ITHCWY: Robert Ellison's Blog

Religion's Kayne West Tendencies

BBC News has a report today on a conference held by CERN to bring science and religion together around the origins of the universe. It has some choice quotes including:

"Science in isolation is great for producing stuff, but not so good for producing ideas"

From Andrew Pinsent, and from Canon Dr Gary Wilton that the likely discovery of the Higgs boson:

"raised lots of questions [about the origins of the Universe] that scientists alone can't answer ... They need to explore them with theologians and philosophers"

Let me get this straight.

  • The concept of atoms is first proposed by Demokritos in around 500 BC and realized by Dalton in 1808.
  • Subatomic particles are discovered in the late 19th century, followed by Rutherford's gold foil experiment in 1907 demonstrating that an atom is mostly empty space.
  • The Standard Model is built over decades including the proposal by Peter Higgs (and others) of the existence of the field and boson by which particles acquire mass.
  • An expensive and extensive search by Fermilab and CERN eventually seems to have discovered the Higgs Boson.

A few highlights.

And after hundreds of years of theoretical and experimental physics it's somehow time to turn this one over to the pros?

Another quote from the conference, this time from Prof John Lennox:

"When Hawking argues, in support of his theory of spontaneous creation, that it was only necessary for 'the blue touch paper' to be lit to 'set the universe going', the question must be: where did this blue touch paper come from? And who lit it, if not God?"

Science may never have all the answers. It may not even be possible. But it's the only way to keep pushing back the boundaries. All the theologians have to offer is that they've discovered God, just outside the current resolution of our understanding. Ad nauseam. Bugger off. 

Comments

John McDonagh

Apart from the fact that ancient Greek atomism was purely theoretical and not open to scientific inquiry for two or three millennia......

"you can tear my Big Bang from my cold dead hands"
The Big Bang Theory was first proposed around 1925 by Georges Lemaitre, a Catholic priest and Astronomer, in his paper "Hypothesis of the Primeval Atom". Arguably this was not susceptible to scientific inquiry until the advent of large radio-telescopes.

It was dismissed in many quarters for implying some sort of creator. Notably, then atheist cosmologist Fred Hoyle coined the term "Big Bang theory" pejoratively on a BBC radio interview. He was later to accept the theory and also become a convinced theist via his work on stellar nucleosynthesis.

As I'm sure you know, the Big Bang theory was to replace steady state theories as the consensus after it was "confirmed" through observation of cosmic background radiation.

It's indeed lamentable that the general public are so ignorant about what actual science is, as well as its context and history.

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