Up to now, I have been trying very hard to avoid mixing my writing on
science with issues of God and religion. Nevertheless I get inundated
with false opinions regarding science and how it is at loggerheads
with the existence of God that this has got me thinking. Where do all
these ideas, these notions that believers in science are disbelievers
in god? I am of the opinion that these judgments are baseless and very
dangerously contagious in that they antagonize, in a sense, the
scientist as an automatic atheist. I must also say that atheism is not
a bad thing.
First of all, I am a scientist in training and a firm believer in the
existence of God. This does not, however, deprive me of an inquisitive
mind or the urge to question everything and everybody. In my naïve
years, I used to be amazed by scientists, especially astronomers, who
openly believed in a god. I remember asking myself how this could be.
I mean, does not the scientific evidence contradict any notion of the
supernatural, or the existence of a higher being, and so bury God with
all the other fairytales?
I have learnt, personally, that there is so muchmore to it than that.
Personally, I started liking science when I saw how beautiful the
world, nature, the biosphere, planet earth and the rest of the
universe was. I was helplessly drawn into it by a childish curiosity
(my biggest asset) and my search was rewarded by absolute bewilderment
as I held a book on Time and Space. The truth is, most of us start off
with mere interest and curiosity, and then comes the questions from
the "wise ones". A cousin of mine has asked me on many occasions since
she learned of my interest in astrophysics whether I am looking at the
stars to find God. She proceeds to jokingly show her disapproval on
this prospect citing it as a crime of faith and that I should have
faith in the big guy's existence.
My next-door neighbor has also asked me a similar question, but in her
case I always feel a genuine sense to know more. This was proven to me
when she invited me to her house to view something on the television
that she thought might interest me. Now, she is a retired nurse and I
could not help but wonder what she thought might interest me. When I
arrived, I saw a morning news show displaying images of the first
stage of the Square Kilometer Array –a joint scientific project
between South Africa and Australia- and some scientists, who were
heading up the project, discussing its significance in putting South
Africa on the global scientific platform. I ended up spending the
better half of an hour watching with her and explaining how important
the project is and expressing my gratitude for her having brought my
attention to the broadcast.
Now, I have always tried to separate God and Science, but it has come
to my realization that the two are actually inseparable. First to
answer the question of whether I am looking for God when I am looking
at the stars and whether I have come to any breakthrough in my
fruitless venture. Yes I have, I see God on every cloudless night when
I unstiff my neck to look up and appreciate the beauty of the stars
and the many other objects in the sky. I see God in the blogs that I
read that show me how stars are born in the wake of huge star deaths,
how vast the cosmos is, the incredible history of the Earth and I see
God even its prospective demise. Now, my kind of God may not be your
kind of God, and as I said, this is my opinion and seeing God in the
beauty of nature is what makes me happy.
Finally, although mathematics is not my most favorite of subjects (far
from it) I do appreciate its indispensible importance and in it,
again, I see God in the perfection of prime numbers and the mysterious
intrigue in the Fibonacci Sequence. I must admit that any notion of
God the reader has is unlikely to be affected by my one column, I do
however hope that it will prompt one to employ an open mind and to
question everything and everybody except your mother…never ever
question your mom.