Search This Blog

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Two Kinds of Makings

The other evening I watched a programme with my children about the creation of the solar system. Not surprisingly it bought into the evolutionary paradigm which governs all historical science today. In the absence of any alternative mechanism (for example a divine mechanism) historical science has adopted the view that all things must have come about by an evolutionary process which involves natural law plus a bit of chance.

So the solar system we were told arose from a cloud of dust surrounding our star, the sun, which coalesced into planetesimals and finally into planets. We have rocky planets near the sun because the solar wind blew away their atmosphere, and gas giants further away because there was less wind and heat.

Giving them credit, they did point out the remarkable 'chance' that has resulted in the uniqueness of our planet. For example, because we have a powerful magnetic field, the solar wind could not blow away our atmosphere and dry up our oceans (Mars bears the marks of running water, but has no powerful magnetic field). We have a powerful magnetic field because our planet is the right size; in smaller planets the core cooled quicker.

The program went on to say that this is how planets were being formed today, around new stars. 

I had two problems with this interesting programme, both arising from the producers' philosophical naturalim which excludes a divine agent.

First, planets may well form today by slow processes (though I doubt this, see below), but it is impossible to project the present back into the past. It is a conjecture - though a reasonable one- to say that how things happen today is how they happened in the past. It could well be that this solar system was made by a divine hand, and that other ones after that were made by natural processes (though I doubt this).

Second, there are certain crucial steps along the way required to make a habitable planet, which seem either impossible via natural processes (they need a divine hand) or incredible (they require very fortuous circumstances which again point to a divine hand). For example to get a gas to coalesce requries incredibly low temperatures because the kinetic energy of the gas keeps the atoms/molecules from sticking (gravitational attraction). How do dust clouds around a hot sun coalesce? Another example, where does our water come from and why have we just the right amount of water? Too much and the earth would be a water world, too little and it could be absorbed into the crust?

Science, as defined by establishment, will never grow up to include divine possibilities, because it can't accept the existence of an acting God. And for this reason, we should watch all science programs with great interest and fascination, but also with 'baloney filters' aimed at exposing the underlying poor philosophical basis.

So when I watch these programmes with my children, I am constantly having to say "not necessarily" and "that's wrong"  - along with "that's fascinating" and "that's wonderful".

No comments:

Post a Comment