Comments on "God and the New Physics"

  1. p.1-4: Why is religion declining in the industrialized West? Thus, religion is not dying, main-line churches are. (This indicates the Western bias of much of these materialists. Jenkins 2002 book about global Christianity is a solid, statistics packed book on the growth of Christianity in the world today. See also an essay on Kicking the Materialism habit.)

    So Davies remarks are addressed primarily to religious organizations. And my take on it is that Davies is correct about main-line, Church of England, sorts of denominations. They are suffering a cultural assault lasting 100 years and are finally showing the effects. The problem is cultural, and its impact is on organized religion of the 1st and 2nd world. It is not a problem in Africa, Asia, S. America etc.
  2. p.4-5: Davies social critique of Christianity is highly flavored by virulent naturalism, i.e. rather biassed and often historically incorrect. This is the reason for the Brooke history lesson, to correct the inaccuracies of intellectual elite.
  3. p.6 The two worlds argument for science and religion again emphasizes naturalism, i.e. scientists aren't dogmatic, theology is. In response I have a few points: (1) scientists are; (2)I wish theologians were. And as to the comment that science doesn't fight wars over principles, I beg to differ. When the Israelis attacked an Iraqi nuclear reactor 25 years ago, was it for the sake of religion, or technology? People die for science every day. Let's not get noble here.

    Bondi's quote, again a strain of virulent naturalism, suggests that religious people aren't humble and scientists are. Let's do a worst case comparison: Mother Theresa vs. Carl Sagan. You be the judge, who's more humble? The fact of the matter is, science has no more claim to the high ground than any other religion, and under careful scrutiny, less.
  4. KEY Point: Biology is becoming more mechanistic / deterministic / naturalistic; whereas Physics is becoming less so.
  5. Chap2:Introduces universe, infinity & entropy.
    Paradox of Newton's gravity and infinite stars
    expanding universe solution
    Interlude on infinity--snowflake curve
    cosmological expansion implies contraction
    Initial singularity=creation of space and time
    Beginning of time debate is ancient: Augustine vs Aristotle
    (Note: Pope Pius in 1951 argues that Big Bang theory was consistent w/ Bible. This claim provoked Bondi. But by 1965 it was accepted wisdom.
    Evidence for the Big Bang: (1) 3deg blackbody radiation; (2) He/H ratio with almost no Li.
    Bondi's steady state theory response (which in many ways, is similar to Guth's inflation theory.)
  6. Chap 3:ex nihilo vs. eternal matter-->solved by postulating infinite time.
    Cosmological argument--> 1st cause: Space-time is not even primary? (Wheeler)
    Creation of new universes (5-dimensions) "Yet God is not involved".
    Existence and Creation are different concepts. Scientists may describe existence--> they still have no clue about creation. For example: Democritus had a trinity: atoms indestructible; space infinite; time eternal, and therefore God doesn't exist. In response, Aristotle argued that 1st causes gave the why, the purpose, and 2nd causes of the sort Democritus favored, were mechanical with no ability to explain purpose.