Some resolutions

Although I clearly get excited about new ideas (daily blog journaling) and have a harder time following through (3 posts in a month), I still think it is good practice to write down personal goals and refer back to them if possible. Even if you don’t make huge strides, the only way to make small and meaningful changes is to be constantly reminded of your desire to make them.

Here are a few. I’ll certainly be back to read them, hopefully I’ll add a few more, and perhaps I’ll make some progress.

Drink a glass of milk with dinner each day (or before going out for dinner). Walk up the stairs at work. Replace ice cream with frozen yogurt at home.

Work more on engagement. Not the ring kind. I have been working in the last year or two on learning more about news, politics, the economy, in order to stay informed and make conscious decisions about what I believe. I think I’ve done a great job at that–particularly listening to podcasts has helped me learn a lot. But the next step is more reflection and more questioning on my part, then going out in search of the answers. Then, using the knowledge I gain to form opinions and talk them over with people. I hope that these opinions will be well thought out and fact-based enough that they won’t be immediately swayed by a convincing character of the opposite opinion, but I also want them to be flexible enough so that I am not blinded by them. I think this blog will be a good way to start working on that–an organized place where I can write about what I learn, then do my best to respond and collect more ideas on the same topics. After forming these opinions, hopefully next year my resolution will be something along the lines of joining an organization or group in order to act on these opinions and contribute to a cause or causes I believe in.

Work more on selflessness. Try and take a step back, look at things from one room over, and from another’s point of view. Don’t get swept up in my expectations or my idea of how things are supposed to go. Instead, try to make things go in a way that is best for everyone, not just myself. Not only will it have a better effect on the rest of the world and the other people in it, but I think it will make me a happier, more compassionate, and more generous person.

Does Science Refute God?

http://intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/upcoming-debates/item/728-science-refutes-god

I just listened to a really interesting Intelligence Squared podcast, where the debaters were all scientists (two atheistic or non-religious, two Christian) debating whether science refutes the existence of God. Although it was really interesting, I don’t think they really got at the point of this question.

First it seems important to define God in this question. I would say God is not religion, not the Bible, not it’s teachings. God is a non-human, non-physical being who can listen, can take action in the physical world, and created the universe. (I think God in this question must be described as the correspondence of the Gods in all of the world’s religions; descriptors beyond this are not universal and not necessarily true of God.)

I would argue that modern scientific knowledge does not refute the existence of a being such as this.

First of all, the possibility that the universe was created by God does not seem to me to be disproved or refuted by science. Modern science shows us that everything in the universe did originate at one point, the big bang.

Evolutionism, to me, does not refute God. Why couldn’t evolution exist alongside God? Perhaps if he were perfect, he would have created perfect beings to begin with. But is there a reason why he couldn’t have created the universe and allowed the physics, biology, chemistry of that universe that he created to eventually lead to the current reality? Based on my initial impressions of the idea (not the details) of God, this is possible.

My other main perception about God is that he is necessarily able to take action in the physical world. Science hasn’t disproven this either. Although an important foundation of science is determinism (the idea that given a set of initial conditions and physical laws, the reality of the situation will evolve in the same way each time, even if our measurement of that situation may vary with some uncertainty), quantum mechanics and more modern physics ideas disagree with this. The main principle that seems to directly not disprove God is the idea in quantum mechanics that infinite experimental results are possible, and the probabilities of different outcomes are specified by a continuous and infinite function—indicating that really, nothing is truly impossible. The highly unlikely may be highly unlikely, but still impossible. In this way, acts of God, though highly unlikely, could still be described as conforming to laws of physics.

I think I need to go back to my modern and quantum physics classes and look at these experiments (where electron wave functions have minute but real probabilities of being outside their classical physics confines) and see if these ideas make sense along with the idea of God playing a role in the universe in a way that cannot be described by classical physics law.

What are other universal descriptions of God, and how does science regard these descriptors?

What questions can science answer that religion can’t? And what questions can religion answer that science can’t? What questions can both answer; what questions can neither answer? Complementary, supplementary?