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Boundaries Between Science and Religion

September 22, 1996

Your extensive article on science and religion ("Scientists' Dilemma: Factoring in Faith," Sept. 15) omits Einstein's most famous remark on the subject, that God does not play dice with the universe. Einstein was expressing his religious opposition to quantum mechanics, a theory that not only turns out to be right but has advanced our technology with devices such as the tunneling electron microscope. Because of his religious opposition to the inevitable road of physics, Einstein wasted the latter part of his life.

Religious instincts continue to mislead scientists. As I pointed out in the June 1996 issue of Physics Today, modern physics (specifically, string theory) doesn't even have a moment of creation, as in the older Big Bang model. Rather, we see the universe as a pendulum expanding and contracting in four-dimensional space time. It's currently on an upswing, converting its kinetic energy into gravitational potential, just like the pendulum on a grandfather clock, hence the notion of a cosmic explosion. Maybe we'll all have to keep living the same lives over and over, as in the "Groundhog Day" movie. So let's make it good, folks. Just in case.

ALLEN D. ALLEN

Studio City

* K.C. Cole's article was most refreshingly honest. Media reporting on the meeting of these fields is usually limited to a trivialized version of "creationism" vs. evolution, in which only atheists and fundamentalists are quoted. The knowledgeable majority who reject both extremes are normally ignored.

If science and faith are really opposed, it is in the sense that thumb and fingers are. Both must be used to grasp truth.

LARRY WALKER

Canoga Park

* Cole's excellent, though short, balanced article on the blurring of the boundaries between science and religion did point out one characteristic that scientists have no shortage of: arrogance. Most theologians do not attempt to answer scientific questions but, unfortunately, many scientists are not hesitant to speak to issues of theology about which they have no training.

Astronomer Victor Stenger can complain about the use of the Big Bang theory as evidence that God created the universe as a misuse of science, while Lawrence Krauss, "along with many of his colleagues," can affirm that much of modern science argues against the existence of God because "every one of the miraculous aspects of the universe appears to have a rational basis"? Even I, neither a theologian nor a scientist, can see the fallacy in Krauss' reasoning. What a double standard and what idiocy paraded as science!

JIM GUTEL

Santa Ana

* I read with interest the article on scientists' factoring in faith in their research of the origin of the universe. As an atheist, what continues to baffle me is if there is general agreement that it has been an "all from nothing" occurrence, from whence came this creator known as God? If the answer is, "He was simply always there," I must ask, "Where?"

ROSETTA LIVINGSTON

Los Angeles

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