The Truth About Physics And Religion Essay — страница 2

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fail to realize, however, is that faith is just as essential an element of physics as it is of religion. The reason why many fail to realize this, is because of the common misconception that physics is a self-regulating machine which automatically produces information when the crank of scientific method is turned. Very little faith would be required, of course, for the operation of such a machine. But physics, as many of us have experienced through experiments, is not at all like that. The experimenter usually finds nothing resembling the smooth, ordered, lawful behavior depicted by the textbooks. What he finds instead are error-filled and highly questionable results. William Pollard, a physicist, once wrote: Scientific research is a tough and unrelenting business. Only those who

enjoy a firm and unshakable faith that the universal principles will always hold true can become successful. Without such an abiding faith, it is simply not possible to become a part of the physics community. Consider. for example, this common claim: ?anyone can demonstrate the truths of physics for himself, but the tenets of religion have to be accepted blindly on faith.? How many people, for example, can demonstrate to their own satisfaction that the mass of the earth is 5.98 x 1024 kilograms, or that the charge on a proton is + 1.60 x 10-19 coulombs. A long, hard educational process is required during which a person must freely submit himself to a rigorous discipline, and strongly desire and believe in its outcome. Consequently, the truth follows that only by becoming a

physicist can he possess the capacity to demonstrate the truths of physics to his own satisfaction. Likewise, only those who become serious followers of a religion can know the truths of that religion. In both cases, everyone else must take it all on faith. Another way in which science and religion are frequently contrasted is in terms of the personal and impersonal. This contrast is based on the belief that science is a dispassionate, completely detached activity in which the process of knowing is independent of the involvement or participation of the knower. In contrast to this, religious knowledge is thought to be deeply personal, since it comes only through the passionate involvement and commitment of the believer in that which he knows. Many believe that religion affects

both, our actions and our emotions, as opposed to physics, which does not. The fact is, none of these statements can be validated unless the person saying it has endured and committed himself to both physics and religion. A sincere and hard- working physicist will feel the personal affects of physics on him, whereas others will not. Similarly, a dedicated and determined follower of a religion will feel the personal affects of that religion on him. Others, again, will not. A number of the contrasts which are frequently made between physics and religion are seen to be either wrong or irrelevant through careful analysis. Einstein, himself, believed that God was somehow involved in the immutable laws of nature, and that there is no split between physics and religion. What is and

always has been our mainspring is faith. To have faith always means: ?I decide to do it, I stake my existence on it.? When Columbus started on his first voyage into the West, he believed that the earth was round and small enough to be circumnavigated. He did not merely think this was right in theory?he staked his whole existence on it. There’s an old saying: “I believe in order that I may act; I act in order that I may understand.” This saying is relevant not only to the concepts of physics and religion, but also to the entire life we live.