For those of us, who thought science is all about believing a man in a wheel chair who keeps changing his theories; let me tell you this: what media has to say is not science; The media thinks that only the cutting edge of science, the very latest controversies, are worth reporting on. How often do you see headlines like “General Relativity still governing planetary orbits” or “Phlogiston theory remains false”? By the time anything is solid science, it is no longer a breaking headline. “Newsworthy” science is based on the thinnest of evidence and wrong half the time. If it were not on the uttermost fringes of the scientific frontier, it would not be news. Scientific controversies are problems so difficult that even people who’ve spent years mastering the field can still fool themselves. That’s what makes the problem controversial and attracts all the media attention. So the reporters show up, and hear the scientists speak fascinating words. The reporters are told that “particles” are “waves”, but there is no understanding of math for the words to invoke. What the physicist means by “wave” is not what the reporters hear, even if the physicist’s math applies also to the structure of water as it crashes on the shore.
Science is about evidence, not just one evidence, but tonnes of cross-linking evidence that asserts the existence of the same underlying truth. It continually improvises on the understanding of truth with no reliance on authority figure or text.[BTW although science does not rely on authority it does have its heroes whose beliefs (a.k.a theories) are more likely to considered for the investigation for an experimental evidence. e.g. Albert Einstein. But students who learn relativity today understand relativity better than Einstein did because of the evidence available. They don’t refer back to the original works of Einstein in German, like theologians who read original Hebrew texts.] This form of continual improvisation where older theories are at times proved false, may lead some of us to question the need to believe in todays scientists.
I think it is time that we need a Believability Index edited by scientists around the world. It should work like the Rapture Index. It should be something like the following:
Should we believe in Big Bang? Yes. There is sufficient experimental evidence as of now that makes a Big Bang as plausible as the 3 laws of motion. Huge advances in Big Bang cosmology were made in the late 1990s and the early 21st century as a result of major advances in telescope technology in combination with large amounts of satellite data such as that from COBE, the Hubble Space Telescope and WMAP. Such data have allowed cosmologists to calculate many of the parameters of the Big Bang to a new level of precision and led to the unexpected discovery that the expansion of the universe appears to be accelerating.
Based on measurements of the expansion of the universe using Type 1a supernovae, measurements of temperature fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background, and measurements of the correlation function of galaxies, the universe has a calculated age of 13.7 ± 0.2 billion years. The agreement of these three independent measurements is considered strong evidence for the so-called ΛCDM model that describes the detailed nature of the contents of the universe.
Should we believe in Evolution? Yes. The most easiest and believable way to see evolution is understand the evidences for it in molecular genetics. The development of molecular genetics, and particularly of DNA sequencing, has allowed biologists to study the record of evolution left in organisms’ genetic structures. The degrees of similarity and difference in the DNA sequences of modern species allows geneticists to reconstruct their lineages. It is from DNA sequence comparisons that figures such as the 95% genotypic similarity between humans and chimpanzees are obtained. Genetic sequence evidence thus allows inference and quantification of genetic relatedness between humans and other apes. The sequence of the 16S rRNA gene, a vital gene encoding a part of the ribosome, was used to find the broad phylogenetic relationships between all extant life. The analysis, originally done by Carl Woese, resulted in the three-domain system, arguing for two major splits in the early evolution of life. The first split led to modern Bacteria and the subsequent split led to modern Archaea and Eukaryote.
Should we believe God? Please bear with this before the answer: Once we (Jews & Early Christians) believed that God is just above the place we now recognize as the ozone layer. Next, we placed the God out of the skies that covered the Earth… but the remaining believers believed that the then spherical Earth was still at center of the known universe; after all shouldn’t the cosmic stage of sin & salvation be center stage? Once that changed, the believers of today still believe in a God that exists outside the universe the physical constants of which sound miraculously just right for the evolution of intelligent life because the highly improbable conditions on Earth that lead to life, could in fact be highly probable because of the evidence of billions of planets in the universe of which, only those planets where the conditions are right are there people asking questions about it. But science does what it has always done; it continually downgrades the need for the influence of God; as a result of chaotic inflation theory of Andrei Linde, it is quite plausible (but not proved) that there exists a multiverse; and the physical of constants of this universe are nothing but one set of constants among the multitude of universes which just so happens to be right for life.
But even if Andrei Linde is proved right there will still be room for a God in our minds; a God that is “a Spirit that moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2), a God that moved upon the face of the sea of universes in the multi-verse where he just happens to have created our universe in the salty multivers-ian higher dimensional froth.
The bottomline is, God is a vague concept which highly portable no matter what science proves to be true. In the words of Cardinal of Austria, Christoph Schönborn –
“Now at the beginning of the 21st century, faced with scientific claims like neo-Darwinism and the multiverse hypothesis in cosmology invented to avoid the overwhelming evidence for purpose and design found in modern science, the Catholic Church will again defend human reason by proclaiming that the immanent design evident in nature is real. Scientific theories that try to explain away the appearance of design as the result of “chance and necessity” are not scientific at all, but, as John Paul put it, an abdication of human intelligence.”
The good news is that science has not yet disproved the existence of a God (who btw, may have gone through evolution & evolved himself from a cruder form). I don’t think science ever will because the truth is extremely complex for that kind of analysis. So it is still up to the personal choice of the individual whether to believe in a God.
I for one, can’t wait till we prove the existence of multiverse, and the existence of a multi-multi-verse because that is the way I am.