Truth, Perception, and Nihilism

In 2001, the MAP (Microwave Anisotropy Probe) was put in orbit around the sun. It may be able (through measuring "gravity waves", and minute "ripples" in the cosmic background radiation) to find evidence of what was going on a fraction of a second after the "Big Bang". (The COBE [Cosmic Background Explorer] of 1990 indicated that the entire universe was once jammed into a very dense state, and gave information from about 300,000 years after the beginning.)

Science, however, still has no idea about the cause of the Big Bang, or of the cause of the laws and phenomena of physics.

For an illustration of the limited nature of human perception, consider Sirius (the brightest star in the sky): Sirius is said to be 8.6 light-years from earth. So, if Sirius exploded 4 years ago, earthlings would not be able to know of that for another 4.6 years.

But then, let's postulate that "God"'s perception isn't limited by the speed of light, so God would know what had happened to Sirius (and all the rest of the "universe").

Now, let's bring in the concept of "nihilism" (basically, the idea [or dogma] that truth doesn't exist). If truth doesn't exist, then why do we keep seeing Sirius, and why have our telescopes, etc., told us so much more about it (such as, that it's a binary star) than we can see?

A concept related to all this is called "phenomenalism", which points out that it is signals reaching the brain which give us our physical perceptions of the world. This does underline the concept of the limited nature of human perception (though it does nothing to support nihilistic dogma).

Consider, for instance, the rolling of dice. What goes on there is in accordance with physical law; but it's done in such a way that people won't be able to predict the outcome. Nevertheless, there are definite probabilities about the possible outcomes. Likewise, physicists know that, often, doing A will not necessarily result in B, but that doing A might result in anything from B through Z. But still, each of the outcomes (or measurements within a certain range) has a definite probably of occurring (often on a "bell curve").

Science tells us that "time began" with the Big Bang; but what they mean is, "time" as earthlings are able to observe in the physical world began then. Science is unable to preclude the existence of a divine presence; and thus, there may be many "absolute realities" of what happened before the Big Bang, or of what happened since then (in terms of laws and phenomena being created), which are beyond the physical perception of earthlings.

Thus it appears that atheism is as much a fundamentalist dogma as is fundamentalist religion. Science adds a footnote to the Adam and Eve story, but it far from demonstrates that no religion has validity.


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Reference: Religion Has Nothing To Fear From NASA, The Wall Street Journal, June 28, 2001