—It’s Science Again


1 Corinthians 2:14 (New International Version)

14The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Various scientists have had some more conversations to try to kick together an explanation for reality:

Why it’s not as simple as God vs the multiverse – science-in-society – 04 December 2008 – New Scientist

Here is the referenced discussion among Richard Dawkins, Steven Weinberg, et al., which I admittedly haven’t had the patience to sit through yet (if someone wants to drop by and complain about my lack of rigor, maybe they can also summarize this for me):

VOICES-OF-SCIENCE—Available-Now-on-DVD,Richard-Dawkins-Steven-Weinberg-Lawrence-Krauss-PZ-Myers-David-Buss

Weinberg:  “If you discovered a really impressive fine-tuning… I think you’d really be left with only two explanations: a benevolent designer or a multiverse.”

My sort of lazy attempt to understand this discussion leads me to conclude that they mean that, to escape the cataclysmic—and probably career-ending— conclusion that an intelligent God created the Universe, we now have to have an infinite number of them so that the apparent tailoring of our Universe to the production and maintenance of Life can be explained away as a statistical fluke.

Pause for a moment—maybe a couple of moments—while you wrap your ability to observe the Universe around this—That’s right!  It’s the Infinite Monkeys Theory of the Origin of the Universe! 

Occam’s Razor, evidently, can be set aside when it is politically necessary to reach an utterly preposterous conclusion (although this stuff did work pretty well in a couple of episodes of SG-1).

Continuing the conversation, Weinberg is careful to make the requisite reference to the Greater Catechism of the Scientific Religion:

“Weinberg went on to clarify that invoking a benevolent designer does not count as a genuine explanation…”

The GCoSR, as we know, requires that one may ask any question one pleases, except the two Forbidden Interrogatories:

“WHO?” 

and

“WHY?”

Then it gets really frustrating:

“Physicist John Wheeler once offered a suggestion: maybe we should approach cosmic fine-tuning not as a problem but as a clue. Perhaps it is evidence that we somehow endow the universe with certain features by the mere act of observation. It’s an idea that Stephen Hawking has been thinking about, too. Hawking advocates what he calls top-down cosmology, in which observers are creating the universe and its entire history right now.”

Now scientists are required to accept that the Universe can be “created” by some kind of quantum-mechanical mumbo-jumbo of human intelligent intervention/observation, but to ostracize the hated notion of “Intelligent Design”—viz. that an intelligence beyond our species could do basically the same thing, but by active intention, and on a larger scale.  Also, because they can’t ask the Forbidden Interrogatories, these guys can’t see the logical failing of the Multiverse dodge—that all of this stuff still has to come from somewhere. 

Science is a really useful tool, in the context to which it applies.  It can’t explain everything, because it is ultimately an extension of human senses and imagination.  To successfully use this tool for the common good requires the integrity and humility to realize its limitations, and one’s own.  Science in which there are questions that scientists can’t ask is little more than a somewhat more eloquent shamanism.  It certainly isn’t science.

Update:
Other views of the same article, as found on Technorati:

Other people apparently noticed the logical problem with discussing “top-down cosmology” while dismissing the possibility of a non-human Creator without further comment, for example:

Anybody can create the universe, as long as it isn’t, like, God?


Then there’s this one: pretty heavy philosophy, which is one of those subjects—like psychology—that most of us were only exposed to because our undergraduate degree plans required an area elective in something “social”:
God or a multiverse?

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