Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Seeing Other Worlds

The current militant atheist craze notwithstanding, I think that science generally points beyond itself. God being what he is (i.e., neither matter nor energy), and his relations with us being what they are (i.e., intrinsically personal, and therefore non-predictable), there is no way to prove his existence using the scientific method. He does not sit there and perform his miracles at our bidding so we can experiment on him. But such things as the Anthropic Principle and the fact that not enough time has elapsed since the Big Bang for biological evolution even to be probable allow us to infer that there is more to reality than the materialistic universe scientists study.

Another aspect of science that many scientists feel points to a reality beyond the material is Quantum Physics -- the study of the principles governing reality at the level of atoms and sub-atomic particles. Quantum Physics has enabled us to explain such widely varied things as chemistry, statistics, and how to build lasers and flash drives. Now some physicists think it is showing us how a spiritual reality could exist.

Earlier this month the noted physicist Bernard d'Espagnat was awarded the Templeton Prize for his work on "veiled reality" -- the evidence Quantum Physics gives that the material world of time, space, matter, and energy actually masks a deeper reality. D'Espagnat feels this reality can be accessed, "When we hear great classical music or look at very great paintings." The profundity we sense is "not just illusions but could be a revelation of something fundamental," he says.

The BBC just published a nice, concise little article about this and 5 ways different scientists think it plays out.

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