“One can’t prove that God doesn’t exist, but science makes God unnecessary.” — Stephen Hawking
Several months ago, LiveScience.com published an article titled “Will Science Someday Rule Out the Possibility of God?” Apparently, I should be worried. The article claims that science is close to finally proving that God does not exist. Palpitations!
Over the past few centuries, science can be said to have gradually chipped away at the traditional grounds for believing in God. Much of what once seemed mysterious — the existence of humanity, the life-bearing perfection of Earth, the workings of the universe — can now be explained by biology, astronomy, physics and other domains of science.
Although cosmic mysteries remain, Sean Carroll, a theoretical cosmologist at the California Institute of Technology, says there’s good reason to think science will ultimately arrive at a complete understanding of the universe that leaves no grounds for God whatsoever.
Carroll argues that God’s sphere of influence has shrunk drastically in modern times, as physics and cosmology have expanded in their ability to explain the origin and evolution of the universe. “As we learn more about the universe, there’s less and less need to look outside it for help,” he told Life’s Little Mysteries.
He thinks the sphere of supernatural influence will eventually shrink to nil.
Being that homo sapiens have been around only 200-plus thousand years of the universe’s 13.75 billion years (that’s, like, 0.00001454545% of the time, bro), it’s rather amazing to encounter such cock-surety from, what amounts to, an historical dust mote. Not to mention, a species that is more closely related to a mollusk than a Star Child. Amazing what a PhD and a telescope can do to some people.
Or a particle accelerator.
But that’s exactly what happened. No sooner had CERN’s Large Hadron Collider fired up, than the questions began flying. Claremont School of Theology provost Philip Clayton asks, Does the Higgs Boson Discovery Resolve the Religion-Science Debate? Compiling some of the yea-sayers:
I’m thinking that creating “a new religion, a new god” may be the exact reason for such apparent glee. That “new god” being, of course, Science.
If the possibility that little men in lab coats are about to prove you’ve been bamboozled by a Guy in sandals troubles you, I’m here to quell your fears with…
Three reasons why science will NEVER disprove God:
Reason #1.) Unless every possible dimension of the universe (or parallel universes!) can be explored entire, we cannot conclusively declare there is no God. The cosmonauts who looked down from their space capsule and declared mockingly there musn’t be a god because they couldn’t see him are little different than the tech who smashes some atoms and declares “See? God is dead!” Until scientists can confidently declare that every particle, every dimension, every possible nook of Existence has been plumbed, scrubbed, and sorted, proving the non-existence of God is impossible.
Reason #2.) Science has limits. There is no scientific method to prove that only scientific methods can uncover all Truth. So the statement, “Trust only in what can be scientifically proven,” is self-contradictory. Because the assertion itself cannot be scientifically proven. Peter Kreeft, in his excellent Handbook of Christian Apologetics writes, “A scientist who believes that God caused the universe to exist has not abandoned scientific method, but merely acknowledges its limits.” Unless one is prepared to declare science can explain Everything, acknowledging its “limits” is pretty darned smart.
Reason #3.) Even a Theory of Everything requires faith. Back to our evolved mollusk. Mr. Carroll wrote, “Most scientists … suspect that the search for ultimate explanations eventually terminates in some final theory of the world, along with the phrase ‘and that’s just how it is.'” So when Christians wonder at the unanswerable questions of the universe and say, “That’s just how it is,” scientists scoff. But when scientists look at those same questions, devise a Theory, and say, “That’s just how it is,” it’s great science. Go figger.
Perhaps the most important part of the question, “Will science ever disprove God?” is the inference, “Why does science need to?” And, indeed, the urge to once and for all evict a Supreme Being from the cosmological equation, to make God “unnecessary” as Stephen Hawking says, seems to be a driving force behind much science research. But why? That, too, is a relatively simple question to answer: Stripping the Universe of a deity is necessary for Science to become its own.