By: Dr Irengbam Mohendra Singh
One Kristine Hawkins writes in response to my article: Scientists are nearer to finding the non-existence of God.
“Why does God have to be separated from Science. If you read the bible you will learn that God is Light, and the power of it. There is no time with God so what ever way he created all that it takes to be the universes or matter or antimatter or neutrinos or any other parts of what it takes for things to be. Are part of what he is. All things come from and are part of him. Which we call him, (him) so that we can connect with it. As we and all things are part of it. God is all. So really all your studies are the study of God.”
PS. If you read Genesis, you will see that God said let the waters bring forth life, and all started with light and dark matter, and water. Genesis 1:20. And also it may help you understand the order of Science.
WHEN I was in school I was taught in Astronomy classes that the earth was a bit of the Sun, which gradually cooled down forming a hard crust. It was not far from the truth.
It was more than half a century ago. Since then science has been making new discoveries in astronomy, astrophysics, anthropology, biology and other disciplines. For example: NASA’s Hubble Space telescope has just discovered a cluster of galaxies in the initial stage of forming.
The famous American scientist, Carl Saga writes in his book, Demon-Haunted World:
“There is much that science doesn’t understand; many mysteries still to be solved. In a universe of tens of billions of light years across and some ten or fifteen billion years old, this may be the case for ever. Yet some New Age and religious writers assert that scientists believe that ‘what they find is all there is”.
The scientific way of thinking is at once imaginative and disciplined. Science invites us to let the facts in, even when they don’t conform to our preconceptions such as the existence of God. It counsels us to carry alternative hypothesis in our heads and see which best fit the facts. This kind of thinking is also an essential tool for a democracy in an age of change.
God did not create the earth as it is believed in every religion. The earth was formed from the debris of the explosion in the Big Bang – a hypothesis that has been agreed as a closed debate.
Almost all branches of natural science have contributed to the understanding of the Earth’s birth.
I often quote the Bible in my writings as it is the most scientifically studied book of religion, and it is useful as reference book in English, for comparison in theological perspectives.
I am not anti-Christian, nor anti-Hindu nor anti-Islam. They are all the same to me.
According to the Bible, the earth is only 6,015 years old. This is arrived at from some imaginative calculation of Earth’s age by James Ussher (Irish Protestant Bishop in Dublin) in 1650 (Cromwell’s time).
He calculated it by adding up the ages of 21 generations of people in the Hebrew Old Testament, beginning with Adam and Eve that the Earth was created 4004 years ago. To be exact, the time and date of creation was on the “nightfall preceding Sunday, October 23 4004 BCE
Christians for centuries had assumed a history of the Earth, roughly corresponding to Ussher’s chronology. Shakespeare, in ‘As You Like It’, has his character Rosalind say, “The poor world is almost six thousand years old.”
Many ‘Young earth creationists’ have argued that Genesis 5 and 11 provide all the information necessary to conclude that Creation occurred less than 5,000 years before the birth of Christ.
Ussher’s chronology has been subject to many criticisms. If Bible is to be believed, they were an exceptionally long-lived lot. For example: Genesis tells us that “Adam lived 930 years and he died.” Adam gave birth to his first son, Seth when he had “lived 130 years”, at which time no human man will have any sperm living in his testicles.
Palaeontologist Stephen Jay Gould points out in an essay on Ussher, that the bishop’s calculation of the date of creation fuelled much ridicule from scientists who pointed to him as “a symbol of ancient and benighted authoritarianism.”
Now, scientists calculate that the proto-Earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago from the rotating cloud of dust and gas containing hydrogen and helium, created shortly after the Big Bang.
The age of the earth is one-third of the age of the universe. The proto-Earth grew by accretion, billions of years ago and the planet is still forming and changing everyday.
Scientists have made computer simulation of the formation of the Earth. It has shown that it
was about a million years after the Big Bang when the Sun and planets formed from the cloud.
It is thought that there were about twenty to thirty large objects and a huge number of planetisimals in the space between the Sun and Mars. These large objects would have had the size ranging between the Moon and the Mars.
There were constant collisions between the large objects themselves and between the large and smaller objects.
It is hypothesised that one very large collision – a glancing blow by a large object of solid rocks to another was responsible for tilting the Earth to an angle and forming the moon as a separate planet about 4.53 billion years ago.
This hypothesis is referred to as the “Big Splash” by astronomers. The hypothetical impactor named Theia after the Greek goddess who gave birth to Selene, the Moon goddess is thought to have been a bit smaller than the current planet Mars.
The collision would have melted the surface of the earth as well as the outer layer of the incoming object, splashing away the mixed molten material around the Earth forming a ring of debris.
During this process the dense metallic core of the incoming object would have sunk through this molten outer layer and settled into the core of the young Earth.
The proto-Earth grew by accretion, until the inner part of the proto-Planet was hot enough to melt heavy iron-like metals, which sank to the Earth’s centre, known as Iron catastrophe, 10 million years after the Earth began to form, generating the Earth’s magnetic field.
Over time, such cosmic collisions ceased by a natural process, allowing the Earth to cool and form a solid crust all around. As the surface of the Earth cooled, the material in the ring around the earth fused with the moon, and thus a new planet was formed around the Sun.
The early atmosphere surrounding the Earth was of light (atmophile) elements from the solar nebula, consisting mostly hydrogen and helium, but the Earth’s heat would
have driven away this atmosphere.
When the Earth accreted to about 40 percent of its present radius, its gravitational pull retained the present atmosphere which included water.
The theory of this formation of Earth-Moon system was evidenced from a sample of rock brought back from the Moon during the Apollo programme that shows exactly the same components as the Earth’s crust.
The radiometric estimation of the age of the Moon rock gives the scientists a precise date for when the collision took place – 4.4 billion years ago, almost as soon as the Sun was formed.
Scientists have now found the oldest rocks on Earth on the shores of Hudson Bay in northern Quebec. They are 4.28 billion years old.
John Gribbin, “The master of popular science writing” writes that there are more circumstantial evidence. The glancing blow would have made the Earth rotate so rapidly, once every 24 hours, while Venus rotates once every 243 of our hours.
The spinning has been slowing down ever since.
The glancing blow gave the earth its tilt and that is why the earth has seasons. The presence of a large Moon orbiting the earth has since acted as gravitational stabilizer over geological times.
Seismic measurements of moonquakes by instruments left over the Moon show that it has no significant metallic core especially iron. This is why the Earth has a stronger magnetic field.
The impact theory explains why the Earth – one out of eight planets in the Solar system has a moon (roughly 27 per cent of the diameter of the earth today) fairly comparable in size to the parent planet, Earth.
Gribbin says, the most likely explanation is that the Earth began life with a thick rocky crust while another object, about the size of the Mars, formed nearby. The most like place for this object to form would have been at one of the two places known as
Lagrangian points. These are 60 degrees ahead or behind the Earth but in the same
orbit around the Sun.
Lagrangiain points are locations where gravitational forces and orbital motions of a body balance each other. These are places where small objects can accumulate and stick around for a long time. There are five points in the Sun-Earth system.
The Lagrangian points are now used as stable parking places for satellites, such as the Herschel infrared telescope.
Evidence that such collusions took place is derived from the explanation that if there had been a head-on collision, all the lighter material would have been blasted away into space, leaving only the heavy core behind.
The impact hypothesis, according to Gribbin, explains why only one out of eight planets in the Solar System has a moon comparable in size to the parent planet
Over geological time water was brought to Earth by comets and asteroids and oceans formed. The process of plate tectonics played a major role in the shaping of the Earth’s oceans and continents as well as the life they harbour.
Earth became habitable and the earliest life forms that arose, released oxygen in the atmosphere. Life on earth remained small and microscopic for at least a billion years.
Only during the Cambrian period – the beginning of the Phanaerozoic Eon (the current Eon in geological time scale app. 544 – 570 million years ago), there began a rapid diversification into many of the modern life forms.
Because of a gradual change in geological time as the Earth gets older we now have a technological civilisation on Earth.
The writer is based in the UK
Email: [email protected]