Monday, 21 December 2009

Emperical Limits?

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed". Albert Einstein.

"When the evening arrives, you say ' it will be fair weather' based upon the colour of the sky, and in the morning, 'it will be stormy today', based upon what you observe. You know how to interpret these things, but not the deeper signs" Jesus (Matthew 16:2&3).

We spend a fair amount of time in England talking about the weather - it's certainly a feature that throws up constant variations, even regarding just what kind of rain we'll have today - I understand that someone has even sought to provide a dictionary of words just to define that one aspect of our climate!
One consequence of this is the interesting relationship we have to our weather forecasts - not only because this gives us lots to complain about (MORE rain!), but for those occasions when the weathermen makes absolute howlers in terms of miss-judgments or mistakes, especially with regards to 'freak' incidents on a local level. It reminds me, somewhat of the variation in the 'themes' of a realm like physics, where Einstein's general image may apply for the 'big' view of the universe, but Quantum mechanics are a must when we seek to scrutinize the 'micro verse' that makes that much larger picture possible. Weather forecasting may give me a general idea of whether its OK to hang the washing out today, but it's often not that good at telling me how much frost or ice to expect on my drive this morning.

The reality is, however good our research, our data, our scrutiny of the information at hand, our understanding of what we even deem as basic reality is pretty limited, and it's even more stifling, as Einstein noted, if it doesn't lead us to a sense of wonder about what we are involved in. There needs to be something deeper going on here, and science itself is beginning to express some of the reasons as to why wonder lies at the heart of it.

In the last twenty years, the 'message' encoded within the language of DNA (and therefore, in every cell of our bodies) has begun to 'speak' plainly, showing that there is, in effect, a 'non-material aspect to all living systems' (Andy Mc Intosh - information & thermodynamics), and this discovery, as William Dembski, Stephen Meyer and others argue, places an intelligent origin of information at the very core of the existence of life.

We can view the world, be it through telescope or microscope, umbrella or sun shade, as merely something 'there', something we inter-act with from the cradle to the grave, and that's it,
or, we can begin to recognize the fact that there's something bigger going on here.

Don't merely read the natural 'signs', says Jesus - that makes us terribly limited.
Look deeper, look harder, look with fascination at the wonder of what we are, of where we are, and you will begin to realize that all of this is but a slight reflection of a far greater, deeper reality, a truth that can truly free us to appreciate the wonder not only of ourselves, but of the God who is there.

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