Saturday, February 09, 2013

Excerpt Jim Holt's book, Why Does the World Exist?


"“No scientific theory, it seems, can bridge the gulf between absolute nothingness and a full-fledged universe,” the scientifically inclined religious apologist Roy Abraham Varghese has written. “This ultimate origin question is a metascientific question— one which science can ask but not answer.” The distinguished Harvard University astronomer (and devout Mennonite) Owen Gingerich agrees. In a lecture titled “God’s Universe,” delivered at Harvard’s Memorial Church in 2005, Gingerich pronounced the ultimate why question to be a “teleological” one—“ not for science to grapple with.”….It [science] can’t account for the origin of the primal physical state out of nothing. That, at least, is what diehard defenders of the God hypothesis insist."

— Holt, Jim (2012-07-09). Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story (p. 6-7). Norton. Kindle Edition.

Religion, it seems, can sometimes claim a limit to science's ability to explain why the world exists, how it emerged out of nothing. Only theology can answer the 'why' question, goes the claim. 

I, myself, can invent dozens of 'theologies', dreaming up fantasies. 

I think of the number line, centered at zero, negative numbers increasingly negative in one direction, matching positive numbers increasingly positive in the opposite direction on the line. Add them all up, what do you get: zero, nothing.

Think of pairs of n-dimensional universes existing together, altogether amounting to nothing.

Let theology grapple with that.

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