Lately, I have been reading in the subjects of Natural Law and Cosmology (not to mention watching those "science" shows on the History Channel). It always has struck me that when science departs from "description" of how systems operate (be the system a cell, a chemical reaction, or cosmology), and into "prescription" about why things are as they are, that science quickly slips into theology.
The idea of the "Big Bang" developed in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Although many in the early 21st century teach and believe that the "Big Bang" is scientific fact, it is really the chief theory proposed by many cosmologists to explain what is physically observed by various telescopes. Ironically, the concept of the "Big Bang" first was conceived by Georges Lemaître, a Belgium Roman Catholic priest, in 1927. Lemaître called his theory, "hypothesis of the primeval atom," while his detractors called it "Big Bang."(Fred Hoyle, who rejected Lemaître's theory, coined the term "Big Bang.") Lemaître's "hypothesis of the primeval atom" not only argued against the prevalent theories of his day but also was viewed as being too "religious" as Lemaître described the explosion of the "primeval atom" as the moment of Creation. Today, most people view the "Big Bang" as being science and against religion.
|Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître|
|Sky Map of Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation|
As previously stated, when science leaves the realm of description, it enters into theology. Modern cosmology (not as the descriptive science but in prescribing how and why) is a jumble of ideas dating from the earliest philosophizing of man. Is the universe eternal? Did the universe have a beginning or multiple beginnings? Is it cyclical? These ideas whirl in utter confusion.
Yet despite this "evident" fact that human beings do not occupy a unique position in the universe, cosmologists have noted since the early 1970s that there is a troubling anthropocentric principle in physics and cosmology. If certain physical constants were slightly different, life could not exist. If the earth were slightly closer or slightly further from the sun, life could not exist. If the sun itself were in a different position in the galaxy life could not exist and so on. In fact, the entire universe seems to favor the existence of life on earth. (Of course, some of us know.)
This brings me to the book The Goldilocks Enigma: Why Is the Universe Just Right for Life?