Noel, poetry is one of the many hobbies that I have. I’ve been employed by scientists for many, many years. And, my father was an electrical engineer then later in life when he was ill with cancer became a physicist so my older brother tells me. He studied from the house while taking care of me since my mother had to work. I learned at an early age about science from him during our day and night walks along the beach.
Noel, you seem to be presenting a “watchmaker God” which I don’t accept. I do fully agree with George Coyne who recently retired but was for many years on the Vatican:Holy See’s Scientific Advisory Committee. I fully support his views which basically were that of my Roman Catholic dad:
**AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion **
(DoSER) Public Lecture March 27, 2006
The Dance of the Fertile Universe: Chance and Destiny Embrace
George V. Coyne, S.J. Director, The Vatican Observatory
When talking about evolution in a very broad sense there is a classical debate about chance and necessity. “According to Modern Science,” declared George V. Coyne, Jesuit and director of the Vatican Observatory, “the debate is mistaken.” What is missing in the debate, he argued in his lecture on March 27, 2006 presented in the series sponsored by the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion, is “the fertility of the universe.” The evolution of the universe is propelled by fertility as well as chance and necessity, he proposed.
If the universe evolved only by chance, then there would be no place for a God of purpose. If the universe evolved only by necessity, this might tend to lead to an affirmation of God.But if it evolves due to both, then, he said, “we are caught in between.” Coyne used this point to emphasize that in the debate between materialism and non-materialism or atheism and theism, "science is completely neutral.” This neutrality is a consequence of both the inherent limitations of the scientific method and the profound depth of human ignorance about the universe, even in the face of all the knowledge that has been gained.
To begin defining what he meant by “the fertility of the universe” Coyne offered the following numerical illustrations:
• There are about 30,000 human genes, but only about 2010 vary among human beings.
• Thus the genetic variance between human beings is 22010 or 10605 .
• Each individual human can produce 10605 different eggs or sperm.
• In the visible universe there are 1076 atoms. What sense does it make to compare 10605 and 1076 ?
It is not clear, but it is a marvel, he suggested, that a universe with this number of atoms has produced such a degree of human fertility. Of course, one of the difficulties with trying to come to terms with large numbers e.g., 10605, a 1with six hundred and five 0s following it, is that they are so far from ordinary human experience. It is helpful to use a metaphor from a more common experience of time to relate astronomical time. So, for example, if the whole 13.7 billion year history of the universe were stretched over only one Earth year, significant events in evolution would be dated as follows:
January 1 - -Big Bang
February 7 - -Birth of the Milky Way
August 14 - -Birth of the Earth
September 4 - -First appearance of life on Earth
December 15 - -The “Cambrian explosion”
December 25 - -Dinosaurs appear
December 30 - -Dinosaurs become extinct
The last day of the year is a very rich one.
December 31 Event
7:00:00 pm - - First hominids
11:58:00 pm - - First humans
11:59:30 pm - - Age of Agriculture
11:59:47 pm - - Building of the Pyramids
11:59:58 pm - - Jesus is born
11:59:59 pm - - Galileo is born
12:00:00 Midnight Today
If you look at cosmic history this way, all of modern science happened “in the last second.” Coyne concluded, “So, if there are a few gaps in our knowledge [of how the universe works] – if there is some ignorance – give us more time; we’ve only had one second.” [please read and view the graphics presented in his lecture.] For him religious faith “is a free gratuitous gift and it is a personal relationship not just a rational relationship. “God,” he declared, “is not a God of explanation but a God of love.” It is only after the “moment of personal relationship” that the question of the meaning of “God” arises, and how our understanding of the universe bears on this question. . . .Coyne closed his talk by turning to the question: “If I believe in God, what does this sort of fertile universe say about God?” First, he stated, it does not prove that God exists. This, in his view, is the false premise that underlies the intelligent design movement (ID). The universe seems to exhibit an intrinsic destiny in the process of volutionary complexification through natural processes. But recognizing this does not require that a person believe in God nor does it lead to belief in God. . . .
The Pope’s Astrophysicist
By Margaret Wertheim
Coyne rejects much of the current discussion about science and religion. Echoing Immanuel Kant, he insists that belief in God is independent of anything scientists discover. More than two centuries ago, Kant argued that science could never disprove the existence of God. But neither, he said, could it prove Him. That hasn’t stopped many people from trying, and today there is a new fashion for the so-called anthropic principle.
Anthropic arguments are based on the notion that the universe has been specially tailored for the emergence of life. On both the cosmological and subatomic scales, from the force of gravity to electromagnetic bonds, the universe is shaped by powers that seem finely tuned for life to evolve. Evidence of an intelligent consciousness that built the very laws of nature?
Coyne dismisses this idea as well. “To imagine a Creator twiddling with the constants of nature is a bit like thinking of God as making a big pot of soup,” he declares with a rare flash of sarcasm. A bit more onion, a bit less salt, and presto, the perfect gazpacho. “It’s a return to the old vision of a watchmaker God, only it’s even more fundamentalist. Because what happens if it turns out there is a perfectly logical explanation for these values of the gravitational constant and so on? Then there’d be even less room for God.” In other words, if God is grounded in data, then He is immediately subject to revision every time we get new data — and data tends to improve over time. Coyne sums up his objection to this God of the gaps with an elegant economy: “God is not information,” he says. "God is love."
This is my last message on this topic. And my final answer to your original question and answer.