This paper endeavored to show that despite the discoveries of science the idea of God is still valid. To make its point it first reviewed pertinent aspects of science that would seem to invalidate the idea of God. It said that sciences ideas neither proved nor disproved the existence of God. However, science disapproves what extant religions say about God. The paper says that looking at the Christian idea of God could lead a rational person to conclude that there is no God. God could not have engaged in the pathologically narcissistic behaviors delineated in the Christian bible. The paper posits a different view of God, one that says that it is an insane aspect of him and his sons that invented this separated world of space, time, energy and matter and that the sane aspects of them are still in their unified spirit state. The empirical universe, the papers says is the dream opposite of the real world created by God.
God And Science Are Not Irreconcilable
Ozodi Thomas Osuji
On first blush it would seem that the idea of God and science are irreconcilable. However, upon further thinking they are found to be quite compatible. To reach this happy conclusion we have to clarify our terms, explain what we mean by God and science.
Science is a methodological approach to understanding phenomena that insists on accepting only ideas that can be observed, verified and falsified (Popper, 1963). Science embraces induction and over deduction (Hume, 17...to avoid breaking the reader’s concentration inserting appropriate sources of the information I am paraphrasing, I will provide a list for further reading at the end of the paper).
The scientific approach to phenomena has clarified many aspects of the universe. However, it seems generally applicable to physical matters (energy, matter, space and time) and less so to those aspects of our being that cannot be easily observed, measured, experimented on and verified. For example, science has told us a lot about our bodies, a physical system, but has not told us anything worth a penny’s consideration about human consciousness, the mind and when it tries, such as the efforts of neuroscientists to prove that thinking is epiphenomenal, is a mere product of the arrangements of atoms and particles in the human brain and not extraneous to the brain, it seems laughable (Crick, 1995).
Let us begin this discourse by examining our body. Our bodies are a compendium of certain elements, mainly nitrogen, oxygen, carbon and hydrogen (and traces of many other elements, such as sulfur, potassium, magnesium, sodium, iron, zinc etc.). These several elements formed into molecules and those formed the basis of biological existence.
Each element is composed of a nucleus (containing protons and neutrons…except hydrogen, the lightest element, which does not have neutron in its nucleus; however, its isotopes, deuterium and tritium have neutrons) and electrons.
Electrons, as it were, are congealed photons (energy congealed into matter). Neutrons and protons are made of quarks. Quarks are made of photons (radiation). Photons are light energy without mass that congealed into matter with mass in quarks, protons, neutrons and electrons.
And what are photons made of? They are made of nothing. Apparently, during the Big Bang that 13.7 billion years ago got the universe going something came out of nowhere and got inordinately hot (heat energy) and gave rise to light (light energy). Something that we do not know what it is became hot and produced light energy (radiation), space and time. Whatever it was that became hot exploded and produced photons (energy), matter, space and time that constitute our universe.
Apparently, within the first second of that gigantic explosion radiation (photons) transformed itself into quarks and electrons, space and time. In the same all important second quarks combined into protons and neutrons (no one has actually seen quarks outside their encasement in protons and neutrons; outside their tomb they immediately decay to photons).
It should also be observed that according to what physics believes that it knows about phenomena, the big bang ought to have produced equal number of matter and anti-matter; equal number of quarks and anti-quarks, equal number of protons and anti-protons, equal number of neutrons and anti-neutrons and equal number of electrons and anti-electrons (positrons). If that had happened matter and anti-matter would have attacked and annihilated each other and returned the universe to pure radiation and the universe of matter as we now know it would not have come into existence. Somehow, the expectation of physics was thwarted and for every one billion particles of anti-matter produced a billion and one particles of matter was produced. Thus, when matter and antimatter fought it out some matter survived to continue the evolution of the universe to what we now know it to be, a universe of matter (and as Albert Einstein pointed out, matter can be converted to energy and energy to matter; matter and energy are the same thing in two different forms of being).
What made it possible for more matter than anti matter to be produced? Was it pure fortuitous chance that this happened? As we shall see there were several such seeming accidents to dismiss them as mere random occurrence hence some physicists now refer to them as the anthropic principle; this principle states that from its moment of birth it seems that the universe arranged things as if it wanted to produce biological forms of life, human beings included. That is to say that there seems teleology, purpose to the existence of the universe? Some physicists, of course, argue that the universe is an accidental one and that it works as it works and produced us and that there is no purpose, meaning and point to our existence (the universe is understanding itself through us).
Since Nicolas Copernicus in 1543 observed that the earth is not the center of the universe (folks had hitherto believed that it was) and Galileo’s 1610 demonstration with his telescope that the sun is the center of the solar system ( Galileo’s empiricism was added to by Johannes Kepler, Tyco Brahe, Huygens and Isaac Newton) physicists have been on a mission to demonstrate that man and his world are insignificant entities in an insignificant part of a spiral universe (the goldilocks section of the Milky Way where it is neither too hot nor too cold) and that to nature he does not matter at all. It seems that many physicists are on a warpath with the goal of reducing human beings to the nothing they believe that they are, to disabusing them of their delusion of specialness (alas, unbeknown to them nothingness actually means everything, so if people are nothing they are everything!).
(But why do many physicists have this obsessive-compulsion to prove that human beings, their earth, the solar system and the Milky Way Galaxy is not only not the center of the universe but nothing? Every mental disorder, such as obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, has a cause. Let us just note that despite the efforts made through SETI…search for extra-terrestrial intelligence… no one has found biological life forms on any other solar planets or extra-solar planets; it may well turn out that our earth is special after all, that in the entire universe it is the only place where biological life forms exist! Our war against ourselves, I mean the war against religions teaching that man is special, ought to be a balanced war, not the irrational behavior of mentally disordered persons bent on proving their belief that could turn out as irrational as the seeming irrational conception of man by religion they are fighting. It may well turn out that human beings are special after all, that the entire universe evolved to produce them! Let us move on.)
By the end of the first minute of the universe’s existence neutrons and protons had combined into the nuclei of the simplest elements: hydrogen, helium and lithium. The strong nuclear force (physics has four forces: strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force, gravity and electromagnetism) holds protons and neutrons in the nuclei of elements (the weak nuclear force is responsible for their decay). Thus, we now have nuclei, electrons and photons in space and time.
Space expanded at what Alan Gutt called inflationary scale (more rapid than the speed of light…which is 186, 000 miles per second, a speed Einstein had argued nothing could go faster than). Apparently, this rapid expansion prevented the just produced matter and energy from re-collapsing back to whatever they came from. Gravity ought to have pulled matter and energy back to their source hence aborted the nascent universe’s existence but to cheat gravity inflation came into being. (It should be noted that inflationary theory is an after fact explanation: some folks had observed that at mere speed of light energy and matter would not have escaped the gravitational force pulling them to return to the initial state of singularity before the Big Bang explosion, so something extraordinary must have happened to make the incipient universe expand hence exists. Alan Gutt provided his theory to silence the perception that the universe should not have expanded hence should not have existed. Whether his theory is true or mere conjecture remains to be verified.)
During the next 400, 000 years the universe was composed of nuclei, unattached electrons and photons in a dense soup called plasma. Light could not leave this dense state. Somehow, at the 400, 000 year mark nuclei captured electrons to form the simplest elements (hydrogen, helium and some lithium). Electric forces held electrons to nuclei.
Apparently, that event led to space occurring in the hitherto dense plasma and light escaped and sped off (it is that light that Georges Gamow called Cosmic Micro Wave Background Radiation, light verified by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson in 1965). The verification of that cosmic microwave background radiation seem to have conclusively proved that the universe began in a big bang and laid to rest Fred Hoyle’s hypothesis of steady state, the idea that the universe has always been around, with particles of energy and matter popping out of nowhere to increase the quantity of energy and matter in the universe.
During the next 200 million years the universe was composed of 75% hydrogen gas and 23% helium gas (to the present the universe is still composed of 98% hydrogen and helium with all the other elements a mere 2% of it!).
At this point another anthropic event took place. Clumps of hydrogen separated from each other (that is, space occurred between clumps of hydrogen). This asymmetric occurrence apparently led the force of gravity to pull the various clumps of hydrogen gas into themselves until their inner cores ignited into stars.
Stars are thermonuclear factories where hydrogen is fused into helium. In the core of stars hydrogen atoms (composed of one proton in the nucleus and one electron outside the nucleus) combine to form isotopes of hydrogen (deuterium, tritium…in isotopes there are more neutrons than protons; in the case of deuterium there is one proton and one neutron and in the case of tritium one proton and two neutrons in the nuclei of hydrogen atoms) and those in turn combine to form helium (which has two protons and two neutrons in its nucleus and two electrons in its outer shell).
The fusion of hydrogen to helium (a process called nucleosynthesis) releases heat and light. That heat and light work their way from the core of stars and in millions of years get to the surface of stars and eventually escape as the heat and light that reach us from stars.
Each star is composed of six regions: the core, the radioactive zone and the convective zone (these three are the interior region); the photosphere, the Chromosphere and the outermost part, the Corona (these three are the visible surface of stars). Stars produce sunspots, wind and magnetic fields (elaboration of these concepts is beyond the scope of this paper).
The original stars were massive in size (several million times the size of Solar, our star, the Sun). Those massive stars did not live long before they exhausted their hydrogen fuel supply and begin their death and dying process.
Stars begin to die when their hydrogen supply is diminished and they begin fusing helium to carbon (which has six protons and six neutrons in its nucleus and six electrons cycling them); the process continues to fusing oxygen (eight protons and eight neutrons and eight electrons) and when it reaches iron apparently the heat in the star is no longer sufficient to fuse iron to heavier elements. At that point stars increase in size and eventually explode in supernovae.
During star explosion, aka star death enormous heat is generated and that heat synthesize heavier than iron elements. Apparently, the other elements on Chemistry’s periodic table (there are about 92 naturally occurring elements and over twenty artificially synthesized elements in laboratories that live and die in seconds) are synthesized during star death.
All these mean that other than hydrogen and helium the elements (those were produced before star formation…helium is also produced in stars) we find in the universe and for our present interest, the elements that compose our bodies were made in stars. We are literally the products of stars; we are star dust! If stars did not produce the elements that compose our bodies we would not exist! (And this is a reason for us to study astronomy, astrophysics, astrochemistry and astrobiology. The quest to know who we are takes us to the stars, galaxies etc.)
Since we need many of the elements produced in stars and star death to make life on earth possible it follows that the existence of stars and star death is an anthropic occurrence. It is as if nature planned for our existence by first making stars to exist and produce the elements it would later use in forming our bodies!
The explosion of those initial massive stars showered into space the various elements. In time the cloud of elements (gas) were acted on by gravity to form new stars, this time not so massive stars, such as our sun. Smaller sized stars last much longer than the initial massive stars. And this is good for us for the long duration of our star has made it possible for biological life to evolve over the past four billion years on planet earth. Our sun, a medium star, was formed 4-5 billion years ago from the debris of dead stars.
Along with the formation of smaller stars planets were formed from the debris of dead stars. The nine planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Plato…you could also add smaller planets: Ceres, Haumea, Makemake and Eris) orbiting our sun were formed at the same time that our sun was formed from debris from exploded stars.
The formation of planets is pretty much like the formation of stars. Here, debris from dead stars gather, first, as small affairs and in time more debris is pulled to them by gravity into small planets called planetismals. The planetismals grow in size by attracting other debris and eventually reach the sizes we now see them as.
Not all debris from exploded stars is pulled into planets; many of them orbit the sun as asteroids and comets (in the Asteroid belt, the Kuiper and Oort belts).
Our planet earth formed around the same time as the sun, 4.5 billion years ago. As noted before, it formed through the aggregation of star dust; the initial dust was then bombarded by others and they were conglomerated into what we now call our terrestrial, rocky planet (some planets, such as Jupiter, are gaseous; some people consider Jupiter a star that failed to ignite, a brown dwarf star).
The initial earth was very hot; it was churning melted rocks. Apparently, in time the heavier elements, such as gold, diamond, uranium, potassium sunk into the inside of the earth (the radioactive decay of uranium and potassium provides the earth with internal heat, heat that we living on the earth’s surface need to survive…of course, we also receive external heat from the sun and the other stars).
The inner core of the earth is composed of solid iron; the outer core is composed of molten iron, which is followed by a plastic, viscous mantel and rocky (silicon) crust (the surface).
It is speculated that comets carrying frozen water (and dust) kept striking the nascent earth, cooling it; that the hot earth melted the frozen ice in comets and in time that led to the accumulation of water on the surface of the planet. The earth’s surface is 70% covered by water.
There are other speculations as to how water came to be on planet earth; some say that the hot planet was busy combining the various elements on it into compounds, spilling out hot lava and lava sending all kinds of chemical mixtures into the earth’s atmosphere and that in time those gases transformed into liquid, water and fell back on the earth (water is composed of two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen). The jury is still out as to how come water is on planet earth and not on the other solar planets; let us move on.
The earth is surrounded by a gas bubble; that gas bubble acts as an atmosphere for it. The atmosphere makes it possible for biological life to exist on earth for without the atmosphere ultraviolent rays from the sun would char the earth’s surface into a burnt thing, as on Mercury and Venus, for example.
Nitrogen (78%) is the most abundant gas in the earth’s atmosphere (air) followed by oxygen (21%), argon (1%); traces of carbon, hydrogen and other elements also exist in the earth’s atmosphere.
The earth’s atmosphere has different regions; each region is characterized by different levels of the various gases, temperature and pressure. From the ground to about nine miles into the sky is the troposphere (where we live); that region is followed by the stratosphere (it is here that we have the ozone layer; ozone is an isotope of oxygen that prevents ultraviolet rays from the sun from burning us to cinders), then the mesosphere and finally the thermosphere. About two hundred miles from the ground the earth’s atmosphere gradually slides into space (space is very cold and not congenial for human habitation; apparently, our atmosphere is designed to produce just the right temperature that makes biological life forms possible on planet earth hence is an anthropic principle).
The earth, like the other planets (except Mercury), has satellites, some of which are moons. We have just one moon. The earth’s moon is about 250, 000 miles from earth…it takes light a little over a second to reach the moon from the earth; it takes light a little over 8 minutes to reach the earth from the Sun 93 million years away; it takes light about 2.5 years to reach the earth from its nearest non-solar star in the Milky Way Galaxy, Alpha Centauri; it takes light about 2.5 million years to reach the earth from its nearest galaxy, Andromeda.
About 3.8 billion years ago the various elements on planet earth configured themselves into molecules (especially organic compounds) that made biological organisms possible.
So far, only planet earth among the nine planets around the sun seems to have biological life forms (the search to find biological life forms in solar and extrasolar planets so far have yielded no dividends).
On planet earth the various elements organized themselves into organic compounds (carbon based life forms as studied by organic Chemistry) whereby carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen and traces of other elements are mixed to form the basis for biological life forms.
First, these compounds produced single celled organisms in the waters on earth and in time those combined to form multicellular organisms, such as plants and animals.
After billions of years of evolution, biological permutations led to the production of the king of the predatory animals, human beings (who gratuitously call themselves the wise ones, Homo sapiens).
About two and half million years ago, in the jungles of Africa some great apes (related to chimpanzees and gorillas) began to walk on two legs (became bipedal). This event freed their forelimbs to be used to manipulate their environment. Thus, came into being human beings tendency to technologically manipulate their environment hence more effectively adapt to it.
About 50, 000 years ago those African apes, having migrated out of the jungles and into the savannas of Africa transformed themselves to what we now know as human beings. Some of these modern human beings later spread from Africa to all over the world (to Europe, Asia, the Americas and Australia). Apparently, people have not changed in fifty thousand years.
In the Fertile Crescent (especially Sumer, Mesopotamia, today’s Iraq) human beings organized themselves into permanent societies and invented the wheel and the art of writing. Later civilization spread from this core to Asia, North Africa and much more lately to Europe (and now to black Africa, Oceania and Australia).
HOW WOULD THE UNIVERSE END?
How will our lives end? Our star, solar, sun apparently has enough hydrogen to keep fusing into helium for the next five billion years. Apparently, in about two billion years it would begin running out of hydrogen fuel and begin fusing helium to carbon etc. At that point it would begin its death and dying process, a process that would culminate in its death five billion years hence.
Since the sun is a medium sized star, its outer region would expand and engulf Mercury and Venus and then is sloughed off. What remains, its inner core would become a white dwarf star and burn, sort of like amber from dying fire, before it finally flickers out and dies.
But before it gets to that point the earth would have long since gone. During the period of the sun fusing helium into carbon and the consequent increased temperature of the sun, the earth would be made unbearably hot, sort of like present Mercury and Venus. Waters would dry up and all biological forms would die. Ultimately, the earth would be a dead piece of rock floating in space (a kind of asteroid).
The over 200 known galaxies (each galaxy has over 200 billion stars, some with planets) would in time flicker out and die.
Some of the large sized stars would die in supernovae. While their outer parts are exploded out and sent out as debris (nebulae) into space, their inner cores would collapse to form black holes (black holes are so dense that light cannot escape from their event horizons) or neutron stars (where all the elements in them are compacted into neutrons and they spin so many million times per minute). The other forms of stars, such as quasars, pulsars etc. would also meet their fate in death.
Everything that exists in form, is composed of many things must decompose and die. (We are born to age and die; what tragic figures we are, the ancient Greeks say…or are we comic figures?)
For our present purposes, the salient point is that in trillions of years to come all the galaxies, stars and planets would be dead. The stars and planets would decay to their component elements (as noted, which are mostly hydrogen and helium). Those in time would decay to their component parts (protons, neutrons and electrons). Those particles in turn would decay to quarks and photons (protons would be the last to decay).
In time everything would return to pure radiation, photons. The universe would be one empty space filled with swirling photons.
Photons need a source of heat to exist and since stars (their source of heat) would be gone the photons would decay to nothingness.
The universe would, in effect, return to the nothingness from which it began during the big bang. There used to be an earlier hypothesis that may be all matter and energy would only expand so much and then collapse to itself into whatever they began from; this was called the big crunch. Apparently, that idea is no longer tenable. The discovery of the existence of dark matter and dark energy led astrophysicists to this conclusion. Dark energy (which constitutes 73% of the universe) apparently speeds up the expansion of the universe and dark matter (which constitutes 23% of the universe) is trying to hold the galaxies together and that is not enough to prevent the over expansion of the universe. (There is a hypothesis that the universe would collapse back to itself and then Rebound into another universe and that the process repeats ad infinitum.)
Simply put, the galaxies are said to be on a trajectory to over expansion and consequent loss of heat hence coldness everywhere. The universe is now seen as destined to die a cold death. Thus, a universe that began 13.7 billion years ago in a fiery birth would in trillions of years-time die a cold death; whatever has a beginning has an end, they say.