Re: The Universe in a Single Atom

From: Don Nield <d.nield@auckland.ac.nz>
Date: Wed Sep 21 2005 - 16:56:41 EDT

Ted Davis wrote:

>>>>"Randy Isaac" <randyisaac@adelphia.net> 09/20/05 9:00 PM >>>writes:
>>>>
>>>>
>
>This seems to be a rather lopsided type of integration of reason and faith.
> Science gets to trump faith at every turn. On the other hand, can any of
>you really cite an example where faith and revelation affected science?
>(not the metaphysical meaning of science)
>
>Ted replies:
>How many would you like me to name, Randy?
>
>Let me start with 3, but I'll spare the details or I won't have time to
>write even this.
>
>(1) Kepler was motivated to try to "prove" the truth of Copernicanism, b/c
>of his belief (acquired while a university student) that in the Copernican
>system, with the sun (the symbol of God the Father, in Christian
>Neoplatonism) in the center, the whole cosmos was (sort of) a physical image
>of the Trinity: the Father in the center, the Son encompassing all as the
>stellar sphere, and the Spirit filling the universe in between.
>
>(2) Newton's understanding of universal gravitation was intimately related
>to his belief in the omnipresence of God (the one, non-Trinitarian God who
>was the creator and who brought redemption through the sacrifice of the
>unblemished "Lamb of God" who had been created before the foundation of the
>world) in all time and space. God for Newton was in the 1680s (when he
>published the Principia) the actual, direct, only cause of gravitation--how
>else for goodness sake could one body affect another some distance away
>without an intermediate agent to do this? Physicists have always been
>suspicious of genuine action at a distance, haven't they?
>
>(3) Cantor's theory of transfinite numbers was closely related to his
>belief in God. (This is the only relatively modern example I can think of
>at the moment; we moderns have insisted that our science can't be influenced
>in these ways by our religious beliefs, and it does seem to be a
>self-fulfilling prophecy.)
>
>Ted
>
>
>
Ted's response suggests to me that the answer to Randy's question is that faith and revelation have affected science in the past, but to a considerably lesser extent in recent years. (Cantor's theory of transfinite numbers does not qualify as empirical science.)

George Murphy wrote:
Here's another example, albeit from an unorthodox Jewish standpoint
rather than a Christian one. In his book _Einstein's Religion_ Max
Jammer suggests that Einstein's original belief in a static universe &
introduction of a cosmological term in his field equations may have
been influenced by his commitment to Spinoza's belief in the
immutability of God - which for Spinoza & Einstein meant the
immutability of the universe. Of course the universe isn't static but
the cosmological term is a good 1st approximation to dark energy.

DN responds:
Jammer has made an interesting suggestion, but unless he or someone else has or can quote something to that effect from Einstein's writings it is just a suggestion. Then there is the documented fact that the same belief in a static universe influenced Fred Hoyle (whose prejudice was against theism rather than in support of it) to develop his steady state theory.
Don
Received on Wed Sep 21 16:59:30 2005

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