“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
—Hamlet (I, v, 166-167)
The Observer‘s Robin McKie writes of the demise of String Theory (HT: the Press). For decades physicists have been enamoured with String Theory’s promise to explain the universe in a handful of complex equations. Now many are starting to fear their theories have led down a cul-de-sac. (expert opinion here and here.)
Dark Energy remains “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma“. LATimes correspondent Thomas H Maugh reports on observations from the Hubble telescope. Apparently dark energy, the enigmatic force that is causing the universe to expand, has been present and constant for at least 9 billion years, a finding that eliminates many of the theories developed to explain its mysterious role in the cosmos.
Research into the Human Genome has discovered dramatic variation in the “copy number” of genes. “The copy number variation that researchers had seen before was simply the tip of the iceberg, while the bulk lay submerged, undetected.” But what no one anticipated after the full sequence was finally published was just how complicated the genetic landscape would become. Instead of carrying just two copies of each gene – one from each parent – it now appears that we have several copies of certain key genes. On top of the variation in the DNA sequence between people, there seems now to be an added layer of complexity.
And yet we see high-profile anti-theists like Harris, Dawkins, Moran, and Myers pontificating at a forum called “Beyond Belief: Science, Religion, Reason, and Survival”. The New York Times headlined the event as a Free-for All on Science and Religion.
We’re being talked about (looking at you NotPC), I mean religious believers, as a problem that has to be dealt with somehow. The problem is that we are the ones who are threatening the planet and, according to Nobel (you know the “Peace Prize” people) laureate Steven Weinberg “the world needs to wake up from its long nightmare of religious belief.”
Another commandment from Weinberg “Anything we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion should be done and may in the end be our greatest contribution to civilization.” Never mind that science itself is a gift of Christianity:
The scientific quest found fertile soil only when this faith in a personal, rational Creator had truly permeated a whole culture, beginning with the centuries of the High Middle Ages. It was that faith which provided, in sufficient measure, confidence in the rationality of the universe, trust in progress, and appreciation of the quantitative method, all indispensable ingredients of the scientific quest.
— Stanley L. Jaki, SCIENCE AND CREATION : from eternal cycles to an oscillating universe, Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh, 1974
Lawrence Krauss called for respect for religious belief and for scientists to “stop being so pompous.” Dawkins announced he was “utterly fed up with the respect that we — all of us, including the secular among us –are brainwashed into bestowing on religion.”
No. 11 on Amazon is another atheist screed — “Letter to a Christian Nation” by Sam Harris. His epiphany came, he tells the Washington Post, when he took the drug Ecstasy before dropping out of Stanford and “realized that it was possible to be a human being who wished others well all the time, reflexively.”
Harris’ 2005 attack on religion, “The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason,” got a prestigious award from the PEN literary association and still ranks No. 33 on Amazon. Harris is as eager as Dawkins to kidnap your kids and bring on the day when “the practice of raising our children to believe that they are Christian, Muslim or Jewish be widely recognized as the ludicrous obscenity that it is.”
Imagine the government forcibly preventing you from inculcating your children with your values and convictions, and substituting its own instead. Even when it’s Darwin — instead of Hitler or Mohammed — being worshiped by the state, fascism is fascism.
Science can tell us many things. But it’s running out of the ability to even get to the bottom of things: infinite universes and mult-dimensionalities that we can never test or see. The honest scientists admit this is getting metaphysical, even philosophical. If they can get metaphysical, why can’t we get metaphysical? Science just cannot tell us everything that is true. And besides, aren’t we also interested in the Good and Beautiful? Will science give us the blueprints for those things? It can’t give us blueprints for reality as we live and experience it. Or maybe it’s all an evolutionary illusion? Where is the proof of that?
Finally, science cannot answer the most important question that we have before us today: just exactly what is man? What are we for? If you’re limited to what’s in the bag of tools of science, then you’re a beast. Or maybe just a viper.