Richard Stone and Rixon Stewart
“Physics has had to accept the indignity of the Principles of Uncertainty… instead of billiard ball particles like electrons, there are probability waves, instead of matter composed of particles and energy composed of waves there is light made of particles and objects made of matter waves. In this surreal sub-atomic world matter has ceased to have any solid form and has no more than a tendency to exist.” From ‘The Facts Of Life’ by Richard Milton
England’s churches are empty, their tiny congregations consist mainly of the elderly whilst the buildings themselves are looked upon as monuments – memorials to a tradition that some would say had outlived its usefulness. In its place there is a new God, an almighty God whose word is accepted virtually without question and whose name is Science.
Most of us have been brought up to believe that there is no system of thought more dependable than modern science. This belief originated in the brilliant scientific discoveries of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; Newton’s explanation of the fundamental laws of physics made the Old Testament’s description of creation seem rather quaint and obscure. Scientific medicine has beaten back the traditional killer diseases such as cholera, TB, Bubonic Plague and Typhus; whilst even the endemic tropical diseases such as malaria, Yellow Fever and the Tsetse fly have fallen under the control of modern science. Add to that the fact that modern conveniences such as electric power, effective plumbing systems and motorcars have transformed the lives of millions and it’s easy to see why science has achieved such authority.
Science has probed into the mechanics of matter as deeply as it can, achieving stunning results in every field. It is therefore not surprising that it has become the paramount belief system; in effect it has become a modern day religion.
But science has reached a sticking point and unbeknown to many this sticking point was reached a long time ago. In the earlier part of the last century scientists explained the mechanics of the atom, which was once considered the irreducible unit of matter. We were all taught about the proton, the neutron, and the electron but even in Einstein’s time, as early as the 1930’s, scientists were discovering the more convoluted world of the sub-atomic particle: particles even smaller than the atom such as the quark, the photon, the neutrino. Ever since then scientists have been engaged in with this challenging research: called ‘Quantum Physics,’’ Sub-Atomic Physics’ or ‘Particle Physics,’ it has largely been ignored by the general public in favour of the more spectacular scientific endeavours like space shots.
Yet research into particle physics is revealing a world far stranger than that yet encountered by space research. In this strange and elusive world there are particles with energy but zero mass (photons); there are also uncharged, unreactive particles with so little mass that they can fly through the earth as easily as a machine gun bullet passes through a bank of fog (neutrino).
In one notable experiment a particle was shot through a screen with a hole in it, the particle would go through the hole but scientists found it very difficult to say how often – but if two holes were made it actually seemed to pass through less often. One researcher remarked that ‘it is though it knew what we were up to’; indeed the researchers concluded that they could not conduct the experiment without becoming part of the experiment themselves.
Pinpointing the location of sub-atomic particles is also notoriously difficult. Some of them cannot be precisely located even though they are known to be present, but this is not for lack of method – it is the nature of the particles themselves. It is even thought that some particles have the ability to appear, and then disappear.
These almost magical qualities seem to defy logic, turning the laws that govern sub atomic physics into something that wouldn’t be out of place in Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’. The Chaos Theory, which is a way of explaining the behaviour of sub atomic particles, is a case in point; essentially it states that even very small occurrences can cause massive changes later on in a chain of interlinked events. Thus, say proponents of the Chaos Theory, the flapping of a Butterfly’s wings can ultimately lead to a tornado.
At this point the man in the street probably parts company with the scientists, who are after all supposed to be the high priests of our earth bound logic. Yet many of these scientists have separately come to one similar and rather disconcerting conclusion: namely that the neat mechanical logic of Newtonian physics breaks down completely when science is confronted with the world of sub-atomic physics.
Could it be that this mysterious, puzzling world is in fact the world of the spirit – the spiritual world that saints and mystics throughout history have sought to explore and reveal?
Einstein’s famous remark ‘God does not play dice with the universe is a clue,’ because maybe God does play dice with the universe – but according to his own bewildering set of rules. The gambling analogy is quite appropriate. Have you ever been gambling with a friend and felt miserably certain that your friend would win and you would lose? The winner usually possesses a healthy joie de vivre while the loser often harbours a sombre pessimism. In a sense this is an experiment with sub atomic particles because the dice, like everything else, contain sub atomic particles and it is impossible to experiment with them without affecting the experiment oneself. Perhaps the winner ‘pleases’ the particles whilst the pessimist ‘displeases’ them.
Nor are these the only examples of scientific research that lead us back toward a more spiritual perspective on reality. Dr. Hugh Ross in his book ‘Creator and the Cosmos’ describes how scientists can set up a computerised model of the cosmos as it relates to the creation of life on earth. But one factor makes life on this planet seem so improbable as to be virtually impossible. Life on earth needs certain amounts of heavy elements such as iron to exist. Scientists are agreed that the explosion of a supernova creates heavy elements, but if the supernova were too close when it exploded it would have damaged the earth too badly for it to support life. On the other hand if it were too far away there would not have been enough of the required heavy elements on earth to support life. The odds against getting the balance right were enormous, so poor in fact that it should have never have happened. And that was only one of at least eight different factors essential for life with similarly phenomenal odds against a favourable outcome.
There is a similar puzzle in the field of Biology. Science theorises that lightening striking a pond full of protein molecules created life on earth. It is possible to put this scenario into a computer model, bringing together all the complex protein molecules to form still more complex molecules, ultimately building a computer model of primitive life. Something like building a Lego model of vast complexity with various components swimming into precisely the right position quite by chance. But once again, according to the mathematical laws this should never have happened, and moreover, even if it did there is no proof whatsoever that lightening would make the end product live.
So why did it happen, if indeed it did?
As Astrophysicist Sir Fred Hoyle put it, “A Super intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology.”
Another point of contention between the scientists and the creationists is evolution, but both camps have ignored the obvious fact that their ideas do not necessarily contradict each other. For example, it could argued that man was created by a spiritual power and then evolved to his present state; on the other hand it could also be contended that man evolved and was then ‘chosen’ by higher powers to develop still further. Both ideas encompass the two viewpoints, but the real sticking point is the Darwinists insistence that mankind evolved from Apes. This theory has always infuriated Christian fundamentalists but the idea is an understandable one for scientists, given the obvious similarities between apes and men. Crucially however, no ‘missing link’ has never been found, and every time a new candidate is discovered, human remains older than the ‘missing link’ are unearthed.
Far more problematic for the Darwinists is the total lack of evidence for an evolutionary link between reptiles and mammals. Mammals have a single lower jaw, reptiles have six; mammals have six ear bones while reptiles have one; so it should be a simple matter to come up with a few fossils of a ‘missing link’ between these two huge families in the animal kingdom, but not a single such fossil has ever been found. Even more problematic is the question of the history of the universe, its beginning and its end. One cannot be but stunned when one reads of the depth and brilliance of scientific researches into this question: ‘from Einstein’s work on general relativity came the recognition that there must be an origin for matter and energy and from Penrose, Hawking and Ellis’s work came the acknowledgment that there must be an origin for space and time too.’ (1)
It seems that just before the Big Bang there was a state called ‘Singularity’, a state of infinite density and unlimited temperature; which begins to sound uncomfortably like a super-natural state and once again science has tried to get out of this but could not. The universe, say scientists, is expanding after the Big Bang and can be contracted in a scientific model back to 10 -34 seconds after the event. Speculation abounds about this tiny interval of time, but the model has not been disproved and probably never will be.
So science has no explanation for the beginning, nor it seems, the end. What we are left with is Stephen Hawking’s conclusion that the universe begins and ends in ‘singularities’ where the laws of physics and materialistic science simply do not work. Which calls to mind the words, ‘I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end,’ because the scientific evidence is beginning to point to an absolute power, an almighty creative force that is beyond the realm of human understanding, a God if you like.
However this article is not intended to direct the reader to any one particular form of spiritual belief but rather toward spiritual investigation as a whole. Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity are all good starting points, particularly if one looks at the original source material -- because religions tend to become distorted over time due to misinterpretation and the machinations of those in power. So start at the beginning and enjoy the journey, because like the story, it’s a never-ending one.
(1) Fingerprints Of The Gods.
Sources: ‘Creator and Cosmos’ and ‘The Fingerprints of the Gods’ by Hugh Ross. ‘In Search Of The Edge Of Time’ by John Gribbin. ‘The Facts Of Life’ by John Milton.
Last updated 01/12/2003