Mucha ciencia devuelve a Dios

A lot of science gives back to God

Author subject : Fernando Sols, Full Professor of Condensed Physics at the Complutense University of Madrid.
Published in: Alfa y Omega, nº 838, p. 30.
Date of publication: 20-VI-2013

summary from lecture 'Grandeza y límites de la Física moderna'. Delivered at conference Science, faith and the search for truth, First session ('subject and Cosmos'), 20-VI-2013, at the CEU in Madrid.

"The panorama of knowledge presented to us by modern science is so overwhelming that it is possible to affirm, contrary to the widespread stereotype, that a scientist has more reasons to believe in God than someone without scientific training ". The author of this article is Full Professor of Physics of the Condensed subject , at the Complutense University of Madrid, and today participates, with a discussion paper onGrandeza y límites de la Física Moderna, in the conference Science, faith and the search for truth, at the CEU San Pablo University.

Science and faith are not only compatible but mutually reinforcing. Historically, the Christian concept of a God who respects reason has favoured the search for order in nature. In a worldview that distinguishes between creation and Creator, the universe enjoys its own autonomy and must therefore be observed in order to understand its laws. On the other hand, as Louis Pasteur, the father of modern medicine, said, "a little science leads away from God, but a lot of science leads back to Him". Indeed, the panorama of knowledge presented to us by modern science, and in particular physics, is so overwhelming that it can be said, contrary to the widespread stereotype, that a scientist has more reason to believe in God than someone with no scientific training . The Austrian physicist Anton Zeilinger, world leader in quantum speech , recently said: "Some of the things we discover in science are so impressive that I have chosen to believe".

The mathematical elegance of the equations describing the three forces (gravitational, electroweak and strong nuclear) operating in the known subject is astonishing. The dream of unifying them into a single force and understanding subject and dark energy is still alive. Quantum physics is astonishing, which on a microscopic scale guarantees the stability of the subject and in particular the solidity of the chemical link , while on a macroscopic scale it presents a dose of indeterminism compatible with real human freedom. Amazing physical laws allow the emergence of a portentous universe that can house, in a delicate corner, a biological subject sufficiently complex to support that human mind which in turn is capable of discovering, creating and loving.

For all its grandeur, the scientific knowledge has its limitations. In the first place, there are the provisional limits, those that are constantly being displaced by the scientific research . There are also more fundamental - what we might call external - limits, which make reference letter concepts beyond the reach of the scientific method. These concepts describe spiritual realities such as God, the soul, the good or beauty.

Finally, there are lesser-known limits -which we could call internal- that point to realities that, while belonging to the domain of science, are not attainable by it. Two prominent examples are quantum indeterminacy and mathematical incompleteness. The combination of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and chaos theory allows us to state that precise information about the future does not exist because it has no possible physical support; the future is indeterminate. On the other hand, the Austrian mathematician Kurt Gödel showed that, in a logical system complex enough to include arithmetic, there are theorems that, being true, can never be proved. One consequence is the existence of undecidable problems. For example, Gregory Chaitin has shown that there is no algorithm that can determine in general the randomness of a process. If we understand that randomness and finality are opposing concepts, it follows that discussion on the presence or absence of finality in nature is outside the scientific method and can only be approached by philosophical reason.