The Appropriate Reaction to a Physical Theory of Life

The Appropriate Reaction to a Physical Theory of Life.

This is an article written by Dr. Stacy Trasancos, published on , a site that seeks to foster dialog between Catholics and atheists. A Roman Catholic, Dr. Trasancosis is a wife and homeschooling mother of seven. She holds a PhD in Chemistry from Penn State University and a MA in Dogmatic Theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary. She teaches chemistry and physics for Kolbe Academy online homeschool program and serves as the Science Department Chair.

Thank you, @beaglelady, for this interesting article.

An important part of the problem is Western dualism, which means that if something is “natural”, then it is physical, which in turn means that it has nothing to do with God, even though God created the natural and the physical.

The other problem is that of change. It was not until 1927 that the Big Bang theory was suggested by Lemaitre and not until 1965 that the discovery of background radiation confirmed this theory. Thus it has only been about 50 years that science has known that the universe has a Beginning and history is a part of the universe.

Reading Hawking’s The Universe in a Nutshell O noted that he said that science and time are in conflict. He pointed out that science deals with the universal laws of natural, but the nature of earth was different in the Ice Age than it is today. Thus history and change run contrary to science. It also runs contrary to traditional philosophy also. Even though theology is based on change, its philosophical underpinnings make it anti-change.

Now England’s Paper on the Physical Nature of Life indicates that nature supports the kinds of change that could produce life. It did not say exactly how it was produced or for certain that it happened, but it could have happened. This in the light of many claims that nature is “indifferent” or hostile to life.

Science has demonstrated through the Big Bang, fine tuning, and evolution itself that God created the universe as a rational habitant for the rational being we call humans. There is n surprise that life was not created as a part of this natural historical plan. I just hop that homo T. does not mess the whole thing up.

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Thank you for reading the article.

What is homo T.?

She is also part of the Science for Seminaries program. Great find.

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She has a new book coming out in the fall called Particles of Faith: A Catholic Guide to Navigating Science . I’m sure most of us non-Catholics will find much of value in it.

Thank you for the link. I am always amazed at minds that can break up complicated statements into simple components, and then demolish each of the components. While belief in God may seem like a simplistic way of explaining the universe, atheism appears to have its own set of problems.

I think the best answer to this philosophical question was given in Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” A very advanced civilization had built a computer capable of calculating an answer to the question, “What is the sum total of life, the universe, and everything?” The computer said it would need a million years to perform the calculation.

A million years later, they asked the computer if it had finished the calculation. It said it had, but that they wouldn’t like the answer. The people said, “Come on, we have kept you running for a million years–we want our answer.”

The computer said, “Twenty four.”

After a shocked silence, the people asked, "What does that mean? "

The computer replied, “What does the question mean? An answer can’t be more meaningful than the question.”


A classic short story by Issac Asimov: The Last Question.

Only in one of the alternate dyslexic universes. Actually the computer said “42”. When it comes to the meaning of life, it’s important to get our facts straight. :grin: They had waited millions of years and through thousands of generations to get this answer. Then when they finally got that answer and asked the computer what it was the answer to, the computer told them it would need x millions more years to figure that out.

That was a great part of Adams’ stories. On the one hand, the earth was utterly insignificant (that in itself a radical break from many popular sci fi series), but then of course the earth turns out to be part of that great experiment. I’ll toot my own horn here a bit by sharing that I just posted an essay over at the Hump where some of this (mentions of sci fi!) comes up.

I first heard “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” on the radio, on an afternoon that I had taken off time from work to run an errand, back in the days when WFMT broadcast spoken word and drama programs on Tuesday afternoons at 1:00. I remember the number as being 24 then, but noticed it was 42 on the television version. My recollection is that the computer said it could build another computer that would be capable of giving a meaningful answer. That other computer turned out to be the earth, which was only a few moments away from coming up with the answer when it was blown up to make room for an intergalactic bypass. They later discovered that the Earth hadn’t been in the way after all.

I’ve never seen the TV version of it (though I do recall a movie of the first book some years ago.) But my main exposure was from reading the books --the first three or so anyway. I’m not sure how many more there may be that I never got to.

Yeah – I imagine Adams would have been very deliberately reacting against the usual sci-fi order of the day where earth and humans manage to retain a puffed up self-importance in all affairs cosmic. So the opposite extreme was to have it destroyed from the get-go at the beginning of the first book by the intergalactic bulldozers, and then to add insult to injury --the work order turned out to be a clerical error anyway. The main character (and sole human survivor), Ford Prefect, is taken aback to see earth’s entry in the galaxy’s equivalent of Wikipedia (indeed … the 'Hitchhiker’s Guide). The entire content of the entry for earth was: “mostly harmless”.

There was another setting (I think I’m remembering from another series … Clarke’s “Rama” series maybe?) in which a person finds the exhibit for earth in a galactic museum, and the sole representative entry for our entire planet was a depiction or scene showing a caveman.

That’s the “what are we that God is mindful of us” perspective in play; which doesn’t get quite as much page space or air time in all our parochial dramas!


I remember the answer as 43. The experiment run by the white mice couldn’t even get that right.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide had some nice touches. I like the uncertainty drive which powered the spaceships.

Actually the joke is on humanists like Adams and Dawkins, not people who take God seriously. It is too bad they don’t seem to understand this.

The answer was 42 fellows. C’mon! That’s the meaning of life we’re talking about here! Don’t make me look up chapter and verse!

Also, Humans were the third most intelligent species on the planet … after the mice and then the dolphins.

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It’s amusing to me that Douglas Adams seemed to have picked a random number, as a joke, to be the “meaning of life and everything” … and yet, perhaps unbeknownst to him, picked a number that has a lot of significance in the Bible.

In Matthew 1:17 it says, “So all the generations from Abraham to David were 14 generations, and from David unto the carrying away of Babylon are 14 generations, and from the carrying away of Babylon unto Christ are 14 generations …”

14+14+14=42 generations, that lead up to Jesus.

Is the “meaning of life and everything” Jesus :open_mouth:

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