Saturday, November 26, 2011

Best of All Worlds

A popular current scientific buzz is an imaginative concept called the “multiverse” which posits that at the Big Bang multiple universes may have been generated. Perhaps, some scientists say, the number of universes is infinite. Some scientists hypothesize our own universe may possess all the “just right” requirements for life because if infinite universes exist, it is virtually certain that at least one of them would possess all the conditions and physical constants necessary for life as it exists on Planet Earth. Moreover, life could have evolved by chance, because with an infinite number of “trials” our particular set of earth conditions was bound to occur.

Physicist Paul Davies has declared that the multiverse hypothesis has no empirical testability. Therefore, it is not falsifiable and has no standing as a scientific proposal. Modern fascination with the multiverse idea reminds us of the Apostle Paul’s visit to ancient Greece. In the picture painted by Luke, writer of the Book of Acts, the intellectuals gathered frequently in downtown Athens to gossip. Eugene Peterson translates the scene this way: “There were always people hanging around, natives and tourists alike, waiting for the latest tidbit on most anything” (Acts 17:21 The Message). Paul Davies wrote “Taking Science on Faith,” an op-ed in The New York Times, Nov. 24, 2007, claiming “…Science has its own faith-based belief system…Clearly, then, both religion and science are founded on faith—namely, on belief in the existence of something outside the universe, like an unexplained God or an unexplained set of physical laws, maybe even a huge ensemble of unseen universes, too.” No doubt the Athenians would have been fascinated with the multiverse proposal.

Davies took a lot of heat from skeptical scientists for his proposal that science is akin to a faith system. A Wikipedia entry claims Davies’ piece “generated controversy over its exploration of the role of faith in scientific inquiry. Davies argued that the faith scientists have in the immutability of physical laws has origins in Christian theology, and that the claim that science is ‘free of faith’ is ‘manifestly bogus.’” We might ask, “What is the essential difference between religious faith and a scientific faith?” Our blog agrees that both science and religion are faith-based. The object of that faith highlights the difference.

Our Christian belief system casts strong doubt on the reality of the multiverse proposal. Genesis declares “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Science is based upon evidence gained from empirical evidence. We observe only our own universe. Paul Davies correctly states that the multiverse hypothesis has no empirical testability. Therefore, we do not assign credence to the imaginative and speculative hypothesis of the multiverse, however appealing that hypothesis may be.

The heavens and the earth referenced in Genesis 1:1 is the term for the entirety of the universe we now observe. It is the production of the God of Creation. He created Earth with the ultimate good of modern man in mind. Every process over the eons of time looked forward to modern man’s arrival. God has stockpiled the benefits from these processes, benefits which persist even in our day. We may confidently say, with the psalmist, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof…” (Psalm 24:1 KJV).