I title this post with an ‘a’ in the middle to illustrate the fact that, however one chooses to label one’s over-arching view of life, the universe and everything (even if that label is vague and/or entirely earthly), one is — at some level — choosing to put one’s trust (faith) in something that cannot be fully comprehended or definitively proven. (Which is NOT to say that faith — the mental action of informed assent — is in and of itself equally well placed in everything… but that’s another post).
Consider, for example:
…most of my physicist colleagues also believe that these perfect laws [of physics] are the levitating superturtle that holds up the mighty edifice we call nature, as disclosed through science. About three years ago, however, it dawned on me that such laws are an extraordinary and unjustified idealization. How can we be sure that the laws are infinitely precise? How do we know they are immutable, and apply without the slightest change from the beginning to the end of time? Furthermore, the laws themselves remain unexplained. Where do they come from? Why do they have the form that they do? Indeed, why do they exist at all? And if there are many possible such laws, then, as Stephen Hawking has expressed it, what is it that “breathes fire” into a particular set of laws and makes a universe for them to govern?
Unfortunately, having posed such provocative and essential questions, Davies then heads off on a search for purely secular, natural explanations, ruling out supernatural possibilities and sources of evidence from the get-go. I discovered Davies a few weeks ago on Dennis Prager’s show — an ‘Ultimate Issues Hour’ entitled ‘Science and Faith’. (Prager was equally shocked and surprised at Davies’ presumptuous narrowing of the search for answers.)
Or consider this oldie-but-goodie from the late Harvard biologist, George Wald, co-winner of the 1967 Nobel prize for physiology and medicine, as quoted in a 1978 issue of Scientific American (library trip pending to verify!)
There are only two possible explanations as to how life arose. Spontaneous generation arising to evolution or a supernatural creative act of God… There is no other possibility. Spontaneous generation was scientifically disproved 120 years ago by Louis Pasteur and others, but that just leaves us with only one other possibility… that life came as a supernatural act of creation by God, but I can’t accept that philosophy because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible, spontaneous generation leading to evolution.
H/T to the insanely prolific but unfortunately slow-to-load blog ‘Right Mind’ (new to the ‘roll) and to ‘Tigger’ for tipping me off to it. RM’s post is worth checking out just for the funny graphic of man’s dis-evolution back to a hunched-over state.