Two world-renowned scientists will offer their views on faith and science Thursday as part of Texas A&M University's Trotter Endowed Lecture Series.
At 7:00 pm in Rudder Theatre, Francis Collins, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, and Steven Weinberg, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, will be speaking about the connections between science and religion. Respectively, their speech topics are "The Language of God" and "Without God."
The free event will be followed by a reception in Rudder Exhibit Hall.
As the leader of the human genome project, Collins served as the project manager for a team of more than 2,000 scientists from six countries. Together, they determined all three billion letters of the human genome.
Stephen Weinberg was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1979 for discovering neutral currents.
According to Ihouse, a Christian organization that supports the lecture, the advance of science has contributed to a widespread loss of belief in the existence of a Supreme Being. Weinberg said those who have lost or are losing this belief then face the problem: How is one to live without God?
Collins shares a complimentary perspective, which he stated during his keynote address to the 2007 Annual International Prayer Breakfast, hosted by President George W. Bush.
"These are exciting times for a scientist," Collins said, "but my hopes and dreams for us do not rest solely in science. I am also a man of faith. When as a scientist I have the great privilege of learning something no human knew before, as a believer I also have the indescribable experience of having caught a glimpse of God's mind. He is the same God, whether you find him in the cathedral or in the laboratory. He is in the laws of physics, but he is also the ultimate source of love and forgiveness."
June 7, RUSSIA (PRAVDA) — Millions of people are taught that the fossil record furnishes proof of evolution. But, where are there fossils of half-evolved dinosaurs or other creatures?
The fossil record contains fossils of only complete and fully-formed species. There are no fossils of partially-evolved species to indicate that a gradual process of evolution ever occurred. Even among evolutionists there are diametrically different interpretations and reconstructions of the fossils used to support human evolution from a supposed ape-like ancestry.
Even if evolution takes millions and millions of years, we should still be able to see some stages of its process. But, we simply don't observe any partially-evolved fish, frogs, lizards, birds, dogs, cats among us. Every species of plant and animal is complete and fully-formed.
Another problem is how could partially-evolved plant and animal species survive over millions of years when their basic organs and tissues were still in the process of evolving? How, for example, were animals breathing, eating, and reproducing if there respiratory, digestive, and reproductive organs were still evolving?
In fact, precisely because of this problem more and more modern evolutionists are adopting a new theory known as Punctuated Equilibrium which says that plant and animal species evolved suddenly from one kind to another and that is why we don't see evidence of partially-evolved species in the fossil record. Of course, we have to accept their word on blind faith because there is no way to prove or disprove what they are saying. These evolutionists claim that something like massive bombardment of radiation resulted in mega mutations in species which produced "instantaneous" changes from one life form to another. The nature and issue of mutations will be discussed later and the reader will see why such an argument is not viable.
The fact that animal and plant species are found fully formed and complete in the fossil record is powerful evidence (although not proof) for creation because it is evidence that they came into existence as fully formed and complete which is possible only by creation.
Evolutionists claim that the genetic and biological similarities between species is evidence of common ancestry. However, that is only one interpretation of the evidence. Another possibility is that the comparative similarities are due to a common Designer who designed similar functions for similar purposes in all the various forms of life. Neither position can be scientifically proved.
Although Darwin was partially correct by showing that natural selection occurs in nature, the problem is that natural selection itself is not a creative force. Natural selection can only work with those biological variations that are possible. The evidence from genetics supports only the possibility for horizontal evolution (i.e. varieties of dogs, cats, horses, cows, etc.) but not vertical evolution (i.e. from fish to human). Unless Nature has the ability to perform genetic engineering vertical evolution will not be possible.
The early grooves in the human embryo that appear to look like gills are really the early stages in the formation of the face, throat, and neck regions. The so-called "tailbone" is the early formation of the coccyx and spinal column which, because of the rate of growth being faster than the rest of the body during this stage, appears to look like a tail. The coccyx has already been proven to be useful in providing support for the pelvic muscles.
Modern science has shown that there are genetic limits to evolution or biological change in nature. Again, all biological variations, whether they are beneficial to survival or not, are possible only within the genetic potential and limits of a biological kind such as the varieties among dogs, cats, horses, cows, etc.
Variations across biological kinds such as humans evolving from ape-like creatures and apes, in turn, evolving from dog-like creatures and so on, as Darwinian evolutionary theory teaches, are not possible unless Nature has the capability of performing genetic engineering.
Biological variations are determined by the DNA or genetic code of species. The DNA molecule is actually a molecular string of various nucleic acids which are arranged in a sequence just like the letters in a sentence. It is this sequence in DNA that tells cells in the body how to construct various tissues and organs.
The common belief among evolutionists is that random mutations in the genetic code over time will produce entirely new sequences for new traits and characteristics which natural selection can then act upon resulting in entirely new species. Evolutionists consider mutations to be a form of natural genetic engineering.
However, the very nature of mutations precludes such a possibility. Mutations are accidental changes in the sequential structure of the genetic code caused by various random environmental forces such as radiation and toxic chemicals.
Almost all true mutations are harmful, which is what one would normally expect from accidents. Even if a good mutation occurred for every good one there will be thousands of harmful ones with the net result over time being disastrous for the species.
Most biological variations, however, are the result of new combinations of previously existing genes - not because of mutations.
Furthermore, mutations simply produce new varieties of already existing traits. For example, mutations in the gene for human hair may change the gene so that another type of human hair develops, but the mutations won't change the gene so that feathers or wings develop.
Sometimes mutations may trigger the duplication of already existing traits (i.e. an extra finger, toe, or even an entire head, even in another area of the body!). But mutations have no ability to produce entirely new traits or characteristics.
Young people, and even adults, often wonder how all the varieties and races of people could have descended from Adam and Eve as the Bible teaches. Well, in principle, that's no different than asking how children with different color hair (i.e., blond, brunette, brown, red ) can come from the same parents who both have black hair.
Just as some individuals today carry genes to produce descendants with different color hair and eyes, our first parents, Adam and Eve, possessed genes to produce all the varieties and races of men. You and I today may not carry the genes to produce every variety or race of humans, but Adam and Eve did possess such genes.
All varieties of humans carry the genes for the same basic traits, but not all humans carry every possible variation of those genes. For example, one person may be carrying several variations of the gene for eye color (i.e., brown, green, blue) , but someone else may be carrying only one variation of the gene for eye color (i.e., brown). Thus, both will have different abilities to affect the eye color of their offspring.
Science cannot prove we're here by creation, but neither can science prove we're here by chance or macro-evolution. No one has observed either. They are both accepted on faith. The issue is which faith, Darwinian macro-evolutionary theory or creation, has better scientific support.
What we believe about life's origins does influence our philosophy and value of life as well as our view of ourselves and others. This is no small issue!
Just because the laws of science can explain how life and the universe operate and work doesn't mean there is no Maker. Would it be rational to believe that there's no designer behind airplanes because the laws of science can explain how airplanes operate and work?
Natural laws are adequate to explain how the order in life, the universe, and even a microwave oven operates, but mere undirected natural laws can never fully explain the origin of such order.
The law of entropy in science shows that the universe does not have the ability to have sustained itself from all eternity. In other words, the universe cannot be eternal and requires a beginning.
There is, of course, much more to be said on this subject. Scientist, creationist, debater, writer, and lecturer, Dr. Walt Brown covers various scientific issues ( i.e. fossils, biological variation and diversity, the origin of life, comparative anatomy and embryology, the issue of vestigial organs, the age of the earth, etc. ) at greater depth in his website at http://www.creationscience.com. Another excellent source of information from highly qualified scientists who are creationists is the Institute for Creation Research (http://www.icr.org) in San Diego, California.
On his website, Dr. Brown even discusses the possibility of any remains of life on Mars as having originated from the Earth due to great geological disturbances in the Earth's past which easily could have spewed thousands of tons of rock and dirt containing microbes into space. In fact, A Newsweek article of September 21, 1998, p.12 mentions exactly this possibility.
It is only fair that school students be exposed to the scientific arguments
and evidence on both sides of the creation/evolution issue.
For more information, see Pravda
By PAUL DAVIES
Published: November 24, 2007
SCIENCE, we are repeatedly told, is the most reliable form of knowledge about the world because it is based on testable hypotheses. Religion, by contrast, is based on faith. The term “doubting Thomas” well illustrates the difference. In science, a healthy skepticism is a professional necessity, whereas in religion, having belief without evidence is regarded as a virtue….But until science comes up with a testable theory of the laws of the universe, its claim to be free of faith is manifestly bogus.
Taking Science on Faith
By PAUL DAVIES
Published: November 24, 2007
SCIENCE, we are repeatedly told, is the most reliable form of knowledge about the world because it is based on testable hypotheses. Religion, by contrast, is based on faith. The term “doubting Thomas” well illustrates the difference. In science, a healthy skepticism is a professional necessity, whereas in religion, having belief without evidence is regarded as a virtue.
The problem with this neat separation into “non-overlapping magisteria,” as Stephen Jay Gould described science and religion, is that science has its own faith-based belief system. All science proceeds on the assumption that nature is ordered in a rational and intelligible way. You couldn’t be a scientist if you thought the universe was a meaningless jumble of odds and ends haphazardly juxtaposed. When physicists probe to a deeper level of subatomic structure, or astronomers extend the reach of their instruments, they expect to encounter additional elegant mathematical order. And so far this faith has been justified.
The most refined expression of the rational intelligibility of the cosmos is found in the laws of physics, the fundamental rules on which nature runs. The laws of gravitation and electromagnetism, the laws that regulate the world within the atom, the laws of motion — all are expressed as tidy mathematical relationships. But where do these laws come from? And why do they have the form that they do?
When I was a student, the laws of physics were regarded as completely off limits. The job of the scientist, we were told, is to discover the laws and apply them, not inquire into their provenance. The laws were treated as “given” — imprinted on the universe like a maker’s mark at the moment of cosmic birth — and fixed forevermore. Therefore, to be a scientist, you had to have faith that the universe is governed by dependable, immutable, absolute, universal, mathematical laws of an unspecified origin. You’ve got to believe that these laws won’t fail, that we won’t wake up tomorrow to find heat flowing from cold to hot, or the speed of light changing by the hour.
Over the years I have often asked my physicist colleagues why the laws of physics are what they are. The answers vary from “that’s not a scientific question” to “nobody knows.” The favorite reply is, “There is no reason they are what they are — they just are.” The idea that the laws exist reasonlessly is deeply anti-rational. After all, the very essence of a scientific explanation of some phenomenon is that the world is ordered logically and that there are reasons things are as they are. If one traces these reasons all the way down to the bedrock of reality — the laws of physics — only to find that reason then deserts us, it makes a mockery of science.
Can the mighty edifice of physical order we perceive in the world about us ultimately be rooted in reasonless absurdity? If so, then nature is a fiendishly clever bit of trickery: meaninglessness and absurdity somehow masquerading as ingenious order and rationality.
Although scientists have long had an inclination to shrug aside such questions concerning the source of the laws of physics, the mood has now shifted considerably. Part of the reason is the growing acceptance that the emergence of life in the universe, and hence the existence of observers like ourselves, depends rather sensitively on the form of the laws. If the laws of physics were just any old ragbag of rules, life would almost certainly not exist.
A second reason that the laws of physics have now been brought within the scope of scientific inquiry is the realization that what we long regarded as absolute and universal laws might not be truly fundamental at all, but more like local bylaws. They could vary from place to place on a mega-cosmic scale. A God’s-eye view might reveal a vast patchwork quilt of universes, each with its own distinctive set of bylaws. In this “multiverse,” life will arise only in those patches with bio-friendly bylaws, so it is no surprise that we find ourselves in a Goldilocks universe — one that is just right for life. We have selected it by our very existence.
Taking Science on Faith
Published: November 24, 2007
(Page 2 of 2)
The multiverse theory is increasingly popular, but it doesn’t so much explain the laws of physics as dodge the whole issue. There has to be a physical mechanism to make all those universes and bestow bylaws on them. This process will require its own laws, or meta-laws. Where do they come from? The problem has simply been shifted up a level from the laws of the universe to the meta-laws of the multiverse.
Clearly, then, both religion and science are founded on faith — namely, on belief in the existence of something outside the universe, like an unexplained God or an unexplained set of physical laws, maybe even a huge ensemble of unseen universes, too. For that reason, both monotheistic religion and orthodox science fail to provide a complete account of physical existence.
This shared failing is no surprise, because the very notion of physical law is a theological one in the first place, a fact that makes many scientists squirm. Isaac Newton first got the idea of absolute, universal, perfect, immutable laws from the Christian doctrine that God created the world and ordered it in a rational way. Christians envisage God as upholding the natural order from beyond the universe, while physicists think of their laws as inhabiting an abstract transcendent realm of perfect mathematical relationships.
And just as Christians claim that the world depends utterly on God for its existence, while the converse is not the case, so physicists declare a similar asymmetry: the universe is governed by eternal laws (or meta-laws), but the laws are completely impervious to what happens in the universe.
It seems to me there is no hope of ever explaining why the physical universe is as it is so long as we are fixated on immutable laws or meta-laws that exist reasonlessly or are imposed by divine providence. The alternative is to regard the laws of physics and the universe they govern as part and parcel of a unitary system, and to be incorporated together within a common explanatory scheme.
In other words, the laws should have an explanation from within the universe and not involve appealing to an external agency. The specifics of that explanation are a matter for future research. But until science comes up with a testable theory of the laws of the universe, its claim to be free of faith is manifestly bogus.
Paul Davies is the director of Beyond, a research center at Arizona State University, and the author of “Cosmic Jackpot: Why Our Universe Is Just Right for Life.”
Dear Devotees and Friends:
Please accept our humble dandavats.
In 2005, Science magazine published in the 125th Anniversary Issue 125 questions for which modern science has no tangible clue. These questions are presented under a special title What Don’t We Know? In the introduction section of “What Don’t We Know?” it is mentioned that “At Science, we tend to get excited about new discoveries that lift the veil a little on how things work, from cells to the universe. That puts our focus firmly on what has been added to our stock of knowledge. For this anniversary issue, we decided to shift our frame of reference, to look instead at what we don’t know: the scientific puzzles that are driving basic scientific research.” In the ‘Online Skype Conference’ on 16 March, 2008 HH Bhakti Madhava Puri Swami described the participants about one of these 125 questions mentioned by the Science magazine What Is the Universe Made Of? A short discussion on this topic is also presented in the inaugural issue of quarterly newsletter of Bhaktivedanta Institute: Science and Scientist Inquiring into the Origin of Matter and Life.
HH Bhakti Madhava Puri Swami explained the participants about the reasons due to which the scientists are facing the problems in answering the fundamental questions. In the context of the question What Is the Universe Made Of?, HH Bhakti Madhava Puri Swami told that, scientists are running into a problem in understanding the universe they don’t have enough matter. The theories of the universe they have are not producing the results they are expecting. There are certain theories of Einstein and Newton, which they use to calculate the density of matter and the universe, the frequency of light coming from various parts of the universe and the micro waves that are present in the universe. It is not just a matter of measuring some features and putting down some results, they plug those features into an equation. Where do they get that equation from? From their theories. Where do they get their theories from? Some body made a guess: it might be like this and it might be like that. From that guess they wrote the theory and then the equation and they see if that confirms to that. They had a nice theory. They put a nice theory together the explosion theory or the Big Bang theory. They calculated from that so many different things. Now they find that universe doesn’t have enough matter to let their equations work. Their theory doesn’t work. Rather than change the theory they want to change the universe. They say that, “The universe is not right. Our theory is right but universe is not correct. So let us correct the universe.” This is the philosophy of scientists.
In the conference various fundamental topics (for example, galaxy and why a force called gravity exists between the two masses) related to the question ‘What Is the Universe Made Of?’ are discussed by HH Bhakti Madhava Puri Swami.
The philosophy of G. W. F. Hegel and Immanuel Kant are also discussed in this connection. When one wants to study deeply, what is matter, what is space and what is time, then certain principles arise or the philosophy one is unity and the other is diversity. From the principles of unity and diversity we can understand that matter exhibits two symptoms unity and diversity. G. W. F. Hegel described the existence of attractions and repulsive force that exists between two bodies in a universe. However, scientists have no idea about the repulsive force in the universe. Scientists only know about the unitive force so they have made this Big Bang force.
We try to make distinction between our knowledge about the object and the object itself. But our knowledge of the object and the object itself are one and the same. When we talk about an object we talk nothing but our knowledge about that object. Hence we should know this philosophy properly. Scientists think knowledge about the object and the object itself are two different things. Scientists are failing to understand the logic of reasoning properly. The architecture of our own reasoning has to be understood properly before we can understand how our knowledge or consciousness is creating universe or representing universe to us. According to the knowledge of the universe that an individual has the universe is different for different individuals. Therefore we see in different civilization we have different ideas about the universe. They were explaining previously, in the western world they are looking out at the cosmos and they are thinking that it is all static it is not moving. Now a day we think it is moving. So is that means that universe changed from previous age to this age? The universe doesn’t change over all these years but our knowledge is changing. Previously they understood that God created the universe, now they think that it is an explosion. It is all based upon how we understand things. Hence how to come to a proper understanding? We need veda. If we understand every thing is relative like that based on our knowledge then can we arrive at any truth ever? We can not come to any conclusion based on our mental speculation. To correct this defect of imperfect knowledge we need to accept the absolute authority of veda.
We have uploaded this Transcendental Nectar of Satsanga Under the holy association of HH Bhakti Madhava Puri Swami. To listen this absorbing and very details technical discussion please click Satsanga: 16 March 2008. To see all our past posting you may visit http://mahaprabhu.net/satsanga/ . Keep checking this page, we will be updating this site soon with many more details.
Timing of weekly Satsanga: 6:00 PM India time, Every Sunday.
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All Glories all Sadhus, Guru and Vaisnavas.
Your humble servants
Purushottama Jagannatha Das &
NEW DELHI, Jun 14, 2008: Indian scientists are very much secular but that doesn’t go against their belief in God. A survey has found that many of them seek divine blessings before embarking on major scientific missions.
The study, “Worldviews and Opinions of Scientists in India”, carried out by the Trinity College of the US with help from Centre for Inquiry (CFI) India, a non-profit organization, has found that 49 percent of scientists believe prayer is “efficacious as therapy”. Though most of the 1,100 Indian scientists surveyed described themselves as “secular”, they refused to be called irreligious. The survey came out last week. “The majority of scientists think of themselves as spiritual people,” the study says.
“In 2005, space scientists went to Tirupati to seek the blessings of Lord Venkateswara before launching their satellite,” the study reveals. It also found that only eight percent of the scientists said they would refuse to work on stem cell research because of moral or religious beliefs. Nearly 83 percent of respondents described secularism as the “separation of religion from state and government” and 93 percent said it includes “tolerance for religions and philosophies.” Only 20 percent considered that secularism implies an atheistic approach.
“Indians are by nature God-believing people. They don’t put spirituality versus science. Our ethos is broad - while we are rooted to our belief we are also open to new ideas, knowledge and innovations,” renowned scientist Y.S. Rajan told the media.