Vibrant Dance: The Nature of Nature
This post is both exciting and frustrating to write for you. The topic is exciting and the talk was excellent, yet the slides and topic were so information rich, I had to focus exclusively on listening and couldn’t take any notes, so this will be really short and more of a teaser.
Bruce Gordon (Discovery Institute and King’s College) was the speaker in one of ten breakout sessions to end the first day. The title of his talk was, “The Nature of Nature. Some Implications of Quantum Mechanics, Relativity, Particle Physics, etc., For the Essence of Our Universe.”
Given the topic, Gordon was obligated to give a summary of Quantum, Relativity, Particle Physics, etc. in a way that was as approachable as possible for a lay audience, no mean feat. As a physical chemist, most of it was at least conceptually familiar to me, though I did learn a lot of unfamiliar details, and it was a nice summary of both the science and the history of how these fields developed.
The meat of the talk was essentially that these areas of science impinge so heavily on metaphysics that philosophically, a Causal Agent is the only reasonable option. In fact, what he presented was in some ways the most convincing evidence to me scientifically of God’s existence. As I am fairly hypersensitive to ‘god-of-the-gaps’ type hand waving among creationists, it is significant that I did not immediately notice any. In the absence of notes and the density of the talk, I can’t say that it is impossible for any of Gordon’s arguments to be taken this way, but it did seem to be an argument that was internally and externally consistent in its logic.
As I recall, the basic premise is that two or three of the fundamental axioms of these fields are paradoxical and lead to impossibilities in a naturalist universe, and require something/one outside of spacetime to resolve these conflicts. In an attempt to create a naturalistic mechanism, physicists developed string theory, which is falling into more and more disfavor as more and more data come in. Does that mean that a naturalistic mechanism is impossible? Not necessarily. It does seem to mean that a theistic mechanism is the most reasonable so far. Therefore, perhaps it can be used as a model to predict new discoveries in particle physics that our current models struggle with.
Gordon is coming out with a paper in the near future that discusses this topic. When I get a copy of it, I will come back and fill in the many gaps.