Sunday, July 27, 2008

Quote of the Day: Something Instead Of Nothing


Allan Sandage - Astronomer

“I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing.” (h/t y-origins.com)

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Allan Sandage took it as his life's work to find out how old and how large the universe is. His work led him to conclude the universe is 15 billion to 20 billion years old. Sandage is credited with the discovery of quasars, small blue cosmic objects that may be places where stars are born. (source: www.answers.com)

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A brief article by Dr. Sandage: A Scientist Reflects on Religious Belief http://www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth15.html

4 comments:

pettitji said...

God is a silly explanation and totally unscientific. It just leads to the further question. Who created God?

RkBall said...

God is not a silly explanation. A universe that exhibits great intelligence requires a great explanation.

And, while God may not be subject to direct scientific verification, since he has not condescended to be put in a test tube (but has condescended to be crucified at the hands of cruel and sinful men), there is nothing about legitimate science that disproves God, and much about legitimate science that points in the direction of God, in the same way that fingerprints do not prove the existence of a person, but are certainly suggestive evidence of one.

A finite, entropic, material universe that had a beginning point and which operates according to exquisite laws and with precise tuning for life, requires an explanation; God who stands outside of the material universe, and is at any rate beyond our comprehension, does not.

Fortunately for us, in addition to the witness of nature, which is itself sufficient to render all men accountable to God for their actions, he has revealed himself in the pages of holy Scripture. And he has revealed that he is uncreated, eternal, unchanging, the One who was, and is, and is to come.

In other words, he's smarter than you.

Furthermore, he reveals himself today through the present active work of his holy Spirit -- a Spirit whose presence and activity can be felt, known, and experienced.

Faith in God is not a shot in the dark; it is walking in light.

There was a Jewish preacher who taught, however, that rather than loving the light, "men loved rather the darkness, because their deeds were evil".

MgS said...

A universe that exhibits great intelligence requires a great explanation.

There you go again, insisting upon a logical necessity for a metaphysical being, but providing the reader with really little reason to find that need compelling.

Fortunately for us, in addition to the witness of nature, which is itself sufficient to render all men accountable to God for their actions, he has revealed himself in the pages of holy Scripture. And he has revealed that he is uncreated, eternal, unchanging, the One who was, and is, and is to come.

Welcome to the first error of Christian apologetics. You start from the premise that the Bible is in fact God's word. Skeptically, I have to challenge that and claim that it is entirely conceivable that the Bible is an essentially typical expression of religious mythology. It is rooted in the history of an era, and then attempts to codify the social rules of life in that time.

Simply claiming that it is "God's Word" is inadequate, as we already have plenty of evidence that human hands wrote many of the testaments.

My point is that the apologist always seems to start from the assumption that there is an absolute truth to scripture, and then proceeds to argue from that. However, the skeptic will quite rightly ask the apologist to provide non-circular evidence that substantiates that claim.

(Oh yes, having scientists who stand up and talk about "God" having a hand in the universe is not evidence - because for the most part those same scientists would also freely admit that their belief in that regard is quite apart from the science that they pursue on a day to day basis - there is nothing about science that precludes a practitioner having such beliefs.

RkBall said...

MgS - you make some fair and reasonable comments.

I have, of course, concluded after much investigation that the Bible is God's revelation of Himself to mankind, but this was not, and is not my starting point. (In fact I don't think there was anyone on the planet more surprised than me when I came to this conclusion).

I was actually addressing the point, "if God exists, how do we know what he is like?". And simply pointing out that science is not the only tool on the table.

There is also prayer. I don't know if I've mentioned that. But there's absolutely nothing to stop an individual from asking God to reveal himself. One may expect an answer in proportion to the sincerity of the quest. The Scripture (there I go again!) says that God rewards those who diligently seek him, but the point is this is something that a person can test for themselves.

I've jumped in the pool. The water's warm, and the swimming's great, and the outlook for eternity -- fabulous.

"O taste and see that the Lord is good".

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"