By Stephen M Barr
A enormous volume of public debate and media print has been dedicated to the “war among technology and religion.” In his obtainable and eminently readable new e-book, Stephen M. Barr demonstrates that what's rather at warfare with faith isn't technology itself, yet a philosophy referred to as medical materialism. Modern Physics and historical Faith argues that the nice discoveries of recent physics are extra suitable with the valuable teachings of Christianity and Judaism approximately God, the cosmos, and the human soul than with the atheistic standpoint of clinical materialism.
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Extra info for Modern Physics and Ancient Faith
It is all too simple for one who has narrowed his intellectual vision and who is interested only in chains of actual causation to be misled into considering that materialism presents a whole scheme of explanation of reality. He can maintain this illusion as long as he is able to keep his nose down on the trail of past physical causes. This is why the idea of an eternal universe is comforting to him: if time had no beginning then the trail he is doggedly pursuing will never run out, he can follow it ever deeper into the past and thus forestall indefinitely the point at which he must face the more fundamental questions of why the universe has the nature it does and why it exists at all. In any event, the historical fact is that Jews and Christians believed in a beginning of time, while scientific materialists strongly preferred the idea of an ageless universe. five How Things Looked One Hundred Years Ago As scientific discoveries accumulated in the centuries leading up to our own, the expectations of the materialist appeared to be proven. There was once no facts that the universe had a beginning, and several discoveries seemed to indicate that it had always existed. To start with, in Newtonian physics, time was once conceived of as a unmarried size stretching without limit into both past and future, just as space was conceived of as an infinite three-dimensional volume stretching without limit in every direction. In Newtonian physics, it was natural to assume that time goes on forever just as numbers go on forever, from -∞ to +∞. Later, “the principle of conservation of energy”—the First Law of Thermodynamics—was chanced on. As we all learned it in school, “energy can never be created or destroyed, but only changed in form. ” I vividly remember that when I was ten and had just learned this principle in school, I used it to argue against an older brother, that the universe did not have to be created because the energy in it could always have existed. Indeed, I argued, the law of conservation of energy says that this energy could not have been created. I suppose this was a clever argument for a ten-year-old. I certainly thought so at the time. In the nineteenth century, chemists discovered the law of conservation of mass. In chemical reactions, the total mass of the reactants does not change—at least as far as could be measured back then. Therefore, not only energy but matter itself was both indestructible and uncreatable. Eventually, with the equivalence of mass and energy, which was discovered by Einstein, these two principles were subsumed into a single principle. No violation of this principle has ever been observed. To all appearances, therefore, either the international of area and time, and all the subject and energy in it, had always existed and always would. To say that time had a beginning, while not absolutely ruled out, would have seemed very strange from the viewpoint of nineteenth-century physics. It would have been as strange as saying that space did not go on forever but had edges to it somewhere.