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Marshall Barnes Says Scientists Will Never Rule Out Existence of God
Responding to a recent LiveScience.com article, Will Science Someday Rule Out the Possibility of God? by Natalie Wolchover, R&D engineer Marshall Barnes posits that science will never rule out the existence of God and should quit trying.
"I'm an agnostic and I don't feel I have a dog in this fight," he said recently while preparing to unveil an educational project on time and time travel physics in the Cleveland area. "However, I'm sick and tired of the noise from the yappin' dogs that are in it.
"First of all," he continued, "scientists are correct - you can explain the universe without a creator, almost. You can also explain a puddle of water in the winter without a creator. It doesn't mean, however, that someone didn't come over and melt some snow or pour some leftover crushed ice out of their drink, which wasn't cold enough to resist melting in the sun. The fact is that you can't prove either position, although I reject the scenarios of organized religion. Simultaneously, scientists need to quit acting like they're priests pontificating for some religion, because that's what they're sounding like at an ever increasing rate. It's ridiculous. I was appalled by the absolute audacity of Bill Nye exclaiming at the Mars Curiosity landing in Pasadena, "Aren't Humans GREAT?!", because while we do some very interesting things, and are capable of unselfish acts and great achievements, overall we're not great - we're capable not only of some of the most heinous and unspeakable acts of cruelty and maliciousness, but we've historically had the propensity to allow our leaders to commit such things in our name. So, no, Mankind isn't so great.
"I especially was offended," Marshall continued, "because Nye is acting like he's completely oblivious to the history behind our own space program, while he was cheerleading for humans. As a R&D engineer in the advanced concept area, I am well aware of the contributions to our space program that came from Nazi scientists, including Werner von Braun, who didn't defect to our side, but only joined us after the Nazis had lost the war. That essentially means that he was quite content working for the most diabolical regime in human history. That's not so great, in my opinion. Humans will be great when we can have peace on Earth and positive progress toward the kind of technological utopia that my generation was told we would have when we were growing up. The simple fact that I know that it's possible, but we have allowed it to be taken from us and settled for a bill of goods we were sold, means we're not so great where it counts. If Bill Nye thinks humans are so great, his standards are woefully below mine. Then again, he is known most for hosting a kiddy science program and not for unacquired visionary thinking..."
Marshall contends that while scientists may be able to describe a physical solution that explains the universe, it doesn't mean that disproves a creator, only specific creation stories.
"I read in Wolchover's article how Sean Carroll argues against a need for God if you have a theory of everything, however, that theory won't include the information on what exists outside of the known universe nor probably what happened before the universe existed, because those details are not included in the equations that would be derived from the current search for answers, because those center on extrapolations of some Grand Unified Theory and that stops with the known universe. So there would be no knowledge of whether or not there was an outside influence and scientists don't allow for explorations into the supernatural, which is the only way that you would find out anything about the nonphysical possibilities, which is like what they used to do about giant squid - read seamen stories and scoff without looking for evidence. It wasn't until a dead squid washed up on that beach in Malmo, Denmark centuries ago that scientists really had to take them seriously. Skepticism in science doesn't just prevent belief in something, it prevents research many times, until something smashes them up side the head."
Conversely, Marshall points out that the Genesis account isn't scientifically accurate because it has God saying, "Let there be light", but the sun would already have been in existence and shining light in the direction of Earth. When the scriptures say that "God created the heavens and the Earth", that would have included the sun. That happens before God deals with the creation on Earth, but later, it mentions specifically the creation or placement of the sun and stars in the sky after the Earth is formed. However, the sun is far older than the Earth, as well as most of the stars."
Marshall points out that many of the great scientific minds of history believed in God and while that doesn't mean that God is real, it does show that being a scientist doesn't automatically mean one has to be an atheist. A 2005 article by Robert Roy Britt for Live Science.com revealed that among all sciences, the atheists are actually in the minority - not the majority as they would make you think. http://www.livescience.com/
However, Marshall is quick to point out that his own beliefs put him firmly in the agnostic category and that he doesn't side with creationists at all, although he feels the argument over evolution is over blown.
"You know I wanted to be a paleontologist when I was 3. I knew all of the known dinosaur names at that time, in fact that's how I learned to read - dinosaur books. In first grade, a substitute teacher introduces the class to dinosaurs and starts telling them how the eryops evolved into a dimetrodon and all this other nonsense, just because of the way they were positioned in an artistic lay-out in a book. I tried to tell her she was wrong, but she wasn't hearing it. I told my dad, ''they both lived at the same time, how could one evolve into the other?' He just told me to ignore it and just give the teacher what she wanted for an answer. The same thing my biology teacher said in high school - "Just show me you know the material, it doesn't matter if you believe the evolution as long as you know what the theory is' . Since then scientists have been saying dinosaurs evolved into birds. Then that was changed. The bottom line is that the answers keep changing, which is why I couldn't care less. The reality is nobody cares that's not a hard core scientist, because the proof isn't solid enough to know everything for sure and that breeds doubt and skepticism on both sides.
"I think scientists need to get over themselves and understand what the limits of science are, the limits of philosophy, as well as the limits of religion, and then act accordingly.
If I was in a panel debate over religion and science, I'd turn on both sides..."