Why is cosmology a tug of war between religion and science?
The answer is very simple.
- Religion is practiced by professional Doctors of Theology.
- Science is practiced by professional Doctors of Philosophy.
Both doctors claim ownership of cosmology. This is an academic border dispute between two types of doctors.
Before the reign of Newton DOT had the sole authority on designing, hiding, packaging and marketing their cosmogonical mythology under the True and Genuine Faith brand. Newton grabbed cosmological authority from DOT and gave it to his brethren DOP as part of his Scientific Revolution. Now DOP have been designing and packaging and marketing their cosmogonic mythology under the True and Genuine Physical Cosmology brand.
DOT never forgot this humiliating loss of authority and they are still fighting to get it back. This is not like a friendly competion between two corporations. No, this is more like an ugly academic turf war. As a consequence consumers are the biggest losers.
My advice to both DOT and DOP: Forget about old enmities and academic blood feuds with your brother doctors and sit down and resolve this issue like civilized politicians that you are at heart. The Pope already implied support for the Big Bang. But if you read the fine print of his Bull which is written in Latin you would see that it could be interpreted to support the Big Bang, the Big Bounce, the Steady State, and various native American cosmologies if need be, it is all inclusive and generally relative just like standard physical theories. So, what I mean is that there is room for negotiations. Just agree to disagree and draft a modified version of the Bible and market it as the new translation of recently discovered clay tablets in caves somewhere near Dead Sea.
Here are three useful bullet points for you to get started:
1. Start from Genesis I.
Don’t question who wrote Genesis I. Accept Genesis I as a physical initial condition. This assumption is as scientific as exotic assumptions physicists routinely make to obtain a class of solutions to Einstein equations called exotic solutions. So you see religion and science use similar methods of reasoning. In fact, it can be argued that God lifted Genesis I verbatim from a modern cosmology textbook, so you guys may be closer than you think.
2. Agree on the true value of Cosmological constant
Even before sitting on the table have your graduate students and minions negotiate a preferred value of the cosmological constant and approve it as the true value of the vacuum energy that god used to create the expansion. Remember God is not a blunderer. Don’t ever change the value of the Cosmological constant again. Ever. There is no more negotiations on the cosmological constant. Understood? Then apply that true value lamba_T of the cosmological constant to Genesis I to obtain a well-gauged and finely tuned Genesis I that both parties can agree on.
3. Agree to disagree on interpretations
Remember that unless you are fluent in Aramaic, you are reading a particular interpretation of Genesis I in your language. Just like in Quantum Mechanics, in the realm of the Bible too, interpretation rules. There are some fundamental things that are lost in translation. Bible is not Lorentz invariant and it is not even invariant under Galilean transformations. The Bible may have its roots in Galileo but does not give a hoot to Galilean transformations. In fact, any kind of translation is known to introduce new physics into Bible. So don’t do it. Agree on this in the preliminaries. Example: It happens to be that in the original it is not God but Gods who created the cosmos. There goes your monotheism. So if you dig deep enough you will reach semantic Hell and your negotiations will go there. So, as sensible professionals we must assume Genesis I in modern English as given just to start the negotiations.
Let me throw in some ideas:
- In the beginning God created the universe with a Big Bang.
I think this should be an acceptable compromise to both parties. Or if that’s too explicit, try
- In the beginning God may have created the universe with a Big Bang.
Or make it as subtle as you want
- A hypothetical supernatural being called God G with physical characteristics of vengence V and cruel punishment P toward his creatures Cn may have created the universe with a singularity S called Big Bang that only he could have created and only physicists could have discovered.
I think this version pats nicely the egos of both Doctors of Theology and Doctors of Philosophy. The main thing in a negotiation is to save the egos of both sides, so we are on the right track here. Well, you see that there is hope for reconciliation. I look forward to a peaceful resolution of this longstanding dispute between the two honorable types of professional doctors so that we as consumers of cosmogonic mythologies know where we stand in the cosmic order of things. Now we are divided and confused.
Actually, after some googling I’ve found that there is already a version of an ancient Bible that I.B. Cohen found in Newton’s library. Newton had translated this primordial Bible while he was waiting his mercury to boil in his little alchemical shop in Cambridge as evidenced by traces of mercury fumes on the manuscript. This may be just what you need. I copy it below:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth according to the theory of the Big Bang. Now the earth was formless and empty because geology departments were not yet populated with great European geologists; darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters according to Newton’s laws.
And God said, “Let there be electromagnetic radiation,” and there was electromagnetic radiation. God saw that electromagnetic radiation was good, and he created Maxwell to enshrine electromagnetism in physics as Maxwell’s equations and connect Newtonian mechanics with Einsteinian relativity. God called the speed of light c, and the spacetime he called many names but most famous of them he called Schwarschild solution.
And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above and called it space so that NASA can explore it. And it was so. And there was evening, and there was morning–the second time the earth went around the sun. Or vice verse according to Ptolemy. Ptolemy was a necessary evil so that God could create Copernicus and set things aright and teach a lesson to anyone who was crazy enough to believe that God could not make the earth move.
And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear and he called dry ground Gondwanaland and it was so and God carefully fine-tuned the motion of tectonic plates so that they formed the continents as we observe them today. And God created Alfred Wegener to discover the plate tectonics. And God created Jimbo Wales who created the Wikipedia so that we can know all this. God called the driest ground desert and sent various clans and families of his chosen people to that godforsaken hot place to murder each other with relish for generations to come and then God gathered waters and he called them Atlantic ocean, Pacific ocean, Dead sea, Mediterranean, etc etc. . . God was a great geographer and enjoyed being a great geographer. And God saw that it was good, everything fell where they fell according to Galileo’s time squared law.
Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation and let global corporations grab the produce from honest farmers for cheap and sell the vegetation to humans with a hefty profit leaving half humanity desperately hungry: Let these global corporations corrupt all natural seed bearing plants and trees on the land with genetically modified fruit with seed in it so that they look good on shelf but taste like wood pulp. And let plant biologists classify vegetation of the land into neat taxonomies and make academic careers. And it was so. God was happy that he created yet another academic department and that he modeled nature according to academic departments so that each and every academic can make great discoveries and have good careers and each to its kind. The land produced vegetation as planned and banana plantations produced slavery and the great music of blues. God loved blues. And made sure that humans loved it too. And God gave humans a lot of suffering so that they can enjoy the blues. And there was evening and there was a lot of drinking and fooling around listening to blues and there was morning and there was a lot of hangover — the third day.
And God said, “Let there be lights and he created New York skyline to separate day shift from the lobster shift and let workers serve giant private banks lodged in skyscrapers by punching clocks in and out of their cubicles. And it was so. God made two great lights — the greater light to give a good tan to the leisure class in Cote d’Azur and the lesser light for lovers to whisper sweet nothings to each other under its light looking at its reflection on the Mediterranean. What a great God he was creating such beautiful places for His people. And he also made the stars. God set the stars so that they expanded according to Hubble’s law so that his favorite sons the physicists can discover how he created the universe with a Big Bang as we proved above in Genesis I. And God saw that it was all so far so good and all according to the laws of physics — the fourth day.
And if God wanted to he could have created Donald Knuth and written all this down in precise differential equations of physics making it easy for physicists but then how could physicists make their glorious careers discovering these equations and be awarded Nobel prizes so God decided to say all this in Latin and then said Let Newton be! and Newton put all this Latin into his Principia in the form of Newton’s laws and revealed them to humanity as a gift. And God looked at the oceans he created and saw that there was nothing in them so God said “Let’s not forget to populate the waters so that oceanographers can make their careers and God populated the water with living creatures, and then he remembered ornithologists and made nice looking colorful birds to fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky. So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was all soo beauutifuul. So cool! And God said I wished I lived on Earth, I made it so beautiful. And God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And God asked Darwin about the right way to do all this stuff for these beautiful animals that he created and Darwin said let them evolve and God created the theory of evolution and saw that it was good theory. And there was evening in some parts of the Earth and morning in some other parts as you can see in Google Earth and as the earth went around the sun or vice versa as the case may be the sun never set on Google and God saw that the universe existed so that he could create Google — the fifth day.
God was getting tired so he started to rush things and it turned out that God was so tired when he created us humans that he made many design mistakes. But let’s not dwell on God’s mistakes here, this is God’s Book after all and let God have his say and God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground and cats that do not move around much and mice to give something for cats to play with. And God saw that it was good at least for cats.
Then God said, “Enough is enough, there needs to be a master creature of all that we have created in previous days and let’s make man in our image, in our likeness, and let him rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock over all the earth and over all his women and over all the creatures that move along the land except cats. Man must clean up after cats and feed them and love them without expecting any love back. And man agreed.
So for the readers who have not gotten the message before, here in Genesis 27, God says again and again:
God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them in his own image; God in his own image created male and female . . .
Are there more permutations of this sentence? Maybe in extra dimensions discovered by Lisa Randall there could be. More dimensions means more permutations of meanings. God thought about extra dimensions too. And God created Lisa Randall to discover the extra dimensions. And God saw that extra dimensions were good for string theory.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase the number of extra dimensions and fill every dimension of the Earth with toxic waste, greenhouse gases and plastic bottles. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground. God saw that all was good but could be better. You see, God loved to double deal, so he told us humans that we were the total rulers over everyone and everything and then when we weren’t looking he turned to virus and bacteria and said my little friends you are the real masters of this earth and of this human kritter that I wired with design flaws and I let you rule over humans and give them all kinds of diseases so that my favorite creatures global pharmaceutical corporations could make loads of money selling drugs to the sick with no intention of curing them. And God saw that it was all good and balanced.
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every desolate crater on the Moon and I give you the red soil of Mars and toxic atmosphere of Saturn I give you all that and more and I invented NASA to take you there. And all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the little chicks that you mass produce in conveyor belts — everything that has the breath of life in it — I give them to you for killing, kill them and then learn how to kill and love killing and be addicted to killing and if you want to make me happy go ahead and kill each other, every man and woman and child who has the breath of life he or she is your enemy all according to their kind go and murder them in the name of your God– ME. And I give every green plant to you for salad. Make good salad. Put olive oil dressing on it. Put feta cheese. Sprinkle with myrrh. Of course, if you can afford it. There is a price for everything.
God saw all that he had made, and it was the best of all possible multiverse. And cosmologists and physicists were happy and there was evening and all went for a drink and there was morning and god said what a miracle! It’s been six days and six nights and this universe is still working as planned according to Einstein’s equations. Am I a genius or what said God and physicists and cosmologists stood up and applauded and thanked him for not writing the Bible in partial differential equations and let physicists die of hunger but they thanked God for hiding all these equations in everything that he created under the sea and above the sky and on the land for physicists to find like Easter eggs. And Doctors of Theology in their churches and temples and mosques also saw that God created everything in their favor and they said the world is a wonderful place. You just have to be a professional doctor to enjoy this world created by God. There is no room for skeptics here who say that professional doctors themselves designed this system in their favor in the name of God. Well, whatever. God, saw that it was all good. So it must be good.
So dear DOP and DOT, you see that there is room for negotiations. You can find a common ground and issue a cosmogonic mythology blessed by God and by physicists. We are anxiously waiting for it.