Mr Joseph Vempeny
Posted on : 29/01/2008 09:03:40
EXISTENCE OF GOD
IS THERE SCIENTIFIC PROOF THAT GOD EXISTS?
The simple, straight answer to this question is an unqualified ‘no’. The reason is that science deals with the physical world, the world of matter and energy, of space and time. Even as we do not refer to the bible for learning how to operate a computer or to repair a T.V set, we do not refer to science to learn about God. Here we refer to philosophy, theology or the holy scriptures of various religions. Still there are many things in science that point to the existence of God. There are many questions in science that have no clear answers yet become simple if you bring in the concept of an omnipotent Creator who very intelligently designed the whole creation.
Referring to several unanswered questions in modern cosmology and quantum physics one scientist says; “There is no reason to assume that we humans shall be able to find all answers to such questions. Yet it is interesting to see how far we can proceed in search of answers before we knock against the wall.” According to another one, ‘if we bring in the idea of God to explain the puzzles in science we are passing from the realm of physics into that of religion and we cannot except any more funding for our research’. One of the great cosmologists of today, Allan Guth is more optimistic and says; “We are approaching a scenario for creation compatible with the laws of physics. That raises the question, ‘where do laws of physics come from?’ We are a long way from answering that.” To me a believer the answer is right here, not far. The laws of physics are from God. But a scientist cannot say that.
Let me add a few words of explanation here in a historical context regarding the changing attitude of the scientific community and of rationalists towards the questions of the origins and evolution of the universe and of life.
Darwin’s views on the evolution of species and the observation that the earth is going round the sun and not the other way round, that earth is just a speck in the immense universe raised questions about the existence of God. Till the beginning of the twentieth century the astronomers believed that the universe, the galaxies and the solar system remained in their fixed positions, that they were always like that and always shall be like that. This scenario could very well do without a creator. It was around this time that someone said that science has all the answers and that we do not have to believe anything that science cannot prove. That position has changed drastically and today the greatest of scientists are still trying to get answers to simple questions on matter, space and time. No one thinks any more that science has all the answers.
In 1927 it was observed that the universe is not static but expanding. This meant a definite point of origin for the universe. The concept of creation became relevant. Now the Big Bang hypothesis rules cosmology and at the most recent findings the origin of the universe took place some 13.75 billion years ago. The whole process of cosmic evolution from a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang to date is accurately worked out by cosmologists and quantum physicists. But no one has any clue as to how or from where the original matter-energy complex of the Big bang came to be. According to one scientist such questions are left to the poets and philosophers. Recently, however certain scientists have proposed a hypothesis which had no scientific proof at all. According to them something can pop out of nothing. This is called vacuum fluctuation. Before the appearance of our universe there is only a ‘vacuum state’. This is not quite emptiness but a sort of ‘fullness’. They compare this to a beer cauldron from which numerous bubbles pop out. Our universe appeared as one such bubble. It goes on. If we follow the logic carefully we see that here again we are leaving the realm of physics and entering that of metaphysics; because the vacuum state mentioned here sounds very much like the ‘sunyatha’ of Buddhism or an infinite being.
Certain observations about the spin of the galaxies in the eighties made the scientists acknowledge the fact that the known forms of matter – matter that make up stars, planets, asteroids as well as the interstellar gases – is not enough to account for the total mass responsible for the observed spin of the galaxies. To explain away this discrepancy they introduced the idea that ‘the required additional mass is provided by something called dark matter’.
According to the laws of physics and common sense, the expansion of the universe should be slowing down. In attempts to record this deceleration, two scientists observed in 1998, and later confirmed that instead of decelerating the universe is accelerating. Instead of slowing down the universe is speeding up. To explain this discrepancy they brought in the concept of dark energy. At the latest estimate the universe is made of 73% dark energy, 23% dark mater and 4% ordinary matter. What is dark energy or dark matter? Nobody knows. According to one scientist, “the terms, dark matter and dark energy are expressions of our ignorance.” If science cannot satisfactorily explain what our physical world is made of, how can we expect it to provide answers in the spiritual realm, the realm of God, souls and the like.
John Archibald Wheeler is a colleague of Einstein and a name revered by most cosmologists and quantum physicists of today. Now he has come up with this new concept about the composition of the universe. These are his words. “To the question ‘what is the world made of?’ you are likely to come up with the answer, ‘matter and energy’. But I say that the universe is made of information; matter and energy are only incidental.” The following two examples illustrate the concept.
1. In a modern factory a robot can make a car using metals and plastics as raw materials and energy for cutting, welding molding etc. But we know that the robot cannot perform this operation without copious amounts of information programmed into it.
2. . In a cell a ribosome can manufacture protein from amino acids using oxidation energy. For this the ribosome should get information from the DNA in the nucleus. The universe and life on earth are systems that work and evolve in a very efficient manner. This means that quite a lot of information had gone into their creation.
Could a scientist be more explicit about the role of a Creator in creation? He means that ours is a pre-programmed universe. All the physical laws, all guidelines for evolution were set down and all physical constants fine-tuned at the moment of creation, at time zero on the Big Bang time scale. This reminds me of a phrase from my junior catechism about ‘the Almighty who created everything by a single word, - fiat -, meaning let it be.’ It didn’t take seven days or14 billion years, just one moment, one word. Is this not the ‘word’ or ‘logos’ that Apostle John speaks of in the first verse of the first chapter of his Gospel? The Greek word ‘logos’ could mean, word, idea or even information, I am told. “In the beginning was the word. The word was with God and the word was God…”
At the outset I had stated that there could be no scientific proof for the existence of God. But I guess we can consider two sets of facts as proof of the hand of God in creation.
The first and foremost is the complexity of life. The scientists at the start of the twenty-first century have no clue as to “How a group of lifeless particles suddenly formed the first living cell.” (Paul Davies). We can’t blame them, as the simplest cell is so complex. Our human body, according to these scientists, has about 100 trillion cells (that is 1 followed by 14 zeroes). Each of these cells has the DNA molecule, differing in composition from tissue to tissue, but each containing about 3 billion letters. (Here the term letter is used to denote one of four nucleotides that form the rungs of DNA ladder). Thus the DNA is called the book of life. But the term book is not apt in this context as there are no books with 3 billion letters in it. It is more like a library of 3000 books each with 1000 pages with 1000 letters for each page. This is the instruction manual for producing a human being. These three billion nucleotides make the thirty thousand or so genes in our cells. A common single celled bacterium has around 1500 genes. The simplest living cell known to scientists contains 480 genes. The scientists and technicians who can build the supersonic passenger jets, or the most sophisticated computers cannot still fathom the mechanism that caused the first living cell to be formed let alone make one. It is here that we can clearly see the hand of God at work.
The second, and a very interesting fact is the ‘fine-tuning’ of the physical constants.. The parameters of fine-tuning are many. If one of these, say the mass of electron or the magnitude of the charge on it was ever so slightly – even by a fraction of a million – more or less, the elements like carbon oxygen or the heavier ones, so essential for life, would not have formed. That would mean that there would be no life in the universe. Or again, if the so-called ‘lumps’ in the ‘primordial soup’ soon after creation was slightly larger, the gravity would have made the whole of the existing matter that make up our universe collapse into one giant black hole and that would have been that! No galaxies, no stars, no planets, no life! If these same lumps had been ever so smaller the gravity would not have been sufficient for the matter to coalesce into galaxies and stars! The universe would have been just an ocean of clouds and gases. There are a few other interesting physical constants which if not so fine-tuned – if it were slightly higher or lower - there would have been no universe like ours, no life! And to me, a believer, here is the clear picture of the hand of God at work. These lessons from modern cosmology, quantum physics and biology are very clear proofs for the existence of God. At least I feel so.