Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Christian physics

World Religion News ran a story where they touted a 'former atheist professor' who now believes in God after studying the Big Bang Theory. Okay, that sounds rather odd to me, but lets take a look at this 'huge revelation' that I must have missed somehow...
Physicists are typically viewed as very critical of religion because there seems to be a constant war going on between religion and science.
Wrong! Physicists are typically viewed as being critical of religion because religion doesn't stand up to scientific scrutiny. 
However, that does not always turn out to be the case. In New Orleans, a physics professor has dedicated his life to discovering the secrets of our universe – and through the process, has left his atheist beliefs for that of the Christian faith.
Left his atheist beliefs? That doesn't even make sense. Atheism at it's simplest is a lack of belief in gods. Sure you could argue that some atheists actively believe that there can't be a God, but that leaves us with only one possible 'belief'. Not the plurality of beliefs that is suggested. Atheism isn't another religion with a long list of tenets and rules. It's just the answer to one question, and one question only... Do you believe in God/any gods?
Tulane Professor Frank Tipler says that when he first started out his research, he was “the ultimate doubter,” always questioning the information that was given to him, and trying to find out the unbiased truth.
Okay, that sounds good and scientific so far. Everyone should seek the unbiased truth in everything.
However, when he started looking into the history of science as we know it today, he realized that a huge number of those that we consider scientists were also religious theologians. St. Thomas Aquinas is one great example that really inspired Professor Frank Tipler to look into Christianity more closely.
Umm... So what! What difference does it make that many scientists of the past where also believers or theologians? The reasons this could be are many. Perhaps they were both because they didn't know what we do now. Maybe it's because they didn't hold their faith to the same tough standard that they hold their science to (a problem that is seen to this day). There's the fact that being right or knowledgeable in one area of expertise doesn't automatically make you an expert in all areas. Yes, there where scientists that were also theologians, but if this combination is so supposedly revelatory, why is it that there are now so many fewer than there used to be?

Then there's the whole problem of correlation. Stephen Hawking is quite possibly the smartest person alive. Sadly he has a motor neuron disease that has worsened through the years and left him confined to his wheelchair and unable to speak without computer assistance. To suggest that theologians being scientists is in any way special or eye opening is akin to suggesting that Hawking having motor neuron disease shows that being inflicted by that ailment is needed to be so brilliant, or just to be a theoretical physicist or cosmologist. So I fail to see how scientists of old also holding these other beliefs should in any way impress or convert anyone to Christianity.
As he studied the Big Bang and studied Christianity, he came to a point where he believed completely that only God could have created something out of nothing – in essence, the Big Bang.
This is telling me that the person who supposedly spent his whole life studying the Big Bang did a pretty piss poor job. The Big Bang begins with the rapid expansion from a tiny point of infinite density. It does not say where that singularity came from or what, if anything, proceeded it. And the whole 'God creating something out of nothing' trope is getting so old. There's the question of where God came from, which has never been satisfactorily answered. There's the flawed assumption that anything was 'created out of nothing'. Then there's the question of how anything can be made out of nothing when there is no nothing, because there is a something (God)? If their scenario is true, and God creates anything, and he puts any of his magic into it, it's not 'out of nothing'. Ever heard of the conservation of energy?
Professor Frank Tipler is not the only person to have made this link before; recently, Pope Francis the leader of the Catholic Church released a statement that said that there was no inconsistency with believing in a God, and simultaneously believing in the Big Bang theory.
Correct, there's no reason a Christian can't also believe in the Big Bang theory... So long as they
believe that the account that the Bible gives for the creation of the universe is flat wrong. It's the old dance of religion finally accepting something because the evidence is so strong that they can't continue denying it any more. But on the topic of throwing out the biblical creation, if you are going to just discard God's biggest act of power in the whole damn book, how can any of it be considered accurate or reliable?
Professor Frank Tipler has now written a book entitled The Physics of Christianity, which includes the fact that he personally came to the realization that the laws of physics “gave me no choice but to be a Christian.”
It would be nice if they expanded on this some since I'm sure as hell not going to buy this book. But I am rather confused since the laws of physics actually give me the opposite impression that they apparently gave him.
He has now taking things a step further by trying to prove that singularity theory, an idea accepted by scientists, is actually made up of three singularities: a trinity. 
Which sounds like bad science. He's doing it backwards. Science doesn't just say "Hmm... maybe it was three singularities because father, son, holy ghost." And then try to pick and choose data to back that up and discard anything else. Good science doesn't start with the conclusion they want to try to prove, but a question. Experiments and research are then done. The data that comes out of that is then analyzed and followed to see what it can tell them. These results are checked and then undergo further testing until a likely conclusion is reached. A conclusion arrived at by following the data, and not a biased pursuit like Tipler is engaging in.

Sadly, some Christians will see this story and see it as a huge victory. But to someone that actually looks at it honestly, there is nothing noteworthy or worthy of any headlines here. If Christians consider it a feather in their cap to gain a follower making such basic mistakes, they can have him!


-Brain Hulk

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