Modern Physics and Ancient Faith

Modern Physics and Ancient Faith

Joined: May 4th, 2005, 1:31 pm

May 22nd, 2010, 2:36 am #1

I still subscribe to Access Research Network, being a bit of a skeptic still when it comes to evolution (by chance). Although, I don't see a lot of alternative theories that have any evidence. I am less skeptical about evolution, but not by chance -- if indeed thing evolved, they were designed to evolve. I think.

Modern Physics and Ancient Faith
By Stephen M. Barr

Questions about our origins can be asked at three distinct levels: 1) the origin and operation of the physical universe; 2) the origin of life; and 3) the operation of living systems. Looking at our book catalog and news stories at ARN some would conclude that question #3 is the only one we are interested in. Not true. While our understanding of the complexity of livings system has mushroomed over the past generation bringing renewed interest to the Darwin or Design debate in the biological realm, some are convinced that the most compelling arguments for design are to be found in physics and cosmology (question #1). In that spirit we are making a concerted effort to enhance our catalog offerings in this area.

Our first selection is by Stephen Barr, a particle physicist at the Bartol Research Institute at the University of Delaware, who is not only a practicing scientist, but a proven communicator on topics related to science, philosophy, and theology. A rare bird, who is our kind of guy.

As a Roman Catholic, Barr has always been troubled by what he perceives as the false impression that some scientists and the media often give that science is at war with religion or that science somehow disproves religion. Like Phillip Johnson, he traces this thinking to the unnecessary marriage of the practice of science with the philosophical doctrine of materialism--that all things must have a naturalistic, materialistic explanation. Barr goes on to show with great effectiveness that materialism is an unsubstantiated faith among physicists. He proceeds to illustrate how the great discoveries of physics in the 20th century actually serve to confirm a belief in a designer or creator god more than they do a belief in materialism.

Barr clearly separates out the Cosmic Design Argument from the Biological Design Argument in his book. Although he has serious doubts about the power of Darwin's theory of natural selection and random mutation to explain the design of living systems, he points out that even if common descent is conceded for the sake of argument (or proven to be true in the future), it does not have an impact on the independent Cosmic Design Argument which is his focus.

While Barr covers some of the standard arguments for design in physics including the big bang, the anthropic principal, and the laws of nature, he also addresses one topic that is seldom addressed in intelligent design literature: quantum mechanics. Quantum theory is the discovery that subatomic particles act very differently than particles in our observable world, which are described by Newtonian physics. Reductionism and materialism are severely challenged in the quantum world where concepts such as uncertainty, unpredictability, wave/particle duality, instantaneous communication, and the need for an observer reign. The reader should be aware that while Barr holds to a traditional or orthodox interpretation of quantum mechanics, he does address some of the alternatives to traditional quantum theory. There are more scientific proofs of quantum theory than almost any other area of science, but the philosophical implications fly in the face of materialistic philosophy to such an extent that many physicists simply choose to ignore them or invent questionable alternatives. If you are looking for an introduction to the implications of quantum mechanics for design theory, chapters 24 and 25 of Barr's book are a good place to start.

While our current understanding of physics and quantum theory appear to point away from materialism and toward design, like all good scientists, Barr holds his ideas loosely: Of course, no one knows what the future of science will bring. Perhaps quantum theory will itself be overturned. We can only talk about the implications of the science we have.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: May 4th, 2005, 1:31 pm

May 22nd, 2010, 2:36 am #2

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Part I - The Conflict between Religion and Materialism

1. The Materialist Creed/1
2. Materialism as an Anti-Religious Mythology/4
3. Scientific Materialism and Nature/19

Part II - In the Beginning

4. The Expectations/33
5. How Things Looked One Hundred Years Ago/36
6. The Big Bang/ 38
7. Was the Big Bang Really the Beginning?/47
8. What If the Big Bang Was Not the Beginning?/58

Part III - Is the Universe Designed?

9. The Argument from Design/ 65
10. The Attack on the Argument from Design/71
11. The Design Argument and the Laws of Nature/76
12. Symmetry and Beauty in the Laws of Nature/93
13. "What Immortal Hand or Eye?"/105

Part IV - Man's Place in the Cosmos

14. The Expectations/115
15. The Anthropic Coincidences/118
16. Objections to the Idea of Anthropic Coincidences/138
17. Alternative Explanations of the Anthropic Coincidences/149
18. Why Is the Universe So Big?/158

Part V - What is Man?

19. The Issue/167
20. Determinism and Free Will/175
21. Can Matter "Understand"?/190
22. Is the Human Mind Just a Computer?/207
23. What Does the Human Mind Have That Computers Lack?/220
24. Quantum Theory and the Mind/227
25. Alternatives to Traditional Quantum Theory/245
26. Is a Pattern Emerging?/253

Appendix A - God, Time, and Creation/257
Appendix B - Attempts to Explain the Beginning Scientifically/268
Appendix C - Godel's Theorem/279
Notes/289
Index/307

Stephan Barr
Stephan M. Barr is a professor of theoretical particle physics at the Bartol Research Institute of the University of Delaware.

Reviews:

"Written from the viewpoint of an accomplished physicist, this book is an invaluable contribution to the growing interest in the relationship between science and religion. The arguments are rigorously logical and the documentation is excellent." --Robert Scherrer, Ohio State University

"In Modern Physics and Ancient Faith, Barr skillfully masters both physics and theology. . . . His work is a thing of scholarly beauty." --Science & Theology News

"In this well-reasoned and accessible book, Stephen Barr argues against the idea that modern science has discredited belief in God. Barr, an accomplished theoretical particle physicist currently at the University of Delaware and a lay Roman Catholic, adroitly marshals recent developments in the natural and computer sciences to show that science, far from clearly discrediting religious belief, can in many instances reasonably be construed to support it. The book is well documented, and the exposition is masterful, making it a valuable asset for those theists wanting to learn more about the ways in which the sciences can contribute to the materialist-theist debate." --Journal of Religion

"Stephen Barr does heroic service with his book Modern Physics and Ancient Faith as a revolutionary insurgent within the intellectual hegemony of modern scientific materialism." --Crisis Magazine

"It is a happy day indeed when one finds a work by a scientist that is so clear, based upon serious reflection, and demonstrates a broad knowledge of philosophy and religion as well as science. Modern Physics and Ancient Faith is such a work. Barr . . . has a wonderful way of explaining difficult theories in modern physics. Equally impressive is his ability to reflect upon the philosophical and theological implications of these theories and explain them to us in ordinary English." -- Theology Today

". . . Well-reasoned and accessible. . . . The book is well documented, and the exposition is masterful, making it a valuable asset for those theists wanting to learn more about the ways in which the sciences can contribute to the materialist-theist debate." --Journal of Religion

". . . An unusual and provocative affirmation of religious faith. Neither religiously sectarian nor technically daunting, this is a book that invites the widest range of readers to ponder the deepest kinds of questions." --Booklist (starred review)

"The strength of Barrs book is his competent and clear accounts of the discoveries of modern science in a way that is also theologically informed. . . ." --New Oxford Review

" ...[A] well-written and logically argued presentation on the relationship between religion and science . . . Barr makes both modern physics and theology understandable to the general reader. This is a worthy successor to P.C.W. Davies's God and the New Physics . . . Highly recommended." -- Library Journal

"[A] lucid and engaging survey of modern physics and its relation to religious belief. . . . Barr has produced a stunning tour de force . . . [a] scientific and philosophical breakthrough." --National Review

Modern Physics and Ancient Faith is the most impressive statement I have seen of the thesis that science has found indications of the divine. Barr presents a thought-provoking discussion that ranges across physics, cosmology and mathematics. He refrains from overblown claims of proof, instead asserting that scientific advances of the past century comport better with the expectations of religious believers than with those of scientific materialists. Barr also shows a willingness to grapple with skeptics' objections. The book can be read profitably for its discussions of various scientific topics, leaving aside whether one agrees with the overall argument." --www.techcentralstation.com

"Stephen Barr's book energizes the reader, since its philosophical positions are well argued, its writing is clear and accessible, and its religious affirmations are provocative for believers and nonbelievers alike." --Christian Century

". . . Modern Physics and Ancient Faith ranks among the most scientifically, theologically, and philosophically rigorous studies of the relation between science and theology to appear in recent years. That it is also written in a clear and highly accessible style makes it even more worthy of widespread notice, discussion, and debate. . . . Barr has written an accessible, insightful, and fair overview of how the discoveries of physics and mathematics during the last century could be thought to confirm the expectations of the religious believer--as well as a careful analysis and critique of materialism. For those looking for an overview that will help them to think at a deep level about these issues, I cannot think of anything better than Modern Physics and Ancient Faith." --First Things

". . . Because Barr covers a lot of ground and does so with clarity, insight, and verve, the proposals of Modern Physics and Ancient Faith will no doubt gain a wider readership than most apologetic texts in the science and religion discussion." -- Religious Studies Review

"Uniting science and religion, the author and physicist uses his scientific expertise to support his belief that the universe is best explained by divine design, pressing evolutionary theory for a plausible account of the origin of what quantum physics demands--a conscious observer." --Columbia College Today
Quote
Like
Share

JB
JB

May 22nd, 2010, 3:06 am #3

I still subscribe to Access Research Network, being a bit of a skeptic still when it comes to evolution (by chance). Although, I don't see a lot of alternative theories that have any evidence. I am less skeptical about evolution, but not by chance -- if indeed thing evolved, they were designed to evolve. I think.

Modern Physics and Ancient Faith
By Stephen M. Barr

Questions about our origins can be asked at three distinct levels: 1) the origin and operation of the physical universe; 2) the origin of life; and 3) the operation of living systems. Looking at our book catalog and news stories at ARN some would conclude that question #3 is the only one we are interested in. Not true. While our understanding of the complexity of livings system has mushroomed over the past generation bringing renewed interest to the Darwin or Design debate in the biological realm, some are convinced that the most compelling arguments for design are to be found in physics and cosmology (question #1). In that spirit we are making a concerted effort to enhance our catalog offerings in this area.

Our first selection is by Stephen Barr, a particle physicist at the Bartol Research Institute at the University of Delaware, who is not only a practicing scientist, but a proven communicator on topics related to science, philosophy, and theology. A rare bird, who is our kind of guy.

As a Roman Catholic, Barr has always been troubled by what he perceives as the false impression that some scientists and the media often give that science is at war with religion or that science somehow disproves religion. Like Phillip Johnson, he traces this thinking to the unnecessary marriage of the practice of science with the philosophical doctrine of materialism--that all things must have a naturalistic, materialistic explanation. Barr goes on to show with great effectiveness that materialism is an unsubstantiated faith among physicists. He proceeds to illustrate how the great discoveries of physics in the 20th century actually serve to confirm a belief in a designer or creator god more than they do a belief in materialism.

Barr clearly separates out the Cosmic Design Argument from the Biological Design Argument in his book. Although he has serious doubts about the power of Darwin's theory of natural selection and random mutation to explain the design of living systems, he points out that even if common descent is conceded for the sake of argument (or proven to be true in the future), it does not have an impact on the independent Cosmic Design Argument which is his focus.

While Barr covers some of the standard arguments for design in physics including the big bang, the anthropic principal, and the laws of nature, he also addresses one topic that is seldom addressed in intelligent design literature: quantum mechanics. Quantum theory is the discovery that subatomic particles act very differently than particles in our observable world, which are described by Newtonian physics. Reductionism and materialism are severely challenged in the quantum world where concepts such as uncertainty, unpredictability, wave/particle duality, instantaneous communication, and the need for an observer reign. The reader should be aware that while Barr holds to a traditional or orthodox interpretation of quantum mechanics, he does address some of the alternatives to traditional quantum theory. There are more scientific proofs of quantum theory than almost any other area of science, but the philosophical implications fly in the face of materialistic philosophy to such an extent that many physicists simply choose to ignore them or invent questionable alternatives. If you are looking for an introduction to the implications of quantum mechanics for design theory, chapters 24 and 25 of Barr's book are a good place to start.

While our current understanding of physics and quantum theory appear to point away from materialism and toward design, like all good scientists, Barr holds his ideas loosely: Of course, no one knows what the future of science will bring. Perhaps quantum theory will itself be overturned. We can only talk about the implications of the science we have.
It is people's interpretation of a few opening chapters in the Book of Genesis which causes all the fuss. Science says it is possible to go into the future if the theory of travelling faster than is light is possible; but we can not go back in time due to the Law of Cause.

There is no evidence that any of the content in the Bible predicts the future, yet many parts of Christianity believe otherwise. All we have in the Bible is that God has a plan. The Bible is not about the history of planet earth. JB
Quote
Share

Joined: May 4th, 2005, 1:31 pm

May 22nd, 2010, 3:28 am #4

Yes, there was a time I was a bit "fundy" in my views, a couple of decades back.

My Dad was a church going guy, who got baptized and was a lay preacher at times, and yet he would say things like "The Bible doesn't say how", and "Who knows what a day really is in Genesis" and so on.

You see the Bible as being a plan?

The best I have been able to come up with the past decade or so, is that it has some good moral guidelines. And some, if taken literally, that are very bad. So yes, I believe in picking and choosing. Seems all do so, but some don't like to admit it.

Quote
Like
Share

Joined: May 4th, 2010, 8:37 pm

May 22nd, 2010, 1:06 pm #5

.... There's not One Truth for Christians and another one for Science. When you find the One Truth, you'll see that they both agree with God's Truth.

And it's simple to know if one's biblical interpretation is correct. If it agrees with God's Holy Word, true Science, and History, it's as close to the One Truth as is Humanly possible. The fault is Not with God's Truth, but with man's ability to understand it, for His thoughts are far above man's thoughts.

God Bless
Last edited by 4Pillars on May 22nd, 2010, 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: July 1st, 2008, 11:52 pm

May 22nd, 2010, 1:36 pm #6

yes Gods thoughts are above man's thoughts which is why GOD MUST PUT HIMSELF IN US for us to grasp him, understand him and his thoughts:

without the revelation of Jesus Christ in us, there is no truth in us, but only speculation of what things in the Bible mean:

once CHRIST IS COME (present tense) and we become EYE WITNESSES of him, because every eye will see him and this SINGLE EYE will give LIGHT TO THE WHOLE BODY, then we will know what everything means:

since CHRIST IS COME to me, (present tense) 17 years ago, he revealed all that was HIDDEN IN me, brought me from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to the POWER OF GOD.....

but I couldn't have done that on my own through all the study in the world: There are Rabbis who study all their lives and never come to this knowledge of the TRUTH WITHIN THEIR HEARTS


there are Christians, bishops, cardinals and yes, even the POPE who may not yet have experienced this COMING OF THE LORD but when they do, they will not be able to PRETEND that they didn't no matter what one thinks that you could keep this a secret


it is like a FIRE in your BONES and it won't let you shut up: IT IS LIFE FROM ANOTHER DIMENSION that is so powerful that your MOUTH SPEAKS FROM THIS ABUNDANCE in your heart continually


but....no one can credit for it....because it is not the person who chose this, but GOD CHOSE when he comes to each individual person;


the LOTS are cast before we get here when we go home......GOD KNOWS the end before the beginning because we actuallY LIVE according to what is written about our lives before we are born into them


our name is taken out of the book of life if we DEVIATE From our path which we will till we have no more ROOM to deviate and when this happens in us, it is called "going home" or REPENTANCE, return to the FATHERS HOUSE WHO sends CHRIST TO BRING US BACK HOME again


only people who experienced his wrote the scripture


these are considered the Holy men because the HOLY SPIRIT is poured out upon them and these ones prophesy because they EXPERIENCE GOD IN THEM and oracle this WORD outwardly but to what end?

to the END of building GODS HOUSE, the SOUL that is the Body of JESUS Christ


God prepares the SOUL for this event, and it has to go through so many generations to get to the LAST DAYS of that soul

when that souls last days or last generation comes, they will experience all the things that are WRITTEN, and none shall escape

I didn't know that but I found out because it happened to be my souls last generation and I Had to go home and finish my course (race) or loose my life, loose my soul

its as simple as that


I thank God he enables us to SAVE OUR SOUL IN THE END because he gives us CHRIST to finish our course
every day is a new day to die to the old and live to the newness of life
Quote
Like
Share

Striver
Striver

May 22nd, 2010, 4:29 pm #7

I still subscribe to Access Research Network, being a bit of a skeptic still when it comes to evolution (by chance). Although, I don't see a lot of alternative theories that have any evidence. I am less skeptical about evolution, but not by chance -- if indeed thing evolved, they were designed to evolve. I think.

Modern Physics and Ancient Faith
By Stephen M. Barr

Questions about our origins can be asked at three distinct levels: 1) the origin and operation of the physical universe; 2) the origin of life; and 3) the operation of living systems. Looking at our book catalog and news stories at ARN some would conclude that question #3 is the only one we are interested in. Not true. While our understanding of the complexity of livings system has mushroomed over the past generation bringing renewed interest to the Darwin or Design debate in the biological realm, some are convinced that the most compelling arguments for design are to be found in physics and cosmology (question #1). In that spirit we are making a concerted effort to enhance our catalog offerings in this area.

Our first selection is by Stephen Barr, a particle physicist at the Bartol Research Institute at the University of Delaware, who is not only a practicing scientist, but a proven communicator on topics related to science, philosophy, and theology. A rare bird, who is our kind of guy.

As a Roman Catholic, Barr has always been troubled by what he perceives as the false impression that some scientists and the media often give that science is at war with religion or that science somehow disproves religion. Like Phillip Johnson, he traces this thinking to the unnecessary marriage of the practice of science with the philosophical doctrine of materialism--that all things must have a naturalistic, materialistic explanation. Barr goes on to show with great effectiveness that materialism is an unsubstantiated faith among physicists. He proceeds to illustrate how the great discoveries of physics in the 20th century actually serve to confirm a belief in a designer or creator god more than they do a belief in materialism.

Barr clearly separates out the Cosmic Design Argument from the Biological Design Argument in his book. Although he has serious doubts about the power of Darwin's theory of natural selection and random mutation to explain the design of living systems, he points out that even if common descent is conceded for the sake of argument (or proven to be true in the future), it does not have an impact on the independent Cosmic Design Argument which is his focus.

While Barr covers some of the standard arguments for design in physics including the big bang, the anthropic principal, and the laws of nature, he also addresses one topic that is seldom addressed in intelligent design literature: quantum mechanics. Quantum theory is the discovery that subatomic particles act very differently than particles in our observable world, which are described by Newtonian physics. Reductionism and materialism are severely challenged in the quantum world where concepts such as uncertainty, unpredictability, wave/particle duality, instantaneous communication, and the need for an observer reign. The reader should be aware that while Barr holds to a traditional or orthodox interpretation of quantum mechanics, he does address some of the alternatives to traditional quantum theory. There are more scientific proofs of quantum theory than almost any other area of science, but the philosophical implications fly in the face of materialistic philosophy to such an extent that many physicists simply choose to ignore them or invent questionable alternatives. If you are looking for an introduction to the implications of quantum mechanics for design theory, chapters 24 and 25 of Barr's book are a good place to start.

While our current understanding of physics and quantum theory appear to point away from materialism and toward design, like all good scientists, Barr holds his ideas loosely: Of course, no one knows what the future of science will bring. Perhaps quantum theory will itself be overturned. We can only talk about the implications of the science we have.
All things are designed to evolve. I agree. Assuming I Understand it, so does Trans-Himalayan Philosophy.

The Word, the Logos, is a thought pattern to which matter is attracted via gravity forming an instrument thorugh which, by which, it sounds its cosmic note. The evolution of matter is the process of the frequency of matter (its note) conforming to and becoming one with (it ascends to) the Word

It has been said that "the chief agency by which Nature's Wheel is moved in a phenomenal direction is sound," for the original sound or word sets in vibration the matter of which all forms are made and initiates that activity which characterizes even the atom of substance.

People seldom realise the potency of a word, yet it is stated "In the beginning was the word and the Word was God. Without him was not anything made that was made." When therefore we read these words our minds go back to the dawn of the creative process when, through the medium of sound, God spoke and the worlds were made..

The literature ans the scriptures of all the ancient nations and great religions bear testimony to the efficacy of sound in producing all that is tangible and visible.

Thw Hindus says very beautifully that "the Great Singer built the worlds and the Universe is his song."

This is a similar way of expressing the same idea.
Quote
Share

Joined: July 13th, 2009, 1:50 pm

May 23rd, 2010, 1:10 pm #8

It is people's interpretation of a few opening chapters in the Book of Genesis which causes all the fuss. Science says it is possible to go into the future if the theory of travelling faster than is light is possible; but we can not go back in time due to the Law of Cause.

There is no evidence that any of the content in the Bible predicts the future, yet many parts of Christianity believe otherwise. All we have in the Bible is that God has a plan. The Bible is not about the history of planet earth. JB
So how does God perform that plan without history JB?

"If I must choose between righteousness and peace, I choose RIGHTEOUSNESS"." ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Quote
Like
Share

Iceman
Iceman

May 23rd, 2010, 11:25 pm #9

Yes, there was a time I was a bit "fundy" in my views, a couple of decades back.

My Dad was a church going guy, who got baptized and was a lay preacher at times, and yet he would say things like "The Bible doesn't say how", and "Who knows what a day really is in Genesis" and so on.

You see the Bible as being a plan?

The best I have been able to come up with the past decade or so, is that it has some good moral guidelines. And some, if taken literally, that are very bad. So yes, I believe in picking and choosing. Seems all do so, but some don't like to admit it.
Our spiritual nature and science should agree. Why not? Everything comes from our earth and we are biological beings. Why deny that? I don't know what, when, or how the beginning of everything came about. Thus far, neither do the finest of minds. However we do know it was, and is nothing, like the folklore in the black book.
Quote
Share

Joined: January 16th, 2005, 12:16 am

May 24th, 2010, 12:45 am #10

So how does God perform that plan without history JB?

"If I must choose between righteousness and peace, I choose RIGHTEOUSNESS"." ~ Theodore Roosevelt
thy question, I can mention that:

"Science says it is possible to go into the future if the theory of travelling faster than is light is possible; but we can not go back in time due to the Law of Cause"

Someone may be lacking current information (no, I do not "PROOF") and there is a chance that some study is due...happens to me also (as if you did not know that :-)

luv,
Quote
Like
Share