December 10, 2011

Reflections: Our learn'd astronomers depend on dice to make theories work

By JOSEPH R. MCKENNA

(Continued from page 1)

REFLECTIONS is a column written by members of Maine's faith-based community. Opinions expressed in the column reflect the author's view and not necessarily that of the newspaper.

But you know what? They put their pants on one leg at a time just like the rest of us. Yes, they have doctorate degrees. I know lots of people who have doctorates. I knew a doctor of literature one time who believed that the world was made 6,000 years ago! My physician has a doctorate. And you know what he tells me? That I have to manage my own health.

I keep up with science. I keep up with biblical studies that investigate the meanings of the opening chapters of Genesis. I listen to physical and astronomical scientists explaining their theories. I look at their evidence with an open "scientific" mind. But I manage my own world view.

Some of these scientists, you know, are not even following the scientific method. Scientific method says you start "with an open mind" and proceed to gather evidence no matter where it leads you. And if you find there are two possible conclusions, you follow the principle of Occam's razor and accept the one with the least complications. But if you start with a premise (like there is no creator) and then proceed to weave theories that back that premise up, is that true science?

And, as for Stephen Hawking's theories: Yes, particles can come in and out of existence, seemingly by themselves. But to conclude from this that the universe came into existence by itself is more than a stretch. It's not good science.

My advice to the Brian Greenes et al is to put away your blackboards for a while and come out into the real world. Take a walk in a park or by the seashore. Many a genius has come up with an important inspiration while walking along the seashore.

Wouldn't it be a lot more economical and logical scientifically to search for a simpler solution: A creative force, for example, of some sort somewhere?

The Rev. Joseph R. McKenna is a semi-retired Catholic priest who lives in Portland.

 

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