'The Science Wall'
by Dr Andrew Dore
BSC (Hons) MBG CPGS DPhil Cantab
My name is Dr Andrew Doré, it has been my pleasure to put together what has been dubbed “the science wall”. By trade I am a geneticist, molecular biologist, a biologist, a biochemist, a drug hunter, X-ray crystallographer and particle physicist.
I have spent the last 23 years working in biomedical research and been fortunate enough to work solely in the laboratories of Fellows of the Royal Society across the world, from Cambridge where I did my DPhil, to London and Boston, on quite a journey to where I find myself now. I have delivered keynote and plenary lectures at conferences across the world on my research, and published that research in all the top journals... and yet, just like everyone here, I Am still fascinated by the complexity, mechanics and workings of the universe, of our own world and our own bodies down to the subatomic scale .... and the age old question - what is the meaning of it all and why are we here?
So I first became interested in scientific philosophy at the age of 17, I remember borrowing a book from the Roman Catholic school I attended written by Jacques Monod (a famous French scientific biochemist who was awarded the Nobel prize in 1965 – famously he is widely picture enjoying smoking cigarettes in his laboratory – not unlike my first professor), anyway this book was entitled - Chance and Necessity.
I thought it would be cool to be seen around college reading scientific philosophy books! Little was I to know that book I had picked up was the spark that lit the fire at least in my own mind. Let me read you one of the most famous quotes ….
The ancient covenant is in pieces; man knows at last that he is alone in the universe's unfeeling immensity, out of which he emerged only by chance. His destiny is nowhere spelled out, nor is his duty. The kingdom above …. or the darkness below: it is for him to choose.
I remember reading this so clearly, and at first I was quite blown away by it, “that’s right, chance is all powerful” “indeed evolution is all powerful” -
And yet, the more I looked and experienced both at a practical level in the laboratory and on accelerator beamlines around the world, and all the emerging research that I was engulfed in, alongside the incredible advances in science just over the last 20 years, it became more and more apparent, an almost annoying niggling in the back of my mind, that such complexity of life cannot surely be just the product of random chance ….. however powerful pure chance is…
… For if it were, why had we not been exposed to complex life similar to our own beyond our own biosphere and planet in an observable universe 93 billion light years wide containing 100billion galaxies let alone the number of stars and solar systems and planets that exist within those galaxies.
The pioneering astronomer Maria Mitchell wrote in her diary in 1854 “The world of learning is so broad, and the human soul is so limited in power! We reach forth and strain every nerve,”, but we seize only a bit of the curtain that hides the infinite from us.”
The meaning of life has indeed been pondered by some of history’s greatest minds …
….For Carl Sagan, it was about our significant insignificance in the cosmos;
….For Annie Dillard, about inhabiting impermanence;
….For Anaïs Nin, about living and relating to others “as if they might not be there tomorrow”
….For Henry Miller, about the mesmerism of the unknown
….For Leo Tolstoy, about finding knowledge to guide our lives
….For David Foster Wallace, about learning how to stay truly conscious
And yet this feeling and notion is perhaps most best described or captured by Richard Feynman in “The Pleasure of Finding Things Out”, another Nobel laureate and American Physicist who died in 1988. Born on May 11th, 1918.
Richard Feynman is widely considered one of the most brilliant scientists to ever have lived – except perhaps by his mother Lucille, who once, as perhaps only a mother can, jokingly remarked :
“if that’s the world smartest man, God help us” … and yet in fact, in humility he used to love boasting at parties that he only had an IQ of 125 and had still got to where he was! ….. Here is one of his most famous quotes:
What, then, is the meaning of it all? What can we say to dispel the mystery of existence?
If we take everything into account, not only what the ancients knew, but all of what we know today that they didn’t know, then I think that we must frankly admit that we do not know.
But, in admitting this, we have probably found the open channel.
Yet what is mostly not quoted is the paragraph that comes before this :
Through all ages men have tried to fathom the meaning of life. They have realized that if some direction or meaning could be given to our actions, great human forces would be unleashed. So, very many answers must have been given to the question of the meaning of it all. But they have been of all different sorts, and the proponents of one answer have looked with horror at the actions of the believers in another.
Horror, because from a disagreeing point of view all the great potentialities of the race were being channeled into a false and confining blind alley. In fact, it is from the history of the enormous monstrosities created by false belief that philosophers have realized the apparently infinite and wondrous capacities of human beings. The dream is to find the open channel.
I believe this to be much more significant. The open channel, the answer, the meaning, and all that divides us as a race? I believe it lies in both the delicate physics that underly our existence, that of the universe and the evolution of life on the incredible and unique planet we live on and call home. None of this I now believe is down to pure chance, it just cannot be, the evidence is too overwhelming.
To quote Albert Einstein :
science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind
So let us examine this in detail, what precisely am I saying … now begin at the dawn of time, cast your mind back 13.8 billion years and to the creation of our universe.
Everyone here will be familiar with the big bang theory – but ask yourself what does that actually mean?
The so-called big bang, or the creation of our universe is theorized to have begun with a singularity of huge gravitational proportions. Consider it in your mind as a tiny LED light in the middle of a blacked out theatre like the Royal Albert Hall, for which we cannot see the edges, they are, for all intents and purposes, infinite.
A single entity was ‘set” of such order (or entropy) that it exploded and distributed only two elements across this theatre (of space and time), these being hydrogen and helium. It is amazing to consider that only these two elements, were distributed with such order and in such a way that could give rise to the extraordinary beauty and diversity we see across the universe now.
And yet the real beauty is in the precision, not only of the distribution of those two elements across our universe, but of their massess. This is where I will now start to introduce the concept of “fine tuning” – or as it was previously known “intelligent design”.
The difference between the mass of the proton and the mass of the neutron has to be fine-tuned for life to be possible. If the mass of a neutron was a seventh of a percent more than it is, stars like most of those we can see would not exist. If the neutron mass was 0.085% less than it is, the Universe would be full of neutrons and nothing else. There is no reason why protons and neutrons should have the masses they do.
To quote Stephen Hawking, who needs no introduction:
The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life ... For example, if the electric charge of the electron had been only slightly different, stars would have been unable to burn hydrogen and helium or else they would not have exploded. It seems clear that there are relatively few ranges of values for the numbers that would allow for development of any form of intelligent life
Nuclear scientists measure the mass of protons and electrons in units of millions of electron volts (MeV). If this is unfamiliar, it’s important not to be distracted by it. MeV are convenient units. We could just as well use any other units – kilogrammes, say, or even ounces. It really doesn’t matter. The argument would be the same.
Strictly speaking, an electron volt is a unit of energy, but as Einstein famously showed, mass and energy are equivalent, through E = mc2, so it is not a problem to use energy units to measure mass (or vice versa if you are so inclined).
Atoms are made of protons, neutrons, and electrons
Protons and neutrons are heavy – they carry nearly all the mass of the atom, and they are concentrated in the atomic nucleus
Electrons are much lighter, and orbit forming a cloud around the nucleus (a very thin cloud – most of an atom is just empty space), such an orbit is replicated in how our earth orbits the sun.
So protons have a positive electric charge, electrons a negative charge, and neutrons have no charge. In a neutral atom, the number of protons and electrons is the same
Basic textbooks sometimes say that protons and neutrons have the same mass. This is almost true – but not quite, and the difference is VERY important:
Protons have a mass of 938.27 MeV
Neutrons have a mass of 939.56 MeV
So the difference between them is small: a neutron is about 1.29 MeV heavier than a proton.
Now, there is no obvious reason why protons and neutrons should have just these masses, but if they were even slightly different ………. we wouldn’t be here.
The number of protons and neutrons in the Universe was more or less settled in the first few minutes of the Big Bang as I said. A hundred protons were created for every sixteen neutrons.
Because of this, there is now more hydrogen than helium – about three times as much by mass, or twelve times as much if you count atoms. This is important for at least a couple of reasons:
If there wasn’t any hydrogen, there wouldn’t be any water – I’ll come back to this later….
The search for life in space looks for places where there could be water as one of the key markers.
Stars can be made from hydrogen or from helium. But stars made from hydrogen last much longer than stars made from helium (billions of years instead of hundreds of millions).
Science argues that there wouldn’t be time for complicated life to evolve around stars that only burned for a few hundred million years.
‘There would be no hydrogen available for key biological solvents like water and carbonic acid, and all the stars would be helium-burning and hence short-lived. Almost certainly, helium stars would not have the long-lived nuclear burning phase necessary to encourage the gradual evolution of biological life-forms in planetary systems.’ (Barrow & Tipler 1986:399)
The key reaction by which hydrogen ‘burns’ in stars involves two protons colliding, and producing a deuteron - a particle made of a proton and a neutron. This reaction produces 1.42 MeV of energy. If the mass of a neutron was one seven hundredth more than it is (that is, a seventh of a percent), this reaction would need energy poured into it, rather than producing energy. This means that stars would not be able to burn hydrogen.
Stars like those can see today in our universe would not exist. To quote Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist from Arizona State, and Yale University still alive today:
It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn't be here if stars hadn't exploded, because the elements - the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution and for life - weren't created at the beginning of time.
And this is an important point, because only through stars burning and exploding over millions and billions of years acting as nuclear furnaces, have the complex elements for life here on earth been created. Which relates to why we are all created from Stardust. The atoms in your right hand may well have come from a different star to those in your left, and vice versa. In any event, theye were not created at the dawn of time
Dr Paul Davies Profesor of Theoretical Phytsics at Adelaide university famously quotes:
The really amazing thing is not that life on Earth is balanced on a knife-edge, but that the entire universe is balanced on a knife-edge, and would be total chaos if any of the natural ‘constants’ were off even slightly. You see even if you dismiss man as a chance happening, the fact remains that the universe seems unreasonably suited to the existence of life—almost contrived—you might say a ‘put-up job’.”
The chances of the masses of protons and neutrons occurring by chance and therefore sustaining life, and / or the universe itself then are the same as throwing a Dart from one side of the observable universe to the other and hitting a target with a millimeter diameter… to quote Sir Fred Hoyle who sums it all up so eloquently:
A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintendent has monkeyed with the physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce within stars.
pretty mind blowing huh?
…. And it is mind blowing, but maybe even more so when we look at how our own planet came to be, and our own evolution resulting in the cells that make up our bodies.
We have just examined briefly the amazing and apparent fine tuning of the universe and its creation on a MASSIVE scale (or macro scale)… but also at the same time on a very small scale in terms of the weight of protons and neutrons …. Now let us look at the existence of our own solar system and planets, including earth, orbiting the sun, an intermediary scale if you will.
So the earth then is 3.8 billion years old. We orbit our sun in a region termed “the goldilocks zone” … from the old fairytale, everything aligned perfectly and at the correct distance for our earth to be able to sustain life. To break it all down, the porridge was precisely the right temperature, not too thin and not to gloopy…
One possible theory of how planet earth came to be created is through the cataclysmic collision of two sister planets, that also gave rise to our moon. This is termed the “giant impact hypothesis”.
Theia is a hypothesized ancient planet in the early solar system that collided with Gaia around 4.5 billion years ago. Recent evidence suggests that Theia originated from the Kuiper belt, a region of rocks that orbit the outer most reaches of our solar system, much like pluto, and that Theia brought with it much of earths water when it was knocked off orbit and began moving inwards towards the gravitational pull of the Sun destined to ultimately collide with Gaia.
Yet the astonishing thing is the elements that make up the core of earth (molten iron), the overall size, and the rate of cooling after the collision of these two planets. Cooling too fast would have created a planet that did not have the intact magnetic poles to make it resistant to the radiation and solar winds of the sun, and therefore unable to support life as we know it. Indeed, it is widely believed this is what happened to Mars, too large and cooling to fast, it lost it’s atmosphere as a result of the lack of a protective magnetic shield. Of course it was also destined to be our savior after this.
The great bombardment hypothesis describes one of the large rock bodies in the Kuiper belt, much like Theia, breaking distant orbit from the sun, but carrying with it many other asteroids or rocks inwards towards the sun. These hit mars at an astonishing frequency as it effectively broadened it’s shoulders like a big brother would and protected the earth from these incoming rocks.
It is estimated 32,000 tonnes of rock hit Mars per metre squared during this period, and that finished off any hope of life or atmosphere being sustained on the Martian planet. What was left over, or made it through, either then or more recently, created the craters on the moon that we see today, and then the impact of meteors on earth that caused the Precambrian extinction when our planet was hit and resulted in both the extinction of the dinosaurs and waking the planet from an ice age.
SO, we have now gone through a whistle-stop tour of the infinitesimally small chances of life occurring on a macro (that is huge universe scale), to an intermediate planetary scale ….. BUT …. how about the origins of life as we know it and are more familiar with, to be more blunt, that of complex plants and animals here on earth.
Before we begin this, let us consider how our planet began it’s life as a very inhospitable place to that, that it is now … what we now see around us is a thriving planet teeming with life of all sorts of extreme diversity. From simple bacteria, to extreme thermophiles that live at high temperatures in deep sea volcanic vents devoid of oxygen, to the complex organisms that make up fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals… it was not always like this.
But where did we come from here on earth? How did we evolve? What does evolution truly mean? The truth is that we all very likely began as simple single celled bacteria, and indeed if we are ever to see life in the rest of the cosmos it will probably take this form.
The fact is that after all the fine-tuning of the universe we have discussed had taken place, alongside the unique position of our planet next to the right star with the right protection and composition, one more, once in a billion event had to occur, that knocks quantum string theory backwards in terms of disproving our unique position amongst multiverses.
You see all animals, plants and fungi evolved from one ancestor, the first ever complex, or “eukaryotic”, cell from the primordial soup on earth. This common ancestor had itself evolved from simple bacteria, but it has long been a mystery why this seems to have happened only once: bacteria, after all, have been around for billions of years.
However, whenever simple cells start to become more complex, they run into problems generating enough energy.
“The basic principles are universal. Even aliens need mitochondria”
“It required a kind of industrial revolution in terms of energy production,”
This was a once in a billion chance, that our ancestor bacteria would engulf and merge (a symbiosis) with another life form that would provide all the energy it needed to evolve, to create birds and animals, and humans and make different cell types… i.e. eyes, nose, limbs etc etc.
This life form we call mitochondria, even has it’s own DNA that it still carries today and lives in every one of the cells in your body, our early ancestor cells came to an “agreement” with it, ultimately “you give me energy, and I’ll mop up the mess and give you nutrients”, it appeared it was a match made in heaven…
To become more complex, cells need more genes and more proteins – and so they need to get bigger. As the volume of any object increases, however, its relative surface area falls: an elephant has less surface area per unit of volume than a mouse, for instance. This is a major problem because simple cells generate the energy they need using the membrane that encloses them.
So from the simple bacteria that underwent their own industrial revolution by engulfing an energy machine in the form of mitochondria, to the life in the oceans, to fish moving between rock pools and developing limbs and trading fills for lungs that then gave rise to reptiles, to the evolution all the way through to Homo sapiens and the development of language...
…. You see, all of this was designed in that tiny LED sitting in the middle of the Royal Albert Hall……that initial singularity with infinity on all sides…… the order and entropy of magnitude that gave rise to the physical constants we observe today and a universe able to sustain life... that is where evolution TRULY began, not on HMS beagle, Charles Darwin merely scratched the surface….. but he created something more powerful than turtles and birds in the Galapogos islands, he uncovered the beginning of our universe, for if it had not been so as Stephen Hawking the famous astrophysicist says :
This would have given rise to universes incredibly beautiful but unstable and that would collapse back on themselves, and with no-one to wonder at that beauty.
If no-one is present to wonder at that beauty, then I must ask the question, what then would be the point?
From the simple bacteria that underwent their own industrial revolution by engulfing an energy machine in the form of mitochondria, to the life in the oceans, to fish moving between rock pools and developing limbs and trading fills for lungs that then gave rise to reptiles, to the evolution all the way through to Homo sapiens and the development of language... you see, all of this was designed in that tiny LED sitting in the middle of the Royal Albert Hall, that initial singularity with infinity on all sides, the order and entropy such that it gave rise to the physical constants we observe today and a universe able to sustain life... that is where evolution TRULY began, not on HMS beagle, but at the beginning of our universe, for if it had not been so as Stephen Hawking the famous astrophysicist says
Would have given rise to universes incredibly beautiful but unstable and that would collapse back on themselves, and with no-one to wonder at that beauty.
How people argue that creation theory is incompatible with that of evolution is, in my humble opinion, beyond me, for they are perfectly and clearly both compatible and synchronised.
Returning now to Richard Feynman (who theorized the human race would not exist past 2050 … how true that might be…..)
“Once in Hawaii I was taken to see a Buddhist temple. In the temple a man said, "I am going to tell you something that you will never forget." And then he said, "To every man is given the key to the gates of heaven. The same key opens the gates of hell.”
Perhaps this is free will? Perhaps this is our choice on this planet? It is up to us, both physically and spiritually speaking as to which of those we chose to unlock, and how, and if, we chose to protect this incredible planet we call “home”.
I know one thing, and that is that I am in complete agreement with both Galileo and Le Metre:
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”
We must stand up and realise our place in the universe, and what we are doing to our own planet, Shakespeare talks to us as to the positive, and yet what he says with irony, I say with conviction :
What a piece of work is man, how noble in reason,
how infinite in faculties, in form and moving,
how express and admirable in action, how like an angel in apprehension,
how like a god.
Our race faces the most challenging time it has possibly ever. The doomsday clock puts us at the most severe risk the world has ever seen ( 100 seconds to midnight – worse than the Cuban missile crisis --- for those that remember it)…. as a result of the risks posed to humanity by nuclear stockpiling and Climate change and cyber attacks.
Carl Sagan, an famous American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist who died in 1996 also famously wrote ;
We are rare and precious because we are alive,
because we can think.
We are priveleged to influence and perhaps
control our future.
We have an obligation to fight for life on Earth -
not just for ourselves, but for all those,
humans and others, who came before us
and to whom we are beholden,
and for all those who, if we are wise enough,
will come after”
If not stopped, continuing unabated climate change and the growth of the global population past 10 billion and the carbon dioxide footprint that creates (58 tonnes per year per person) will create positive feedback loops crossing a point of no return in terms of rising water levels, millions will be displaced, poverty will worsen, food shortages and starvation will be even more apparent, natural disasters will increase in frequency, flooding (as we have seen in Africa this year), fires (akin to those that have ravaged Australia killing a billion animals and setting ablaze an area the size of the UK), with global temperatures continuing to rise….. Indeed Covid-19 has pertinently shown us that we are part of Nature, not above it!
Yet here we stand on the precipice, ready to be judged by history itself…. with the ability to protect the once in a universe (let alone multiverse, lifetime or generation) chance we have been given and reverse the damage …. The question is will we wake up, act and protect our delicate and precious home, or will we abscond and leave it to our children to face this alone and pay the ultimate price for our mistakes and inaction….
So as I said at the start, these are only MY beliefs…. born from my experiences, we are nothing if not a product of our experiences. I can only tell you what I think and how I see the world and our universe. I would ask you all to personally explore the beauty of all this yourselves because ultimately you will, and must form your own opinion, if not for any other reason than for your own conviction to be true…. Indeed the measure of a person may well be defined as how well they succeed at being who they are.
Finally, I will leave you with some words from Albert Einstein;
Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.
Dr. Andrew S. Doré BSC (Hons) MBG CPGS DPhil Cantab
What is Science?
Science is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
Why is Science important?
Many of us in this day and age would say that science is important because it helps our minds advance in finding new knowledge, and helps us to defeat our curiosity of how the world develops and world today. The knowledge that we gain through advances in science can be applied and shared with others in a way that helps humanity- for example discovering electricity, antibiotics, medicinal cures for physical illness- while learning about the physics and biology and chemistry components of existence can help us to become more creative ourselves.
Let us ask ourselves- Although seeking answers through science can lead to gaining knowledge- does it help us to gain 'wisdom?' What is knowledge without wisdom? How can we truly embrace a quality of life with knowledge alone? What is the point of our existence without 'wisdom'?
How can Science help us and others?
Scientific knowledge can allow us to make breakthroughs in many areas of our existence in helping us to better understand this world of duality. As long as this knowledge is shared with others, it can help both them and us to find truth and meaning as long as it is used with caution- with reason, intellect, logic, and not forgetting our hearts and souls. The yearning for scientific explanations can help us to question our cultures and religions for the better good. It can help us to find truth from a sea of uncertainty and help us not to simply follow our religions and cultural practices and beliefs blindly. When Seeking truth in science is combined with seeking truth in general or on a spiritual level- one can come to understand and believe that the two are not separate from on another but in fact that science is another path too understanding our Creator and getting to Know Him.
Often the more we learn, the more in awe we become of the universe and the vastness of the knowledge within it and creation. This can help to humble ourselves and ultimately 'surrender' to the Higher Being that is behind its creation. So while science can help us to become creative, it can also help us to understand the Creator- The Best of Creators and work in line with his laws of the universe. The inquisitiveness of humans tends to come with intellect, but it is important not to rely too much on purely our intellect and get distracted from embracing life and the soul itself- as often we find that science alone does not explain everything, and that somethings like 'love' and 'compassion' and 'kindness' and 'forgiveness can not and does not need to be defined through science, but by living with the right balances of the mind, the heart and soul.
Can we find happiness through science alone? How can one enjoy the food he or she eats only by understanding why and how it tastes the way it does? How can one form healthy loving relationships with others if they constantly are trying to know and understand everything that is said and done in the relationship? How can someone embrace and show empathy and compassion to another human being if all they care about is knowing the scientific explanation to why a negative event may have happened? Sometimes asking too many questions and being impatient and hasty to reach the answers can prevent us from enjoying the moment, the present and from becoming mindful of things that really matter- ultimately it can lead to us not being able to find true peace and happiness within ourselves and therefore others in themselves too.
Advancement in science requires the need to ask questions. Often huge advances in science have developed due to our inclination to wanting to learn the 'truth' and learn knowledge about why and how things happen the way they do. Asking questions leads us to seeking answers. The more we ask questions, the more likely we are to get answers if we apply it to our physical existence and experience. The answers that we find however are only truly beneficial to us if they are used in a way that does not shift the balance of our natural existence. If the knowledge that is gained leads to humility and awe about The Higher Being- it can bring us closer to God, and if the knowledge is used in a way that helps others according to what we understand to be His Divine Will while we are staying true to ourselves: for example: scientific advances in pharmacology which help us to find cures for illness and disease which helps to save and prolong lives, or learning how to make electricity, modes of transport etc- it can lead to much good and peace and happiness for many. However if it is applied to only our outward external self, then scientific advancement can lead to more harm than good on both a personal and society level: for example learning how to make weapons of mass destruction and selling them while knowing it will bring harm- just for financial gain, or using science to create products for mankind that provide more harm than benefit- only for materialistic or political gain.
Science is a form of knowledge. All Knowledge comes with responsibility. The more knowledge we have, the more responsibility we have to use it to help others. Through helping others with the blessings we have been allowed to have, we help ourselves.
How does science explain our soul?
How can we believe in God and Science at the same time?
By Being led by science and using intellect and reasoning and questioning to seek truth, while being open to truth and learning from different perspectives- including religion and from experience and one another- we are more likely to get closer to Knowledge and Truth and understanding the purpose of our creation.
Some of us believe in a Creator Alone and may not feel the requirement to rely on science at all. Others may rely on Science without feeling the need to believe in a Creator. However Iet us invite ourselves to being open to these two concepts being one of the other. There are many leaders of both scientific and spiritual knowledge who believe that science is just another path to God, that by allowing mankind to have the intellect to be able to name words and create language, God has allowed us to explore and pass on His knowledge to others, enabled us to go a step further than simply living like other animals without understanding why and how things happen as they do. He has given us a key to unlock the mysteries of existence, and learn about the Best of Creators, and enabled us to live a life as an image of Himself. He has created a passage for us to get closer to Him- Science can help us to get to the truth in religion, and religion can help us to make advances in scientific knowledge. Both Knowledge and Wisdom when combined with His guidance can enable humanity to make extraordinary breakthroughs which by using our free-will wisely, we can worship Him in a way like no other of His creation- out of free will, and not out of mere compulsion.
If science leads to knowledge about our physical existence, and knowledge helps us to find truth- when we apply the knowledge into our world that we live in through creation, in a way that helps others and benefits humanity- we can help to gain 'wisdom' also- a different type of knowledge. This type of knowledge can lead to peace and happiness as it is a form of 'self-sacrifice' and an act of selflessness which is important in being able to establish a relationship with both eh Creator and its creation. It also enables us by The Will of God to be able to become more creative ourselves.
Many famous scientists themselves were driven to amazing breakthroughs in discovery through inspiration and wisdom that was gained from religious philosophy and spiritual reflection. Others became 'believers' during their journeys of discovery and came to realise that 'the more we know- the more we realise how little we know', and that the universe was not created simply for mere 'play and amusement' and that our existence cannot possibly be out of chance and randomness- that there must be a Higher purpose for our creation- A Creator.
In order to answer the question- can we believe in science and God at the same time- let us use science to help us answer... often where there is contradiction, there is mixture of truth with falsehood.
What is the evidence for and against the argument?
What does science say about God?
What does Religion say about Science?
Does science prove that God does not exist? If not then why do I not believe? Why do we blame science for our disbelief- perhaps we need to look more within ourselves and our experiences and behaviours and reflect more to understand...
If scientific advancements lead us to knowledge which contradicts our faith and religious beliefs- should we not be questioning why we choose to believe something that knowledge, intellect and reason contradicts?
Knowledge about how our world works, can actually help us to better understand the nature of humanity and into accepting and surrendering to the `purpose of our existence if done in a balanced way while not forgetting about our spiritual existence and if used to better humanity.' Let us make advancements in science through seeking Truth, Love, and Justice and while asking God for assistance, and be grateful to Him for the knowledge that He has given us. We can do this intentionally, through our speech and through our behaviour. A great way to Show appreciation for a knowledge that we have been given is by using it for the improvement of the lives of others.
What does Science say about the Soul?:
Article on 'Explaining the human condition with clues from science.'
The Australian biologist Jeremy Griffith has provided the long awaited, first principal, biological explanation of the human condition, our capacity for so called ‘good and evil’. With the clarifying, biological explanation for why we humans became competitive, selfish and aggressive, it is now possible to look into and explain the rather elusive concept we refer to as our ‘soul’— our species’ instinctive memory of a time when our distant ancestors lived in a cooperative, selfless, loving, innocent state, or, as it is referred to metaphorically in the religious context of the Christian Bible, humanity’s time in the ‘Garden of Eden’.
Not all scientists are necessarily adverse to grappling with religious concepts. Recently two quantum scientists have claimed that they can prove the existence of the soul, a quantum entity that acts as the program for the computer of our brain, and exists independently of the physical body after death. One psychologist says that the concept of soul is merely an extrapolation we make based on the duality that we experience between body and consciousness.
Neurobiologists and evolutionary psychologists hold that the soul, or at least a belief in it, evolved as an adaptation to bestow on the individual either an equanimity, or social trustworthiness that ultimately represented a competitive advantage.
Jungian psycho-analysts relate the concept of soul to the concept of the collective unconscious. Carl Jung himself described the collective unconscious as a “psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually but is inherited.”
The Australian biologist Jeremy Griffith goes further and suggests that not only is our collective unconscious inherited, but it is in fact a genuinely altruistic instinctive orientation. This, he says, is the source of our moral guidance, the voice of which is our conscience, and which we have learnt to call our ‘soul’.
Griffith says that having a selfless instinctive orientation is a truth that humanity could not admit to until we could first explain the crux problem on Earth of the human condition, the dilemma of our capacity for so called ‘good and evil’. This dilemma has troubled the human mind since we first became fully conscious, thinking beings: are humans essentially ‘good’ and, if so, what is the cause of our ‘evil’, destructive, insensitive and cruel side? Until this could be explained, and humans defended, admitting to a selfless instinctive heritage has simply been too confronting of our present selfish and destructive state.
Griffith has at last explained the human condition; and it turns out the explanation is simple: our brains are made up of two different ‘learning systems’; one is a gene-based system, our instincts, a learning system we share with all other animal species, while the other is a nerve-based system—our conscious intellect which is unique to us humans. When our intellect began to develop and challenge our already well-established instincts for control of our minds, a terrible battle broke out between these two learning systems, the effect of which was the extremely competitive, selfish and aggressive state that we call the human condition.
With the defence of our aggressive, selfish state established, Griffith says that it is now safe to admit that we have selfless instincts; and to explain that they were instilled in our primate ancestors through a process he calls ‘love-indoctrination’. Our ape ancestors lived in conditions conducive to extending the period that their offspring spent in infancy, and there was an opportunity for selection for greater and more intense levels of maternalism (where a mother protects her offspring in order to ensure the survival of her own genes). This combination of an extended, nurturing infancy and more maternal mothers then resulted in dependant infants in-effect being ‘trained’ in selfless behaviour, because to an observer such as a child, the mother’s maternalism appears to be selfless behaviour, she appears to be giving her offspring food, warmth, shelter, support and protection for apparently nothing in return. From her infant’s perspective, this is real, unconditional love and the infant’s brain is being indoctrinated in that behavior. Griffith says that if you apply this training across all the members of the group, the result is an unconditionally selflessly behaved, cooperative, fully integrated society. And then, with this training in unconditional selflessness occurring over many generations, the unconditionally selfless behaviour will become instinctive–a moral soul will be established and our genes will inevitably follow and reinforce that development process.
Griffith sites religious texts and classical and modern literature to support his theory. Most scientists attempt to disenfranchise arts and religion as legitimate sources of insight into the human condition. For example in his latest book, The Social Conquest of Earth, E.O. Wilson says that, “The intricate distortions of the mind may be transmitted by the arts in fine detail, but they are constructed as though human nature never had an evolutionary history. Their powerful metaphors have brought us no closer to solving the riddle than did the dramas and literature of ancient Greece.”
With regard to religion, Wilson says bluntly: “Religion can never solve the riddle. The creation myth is a Darwinian device for survival.”
However Griffith says it makes sense that the works of art, philosophy and religion that have resonated down through the ages have done so, not because they were survival tools, but because they contained profound truth about our condition. For example, Griffith says the following lines from Wordsworth’s Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood, corroborates that humans have altruistic instincts (which Wordsworth equates with a ‘heavenly’ state), which are then later buried by our consciousness:
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Griffith also finds corroboration in the metaphor of the Garden of Eden, and Adam and Eve taking the fruit of the tree of knowledge, a story central to the Abrahamic traditions, arguing that it contains the same truths as those expressed by Wordsworth – that we have a selfless instinctive heritage, and that an emerging consciousness later came into conflict with our instinctive state.
With the scientific explanation of the human condition now found, these texts are revealed to be profound, which is not surprising, because we have always been intuitively aware of our condition.
Quotes from Scripture
 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. GENESIS 1:1-31
“Your Lord is God who created the heavens and the earth in six days.” Quran 7:54
“(God) Who created the earth and heavens above.” Quran 20:4
“God then Rose turning towards the heaven when it was smoke” Quran 41:11
“God is the one who created the heavens, the earth and what is between them…” Quran 25:59
Did you see how God created seven heavens, one above the other, and made in them the moon a light and the sun a lamp?” Quran, 71: 15-16
“We have adorned the lowest heaven with ornaments, the planets.” Quran, 37:6
“(God is) the one who created the night, the day, the sun and the moon. Each one is traveling in an orbit with its own motion.” Quran,21:33
“He coils the night upon the day and the day upon the night.” Quran, 39:5
“The sun runs its course to a settled place That is the decree of the Almighty, the All Knowing.” Quran, 36:38
“I built the heaven with power and it is I, who am expanding it.” Quran,51:47
“O assembly of Jinn and men, if you can penetrate the regions of the heavens and the earth, then penetrate them! You will not penetrate them except with authority.” Quran,55:33
“Have you not seen that God sent rain down from the sky and caused it to penetrate the ground and come forth as springs, then He caused crops of different colors to grow…” Quran,39:21
“Have We not made the earth an expanse and the mountains stakes?” Quran 78:6-7
“Do the unbelievers not realize that the heavens and the earth were joined together -then I clove them asunder and I made every living thing out of water. Will they still not believe?” Quran, 21:30
“(God is the One who) sent down rain from the sky and with it brought forth a variety of plants in pairs.” Qur’an, 20:53
“… and of all fruits (God) placed (on the earth) two pairs.” Qur’an, 13:3
“God is the one who caused two bodies of water to flow, one palpable and sweet, the other salty and bitter.
He placed a barrier between them, a partition that they are forbidden to surmount”. Quran 25:53
“He causes two bodies of water to flow and meet together, but between them is a barrier that they cannot surmount”. Quran 55:19-20
“ who has made the earth firm to live in, made rivers in its midst, set on it immovable mountains, and made a barrier between two bodies of flowing g water? (Can there be another) god beside God. No, but most of them do not know”. Quran 27:61
“Nor are the two bodies of flowing water alike, for one is palatable, sweet, and pleasant to drink,while the other is salty and bitter. Yet from each you eat fresh and tender meat and extract ornaments to wear. You see ships therein that sail through the waves that you may seek the bounty of God and be grateful. Quran 35:12
“Verily, in cattle there is a lesson for yon. I give you drink from their insides, coming from a conjunction between the digested contents ( of the intestines ) and the blood, milk pure and pleasant for those who drink it.” Quran, 16:66
“Verily, I created humankind from a small quantity of mingled fluids.” Quran, 76:2
“Then He made [ man’s ] offspring from the essence of a despised fluid.” Quran, 32:8
“God fashioned humans from a clinging entity.” Quran, 96:2
“I fashioned the clinging entity into a chewed lump of flesh and I fashioned the chewed flesh into bones and I clothed the bones with intact flesh.” Quran, 23:14
“I fashioned (humans) a clinging entity, then into a lump of flesh in proportion and out of proportion.” Quran, 22:5.
“I fashioned (humans) a clinging entity, then into a lump of flesh in proportion and out of proportion.” Quran, 22:5.
“… and (God) gave you ears, eyes and hearts.” Quran, 32:9
“Today I will save your dead body so that you may be a sign for those who come after you.” Quran, 10:92
They want you to bring upon them their punishment without delay. God never disregards His promise. One day for God is equal to a thousand years for you. Quran: 22:47