What with Stephen Hawking’s show “Curiosity” on full display, I too would like to express my curiosity about something in the Universe. And that something, is “order.” We are told by scientists that the universe seems to have exploded into being almost 14 billion years ago. And this explosion is still flying outward at almost 100 million miles an hour at the edges. The sparks and embers, and gas clouds of this fiery explosion are visible in the universe all about us. Fine, seems plausible enough and the evidence seems substantial.

But explosions do not usually lead to order, they more usually lead to chaos and disorder. Yet, as we observe the created world, we observe extensive order, galaxies, planetary systems, and the like. And, here on earth there is on display an extensive and exquisite amount of order all the way from the macro world of geophysical forces and weather, to micro world of the cell and atom. Order is evident everywhere, and not just within isolated systems, but also among and between them, as they act together in a marvelous harmony and unity of purpose. Consider how every cell and atom of your body, ordered systems in themselves, act together in harmony, forming ever more complex and ordered systems, to ultimately be the complex and ordered system that is you.

How such order? It is a great curiosity to me, if we were to keep God, or at least some controlling intelligence, out of the picture, how such order has come about, not just once by chance, but repeatedly.

Shazam! What if I were to tell you, that a tornado recently went through junk yard. As you can imagine there was a horrible amount of junk whirling around in the air. But here’s where the story really gets interesting. It seems that the tornado swirled that junk together just right because as the wind died down all those banana peals, cans, broken pieces of pottery, stuffing from old mattresses springs, car parts etc all swirled together into a fully functioning 747 jumbo jet airliner with a filled fuel tank and fully equipped cockpit. There was even a logo emblazoned on the tail fin: “Tall Tales Airlines.”

“Ah,” you say, ” The story’s touching but it sounds like a lie!” And sure enough, it is a tall tale. But how different is it really from what some atheists, and also certain evolutionists want us to believe about creation? I say some evolutionists because there are some forms of evolution that a Catholic may accept. For example a mitigated form of evolution that holds that things have evolved but God has guided the process.

But what many atheists and evolutionists want you to accept is that evolution, in fact everything that happened after the big bang is a chance happening, that evolution is “blind,” and that no intelligence guides it. It just happened by a chance coming together of certain forces and processes that has produced everything we see including ourselves. It all just happened on its own. Now if that seems plausible to you, then I have a 747 to sell you.

And this world, even our own bodies, are far more complex than a 747 Jumbo liner. And just as a mindless tornado can’t likely whip out a fully functioning 747 neither would a mindless explosion produce a fully functioning and orderly universe or even a fully functioning human person.

The existence of these orderly and complex systems surely bespeaks an intelligent designer. If you landed on a planet in some distant galaxy and found in the sand a functioning watch it is not “unreasonable” to conclude that some one with intelligence designed and made this for a purpose. You may not see any life on the planet now, but at some point there was intelligent life either living here or that visited here. But the point is that you would be on good grounds to conclude that the watch pointed to an intelligent designer.

Now I know that Science can’t formally call this designer “God.” We who believe do that. But it does not seem unreasonable to me that, within its own discipline, science can at least theorize an intelligence, a designer, is indicated by the evidence. At least scientists could allow the theory to coexist with other proposed explanations of the order and design we obviously encounter. The stubborn refusal by many in the scientific world to do this seems more ideological than scientific. And they hold it with the kind of “religious” zeal they claim to be above. They call us the fanatics but I wonder who really is more fanatical. Who really is ignoring the evidence here? To a large extent I think that it takes more “faith” to “believe” that all this happened by chance or due to blind evolution than simply to believe that an intelligent designer set all this forth.

I’d like to give two examples from creation to illustrate just how intricate and multi-layered creation is and then pose the ask the question “Dumb Luck or Design?”

MAGNIFICENCE OF LIFE- Consider the awesomeness of the human body. Its chemistry is just as extraordinarily well tuned as is the physics of the cosmos. Our world on both sides of the divide that separates life from lifelessness is filled with wonder. Each human cell has a double helix library of three billion base pairs providing fifty thousand genes. These three billion base pairs and fifty thousand genes somehow engineer 100 trillion neural connections in the brain—-enough points of information to store all the data and information contained in a fifty-million-volume encyclopedia. And then after that, these fifty thousand genes set forth a million fibers in the optic nerves, retinae having ten million pixels per centimeter, some ten billion in all, ten thousand taste buds, ten million nerve endings for smell, cells that exude a chemical come-on to lure an embryo’s lengthening neurons from spinal cord to target cell, each one of the millions of target cells attracting the proper nerve from the particular needed function. And all this three-dimensional structure arises somehow from the linear, one-dimensional information contained along the DNA helix. Dumb Luck or Design?

RARE EARTH ! The earth on which we live and which, by God’s grace sustains our life is surely miraculous. Consider the following facts. The life support system we call the solar system has just the correct distribution of large and medium sized planets to have swept clean most of the space through which Earth must travel. There are thus few asteroids anywhere near our path! Further, large gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn, “catch” comets in their gravitational fields and keep these comets from targeting earth. Our star, the Sun, is just the right size to consume its supply of hydrogen and produce energy at a rate that provided the time and conditions for life to form. Our orbit through space, at 93 million miles from the Sun, departs from a true circle by only 3 percent. Were it as elliptical as is the orbit of Mars, the next planet out, we would alternate between baking when closer to the Sun and freezing when distant. Earth contains just enough internal radioactivity to maintain its iron core in a molten state. This produces the magnetic umbrella that deflects an otherwise lethal dose of solar radiation. The volcanic activity driven by this internal heating is just adequate to have released previously stored subterranean waters into our biosphere, making them available for life processes, but not so much volcanism as to shroud our planet in dust. Earth’s gravity is strong enough to hold the needed gases of our atmosphere but weak enough to allow lighter noxious gases to escape into space. All this is balanced at just the correct distance from our star so that our biosphere is warm enough to maintain water in its liquid, life-supporting, state, but not so warm that it evaporates away into space. A just-right Earth with just the needed gravity, radioactivity, magnetic field, and volcanic activity to support life is located at just the correct distance from the Sun to nurture the inception and development of life…all the ingredients come together in just the way. Dumb Luck or Design?

80 Responses

  1. Scotty Ellis says:

    I too marvel at the complexity of the universe. From one standpoint, the intelligibility of the universe seems to point to the Intelligence beyond it. Especially when informed by the faith, it is hard not to see teleology in a lot of what little I know about the universe.

    I wonder, however, at the efficacy of taking an intelligent design style approach to establishing the relationship between order and a Creator – in fact, I question the entire project of Intelligent design. What I mean is simply this: we know through science that the “random” interactions of matter and energy, governed through law, can and do result in complex structures. Crystals form; planets coalesce; biological lifeforms undergo sporadic mutation and evolution. Creatures and creation has its own internal intelligibility and structure that allow its interactions to be adequately described, even if not fully explained in a teleological sense. Because of this, a modern science that a priori and methodologically excludes supernatural causes is adequate for understanding this internal complexity. I think there’s a real sense in which ID hijacks the trappings of the scientific method to do something that is much better done by philosophy and theology, in the end making only an embarrassing scandal.

    “There is knowledge to be had, after all, about the earth, about the sky, about the other elements of this world, about the movements and revolutions or even the magnitude and distances of the constellations, about the predictable eclipses of moon and sun, about the cycles of the years and seasons, about the nature of animals, fruits, stones and everything else of this kind. And it frequently happens that even non-Christians will have knowledge of this sort in a way that they can substantiate with scientific arguments or experiments. Now it is quite disgraceful and disastrous, something to be on one’s guard against at all costs, that they should ever hear Christians spouting what they claim our Christian literature has to say on these topics, and talking such nonsense that they can scarcely contain their laughter when they see them to be toto caelo, as the saying goes, off the mark.” – Augustine, The Literal Meaning of Genesis, I, 39

    • Well but it’s pretty hard to look at the evidence and simply conclude that there is no designer. All I am asking science to do is remain open to that as one theory. You say that creation has its own internal intelligibility. To some extent it does, but order out of explosive chaos does not explain itself. That you question “the entire project of intelligent design” indicates an ideological stance on your part not warranted by the facts. You may muse about randomness but randomness does not explain order, especially repeated order. Finding order and surmising a principle to that order is not as you say, “an embarrassing scandal, it is a reasonable conclusion based on evidence, one you are free to personally reject but not one you ought to dismiss as an embarrassing scandal. I understand that science cannot deduce GOD from all this. But deducing intelligence, or some principle to the order is not “an embarrassing scandal.” What is embarrassing is how anxious, defensive and frankly uptight some people get when a conclusion is suggested as one one alternative to data that reasonably fit it. The ridiculing and hyperbolic reaction suggest more of ideology than science.

      You quote by Augustine is gratuitous and out of context, for Augustine was no rejector of the natural Law. He surely opines well that Genesis is not a literal scientific account of the process of creation. But he does not deny first cause as God and as evidential in creation, any cursory reading of his works would teach that.

      • Bender says:

        Re: “randomness”

        Is there really such a thing as a “random” event? A truly random event, a true event of chance, is one that is not predeterminable, one that is not caused by some other event.

        Or is everything subject to the law of cause-and-effect? Is not science predicated on the understanding that everything is subject to cause and effect, that every event was caused by some prior event, by which we can measure and test things?

        • Scotty Ellis says:

          Yes, as far as I understand. Furthermore, science is restricted by its methodology: it can only test cause and effect relationships that are falsifiable through experimentation or observation.

      • Matthew says:

        Okay Scotty, you got me. You say “matter governed through law”, who made the law that governs matter??

        • Scotty Ellis says:

          God, of course,

          I’m only noting that the law which God made the universe to operate by is intelligible on its own as a principle governing natural interactions, and that because of this it is possible to understand those principles without reference to God – not, of course, in an ultimate teleological fashion, but in the manner of modern natural science, which is the knowledge which describes natural phenomena solely in natural, rather than supernatural, terms.

          • Dale S. says:

            I think the scientific method is self-restricted to consider only material and efficient causes (2 of Aristotle’s 4 causes). This restricts science to the measurable or quantifiable and to falsifiable cause-effect relationships. But it intentionally excludes formal or final causes. Therefore science cannot by intent “find” purpose nor “essences” or “natures” in the things it studies because these are final or formal causes.

            I’m just focusing a bit tighter, Scotty, on the restrictions than your division between “natural” and “supernatural” does. After all the soul is natural to man, but it is not and by methodology cannot be an object of science since it is a formal cause and is not measurable.

            Comments?

            Pax tibi Christi.

            Dale

            • Scotty Ellis says:

              Totally agree. Actually, a materialist (which I am not) would claim that formal and teleological causality are merely superfluous categories ultimately reducible to material efficient causality, so a materialist scientist would believe science capable of forming conclusions on any aspect of reality. It is important for us to always point out at times like these that materialism is an extra-scientific assumption and a product of some rather puny philosophy!

              As for formal causality, a lot boils down to whether one is a realist or a nominalist. I’m rather inclined to believe that nominalism is a more accurate philosophy vis a vis the human experience, even if Catholic realism has some very important insights about the source of creation’s intelligibility. But it is also for that reason that I believe that material science is able to do quite a lot without finding, as you say, essences or purposes: the human mind is quite active in its attempts to understand the phenomena around it, and groups things according to a wide variety of criteria. Science does this without worrying about essence; a scientific species is not the same as a realist form, even if there is some overlap.

      • Scotty Ellis says:

        “You may muse about randomness but randomness does not explain order”

        You’re right. But science is not interested in “randomness,” but in the ordered and structured interactions of matter and energy, interactions which are described in laws and equations. When I question intelligent design, I mean I am questioning the pseudo-discipline which has arisen in the last few decades which claims to use the methodology of modern science to prove a supernatural mind’s involvement in the structure of the universe. Natural science is limited in its scope to making falsifiable claims about matter and energy, and the question of whether God created the universe is not falsifiable through experimentation or observation. If you think about it, saying that intelligent design, as I have described it above, is a valid use of science would result in implications that I think you would have to reject: namely, that modern natural science is able to falsify or verify the existence and actions of supernatural beings.

        This does not mean that I oppose the teleological argument, or any other argument which seeks to demonstrate the existence of God through rational means; it just means this doesn’t count as methodological science. When we claim this is “scientific,” in the sense of modern natural science, we give rise to the scandal which I mentioned.

        As to the Augustine quote, I must admit I don’t see how it fails to apply: in the Literal Commentary on Genesis, Augustine attempts to understand the literal historic spacio-temporal events described in Genesis – that is, creation itself. His warning teaches us that we must be very careful about how we make conclusions based upon our faith that can be proven or disproven by science. That’s all I’m worried about, too!

        • As for the Augustine quote I think you first misunderstand the distinction between literal and literalist which is an important distinction the Catechism makes in the four senses of Scripture traditionally used by the Catholic Church. Your attempts to read back your notions of “historic spacio-temporal” back into Augustine are specious and your use of such terms is somewhat contrived. I agree with your last two sentences but disagree that this is what is happening in a discussion like this. It is really science that runs the risks in this discussion, for to categorically exclude any notion of intelligent cause from the discussion is to unnecessarily restrict the kind of discussion that should be happening in science. To insist that evolution must be blind or that it is proven that it is blind is not a scientific conclusion, it is an a priori assumption. Science does not need to insist on this, and the insistence harms science and binds it into a ideological straight-jacket. It is science that is harmed by this and the fear you articulate is more applicable to science in this instance than Christians. All we are asking for is some openness to that admits the possibility that the data might include that order emerged from something other than an accident or blind chance. There are other explanations that Science can accept as part of a hypothesis to explore.

          • Scotty Ellis says:

            I’m hardly an Augustinian scholar, but I’ll try to remember what I can from my classes: In his literal commentaries on Genesis, when Augustine spoke of the “literal” or “historical” sense, he didn’t mean the most immediate “literalist” meaning of the words themselves, but rather the intended meaning of the author to communicate the actions of God and man. This allowed him to deal with poetical, metaphorical, and allegorical language without always having to default to one of the spiritual senses: the author could still be communicating truth about events within space and time. This allowed him to simultaneously recognize the figurative nature of the hexameron while still asserting that the Biblical writers were intending to convey information about the historical events of creation within space and time. You are right that he was operating with a conception of space and time different from both Einsteinian relativity and Newtonian physics, but this does not destroy the underlying connection which Augustine saw between the literal sense as he understood it and real events occurring within space and time.

            That aside, you must understand that I agree that the order and intelligibility of the universe are good reasons to believe in God. My only caveat is that it is not proper to conflate these philosophical and theological arguments with the conclusions of methodological natural science. Ask yourself: are you prepared to accept the following:

            Modern methodological natural science are competent to make judgments about the actions, intentions, or relationships of supernatural or spiritual realities.

            I suspect you would rightly find this to be impossible. You rightly worry that evolutionary biologists might make the mistake of believing that the exercise of science can disprove creation or the divine plan for creation, and you would be right if you said that such conclusions are extra-scientific and represent a non-scientific conclusion. But you cannot go on to say that it is valid for the opposite conclusion to be reached from the same premises: if it is unscientific to say that natural science can “disprove” God, it is equally unscientific to say that it “proves” Him.

            In any case, I don’t feel there is need for much more argument, inasmuch as I agree with you wholeheartedly that there are numerous persuasive, valid, philosophical and theological arguments from design and order. Our only disagreement seems to be on the validity of intelligent design as valid methodological science. Unity in essentials!

            • I think we do ultimately agree. What I am responding to is the likes of Hawking who say they can disprove God using science. I would prefer they stay out of such questions of ultimate origins, or at least stay away from presuming to make definitive rulings on such matters.

    • Shan Gill says:

      Have to disagree with your assessment that a simplistic structure like a crystal is in any way parallel or indicative of the processes that guide the life cycle of a single-celled organism that ‘eats’, reproduces, etc. It is not logical. Evolution is neither logical nor rational as stand-alone science. Random systems never order themselves unless affected by an external or injected force. Never. Can’t happen. Evolution fails simply because it is bad science.

      • Scotty Ellis says:

        I’m sorry that I will simply have to disagree with you. Evolutionary biology has drawn from the fossil record, genetics, and genetic experiment to create a very persuasive, even if still evolving, account of the natural development of natural processes. The reason this is is because nature is not “random.” It is highly structured according to various physical principles, and the interactions of matter governed by these principles do tend to form structures, even the complex ones you have mentioned.

        Of course, science cannot explain the overall purpose of the universe, nor its divine origin, because these are not within its competency as a discipline which seeks natural explanations for natural phenomena.

        • Brian English says:

          Part of the problem is that some scientists are too definitive (and strident) in what they claim they “know happened” in evolutionary development, when they should actually be stating that this is what they “think happened” in evolutionary development.

          How many times have evolutionary theories been overhauled because something new came out of the ground? Or more recently, some genetic discovery undermined a long-held theory? I was at the Museum of Natural History with my family a couple of months ago and I noticed that there are now two different theories as to how horses developed. Which one is right? We cannot conclusively determine that, and probably will never be able to do so.

          Unfortunately, I think some scientists see evolutionary theory as a weapon to use against religion, and see any admission that they are uncertain as to how something happened as a weakening of that weapon.

          • I think both of you are articulating my concern from different vantage points. If superstar scientists would adopt Scotty’s final sentence: “Of course, science cannot explain the overall purpose of the universe, nor its divine origin, because these are not within its competency as a discipline which seeks natural explanations for natural phenomena.” I would happy. But Hawking et al. do not respect the limits of their discipline. I suspect as you say Brian, there are ideological reasons for their behavior. The white lab coats have been shed for the vestments of a high priestly caste in the “religion” of atheism.

          • Scotty Ellis says:

            Surely, uncertainty and development about the details of a theory do not undermine its validity (or truth!). Copernicus’ heliocentrism was very crude by modern standards, and the orbits which he described have been replaced by increasingly accurate models. This by no means invalidates the Copernican revolution; the development and even changes in our understanding of the solar system do not lead us to throw up our hands and say “which one is right?” Rather, they challenge us to more and more accurate theories. Even with differences in opinions on details, most biologists are fairly unanimous in their acceptance of the bulk of evolutionary theory.

            That said, properly understood, the theory of evolution has no bearing on the question of creation, because the science which has formed it is not properly equipped or capable of forming conclusions on that matter. Those scientists who try to use evolution as a weapon are not being very scientific!

        • Shan Gill says:

          With all due respect, Nonsense. You cannot get from randomness to determinism via random events. It cannot happen. Except by intelligence. Which is an external force. Science has no clue from where the universe instantiated; it has no clue how life began; and the time required to generate the number of ‘random events’ needed to explain the substantial and interleaved record of life within the fossil record is far beyond the pitifully short life of the universe.

          You are free to believe in evolution, but to solemnly declare it as proven science is palpably untrue.

          • Scotty Ellis says:

            There are different things that are meant by “random.” If by random you simply mean that events occur which are unforeseen and completely unintended by the human intellect, then the universe does seem random. If you mean that events occur without cause or determination, then no: the universe is not random. Leaving aside the issue of free will, all causality is determining: that is, all matter and energy in the universe that we know of acts according to particular principles and laws (I will leave aside the very recent discoveries in quantum mechanics which throw this into question on the microscopic level, because we are still not sure about the nature of these interactions). It is thus, as far as we can tell, deterministic in every matter except the operation of the human will.

            Nor does it claim to. Current cosmology begins the universe with a singularity, which means that it is in principle impossible to know anything about the universe before that instant.

            There are a number of very convincing reasons why empirical science does have a good hunch how life begins. There are gaps and unknowns. But I think it might be overstating the situation to say it is clueless.

  2. bt says:

    Monsignor Pope, it is too bad you can’t just sit back and drink a cup of coffee (Mystic Monk of course) while your column evolves itself into creation each day. ;)

  3. d.v. andrews says:

    To carry this one forward from one age to the next…as much as we may or may not know of the position of intelligent design, may I offer a specification of that design’s (creation’s) Intelligent Designer, intelligently designing through we instruments–we who may freely offer our wills back to His who offered Himself, entirely incarnate, both meek and humble, for our sakes?
    Aristotle’s reasoning of a deism doesn’t appear to suffice until his logical observations are fulfilled in light of the revelation that is synthesis of faith of trinitarian monotheism with reason by Saint Thomas Aquinas’s application of Christian doctrine to Aristotle’s recovered writings. Just another thought.

    Continuing appreciation for helping with another spark to ignite the light to my mind, Monsignor Pope.
    dv

  4. Brian Westley says:

    “All I am asking science to do is remain open to that as one theory.”

    That isn’t a theory; a theory describes observed data, and makes testable predictions (including tests that would show that the theory is wrong). If you want to conduct real science, you need to use the scientific term “theory” correctly. Just making up something isn’t a theory.

    • But order is observable data and we can test it and predict by it. I am not “just making stuff up.” I am making an observation that is both verifiable and and able to be tested. Indeed science is quite predicated on order for anything to be replicable. Your second sentence is unnecessarily glib but indicative of the kind of attitude that often predominates from those who want merely to dismiss from the discussion those of us who have questions and about things like order, design etc to present to science. I would be open to you saying that Science isn’t equipped to answer such questions, but too many scientists are saying they do have an answer, an answer that seems to me to be deficient in many regards. Hence the likes of me have some questions.

      • Brian Westley says:

        “I am making an observation that is both verifiable and and able to be tested.”

        Describe a test that can be done that could show your “theory” to be wrong.

  5. Navin K. says:

    I happened to see the film “The Ten Commandments” recently. And it occurred to me, if the commands did not come from heaven, how could the ideas have entered human discourse? Assuming human evolution produced hunter-gatherers, then killing and stealing would only be natural as it is in the animal world.

    If social progress among the hunters produced “Thou shalt not kill” .. how did they come up with “Honour your father and monther” and even “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s goods”. And the greatest two commamdments, as Jesus proclaimed, had to be written into the human heart before they entered human discourse. The commands had to come from heaven

    • Agreed, the existence of conscience is a very powerful part of the evidence for perceived order. Even despite wide cultural differences, the basic tenets of law are very standard across cultures. For us who are religious we see this as evidence of God having written his law in every human heart. But even outside religion per se, in anthropology for instance, the data of this consistent ordering is impressive.

    • Malchus says:

      Unfortunately for your idea, there is a great deal MORE than simply killing and stealing in the animal world, nor is a 100% competitive situation the best for evolutionary advancement. Reciprocal altruism is an excellent example of a survival strategy that actually strengthens intra-group bonds.

  6. Linus says:

    I am always intrigued by these discussions. Who was it who first said that science cannot conclude that God exists? For if is O.K. for science to say that God does not exist then it must be acknowledged that science has erred. For if to say God exists is beyond the legitimate scope of science, then it is equally beyond the scope of science to say that God does not exist. If science has set this threshold of legitimacy for itself then it can only discuss known and verifiable facts. The most it can say about God is to say that it can draw no conclusion. And the textbooks should make that clear. It should be made clear that science has no ax to grind about the notion of God. Now for science to say that all observable facts lead to the conclusion that every observable fact is the result of random activity or chance is purely gratuitous, beyond the scope of science, it is a teleological question, a question that is tantemount to saying that God does not exist. For science cannot prove that the known facts about observable reality are the result of chance. For the reality we observe displays universal order , purpose, and beauty. All that science , by its own ” rules, ” can say is that the universe of observable reality displays only order, purpose, and beauty. It can make no conclusions beyod that. And every time Hawking or some other scientist steps beyond that bounds it must be pointed out that he has stepped beyond the field of science and is merely expressing his personal opinion or preference.

    • Malchus says:

      And indeed, SCIENCE, does not say that God does not exist. Individual scientists might, given their own belief systems, but nothing in scientific literature claims the non-existence of God. And the textbooks do make that clear: they ignore God completely. God is an unnecessary hypothesis, given the data we have available about the universe.

      On the other hand, you also claim that science cannot make inductive arguments by claiming that science cannot claim the conclusion that no evidence of divine action exists. Also – and I hate to keep making this point, but folks ignorant of science keep making the claim – science does not “prove” things. Science creates testable explanations of empirical observations. God is not testable – according to the majority of theists – and so cannot form part of a testable explanation.

      Keep in mind that this only applies to specific definitions of God. The God of the Bible, for example, HAS been falsified; since the Bible has been falsified. Some other, more abstract God, one who interferes in no fashion with the unfolding universe may very well exist. But Abraham’s God? The creator of Adam and Eve? The coward who fears iron chariots? He is well and truly condemned to the dustbin of history along with Zeus, Odin, and Coyote.

  7. Howard says:

    This is a really, really involved subject, one which requires a much more involved treatment. I think the fastest way to deal with this is to look at a different question that has many of the same difficulties: Does the historical record, say from Pentecost on, show evidence for the Christian God?

    Superficially, it appears to show a great deal of evidence *against* the Christian God. Many early Christians urged that the Roman Empire would be more safe to trust in the Holy Trinity, so the sack of Rome in 410, barely a hundred years after the Edict of Toleration, was seized by enemies of the Church as evidence that Christianity is false. The monotonic growth of Christianity at the expense of pagan religions was seen as evidence in favor of Christianity, at least until Islam grew at the expense of Christianity — and Islam even seems to meet the test of Gamaliel in Acts 5:38. On top of that, there is an unending record of sin and folly at all levels that one might not expect from a Holy Church.

    In spite of that, I do think that the historical record is evidence of the Christian God, but it’s a very subtle evidence. As Chesterton pointed out, the Church is always dying and being resurrected. If the Church had been a merely human institution, if there were no Christian God lending Her support, the Church should have disappeared at least a half dozen times. Not only that, but the Church does not change Her dogmas (though many splinters off the Church do).

    The situation with science is similarly complicated. What we see in the world is order — and disorder. We see things that make us seem important — and things that make us seem absolutely inconsequential. What we have is polyphony; there is more than one melody at play in the music of the spheres. The effect is far too subtle to be scientifically rigorous, but man as a poet and philosopher has a good chance of picking up on it.

    (Full disclosure: I am a physicist.)

    • Well to use your image, would it not be fair to say that, although there is some dissonance in the polyphonic melody of order, in general things show forth a remarkable order, overall? Even chaotic things like earthquakes and hurricanes are seen to have their role in the overall scheme of things. What ever temporary dissonances we have are largely resolved in the return to the perfect chord. Even death brings forth or makes possible, new life.

      • Howard says:

        Well … maybe. I’m more impressed by the beauty of the world than by its order. My proof that the world is remarkably beautiful and good is that it is so easy to imagine various kinds of “hell” (I mean as in the popular imagination, not in the sense of permanent estrangement from God). It is easy to imagine changes that would ruin the world and make it “hell on earth”, but it is really, really hard to come up with plausible ways of making it better. Many naive attempts at imagining a “heaven on earth” have been tried and turned out to be some of the more unpleasant “hells”. If it is so easy to imagine changes that ruin the world, and so hard to imagine changes that improve it, we must be in a remarkably good and beautiful world.

        As for order, it’s far to easy to overplay that argument. It can sound like someone looking at the muddy remains of a WWI battlefield and remarking at the wonderful order, because the surface of the water in puddles (be they bomb craters or tank tread marks) is perfectly horizontal. A rhapsody on such order will not win many converts, because it ignores the mess; also because these puddles are not intelligent creations, but the unintelligent response of nature after the intelligences have been busy with destruction.

  8. Nguyen Thuong Minh says:

    Epistle 225
    My some thoughts about “the homily” of Msgr. Charles Pope are here below:
    Firstly, in the homily, Msgr. Charles Pope questioned about that is existence of order due to dumb luck or design?
    Thus, theme of the homily is order.
    Here, order is religious order or school of thought.
    Secondly, now permit me to discuss some matters to relate to the theme of the homily hereafter:
    Vietnamese Communist Party has said that its Socialism went from utopian Socialism of Saint Simon to scientific Socialism of Lenin.
    Here, Saint Simon called Peter. Peter was first disciple of Jesus. Peter also was first Pope of Roman Catholic Church. And current Pope, Benedict XVI, is 265th Pope of Roman Catholic Church.
    Therefore, it is said that Lenin also was a disciple of Jesus, and his scientific Socialism also is a religious order or a school of thought of Roman Catholic Church.
    Lenin thought that Socialism of Peter or the Social Doctrine of the Church was an unrealistic one. Therefore, he designed new Socialism called scientific one.
    Scientific Socialism of Lenin, theoretically, had no monetary or capital because it said that capital will become Capitalism.
    Thus, when Lenin petitioned Wassily Leontief (an econometrics) to build five-year plans for USSR, but five-year plans of Leontief were collapsed because Lenin didn’t use capital.
    As a consequence, on 1925, Leontief was allowed to leave the USSR in order to come US. He here wrote a “scientific report” called input-output model and he won the Nobel Committee’s Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1973.
    After all, Lenin and Leontief all were disciples of Jesus. Current Scientific Socialism in Vietnam also is a religious order or a school of thought of Roman Catholic Church.
    In my opinion, Vietnamese government ought to come to Vatican to meet Pope Benedict XVI for salvation. Only Pope Benedict XVI can be saved Vietnam./.

  9. Burton says:

    Msgr. Pope,

    Thanks for taking the time to address this important issue. A few observations:
    1. Unfortunately, there exists a sizeable contingent of Christians who refuse to honestly deal with the good scientific data that in any way contradicts their particular version of Creation, thus providing ample fodder for the secularists that like nothing better than to discredit anyone who suggests that the data points to a Designer.
    2. The secularists often point to the fact that no “reputable” scientist supports Design theory. However, this likely results from the fact that to be accepted as a “reputable” scientist by academia, you must a priori accept the secularist ideological framework. This leads to a self-fulfilling, repeating institutionalized bias. Very frustrating.

    • Howard says:

      Very true about the self-fulfilling bias.

      There are problems with Intelligent Design theory, though. I read Science and the Evidence for Design in the Universe, but it seems that the “specified complexity” is “specified” post hoc. It’s cheating, and cheating badly, to compare a biological molecule to be both the specification and (surprise surprise!) the 100% accurate achievement of that design.

      Also, any serious attempt in this direction should be able to estimate the intelligence above randomness necessary to achieve the design. If it turned out that Intelligent Design was detected, but the minimum intelligence of the Designer was that of a French Poodle, what would that mean? What if it were human intelligence? What if it were just a little more than human? What would it mean if the designs of molecules actually found in nature can be improved upon, and that we ourselves are intelligent enough to recognize this? One way or the other, there is no possibility that a methodology of studying Intelligent Design in nature could detect *Infinitely* Intelligent Design.

      • TO be fair, Howard, this is not a post specifically advocating ID. I am simply setting forth the observation that order is observable and wondering why some must insist absolutely that order comes about as a result of random and blind chance. I do not know enough of ID theory to say I accept all its insights or that there are, or are not, some weaknesses in its theory.

        In this post I do not insist that the possible intelligence has to be God’s intelligence. I personally think it is, but that is for theological reasons. All I ask is that science be willing and humble enough to refrain from insisting that there is absolutely no intelligence and that order must be explained as a chance thing that came from a random and blind process. Honestly, they cannot know this definitely since physical science cannot get outside the system to have a look around.

  10. Mike says:

    “everything is subject to cause and effect, that every event was caused by some prior event”

    This is not true. It was always thought true by scientists until the laws of quantum physics were discovered in the early 20th century. We now know that on the subatomic size scale there are events with no causes– ‘quantum phenomena’. Einstein was bothered by this, saying he couldn’t believe that “God would play dice with the universe”. Yet is is proven true.

    Also, one of the laws of thermodynamics says that physical systems always proceed naturally toward more and more chaos. Toward disorder, not toward order from chaos. If this is a physical law, then something outside the laws of nature must have produced the order we see.

    • Howard says:

      @MIke

      The randomness you mention is a part of the collapse of a wave function, and the collapse of a wave function is caused by an observation. Therefore it could be said that the randomness is caused by the observation, and the possible values that can be observed depend on the system and the kind of observation — even though the value of an observation cannot (strictly speaking, in most cases) be predicted from these causes.

      As for the 3rd Law of Thermodynamics, it is not a statement of cowboy philosophy. It has no problem with order on earth as long as the total entropy increases, and this DOES happen, because earth receives (most of) its energy from the sun in short-wavelength photons of visible light but re-radiates that energy as longer-wavelength infrared light, which requires (if I remember correctly) about 7 times as many photons. This is such a HUGE increase in entropy that, even with the decrease in entropy found in life on earth, the total entropy increases.

  11. Joey T says:

    Great post Monseigneur! Forgive my poor memory for detail but I think its argued effectively on this level (observable natural science level) that there is a problem with thermodynamics in the big bang being the sole reason for life. Thermodynamically entropy and a certain “running down” should be expected of all matter. The worm and moth doth eat and rust corrupts, as it were. Without some sort of outside influence on the ‘exploding big bang’ universe, there is no way for entropy to disappear as would be required for “life” to occur. Of course you and I know our Lord said, “I AM the way, and the truth (a-lethe-a) and the life.” Life is inexplicable.

    There is also an interesting refutation of the ‘exploding big bang’ universe by reviewing some of the work of Owen Barfield (see “Idols of the Study), William James (on sub-universes of human experience and the question of which is the “paramount reality”) and Edmund Husserl (on naivette in general but also on the naturalistic attitude of science and the phenomenological attitude). In short these three would as what is the paramount reality? Mr. Hawkings would probably say the physical universe as it appears to his 5 senses. Its amazing to that a human could be so arrogant to think they could “see all that is real” with their senses. Well happy hunting, I enjoy your blog everytime I have time to read it! (p.s. also I am sorry this was a sketchy instead of detailed reply, but work calls!)

  12. AJ says:

    Here’s an interesting article on Thomism and Intelligent Design, Msgr. : http://guweb2.gonzaga.edu/faculty/calhoun/socratic/tkacz_aquinasvsid.html
    What do you make of it? The pertinent paragraph is here:

    “Why, then, have Thomists not been among Behe’s most ardent supporters? First of all, they would agree with many biologists who have pointed out that Behe’s claims of irreducible complexity fail to distinguish between the lack of a known natural explanation of the origin of complex systems and the judgment that such explanation is in principle impossible. Thomists, however, would go even further than most biologists by identifying the first claim as epistemological and the second as ontological. Now, a Thomist might agree with Behe’s epistemological claim that no current or foreseeable future attempt at explanation for certain biological complexities is satisfactory. Yet, a Thomist will reject Behe’s ontological claim that no such explanation can ever be given in terms of the operation of nature. This ontological claim depends on a “god of the gaps” understanding of divine agency and such an understanding of God’s action is cosmogonically fallacious.”

    This seems to be philisophically sound … what do you think?

    • I suppose all this is fine. I don’t disagree with it. But, I often find that, as valuable as Thomistic distinctions are, they are often difficult for the average person to easily digest. Hence I write little using them. For example, I had to read the paragraph you quoted several times before saying, OK I’ve got it. there are long sentences and terms the average person struggles to distinguish. As a priest I surely know what epistemological, ontological agency mean, but I wonder how familiar most people are with these terms? But I WILL say that “cosmogonically fallacious” is truly an example of a writing style that is just plain obscure :-)

      At any rate, I think the paragraph IS philosophically sound.

      But again, this is not a post to defend ID and all its moving parts. I am expressing my wonderment rather at Science, that in the face of order, often chooses to explain the order as the result of random, blind chance. I do not propose that ID is the best of only rebuttal to that explanation by many scientists.

  13. Peter Chabot says:

    Msgr Pope,

    We know by Faith that every single human being has the ability to know the existence of God through natural reason alone (Vatican I). Therefore I can not accept your statement “Now I know that Science can’t formally call this designer ‘God’.” If Science is rational, it can not escape the conclusion that God exists and that He created the world.

    • Well, of course you’re arguing from outside science when you say this. I am do not disagree with you or VC I but I am willing to accept that science can define its own limits which are reasonable limits. I am not insistent that Science as a discipline, make a sectarian acknowledgment of God as we Judeo/Christian call him. It is sufficient to me if they would just stay out of the issue, which it seems many scientists are not. I am willing to accept that physical science, as a discipline, may and will limit itself to the physical world and thus not opine on the hows and whats of the spiritual world and may accept. But my main point here is to demonstrate from order, that there is something which has ordered it and that Science has not successfully explained the existence of order, rather than chaos and hence should withdraw from insisting without qualification that there is no God, or no intelligence which may have set things in order. Science does not need to do this and should not do this. It is most plausible for Scientists simply to allow the conversation to continue and stop from crushing conversation and ridiculing anything that does not tow the “blind chance” line.

  14. BobK says:

    Msgr. Pope,

    I am neither a philosopher, nor a theologian, nor a scientist. For argument’s sake, if we were to remove the questions of “Who?” and “How?” (relative to creation) from the conversation, it seems to me that “science alone” is forestalled by its own Law of Conservation of Mass from proffering a valid, natural theory for ex nihilo creation. By this law, science doesn’t dispute the fact that matter cannot be created nor destroyed, and avers that matter can only be changed in form. In light of that scientific constraint, it seems to me that only a “super-natural” explanation can suffice to explain the creation of something out of nothing.

    Similarly, it seems to that the on-going preservation of the universe in its heightened state of order violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics. By this law, science doesn’t dispute the fact that natural systems tend toward more disorder, left to their own devices. In light of that scientific constraint, it seems to me that only a “super-natural” explanation can suffice to explain the ongoing preservation of the universe in its highly ordered state, regardless of its chronological age.

    It seems to me that science is hoisted by its own petards, when it fails to acknowledge the limits of its own ability to explain things that, of necessity by its own definitions, require supernatural explanations.

  15. Colin Kerr says:

    Msgr,

    I hope you were joking about the 14 trillion years estimate of the age of the universe – it’s 14-18 billion years!

  16. Marie Bell says:

    As somebody said, great post Msgr. I listened in to a scientific discussion once, where the scientist being interviewed said he thought they just about knew all there was to know about how the universe came into being, with may be one or two loose ends waiting to be found. Well maybe, and this is very unscientific, I know, but I rather like to think that God is the creator, hidden in the facts and theories and the search for the logical, dare I say it, explantion… I so agree with Howard, the physicist. I shall listen more intently for the music of the spheres

  17. elcid says:

    I remember reading something about Albert Einstein having a great scientific mind but lacking common sense, I believe the author was referring to a story about Einstein trying to man a sailboat but having a hard time grasping the concept, the point being if scientists would apply common sense to the natural order of things they would have to come to the conclusion that an intelligent being is behind it, but because of their pride they stick to their theories.

    To quote St Thomas Aquinas:

    “All things deriving from God are ordered to one another and to him, and that is what makes the unity of the world. Material plurality cannot be a goal, for it has no determinate limit and what is without end cannot be an end

  18. Charlie M. Vernon says:

    Msgr. I enjoyed your article but would point out just one mis-step. Current thinking is that the Universe exploded into being almost 14 BILLION years ago; not 14 trillion. It makes your analysis more believable and creditable, if your facts are accurate. God bless.

  19. Jon says:

    I think you’re looking for order at the wrong level. Order and chance are not mutually exclusive. In fact, what we call “chance” is most usually a commentary on our ignorance of the complexities of an ordered system. The chance of picking the three of clubs off the top of a (full) shuffled deck of playing cards is 1/52. It’s another way of saying, “I don’t know what the top card really is right now. But, I know that if I repeated this experiment 520 times, I can reasonably expect to have picked the three of clubs roughly 10 times.”

    And in fact, as the number of experiments approaches infinitely, the percentage of “three of clubs” outcomes will approach 1/52 * infinity = infinity. So, even though the “three of clubs” outcome is only 1/52 of all outcomes, it necessarily occurs–infinitely many times, in fact.

    Now, with specific regards to the big bang and the universe, we must also assume infinitely many big bangs have and will occur. We can even assume that they occur simultaneously, since time is a rule that seems to operate *within* each instance of the universe. Thus, there is nothing that prevents all infinity universes from developing “simultaneously.”

    So, in this infinity of universes, the only big bang (and universe) we would ever know about is the one that has produced us! We can’t “find” the other universes because they’re beyond our ability to find. But, if we assume that they exist (which is a valid assumption), our existence appropriately appears less like a miracle of chance and more like the necessary outcome of running an “experiment” infinitely many times. And in face, given our perfectly valid assumption, we can also assume that there are infinitely many other universes, not only containing human life, but which are **exact** replicas of our own: I am in infinitely many other universes typing this exact message–simultaneously, historically, and imminently.

    So, I think the appropriate place to seat this argument is not in the end-result (human life), but the rules themselves. Moving back to our simple example, the deck of cards, we know there is ZERO chance that the top card will be a live squirrel. It sounds silly to say, but it’s true. In a deck of 52 cards, there is ZERO chance that the top card is a live squirrel. So, even as we approach an infinite number of experiments, the number of live squirrels we have produced remains ZERO.

    The question we need to ask is, WHY does this experiment not allow for a live squirrel as a possible outcome? The fact that we can repeat the experiment a million times and have never seen a live squirrel is actually irrelevant. We know with good reason ahead of time that “live squirrel” is not a possibility. But, we don’t know that because we’ve never seen one, we know it because the rules forbid it.

    Conversely, the rules **require** the three of clubs to appear 1 out of 52 times.

    So, what is it about the **rules** in the universe that makes human life an outcome? Do the rules exclude the possibility for infinitely many universes? Or do those rules **require** infinitely many trials to produce human life?

    And finally, how do we know that the rules themselves are intelligently predetermined rather than the result of lack of order inherent to absolute nothingness? It’s actually pretty easy to wrap your head around the spontaneous creation of the laws of physics if you first imagine they don’t exist. Unless there is, perhaps, a ***BASE*** rule (or reality/being) upon which all other rules can be shown to depend?

    • You say, we must also assume infinitely many big bangs have and will occur. We can even assume that they occur simultaneously, since time is a rule that seems to operate *within* each instance of the universe. Thus, there is nothing that prevents all infinity universes from developing “simultaneously.

      But look Jon, at some point we can speculate almost anything, but in so doing we have left not only science, but also philosophy and theology, and before you know it we are writing a science fiction novel or a script for Star Trek of Twilight Zone. You’re in a world all your own when you become as wildly speculative as you are. I suppose anything is possible. But there have to be some parameters for a discussion and simply taking everything out to infinity (even when the only evidence we have suggests that we live in a finite world) then everything becomes possible and things begin to lose any real meaning. It’s kind of a conversation stopper.

      • Jon says:

        I really don’t think I’m out of normal bounds here–hardly speculation at all. One of the theories that corresponds to the big bang theory is the big crunch theory ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Crunch ), which suggests that the universe explodes, expands, and contracts/crunches back down indefinitely–forever in both temporal directions. So, I think I’m well within in the arena of scientific theory to suggest that there are infinitely many instances of “our” universe both in the past and future. And as I said, with an infinite number of trials, every possible outcome-universe is instantiated infinitely many times.

        Granted, I may be expanding the bounds of pragmatic philosophy, science, and religion by suggesting that there could be infinitely many universes “coexisting” with our own. And while the concept was not introduced to me by anything “sci-fi”, but actually by theoretical physics documentaries that I remember seeing as a kid, it’s really irrelevant: I called upon it to better illustrate the magnitude (infinity) that we’re dealing with if the Big Crunch theory holds any truth.

        But really, I’d like to step back and re-state my point. I’m not suggesting that your argument is wrong. However, I do think it must be brought down to a very primitive level to be at all definitive. The way I see it, you can freely imagine the universe creating itself or having been created in any number of ways without ruling out God as the underlying, all-pervading, non-contingent being.

        Remember that this notion of God (YHWH) was given to the Jews when we still thought the earth was flat. At that point in time, suggesting that the earth was round, wasn’t the center of the universe, and actually revolved *around the sun* was as “wildly speculative” as you say I am–and probably more so! And yet, as we discovered each of these things, as well as even more significant complexities in the universe that we had previously chalked up to God *directly*, we weren’t phased. Our understanding of God as a He who is being itself somehow accounts for all *possible*, fantasy-like, speculative-sounding discoveries about our universe.

        Now, I’m not suggesting we simply make implausible things up and try to fit God into the picture. To be clear though, I do think God, as He truly is, fits into most or all of any weird speculative notion we can fathom. But, it’s just plain silly to sit around thinking up *most* of those things: In other words, I’m not going to sit around imagining unicorns firing off big bangs from their extra-verse, because it’s more complexity than we need, even though we can still easily fit God into the picture (who created the unicorns and their extraverse?). However, when an internally consisten theory comes along (which is all theoretical physics is about, as I understand it), I think God deserves a **sufficiently** explained role in the theory.

        New scientific theories can expand our understanding of God, whom we believe to be “I am who am.” It doesn’t get more fundamental and primitive than that. And yet, in some strange way, it doesn’t get more complex either. The trick, I think, is not to attach a loose concept of “order” to our world and say, “we can only have order if there is a God.” To me, that’s just lazy and unsatisfactory.

        I can easily say that in a nothingness without order, there is literally nothing to prevent matter **and order** form spontaneously erupting. In other words, if there is nothing, there are no ordering rules, and the absence of an ordering rule preventing homogenous matter from creating itself does not exist; therefore, homogenous matter **will** eventually create itself. And this notion, I think is perfectly valid.

        So here’s the point. The aforementioned theory, I think, is internally consistent, as difficult as it is to imagine. And that’s all you ever get in theoretical physics and philosophy: internal consistency. But, I think that’s OK. I think our Catholic notion of God fits *any* internally consistent theory.

        If we’re going to give our time and our God to the folks, **we** need to break the scientific and philosophical ground. We need to think up the theories that seemingly leave no room for God. And in doing so, we elevate our notion of God to the office of mystery, power, and wonderment that He truly occupies–the office Abraham and Moses appeared to understand: The office of being itself, which cannot be challenged by any new theory, realistic, unrealistic, probable, or improbable.

  20. TeaPot562 says:

    The initial conditions posited for the “Big Bang” violate the principles of conservation of matter and conservation of energy (allowing for joint conservation, considering that E = MC squared.)

    Therefore those accepting the “Big Bang” but denying a Creator have the unsolvable problem of how something could come from nothing. I like the Genesis description – And God said “Let there be light!”. And there was light!

    TeaPot562

    • Yes, I am not so sure I ma familiar with the conservation of matter argument but several commentors have mentioned it. At any rate you are right, the everything from nothing theory is pretty hard to swallow.

  21. David Nygren says:

    It seems to me we have a simple truth to consider, why make it so, so, er “scientific.” We have had to study, analyze, measure, explore, and dissect all of the secrets embedded in a complete harmonic set of laws which man has no control over whatsoever. That’s scientists job. But what are scientists really proving … unknowingly they are proving that there is some omnipotent power which legislated and enforces such a complete and complex of laws in harmony that allows all things to exist as they are — huge masses of gasses and orbiting planets, and life and organs, and DNA, and events in time itself. The very existence of those laws is not debatable. Only a fool would claim that “oops this happens, because it happens.” No it doesn’t. It happens because some power exists that intended that creation exists and that motion and time exists, and that we exist. Take away that power and nothing exists. I refer to those invisible but evident eternal laws that reside outside of time and space, far beyond our control. Existence of the universe and mankind is possible only because of those eternal laws. We sit, eat, communicate, and are because of those laws. They are evident not only at every spot here on earth but all throughout creation. No one and nothing can ever alter, add to, or eliminate a single eternal law. We think of the law of gravity, but consider the perhaps millions of specific laws such as the speed of light, the laws of color, the laws of hardness and softness, the laws of heat and cold, the laws of motion and size, the laws of plants and breathing animals and the laws of operating organs and functions of every living insect, animal and human being and all of the laws creating beauty all about creation. And all those laws working separately are uniquely in harmony with each other.. There’s only one explanation for a law-giver that is so powerful to hold suns in place, and orbiting planets moving about them, in distances that the mind cannot comprehend, and all other considerations. We call that being God. He’s real, He’s everywhere, and to deny that there is such a being is to deny our reasoning, our eyes, our senses, our research which only proves the secrets of those wonderful, perpetual, eternal laws. I call those eternal laws, just that eternal laws. They cry out Glory be to God.

    • I like your thorough description of the many inter-related laws at work. I will say however, I understand that your conclusion, with which I fully agree, that God is the answer of where these laws come from is something I understand science cannot be asked to affirm per se. However, where some scientists are currently erring is claiming that it is NOT God, something which they cannot say either.

  22. RJ Oso says:

    Well Said!!

    I certainly believe in evolution- guided and started by God. In fact in this months Scientific American Magazine is a great article on the “multiverse,” the MOSTLY accepted theory by astrophysics that there may be trillions of complete universes that are like bubbles in a child’s bathtub. All this shows is the greater Glory of God!

    Has anyone noticed that the description of Creation in 1 Genesis seems a lot like what a farmer from 3500 years ago would describe a vision of the “big bang” showed to him??

    • But honestly, is it right to call the trillions of complete universes a “theory” really not premature? Where is the evidence for this? How can the “theory” be tested? Is this not rather in the realm of a speculation?

      That said, I agree, even if such a thing could be demonstrated, more Glory to God.

  23. Bill Robberson says:

    Wow, I admit my inability to grasp everything posted on this subject. Bottom line for me, even though the comments are interesting is: by God’s Grace I was offered the gift of faith in Jesus Christ-that He is who says He is. I chose to accept God’s gift and I’m grateful. Everything else in my life flows from His Grace. God’s gift of Salvation is so needed by the billions who never heard of Him, have never seen a bible and/or who cannot even read.

  24. David Carlon says:

    Amen.

  25. kendallpeak says:

    I watched Hawking’s show Curiosity. Frankly, I expected more from the atheist crowd. I encourage folks to watch the show, preferably with a recorder so one can pause, rewind, replay, etc. The logic was disappointingly weak. The best I could make out is that there is a theory about quarks appearing out of nowhere, and since there is this theory about the most miniscule of all possible things appearing out of nowhere, that theory proves the entire universe appeared out of nowhere. All it takes to follow this is complete faith in Hawkings and his fellow gods/scientists. It’s the same logic used when scientists of the past said small bugs appeared out of nowhere, ( if it happens without our being able to determine cause it must be magic/science. ). The show gave the religious side by showing Vikings get scared of an eclipse. The show was hogwash, and it’s weakness shows the weakness of this silly, childish outlook on God’s Creation.

  26. bt says:

    Here is a question I have wondered about, with perhaps a scientific bent to it. After the great Flood, God put the rainbow in the sky as a sign of the covenant that a worldwide flood of this type would never occur again. So, if this was the first rainbow, does that mean that perhaps the optical laws of light refraction were different before and after the Flood? Or perhaps the laws of refraction were the same, but perhaps the quality of the raindrop was somehow different? Anyhow, I believe the Biblical flood story, having taken some science courses, it does make me wonder about this question. Anyone else have ponderings on this and what meaning it might have for physics?

  27. Bethanie Ryan says:

    Awesome post. Seeing the order in the universe also speaks to me of a creator. I saw the first episode of “Curiosity” and all of the beauty and mystery of the world definitely reminded me of God. This is my blog post about the episode:

    http://syrophoenicianwoman.blogspot.com/2011/08/religious-persons-response-to-premiere.html

  28. AuntieD says:

    The Big Bang was not so much an “explosion” as an “expansion”, thus it was not chaos but the infinite God’s ordered plan for creation. Nothing in creation contradicts God, except sin, so we should have no fear of any scientific discovery. Are we God that we should limit His marvelous plan?

  29. Mary De Voe says:

    Hypocrisy is not scientific. Actually, sin is a better evidence for God than is virtue. Man’s need for God is real, because man has violated his original innocence and virginity. Original innocence and virginity are not part of the scientific method. Do original innocence and virginity evolve? If man’s immortal soul evolves according to Darwin’s theory, and it does not, then man’s immortal soul must come from God’s infinite BEING.
    The atheist uses his God-given gifts of free will and sovereign personhood both of which are not observable through the scientific method to deny God and to deny his neighbor the exercise of his free will and further to deny the acknowledgement of their sovereign personhood. The atheist then spews forth the “scientific method”, and slips into the scientific mode to escape from the same rule which is the exercise of supernatural gifts of free will and intellect that the atheist has used to subjugate others.
    There is no “scientific method” for exercising one’s free will to deny another person that person’s exercise of free will and intellect by demanding use of the scientific method. Therein lies the hypocrisy.

  30. Mary De Voe says:

    Darwin’s evolution does not admit to the immortal soul of man. Man, the human being, the human species is composed of body AND immortal soul. By conveniently adhering to the rules of science, atheists get science to deny our Creator, and man, God’s creation, allowing the atheist to make of science their response to their gifts from God. Atheism argues in the abuse both of reason and faith that religion, man’s response to the gift of Faith from God is outside the rules of science and unless man can prove that God exists through science, man’s immortal soul does not exist. Man’s freedom to acknowledge God does not exist. Man’s freedom to pursue his Happiness in eternal life does not exist. Man’s immortal soul becomes the first victim sacrificed by the high priests of atheism. Darwin’s evolution is only a means to the atheist’s end by those who would rebel against God. Man’s immortal soul is the battlefield.
    1) Man cannot have an immortal soul and an eternal life which is his destiny.
    2) Man cannot have earthly freedom in the “pursuit of Happiness”, which is his destiny.
    3) Man cannot have life, “endowed by our Creator” when two become one.
    4) Man cannot have equality through his existence.
    5) Man is an animal without scientific proof of his immortal soul.
    6) Man cannot have sovereign personhood with which he constitutes government and the state with sovereignty authority to rule, legislate, and provide for the common good.
    7) Taken all together, God does not exist. Man’s immortal soul does not exist. Man’s freedom does not exist. Therefore, man’s life is what the atheist says it is. Totalitarianism, all exercised through the immortal soul of the atheist, who says he does not exist. Do not pay any attention to the man behind the screen with the smoke and mirrors.

  31. Mary De Voe says:

    @Bethanie Ryan:God is omnipresent. God does not sin. God is all good. God cannot contradict Himself. God does not and cannot create evil. God is BEING and God is. God is all act. So when an atheist says God does not exist, the atheist is saying that God’s creation does not exist, that he, the atheist does not exist.
    The atheist is free to believe or reject God, but when the atheist begins denying God for other persons, the atheist preempts their free will. Unauthorized use of another person’s power of attorney, as far as I know, is still against the law, and may be perjury in a court of law.

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