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Religion Sun, 1 Aug 2010

Rejoinder - Religion and Science

– By Kwasi Kumi Opare

A number of wrong arguments are being produced by Kwabena Ofosu and apart from being leaking arguments, they are indicative that he has a problem not with religion but with the Bible. First let me state that the Bible does not provide all details about every situation. Naturally, it only discusses what is needed to arrive at the sublime truth which God, its Ultimate Author, wants to bring to us. The Bible was not interested in the life history of Cain, hence the details about other family ties and the origin of his wife were not provided. Once these details are missing, whether he married his sister, cousin, an auntie or whoever cannot be determined. Moreover, the Bible did not provide a census of all persons who were living on earth at that time It is therefore impossible for anyone to know who would have been interested in killing him and therefore a mark had to be placed on him as deterrence. It can only be guessed and a writer professing to support scientific positions should not be guessing but stating facts. There was no need wandering into the wilderness about Cain’s family ties when more important issues were being discussed in the Holy Book. One can go on to refute other wrong misunderstandings of what the Bible says but this will be done at a later date.

The articles meant to disprove the accuracy of the Bible commences with the issue of science’s purity relative to the Bible which is even more strange given the available evidence. Lets take only Theoretical Physics since it was the initial focus of the writer’s articles. There is so much uncertainty and confusion in the world of Theoretical Physics that it is amazingly strange for anyone to think of it as the source of justification for discrediting the Bible. This view is sadly so uninformed because if a lot more research had been done, the numerous uncertainties that cloud scientific enquiry, observations and conclusions, even in this era of complex computer-based analysis would have made anyone know the futility of such an exercise.

Basically, scientific conclusions are, as a result, tentative and not final and decisive. They indicate some measure of success in experiments but not final binding results that transcend time and are universal. As a result, the more learned scientists shudder from making categorical statements that the writer does, and with the certainty that the less exposed are inclined to do. Centuries of scientific research have rather led the real scientists to the painful conclusion that their discipline is even more variable than it was thought of.

Indeed a cursory analysis of Heisenberg’s work on the mathematical foundations of quantum physics that led to the quantum theory clearly disproves any attempt to claim eternal truths for science. Quantum mechanics has the uncertainty principle as its cardinal position and accepts the view that there is arbitrariness, imprecision and unpredictability. Initially, the uncertainty principle was criticized by John Kopper. In 1935, the celebrated Albert Einstein, Podolski and Rosen presented their EPR paradox in an effort to surmount the uncertainty problem that Heisenberg’ principle posed to the scientific community. However, subsequent works by John Bell and others confirmed the uncertainty principle as factual. The foregoing indicate that science has been going back and forth and it not the prefect entity that the writer presents. Again, the Robertson–Schrödinger approach to this issue of uncertainty in quantum mechanics incorporated the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. One could also cite the inequality with the commutator term that was developed in 1930 by Percy Robertson, to solve the ‘inequality’ equation and then Erwin Schrodinger’s anticommutator’ approach to solving this as further evidence of the unending controversies in the already complicated ‘science’ of quantum mechanics. These instances alone show scientific discoveries are not universal but go through changes as knowledge expands and goes through transformations.

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Lets just consider spectroscopy, where excited states of materials have a finite lifetime compared to the time-energy uncertainty principle, where they lack a definite energy that could be computed with certainty because each time they decay the energies they release differ. Another source of confusion in science is the situation where fast-decaying states have a broad linewidth, while slow decaying states have a narrow linewidth. This leads to situations where the faster the particle decays, the less certain is its mass. The more confused the science that is trying to unravel these has become.

Stuart Kauffman of the famed Santa Fe Institute located in New Mexico, pours more confusion on the so called scientific discoveries that the writer seems to worship as the new god. His analysis of the universe reveals that the current laws governing the universe might be relative and not fixed or eternal. His argument is that given the complexity of quarks, the only ‘scientific’ conclusion one can arrive at is that there is nothing like a timeless, eternal laws with universal validity and application. These scientific laws being discovered are still evolving and there is the likelihood of their getting altered after centuries or millennia of evolution. The scientific world, indeed, is a motley of such uncertainty that is it strange that an apology is being made for it non-existent certainty and forms the basis of a critique of Biblical statements.

The Big Bang and String theories have been postulated in an effort to explain (not prove, mind you) the emergence of the universe. But other modern positions have been put forward by others such as the ‘Inflation theory’ to explain the creation of the universe. I hope the writer will familiarize himself with these later. The inflation theory for example explains the existence of not one, but numerous universes which are described collectively as ‘multiverse’ and not the simplistic one universe being presented. The inflation theory states that not only are there several ‘universes’ but that some of these universes merge into others further complicating things for cosmologists. Moreover, these several ‘universes’ are not fixed but are expanding at such immense speeds that confound and confuse scientists. Extremely advanced calculations are still on-going in an effort to determine how many ‘universes’ there are, how linked up they are and the bewildering speeds they exhibit in their expansion. However, one finding is the certainty that each of these numerous universes has its different own sets of laws yet to be discovered. Moreover, it has been found that these laws have evolved from other previous laws. Let us refer to the book ‘The Trouble with Physics’ by Professor Lee Simolin of the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics at University of Waterloo, Canada, published in 2006 in which he disputes the String Theory that the writer seems so obsessed with, due to its inherent difficulties in explaining new discoveries of the multiverse situation, the ‘pocket universes’ and other baffling new discoveries. Roger Penrose of Oxford University is another expert working on the problem of unifying quantum theory with gravity and spacetime and whose preliminary findings negate previous ones that other ‘scientists’ discovered. The complex discoveries of Andreas Albrecht which have now poured doubt on the revered Einstein’s general relatively theory is another complexity that the writer seems unaware of, hence the haste to raise scientific discoveries to the pedestal above the Invisible Eternal God and present them as alternative seat of power for worship. On the basis of the few facts presented, it is strange to read that science is so sacrosanct and perfect. Is the writer not yet aware of the loop quantum gravity, the dynamical triangulations theory, the causal set theory, the wquantum theory and others? Leaving Theoretical Physics for a moment, one can cite the conflicting positions on the origin of humankind in Biological Sciences. There is the theory of evolution that seems to suggest humankind evolved from apes over millions of years ago and is supported by archaeological discoveries of centuries-old skeletal remains at Olduvai Gorge and other places in Africa. At the same time, there is ‘scientifically’ proven genetic engineering approach, another branch of Biological Sciences, that indicates that all human beings rather emerged from one woman in Africa not more than 146,000 years ago. Interestingly, the woman has been dubbed by scientists ‘Eve’, after the first woman of the Bible, implying recognition by the scientific community of the Biblical position that the writer is so bent on crucifying. These are but only a few of the myriad of differing ‘scientific’ theories, discoveries and experiments out there quite apart from string theory. Its is therefore quite unfortunate that science is being presented to the average Ghanaian reader as the central knowledge acquisition process that churns laws with universal applicability and eternal validity. Just one last point – the human aura that one finds around Jesus Christ, Holy Mary and other apostles in drawings and art works made by Christians during the first century AD were only confirmed as being existence by the British medical doctor Walter John Kilner in 1911. His finding was that the aura exists as an energy field around human beings and that it varies. This ‘scientific’ discovery came a thousand and nine hundred years after Christian art and drawings inspired by religious insights had ‘discovered’ and indicated its existence.

Come again, brother!

Source: Opare, Kwasi Kumi