October 30, 2012

II.  God is Possible


Intro-  Good Morning, America, how are you?  Say, don't you know me?  I'm your native son.  I'm the train they call the City of New Orleans.  I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.

Family heritage, a funny thing. Our fathers and mothers come from somewhere. As did their fathers and mothers before them. But who really knows much about their own actual heritage beyond that?  Backwards in time, I should say, beyond the names and home locations of our own grandparents? Surprising how little we do know ... given the nature of how values get passed through.

What's that thought got to do with the price of rice?  Not all that much, but here's to the City of New Orleans, to a grand old house sitting between St. Charles Avenue and the levees, and, oh yes, to Willie Nelson, Arlo Guthrie, Steve Goodman (1971) and anyone else who ever went to, sang or rode on the City of New Orleans.

Ok, on to Part II of the argument.

II:  God is Possible

When I left this subject late last night, the picture of the purple space elephant was just exactly where I had left it, about a third of the way down in Part I's post. Then I woke early in the morn and it was gone. Still I have not found it so I haven't been able to put it back in its spot. 

Yes, I do have a back-up copy on my phone, but for the life of me I cannot figure what went wrong with the HTML code for the pic ID. Maybe it's meant to be. Maybe not.

Sans one purple pic.

Now where are we?  Professor Oerter uses string theory (see footnote below)* as a logical analogy to support his argument -- that is to say, we should not accept an argument for the existence of God without evidence to support that argument.

What the professor is saying (I think) is that he is not looking at this time for a rational argument that proposes to show God's existence. Nor is he looking for a testimonial or spiritual approach to "find" God. (My quotes around "find" not Oerter's).  Instead, he is looking for an empirical approach, like the type used in developing scientific theories.

This is why (I suspect) he wants to use string theory as an analogy as part of his argument. Scientists look at complex data, and undertake a large number of experiments, to find out how things work. They then craft a theory which might be used to explain all the results. 

String theory is one such theory. But no scientist is going to "accept" string theory "as a fact" unless the evidence from scientific experiments is adequately explained by that theory. (Oerter's words in quotes).

Well, I agree with that completely.  In that sense I do not believe that God is a proven fact.  Nor do I believe, given what we empirically know in 2012, that God is going to become a proven fact in the near future (barring any miraculous events). 

But that is equally true for string theory. 

Yet, that does not stop scientists from investing a lot of intellectual capital into the exploration of string theory.

So ... Professor Oerter's analogy to string theory backfires, so to speak.  After all, it is certainly "accepted" that string theory, while not proven, is possible.  Professor Oerter's analogy to string theory reminds us that the theory for the existence of God, while also not proven, is also a reasoned case which provides an "explanation for the patterns of elementary particles, and so forth."  (Oerter's quotes about string theory). Thus God's existence, like string theory, must be accepted as possible.

Thus, God is Possible.

Next, Part III.
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*  It can be seen from the argument made that we don't need a detailed understanding of string theory to follow the argument.  In fact, all we need is an appreciation that physicists understand the theory and are sufficiently committed to it to test it out in the laboratory. 

For those interested, however, here is a link to a Wikipedia article:  "String theory is an active research framework in particle physics that attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. It is a contender for a theory of everything ... a self-contained mathematical model that describes all fundamental forces and forms of matter."  (My italics).  More sophisticated articles are also available on the 'net'.
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Credits:
- the City of New Orleans, in song, verse, and physical reality.
- my parents and grandparents, some of whom lived in New Orleans and some of whom lived in Philadelphia
- anyone harmed by Hurricane Sandy
 



1 comment:

  1. God is not possible; if he was he would have had to been created by somebody else. And so on ad nauseum. It would have to stop somewhere. Why not with string theory?

    ReplyDelete


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