Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Physics and God, Hammers and Architects

In some American subcultures, 'everybody knows' that only stupid people think there's a God. Many of them think that religion - particularly Christianity - is utterly opposed to science.

In other American subcultures, the idea that God exists isn't questioned - but many of them also think that religion - particularly Christianity - is utterly opposed to science.

I'm a Catholic, so I don't think that my faith demands that I shut my eyes to what Gregor Mendel and Copernicus learned - and what their successors have uncovered about this world we live in.

There are No Architects!

Here's something to think about: We use buildings every day. We work in buildings, sleep in them, watch movies in them.

Before the logic and reason enlightened the mind, many simple people assumed that architects designed buildings.

I have studied how buildings are made, and discovered a great truth:
  • Hammers are involved in the creation of buildings
  • Hammers are not architects
  • Hammers exist
    • Therefore there are no architects
If you think that sounds silly, you're right. At least, I think so. But then, I'm one of those 'not smart' people who think that God exists. What I think is silly may not be what America's dominant culture thinks is absurd.

Even so, I'm pretty sure that most folks would think that the argument that since hammers exist there can be no architects is silly. Certainly as I outlined.

Substitute "physics" and "God," and write maybe 100,000 words around that basic idea - and it may not sound so silly. Until you start taking a good, hard look.

Here's what got me started on this post:
"Hawking's New Book Does Not Dismiss The Real God From Creation, Jesuit Scholars Say"
Catholic News Agency, via EWTN (September 7, 2010)

"Dr. Stephen Hawking's new book, "The Grand Design," makes the bold claim that the universe "created itself from nothing" based on physical laws such as gravity, making God unnecessary for a self-created and self-unfolding model of the universe. However, two Catholic scholars trained in physics say his remarks misconstrue the real relationship between God and creation.

"A Jesuit priest and scholar, former president of Gongaza University Fr. Robert Spitzer, says that Hawking's dismissal of God in favor of physics reflects fundamental confusions about the Christian concept of God, as the creator of all that exists-- both the physical universe, and the laws of physics which apply to it.

"When this is understood, Fr. Spitzer said, Hawking's basic confusion becomes clear. Although Hawking talks about the universe 'creating itself from nothing,' he is presupposing that this 'nothing' somehow involved gravity and other fundamental laws of physics, Fr. Spitzer explained.

"But principles such as gravity are not irreducible or self-evident axioms. Rather, they are non-physical laws which govern the ordinary operations of the physical world. Thus, the Jesuit priest stated, there is no comparison between a creation which unfolds and develops according to laws followed by matter, and Hawking's proposal of 'spontaneous creation' from 'nothing.'..."
There's quite a bit more in that article, which I recommend reading.

Related posts:


Left-Footer said...

Hear! Hear!

Nothing to add - great blog!

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...


The reason and faith aspect of Catholicism, and our connection with science - which is not 19th-century materialism - is part of why I became a Catholic.

And thanks for the kind words!

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.