03 August 2015

The Faith of This Scientist

I have never measured the diameter of the Earth, or the speed of light, or the atomic mass of carbon or the size of the orbit of an electron orbiting a proton in a uranium atom or looked at the structure of a benzene molecule or measured the half life of the radiation of tritium or many of the things that are generally accepted as being constants or facts. Have you?

How many things do we accept as being reasonable without checking them? What makes them reasonable? Why do we accept them?

If these things are all true as I was taught in university physics, chemistry, botany, zoology, biochemistry, ecology and evolution and other classes, then what does that really mean?

I have read Darwin's Origin of Species, Autobiography of Charles Darwin, Voyage of the Beagle. Have you?

I am not sure that I have read the original texts that Einstein and Newton wrote about energy and gravity. I have been taught what they said, but have I read their original texts. Have you? 

I have read the Bible several times, and pondered what it says. Have you?

I have pondered extensively as I have read, and while walking, or mowing the lawn, or driving in the car, or weeding the garden, or meditating, and I have 'pondered the solemnities of the eternities' as my one fellow missionary used to refer to them. In all of my pondering, I have become very comfortable with the faith that (as I have heard Einstein quoted) 'there is some force, or power or influence active in the Earth and in the Universe'.

I have no doubt, having studied the Bible, that that 'force, power and influence' is indeed the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Israel, Allah, even Elohim, and that Jehovah is the creator (i.e. organizer) of all things as the Bible teaches.

Just as I have not measured all things, or calculated all things, or considered all things, I have done enough to have more faith and confidence that these are true, rather than to have doubts.

I have been pondering recently, as I did while at university 40 years ago, how we give the half life of radioactive substances, and consider all of these to be constant. But consider a time frame of 6000 years, let alone 380 million years (Ma) that my colleagues estimate to be the time since the first land vertebrates existed, or 4550 Ma that they estimate to be when the earth was formed, or
4000 Ma since the first life started, or 3500 Ma since photosynthesis started. Can it be possible that all has remained constant in all that time?

What would the ambient levels of radiation have been then? Would rates of radioactive decay of elements have been the same then as they are now, under those levels of radioactivity?

How many of our seconds (the SI standard unit of time) would a day have been, or how long would a year, or any of our time periods have been then? What would the mass have been of the Earth, and of the Sun? The Sun has been releasing energy all this time, and that is surely related to a loss of mass if using Albert Einstein's theory of special relativity E = mc 2.

The Earth has been receiving energy all these millennia, I suggest that this would result in accumulation of mass. Have any of you done the calculations of what the changes would have been and the implications for radius of orbit of the Earth around the Sun? Would the day length have been what it is now? Would a year have been the same number of days as it is now? How would circadian rhythms and diurnal patterns have affected the biodiversity on our planet? What effect would all of these changes that I am suggesting have on the interactions between organisms?

The time 300 Ma is about mid way between the start of land vertebrates and start of dinosaurs in the Geological Time Scale. Can it be possible that none of our physical constants has changed in all of that time?

I do not know all things, but I can say with Alma, that I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself (Alma 5:46)

Man changes the earth. He causes things to change! For example, he is surely changing the mass of the earth by removing and burning fossil fuels. Converting carbon deposits from solid to carbon dioxide gas and other elements and compounds. What effect does that have on the mass of the earth, the orbit of the moon, our orbit around the sun?

I've been reading about the signs of the second coming. Will the sun refuse to give it's light (see Joel 2:31Acts 2:20,  Helamen 14:20, D&C 88:87), if it explodes? If the gravitational pull changes to the point that the earth leaves its orbit around the sun, what will be our source of light? In such a scenario, would the Earth plunging out of orbit describe the stars falling?

The moon turning to blood (see Joel 2:31Acts 2:20), may happen if we are no longer in orbit around the sun and the moon is getting light from our changed earth or some other light source.

Pillars of smoke (see Joel 2:30) sound as though they could describe the mushroom clouds of nuclear explosions. Might these be prophecies of nuclear explosions, perhaps of reactors exploding as these massive changes take place?

These are things written by prophets thousands of years ago - do they describe the physical conditions that might exist when the mass of Earth and Sun as we think 'we know them' change sufficiently that the gravitational pull between Earth and Sun changes sufficiently to cause the Earth to leave the orbit of the Sun, or, if the Sun loses enough of its fuel load that it explodes or stops working as we think 'we know it does now', will we still have our normal days and months? How can that be possible?

There may be information buried in the jargon and literature about the sun that answers some of the questions that have been going about in my mind, such as Mass and energy flow in the solar chromosphere and corona and 3 He Transport in the Sun and the Solar Neutrino Problem and other scientific works

I am not sure that I shall be able to find a simple explanation there that my mind will grasp and say - 'Ah, yes, that explains all of my questions'. Maybe some readers of my blog will say to themselves 'What a numbskull to ask such elementary questions!' But maybe many have not even stopped to consider if all time and space was just as we experience it now, as we think 'we know it'?

Another question that I have recently been pondering is 'How many hundreds of thousands of years ago did the last species evolve?' Thousands of species go extinct every year, and yet the most recent speciation event is estimated to be hundreds of thousands of years ago - that sure doesn't sound like a sustainable system to me! New species are discovered each year, but the data always suggest that they evolved hundreds of thousands of years ago. A Google search like 'what is the most recent species to evolve' suggests some recent speciations, but do they rank in the same category that Darwin proposed? Changes and adaptations take place, but is that a speciation event? The formation of a new Species implies that it will not breed with other closely related species and is sufficiently different that it is not just a subspecies or variety of an existing species. 

I share my testimony with that of Henry Eyring, author of The Faith of a Scientist, in declaring that I am fully confident in my belief in the literal creation of this Earth and all in it. I am a scientist, but I have no delusions of being anywhere near the calibre of Henry Eyring. However, I do declare that I see no conflict between science and religion. There certainly is conflict between many scientific theories that were presented to me as I studied botany, zoology, chemistry and physics when studying for my BSc. But my own observations of applying scientific principles cause no conflict in my understanding between science and religion - indeed, I find that I use each to explain the other. I declare the faith of this scientist, Leslie Ward Powrie, to be that we are the offspring of a Divine Father in Heaven, and that His greatest joy is to see us becoming like Him. I declare that we are the offspring of deity and not of lower life forms. 

I declare that unless someone has read the holy scriptures, they cannot give a 'peer review' of them, or the interpretations and conclusions drawn by those who have. They must read the Introduction of the holy writ. They must use the same Materials and Methods used by the millions who declare the scriptures to be the word of a living God. They must consider the Results drawn by those who have repeated the methods, and come to unanimous Conclusions. They need to consider the Discussion given by those who have studied and applied the methods. They cannot justifiably be 'more knowledgeable' than those who have paid the price necessary to become peers who can review the testimonies of the believers. Without following the required methods of studying and asking God if His word is true, they cannot legitimately criticize the millions of believers who have. 

I bear a humble witness as a disciple of Jesus Christ that He is the Saviour provided to enable us to return to the presence of our Living God, our Father in Heaven.