Thursday, April 9, 2020

Bishop Barron does it again

A great review of the Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything.

I  posted two comments:

1. People seem to get over-excited by a 'theory of everything'. It is no big deal, in a way. It seeks a unifying theory that encompasses the electromagnetic field equations, gravity and quantum mechanics. One hopes that one day the equations that explain these phenomena as a unity will be developed. That's all. They won't displace our Creator, they won't turn the world upside down, they won't make a Ph.D. easier to obtain or a car cheaper to run. Hold on, they might make cars cheaper to run, so that would be good. They might also help get rid of static in long-distance radio signals and make target acquisition radar more accurate. So, 'all good' as they say! But, Bp Barron's review is great and places scientific quests in their theological context. This context is given in Genesis 1:28: we are to 'subdue and rule' over the creation. This does not mean 'exploit', destroy, or corrupt. It means 'care for' with the same love, seriousness, and intensity that God who is love created. But I still don't know how we are going to rule the fish...nor do most other fishermen.

2. In reply to Eve Keneinan's comment:
Wonderful clarity. Many of those who wish to place Christianity and scientific or philosophical inquiry in opposition are 'straw-manning' Christianity, and confusing it with pagan nature worship, betraying their own ignorance in the process. Peter Harrison's book on the coupling of the rise of modern science with a grounded view of reality based on the creation account in Genesis 1 is a great unveiling of this. Stanley Jaki is another scholar in this field (Jaki died a while back). 


In the motion picture, Hawking answers his wife-to-be's question as to why he doesn't believe in God with "A physicist cannot allow his calculations to be muddled by belief in a supernatural creator" or "celestial dictator" as the script later puts into his mouth (a simulacrum for God as Barron neatly puts it).

Barron deals well with this, but pointing out Hawking's essential reliance on an unspoken and perhaps unrecognized faith in the intelligibility of the universe. Hawking is clearly a smart guy, but has little connection with the history of ideas or philosophy of science (or of anything, for that matter). He also presumes that his 'simulacrum of god' has anything to do with the Creator. So he's no theologian either and knows nothing about the Bible.

However, the great and sad irony of his life is that he divorces his wife who cared for him for many long years out of her genuine love and Christian conviction to marry his nurse, a woman perhaps of similar belief to him, who reputedly abused him! Police were involved, but charges dropped (NZ Herald, 15 March 2018). Perhaps this woman was the emotional dictator of his life, and his first wife represented to him the God of love!

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