Monday, December 22, 2003

The Elegant Universe...

Just finished reading Brian Greene's book, The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest of the Ultimate Theory. From the back cover, "Brian Greene, one of the world's leading string theorists, peels away the layers of mystery surrounding string theory to reveal a universe that consists of eleven dimensions, where the fabric of space tears and repairs itself, and all matter—from the smallest quarks to the most gargantuan supernovas—is generated by the vibrations of microscopically tiny loops of energy." It was an excellent book. Incredibly complex concepts are extremely well explained through the use of multiple type illustrations. One needn't be an engineer or scientist to appreciate this work. What is exciting to see, when reading about the theoretical work being done by astronomers and physicists, is how very fine tuned the universe is. Fine tuning... extremely fine tuning is a hallmark of Design. Here's an example, "Through Guth's discovery, the standard cosmological model was revamped into the inflationary cosmological model. In this framework, the standard cosmological model is modified during a tiny window of time - around 10^-36 to 10^-34 seconds after the Big Bang - in which the universe expanded by a colossal factor of at least 10^30." There is a window of time, lasting only 10^-2 seconds, in which the universe has to expand at a different than normal rate in order for all the matter to be spread properly (this is my paraphrase). Another exciting aspect is the fact that every time these scientists think that they are closing in on a Theory of Everything (not necessarily an Ultimate Theory), they discover another field to explore. As one physicist put it in the PBS series of the same name, "we thought we were opening the door into a room and then found ourselves in front of an apartment building." "Although we are technologically bound to the earth and its immediate neighbors in the solar system, through the power of thought and experiment we have probed the far reaches of both inner and outer space... once revealed, these explanatory gems have opened vistas on a world we thought we knew, but whose splendor we had not even come close to imagining." "The heavens declare God’s glory; the sky displays his handiwork. Day after day it speaks out; night after night it reveals his greatness. There is no actual speech or word, nor is its voice literally heard. Yet its voice echoes throughout the earth; its words carry to the distant horizon." - Psalm 19:1-4 (NET) As Christians, we can smile in blessed assurance at the work of these scientists, knowing, as we wait in eager anticipation, that these discoveries continue to wordlessly declare the glory of God.

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