With scientific knowledge ever-progressing, is there space left for God?
Is there going to be a time when science will have uncovered all the secrets of the universe and proven that there is no Divinity?
As science progresses, is the belief in God becoming ever-more irrational and ridiculous?
Ian Morison explains why God will never be ruled out by scientific progress- Gresham College
Gresham Professor of Astronomy Ian Morison made his first telescope at the age of 12 with lenses given to him by his optician. Having studied Physics, Maths and Astronomy at Oxford, he became a radio astronomer at the Jodrell Bank Observatory and teaches Astronomy and Cosmology at the University of Manchester.
Over 25 years he has also taught Observational Astronomy to many hundreds of adult students in the North West of England. An active amateur optical astronomer, he is a council member and past president of the Society for Popular Astronomy in the United Kingdom.
At Jodrell Bank he was a designer of the 217 KM MERLIN array and has coordinated the Project Phoenix SETI Observations using the Lovell Radio Telescope. He contributes astronomy articles and reviews for New Scientist and Astronomy Now, and produces a monthly sky guide on the Observatory's website.
Astronomy professor Ian Morison believes there are two possible theories behind life, the universe and everything: a "God" created it with the precise conditions to support life or it is actually a "multiverse" of possible dimensions, and ours happens to be just right.
Argument intended to demonstrate that living organisms were created in more or less their present forms by an intelligent designer. Intelligent design was formulated in the 1990s, primarily in the United States, as an explicit refutation of the Darwinian theory of biological evolution. Building on a version of the argument from design for the existence of God, proponents of intelligent design observed that the functional parts and systems of living organisms are irreducibly complex in the sense that none of their component parts can be removed without causing the whole system to cease functioning. From this premise they inferred that no such system could have come about through the gradual alteration of functioning precursor systems by means of random mutation and natural selection, as the standard evolutionary account maintains; therefore, living organisms must have been created all at once by an intelligent designer. Proponents of intelligent design generally avoided identifying the designer with the God of Christianity or other monotheistic religions, in part because they wished the doctrine to be taught as a legitimate scientific alternative to evolution in public schools in the United States, where the government is constitutionally prohibited from promoting religion. Critics of intelligent design argued that it rests on a fundamental misunderstanding of natural selection, that it ignores the existence of precursor systems in the evolutionary history of numerous organisms, and that it is ultimately untestable and therefore not scientific. See alsocreationism.
One thing the criticisms of Morison have in common is that most are rather unscientific, which is really interesting as those posting them think they are being most scientific. What qualifies their posts as unscientific is their dismissal of one of Morison's two hypotheses, without any supporting data.
Morison did not say God exists, he merely posited the existence of a Supreme Being as one of two alternatives. To be scientific, those who were so quick to criticize him would either have had to show Morison's data was deficient or suspect. But instead, a very elitist attitude is taken and Morison's termerity in even bring up the subject of God bring an instant dismissal - after all no "serious" scientist would ever posit such an hypothesis. As Brian Haight pointed out above there is a long list of very highly respected scientists who also had that same termerity .
It just could be that our highly secularized science of today is not as scientific as in days gone by.
*IF* you can get behind the notion that there is a universal intelligence that holds this delicate balance in place, do you really feel so unworthy to not be able to conceive that this just might be all for us, to explore and experience, admire and catalog, interact with, photograph, probe, and muse over? Perhaps it's so huge so we don't get bored really quickly!
Look, if I built a diorama of a metropolis down to the most minute detail, I sure as HELL would LOVE to get in there and experience my creation firsthand! Anyone who's ever built one for pleasure knows JUST what I mean, and you feel it in the building process especially!
I'm inclined to believe that we are a fractally scaled version of this intelligence, body and ego aside. I think that's what is meant by being "made in the image of the creator". And when I say ego aside, I mean it's not WHAT you think about, it's... THAT YOU EVEN CAN IN THE FIRST PLACE. I believe that THAT is the universal mind, and if that's the case, then we are the creator in it's own diorama, and "free will" is our ability to think whatever we want, even if it's not believing in our own divinity. That's an unfortunate and very disempowering choice, but a personal one.
Science is an awesome and intrinsically human tool to investigate our surroundings, but it tends to historically and presently still run roughshod over spirit. With modern scientific investigations going on in the fields of quantum physics, spirit and mind, that attitude seems to be in need of some adjustments in this day and age. As Jack Nicholson said in Batman, "This town needs an enema!"
The bitterness and ungrateful attitudes that pepper so many of these posts are saddening. Shame on you.
I think that doctor Ian is a very intelligent man,however some of his conclusions are based on some sort of theological belief that he holds. Saying that the univers was created with some purpose is not based on any scientific fact. The univers is not as suitable for life as he pretends it to be. It happens that life evolves due to some particular circumbstances. If the univers represents a very large beach,our planet is like a grain of sand. Why then would the beach be created for the benefit of that particular grain of sand? Why all the other grains of sand are not benefiting from the tide that would be life. If there is a deity that made it so,why then are we so far limited to this planet? Did the univers come into existence so earth can have life? Why an entire univers? Why build a bed the size of a football stadium so that an ant can sleep in it? The idea that the univers came into existence so we can admire its beauty is ridiculous. We cannot admire or see most of the things in our own galaxy without the help of some sort of telescope. Maybe it was for the eyes of the astronomers only.The univers is so vast that it would take us billions of years to admire and enjoy most of the things that are in it, time that we do not have.He does not share the belief of most believers that a god created human directly,then why doesn't he tell them that he thinks that the bible is not a special book inspired by the deity in whom they believe? The more you learn about the univers the more humble you become and the more you reject myths and nonsenses. There is no reason to believe that some deity more complex than the univers created it since that presumption create more problem than it would solve. If the complexity of life cannot be explained by analyzing the evolution of life,then how inventing the existence of another more complex form of life would solve the problem? Doctor Ian needs to let go of god since he knows that the existence or not of a deity have nothing to do with our everyday life and I am convince that he doesn't believe in afterlife.
I find that there is a lot of misuse of the "probability" argument in this discussion. Probability has a very well defined meaning in mathematics. It is simply any object that obeys Kolmogorov's Axioms. Since Kolmogorov's Axioms can not be practically implemented as a physical experiment, when scientists talk about probability, they usually mean the limit of frequency of measurements in a physically implemented sampling experiment. Such experiments are always finite and... in the case of the universe that resulting sampling space has a size of 1. There is EXACTLY ONE universe that we know about (and there can't be any more by definition of the word "universe"!). I think everyone agrees that in this one universe the question "Does life exists?" has been sufficiently tested. The answer to that question is "Yes" and therefor the only estimate to the question about the probability for life existing in the universe is "1 of 1", which trivially equates to 1.
So the ONLY measure that one can derive from the data about life in the universe is trivial.
Actually, the problem is made even worse by the fact that the ability to answer the question depends on the existence of life in the universe to begin with, because if there is no one to listen to the answer that there is no life in the universe, there would be no one to ask, either...
As such it follows trivially that the question about the probability of life in the universe is not a meaningful question. This kind of breakdown of logical reasoning is an observation that mathematicians have made over a century ago for a similar problem in mathematical logic which lead to Goedel's Incompleteness Theorem.
The anthropic principle, in any of its variants, is therefor completely void of information.
Having said that, one can, of course, build a whole theology around it, but that is also trivial, since one can build a theology around pretty much anything, flying spaghetti monsters included.
ALL OF YOU Reminde me of the the same sort of silly peolpe who represent the fundimentalist end of the ignorance scale! What a strange juxtaposistion. Ive always been amused by the ignorance of limit! And those who ignorantly limit! Remember one thing when you progress your short sidded ideas and arguments against the notion of a SOURCE of exsistence "what ever that source is" that Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Darwin and Einstein all belived in some notion of GOD or source. Just as the elements of complexity combine to form the universe, and the molacules of complexity combine to form an indavidual "the innerverse" those in turn combine to create a element or molacule of GOD "the multiverse"! Quantum physisics and Brane theory "HAS MADE SCIENCE ADMIT THAT ALL BETS ARE OFF IN AS FAR AS REALITY, GOD, AND THE CONCEPT OF EXSISTENCE ARE CONCERNED". While religion is a unfortunate consequence of belief, dont remove the possibility of "source" in some form from the equation! It's always the same story with this kind of narrow thought "one extreme or the next"! Should We Burn the scientist or burn the priest?
I have to question the point of continually groping with the intellectually lazy argument of bringing "god" into every unanswered equation. The professor seems to imply that the universe is made for us. After pointing out all the difficulties, trials, and tribulations of our universe's development he then goes "god did it"
I become distracted. This fellow's presentation and flow of reasoning was poor for someone holding an advanced degree in a natural science. If he has a comment on the existence of something supernatural, then he needs re-training in a supernatural science. There's only one problem- that doesn't exist!
It is difficult to ignore coincidence of an intelligent principle from the mounting evidence of scientific discovery as exemplified in Fred Hoyle's best seller,'The intelligent Universe'. I feel that Ian Morison presented the facts well and his insight is to be praised.
Morison would only have been engaging in anthropic fallacy if he had said there MUST be an intelligent designer, because the design of the universe is fine-tuned to our existence. He did not. He asked how we can explain our existence, as intelligent (?) life, given that it seems remarkably improbable. I think someone would have to be remarkably dull-minded to not be struck by the remarkable improbability, statistically, of all physical constant values being within the needed-ranges (assuming such values can vary) for the Universe to support life. I think that's what led Fred Hoyle to go from atheist to theist. Hoyle's also famous, for when he was an atheist, for mocking the astronomic theory of a Belgian priest as the 'Big Bang' - another remarkable feature of our universe - that it had a beginning, as opposed to being the 'steady-state' universe envisioned by the scientific community, before Fr. Lemaître's time. Then there is Morison's calculations regarding the unlikely evolution of primitive life to intelligent life -- really 'ball-park' figures, I don't doubt, but still makes you think. Someone said Morison should cut his 35 million years estimate in half -- okay, that leaves it at 17 million years -- which means we are still probably alone in our galaxy. So, how could anyone, with an ounce of intellectual curiousity, consider the improbability of our existence and not have their mind stimulated to hypothesize a plausible explanation? Isn't that sort of the scientific mind? To find something interesting and speculate why it is that way? You are indeed left with two basic hypotheses: intelligent designer and multi-verse. It is not a matter of Anthropic Principle or Fallacy. It is not a matter of proving God's existence. Science doesn't prove anything; we fail to reject the null hypothesis, don't we? The business of science is to disprove. It's a question of whether or not the evidence supports the hypothesis, isn't it? It is a shorter distance to intelligent designer, in my opinion, as that is based upon the evidence of the universe as we know it. There is no evidence for a multiverse, of course. It's a plausible hypothesis, based upon imagination; but I thought theists were supposed to be the ones who base their beliefs upon their imagination. Yet to say 'Who cares? What difference does it makes?' Well, fine, but then why are you watching a video about Astronomy? Has the inner workings of stars been relevant at work lately? Has the 'Big Bang' helped you out in the bedroom? Sorry, but I just get annoyed by people dismissing a brilliant individual as a 'God did it' Creationist. I forget who said it, but it takes as little brain energy to believe nothing as it does to believe everything.