Friday, September 3, 2010

Everyone is wrong - except me

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Religious leaders in Britain have lashed out at Steven Hawking as he sought to debunk a religious explanation for the creation of the universe. My conclusion - they are both wrong. Let us consider their arguments:
Hawking says that given the existence of gravity, "the universe can and will create itself from nothing" according to an excerpt published in The Times of London.
This is nonsense. Matter does not spontaneously evolve from nothing, it transforms from another form of matter, a matter than is far more dense and thus relatively smaller.
The head of the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams, told the Times that "physics on its own will not settle the question of why there is something rather than nothing".
Actually he is right. Physics will not answer that question because science seeks to explain things in terms of causation, and there is no causation. Even non-Christians seem to be mystified by this question, of what caused the universe or matter. The answer is NOTHING. There is no cause...there is no starting point. The universe has always existed. The Big Bang was not the start of the universe, it was merely a fragment in time in which matter underwent massive, but not unprecedented change. I am suggesting that the universe has undergone periods of collapse and re-birth. Gravity provided the momentum for its collapse, and instability (i.e. nuclear fission) provided the basis for its ultimate expansion.
"Belief in God is not about plugging a gap in explaining how one thing relates to another within the Universe. It is the belief that there is an intelligent, living agent on whose activity everything ultimately depends for its existence".
True again. Religion is not about providing rationalisations for reconciling facts and faith. In truth religion and science are incompatible. Science seeks to develop a rational framework for understanding the universe, whilst religious wants people to accept a certain dogma on faith, which involves acceptance despite or without reference to facts. Any resolution offered by science could only diminish your faith, and therefore your virtue.
An intelligent god? Well that is just the unqualified dogma.
Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks said: "Science is about explanation. Religion is about interpretation. The Bible simply isn't interested in how the Universe came into being".
This is not strictly correct. Science is about explanation. That much is true, but religion is not about interpreting, as that would involve reference to facts, arguments as well as analysis. Religion is about dogmatic assertion. We must understand that the 'power' or persistence of religion does not derive from its compelling arguments, it arises from people's insecurity, that they would find greater value in intrinsic values rather than objective values, which convey meaning, understanding and the need to earn them. It is those aspects of an objective universe which Christians want to renounce. They want religion not simply as a moral system. Its more fundamental than that. Their need for religion can arise at a more fundamental metaphysical to epistemological level.
"Hawking's god is a god-of-the-gaps used to plug present gaps in our scientific knowledge. "Science provides us with a wonderful narrative as to how [existence] may happen, but theology addresses the meaning of the narrative," he added.
There will always be gaps in science, whether fundamental or incidental. The contradiction that science makes to our life is incoherent because scientific inquiry in marred by poor values, of which religion is part of the toxic pool of diminished cognitive capacity. Anyone with a critical thought capacity (like myself) can find the flaws in religion and science (with may appear like a religion sometimes). We ought to recognise that 'idiot science' is a legacy of the thinking imparted by a religious based private school education, not to mention the public 'collectivist' school system, which ultimately has the same origins....thousands of years of religious self-loathing. The skepticism implied in the quote above is a testament to that.
There are of course those religious defenders who would see God as a passive 'designer' who, having made the universe sits back and derisively laughs at the idiots he created.
Fraser Watts, an Anglican priest and Cambridge expert in the history of science asserts:
"A creator God provides a reasonable and credible explanation of why there is a universe, and ... it is somewhat more likely that there is a God than that there is not".
Andrew Sheldon
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Attention all atheists!!
In fact anyone who has had an interesting encounter with a Christian which involved manipulation, deception or blatant rationalisation. This is research or material for a forthcoming book. I am not suggesting that all Christians are criminals, dangerous or threats to society, but I am suggesting that Christianity is a basis for moral inefficacy. There is a reason why Christian nations are always at war. There is a reason why former Christians (or children of Christians) have a tendency to drift into cults and extreme religious groups. Thank you for any life experiences you can recall. ----------------------------------------------- Andrew Sheldon