The science of God

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Did anybody catch yesterday’s Google logo? It was the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), Googlefied. Coincidentally, one of the top ten headlines on my RSS feed that day was ‘Big Bang’ Experiment starts well, so I immediately detected a connection. I have always put an interest in CERN (which stands for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire or European Council for Nuclear Research) ever since I read Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons.

Okay I must admit. I’m a mainstream pop-culture junkie. That book gave birth to a period in my life where I had a historical thriller/mystery novel addiction. I would get my stash at the bookstore on a weekly basis and feel restless when I read any other kind of genre. And I was a whore, I even did the non-bestsellers. For some reason though, that addiction drastically subsided after The Da Vinci Code, the movie. If you’ve seen the movie I’m sure you understand.

So what’s a LHC and who’s CERN and what in the world do they have to do with the ‘Big Bang’, you ask?

Well, basically the Large Hadron Collider is a gigantic, expensive machine that sits deep underground beneath the Swiss-French border and spans across a 27km-long tunnel. It was designed to smash protons together with cataclysmic force, which will recreate the conditions a few moments after the ‘Big Bang’, which hopefully will answer fundamental questions in physics linked to the confirmation of the existence of the much-speculated ‘God Particle’, which is a theoretical explanation for the origin of mass in the Universe, the one speck of energy that fathers (or mothers) us all. The primeval atom. The cosmic egg.

Now, CERN is the sugar daddy to this enormous and over budgeted project. It is the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, situated in the northwest suburbs of Geneva on the Franco-Swiss border. The organization has twenty European member states, and is currently the workplace of approximately 2600 full-time employees, as well as some 7931 scientists and engineers (representing 500 universities and 80 nationalities).

It also houses the Large Hadron Collider which just 2 days ago has been successfully started and will hopefully give us answers to the age old riddle, “Why are we here?”

The ‘Big Bang’ theory is generally accepted by religion as the scientific explanation of the origin of the Universe, seeing as how the man who gave birth to the theory was a Roman-Catholic priest who went by the name Georges Lemaître. There are even passages in the Al-Quran and Tao Te Ching that tells about the creation of matter in a way that fits (metaphorically) with the ‘Big Bang’ theory.

Personally, I’ve never classified science and religion as two polar opposites. I’ve always thought they moved parallel to each other, complementing yet rebuking each other at the same time and both trying to reach the same destination, the same clear illumination of truth, the same riddle to be answered. I also believe that religion can be scientifically explained and science can support faith. I believe they have a rare symbiotic mutualism that helps to maintain the Universal balance. Sort of like an old married couple.

When science teaches me about things like the creation of the Universe, or atomic particles, or dimensions of space in light years, it makes me feel so very minuscule. This realization of modesty is what fuels my respect and belief in religion. I feel so small yet so big at the same time. I am nothing and everything. This feeling of awe and insignificance is what I call faith.

The belief that far beyond the big blue circus tent we’re under, there’s still a little sumthin’-sumthin’ that will remain an infinite mystery, which no amount of science or faith can solve, gives me a calming feeling. The conviction that I, as a human being, will never know everything puts me in a state of serenity. The unknown erases my doubts and rationalizes my fears. Maybe it has a little to do with pure ignorance but not knowing gives me an inexplicable power and the drive to live.

I haven’t discovered a conclusive scientific explanation for that feeling yet, but I will.

Mind over matter. Or anti-matter, in this case.

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6 Responses to “The science of God”

  1. Spyros Says:

    Science and religion are indeed polar opposites. All religious propositions cannot be classified as science scince they cannot be experimentally falsified.
    The fact that Vatican says that Big Bang proves the existence of God is pure religious marketing. Physics can neither prove nor disprove the existence (or nonexistence) of God. And no, religion cannot be scientifically explained (in fact it’s the exact opposite).
    And one last thing. As the human race evolves (scientifically and socially) our understanding of the cosmos gets better and better. It is true that we will never be in a place to “know everything” is partly true. Speaking in mathematical terms, we can say that the human race as a whole approaches the absolute truth only asymptotically.

  2. Ganjano Says:

    What scientific discoveries or arguments supported religious faith? Examples please.

  3. nyscha Says:

    Actually, my writing was a personal opinion.
    To me, science and religion aren’t polar opposites in the sense that they both exist so mankind can find “answers”. And that’s why I said they worked parallel to each other. The ‘process’ of this search for the answer is, of course, different (and total polar opposites).
    Religion cannot be scientifically explained (I personally don’t buy that the Big Bang theory has anything to do with the certainty of God’s existence) because there are no cold, hard facts or mathematical formulas regarding religion, so technically you’re right there, Spyros, but I still stand by my belief that science supports faith.
    My faith, to be exact.
    As I said, the more I know about my existence and this world scientifically, the more it fuels my wonderment about what God has created and formulated for us to find, thus strengthening and supporting my faith. It’s a personal belief based on a personal understanding of religion and God.
    There are no specific scientific discoveries or arguments that support religion because religion itself is not something absolute, as is neither the idea of God. My idea of God no doubt differs from your (or anyone else’s) idea of God.

    And yes, the human race approaches the truth asymptotically, but never completely, and the void that stands between the point of ‘asymptotical’ knowledge and ‘complete’ knowledge (the unknown gray area), I choose to fill with faith.

    Imagine how boring life would be if we knew all the absolute answers to anything and everything. If there were nothing left to search for. What reason would there be to live?

  4. Delilah Says:

    Spyros,
    maybe you can check out these following websites:

    http://www.islamicmedicine.org/embryoengtext.htm

    http://ayaat.wordpress.com/2008/05/01/the-secrets-of-water-in-quran/

    I believe there are others too…

  5. Spyros Says:

    If you rephrase your sentence with “science and philosophy so mankind can find answers” you would be completely correct. Religion is part of idealist philosophy which can neither be explained nor be supported by scientific discoveries. However a materialist view of the world is indeed (with time) supported by scientific discoveries.

    Think of it this way. In ancient times people thaught that Zeus throwed lightning bolts. Later we discovered that ligghtning bolts are just electrical discharges.

    Idealists say that God made the world. Materialists support that the world is infinite in space and time and that no spirits exist in the world. Who is right? Science will never give a definite answer. However idealism becomes more and more restricted with time. Religion is a social phenomenon. Marx said that people create religion in order to find a refuge from social suppression.

    I know i will never be able to convince you. I am a physicist and i have “faith” in the physical laws and in materialist philosophy. Life can have a meaning (and maybe be even more exciting) without religious faith. For you it may not.

    However 1 thing is for sure. Religious leaders always try to misinterpret scientific findings and give them a religious “cloak”. This does not mean that science supports religion (or the other way round). Science and religion work in two entirely different ways.

    PS. You were very sincere and exact in your post. Always try to keep an open mind (whether religious or not). Good job!

  6. Spyros Says:

    Delilah,

    very interesting links, that have a very logical explanation…
    For me at least. Religion is a social phenomenon born out of the need that people had to find a safe refuge. Marx said that religion was created by social suppression. And this is the most scientific explanation of religion that i have found.
    So it is very logical that people give their gods the form of different objects, animals etc that they see in their world.

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