Continuing our scientific theme this week, Catholic commentator Stratford Caldecott reflects on science’s latest attempt to explain away God.
“The resolutely atheist popular science magazine New Scientist recently ran an editorial headed ‘God deserves an explanation’. In it, the writer admitted a problem. Quantum physics has been wrestling for years with the question of why we see just one universe, since physics predicts the universe must exist in many different states simultaneously – a bit like Schrodinger’s hypothetical cat, which is alive and dead at the same time until observed. It seemed that the only answer was the existence of Someone outside the universe observing it – a fact which, the magazine said, causes atheist cosmologists to ‘shuffle their feet’. But now – claims the New Scientist – the problem may have been solved, and we can all breathe a sigh of relief that God has been explained away. The answer is that an outside observer is not necessary, provided information can ‘leak’ into other universes. This is called the ‘multiverse interpretation of quantum mechanics’.
“Anyone who has read William Carroll’s CTS booklet Creation and Science can spot the flaw in this reasoning. Not only does it just push the problem further back (who observes the multiverse?), but it makes a basic mistake about God. The God we believe in is not ‘a competing cause in a world [or many worlds] of other causes’. He is the cause of causes, and the reason anything exists at all – including the laws of nature. To understand exactly why God is necessary to explain science, not the other way around, read the booklet. The editors of New Scientist are not off the hook after all.”
Prof Stephen M. Barr’s new CTS booklet on the false conflict between Science and religion explains this multiverse theory clearly:
“The idea is that so many different possibilities have been ‘tried out’ in different regions of the multiverse, as it were, that it was inevitable that in some place these variable features were “just right” for life to exist. This is an interesting idea, and may very well be right. There are theoretical reasons for taking it seriously. However, even if it is right, it does not dispose of the evidence for purpose. The point is that only if the fundamental laws of physics were very special indeed would they lead to a multiverse. So, one way or another, the laws of nature had to be very special for us to be here.”
Science and Religion: the Myth of Conflict is available from CTS priced £2.50
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