Washington D.C., October 15, 2015, (Alochonaa): Can ‘quantum uncertainty’ (one cannot simultaneously know both the exact position and exact momentum of a single particle) and ‘chaos theory’ (finding the underlying order in apparently random data) be used to explain the existence of divinity? Is God the brain of the universe, or do we live in a self-contained universe operating on its own mechanical laws behind which there is no brain, no spirit?
Does ‘soul-spirit’, as those who believe that such nebulous entities actually exist and assuming their location in a body is identifiable, abide by the same natural laws governing the universe? If the Big Bang theory (15 billion years ago) entails the absolute beginning of the universe created from nothing (creatio ex nihilo), which necessarily presumes omnipotence and first cause argument. The interesting thing about the Big Bang theory is that some have used it to explain that God created the universe (new creationism), while others have criticized the theory because it implies the universe operates on laws independent of an omnipotent deity.
The cosmological argument begs the teleological argument of purpose behind creation; purpose implies a mind, which leads to the rational argument that the universe’s operation on the basis of laws also implies a mind behind it, which leads to the ontological argument that God-consciousness means man’s concept of a creator was placed there by God. The existence of God allows for the empirical ‘chaotic pluralism’ of the universe to be conceptualized into a uniform and holistic theoretical manner, especially when a person has lived in a theistic society where the mind is so conditioned.
Does quantum physics prove the existence of God, or is it merely a reflection of how some conveniently conceptualize physics and strive to connect the seemingly controversial creation of a dynamic universe with an omnipotent mind and will responsible for all creation? If consciousness does not create electrons, but intentionality manufactures reality at the quantum level, then God is nothing but a human creation springing out of imagination and used as a simple and convenient tool to explain the creation, evolution and future course of the universe.
Is it conceivable that there is rational thought to deriving any spiritual meaning from quantum mechanics which is equations describing how particles behave under certain circumstances. If quantum mechanics is devoid of spiritual basis, why use it to kill God? How many times must man create and then kill God? First Nietzsche declares God dead, and now Stephen Hawking, one of the most brilliant minds in theoretical physics, is arguing that the laws of the universe are responsible for the creation of the universe. In my view, it is indeed great that he changed his mind from his earlier position.
The larger question of God’s existence, however, is whether it makes any difference in the way today’s scientists, unlike social scientists, theologians and philosophers, will conduct their studies knowing that a prominent physicist denies God’s existence in his forthcoming book The Grand Design.
Does this mean man must now accept that the self-creating universe gave birth to irrational beings who vehemently disagree about creation and must accept responsibility for their actions individually and collectively?
And what about the fact that most people on the planet are rooted in religion and theism and without religion they are floating in deep space like burnt-out asteroids? And what of mainstream institutions that superficially or substantively accept theism and count on man’s acceptance of belief in the absolute and on the masses’ acceptance of the illusion of a Supreme Being? How dreadfully irresponsible of Professor Hawking to deprive humankind of precious illusions that predate civilization!
Naturally, Hawking’s revelation would have meant something entirely different for society in the age of the Holy Inquisition, even in the Age of Reason. But other than entertainment-style media designed to sell a bourgeois lifestyle along with products for today’s “smart consumer,” does it mean anything either for theists or atheists? Ontological arguments for God’s existence–everything from the teleological and causation arguments to motion and design arguments on which there is no shortage of scholarly philosophical and theological literature, will not be impacted no matter what theoretical physicists proclaim.
As for the believers, the things that matter include, but are not limited to, a religious experience and/or revelation, religious ethics, free will vs. determinism, and above all, the eternal question of life after death – Paradise v. Hell. Although throughout history scientific discoveries gave philosophy foundation and direction, it is guaranteed that Hawking will not have any impact on peoples’ religious convictions. As man’s greatest, most necessary creation used for both good and evil, religion and theism have little to do with science and much more with human nature – both human biology and psychology – as well as with institutions, especially politics and business which have always managed to co-opt religion and use it for amassing power, profit and glory.
From ancient times to the present man exploits, subjugates and kills in the the name of a personal deity universalized. No human invention comes close to religion and theism for fostering order and at times chaos and mass destruction in society. FAITH as the foundation of governments, faith as the foundation of the dollar, faith as the foundation of warring factions, faith as the foundation of the Muslim revolts of 2011, faith in the hearts of humans from birth to death as a sign of finiteness.
Religious faith may actually help patients recover quicker when they are ill and they may live longer–at least this is what some studies indicate. Is it not so much better for people to rely on faith than on any kind of medication, narcotic drugs, or commercial psycho-therapy than in some case may actually do more harm than good? Priests may serve a more useful role than psychologists, or least as equally good and bad. At the same time, priests may also serve as exploiters in all manners from financial to political of the faithful.
Because religion and theism reflect the complexities of human nature, because they are the ultimate tools of control and exploitation of the masses by elites, as well as sources of inner tranquility and spiritual transcendence their existence is guaranteed until the end of the species, no matter the theoretical physics arguments or empirical studies suggest about the absence of God-consciousness behind The Grand Design. As an extension of the established regime and social structure is used to preserve the status quo, organized religion has historically had the reputation as a sociopolitical instrument of preventing progressive change. This very significant issue aside, the question of God’s existence v. science is one that society’s increased secularization and the continued empirical and theoretical advances in modern physics determines.
*Jon Kofas is a retired Professor . He has published many works including; Independence From America: Global Integration And Inequality, Under the Eagle’s Claw: Exceptionalism in Postwar U.S, Greek Relations and The Sword of Damocles, and The IMF, the World Bank, and U.S. Foreign Policy in Colombia and Chile, 1950-1970.
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