Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Space ripples discovery "changed everything"

Reuters published the title-linked article yesterday, and I want to comment on one particularly foolish statement made by the "star" of the article.

George Smoot and his co-worker, John Mather, were recently awarded the Nobel Prize for physics on account of their discovery of "cosmic ripples," or space ripples. Renowned cosmologist, Stephen Hawking called their discovery back in 1992 "the greatest discovery of the century, if not of all time." Smoot's comment about the importance of this research (involving dark matter and energy) and discovery is what I find to be absurd. He said, "It is extremely important for human beings to know their origins and their place in the world."

Now why, from Smoot's perspective, would it be extremely important for humans to know their origins and their place in the world? This statement reminds me of Caiaphas' prophecy as recorded in John 11:50-52. Caiaphas said, "You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish." John comments on his statement, "He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one."

Caiaphas, like Smoot had no idea that what he was saying was truly of vital importance. Of course, both men thought their statements were brilliant. No doubt Caiaphas and Smoot share the attribute of inflated ego. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 8:2-3, "The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God." And again in Galatians 6:3, "If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself."

So Caiaphas' statement was right on, just not in the way he intended. Likewise, Smoot's was right on, just not the way intended. It is critical for humans to know their origin and their place in the world. We as Christians know our origin from the dust of the earth and from the breath of God. We also know that our sin has brought us to this place in the world of being under the just wrath of God. Thanks be to God that we are rescued, as Caiaphas said, by the death of One Man for the entire nation - "the Israel of God" (Galatians 6:16).

But there is no logical reason for an evolutionary cosmologist like Smoot to see any importance in anything. Everything, for the atheist, is governed by chance and natural selection. Even our thoughts, according to their logic, are random chemical reactions determined not by ourselves as prominent evolutionary spokesman Richard Dawkins might like to beleive, but by the meaningless operation of a chaotic nothing.

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