A Sometime Rhyming Style: Physics and Theology

Science is too often milked for pseudo-insights into non-science. How many times a day does someone announce that “Einstein showed everything is relative” even though he didn’t and was in fact annoyed by the popular belief that he had? Cosmic fine-tuning, the Big Bang, the concept of “energy,” and biological complexity have all been hijacked to support magical or religious beliefs. Whole books have been written misconstruing quantum physics in support of religious ideas, including Fritjof Capra’s The Tao of Physics. Catholic biologist Kenneth Miller (a vocal opponent of intelligent-design creationism) once declared quantum indeterminacy “a key feature of the mind of God” (Finding Darwin’s God, p. 213). But is it?

{josquote}...I admit to having wavered once or twice when it comes to quantum physics and traditional Christian theology.{/josquote}

All efforts to find support for theological beliefs in the physical sciences are, I believe, deeply mistaken, but I admit to having wavered once or twice when it comes to quantum physics and traditional Christian theology. The temptation is, from a certain point of view, severe. Consider first the deliberately irresolvable assertions of ancient Christian theology: three divine “persons” who are somehow absolutely One, yet also Three, yet also One. Also the doctrine of the Incarnation, which declares Christ both God and human, dual in nature—yet also single in nature, not a body possessed by a deity. No wonder some progressive religious moderns have quietly switched to more reasonable beliefs. Thomas Jefferson said it with classic nineteenth-century pith:

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