Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rabbis and Sheik comment about "God particle"

I completely agree with them and they are correct.


Why rabbis are unfazed by the quest for the 'God particle'

"To reveal the power of the act of creation to flesh and blood is impossible," according to Midrash Raba, a compilation of allegorical teachings and homilies written by Jewish sages 1,500 years ago.

"Therefore, the Bible text, 'In the beginning God created' is worded vaguely," the text continues.
Notwithstanding this warning of the Midrash, however, a group of scientists conducting the biggest particle physics experiment in history is currently trying to do the seemingly impossible: reveal the secret of the origin of the universe.

These scientists have gathered in Geneva to use a Large Hadron Collider in an attempt to recreate the conditions that existed at the time of the Big Bang. Ideally, their experiments are supposed to help scientists put together a final theory that explains the origins of existence. They are looking for something laymen and journalists call the "God particle."

The knee-jerk reaction to such an experiment is that people of faith should start getting nervous. As theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg at the University of Texas at Austin put it in an interview with Newsweek, "If we put together something like a final theory in which all the forces and the particles are explained and that theory also throws light on the origin of the Big Bang and gives us a consistent picture of cosmology, there will be a little less for religion to explain."

But religious leaders in the Holy Land were surprisingly sanguine about the experiment.

Rabbi David Rosen, director of the American Jewish Committee's Department of Interreligious Affairs, said the experiments going on now in Switzerland are no challenge to faith, rather the opposite is true.

"Maimonides [1135-1204] said that the more we understand about the universe the more we can appreciate God's creation," said Rosen. "It actually strengthens the religious person's faith to understand more profoundly God's intelligent design.

"And while science might describe how something came about, it will never explain why."
Rabbi MK Avraham Ravitz (United Torah Judaism) agreed with Rosen that science would enhance, not undermine, Judaism.

"Scientists might reach a better understanding of the source of creation, but there will always be a need for an explanation of what brought about that source, what directed it all," he said.

Sheikh Abdul Salem Mansra, head of the Supreme Council of Suffis in the Holy Land, was a little more reserved about support for unbridled scientific inquiry.

"True science is never a contradiction to Islam," said Mansra. "Because true science gives us more knowledge about God and since God gave us the Koran there cannot be a contradiction.
"Anything that does contradict the Koran is false."

Father Michael McGarry, director of the Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem, said there was no field of science that was problematic from a religious perspective.

"To study these subjects - biology, bioethics, chemistry, geology, medicine, physics - is to investigate God," McGarry said.

If religious leaders agree there are no boundaries to scientific exploration, why does the Midrash state that it is "impossible to reveal the power of the creation"?

Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Kook, the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, in a letter to a young student, explained that scientific discoveries advance at the pace of the man's development.

"The many ways and means of creation that will be discovered in the coming tens of thousands of years which will add to our knowledge of God's glory will still fall short of the full truth," he wrote.

There will always be a deficit to man's knowledge, wrote Kook, because God is infinite while man is finite.

Here's another reason why understanding the mechanics of the Big Bang yields no insight into God's true nature, but is just another set of details about how God performed his work of creation of the universe.

God in his "abode" (heaven) exists outside of the universe of matter, energy and time itself. As I've explained before, God and heaven are not comprised of particles, energy or even sequences of events in "time" that can be measured or observed at all. So one cannot see a "God particle" because God is not within any particle and God does not inhabit "time," which is a sequence of events. Thus a particle, no matter how small or mysterious, even if it is the source of the phenomenon of "mass" is not insight into God himself (or where souls go when they leave the body at death) because a particle is still "of the world," which is matter, energy and having motion and age, thus a sequence of events known as "time."

Meanwhile, however, humans do continue to accumulate "knowledge" about the physical world that far outstrips their morals and wisdom. THAT should be everyone's deep concern, as it is and has been for the Catholic Church and the Popes, who have consistently warned about that grave danger.