Because of the Scottish Enlightenment, we’ve always had a high opinion of Scotland. Alas, not every Scotsman lives up to that splendid tradition.
Consider this article in The Scotsman, published Edinburgh: Science is not the rock some say it is. They have a comments feature. The article was written by Peter Kearney, described as “director of the Catholic Media Office.” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and Kearney’s unusual spelling left intact:
Reading a recent magazine article on the celebration of Christmas, I wasn’t surprised to find that the author had a pretty jaundiced view of the Nativity story and felt it was really just a fairy tale used to mislead children. I was, however, surprised by one assertion. He claimed: “Historical truth and scientific method are the rocks on which human reason must be based.” I was surprised because, contrary to the preconceptions of the author, and most secular-minded media commentators, this formulation is utterly compatible with religion and belief.
Is Kearney saying that religion is compatible with historical truth and scientific method? This should be fun. He tells us:
For many in the media and politics, not to mention most other spheres of public life, religion is for those who somehow reject “historical truth and scientific method”. In reality, it isn’t, faith is compatible with science and reason. Whether science is quite the solid “rock” some secularists seem to pine for is another question. Recent research suggests that good science tends to throw up far more questions than it can answer.
Yup — that’s what he’s claiming. Let’s read on:
Light travels at 299,792,458 metres a second. For generations, students of physics have been taught that the speed of light was what’s known as a universal physical constant. It didn’t change, because it couldn’t change; it was always and everywhere the same. In equations and calculations other parts could change but the figure for light speed always stayed the same. Or at least it did until last year.
Oh boy — where is this going? We continue:
In 2015, a team of Scottish scientists from the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance at Glasgow and Heriot-Watt universities made light travel slower than the speed of light. They sent photons – individual particles of light – through a special mask. It changed the photons’ shape – and slowed them to less than light speed. Scientists have long known that light slows down when passing through materials like water or glass but it always goes back to its higher speed as soon as it comes out on the other side. Incredibly, in the Glasgow experiment the photons continued to travel at the lower speed even when they returned to free space. To call this work ground-breaking probably doesn’t do it justice, it was a stunning finding and will likely alter forever how science looks at light.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! This article at the PhysOrg website from last year describes that experiment: Physicists find a new way to slow the speed of light, and explains the result like this:
The researchers explain this result by noting that they were using group velocity to measure the light’s speed — a measurement of the group’s envelope speed. The mask, they explain, caused some of the photons in the group to move at a slight angle to the others causing a slowdown for the group as a whole. Thus, their results are not going to upend one of the basic tenets of modern physics, it is more likely that future researchers will have to make sure lab or astronomical observations are not being impacted by shape changes that occur naturally.
Preachers are always complaining that “scientists are playing God,” but all too often, their confusion is the result of preachers playing scientist. Here’s more from Kearney:
Last month a cosmologist at Arizona State University claimed he had heard from a colleague working on a major project into gravity, that gravitational waves may have been discovered.
We often see news like that. So what? Here’s Kearney’s reaction:
Why do these discoveries matter? Simply because they utterly demolish the false assertions constantly made by atheists and humanists that through science, we can measure and know everything in the universe and thanks to science it can all be neatly and fully explained, leaving no need or place for a creator or deity. In other words, science is a solid rock upon which you can base your philosophy of life or belief system.
In case you’re waiting for Kearney to tell us what the bible says about the speed of light and gravity, which is superior to and far more reliable than the blundering of science, you’ll be disappointed. For some reason, he fails to reveal that to us. But he continues to criticize science:
This creed or belief system, let’s call it “scientism”, has been dealt some serious blows by recent discoveries. Such research, carried out by scientists, who see scientific method as a means to an end, rather than an end in itself, leaves a significant minority of our fellow citizens – who have spent years saying things like “I don’t believe in religion; I believe in science” – looking, frankly, very foolish.
He’s talking about you, dear reader. Moving along:
The cosy simplicity of a fairy-tale theory which says humans can observe, explain and account for everything is, of course, superficially attractive, but in reality it is an opiate for the unthinking.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That was a cute tu quoque aimed at Marx’s famous claim that religion is the opiate of the masses. But it’s wildly inappropriate because Marx was no scientist — he was a bozo. Here’s Kearney’s thundering conclusion:
What is emerging increasingly from some fascinating and challenging new research in the world of science is the extent to which the “known world” is in fact unknown to us on many levels. In truth, science in all its marvellous wonder, is not a solid rock upon which you can base a philosophy of life or belief system upon. Belief in God on the other hand, is.
There you are, dear reader. Kearney’s thinking is based on a solid rock. Yours isn’t. Now you know.
Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.