Tuesday, January 08, 2008

An Example of Worldview Affecting Science

I recently watched a video about the Hubble Deep Field, a.k.a "The Most Important Image Ever Taken." The images taken from the Hubble Space Telescope show an incomprehensible magnitude to the universe. Just using the numbers from the video, the Hubble Deep Field view gave us a glimpse at roughly 5 quadrillion stars (that's 5,000,000,000,000,000) in just one small patch of sky. To give you a sense of how small a patch of sky...notice the section zoomed in on at around the 5:00 mark of the above video.

During the narration of the video, a familiar device is used to argue (quite inconsistently) for the existence of other intelligent life in the universe outside of that on Earth. It echoes the argument made by Jodie Foster in the Carl Sagan-inspired movie Contact:

"There are 400 billion stars out there, just in our galaxy alone. If just one
out of a million of those had planets, and just one in a million of those had
life, and just one out of a million of those had intelligent life, there would
be literally millions of civilizations out there."

Forgetting for a moment the unfortunately errant math employed by this fictional lifetime astronomer, the argument is almost always tacked on with the emotional appeal that if there is not life out there it would be "an awful waste of space."

I could not disagree more.

Implicit in the claim that such would be a "waste" is the notion that the sheer relative magnitude of the universe being discussed required an inconceivable amount of resources and efforts to bring about. But for a self-existent eternal God that is simply not the case. In fact, Scripture tells us that God spoke the universe into existence. He said, "Let there be..." and there was.

"But, " you say, "is that not still a waste of the opportunity that all that created universe provides?"


This is where one's worldview really comes into the argument. You have to ask yourself why the universe (or anything at all for that matter) was created in the first place. The Christian would rightly answer that the purpose of all creation is to glorify God. To that end, the fact that a universe as incomprehensibly immense as ours was created simply by the sheer power of God's will certainly shows forth the glory and awesomeness of the Creator. Some would say it is arrogant to believe that something of this magnitude would be created with us as the only intelligent inhabitants. Arrogant how? We didn't create it and we certainly can't take credit for it (though we attempt to deny credit where it's due by our fancy and fallacious atheistic evolutionary theories).

Strictly speaking, what many "scientists" today are attempting to do is take the observed nature or features of the universe and use them as arguments against its being created ex nihilo by a self-existent eternal God. The only POSSIBLE way one could do that is to prove that self-existence and eternality are themselves properties of the universe, which is impossible for them to do.

The magnitude of the universe (as best we can comprehend it in this present age) is constantly used as an argument against a self-existent eternal God. I say that, quite to the contrary, it is one of the strongest arguments in support of such a God and serves all the more to show forth how awesome and glorious He is.

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Blogger Patrick Roberts said...

thx for posting, i appreciate your logic

it never occurred to me what a fallacy it is to think of space as a waste... i have learned without knowing it to think that anything not yet orderly or developed the way i'm used to thinking of orderly and developed must be incomplete, or somehow insufficient.

6:48 PM  
Blogger Patrick Roberts said...

forgot to mention, i wrote a movie review about contact that you might find interesting.

6:53 PM  

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