formed. And mind it, the living being is a much more developed and complicated structure than a road.
The striking coincidences that led to the formation of intelligent life have been briefly summed up on a website, “St John in Wilderness: Physics and Faith”:
“Elements up to Lithium-7 were produced in the Big Bang. All heavier elements were made later inside stars. Hence all of us are “star-stuff”. Most of the molecules making up our bodies using elements manufactured in an earlier generation of stars that enriched the interstellar medium through their stellar winds or when they died in supernovae. Our own solar system then formed from this enriched interstellar medium, which contained the elements necessary for life….
However, the synthesis of the heavier elements is difficult — the only reason they are produced at all is the extraordinary coincidence that carbon has an energy level that is nearly the same as the energies of three alpha particles (helium nuclei) inside a star. This correspondence allows the reaction: three Helium-4 nuclei colliding to form one carbon-12 nuclei (3 4He ———-> 12C) to occur with a high enough probability that a reasonable amount of carbon can be made, and from carbon, still heavier elements. (Physicists say the “cross-section” for the process is resonant, which is a consequence of the matching of the energy levels).
“Paul Dirac (1902-1984), one of the founders of quantum mechanics, noted that very large dimensionless numbers often arise in particle physics and cosmology. For example, ratio of electrostatic force/gravitational force between a proton and electron=0.23×1040; ratio of cosmological distance horizon (“radius of the universe”) and “classic electron radius”=3.7×1040. It can be shown from the physics of stars that these large ratios are required for the lifetime of the average star to be in the range of billions of years. The rate of expansion of the universe is to be such that several generations of stars have time to age that is, the laws of physics and the initial conditions of the universe seemed “tuned” to allowing several generations of stars to live and die (a requirement for the production and dissemination of the heavier elements). The lifetime of an average star has to be sufficiently long to potentially allow a process such as the evolution of life to occur.”
Hawking describes the extraordinary combination of coincidences as follows:
“… For example, if the electric charge of the electron had been very slightly different, stars either would have been unable to burn Hydrogen and Helium or else would not have exploded. Of course, there might be other forms of intelligent life, not dreamed of even by writers of science fiction, that did not require the light of star like the Sun or the heavier chemical elements that are made in stars and are flying back into space when the stars explode.
Nevertheless, it seems clear that there are relatively less ranges of values for the numbers that would allow the development of any form of intelligent life. Most sets of values would give rise to universes that, although they might be very beautiful, would contain no one able to wonder at that beauty. One can take this either as evidence of a divine purpose in Creation and the choices of the laws of science or as support of the strong Anthropic principle.”
But even the arguments of strong and weak Anthropic principle have been dismissed by those who do not want to see any Designer behind all this design. They try to explain this on the basis of random selections. For example, the same website (“St John in Wilderness: Physics and Faith”) counters this on the basis of Execution Parable. L:
“A perspective on the explanations of “many universes” or “many domains” (Weak Anthropic Principle) versus a Designer (Strong Anthropic Principle) is offered by the Execution Parable of philosopher John Leslie….. You are blindfolded and about to be executed by ten expert marksmen aiming at your chest. The officer gives the order to fire the shots ring out, and you find you are still alive, unscathed! What is the rational explanation for your survival?
Leslie suggests there are only two rational explanations: there were an enormous number of executions that day. Occasionally even the most expert marksman will miss, and you happened to be in the one execution where all the marksmen missed, (and second that) your survival was intended and the marksmen missed by design.”
Again, this is difficult to understand why there is insistence on finding a solution without God when a solution with God deals problems much more easily. For example, scientists try to argue that as a result of coincidences and accidents, random selections can occur repeatedly in a way that it can lead to evolution of a better and more intelligent life. But they are not ready to accept that more than the probability of finding innumerable number of such coincidences in a way that they lead to what is desirable, the more probable is the presence of a Being who is designing this. This is like assuming numerous coincidences that led to the making of car rather than accepting that it has been designed and manufactured by a company.
It is also entirely incomprehensible why Occam’s Razor is also disregarded while discussing the role of God. According to the well known scientific principle, “Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate”. This means the number of entities required for explaining anything must be kept at minimum. If there are many ways to explain something, the easiest and straightest one should be preferred. If there are many roads to reach a specific point, the straightest one should be used.
This principle was described by a mediaeval philosopher, Occam of Razor, and is still regarded a strong principle in all sciences. Why then is this principle forgotten when we find that the easiest way to describe the creation and evolution of the universe and intelligent life within it is to accept the presence of an All-Knowing, All-Powerful, Wise God.
If the current theories of the creation of the universe are believed, this is what happened: Immediately after Big Bang, some laws of nature all of a sudden came into force without the presence of any legal expert knowing in advance their subtleness and the implications of their enforcement and without any executive capable of implementing them. These laws initiated the creation of a physical world without any Physicist knowing what was happening and to monitor the progress. There was a very complicated and precise mathematics involved with no mathematician around.
Then the chemistry started evolving from Physics with many kinds of molecules forming without any expert of Chemistry. Then after millions and millions of years, Biology started coming into existence as the result of chemical reactions, without any Biologist (Zoologist or Botanist) overseeing the complex system of animal and plant kingdom, their mutual dependence and their dependence on their surroundings. There was huge genetics involved with no one there to even know what Genetics was all about. After around 15 billion years, the first one who would have the intelligence to understand and describe what was going around made his first appearance. Before him, there was nothing in the universe that had any elements capable of thinking, analyzing, planning and enforcing.
Man, the First Intelligent Being within the Universe, could do nothing but to learn how to survive for next millions of years till about ten thousand years back when he started developing philosophical and sociological principles. And within last 200 years, that intelligent being developed some instruments which could see the universe in significant details. That intelligent being is still crippled in many ways. There are some handicaps, which can become lesser and lesser cumbersome with time to come. There are others, which are more permanent. That intelligent being is totally dependent on the provisions of the universe to understand it and cannot create any one of its own.
He has to depend on light, which runs with a tiny speed of 300000 kms per second, a speed with which he cannot even see the Sun till at least 8 minutes have passed. He cannot see any present, whatever he sees is past, even if it is a tiny fraction of a second past. It can see only the near past of the nearby objects and distant past of distant objects. Now, this intelligent being, which got intelligence to try to understand the subtleties of a hugely complex universe, claims of becoming legal expert, physicist, biologist and sociologist who can tell everything about what happened and what is happening in the universe. Poor little chap!
What is more intriguing is the fact that if the Einstein’s Light-speed barrier is accepted, it means that the whole creation and the evolution of the universe leading to the evolution of intelligent beings in one or few places of the universe occurred without any effective, fast enough communication between the distant components of the universe, as no communication can be faster than light, and light-speed can be called nothing more than a crawl in the background of the vastness of the universe. This will be discussed in detail later.
In conclusion, we are part of a universe, which requires huge intelligence (of intelligent beings) and highly advanced tools to be understood but required no intelligence (or Being) and tool to be created. What a wonderful conclusion!
(Excerpted from coming e-book, “How Unscientific the “Scientific” Philosophy of God!”)