Science vs Faith - A Confrontation Eliminated

Houston, Texas (PressExposure) August 31, 2009 -- Ever since the nineteenth century, a confrontation has been brewing between creationism and Darwinian evolution. On the one side are those who believe that the Bible is the literal word of God and represents what actually happened in the past and on the other are the scientists, who believe in scientific evidence. This bitter confrontation continues to this day, in our supposed age of science, and has received wide publicity. What is not widely known is that today this whole controversy can be eliminated by an argument developed entirely from within physics, without appealing to either religion or evolutionary theory. This extraordinary assertion can be substantiated with no great difficulty.

Physics began with Galileo in the seventeenth century. Before him there was no rift between science and faith. When it came to explaining nature, he sought for underlying laws, expressed in what he called "nature's language": mathematics. Galileo was very pious and had no intention of removing God from the scene, but the scientific method he set up for scientists to follow, in three basic axioms, had the effect of doing away with the need for God, except perhaps at the very beginning. This scientific method was based on his conviction that man, as the observer, had no connection with the object observed. This object belonged to nature and behaved according to nature's laws. Man, the observer, merely analyzed this behavior, without interfering with it or affecting it in any way. Galileo felt that this total detachment, necessary for scientific work, was achieved only with matter and motion, which he called the "primary qualities". Everthing else in nature, perceived through the senses, was hopelessly subjective and thus excluded from science. Matter and motion, however, did not need the presence of human beings to exist, in his opinion. Therefore, their reality was objective.

The laws relating to matter and motion were then formalized by Newton, still within the seventeenth century. These activities caused little friction with religion, except in the matter of the sun's being at the center of the solar system. Neither Galileo nor Newton had any difficulty accepting Archbishop Ussher's date for the creation of the world: the night before the 23rd. October 4004 BCE (using the Julian calendar). The scientists were concerned with the operations of nature, not its beginning. It was not until geology and paleontology, in the nineteenth century, found evidence of great age in the records of the rocks that any difficulty arose with traditional faith. At the same time, it was found in biology that the evolution of all species needed equally long periods of time, so that suddenly for scientists, the age of the world was rudely increased from several thousands to several billions of years.

As physics developed in the twentieth century, the objectivity of matter and motion could no longer be defended. It was realized that everything in nature, transmitted to us through our senses, was necessarily subjective, so that man was inherently connected to, and participated in, the nature that surrounded him. As a modern quantum cosmologist, John Wheeler, put it: "Useful as it is under everyday circumstances to say that the world exists 'out there' independent of us, that view can no longer be upheld. There is a strange sense in which this is a 'participatory universe'." This means that man, even scientific man, constantly affects his surroundings, so that the total separation between the observer and the object observed, so vital to Galileo, is now known to be a mistake. Galileo in fact made a fundamental error in assigning objective reality to matter and motion. Such objectivity cannot be given to anything in physical nature, perceived through the subjective senses. It must also be remembered that the original rift between science and faith was caused by Galileo's removal of God's objective world from what was then called 'natural philosophy'.

But something else was going on in physics during the twentieth century. The origin of matter, the ultimate, irreducible matter particle, could not be found in the physical world. For many years, this ultimate particle was thought to be the atom. Then for a while the proton and the electron were considered, until it was discovered that the proton consisted of three quarks. Beyond the quark, individual particles become difficult to isolate, as matter and forces tend to merge into a common stream at very high energy levels. So a branch of physics took a leap and defined the ultimate constituent of matter as something called the string particle. This is a one-dimensional particle, consisting of length only, and requires eleven dimensions to be explained mathematically. It is therefore not perceivable in our world of limited dimensions, where also nothing of only one dimension could register on our senses. However, if it is to be the origin of matter and be this ultimate, irreducible, long sought-for particle, it must be "real". Its reality therefore can only be objective, that is to say not dependent on the presence of human beings.

Before our present age of science, the reality of a non-material realm of origins would very readily have been identified as the world of God. The differences in description are merely semantic. So here the following facts can be summed up: if the separation between the observer and the object observed is no longer defended by modern physics, the separation between science and faith (of which it was the origin) must also now be questioned. Also, it seems that modern physics is in need of the concept of a real but non-material world, as a world of origins, something which cannot readily be distinguished from the real, divine world of traditional religion and philosophy. So it appears that the great rift between science and faith was caused in the first place by an error made by Galileo and that the correction of that error has now led to the elimination of this conflict.

About Werner Thurau

The author of this press release, Werner Thurau, has long been a student of the more philosophical aspects of physics, especially from an historical point of view. The latest interest in how to interpret some of the more incredible implications of quantum mechanics has led him to a general review of the progress of physics, especially during the latter half of the twentieth century. This review covers the subject of this press release in much greater detail.

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Press Release Submitted On: August 30, 2009 at 6:22 pm
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