Authority in science and religion, with short reflections on climate change, creation science and house church

The popular challenge to climate change science raises interesting questions about authority, expertise and the gap between popular opinion and the ‘experts’.

For many scientists, academics and politicians, there isn’t a debate about the science – or there shouldn’t be. In The Australian a few months ago, at the time Ian Plimer’s climate change scepticism book came out, an opinion piece (a rare voice from the left) said that the public needs to just believe the experts when it comes to climate change science. We aren’t scientists, we can’t just step in with our own opinions and trample over years of careful research.

But everyone likes to have an opinion, and the prominent public voices expressing scepticism about climate change give people the sense that there is a real debate, and they’ll be in good company remaining sceptical.

It reminds me of the creation-evolution ‘debate’. (Interestingly, Ian Plimer wrote an angry and thorough refutation of the creation scientists in Telling Lies For God; now he’s on the other side of consensus.) For most biological scientists there is no debate between an 8000 year old world and a much older one. But for fundamentalist Christians, a well produced DVD/book/magazine from Answers in Genesis convinces them that not only is there a debate, but that debate is over whether the Bible is true or not and the creation scientists have reason on their side over against the conspiracy of the atheistic evolutionists.

(I was brought up a creation scientist, and I have no wish to revisit arguments for special creation and young Earth. I am interested in hearing from people who have a well thought out theistic evolution they have managed to integrate with their faith.)

Just as we’ve always had folk religion, maybe we have folk science these days. Everything is just a matter of opinion. You show me your scientific consensus on climate change, I’ll show you my sceptics with PhDs in geology or whatever who mount a contrary argument and get as much air time in the media.

I’m not convinced that scepticism toward the experts and a conviction that one can hold one’s own opinion on any subject is a peculiarly postmodern phenomenon. Look at the superstitions which dominate nineteenth century village life in Thomas Hardy novels. Look through the Bible how the general public is always prepared to go off in a different direction than the mandated one. People have always insisted on their right to have a contrary, illogical, irrational view of reality and manage to live by it. Perhaps more individualistically so these days.

(Am I saying I want strict controls? No. I’m just observing. I don’t think there’s easy answers to these questions.)

This all gets me thinking of the phenomenon of house church. I have been quite turned off house church the last few years. Not the ecclesial concept of a gathering of Christians meeting in a household context, but more the house church movement, which is full of people with their own opinions on everything, and not always very well thought out ones. There are crazy people in every church, I suspect, but in a house church their opinion becomes as valid as everyone else’s. Should we go on with the status quo, then, and deny most of the congregation a voice? No, I don’t think that’s good either. I think it’s a dilemma that needs much attention by any church.

I have real problems with the amount of authority invested in the priest/pastor/minister of traditional churches.  I don’t think it’s what Jesus or Paul envisage in the New Testament, not at all. I agree with Yoder that the Bible has a trajectory moving away from religious specialisation.

But simply rejecting the authority of the (trained and accredited) pastor is not the answer.  We shouldn’t pretend that church is really very simple and it’s just a matter of clearing away the complexities those power-hungry establishments have created.

No answers, just some dilemmas, some frustrations with our ‘I reckon’ world.

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8 thoughts on “Authority in science and religion, with short reflections on climate change, creation science and house church

  1. Hi Nathan,
    Thanks for your very thoughtful post.

    I do not know what the answer to your dilemmas are. I don’t know much about climate science but most scientists involved in the field think global warming is a problem as you state.

    The issue with the majority of climate scientists appears to be the extent of the problem. Most claim from the evidence that it is a problem and that it is largely man made.

    Climate models predict different results depending on the assumptions inputed into the models. So there is some debate among the majority on how serious the problem is.

    Climate science appears not to be an exact science. Perhaps this is why a minority of climate scientists think that the warming over the last century is not primarily man made but due to other factors.

    On the young earth creationism versus Old earth creationism and theistic evolution, it is clear from physics that the universe is some 14 or 15 billion years old, not 6 to 10 thousand years. And from geology and physics the earth is about 4.5 billion years old. From biology, macro and micro evolution has mountains of evidence for it (according to the university experts in these fields.)

    Young earth creationists seem to confuse evolutionary philosophy (which conflicts with Christian theism) and the biological theory of evolution (which does not conflict with Christian theism).

    On your dilemma about the church I have no answer. However we should respect the major evangelical and centrist theologians and allow a diversity within the church around the central unifying story of the Jesus of the canonical gospels.

    I agree with you that Yoder’s view of the bible’s trajectory is the right approach but this, by itself, does not solve the dilemma that you have posed .

    In science, we should respect scientific methodologies, mathematical modelling of theories and testing of predictions. Science is meant to be based on evidence.

    In theology, we are interpreting revelation and some weight has to be given to expertise but the Holy Spirit has been given to the Christian community. So there needs to be some balance between servant leadership and a community hermeneutic centred around Jesus.

    Shalom
    John Arthur

  2. Once again I agree with you Nathan, and I’m beginning to wonder whether I should try to find someone equally eloquent who disagrees with you, just in case I’m dogmatically buying whatever you say on a seductive journey of brainwashing (:

    In fact I think I would have found it difficult to agree with this post twelve months ago. Reading along as you have explored this content has me now at a point where I can and do agree.

    I would always have said that house church or emerging church or whatever recent popular movement is imperfect, but only now can I find concrete points on which that is true.

  3. mmm
    I wish I could articulate something in response to your well written article.
    I think that we cant resolve ourselves to a necessary centrism of the church, and that the extremes bring the whole into balance. It would kinda shed a bad light on my life.

  4. Nicely written Nathan. Its about the same trajectory as myself. I wished people had mentioned theistic evolution when I was growing up. It would have saved me much time and mental energy!

  5. So Nathan is “interested in hearing from people who have a well thought out theistic evolution they have managed to integrate with their faith.” Well, I have this article I wrote which might qualify (I don’t belong to any religion but these thoughts I had about where science will take us have inevitable religious meaning). I thought my article might be too large to post here but I couldn’t find an email address, so I’ll just have to post it –

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    Have you considered that, in a universe unified literally by the Theory of Everything, pantheism could also include human intelligence and personality? This could give rise to so-called supernatural beings who would never be anything of the sort. By our present standards, they’d appear miraculous but would completely be the product of nature. This article of mine should explain –

    In 2006, I wrote a little article titled “In deepest reality, 1+1 can never equal 2”. I posted this on a website called the “Time Travel Institute” and received this enlightening reply from someone named Thomas of California – “What you have presented is a confirmation of what the Kabbalah has within its texts. That there is only nothing (represented by 0) and 1. The 1 is the awareness of God. It is interesting that God used the base of 0 and 1 for creation, as stated in the Kabbalah, and here is humanity creating “artificial” life (presumably meaning the Artificial Intelligence of computers) based on 0 and 1.” Here’s my 2010 followup to my article of 4 years ago –

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    FROM THE VIEW OF PHYSICS, WHAT COULD A GENE POSSIBLY BE?

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    Part 1 – To understand what genes are truly capable of, we’ll first have to fulfill Einstein’s dream and describe the universe as a Unified Field.

    When his paper regarding the idea that the universe is really nothing more than a mathematical object was submitted to a scientific journal and rejected as being too speculative, unconventional U.S. cosmologist Max Tegmark showed the rejection letter to his friend John Wheeler (1911-2008), a Princeton theoretical physicist. Wheeler said, “Extremely speculative? Bah!” Then he reminded Tegmark that some of the original papers on quantum mechanics were also considered extremely speculative.

    Like Dr. Michio Kaku in the book “Physics of the Impossible”, I believe that time travel is possible but unlike him, I don’t believe in parallel universes. I hope to show that the combination of belief in time travel/disbelief in parallel universes validates string theory’s faith in unification. And unlike the Doctor, who says on page 283 that “It would set off a major shake-up in the very foundations of modern physics if precognition was ever proved in reproducible experiments”, I believe the unification born from time travel/no parallel universes will one day be seen to be not merely mathematical but a literal unification of the mind with all space-time**, making the non-existence of precognition impossible.

    ** The line “I believe the unification born from time travel/no parallel universes will one day be seen to be not merely mathematical but a literal unification of the mind with all space-time” has no intention of denying the value of mathematics in this world. Mathematics is central to my theory (which is certainly very different but that doesn’t make it crazy – as Albert Einstein said, a theory that doesn’t sound absurd at first doesn’t stand a chance). The intent is to suggest that the underlying foundation of this universe (and the maths used to describe and manipulate it) is in the form of the binary mathematics of 1’s and 0’s.

    These comments are based on scientific facts and theories which, woven into a consistent philosophy using Albert Einstein’s famous quote that “Imagination is more important than knowledge”, show how every aspect of the world can be radically transformed forever. It starts with a proposed new view of ultimate reality which grew from 30 years of study into physics’ belief in universal unification as well as experiments in quantum mechanics which show that subatomic particles instantly share information even if physically separated by billions of light years. The conclusion is that there is absolutely no solidity or separation, as commonly understood, between any physical or nonphysical entities on Earth, in space or in time. This interesting, but not very relevant to daily routine in 2010, conclusion led to the realization that the world might be on the brink of revolutionary breakthrough in all areas of life: any and all objects which appear distant from each other are not actually separated at all. This is similar to 2 objects which appear distant from each other on a huge computer screen actually being unified by the strings of ones and zeros making up the computer code which is all in one small place (this appears, based on Einstein’s equations, to be a 5th dimension – hopefully, Europe’s Large Hadron Collider will verify the 5th dimension’s existence). In a universal zero-separation unification; the feedback of matter, energy and force into matter, energy and force is also likely to produce distortions and corrections. Instead of microphones’ high-pitched screeches or control of missiles’ trajectories, we could see blurring/smearing/indeterminacy in positions and velocities on all scales (subatomic, human, galactic) because, in a unification, effects cannot avoid influencing causes and because the universe consists of fractals (phenomena repeated at all magnifications, from the tiniest to the grandest). The 2 objects which appear distant from each other could be a star (along with its gravity and heat) and this world – or the genes in any two cells; or 2 atoms of thymine, cytosine or any other base in different millennia; or the opposite sides of a subatomic particle within an atom of a base.

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    The 2 objects which appear distant from each other could be a black hole and a sunspot.

    Sunspots form because the sun’s equator rotates more quickly than its poles (25 days at the equator, 34 days at the poles). Being “frozen” into its gases, the magnetic field lines of the sun stretch, twist, are drawn out into loops and erupt through the sun’s surface, forming sunspots. Since the intense magnetism of the spots prevents heat from rising to the surface and radiating into space, the Maunder Minimum of observations of extremely low sunspot activity from 1645 to 1715 (named after the solar astronomer Edward W. Maunder [1851-1928] ) could actually be attributed to a period of intense sunspot activity. Why? Because a great number of sunspots would stop the Earth receiving as much warmth from the Sun, and the Maunder Minimum coincided with the middle – and coldest part – of the Little Ice Age during which Europe and North America and perhaps much of the rest of the world saw glaciers advance and rivers freeze – even the Baltic Sea froze over, allowing sledge rides from Poland to Sweden with inns built along the way. It would be termed a period of minimum activity coz the sunspots would not have been visible. The distorted magnetic loops don’t have to break through the sun’s surface or photosphere but can remain within, forming a rotating vortex that concentrates field lines and can create intense, heat-trapping magnetism (from recent observations by the satellite SOHO, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory).

    When a black hole is rotating; it might also stretch, twist and loop its magnetic field lines. The lines may penetrate into the hole and be lost, but in the case of star formation they’d be drawn out beyond the hole’s event horizon (boundary) and compress clouds of dust and gas into new suns (a supermassive black hole’s magnetic field is so strong that it can focus particles into jets ejected far out into space so, provided the star is a safe distance from the black hole, it should be able to stop the hole’s gravity from shredding a star and making its gases spiral inwards). To condense the paragraphs on zero separation into a few words, the 2 objects which appear distant from each other could be a sunspot and a black hole. On the subject of sunspots and the sun, the famous 17th-century scientist Sir Isaac Newton once said the entire universe would instantly feel the loss of the sun’s gravity if our star disappeared suddenly – I think modern science doubts this but zero separation forces me to agree with him. And on the subject of black holes, a massive star truly can collapse and explode as a supernova while a gravitational singularity (the place all matter falling into the black hole gathers) would be produced from the collapsing core. What if that singularity is disintegrated by the fantastic pressure? It would become “BITS of space-time” (this book’s proposed building blocks of all matter and spacetime that are the BInary digiTS – strings of ones and zeros – from which space and time emerge). In this way, nature would protect us from black holes (Albert Einstein was convinced nature would do this) and eliminate their assumed and perplexing properties of infinite density, infinite gravity and infinite spacetime curvature.

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    All this sounds totally strange because separation between things seems obvious and, according to science, the quantum scale of atoms obeys different rules from the classical scale of humans and galaxies (if science is correct about this, the quantum and classical can never be unified in a literal sense). But remember that this article is based on grand ideas of Unification that began with Einstein and are best known today from Superstring Theory, as well as being based on experiments in quantum mechanics which have been confirmed time and time again. If the hypotheses in this article, though necessarily extremely incomplete, offer even the briefest glimpse of the true nature of unification and quantum mechanics; then it follows that the article is correct when it says everything will change and nothing can ever be the same. Science will be different, medicine and surgery will be different, religion will be different … and genes will not only help our bodies to function but will be revealers of the universe and all time!

    Essential to such a future is the idea of the great English writer William Shakespeare not merely being poetic or entertaining when he said in his play “Hamlet”, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

    A good illustration of the journey into these limitless miracles and magical experiences of the science that will create a new earth and a new universe is this line from the 1968 song “Master Jack” (by the South African band 4 Jacks and a Jill), “It’s a strange, strange world we live in”.

    Now for a paragraph about time travel –

    Particles and the universe can be regarded as closed loops of electromagnetic energy. These could be called strings or superstrings or Mobius loops (a Mobius loop can be visualised as a strip of paper which is given a half-twist of 180 degrees before its ends are joined). Remember that the top, side and bottom of each loop each consist of a miniaturised, fractal version of electromagnetic pulses forming length, width and depth (a fractal is a geometric structure having an irregular or fragmented appearance which is of a similar character at all magnifications – the word “fractal” was coined in 1975 by French mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot). The 3 familiar dimensions of length, width and height along, for example, the top of a loop would have a 4th dimension (time) perpendicular to them (on the side of the twisted paper … or electromagnetic loop). And there would also exist a 5th dimension called hyperspace, at right angles to the 4th and 180 degrees from the length/width/height along the loop´s top. The previous parts of this paragraph can be likened to astronomy´s picture of the 3+1 dimensions of space-time existing on the surface of a balloon which is expanding from an inner hyperspatial point (not in space-time) where the Big Bang occurred. These loops unite space and time into Einstein´s space-time; and the famous scientist Stephen Hawking says time can be thought of as another space dimension, so literal time travel is a possibility. With literal time travel, people who have long since died could have their minds downloaded into reproductions of their bodies (establishing colonies throughout space and time would prevent overpopulation). Remember that a paper Mobius, like particles and the universe, is flexible – it can resemble a triangular, circular or square shape at various times; and its side and bottom may or may not be precisely 90 and 180 degrees from its top. Thus the electronic computations necessary in a time machine may not involve precise digital calculations but those of “fuzzy” neural networks.

    And now for a paragraph about parallel universes –

    How could subatomic particles communicate instantaneously across the universe (phrased another way – how could they experience the whole universe in their existence)? The last two phenomena could be understood by stating that any particle has the same properties as the universe as a whole. Unconventional US cosmologist Max Tegmark says “You are made up of quantum particles, so if they can be in two places at once, so can you.” We can say “The universe is made up of quantum particles, so if they can be in two places at once, so can the universe.” There need not be any such thing as parallel universes, however (the parallel-universes, also called the many-universes or many-worlds, interpretation of quantum mechanics was developed by American physicist Hugh Everett III in 1957). The universe’s being in two places simultaneously could mean it’s in the same space-place as any or all of its particles. It could also be in the same time-place as any or all of its earlier or later selves because there can be be no space without time. Jack Harris, an Applied Physicist at Yale University says quantum mechanics describes a crazy microscopic world where particles whiz around at blistering speeds and routinely violate the classical laws of physics we take for granted. Jack Harris’s goal is to take advantage of the “really strange, even mystical” laws of the microscopic and apply them to problems in our macroscopic world. “The ultimate eureka moment would be to suddenly realize that a [macroscopic] object is doing something that is absolutely forbidden by classical physics,” he says. If we look closely at the universe by not restricting it to the classical physics which preceded the quantum principle, we can comprehend how the macroscopic universe could behave quantum mechanically and violate classical physics. It´s easy to imagine all parts of the universe being in contact (and thus forming a unification) when that universe was the size of a subatomic particle, nearly 14 billion years ago. Since the universe still has the same properties as a particle (and particles obey quantum mechanics’ wave-particle duality), it is still a unification (and a unified field). In 1980 or the late 1970s, American astronomer Carl Sagan (1934-1996) wrote these lines for his award-winning television series and accompanying book, “Cosmos”: “There is an idea – strange, haunting, evocative – one of the most exquisite conjectures in science or religion. It is entirely undemonstrated; it may never be proved. But it stirs the blood. There is, we are told, an infinite hierarchy of universes, so that an elementary particle, such as an electron, in our universe would, if penetrated, reveal itself to be an entire closed universe.” Well, this article doesn’t support the idea of a hierarchy of universes. I believe there is one static megauniverse (one Cosmos) existing forever and made up of an infinite number of expanding subuniverses (more about this below). But I do believe – it stirs my blood! – in the “exquisite conjectures” of the universe (and the infinite Cosmos) behaving like an elementary particle, and of these two combining to form one unified field.

    Part 2 – Now that you’re convinced my article is not about genes at all, I’m going to introduce Charles Darwin, and I’ll finally tell you what genes are truly capable of.

    A megauniverse is hinted at by Einstein´s equations as well as cosmology´s Steady-State theory, which say the universe has always existed and will continue forever. Einstein spoke of a “static” universe (which accurately describes a megauniverse that has no limits in space and has always existed/will continue forever), but he thought of this local branch as static, and rightly called it his greatest mistake since the local universe is now known to have had a beginning and to be expanding. Each universe and its region of space-time is created from a big bang, but the megauniverse they belong to has no beginning and no end. And it maintains its average density through continuous “creation” (actually, recycling) of matter via the small amount from a preceding universe which is used to initiate expansion of its successor. This steady-state, or static, megauniverse would have its tendency to collapse (from, according to the viewpoint that only one time exists at any instant, ever-increasing gravitational attraction) always exactly balanced by, again from the viewpoint that all times cannot exist at once, the ever-increasing expansion of the universes it contains. The notion that contained universes that are forever expanding would somehow “burst” a static, steady-state megauniverse mistakenly assumes the megauniverse possesses a finite size; and it also reverts to our everyday experience that only one time exists at any instant (forgetting that all times exist and the megauniverse therefore accommodates not just some, but all, extents of expansion). We can regard the cosmic hologram (see ^ after next paragraph) and the megauniverse as examples of invariance (the quality of not changing) and the hologram´s relativistic property of appearing different from differing vantage points as represented by the expanding universes with their big bangs.

    Every bit of space/instant of time exists like an individual frame of a movie (when these are displayed in rapid succession, what we call motion comes into being). Let’s consider ordinary, visible light and that vacuum it travels through: space. Quantum particles like the photons which compose light are not separate from space itself. The universe would not merely be a vast collection of the countless photons, electrons and other quantum particles within it, but would be a unified whole that has particles and waves built into it, just as a computerised hologram^ would have seemingly separate points built into its union of digital zeros and ones. It’s necessary to suggest how this unified whole could appear to us as an infinity of different and separate entities (not only in space but also in time). If light and space were unified in a digitised hologram, the apparent velocities of light and space’s expansion would differ because light would be a subroutine embedded in the main space program (speaking of circulation, travel, expansion or velocity would simply be a convenience, like talking of the sun rising and setting).

    ^ The lasers generating this hologram would have to be combined with a “randomness factor” – which could also be referred to as a “mutation factor” – so you and I would not merely possess a rigidly preprogrammed life in the universal hologram, but would be capable of a degree of free will. (In computer art, randomness is introduced into the chain of repetitive calculations producing a mountain range so a convincingly rugged image will result.) I´d like to suggest that Charles Darwin´s evolution has far greater consequences than either he or any scientist has realized. I believe the theory is not limited to biology, but is absolutely fundamental to the very existence of our universe and everything in it i.e. to cosmology, space-time, physics, mathematics, etc. In a vital way, Darwin’s ideas even go beyond Albert Einstein´s ideas since these paragraphs conclude that a “mutation factor” (a “randomness factor”) is fundamental to the universe. Nothing was known of mutation in Darwin’s day – he referred to “natural selection” when he published “On the Origin of Species” in 1859. But his ideas were expanded by later researchers such as Gregor Mendel – who discovered the laws of heredity and reported his experiments in 1866 – and Hugo de Vries, author of “The Mutation Theory” in 1900-1903. In other words, Einstein was wrong when he said “God does not play dice with the universe” (he believed there could be no randomness, or mutation, in the fabric of space-time).

    When future civilisation acquires the technology to manipulate the unification and zero separation of all space-time (resulting in carriers of human genes producing unimaginable revolutions in travel within outer space and on Earth, as well as what science-fiction fans term time travel); everyone who has long since died could have the mind downloaded into a reproduction of the body and be resurrected into a world where that mind can use ESP or directly influence seemingly separate genetic or nongenetic matter, and where world and domestic peace is normal since nobody can attack anyone in any way without knowing they’re attacking themself.

    Part 3 – Return to the title and the question “what could a gene possibly be?”

    What kind of technology could manipulate the unification and zero separation of all space-time? Morpho butterflies create colour by selectively adding and deleting certain wavelengths of light. Physicists have only recently devised comparable materials, called photonic band-gap crystals; and are now exploring their use in phone switches, solar cells and antennas. No surprise, then, that some engineers are looking to the living world for the next generation of optic inspirations. I believe advances in engineering and biology will enable humans, like the morpho butterfly, to selectively add and delete certain wavelengths of light. But the word “light” need not only refer to visible wavelengths. It can be extended and refer to any wavelength of the electromagnetic spectrum. Science accepts that radio, infrared, ultraviolet waves and X-rays as well as gamma radiation are all forms of light.

    For decades scientists have theorised the existence of a particle, called the Higgs boson, that explains how other particles acquire mass. The Higgs boson is believed to produce a field that interacts with particles and gives them a property we interpret as mass, explains Dr Kevin Varvell, of the University of Sydney in Australia. Dr Aldo Saavedra, a particle physicist also at the University of Sydney, made this comment as colleagues at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), near Geneva, switched on the Large Hadron Collider – “It would be really nice if nature actually provided some very puzzling thing that theories haven’t actually thought of.” In September 2008, renowned British astrophysicist Professor Stephen Hawking bet US$100 that the LHC experiment would not find the Higgs boson. “I think it will be much more exciting if we don’t find the Higgs.” Suppose matter (including genes) acquires all its properties (including mass) by the superimposing of electromagnetic and gravitational waves* (computer-generated in a 5th dimension and projected into the hologram of 3+1 dimensions which we call space-time). We can then further extend the above reasoning and regard matter as a form of light. So the day will come when we can add or delete wavelengths anywhere we choose! The concept of “dark matter” would be used today to explain the increased gravitational effects caused by, say, undetectable genes. But those undetectable genes might not be a new, unknown form of matter – they might be known genetic material being transported by its owners through the 4th and 5th dimensions (and therefore nonexistent in the 3 dimensions of ordinary space). While in these other dimensions, the particles known as “dark genes” are invisible … but would of course still exert gravitational influence. (Physics´ string theory states this by saying “Gravity may not be confined to 3 dimensions.”)

    * Einstein predicted the existence of gravity waves but they haven’t been discovered yet.

    I anticipate people will oneday have band-gap structures in their brains that are no bigger than a computer chip (these won’t require surgical implantation, but simply downloading, because of the computer-generated hologram’s creation of the pre-existing digital nature of all parts of the universe). Photonic band-gap crystals would, of course, only deal with light in its photonic forms (energy forms such as visible light or radio waves). The band-gap structures I have in mind would need to deal with forms like genes, so they could add or delete anything and everything we choose. They might accomplish this by acting similarly to a modem that acts on a scale trillions of times smaller than a modem manufactured by nanotechnology, and would be capable of manipulating digitised matter. Then they could emulate computers´ copy/paste function to add things; as well as their delete function, to remove things (now that’s what I call genetic engineering!). This ability must only come to fruition in a future, ideal society: it would only be wasted and abused in the present warring and selfish world!

    While we’re being speculative, and also while we’re speaking of downloading, it seems appropriate to mention the possibility of God’s existence here. This is because science is supposed to be an unbiased search for truth. I have no intention of turning this article into a religious discourse – but unprejudiced science should not be the exclusive domain of the atheist, either. The universe (megauniverse) would be co-created from 1) computer code written in a 5th dimension and written from what we know of nature and science as well as history, plus 2) lasers and holographic projection into the 3+1 dimensions we call space-time. We will thus create a home – the universe – for ourselves and it will, of course, be perfectly tuned to our needs. This entire universe will, being a computer simulation, be filled with advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and consciousness – and since there is no separation or distance of any kind in its unification, also be filled with human/humanoid intelligence, personality and consciousness. Our consciousness and the advanced artificial intelligence will thus be merged and identical. (Inventor and futurist Raymond Kurzweil suggests “AI and human hybrids [so integrated that, in truth it is a new category of ‘life’] would have both supreme intelligence and physical control over the universe.”) Erwin Schrodinger (1887-1961), the Austrian theoretical physicist who achieved fame for his contributions to quantum mechanics and received the Nobel prize in 1933, had a lifelong interest in the Vedanta philosophy of Hinduism (as does U.S. astronomer John Dobson – creator of the “Dobsonian” telescope mount, co-founder of the Sidewalk Astronomers Organization and coiner of the term “zero separation” to describe Relativity´s implications^^) and this influenced Schrodinger’s speculations at the close of his 1944 book “What is Life?” about the possibility of individual consciousness being only a manifestation of a unitary consciousness pervading the universe.

    ^^ Suppose a star we are viewing is at a distance of 100 light years (this can be represented as +100). Since we see nothing as it presently is but as it was when the light left it, we are seeing the star as it was 100 years ago (represented as -100). Repeated experimental verification of Einstein’s Relativity theory confirms its statement that space and time can never exist separately but form what is known as space-time. The space-time distance between us and the star is therefore 100 + (-100) i.e. 100-100 i.e. 0 and there is actually zero separation between us and the star’s gravity, heat etc.

    Though humans have a very special potential which will, I believe, see us use our inbuilt creativity to oneday produce universes and, via the technology to manipulate the unification and zero separation of all space-time which results in what science-fiction fans term time travel, even ourselves (this is utter nonsense to those who can only think in the linear terms of causes always preceding effects); this is, in the end, just another article proclaiming that God created us and the universe. This apparent contradictory statement is resolved easily by noting that this article makes 4 points – a) it attempts to use science to demonstrate how people could create the universe and ourselves, b) it tries to show scientifically that there truly is a God – who is the total of everything in the universe, from consciousness and personality to a cluster of galaxies to a person … to a grain of sand … to hyperspace (the 5th dimension seemingly outside space and time) …to a ray of light or a magnetic or gravitational field (with the One’s consciousness capable of “downloading” into any component physical form, type of energy or force), c) finite humans are united with God via the universe’s Unified Field (which embraces zero-separation); therefore God truly is one being and not many separate beings as previous views of God, humans and the universe would have us believe, and d) therefore, saying “we created the universe and ourselves” is another way of saying “God created the universe and us” – the religious writer and broadcaster Herbert W. Armstrong (1892-1986) would have phrased this apparent contradiction as “God is reproducing himself through mankind” since he taught that the true message Jesus brought to the world was that mankind’s destiny is to become God.

    Even now, the idea that mankind’s destiny is to become God makes me totally uncomfortable and, perhaps strangely for someone who wants to focus on science, it makes me feel a lack of awe. But I can’t deny where I’ve been led to … which is a place consistent with subjects taken seriously in scientific circles but dismissed as fantasy by the public viz. “effects influencing causes” and “time travel”.

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  6. Nathan
    I’m very much with you on this, but I’m uneasy with “I am interested in hearing from people who have a well thought out theistic evolution they have managed to integrate with their faith” – or rather, I’m uneasy with the term “theistic evolution” and the phrase “manage to integrate with … faith”. The language in both of these hints of compromise, though whether it in the theological or scientific understanding is debatable. (“Theistic evolution” to me suggests evolution having the upper hand but being given some sort of theological dressing.) Given the background of many of us this is not surprising, but it is something we need to meet head on.
    I believe that all truth is God’s truth. Integration between truths must be possible, even necessary (it was really just the “manage to” that gave me the bad vibes, and not about your thoughts but about our prevalent culture). If we have a conflict between God’s revelation in scripture and God’s revelation in nature we have a problem. (See e.g. Rom 1:20) The problem could be with our understanding of either or both of them.
    My starting point, but by no means my end point, is that Gen 1 and Gen 2 tell two quite different creation stories, which cannot both be literal. Therefore they are there for another reason. The first story (ending either at 2:3 or 2:4) gives another clue: the seventh day doesn’t end, which I believe means we are still living in the seventh day.
    Anne Atkins in a BBC Radio 4 Thought For The Day put it in her typically pithy way:
    “It’s amazing how obtuse we can be. How often have you heard that the Bible can’t be true because the world wasn’t made in six days? The writer of Genesis never expected us to be so stupid. He could hardly have made it more obvious that he’s not describing a chronological event: what kind of days could they be, if there wasn’t a sun until Wednesday?

    “The bible is not a book but a library, whose many different writers clearly indicate history and fiction, erotic poetry and eye-witness fact, legal tomes, intimate letters and profound myth. All true, but all to be read with intelligence. As CS Lewis said, just because we’re to be like doves doesn’t mean we should lay eggs. And when the eyes of the Lord run to and fro across the earth, it doesn’t mean they have hairy little legs.”

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