Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. John 1:3
‘Tis the season to talk of God. The debate about the existence of God or Intelligent Designer or Universal Intelligence or … (henceforth ‘God’) continues to grow as we discover more about our universe, or as some would have it, creation.
Celebrated physicist Richard Feynman said, “I do not believe that science can disprove the existence of God; I think that is impossible. And if it is impossible, is not a belief in science and in a God -- an ordinary God of religion -- a consistent possibility? … Yes, it is consistent.” He went on to say, “…many scientists do believe in both science and God, in a perfectly consistent way. But this consistency, although possible, is not easy to attain...”
Since Feynman made this statement some years back, a lot more has been learned about how our universe is constructed. This has caused more and more scientists to apply Occam’s razor and conclude that the most likely explanation for the existence of what we observe and measure is that there is a God, that what is, came to be through intelligent design. Almost all scientists are Bayesians in how they treat uncertainty, the consistency of their belief in the existence of God is then taken as any other proposition they may consider. In this case the existence of God in their mind has a very high probability (say, 0.999), but it is not a certainty and still makes a provision for future evidence to start diminishing that probability. In other words, God, like descriptions of the rest of his creation, is accepted within the reasoning powers that have evolved within the sapient critters that populate his universe.
In the January 2015 Scientific American is a feature article discussing the statistical likelihood of myriads of exoplanets which may be even more suitable for life as we know it (i.e. carbon based with lots of complex molecules having hydrogen and oxygen in them). Best current estimates number these planets to be around 100 billion just in our Milky Way galaxy. In our visible universe there are up to 200 billion galaxies (they are still counting), and, of course, then there is the part of the universe that is already invisible to us. These are the galaxies so far away that the intervening space itself is expanding faster than the speed of light, making it so that light from the invisible galaxies will never reach us – i.e. we will never see them, and they will no longer see us. Put it all together, and there are a lot of potential homes where intelligent civilizations will come to be, are, and may have already passed into oblivion or onto paths of glory unknown to our meager peabrains.
In a 25dec14 piece ‘Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God’, Eric Metaxas discusses the unbelievably extreme precision with which tens of natural constants/parameters have been fashioned that make life on earth (and potentially elsewhere) possible. The slightest variation in any of them would create universes to deny our existence. Astronomer Fred Hoyle (of Big Bang fame) said, “a common-sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as with chemistry and biology . . . . The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”
We can go on quoting science luminaries drawing similar conclusions until the cows come home. Let me throw out one or two more, first by one of the current greats in theoretical physics, Paul Davies. He said, “the appearance of design is overwhelming.” Oxford mathematician and philosopher of science John Lennox agrees, “the more we get to know about our universe, the more the hypothesis that there is a Creator . . . gains in credibility as the best explanation of why we are here.” (more here)
Opposing them is the diminishing crowd of secular humanist scientists whose mantra is that ‘it’s turtles all the way down!’ These investigators may have their scientist credentials called into question because they don’t follow evidence and infer from what their data reveals. Instead, they start with the firm yet unscientific belief that the debate is over, that ‘There is no God’, and then spend their lives looking for the next turtle upon which all the other turtles can be balanced (until the top one on whose back rests earth). They never seem to understand that such a quest doesn’t even lead in the direction of the proof they seek. (Today, from their ranks come also the climateers who fiercely mangle climate data records and run dodgy computer models to support their political funding benefactors in trumpeting the whys and wherefores of undeniable man-made global warming.)
The existence of God beckons to answer Princeton physicist John Wheeler’s last quest, ‘Why Existence?’ – a profound journey beyond the limits of science.
To recap Feynman, “So the question changes a little bit from ‘Is there a God?’ to ‘How sure is it that there is a God?’ This very subtle change is a great stroke and represents a parting of the ways between science and religion. … I do not believe that science can disprove the existence of God; I think that is impossible. And if it is impossible, is not a belief in science and in a God -- an ordinary God of religion -- a consistent possibility? Yes it is consistent.”