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Real Answers™
dl154
Copyright: © 2010 Donald E. Lindman
630 words

IN RELIGION AND IN SCIENCE, HUMILITY HAS ITS PLACE

By: Don Lindman

“Dark energy” makes up 74% of the universe, and scientists confess that after 10 years of study they don’t have any idea what it is.

This awareness has “shaken the fields of physics and astronomy, much as Copernicus did five centuries ago when he declared that the Earth revolved around the sun,” said Robert S. Boyd of McClatchy Newspapers, writing in the Detroit Free Press.  He quotes Mario Livio, of the NASA affiliate Space Telescope Science Institute, as saying, “It’s as if we had no idea what water is, even though water covers three-quarters of the Earth.”

That’s quite an admission for at times seemingly overconfident scientists to be making.  One gets the impression that when questions about the beginning and the development of the Universe are concerned, science either has the answers or is confident of finding them very soon.  They’re like bloodhounds on the trail of a scent; they know what they’re looking for and it’s only a matter of time until they corner it.

In the discussion of origins, when Christians have tried to say, “Slow down a bit; you’ve got a lot of theories but there are still gaping holes in them,” the responses too often have been put-downs and dismissals coated with arrogance.

That’s not to say Christians haven’t been arrogant.  A friend of mine who is a Pagan [capital P: a nature religion, not a form of Devil worship] said to me recently, “You are the sort of Christian I can get along with, because you don't claim to have all the answers.  I've always found it pretentious that anyone would claim to know the whole mind of God.”

I do, too.  And too many of my colleagues fit into that category.  Not a majority of them, by any means, but the ones who get the publicity do, and they influence a lot of other Christians who are more inclined to listen and obey rather than to think.  They are like the Biblical patriarch Job, who thought he had all the answers until God sat him down and gave him a quiz.

By the same token, arrogance isn’t a required character flaw for scientists; a majority of them are very much aware of the limited amount of knowledge they have.  However, there are some prominent ones who give the impression that, while they don’t know everything, they know a lot more than anyone else does, God isn’t necessary to explain how things work, and their conclusions shouldn’t be questioned.  They, too, were anticipated by the Bible writers: in this case the Psalmist who said, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”

I was raised on the structural model of the atom as being an internal nucleus with electrons flying around it, like a miniature solar system.  It was Robert Openheimer, I believe, who destroyed that basic universal structure.

I was also raised on Newtonian physics, where there is an explanation for everything and every action generates an equal and opposite reaction.  “The heresy of the billiard balls,” a friend of mine called it when applied to behavior science.  Quantum mechanics tossed that whole predictable universe on its ear.

And let’s not forget Copernicus, who restructured the universe and was opposed vigorously not only by the Church but by the Science of his day.  Science has had its share of certainties destroyed and theories disproved.

Even before “dark energy” Science has had to deal with a lot of knowledge gaps and assumptions that were treated as certainties.  Now, with 74% of the Universe a mystery, it seems we’re back to the drawing board again.  I hope there will be a toning down of the “pretentiousness” and “claims to have all the answers” on both sides.  But I doubt it.

"Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091; amyfoundtn@aol.com

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