My Other Interests
From the links in my “other interests” section you can see I have interests in Christian and biblical things. But the question is, is it intellectually credible to accept the God of the Bible in this age of science and particular should I accept this God being a practising scientist myself? Is it intellectually credible to accept the Bible as something relevant for today?
We are given the impression that it is not realistic to accept these things. Our television documentary programmes and the news media often portrays that science has virtually disproved the existence of God, proved we have evolved from nothing, and completely discredited the Bible. The person who sees the Bible as a relevant document for us today is described as “unreasonable and irrational”, and cannot be taken seriously in this scientific age.
What do you think?
Well, as a Bible believing Christian myself, who is a practising physicist in particular, I think that taking a biblical worldview is intellectually credible.
The Validity of a Biblical Worldview
As a Christian I have found there to be this God and that He has communicated with mankind which is documented in the Bible. To put this in a more “neutral” way for those that don’t accept these things, my position would start with two presuppositions: 1) The assumption that there is a God, and 2) The assumption that He has communicated with us (i.e. the Bible). I readily acknowledge this as the starting point of my worldview or philosophical framework. Moreover, I would put forward the content of the Bible itself as the first piece of evidence of the validity of this worldview. The Bible exhibits remarkable features such as its profundity and self-consistency.
As a physicist it is good to know that I am in good company with such as Isaac Newton (1642–1727), Michael Faraday (1791–1867), James Joule (1818–1889), William Thompson i.e. Lord Kelvin (1824–1907), James Clerk Maxwell (1831–1879) and John Ambrose Fleming2f (1849–1945) who accepted this God and had confidence in the Bible. And that is only naming a few who held this worldview who today we might call physicists. It is their testimony that I put as the second piece of evidence for consideration of the validity of this worldview.
How is this worldview rational and reasonable then? Well, the laws of reason themselves is what I put forward as the third piece of evidence. Why do we have laws of logic such as the law of non-contradiction? Why do we strive in our thinking toward this standard of being logical and self-consistent? It is because there is an absolute right and wrong in logical thinking. Statement “X” cannot equal statement “NOT-X”, not even a little bit. I would argue that this is a manifestation of the character of God who has defined right & wrong and cannot contradict himself. More…
It is the biblical worldview that drives my scientific research because building on from the laws of logic we have the laws of nature (the laws of physics in particular which are my interest). The universe is orderly, can be observed and the laws of physics don’t change so that we can repeat experiments and even make predictions. I am passionate about trying to understand how the universe works and then using that information in developing technologies to make life better. I am confident that tomorrow the laws of physics won’t change because the universe follows the logic of cause and effect and is not random.
The fourth piece of evidence that I would submit is the fact that the constants associated with the laws of physics just so happen to be the right values. A study of physics shows that there are a lot of coincidences out there that just so happen to come together to make this universe habitable for us. My worldview is that there is someone out there that makes it so.
Some of my fellow physicists would not accept that there is a designer behind the universe and as a consequence put forward an alternative view such as that there must be multiple universes with different laws of physics that operate. Obviously, this universe we occupy would be the one where it all comes together as we are here to observe it. However, it must be pointed out that this is not derived from scientific facts as there is zero evidence for the “multiverse” – the “multiverse” has never been observed and cannot be tested. This is pure speculation on behalf of some of my colleagues. I would not dispute that it is a valid position to hold but it is not one that comes from the scientific facts but comes from a particular philosophical proposition.
But there again, us physicists are always straying from the material world into what is called meta-physics! I think it is because in the back of our minds we know that something more is going on in our universe than can be just explained by material processes. Whether such intellectual pursuits and speculations should be included in scientific disciplines is up to debate. Obviously some of my colleagues wish to include this in the physics discipline, particularly in the area of the origins of the universe and have done so for many decades. Of course, our own particular worldviews will motivate us accordingly.
I have been accused by the news media that I believe creationism to be a scientific fact. I have never and don’t hold any such position.
However, to be clear, I am a creationist (holding the biblical view of a young earth). My actual position is that creationism is as much a scientific fact (i.e. scientifically testable and refutable) as evolution of species or this “multiverse”. These are not scientific facts but interpretations of the facts within a particular worldview or philosophical framework. In my mind, the facts are not in dispute, it is the interpretation. This is not the realm of science but of philosophy and I would say theology as well. I am very happy about exploring the overlap of these disciplines but we must be clear in our thinking about what are the scientific facts and the interpretations of these facts within various worldviews.
Disclaimer: The views expressed therein do not necessarily reflect those of the institutions or organisations named