"God and the new physics"

Paladin's picture

Closing hours of yesterday, me and my dad talked - some more - till about 11:30. It's interesting that we seem to engage in conversation sporadically. This, I suspect, is because he is constantly thinking about this "disease" I have, and only when he comes up with something he sees as worthwhile saying does he actually say it. The things he doesn't voice are things from before that he remembers I've provided a response to.

Woke up 40 mins late today, which meant I had to hurry to get to school. I had trouble sleeping last night, so I read some of Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare) and The Golden Ratio (a maths book) till about 2am. I told my counsellor, who was supportive of course, about how I had come out to my parents the day before. She called up my mum, with my permission, and scheduled a meeting for tomorrow between me, my parents, her (my counsellor) and my mentor, a teacher who also knows I'm gay. I'm feeling a little apprehensive about it because there will be a lot of dirty linen brought to light (none of which should be mine any more), but I'm not freaking out about it. My counsellor said that I was probably feeling so detached about what happened yesterday as a sort of defense to it. I think she's right, as I can feel that there is something hidden inside me that I'm somewhat estranged from at the moment, like I'm lying on a beach behind a brick wall and a tsunami is on the other side. Well, at least now the healing can begin.

I got a letter from the University of Bath (in England), who have accepted me. It will probably be pretty pointless though, as I do not believe that I will be able to find funding to read mathematics there as an international student (international student fees are 7-10 times as much as fees for EU students). Unfortunately, there are very few places in the world which are truly need-blind AND committed to having a student body of diverse socio-economic backgrounds.

Then I was able to persuade my maths teacher to let me and several other students to go watch a presentation on "God and the New Phyics". The guy presenting it, an American with some sort of Swiss roots, was funny and explained the stuff well. Unfortunately, he only talked about things I'm already aware of and understand reasonably well (how relativity works, how quantum mechanics works). He also claimed that scientific discoveries were leading scientists to believe that god is a good explanation of the world.

----Abstruse physics/philosophy references follow. You have been warned.---

Being an atheist, I was interested in seeing whether what he said about god was reasonable, so later I approached him separately and presented some of the issues I had with his interpretation of modern physics/astronomy: determinism not being absolute; the notion that life requires water and carbon-based life forms; the idea that the Big Bang had to be the beginning and that it couldn't be a previous universe collapsed in on itself. It became apparent that he was more a philosopher than a physicist (he was slow to realise his mistake in calling the electron a type of quark), but his arguments were still good. He did confront the anthropic principle in a particulalry convincing way, and showed how the many-worlds idea, while possible, has no justification (and by nature cannot ever be justified). Which would bring one to the conclusion that given that there is life in our universe and matter did come together the way it is, this is quite a great coincidence. He said there must be some guiding force behind it. I had no answer (but perhaps fortunately, time ran out). I'll have a bit more thinking to do on the matter, as though I don't have enough to do on other things.

Dave