Here’s some news that the GOP won’t like: Sean Carroll, a theoretical cosmologist at the California Institute of Technology, believes that science will eventually be able to explain everything in the universe — as well as provide conclusive proof that there is no God.
God’s influence is waning
According to a Huffington Post article, “Carroll argues that God’s sphere of influence has shrunk drastically in modern times, as physics and cosmology have expanded in their ability to explain the origin and evolution of the universe.” With fewer unexplained natural phenomena, he believes that there is less need for humans to look towards a deity for answers.
While it’s true that religious figures and customs have less influence on popular culture than ever before in the western world (except for maybe in the months before a presidential election), it seems rash to say that science will eventually have solved all the mysteries of the universe. It is even more far fetched to believe that science will completely replace religion and belief in God.
A peaceful coexistence
Science and religion don’t have to be mutually exclusive. I went to a liberal arts college that was affiliated with the Lutheran church and known for its high-quality science and pre-med programs. Often, the students gazing at slides under microscopes in advanced biology classes were the same ones who attended the non-mandatory daily chapel. While there were students who denied the validity of evolution, the majority were talented, informed scientists who happened to believe in God. And there was no conflict.
Believing in God today
In 2007, the New York Times asked several noted writers and artists whether they believed in a god or deity. Five said yes; six answered no; and seven placed themselves somewhere in between.
In response, writer Jonathan Franzen said, “God’s not like some chief executive sitting at a control panel, calling all the shots. At the same time, I think there’s a reality beneath what we can see with our eyes and experience with our senses. There’s ultimately something mysterious and un-materialistic about the world. Something large and awe-inspiring and unknowable” (NYT).
A few of the people polled admitted to having a firmer belief in their branch of organized religion than the abstract concept of “God.” Others believe in a larger power, but are reluctant to put a label on it. Clearly, everyone’s idea of God is a little bit different — and it seems unlikely that science will be able to wipe out each and every person’s belief in a higher power.
What do you think?
Science is one of the most important aspects of our society today. It has allowed us to cure diseases, explore outer space and drastically improve our quality of life. But it is only one facet of the human experience.
Do you believe in God or science — or both? Will biology and physics someday erase our need to believe in God, or is the human tendency towards religion something that will never be overtaken by data and statistics? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Photo credit: CIAT International Center for Tropical Agriculture