Friday, December 28, 2007

When Theory Drives Understanding

A theory is something we postulate to describe what we have observed, and it becomes a Law when it is repeatedly shown to be able make accurate predictions. Ok at least that's the simple version of the story? Good enough for our purposes? Not good enough, ok read this. I haven't read it... so view at your own risk. :) Google makes me smile sometimes.

So this post is going to be about science but I want to sort of relate it to theology. Because understandably there are things people don't understand about "theology" hence the "ology" at the end of the word. It's a study, and our theology ends up describing what we have observed and think we understand about God.

There are many "theories" of theology. There is the Calvinist system which is summed up in TULIP.. and there are many others. (tulip is easy to type so I picked it) and these theories sometimes program our thinking to the point that they are all we can see. So when we search the Scriptures we see what we've been told instead of what is there. It happens OFTEN...and it's the source of many arguments that should never really happen at all.

So when I read a story about how time might actually be slowing down (which I'm not arguing against or for btw) I get a kick out of the spin it stirs up in the scientific community. The theories that men have about how the universe are so mixed up and built on top of each other that no one seems to be really sure what happens when one is proven to be false. The idea that light moves at a "constant" rate has been disproved and that affects nearly everything about astrology, cosmology... the idea that dark matter might not actually exist... that galaxies are spinning WAY to fast to have "evolved" or formed as is often described. There are so many theories that are treated as "fact" that are based on these already disproved things it's mind boggling.

And what does that cause us to do? Invent new theories to make up for the holes in the ones we already have...

Here's a quote;

For a decade, scientists have puzzled over a surprising phenomenon: Supernovae stars viewed at extreme distances seem to be moving away from us faster than those nearby.

Most researchers have assumed that the stars have somehow accelerated – or that, more precisely, the rate of the expansion of the post-Big Bang universe itself has accelerated over time.

This was particularly odd given that the universe was thought to be dominated by matter, which should, through the aggregate gravitational effect of each bit pulling on the others, have led to a deaccelerating expansion, rather than the opposite. Thus, scientists have postulated an unknown kind of energy, now known as "dark energy," which would be responsible for the acceleration.

So instead of re-evaluating the theories that already exist, and taking note of the fact that they do not make accurate predictions... the idea that gets adopted is to suppose there is such a thing as "dark-energy" that magically fixes the problems with the other failed theories.

This happens in Science and in Theology... it happens everywhere men stick their noses. Why? Because pride follows our noses. We buy into something and then defend it at all costs. I laugh, literally, when people tell me that scientists search for truth.. or reality. The only answer I can come up with it. I suspect there are some scientists who do. But the rest of them are just like the rest of us.

Anyway, if you want to read the latest panic in the Scientific community check out WIRED's short article on how Time Itself May Be Slowing Down. I guess I'm not getting as old as I used to be getting. Sweet!

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