Does Science avoid the really tough questions? Has popular religion or the scientific method really explained why the physical world is the way it is? In the following GUEST POST, my friend and Ohio colleague Steve Salt ponders the writings of award-winning theoretical physicist, Paul Davies.
Elegant mathematical calculations tell scientists that everything they see in the universe, the stars, planets and galaxies, only comprise 4% of the universe. If correct, that means 96% is made of stuff that can’t be observed or identified. Heck, they don’t really know what it is.
The terms dark matter and dark energy have been coined to assist in explaining this invisible phenomena. Scientists are in the dark. There is a concerted effort underway and billions of dollars being invested to prove the theory accurate. They are taking it on faith that what they can’t see or understand is real. What does that sound like?
Science, like religion, involves faith. While science is all about knowledge, many don’t consider just how much faith is integrated into the scientific model.
Science has long enjoyed the reputation as the bastion of reason. This standing is partly deserved. Rigorous testing and validation of hypotheses is a means to truth. Yet, part of science’s reputation is arguably owed to its refusal to ask the tough questions. Why are the laws that govern the universe the way they are? What established them? Science has long resisted inquiry into this line of questioning.
And even as scientists relinquish their narrow focus and consider these big questions, the results are anything but satisfying. Chaos theory seems to abandon reason. Multiverse theory appears to avoid the whole mess of why physical laws act the way they do by tossing them into another realm beyond our own universe. This throws the long-held concepts of universal constants (like the speed of light) onto the trash heap.
Maybe physical laws are not really laws at all
Maybe physical laws are not really laws at all. Perhaps they look like law because of our faith in them. Paul Davies, director of Beyond, a research center at Arizona State University has written in the New York Times, “the very notion of physical law is a theological one in the first place, a fact that makes many scientists squirm. Isaac Newton first got the idea of absolute, universal, perfect, immutable laws from the Christian doctrine that God created the world and ordered it in a rational way. Christians envisage God as upholding the natural order from beyond the universe, while physicists think of their laws as inhabiting an abstract transcendent realm of perfect mathematical relationships.”
Davies goes on to share his dismay that neither current scientific methodology nor popular religion have explained why the physical world is the way it is. Here it seems advantageous to unite the two approaches to knowledge…marry scientific methodology with Christian inspiration and wisdom. Separately, science and Christianity are like a match and a stick of dynamite…their potential underutilized. Together, watch out. There is an explosion of insight.
As mankind continues to explore the universe and beyond, one thing stands out. Understanding the meta-laws that govern all things is best explained by metaphysics.
To catch more of Steve’s insights on the world, click here.