Ralph Higgins

Ralph Higgins
color pencil sketch by Gayle Higgins

Quotes I Like

“Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

-Albert Einstein


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Who lit the match?

     I've been goaded  to come out of my catatonic stupor and write something.  There are a ton of topics I'd like to address, but I'm trying to stay away from the dismal condition of America and the ominous paradigm shifts we are seeing on the world stage.  If I state what I really think, my house would be destroyed by a drone.

            Sometimes refuge can be found in the contemplation of bigger things. I've always had an insatiable cosmological curiosity, i.e. questions regarding the origin and nature of the universe from a philosophical perspective.

            How did it all begin?  And why?  Do we exist by design or are we here by accident, magic, or the result of an ambitious amoeba in a primordial mud puddle?  I've always thought that if a human being woke up to find himself or herself on a deserted island the first thing that would come to mind would be "Where am I?  How did I get here?  Why am I here?"  Yet people jump in their cars and head off to work, come home, crack open a beer, and turn on the TV considering nothing more consequential than if Kaeperrnick will hold his job with the Niners.

            So how did it all begin?  There seems to be agreement that there was nothing prior to what many believe was the big bang.  The idea is that the original configuration of the universe was a state of infinite density where all mass, space, time and energy were contained in a single mathematical point with no dimensions.  That's easy for me to say, but to completely comprehend it is above my intellectual pay grade.

            Then came the big bang and the universe exploded into time, space, matter, and motion. This means that the universe had a beginning.  If my memory still works, I think Einstein said that without matter and its motion there could be no time and space.  So time didn't exist prior to this explosive event.

            I've learned not to put all my money on scientific consensus,  because science is constantly changing.  New information can change a hypothesis.  For example, we are told that man-made climate change is "settled science," but those words are never spoken by a true scientist for the reasons I just stated.  There is no such thing as  "settled science." I think the "settled science" sometime around the '70s was that the world was headed for another ice age.

            Prior to Galileo scientists and religious leaders had a geocentric view of the universe.  That's the belief that the earth was the center of our galaxy.  As you know, Galileo paid a price for his heliocentric view that the sun is the center of our solar system. Many more thoughtful scientist  today understand that the sun and other factors control climate more than an SUV or outdoor barbeque.  Climate has been in flux since that big bang or whatever kicked off the program.

            So what caused the big bang?  And why? How did that initial configuration come into existence? Philosopher Bertrand Russell, who was an atheist, took the easy way and stated that the universe was just there and that's all there is to it.  More importantly to many is the idea that science has usurped the biblical account of creation.  Or has it provided a scientific explanation that fits perfectly with the creation account?

            Another thing I've learned is that where it appears that there is a conflict between science and the Bible,  it is due to an incorrect interpretation of the words in the Bible or changes in science. 

            Perhaps the most common error many people make is to take every word in the Bible literally.  The writers use metaphors throughout the Bible in order to communicate to readers at every intellectual and educational level.  For example, is it logical to think that God came to our planet in a physical form, dug around in the mud, made a "mud man" called Adam, blew air in his nose turning him into a living person, then ripped out a rib and turned it into a woman?  (If a man told his wife that she had the value of one of his ribs, the guy would be banned from her "Garden of Eden" and relegated to the couch.)

            We're talking about the Creator of this vast universe.  If He created the universe by His word, why would He need to become human and get muddy? Or is it more accurate to take that story metaphorically?  The conclusion is the same.  The first thing we need to do is to get rid of the notion that science and the Bible are in conflict.  The more we learn, the more they seem to reinforce each other.

            This article was meant to look at theories from science and religion regarding how we got here, but the debate moderator is indicating my time is up and I've barely started.  If there is any interest in this stuff, I'll pick it up next time.  And if you have ideas or questions send a note to me at higgins@digitalpath.net.