The Pope says God is behind the Big Bang
I’ve already talked at length about this in my post titled “Anti-Science”. Well, not so much this directly but the general relationship between science and religion. I guess you could also say I touched on this in my post titled “Enlightenment.”
The harm in allowing people to blame things like science on God is that they tend to apply human reasoning to explaining why God did what he did. We, as a moderately intelligent race, have to accept that any being that could cause the Big Bang would not think in any way that human’s could comprehend. Therefore we must accept that once we apply God’s hand to the Big Bang we can no longer claim any understanding of who or what God is. Even to simply say there was willful intent is applying a human concept to something that is so far beyond human comprehension that we may as well go back to the days where the Sun was a ball of fire carried across the sky in a chariot.
Acknowledging that most people won’t have the education to understand that previous paragraph, I must then say, “If people want to blame the Big Bang on God, that’s fine.”
You don’t build a pyramid by starting with the cap stone. To a logical minded scientist, there’s no reason to attribute the Big Bang to the hand of God. To a less educated person, the gaps in their knowledge are sometimes filled in by whatever it takes to rationalize whatever they accept as true. I’m not saying it’s okay to take this rationalization so far as to believe something that is not at all true. But it’s a step forward to believe in the Big Bang over Young Earth Creationism.
Hard-minded scientists must realize that to a lay-person, the list of facts they know about the Big Bang is shorter than the list of the Seven Dwarves they can name from memory. (mouseover after you’ve tried to name them yourself (Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Doc, Bashful, Happy, Grumpy)). Since religion normally explains things we don’t know, it naturally fills in for the rest of the details. As long as we open the door in their minds to science, we can work on explaining more things scientifically and having less need of religion defining what we can know through science.
We’re never going to expunge the need of the human brain to rationalize. It’s almost impossible to realize a question of how or why and not begin to postulate answers. For people lacking the education to form proper answers, they lean on the supernatural. Thus, there will always be places in the human condition for religion. As long as we can believe in things that cannot be measured and things that we cannot prove the non-existence of, religion will flourish. Since we can rationalize and always come up with another reason why it might not be measurable, religion is safe as long as it doesn’t try to trump science.
The easiest way to look at this is: In saying that the hand of God caused the Big Bang, we’re not redefining the Big Bang, we’re redefining the hand of God. The Big Bang is(or will be), ultimately, definable and measurable. God is perpetually indefinite. Perhaps with both science and religion we are constantly refining our understanding.