Little to say for myself

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Hubble Ultra Deep Field

Does this picture blow you away as it does me? Does it help put our little ball of warm rock into some sort of perspective? If it doesn't, sing along to this and you'll get it.

I can feel a soap box moment coming on.

Can you conceive of an idea so ludicrous as to suggest that all of this was created by a higher being, for the sole benefit of one species of animal found on some parts of the surface of that little ball of warm rock? Well, you don't need to - someone already has.

When I heard about the photo I thought "Aha. I bet there's a "Thought for the Day" piece to be made out of this.", and I wasn't disappointed. In fact today's TftD wasn't about the HUDF picture, but it was closely related.

I love it when people purloin results and take them entirely out of context to support their belief. This is something bad scientists, many journalists and virtually all politicians do every day. What Elaine Storkey conveniently ignores is that the research she talks about is expressly aimed at taking ideas like "achievement" and "creation" and showing them to be unnecessary. She says
We have been used to thinking that everything came about through a long, slow, leisurely process of barely perceptible change over millions and millions of years. So it comes as something of a shock to find cosmologists now focusing on the first millisecond of the universe.
As if the two are mutually exclusive. In fact the Big Bang has been the focus of much attention for ages. We've known the theory about masses of things happening in the first split second of the universe for a generation. What the current work is aimed at doing (like much of the work of the last centuries) is finding the mechanism for it. Not looking at the face of the "creator" who "achieved" it, but finding a theoretical basis for its autonomy.

After this shaky start, she starts to make some sense:
Belief, not objectivity, is in fact the dimension through which we all live our lives; the taken-for-granted perceptions about reality that lie unchallenged and usually unacknowledged. And those beliefs either see reality in relation to God or they don't; they see the activities of an intelligent designer in the intricate structure of the universe or they see nothing. They find evidence for God in the minute intelligibility of the quark or they find none. And at one level, what excited astronomers see through a radio telescope won't of itself change belief and produce faith in God.
I'm with her here. She seems to accept that belief is just something that occurs in our heads, and bears little relation to reality. But then she goes and spoils it all with:
And yet, it still implies a creation of everything out of nothing. And reports of the whirl of rapid energy at the very beginning of creation, more intense and complete than anything previously envisaged, leave, at the very least, the question of a Creator wide open.
What bollocks. It implies no such thing - in fact it implies the opposite of "a creation of everything out of nothing". And the only reason it leaves the question of a creator wide open is because it has absolutely nothing to do with it.

It's like saying "Adding fluoride to drinking water may or may not decrease the occurrence of tooth decay, but it certainly leaves the question of the Tooth Fairy wide open".

Belief is our invention. It doesn't occur in any other animal, because belief is only possible with our facility for language. It is what we believe that comes directly between us and what is real, and in most cases prevents us from ever seeing what is real.

Our beliefs are our inventions. Belief in God is our invention. God is our invention.

posted by Plig | 12:34 |

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