The Scientific Impossibility of Limiting Knowledge to the Physical
For the past several years, the Does God Exist? program has maintained a home page on the web (http://www.doesgodexist.org/). Lyle Lindholm, working from Nebraska, has donated his time and expertise to make the home page work, and there has been an incredible response to this new method of communication. We have gotten an astronomical number of messages and communications sent to our e-mail address. Many of these are requesting our free materials and/or information and a lot of them have questions that the writers feel we might be able to help them with.
Our most fundamental message in this program is that science and faith are not enemies. We would plead with people who have special abilities and interests in science to not approach those who have an interest in religious matters with an attitude of suspicion and hostility and visa versa. Those who contact us through our site are about evenly divided along the lines of being positive or negative. One group is made up of religious folks who feel science is evil and destructive and has caused virtually all the problems we have in today's world. They feel that any effort to say that religion and science should listen to each other is blasphemous. The other group is made up of atheistic folks who feel anyone who believes in God in any way is an ignorant fool who has put their brain in park and has nothing worth considering.
One of the more fundamental issues which both of these groups react to in a major way is the concept of the creation being made up of forces, energies, or beings that are not three- dimensional physical beings like ourselves. The religious extremists consider a scientific investigation into this area to be blasphemous because it assumes man has the intelligence and wisdom to invade God's territory. The atheist feels that everything in the creation can eventually be explained in one way or another in terms of physical matter and the forces that physical matter exerts. This atheist perspective views all human attributes as due to the brain and its electrical interactions. All cosmology and nuclear considerations are said to be due to the way energy and matter interact through enormous time and by chance alone. With the coming of relativity and quantum mechanics, those who hold this view have been given an expanded field in which to promote their ideology.
What we would like to do in this article is to suggest some areas in which evidence does exist scientifically that theCreation cannot be limited to the physical realm and the three dimensions that we are so familiar with. These fall into six categories or areas of evidence.
1. Mathematical support for many spacial dimensions. In the last century, Edwin Abbott wrote a book titled Flatland that we have quoted from extensively in this journal and in our materials. The story of Flatland is the story of a man who lives in a two-dimensional world and is visited by a three-dimensional being. The book was written by Abbott to explain the nature of God, but it has been used in all kinds of ways to try to help people understand the difficulty involved in perceiving, and understanding something that is not like you. A being living in Flatland knows what a circle is, but sees it differently than a three-dimensional being. The only way a being living in Flatland could ever see all of a circle would be to be in the middle of it. If he is outside the circle in a two-dimensional surface, all he can see is a line that comes toward him and then goes away from him. If he ever got inside the circle so that he could see the whole thing, he could never get out. It would be like a man in our dimension having a steel sphere built around him with no door. There is no way out of the sphere. So, too, the man in Flatland cannot get out of a circle drawn around him. People in Flatland commit suicide by drawing circles around themselves that they cannot get out of. We can understand the Flatland story because we live in a three- dimensional world. We have a somewhat similar problem of the man in Flatland trying to understand time. Time can be graphed against distance in three directions for us--up, sideways, and into the paper ( X,Y and Z). We cannot really define time because it is not in our three- dimensional framework. Through mathematics, there are ways of showing that there are other spacial dimensions beyond time--in fact, there are eleven spacial dimensions. Anything functioning in any of these eleven dimensions beyond our X,Y and Z directions is not able to be observed or described in physical terms.
2. The evidence from light that dimensions influence the behavior of matter. Another area which shows dimensional considerations different than our own is seen in the nature of light. Light is a two-dimensional quantity. Like the man in Flatland, light has no thickness. Light is referred to as electromagnetic radiation because it has an electrical component, and a magnetic component, but no thickness. Light has some very strange properties. When it is moving, it has mass properties, but when you stop it, the mass disappears. Not only does light have a zero rest mass, but it can be polarized. What that means is that the light particle called a photon vibrates in just one plane, and that plane can be controlled. When light hits some kinds of matter, it can knock electrons out of that matter in a process called the photoelectric effect. If the light ricochets off of the matter that it knocked the electrons out of, the color of the light changes. This is because the frequency of the light was altered during the collision. R.J. Compton won a Nobel prize for showing how and why this happens. He settled an old controversy about whether light was a wave or whether it was a particle by essentially saying that it was both--or a particle with wave properties. If you struggle with this idea, it is because light is not three dimensional. Light has a dimensional nature that is different than we are, and that makes it hard for us to understand. The one message we can take from light is that scientific investigation cannot be confined to things that are three-dimensional physical objects. This two- dimensional entity clearly has major influences on our three-dimensional world, expanding our visualization of the cosmos in which we live.
3. Bubble track evidence and the existence of tachyons. There are three broad classifications of matter that students usually hear about in a nuclear physics class--tardyons, photons, and tachyons. Tardyons are particles that travel at speeds slower than the speed of light. You and I are tardyons. Photons are particles that travel at the speed of light. The light described in our second point fits this category, and includes light our eyes cannot see--X-rays, ultraviolet, infrared, radio, TV, etc. The third category called tachyons are particles that travel faster than the speed of light. Do such particles exist? The answer seems to be yes. Various theories in chemistry and physics predict that they will exist, and tracks in bubble chambers imply their presence. Tachyons are not three-dimensional physical particles with properties like the matter we are made of. They are involved in energy transformations that result in the production of matter from energy. Their presence tells us of a whole range of interactions that are different than what we see in our everyday observations of matter and yet imply influences on the matter we see.
4. Decay schemes of binding energy particles. The nucleus of the atom is an unlikely object. It contains protons and neutrons packed tightly together into a very small volume. Since like charges repel, the nucleus has a tendency to fly apart. The energy that prevents the nucleus from flying apart is called the binding energy of the nucleus. As scientists have studied the nucleus by changing its makeup in particle accelerators, it has been found that there are a whole range of particles that are released as the binding energy is released. You have probably heard words like mesons, hadrons, leptons, and the like. These are all particles from the nucleus which have been observed as the binding energy is released. These particles are almost always given off in pairs. One member of the pair is identical to the other, but opposite. What is meant by this is that the particle has the same charge, but is of an opposite sign. If one particle is positive, the other is negative. If one particle spins clockwise, the other will spin counterclockwise. They will have the same mass, but if they touch they will destroy each other, producing energy in the form of heat and light. This bizarre form of matter is called antimatter.
Even the basic unit of charge has been shown to have smaller components called quarks. Studies have shown that all of these objects change. Some do so in a fraction of a second. Some, like protons, take incredibly long periods of time. The whole cosmos, however, is gradually dissolving--turning back into the energy from which it came.
5. Singularity evidence. In this grossly oversimplified and abbreviated discussion, what we have seen is that the physical world in which we live is far from permanent. Even the origin of matter itself suggests a nonphysical source. Cosmological models have been proposed that explain the origin of the cosmos as an infinitely small infinitely hot point, smaller than an atom. Descriptions from physics down to 10-43 seconds after the Creation have been made. No physical laws known to man can function beyond that. Called a singularity, we have an object that by definition does not conform to the laws of science. Whether one deals with string theory or some other model, all explanations run into the necessity of a condition that does not conform to the formulas and laws in the physics book. This situation will change, but the end result will not. New theories will propose other models, but all will come back to some kind of a singularity event. None of this theorizing could even be attempted if the thinking done was confined to the physical world.
6. Human demonstrations of things that are not physical. We have in this discussion confined ourselves to a practical physical approach to this subject. Those trained in philosophy could offer much more support, and in reality almost every discipline can address itself to this question. Even those who study the nature of man see characteristics that cannot be dismissed as physically caused. It is easy to see that many of man's unique characteristics cannot be attributed to his brain. Man's creative abilities, his desires, and ability to worship, his ability to be taught to think, his capacity to feel guilt, sympathy, and forgiveness are not due to his brain. Retarded individuals universally do these things, and highly intelligent animals do not. We have shown this in previous issues of this journal, so we will not repeat it here. The point is that there is evidence from a wide range of disciplines which show that the physical world is only the tip of the iceberg of what reality is all about. How the spiritual world interacts with each of these areas is an understanding that is a long way off, but if we deny the possibility we will never find it.
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