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HiTechyman
2006-Jan-23, 08:41 PM
Hello, in a recent CNN.COM article the NASA Director was talking about the new probe headed to Pluto and the outer edge of our solar system. He mentioned that GOD has created a huge universe for us to study and explore and so forth. I like that. Then I asked a co-worker would he not get in trouble for suggestion "intelligent design". My co-worker repied that the director did not mention "which god" nor suggest the sucker had even finished "high school". Interesting response from a PHD! So, new offbeat thread for day - can the word GOD be used with modern science and the BIG BANG theory without bringing religion to the table? I think it can.

GOD - geometrically orientied dynamics (or such) .....

Swift
2006-Jan-23, 09:15 PM
<snip>
So, new offbeat thread for day - can the word GOD be used with modern science and the BIG BANG theory without bringing religion to the table? I think it can.

Just my humble opinion..... No, god can not be used with modern science, such as formal education of science, presentations at scientific conferences, or in scientific journals. But in casual conversation with a media/news outlet, when it reflects some personal opinion of the speaker, sure, why not.

RussT
2006-Jan-23, 09:57 PM
The problem is not how scientists will put this into context, but how the "God" promoting non-scientists will put their spin on it!

Dragon Star
2006-Jan-23, 10:03 PM
Creationists often try and prove scientist wrong half the time if not all the time anyways. So it will sadly never work.

Nicolas
2006-Jan-24, 01:33 AM
Just my humble opinion..... No, god can not be used with modern science, such as formal education of science, presentations at scientific conferences, or in scientific journals. But in casual conversation with a media/news outlet, when it reflects some personal opinion of the speaker, sure, why not.

I agree. If you put things in perspective: sure, why not. Big Bang is nice and everything, but who pushed the button? :o As long as both subjects aren't used beyond their scope, I see no problems. However, some tend to give one of the subjects a rather large scope, and that's where problems often start as well :).

andyschlei
2006-Jan-24, 01:37 AM
It would seem to me that "God" in the sense of an ultimate creator would be generally acceptable. IIRC, the Catholic Church even came out with a statement supporting the recent Supreme Court decision against intelligent design, saying that one shouldn't mix faith and politics...

Fram
2006-Jan-24, 09:05 AM
It would seem to me that "God" in the sense of an ultimate creator would be generally acceptable. IIRC, the Catholic Church even came out with a statement supporting the recent Supreme Court decision against intelligent design, saying that one shouldn't mix faith and politics...

Acceptable as a possibility, perhaps, not as a certainty. But that is philosphical speculation which has no place in science and shouldn't in that sense be used by scientists when talking about science or scientific experiments.

Celestial Mechanic
2006-Jan-24, 04:04 PM
Hello, in a recent CNN.COM article the NASA Director was talking about the new probe headed to Pluto and the outer edge of our solar system. He mentioned that GOD has created a huge universe for us to study and explore and so forth. I like that. Then I asked a co-worker would he not get in trouble for suggestion "intelligent design".[Snip!]
The NASA director will not get in trouble for this; in fact, "accommodating" the religious right is necessary for both getting AND keeping this job in the current socio-political climate.

Sticks
2006-Jan-24, 05:05 PM
I seem to remember a Dr Robert Jastrow (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Jastrow) making some interesting comments and having a book entitled God And the Astronomers (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/tg/stores/detail/-/books/0393850064/reviews/202-5461200-3371858)

On the flip side of course there is the Vatican Observatory (http://clavius.as.arizona.edu/vo/R1024/VO.html)

Why should God and Science be mutually incompatable

Why can't we all just get along

NEOWatcher
2006-Jan-24, 05:25 PM
But; no matter what the view is on the God vs Science issue, there is an additional issue that would be argued first. NASA is a U.S. Government entity, therefore it is arguable under the "Seperation of church and state" that NASA cannot mention God.
Personally, I really don't care what is said, as long as there is no contradiction to science, and government decisions are not based on faith or lack of it.

Heid the Ba'
2006-Jan-24, 06:37 PM
Is this NASA's view or the bloke's own view? If the latter it is a non-story, if the former there still isn't much in it.

farmerjumperdon
2006-Jan-24, 07:15 PM
The topic of the creation of the Universe, prior to a certain point in time at least, is a matter of faith. As long as the belief can not be proven false, it does not damage his credibility with me.

That being said, I think he did cross the line, or at least enter murky territory, by saying this during an interview at which he was representing NASA (unless he specifically called it out as a personal belief).

Disinfo Agent
2006-Jan-24, 08:31 PM
Hello, in a recent CNN.COM article the NASA Director was talking about the new probe headed to Pluto and the outer edge of our solar system. He mentioned that GOD has created a huge universe for us to study and explore and so forth. I like that. Then I asked a co-worker would he not get in trouble for suggestion "intelligent design". My co-worker repied that the director did not mention "which god" nor suggest the sucker had even finished "high school".Nor did he even mention intelligent design, it seems...

William_Thompson
2006-Jan-24, 08:50 PM
God is that which no greater can be thought.

Vaelroth
2006-Jan-24, 08:57 PM
Well, there are bumper stickers out there that say "God spoke, and BANG! It happened."

Since we really don't know the origins of our universe, one could certainly come to that conclusion. Then there are those New Earth guys running around saying that the Earth is only 6000 years old, but thats no better than the ultimate skeptic saying that the entire universe was created 30 seconds ago and all our memories and past actions are merely fabrications in our minds.

This kind of a statement is very interesting coming from a NASA person, much less the director. *waits for fallout of the statement, and fallout from Thompson's post*

Monique
2006-Jan-24, 09:19 PM
God is that which no greater can be thought.
So, he is French, no? :)

Chip
2006-Jan-25, 07:11 AM
So, he is French, no? :) Svp, en tant que Français, humilty m'empêche de me placer dans une armature si divine.

Dave Mitsky
2006-Jan-25, 07:37 AM
Has everyone forgotten George Smoot's unfortunate comment when the COBE data was released?

A quote from http://aether.lbl.gov/www/personnel/Smoot-bio.html

By announcing that COBE had not only detected a quadrupole effect, the first evidence of structure in the early universe, but also smaller ripples in the temperature of the cosmic background radiation that are consistent with big bang theory, Smoot stunned the audience of scientists and touched off a media circus rarely seen at scientific conferences. Much of the excitement outside of the scientific world stemmed from Smoot's comment at the press conference that "if you're religious, it's like seeing God." Smoot did not intend to imply that the discovery offered proof of God's existence, but other scientists, nevertheless, added to the religious metaphors. Michael Turner, an astrophysicist at the University of Chicago, declared, "They have found the Holy Grail of cosmology," and Stephen Maran, the editor of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Encyclopedia, said "It's like Genesis." The commotion was capped off by a Newsweek headline reading "The Handwriting of God." In an interview with John Noble Wilford of the New York Times (May 5, 1992), Smoot elaborated on the statement: "It really is like finding the driving mechanism for the universe, and isn't that what God is? . . . What matters is the science. I want to leave the religious implications to theologians and to each person, and let them see how the findings fit into their idea of the universe."

Dave Mitsky

Maksutov
2006-Jan-25, 08:06 AM
Good reference, Dave!

An excellent demonstration that being a scientist doesn't make one exempt from having the ability to assemble one's foot to one's mouth with a nice linear fit.

If I had been their doctor back then, I would have prescribed an Immodium suppository for Messrs. Smoot, Turner, and Maran to help prevent any further oral diarrhea. :silenced:

LurchGS
2006-Jan-26, 06:50 AM
I don't see that - they added qualifiers to indicate the importance of the discovery.. It's LIKE seeing God, it's the Holy Grail of Cosmology...It's not their fault people focus on the religious half of their statements - statements that are essentially identical to statements made in just about any other field of endeavour - and ignored.

As for Big Bang and how it all started, according to the only set of mathematics that successfully goes beyond the singularity, our version of the universe (energy, etc) got started when our bubble universe collided with another (to put it badly). Not that I can follow the math.

Nicolas
2006-Jan-26, 11:38 AM
So, he is French, no? :)


:D :D :D touché

farmerjumperdon
2006-Jan-26, 01:46 PM
I don't see that - they added qualifiers to indicate the importance of the discovery.. It's LIKE seeing God, it's the Holy Grail of Cosmology...It's not their fault people focus on the religious half of their statements - statements that are essentially identical to statements made in just about any other field of endeavour - and ignored.

As for Big Bang and how it all started, according to the only set of mathematics that successfully goes beyond the singularity, our version of the universe (energy, etc) got started when our bubble universe collided with another (to put it badly). Not that I can follow the math.

I'd agree that they seemed to qualify their statements nicely, and it should be obvious to most that the statements could be categorized more as metaphors, analogies, euphemisms, etc. But they should be careful with that kind of thing if only because we know what happens when the woo-woos get ahold of stuff like that.

Wolverine
2006-Jan-27, 01:43 AM
Hello, in a recent CNN.COM article the NASA Director was talking about the new probe headed to Pluto and the outer edge of our solar system. He mentioned that GOD has created a huge universe for us to study and explore and so forth.

In perusing all of CNN's articles covering the New Horizons launch, I'm unable to find any such reference. However, I did see the comment you mention in this transcript (http://www1.nasa.gov/pdf/141099main_MG_briefing_20060117.pdf) (.pdf):

JOHN KELLY: John Kelly with Florida Today. Have you had a chance to meet with the science team while you've been down here? And I guess I'm just wondering, you've worked on some of these kinds of projects from various aspects before. This particular team is going to have put in, what, a decade ahead, and now, and then they're going to wait a decade to get there. And I just wondered what you think about the sort of dedication, the time commitment -- I mean, everybody's talking about the money investment, but the time commitment that these guys put in on something like this seems, really, a long time.

GRIFFIN: To, to make a decision to work in the field of space science is almost the ultimate delayed gratification. Yes, the principle investigator on this mission, Allen Stern, and the science team -- many of them, too numerous to mention -- who have worked on this have devoted major portions of their careers to it and have a good-sized chunk yet to go before they see the results. It took Cassini from what, a 1997 launch till 2004 to get into orbit, and many years of preparation before that? God has laid out the solar system in a way that requires a certain amount of patience on the part of we who choose to explore it. I have nothing but admiration for the folks who invest this kind of time and effort and energy to make these wishes come true.

IMHO, Griffin's comment was unwarranted. Science simply doesn't deal with claims of deities.

sts60
2006-Jan-27, 02:57 AM
Oh, for cryin' out loud. Let's not read too much into this.

Saying "God has laid it out..." can be taken in a range of ways, from a very lieteral and denomination-specific Christian perspective to a very generic reference to the organization of the Universe - more like Einstein's God, or perhaps Jefferson's or Franklin's.

Dr. Griffin used to be chief engineer where I worked. I can't speak to his religious persuasion, but he certainly isn't someone who subjugates his engineering and scientific work to theology, and I flatly refuse to believe he made the statement as some sop to the religious right.

You are reading too much into this.

Wolverine
2006-Jan-27, 03:14 AM
Fair point.

Maksutov
2006-Jan-27, 04:07 AM
Oh, for cryin' out loud. Let's not read too much into this.

Saying "God has laid it out..." can be taken in a range of ways, from a very lieteral and denomination-specific Christian perspective to a very generic reference to the organization of the Universe - more like Einstein's God, or perhaps Jefferson's or Franklin's.

Dr. Griffin used to be chief engineer where I worked. I can't speak to his religious persuasion, but he certainly isn't someone who subjugates his engineering and scientific work to theology, and I flatly refuse to believe he made the statement as some sop to the religious right.

You are reading too much into this.Even with the remark not being a sop to the religious right, and not intended to really mean anything, such utterances nevertheless give aid and comfort to the IDers.

For example, although the Smithsonian Institution finally got wind of what was going on and withdrew any support for the ID film they had approved for screening by the Discovery Institute (but nevertheless provided them a room to show it in), this didn't prevent the Discovery Institute from promoting the event as some sort of coup. (http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=133&program=CSC&isEvent=true) Nor did it prevent a snowball effect in the rest of the ID/creationist community. (http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2005/0530Smithsonian.asp)

Given the climate today, scientists and engineers must be very careful about the words they choose to express their views on science and engineering. I agree with what RussT, Nicolas, Fram, and Wolverine (in his first response) wrote.


[edit/del repeated word]

Dave Mitsky
2006-Jan-27, 06:35 AM
I am in agreement with Maksutov on this point. It is not a good idea to praise God and pass the ammunition, so to speak, to the IDers.

Dave Mitsky