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A Bunch of Religious Theories Created out of Nothing?
on August 24, 2015
Immediately, the reader will get the impression that this book has been mislabelled. The subtitle is "A biblical, Philosophical and Scientific Exploration" of the theories on the creation out of nothing (creatio ex Nihilo). However, Philosophical and Scientific theories do not enter the discussion until the last three chapters, the last 100 pages of the book. The bulk of the book, five of its eight chapters, 2/3 of its 266 pages -- very much after the fact -- are devoted exclusively to trying to establish a religious argument that justifies and supports a biblical interpretation of the Big Bang Theory.
After reading the book, it would be an understatement to say that the religious energy devoted to this effort has been energy poorly spent, as they all have been maximally confusing and mutually inconsistent -- but curiously always toeing the orthodox religious line.
In fact, after trying vainly to make sense out of all of this religious ambiguity, the reader will surely discover as I did, that there is at least one heavy-hitting high level religious advocate on every side of these discussions, including on the side that warns against trying to coordinate biblical interpretation with scientifically derived facts. Of all the topics that one would think are most critical to religious beliefs -- creation out of nothing -- the reader will also discover that there is no consensus, nor even a minimally consistent biblical view?
In other words, sadly, and after 166 pages, these religious scholars' arguments curiously all remained at right angles to each other? In the end, exactly nothing was resolved!
My own conclusion is that the "religionists way of proof," that is, proof "by the fiat of divine authority," may have inadvertently hoisted them by their own petard, and thus, may have left them hanging in the wind, way out on a slippery slope, one that like one of the roads leading away from Nob Hill in San Francisco, leans steeply and precipitously downwards.
It seems to me that the best of the many religious arguments put forth here, do little more than set up a spurious dichotomy between the cosmological facts of science (i.e., the Big Bang Theory), and the theological affirmation (or is it confirmation?) of it by God through jerry-rigged, and shaky after the fact established scripture-based truths (i.e. by the fiat of divine authority as read in the scripture).
However, having set up this spurious dichotomy, I believe Kwasi Wiredu's and Hans Swartz's warnings about "not too quickly identifying religious interpretations with the temporal scientific beginnings of the universe," is well advised and correlate well with my own views. For doing so, begs the very important question of what happens when the scientific facts and theories change, as invariably they will? Does God's authority then also change? Are scriptual references then to also be updated as was the case with most of this book? If they do, then does this not simply mean that God's authority will always be "playing catch-up" to the latest scientific theories?
Since the idea of scientific proof is just the opposite of religious proof -- that is to say, it does NOT just sit back and defend forever singularly established scientific facts, truths, or theories, but instead, it puts them all through the most rigorous of scientific tests: the test of falsification.
Like religionists, scientists too do start out with but one goal -- but it is the opposite of what religionists start out to do: Scientists try as much as they possibly can, to overthrow and thereby try to falsify their own theories. Only those that survive this most brutal and rigorous process of falsification, will survive as true well-tested theories.
What this means of course is that the Big Bang Theory is itself forever "an open-ended hypothesis" about the nature of creation -- not a once for all times scientific truth. The Big Bang theory therefore must forever be opened to future falsification. So far it survives because it has not yet failed a singular attempt to falsify it. And if in the future it should fail even one attempt at falsification, it will then be declared forever, an invalid theory. And the process simply begins all over again with a new trial hypothesis about the nature of creation.
Therefore, the regionalists must be careful. If they hook their "creationist's wagons" up to the Big Bang Theory, inadvertently they are also hooking it up to the scientific method's mode of falsification. Now, do religionists really want to do that? I don't think so? Three stars