Tag Archives: science

Why Do Humans Believe – Anything?

This is not a defense of “believing in gravity” or “believing in love” or “believing in balancing one’s checkbook”.  The discussion is what is needed in order to believe anything.

The simplest reason for believing anything is the acceptance of the evidence for that particular facet of reality.

For most of us, belief in gravity is from personal observation and experience.  One notes when an object is dropped from the hand or pushed off a table, such object always falls to the ground.  Technically, such object moves toward the source of gravity, the most predominant source nearby being the center of the Earth; as a child, this detail may be lacking.  One notes one’s body also falls toward the ground when unsupported.  One determines an innate concept of ‘up’ and ‘down’.

One notes this is not dependent on outside instruction.  One’s parents do not have to teach the bare fact of the ‘attraction’.  Often, parents or other more experience people will supply the words and labels for the forces and concepts – ‘gravity’, ‘up’, ‘down’, ‘concussion’ and so on, but the idea is self-evident.

Then one day, one notices a helium balloon falls ‘up’ when released – intentionally or unintentionally.  This is strange as objects fall down.

The answer is helium is lighter than air.  The total answer is helium has lesser weight per volume than air – visibly when the helium is contained – and the heavier air settles underneath the object, displacing the lighter object upward.  (This is also why wood and even ships of metal float on water.)  This explanation is not observable in the same manner as ‘things fall down’ and needs be explained.  For the explanation to be believed, one must accept the concepts given.  The ‘authority’ – the one giving the explanation – can be a parent or instructor or other person trusted.  One must accept the authority as trustworthy in such matters.

Obviously, a physics teacher should be more worth of trust – on this subject – than an English teacher.  This distinction may be lost on a grade school aged child; a teacher is a teacher.  Should one have serious lack of trust in a parent, one might not accept the (or any) explanation from the parent.

As life goes on one finds all sorts of phenomenon to be sorted, then believed or denied as appropriate.  At the same time, one finds different categories of ‘belief’.

Many are similar to the above example of factual information.

One has an inborn desire to believe the protestations of love and fidelity from friends and sweethearts.  One learns this is not always reliable.

One learns salesmen (sales persons?) are not always reliable or trustworthy.  Especially car salesmen.  Especially used car salesmen.  Especially used car salesmen who call themselves “Honest somebody”.

Then the issue of trust is complicated in that some friends and some sweethearts are trustworthy and some are variably trustworthy.  Some salesmen are open and honest.  There is no foolproof, prior manner of determining.  So one falls back on deciding who to trust based on those one trusts already.

 

What about ‘science’?  There are those who believe, rather enthusiastically, anything presented in the name of ‘science’.  Conversely, there are those who flatly deny anything of scientific origin.

It is good to differentiate ‘science’ from ‘science’.  Science is a manner of finding out composition, structure and function.  The study of genetics is as much science as the interplay of numbers as the structure of the Universe.  However, they are not interchangeable.  A geneticist is not one with whom to discuss the latest findings in ‘black holes’.  A mathematician probably doesn’t know much about which species of cow gives the best milk.

One also notes the scientific method has limits.  For instance, the scientific method cannot be falsified.  That is, there is no way to demonstrate this is the only way to determine reality.  It does work as far as can be seen, except it cannot reconcile “Quantum Mechanics” and “Relativity”.  Nor can it deal with anything that cannot be physically (including calculated, based on prior knowledge) measured or analyzed.  For instance, ‘love’ cannot be fully identified or described.

Lastly, the scientific method cannot  ‘prove’ or ‘disprove’ the existence of God.  The only possible answer it has is ‘insufficient data’.

 

Possibly the best way to learn is to experience the subject on one’s own.  I doubt if this is really possible, the Universe is too vast and complicated.  Therefore, in some matters, one must trust the experience of others.

 

Which brings up the question “What is trustworthy?”

The source of evidence presented.  This is the raw facts of what we accept as reality.  What I intend in this is to provide background to give reason to double check raw facts in some cases and conclusions in nearly all cases.

News Media:  Any item of ‘news’ goes through essentially the same processing.

  1.  The initial report of the matter is verbally transferred to the initial reporter.  This can be a matter of scientific fact, a criminal or disaster matter reported by a police officer or authorized spokesman, a civic or commercial matter and so on.  The originator of the information provides a statement of explanation  and answers some questions by the interviewer.  The originator may or may not use terms and phrases of ‘jargon’ with specific meanings suited to the subject at hand, which the interviewer may or may not grasp.  Therefore, the interviewer must make sense of the jargon in order to transfer the information.  The originator may or may not give the full context of the statement.  The originator may or may not withhold some bit of information (for instance, the police will not reveal information in the expectation of not alerting suspects).
  2. The reporter – either by written word or electronic means – then must assemble the report in words and terms understood by the reporter, and presumably to the audience.  Should the reporter not fully comprehend the initial report, some confusion of terms can occur at this juncture.  In all fairness, I trust the reporter to be as accurate as circumstances allow.  But confusion can manifest.  For instance, in ‘quark theory’ some quarks are identified as ‘sour’ quarks.  This is simply a term applied to differentiate a ‘sour’ quark from a ‘sweet’ quark and has no further meaning.  But I trust the reader can see the potential confusion.  The reporter – in good faith – may not understand how statement A connects to statement C, and therefore invents statement B to do so.  Statement B is inferred logically – according to the reporter – and may or may not belong in the sequence.
  3. The report is then delivered to an editor who evaluates the report and wording for (what strikes the editor as) clarity and sizes the report to fit in the space available.  Depending on the values and predilections of the parent reporting organization, and the type of information in the report, the editor may introduce a bias, intended or not, into the descriptions in the report.  Somewhere in the editorial process, conclusions may be inserted, either overtly or covertly which may or may not follow from the initial report given by the source.

From this process, I suggest all ‘news’ be carefully scrutinized for the following conditions.  Can the information be corroborated from other sources?  Read other reports of the same ‘event’.  Compare the information given.  (Watch for simple repetitions of the same account.)

See if the information agrees with prior reports of the same type.  For instance, a ground based speed vehicle might move at the speed of sound, but that would be a serious leap from extant abilities.  Not impossible, but subject to confirmation.  Also subject to checking if the decimal point is in the correct place.

Check for bias.  Look at who funded and generated the information.  One expects certain leanings from different organizations with different goals.  Determining the source of the information may cast light on the presentation of ‘facts’.

 

Statements of Authority Figures:  An authority figure – in this sense – applies to anyone in a position of being considered reliable and truthful in general.  It is a wide and vague label.

Parent or Guardian:  As children, parents are supposed to know all the necessary information.  “Label goes in back”, “Other shoe”, “Don’t touch that!  You’ll get burned!”  For most of us, that early trust is a conditioning which lasts our entire lives.  Quite often, it bears out.  “Never draw to an inside straight” is pretty good advice.  However, parents have limits.  Parental knowledge does NOT extend infinitely.  My late father had been a hunter in earlier years.  He solemnly told me no handgun could hit a mark further than about twenty yards.  He was partially correct.  HE couldn’t hit anything further than about twenty yards with a handgun.  I can.

Parents have certain skills pertaining to their careers.  However, those skill sets may have faded in time and the information derived may have been changed by technology.  And, parents may have biases of which they are unaware.  Both my parents were what could be called protestants and had little good to say about the Catholic Church.  To be fair, they were quite congenial and outgoing to individuals of any stripe.

 

Teachers or Instructors:  Normally, one expects this sort of person to be quite knowledgable.  However, educational training has limits.  Grade School teachers typically are well educated and well rounded.  But their level of ‘complexity’ only extends to Grade School levels.  One does not expect a seventh grade math teacher to handle tensors.  Some might, and quite well, but tensors is not within the normal scope of seventh grade mathematics.  High School and College level instructors tend to be more specialized in their field.  Somewhat less scope of knowledge, but greater detail and depth.

Teachers of any level are subject to biases unaware.  Some biases are assumed to be universal and all pervasive.  Much is mentioned regarding Colleges and Universities leaning to the left, politically.  I have met and dealt with instructors who assumed they were more intelligent and more competent in all fields than any student.  When I was getting a basic college degree (AA) I was working as a Patrol Agent of the U. S. Border Patrol.  One instructor assumed he was smarter than I was as I carried a gun and performed physical actions.  He was horribly shocked when I bested him in debate and he resorted to threats of scholastic revenge.

 

Pastors and Biblical Scholars.  One expects anyone to have a  good grasp of one’s field.  However, Bible students are extremely influenced by their doctrinal background.  One notes some graduates seem to be indoctrinated in the opinion of their instructors only.  One of the problems is the Bible was written in Hebrew, Aramaic (a Semitic language similar to Hebrew) and Greek.  All translations, in English or other language, is a translation from the original.  The original word meanings do not always match the English (or Russian, or French or Swahili) words on a word-for-word basis.  This has been overlooked in the past and seems to be slighted currently.  Bible teachers are human.  They are subject to the same biases – unaware – as other humans.

 

Friends also give advice on various matters and provide insight into events and subjects.  This can range from very useful to dead wrong.  The most dangerous views are those which are ‘nearly right’.  I once had a friend in the Marine Corps tell me all women cheated on men if they had the chance.  I was saddened to realize that was probably true in his experience and setting.  He could not stretch his mind to recognize his experience was not universal.  He did, however have a lot of practical knowledge about the Marine Corps and various sub-sets of skills therein.

 

All of this is to point out two facts:  All human knowledge is limited and all humans are biased in some way.

 

So why does a human being believe anything?  Ideally, one believes ‘something’ due to an overwhelming amount of evidence regarding the ‘something’.

Most everyone ‘believes’ in gravity due to personal experience.  Which is not to say everyone understands all the nuances or limitations of gravity.  Not many recognize the limitations of “Newtonian” gravity compared to “Einsteinian” gravity.  Still, nearly everyone ‘knows’ things fall down.  One should note a sentient creature who lives in space, removed from gravity sources probably understand gravity in a different form.

I know my parents loved me.  Again, this is a matter of experience and personal involvement.  No one else has much question about this, as it applies almost exclusively to me and doesn’t really affect anyone else.  Some parents are remarkably lacking in love for their offspring, but usually they do.

 

A chemist believes acid and base liquids interact to form water and specific salts.  Chemists know this from two sources:  Demonstrations or experiments of the combination and from the various theories of chemical interaction.  This can be demonstrated repeatedly to anyone willing to observe.  Unlike stage magic, the witness can participate and observe from any angle.  No special setting is required.  Other scientific understandings, beliefs or theories are similar.

 

In many instances, the evidence is not quite so obvious.  The reaction of acid and base liquids may be observed, right ‘here’.  The concept of ‘dark matter’ is less obvious.  “Dark matter” is a mysterious effect or condition of galaxies to explain why the galaxy in question weighs more than it ‘should’.  Let me attempt a brief explanation.

Astronomers have made estimates of the total weight of galaxies.  These weights are based on what is observed and measured of those astronomical bodies ‘we’ can observe relatively closely and determine for instance the average weight of ‘our’ sun.   By determining the general weight of a square meter of Earth, ‘we’ can calculate (allowing for rocks and magma) the total weight of the Earth.  By calculating the gravitational attraction between the Earth and the sun, ‘we’ can calculate the weight of the sun.  By observing what we can of ‘our’ galaxy, ‘we’ can estimate the number of stars and planets in our galaxy.  ‘Our’ understanding of the Universe is that the laws and make up of the Universe is ‘universal’ and ‘that’ galaxy has the same average density as ‘this’ galaxy.  Just as ‘we’ expect mixing acids and bases on a planet ‘way over there’ would react just like it does on Earth.  So, ‘we’ can estimate the weight of other galaxies.

Separate calculation:  Dr. Einstein’s theory of General Relativity predicts that gravity ‘bends’ light.  This has been verified in physical experiments on numerous occasions.  The higher the gravity, the greater the light ‘bends’.  ‘We’ can see other galaxies further away by using this effect called ‘gravitational lensing’ caused by closer galaxies.  It works.

But the ‘lensing’ effect is greater than expected.  Therefore, the weight of said galaxy must be more than the estimate based on the average density of stars and planets (and moons, and asteroids and stuff).  The difference is not a matter of ten to thirty percent error, but of two or three times the estimated weight of said galaxy.  So, ‘we’ have done the calculations several more times in an attempt to find an error.  So far, no error has been found.  So, it is theorized there is more matter in Universes than what can be directly detected.  This ‘more matter’ is called ‘Dark Matter’ for convenience and it sounds mysterious and sexy.  And it’s more convenient than “X matter” (which sound like something from a rather puerile science opera).

There is no question Dark Matter exists, but no one can show anyone else a pound of it in a jar.  Astronomers ‘believe’ it exists, because it has to exist.  Even if they cannot fully describe it or determine the chemical structure of the stuff.

So I, personally am confident it exists on the basis of the observations of Astronomy.  I rather think it will be further defined in the future and will probably be something rather ordinary.

No doubt there are some who refuse to believe anything of the sort, claiming it’s all made up or ‘they don’t know what they’re talking about!’  I point out that is exactly the reason many atheists and agnostics deny the authenticity of the Bible.  Curious how similar the thinking.

 

I believe in God.  That is, I believe God exists AND He has an interest in humans in general and me in particular.  Mostly from personal experience – I deal with Him, or He deals with me is probably more correct – every day.  God is more real to me than – say – Richard Dawkins – whom I have never met or seen in person.  I’m pretty sure Mr. Dawkins is a real human being, but out of my personal experience.  Since God has a particular interest in me, and I’m not particularly special (save in my own estimation), it is reasonable to believe God is interested in all humans particularly.

There are other reasons I believe in God.  The formation of the Universe seems to require an intelligence outside the Universe to create or ‘start off’ the Universe in some manner.  Yes, “M-theory” postulates a ‘beginning’ but requires a back ground Universe – the Bulk – which has existed forever, will exist forever and is therefore immune to entropy.   Which is so similar to God I find it remarkable.  Except the Bulk doesn’t issue a moral code.  Far more convenient.

Life has no meaning without God.  If all living things are merely the result of natural laws or occurrences, what is the point of being alive?

Self gratification, according to some.  That isn’t a God or Bulk appointed reason, but it is self determined as no other reason can be found.  Yet one notes many people have an innate drive to be better than they are.  Some by service to others, some by making more money, some by collecting more what evers.  However, being here to serve, glorify and be Sons of God seem to fit the ‘drive’.

So.  What you you believe and why?

 

 

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Set back for the Christian Community

Today is Monday, 6th February 2017. A well known radio preacher made a fool of himself on the air. Not only that, but he demonstrated a huge ignorance of claims made by Christian preachers in the past. Your humble correspondent does not know if the glaringly erroneous statements were made in complete ignorance of the prior claims, or if the speaker assumed no one would ever check.

A little research would have turned up the past claims; and to assume ignorance and blind acceptance on the part of the audience is both insulting and puerile.

The thought upon which he was expounding is valid. Essentially, he was saying the Bible makes no claims counter to that of modern science, and never conformed to the science – mistaken in the macro and sometimes in the micro – of the past.

There is an underlying assumption here that the scientific understanding of 2017 will never be altered. That ‘we’ are at the pinnacle of scientific understand. That in another three hundred years, or one hundred years, or fifty years or twenty minutes, discoveries will be made that alter the current views.

Probably not completely over rule current understanding, but alter it in the sense of expanding understanding and possibly altering the context of certain understanding. Much like how Dr. Einstein’s concept of Relativity expanded and contextualized Sir Issac Newton’s laws of gravity.

The speaker – who your servant hesitates to name – spoke about how the Bible never supported the Earth being flat. This would come as a shock to nearly all students of Theology and Biblical studies until sometime AFTER the age of Copernicus, Galileo, and the like.

Isaiah 40:22 (In the King James Version AND in the original Hebrew) reads that the Lord sits “… on the circle of the Earth…” and was held to be ‘literal’ – meaning as the reader understood it, not as the writer intended it – and indicated a two-dimentional shape (as understood later in Pythagorean or plane geometry). Therefore, the Bible implied the Earth is flat.

I’m not sure if the speaker mentioned it – I turned the station selector in disgust – but there are three passages of the Old Testament – two describing the same event – wherein the Bible implies the Sun stopped or reversed direction of travel, causing the day to be extended. (Joshua 10:12 to 14, 2nd Kings 20:1 to 11 and Isaiah 38:1 to 8) THEREFORE, the Bible says the Sun rotates around the Earth and the geocentric theory of the Universe is proved – according to the ‘science is bunk’ faction which lasted at least into the 19th Century. I notice it is not mentioned much currently.

I have no doubt of the extension of the days in question. Nor do I have any great scientific theory to explain it. The occurrences may well be miracles in the unexplained things of God sense. However, the heliocentric nature of the solar system is reasonably secure. Nor does the Bible anywhere claim otherwise; it does however record reports by eyewitnesses of what they observed. Which may or may not explicable in simple or familiar terms.

I wonder what repercussions this speaking session portend for the Young Earth Creationist (YEC) movement? The entire YEC theory is based on a ‘literal’ understanding of the King James Version of the Bible. Which this speaker denies.

One can conclude Christianity is not as monolithic as sometimes claimed. Then again, God is a very big God.

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Filed under Bible, Christianity, Flat Earth, religion, science

Book Review: A Universe From Nothing; (Why there is something rather than nothing)

A Universe From Nothing (Why there is something rather than nothing), by Lawrence M. Krauss. Atria paperback, published 2013.

From the Merriam-Webster (on line) Dictionary:

1a : a branch of metaphysics that deals with the nature of the universe
1b : a theory or doctrine describing the natural order of the universe

2 : a branch of astronomy that deals with the origin, structure, and space-time relationships of the universe; also : a theory dealing with these matters

Cosmology is one of my interests. When I was a kid, my first ‘real’ book (opposed to comics) was one of the early editions of A Guide to the Planets, by Patrick Moore. I recall that was in 1959 or so (for my birthday in the Ides of March). So I was an ‘astronomy’ buff to start, then spread out into other reaches and finally decided cosmology – not to be confused with ‘cosmetology’ (look it up yourself) – was my real interest. I also have a affection for particle physics, string theory and such.

Consequently I read a lot of books on the subjects mentioned. There are nine such books on my (home) library wall with authors from Michio Kaku to Roger Penrose and two by Dr.Steven Hawking. Additionally, I read most all the books in the Torrence or Redondo Beach library – I can’t remember which. To be completely honest, I don’t speak the level of math for some of them, but I have a fair grasp of the concepts of most.

The other angle from which I approach cosmology is Christianity. I am a long-time Christian and some of the teachings attributed to Christianity relates to the origin and composition of the Universe – which is a fair working definition of cosmology.

The Bible teaches God created the Universe from an absence of everything. Not even a vacant lot. Please recall this, as it comes up later. The Bible teaches God created ‘everything’; ‘everything’ includes the basic “laws of physics”.

This “laws of physics” is a somewhat nebulous (meaning not completely defined, agreed to, and finished) term including the discovered principles of how everything works – like water flowing downhill (gravity and fluid dynamics in science jargon). The “laws of physics” also includes not yet discovered principles, such as the Grand Unified Field Theory (if there is such a thing, it is still open to debate), the reasons photons are both wave functions and particles and probably why one’s nose itches when one’s hands are greasy. Not to mention some rather serious concepts like the actual trigger mechanism and function of the expansion of the Universe and the properties and limitations of ‘Dark Matter’ and ‘Dark Energy’.

If the reader doesn’t know what the latter two items are, don’t feel bad. Neither does anyone else. However, they can be measured, just not identified. Well, not identified exactly. Sort of like why one has ‘better days’ and ‘worse days’.

The book A Universe from Nothing is an attempt to explain the history and current status of the scientific principles of why – from a mechanical standpoint – the Universe exists instead of not being. From my background in casually (and not so casually) reading about such things, it does a pretty fair job. Do not misunderstand my thoughts, motivations or conclusions about this book; it’s a good book for the intended purpose. No one with a high school education should feel terribly out classed in reading this book, nor should anyone with a Christian background feel intimidated or threatened by it. At least not any Christian who has passed into the adult realm of thought. It may be a bit confusing to someone who has stultified in the primary levels.

Anyone interested in such matters could do much worse than to read this book. It does not have all the answers and explanations, but it doesn’t claim to have them, either. Seemingly, no one else has those answers either. So far.

The book deals with the discovery of ‘Dark Matter’ – discovery in the sense of realizing it’s there, not collecting a jar of the stuff. Also covered is the idea of ‘Dark Energy’, which explains the expansionary movement of the Universe, but doesn’t identify a particular ‘Dark Energy’ generator (and why there is no ‘Dark Energy’ generator). Dr. Krauss goes into Quantum Fluctuations, which seem like self propelled magic wands, but can be demonstrated in ‘real life’.

Some of the historical aspects include the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) study and the verification of the age of the Universe. Not directed connected, but associated is the ‘shape’ of the Universe (flat, positively curved or negatively curved).

At this point, the Theologian in me looks up at the absence of the mention of God. Actually, the absence is not surprising, as all of the explanation so far is a mechanical explanation of how the Universe operates and changes over time. (Lots of time.) One might well not notice the mention of God in an explanation of a an internal combustion engine or a vernier caliper. Usually, no need of mentioning the Almighty when designing or constructing an automobile engine. (At least not until the wrench slips and one smacks a knuckle.)

Dr. Krauss, in the opening chapters (or introduction?) admits he is not a ‘religious’ man. He is an atheist. As mentioned on one of Ian McKellen’s tee shirts, “Some Are and Some Aren’t”. So there’s no mistake about this.

Yes, I know there are some Christians who quiver and run from the idea of reading anything by or even talking to an atheist. However, the reality is there are many atheists who have an excellent idea of their subject or field – regardless of their understanding of deity or religion or the Bible. Dr. Krauss strikes me as one of these. He is knowledgable in his field. At the same time, I would expect Dr. Krauss to convey the same respect to Christianity and Christians. Whereas I don’t expect Dr. Krauss to attend my or any Christian church every Sunday, I would not think he either commits or abets the arson of Christian church buildings. Those who fear hearing anything EXCEPT what they already believe are very, very limited. That applies to both sides of the ‘origin’ question, by the way.

However, I have – personally – some reason to suspect perhaps Dr. Krauss’ atheistic ‘bent’ may have colored some of the explanations and rationale presented in his conclusions, not his evidence. And so begins some of my observations which may lead the unwary or non-thinking to believe I don’t like the book or Dr. Krauss.

Probably my first ‘quibble’ or difference with Dr. Krauss is on page xiv of the preface. Dr. Krauss explains the question beginning with the word ‘why’ can only be handled in science by substituting the word ‘how’. In chapter 9, titled “Nothing is Something”, he expands on this subject and implies no one should ask ‘why’ questions but only ‘how’ questions. Since much of Christian doctrine – and a bit of theology – predicated on ‘why’, Dr. Krauss summarily dismisses any question not answerable by science. In other words, only scientific answers count.

This is the exact sentiment expressed by many of the Divine “Creationist” faction. If the explanation doesn’t begin with “God, in His wisdom …” they reject it out of hand. (I’ve always found it curious it applies to the origin of the Universe, but does not apply to arithmetic: They never recite, “God says, ‘Two and two make four!'” when counting change or balancing a checkbook.)

Beginning on page 125 and mentioned in other places is the “Anthropic Principle”. In dog years, this essentially says, “…if is not too surprising to find that we live in a universe in which we can live”.

Perhaps a bit more formally: Humans exist here and now because the conditions were and are right for humans to exist.

I find of note the principle applies to both ‘naturalistic’ and Divine situations. To wit: Humans breathe oxygen (in mixture, of course.)

Naturalism: Human evolved on Earth during a period when Oxygen was the primary ‘oxidizer’ in the atmosphere available; this would not have happened if the Earth had a significantly different element in the atmosphere. (I’m not a biologist, but I’m not aware of any other extant candidates for an ‘oxidizer’.)

Deist: God would not make oxygen-breathing animals on Earth IF Earth had a methane atmosphere.

The “Anthropic Principle” is not a primary principle in determining why some chemical reactions became important in the history of living things or in the mechanical functions of nonliving things; it is merely a way of simplifying concepts of potentially competing hypotheses, as above.

Mentioned in Dr. Krauss’ book is the “God of the Gaps” answer. Historically, those who objected to a non-Theistic explanation of the origin and history of the Universe have employed this answer any time a particular discipline did not have an immediate ‘answer’ to some scientific mystery. Prior to the development of Newton’s ideas and laws of gravitation, some theologians suggested God sent angels to push the planets around the Sun. (This was after the same theologians had their nose rubbed in the fact planets did indeed revolve about the Sun instead of the Earth being the center of the Universe.) The “God didit” suggestion may indeed be correct, but it gives no information mankind can use.

If mankind were satisfied with “Why does water flow downhill?” “Well, God didit!” Mankind would never have invented flush toilets and indoor plumbing.

On a similar note, we would not have two way radios, commercial radios, televisions or computers. I’m not going to argue the merits and disadvantages of those items at this point, but we would not have them.

Please note, this applies to naturalist and deist alike. (With the exception of the Amish, I suppose. They get along without flush toilets and television. But that’s a different discussion entirely.)

How different is the “Anthropic Principle” from the “God didit” principle? Both offer a rather pat solution to a problem that immediately dead ends. Of course, the “Anthropic Principle” doesn’t come with a moral code obligation.

Here and now I’ll mention this as well. The Person and intention and work of God does not remove the need to examine the ‘mechanics’ of a phenomenon. For instance, when a Christian has a flat tire, he or she accepts such as the allowed will of God. Which does not stop said Christian from looking for a puncture and attempting to repair said flat. (Or take it to the tire repair guy.) Homeowners (Christian ones) examine the roof and repair leaks (or call the roof repair guy) when the roof leaks.

In the Bible, the oldest manuscripts record men plowing the ground using animals and tools (plows) to raise crops for consumption. No where is there a commandment NOT to use technology and instead return to the ‘hunter-gatherer, living in the open’ sort of life-style. The Amish, who live a very simple life style with the intent of concentrating on God don’t eschew all technology. They build houses and sew at least. Cook food, rather than eat it raw and so forth. So the presumption God is the reason for lack of scientific progress is manifestly faulty and rather illogical.

In short, I’m a bit perplexed at the rather aggressive manner in which Dr. Krauss repeatedly concludes what has been discovered removes any consideration of the Christian God from the Universe. Dr. Krauss already said he was an atheist. One gets it without condemnation.

Dr. Krauss makes some – to me – extraordinary changes to his approach to cosmology.

Remember at the beginning of this essay I mentioned “God created the Universe from an absence of everything. Not even a vacant lot. Please recall this, as it comes up later.” Okay, it later and here it comes up.

“Nothing” is no longer ‘nothing’. “Nothing” (in this new sense) means empty space, with nothing in it, but all the laws of physics are intact. Attempting to be clear, “nothing” used to mean – and still does when used by a deist – empty space without the empty space. The word in the first sentence of Genesis (transliterated ‘bara’) implies a complete absence of everything. The Latin phrasing – a good deal later – rendered it ‘ab nihilo’ from nothing. Not even a metaphorical vacant lot.

Dr. Krauss explains the Universe could have begun resulting from ‘quantum fluctuations’ creating ‘virtual particles’ and this continuing on. That idea requires the laws of quantum mechanics already be in place. So, the Universe – according to Dr. Kraus – did NOT come from nothing, but from something. The metaphorical vacant lot.

So from what came the ‘something’ from which the Universe quantumly fluctuated? From where did the metaphorical vacant lot derive? Seemingly the ‘Bulk’. The ‘Bulk’ is a feature of M-theory and is essentially the background of our Universe, sort of the ‘container’ for the Universe. (Read up on M-theory, okay? It is too lengthy for me to write here. Not to mention it is not fully baked yet – finished – and even the proponents say there is no way to test the theory. Exactly. A very good book to understand M-theory is The Grand Design, by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow. Mlodinow is spelled correctly.)

So what brought this on?
So what is THIS all about? It’s an attempt to remove a beginning to existence. Ever since the theory of Fr. Georges Lemaitre – which became the offensively termed ‘Big Bang’ theory – there has been a movement among certain scientists to disprove it. This was first spearheaded by the late Fred (later in life Sir Fred) Hoyle who proposed the Steady State Theory. Now the ‘alternative’ is M-theory. The basis for the objection to Lemaitre’s concept and thinking? With the Universe having a starting point, the Biblical explanation has too much credence. According to Hoyle (smug smile) Lemaitre’s theory is ‘too close’ to the Biblical account. So obviously, it has to go.

What happened to simply following the facts? In fact, Dr. Krauss says in more than one place we must follow the data and see where it leads. Unless it leads to God, it seems.

Incidentally, science history has a number of emotional and ego driven ‘clashes’ between ‘this’ faction and ‘that’ faction. Check out the concept of ‘phlogiston’ for one example. Another clash occurred when Dr. A. Einstein published his General Theory of Relativity. The ‘classic’ physicists went ‘hostile’ for a while. There are other events. It’s almost like scientists think like theologians, isn’t it. (Actually, yes it is; far too many ‘religious’ conflicts have been based on who – individual or group – got the power and money; not to mention the conflicts over who got to be Pope or pastor of “First Church of the Open Wallet”. I find squabbles of this sort distasteful among scientists and disgusting and sickening among those who claim Christ. “Differences”, even some resistance from say – Buddhists – is to be expected and reasonable. I’m off on a tangent again.)

Has anyone read about M-theory yet? This is a quick and brief (emphasis on ‘quick’ and ‘brief’) synopsis on what has happened so far.

M-theory posits a background setting, the “Bulk”. (This can be identified by other titles depending on the scientist doing the explaining. Other terms with which I am familiar is ‘mega-verse’ or ‘omni-verse’.) Whatever it is, it has existed eternally. There is no beginning and no end to the ‘Bulk’. This demands then it is immune to (or does not have) entropy. (This Universe has entropy, and will therefore end some day. Look up “Heat death of the Universe” for details.) If the ‘Bulk’ had entropy, it could not last eternally; it would finally lock up from ‘heat death’. Since that hasn’t happened, the ‘Bulk’ could not have existed eternally in the past, or ‘heat death’ would have set it. The same argument applies to our Universe.

But even though the ‘Bulk’ does not have entropy, it has quantum fluctuations. This is one of the assumptions I really have to question: If the [greater part, by any name] of the Universe has some of the rules of physics – quantum effects, for instance – they why – there’s that hideous word again – does it NOT have entropy? I suppose the Anthropic Principle could apply, “IF the Bulk had entropy, then it wouldn’t exist eternally” but that strikes me as a bit pat. And please forgive me Dr. Krauss, I just couldn’t resist.

One of the other ideas Dr. Krauss mentions on more than one occasion is that of Occam’s Razor.

From the Wiki entry:

Occam’s razor is a problem-solving principle attributed to William of Ockham (c. 1287–1347), who was an English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher and theologian. The principle can be interpreted as stating Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.

Or, as I learned it, the simplest explanation is probably the best choice – unless it cannot work.

Frankly, M-theory has far too many assumptions and one too many huge contradictions for me. And the quantum fluctuation explanation hangs on M-theory.

Finally. The book is a good book on the subject and worth reading. I am not against Dr. Krauss (albeit I’m not above demonstrating some logical fallicies) nor am I against either Cosmology as a science or science in general. Nor am I a (shudder) Young Earth Creationist. If anyone thinks this essay is rough on the subject, read one of my criticisms of the mindless followers of James Ussher, Bishop of Armagh.

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Interesting Statement, this…

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2015/05/20/john-glenn-evolution-should-be-taught-in-schools/?intcmp=trending

At first glance, this seems obvious as to meaning and will be sneered at by many in the ‘religion’ business. However, all people – Christian believers or not – should read the small print and determine what Senator Glenn really thinks on the matter.

Among other statements of Sen Glenn, he said “to look out at this kind of creation out here and not believe in God is to me impossible” (‘this kind of creation’ is space in this context). However, he also thinks science and discoveries should be taught, including ‘evolution’.

Yes, there are those in the religion business – not to be confused with God’s believers known as Christians – who will lose income if their message is removed. That sole message being the evil of evolution, evolutionists and science in general. That sole message being ignorance and willful denial of reality is key to pleasing God. Too bad if they lose income. God directs no one to lie or cater to prejudice in order to get rich.

The ‘good news’ – the Greek word translated ‘gospel’ – is Almighty God through the sacrifice of God (Jesus Christ) has provided a way to forgive humans for sin and rebellion. The ‘good news’ is this forgiveness is available to any and all who will ask God for it. The ‘good news’ is Almighty God loves without stinting and renews life to those who seek it.

The ‘good news’ is that Christians do not have to be ignorant or stupid in order to please God. A Christian pleases God by listening to God and following His will. Not by obeying a list of ‘shall’ and ‘shall not’ items invented by some ‘religious person’. No one has to please the Pope, or the President of the Southern Baptist Convention, or the Dali Lama, or Billy Graham or Billy Sunday or me or anyone, in order to obey God. (Some of us probably get some of the concepts right from time to time, but the key is to obey God.)

Do anti-God and anti-Christian people use some aspects of science (in the large and vague sense) to attempt to discredit God? Most certainly. One notes anti-God and anti-Christian people use some aspects of politics, social concern and religion attempting to discredit God as well. So what?

It is the duty of all Christian people to be well informed about all of God’s nature and all of God’s creation. In doing so, we can better serve God in whatever manner He sees fit. We can also separate the wheat from chaff in other fields – like science (in the large and vague sense) and politics and social concerns. Ignorance is NOT a strength.

Except for dictators. See the quote about ignorance and strength in the novel 1984, by George Orwell. That is NOT what God commands.

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