Sunday, December 16, 2007

Pursuing the Clues

The December 10 edition of America, the national Catholic weekly magazine published by the Jesuits, included a good article entitled "The Eye and I: Do the questions science poses diminish the God of faith?".

The article was written by Fr. William J. O'Malley, S.J., a teacher at Fordham Prep in the Bronx.

Good snip:

Science still yields plenty of clues to a Designer, who might not be as intrusive as we have been led to believe. Every planet circles the sun at precisely the one speed that will keep it from drifting into deep space or crashing into the sun. The four fundamental forces in the universe are gravity (the attractive pull of every body), electromagnetism (bonding atoms), the strong nuclear force (binding elements within the nucleus) and the weak force (radioactive decay). If any of these forces were even minutely different, the advent of humans would have been unthinkable. In fact, according to Stephen Hawking, “If the rate of expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, it would have recollapsed before it reached its present size.” Conversely, if gravity were weaker, Big Bang dust would have just continued to expand, never coalescing. If the strong nuclear force were a little weaker, no elements heavier than hydrogen would have formed. If electromagnetism were stronger, electrons would be so tightly bound to atoms, chemical compounds would have been impossible. Any weaker, and atoms would disintegrate at room temperature.

Miller writes: “As His great creation burst forth from the singularity of its origin, His laws would have set within it the seeds of galaxies, stars, and planets, the potential for life, the inevitability of change, and the confidence of emerging intelligence.” God works not in the intimate, palpable anthropomorphism of Genesis, kneeling in the mud to fashion Adam and turn his rib into Eve, but God is—and always will be—vibrant and at work in every physical law that evolution presumes.

and ...

Perhaps we might find more motivated belief if we were more at peace with intriguing questions than prefabricated conclusions, if we could stop needing to prove anything and delight in pursuing the clues.

The image above, taken from the
America Website, is of the Cat's Eye nebula, an interstellar cloud of gas and dust.

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