Saturday, October 04, 2008

If the Big Bang Recycles, What Does That Mean About God?

This article started with reporting Roger Penrose's public lecture at the Perimeter Institute. However, it then goes into the theological implication of the various model of the origin of our universe, from the generally-accepted model of the Big Bang (it is NOT outdated yet, Mr. Brean!), to the more exotic and still highly-controversial models of what I like to call "multiple bounce" universe.

I've never liked such connection. This is because, more often than not, the people who make such connections actually never understood the physics, but rather understood only the superficial aspect of the physics. They use the "words" that they read in pop-science description of a physics, and that is what is used, rather than based on an intimate understanding of it. To me, that is not a sufficient base for one to actually extrapolate it, especially into something that science do not consider to be valid.

But the other point on why I dislike such connection is that the "matching" tends to be done simply via pick-and-choose. For example, a psychic can make many predictions. Just open any supermarket tabloid and read one of these things. Yet, when trumpeting their "successes", they only mention the ones they got "right" and never the ones they got wrong. By throwing out a lot of vague predictions, one is bound to get some of them correct simply via chance. Hell, I've have my share of correct predictions before (I predicted that Abrikosov will win a Nobel prize, and he did!). If I'm psychic, then my mother is the Queen of England!

The point here is that, if you read the article, they pick only ONE specific similarity between a particular religion's description of the origin of our universe and what is being described in the various theories in physics/cosmology. This one, or few, similarities does NOT validates a particular theology. They are ignoring all the other inconsistencies of their faith with what science has understood today. Just because two animals have tails does not make them the same animal.

The article did make a good point at the end of the risk of theology latching on to science that is ever changing and expanding its boundary of knowledge. I would also say that if you pay that much credibility to science to want to latch on to it whenever it appears that science agrees with you, then you also must face the risk that you have to abide by the same credibility when it disagrees with you. People who were anti-global warming learned that pretty fast when they jumped with joy due to the appearance that the American Physical Society may have changed its mind on the issue of Global Warming. This was demonstrably debunked with the recent release of the APS report on energy use and efficiency. If you put that much credibility into something to support your position, then you can't simply pick-and-choose when you accept it and not accept it.


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