Biography of the Universe in the Light of Latest Scientific Theories
The following excerpts are from a brilliant new book authored by a Kashmiri theoretical physicist Dr. Mir Faizal who has been a student at NIT along with a fellow scientist from Copenhagen University
Does Science Contradict Itself?
There is a popular misconception about science that it keeps contradicting itself and, thus, it is not trustable. Today it says one thing and tomorrow another. So how can we rely on any conclusion that science has made? This misconception occurs due to a lack of understanding of how science works.
Science does not contradict its theories but keeps generalizing them. For example, when Einstein formulated the theory of relativity he did not prove Newton wrong. He only formulated a more general theory to describe higher energy scales. This theory reproduced the results obtained by Newton’s theory at the energy scales which Newton was considering. Only at higher energy scales it gave different results to the ones that would be derived from Newton’s theory.
However, Newton had never tested his theory at those energy scales. Thus, Newton’s theory was correct but only limited to lower energy scales. Einstein’s theory was a generalization and not a contradiction to the theory of Newton. In fact, a requirement for Einstein’s theory to be a correct theory describing nature was that it had to reduce to Newton’s theory at the energy scales which Newton was considering. This was because Newton’s theory had been experimentally tested and proven to be correct at those energy scales.
A consequence of this was that it was not necessary to know Einstein’s theory of relativity if only low-energy phenomena were being analyzed. This was because Einstein’s theory would give the same results that would be obtained from Newton’s theory at those energy scales. Recent experiments suggest that nature is described by a more general theory than Einstein’s theory. This general theory has still not been completely formulated. A requirement for this yet unknown theory is that it should reproduce the results obtained from Einstein’s theory at the energy scales at which Einstein’s theory has been tested and proven to be correct.
Science and Miracles
It must be stressed that the idea of nature being so perfect that it can be expressed in terms of complex mathematical laws is a belief, and like all other beliefs it cannot be fundamentally proven to be correct or incorrect. One of the reasons why this belief exists is that it has never been proven to be wrong and, moreover, it has led to great progress within science. However, for all unexplained phenomena this remains only a belief. This is because as long as there is no theory to explain these phenomena the belief in the existence of such a theory is only a belief. Even though this is only a belief, it is the belief of which the whole establishment of modern science and, thus, our modern civilization is based on. To contradict this belief is considered to be a blasphemy in science. Thus, miracles which break natural laws can never be accepted in science. As per definition miracles are singular events which cannot be tested and reproduced, and so they are not scientific. However, a belief in miracles is not merely against the scientific method; it is against the whole philosophy of science which is based on the belief that the universe is consistent and elegant. This is because miracles assume that all order in nature is broken at some point on earth because of the action of a human being. This can never be accepted by anyone with a scientific bent of mind.
In fact, scientifically speaking, miracles could be normal events that were misunderstood by people as supernatural events. For example, consider one of the most famous miracles in history: Jesus’ resurrection. There was no doctor to verify that he had actually died on the cross. Crucifixion was thought to be a painful way to die as it took many days for people to die on the cross. The only way to speed up the death of a person was to break his legs. Jesus was crucified for only a few hours on the cross and his legs were not broken, so it is highly unlikely that he died during the crucifixion. In fact, survival from crucifixion was normal and has been well-documented to occur for many people in the past. Now, if he was alive after the crucifixion and was rescued later on, there would be no breaking of a natural law. However, people around him could have easily misunderstood this as a miracle breaking a natural law. In fact, most miracles that have been documented historically are of this nature. Of course, it is impossible to exclude that miracles could be totally fabricated in the course of writing a book about past events. Apart from these, some frauds cheat people by performing magical tricks and claiming these to be miracles. Such types of miracles are outright frauds and most modern miracles belong to this category. It should be emphasized that there is no clash between any religion and science. The clash only occurs when literal interpretations of religions are used and compared with science.
Dr. Mir Faizal, Theoretical Physics at Oxford University and Dr. Rubini Kannangara, Molecular Biology at Copenhagen University
Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 18 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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