Re: String Theory

From: jack syme <drsyme@cablespeed.com>
Date: Tue Aug 09 2005 - 07:27:17 EDT

And theology probably would have been ok with geocentrism too.

But that is not the issue. While I appreciate your idea that it is silly to
use current cosmologies as proof that God must exist, (although there are
many people that would like to see it that way, and there are many arguments
supporting that other than Ross',) the issue here is whether or not current
cosmological theories remove any need for a Creator altogether.

I think, just like in evolutionary theory, we can claim that these ideas do
not eliminate God, and that evolution and (big bang, inflation, string
theory, M theory) are consistent with the Christian God.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Don Nield" <d.nield@auckland.ac.nz>
To: "John Hewlett" <john.hewlett@usa.com>
Cc: <asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Monday, August 08, 2005 11:20 PM
Subject: Re: String Theory

> John Hewlett wrote:
>
>>Hey guys and gals, well I have been reading a little bit about string
>>theory. I have read enough to still be about 2 degrees shy of completely
>>clueless. Never the less it looks like a very odd and strange theory. I
>>was curious if you guys know any physicist that are in ASA or elsewhere
>>that hold a theistic universal veiw that are experts in string theory?
>>First of all, I have a question, I listened to an interview by Brian
>>Greene on NPR and I know he is an expert on the string theory who hold NO
>>theistics veiws at all. This is you learn in the interview because he says
>>so, very plainly. The news caster says well these extrademisions could
>>house our spiritual conceptions, and he said "I would disuade you from
>>thinking that because we expect that we will eventually predict the
>>behavior of these demisions, and therefor basically since you can't
>>predict theology, I would not encourage you to think this way" [I was
>>parapharsing but it is really pretty close]. She responded by sa!
> y!
>>ing "Well whats wrong with faith?" And he said "Nothing at all, my brother
>>is hindu and yada yada yada... he said you can never disprove the concept
>>of God because one can always say 'thats the way God made it'" Which I
>>would have to agree with.
>>
>>Now I find this, infact I personally have never seen a theistic assault by
>>the string theory. Now I have heard this, that the string theory "CAN
>>explain the four fundimental forces in physics", now I know that alot of
>>people may say "hey, well if this explains it then God gets pushed out",
>>and I could see why this is the case if you subscribe to the God of the
>>Gaps, where the gaps get smaller. Which I do not subscribe to, because as
>>Galileo once said "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who
>>has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo
>>their use." And not to give you my anti-treatise on the Gaps philosophy,
>>but I think we should investigate nature to the ends of our ability.
>>But I draw (at least in my veiw, and I don't get attacked for saying this)
>>a falasy from the logic of "Welp its completely explained, so well we
>>don't need a creator anymore now so..." because the same could be said
>>about evolution too, and we have seen this before, Richard Dawkins said
>>something like "After darwins theory I don't know how any could beleive in
>>religion". What a load of crap (pardon my language), I happen to not find
>>ANY ANY ANY problem with evolution at all (darwinian or not), and I just
>>don't think it is a threat at all. I tend to kind of fallow Kenneth Miller
>>from brown in his veiws (sort of). And I find it completely intellectually
>>fullfilling to beleive an Christian and hold these veiws. Now you are
>>probably thinking "WHAT IN THE WORLD DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH STRING
>>THEORY?" Well couldn't the same principle be drawn of string theory?
>>Going back to evolution I would like to elaborate because its a good
>>theory to do so with. First all, in Darwinian evolution we are taught
>>random mutations and natural selection (among other stuff) are accountable
>>for the diversity of life on earth. Ok, well thats just hunky dory and I
>>can live with that explanation. NOW the point here is, I AM IN NO WAY
>>saying God plays no role in evolution. Infact I beleive the oposite
>>because I don't think we (humans) are aquainted with all the details. I
>>strongly and confidently feel that just because it looks "random" or
>>godless (meaning God plays no role) to us, doesn't mean that it is to God.
>>I think God plays a role in all of nature. And if string theory works out,
>>then I will in all likely hood feel the same way.
>>
>>So basically I was just wondering if there were any christians or
>>theistically inclined people working in String theory these days?
>>
>>Would anybody here thats in physics like to give me some comments on their
>>views of the String theory?
>>...
>>Thanks!
>>John
>>
>>
> I am not an expert on string theory, but I have some background in
> mathematical physics. I was an undergraduate student of Fred Hoyle's at St
> John's College, Cambridge and I attended some of his lectures on general
> relativity and cosmology. I have just finsihed reading the excellent
> biography by Simon Mitton, "Fred Hoyle: A Life in Science", ABC Books,
> Sydney, 2005. Amonst other things this gives an excellent case study of
> how some theories about astrophysics struggle to be accepted and then
> either gain favour or lose favour as new experimental evidence becomes
> available.
>
> Some brief comments about String Theory (10D) , M-Theory (11D), F-Theory
> (12D). A useful summary of their status, given from a personal point of
> view, has been given by Roger Penrose, "The Road to Reality" (Jonathan
> Cape, London, 2004, 1094 pages!). Penrose is cautious. String theory and
> its extension explain some things. Lots of other things are left
> unexplained. The connection with reality is uncertain. Distinguishing
> bewteen mathematical coincidences and physical consequences is difficult.
>
> [Incidentally, I find the attempt by Hugh Ross, in "Beyond the Cosmos"
> (Navpress, Colorado Springs,1996, 1999), to relate multidimension physics
> (including string theory) to the Bible, quite ludicrous.]
>
> Here is what I wrote about the big bang (and I could say more or less the
> same about string theory) in my booklet "God Created the Heavens and the
> Earth" (Telos Publications, Auckland, 2004):
>
> "Because the discovery of the cosmic background (and more recently of
> certain fluctuations in that background) verified predictions of the big
> bang theory, that theory is now firmly established. Many Christians have
> been cheered by that. However, one should be cautious. Many theologians
> believe that theology could have accepted the steady-state model. John
> Polkinghorne (formerly Professor of Theoretical Physics at Cambridge and
> now an Anglican priest), for example, believes that it is erroneous to
> assume that big bang cosmology, with its datable point of departure for
> the universe as we know it, has a superior value for theology over the
> steady-state theory, which essentially supposed the universe to have been
> everlasting. Theology could have lived with either physical theory, for
> the assertion that God is Creator is not a statement that at a particular
> time he did something, but rather that at all times he keeps the world in
> being. The doctrine of creation is a doctrine of ontological (relating to
> the nature of being) origin.
>
> "Australian theologian Mark Worthing agrees that theology could have lived
> with either theory. A continuous creation out of nothing could have been
> reconciled with Christian theology as an aspect of God’s divine
> sustenance. Worthing notes that no one can guarantee that a similar theory
> may not one day become the “standard” operating theory. Also, the
> steady-state theory should serve as a reminder of the danger of using any
> specific scientific theory as confirmation of a theological position.
> Worthing notes that even if theology need not make room for an ongoing
> creation out of nothing, we are nevertheless far removed from the old view
> of a static universe that is simply maintained by God. We live undeniably
> in a dynamic, changing universe. Hence a theology engaged in dialogue with
> the natural sciences must affirm a God who sustains the world in its
> dynamic process of change.
>
> "The above fact, that it is not critical for theology that the universe
> had an origin at a finite time, would become important if cosmologists
> came up with evidence justifying an alternative theory in which our
> universe is just one of an infinite number of universes. At the moment
> there is no real evidence for a multiple-universe theory, so according to
> Occam’s razor the simpler theory, namely that in which there is a unique
> universe, is to be preferred. However, it is possible that sometime in the
> future a new theory, one combining particle theory with gravitational
> theory and with some empirical backing, may favour a multiple-universe
> hypothesis, so one should be cautious."
>
> <>The refrences are to
> John Polkinghorne, "Science and Theology: An Introduction", (SPCK, London,
> 1998).Mark William Worthing. "God, Creation and Contemporary Physics'"
> (Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 1996).
>
> In summary, in my opinion string theory has little importance for
> theology.
> Don
>
>
>
Received on Tue Aug 9 07:29:59 2005

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