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Posts Tagged ‘Black hole thermodynamics’

Science and Religion: The Views of Two Religious Scientists

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 4, 2012

By Mario Livio, Astrophysicist, Space Telescope Science Institute

2012-07-31-hs200312asm.jpg
Figure 1. Part of the Hubble Deep Field-1995, showing Supernova SN 2002dd.

Jacob Bekenstein and David Eichler are both world-renowned astrophysicists. Bekenstein, winner of the 2012 Wolf Prize, is best known for his work on black hole thermodynamics, and for the formulation of a theory known as TeVeS, that attempted to explain galactic observations without a need for dark matter. Eichler is known for numerous works on gamma-ray bursts, cosmic rays, and pulsars. They are also religious Jews. I have known Bekenstein and Eichler for decades, but I suddenly realized that I had never actually talked to them about whether they see any conflict between their religious beliefs and their scientific views. I was happy to discover that neither of them had any objections to openly discussing their opinions.

Eichler explained to me right away that he believed that the universe is governed by the laws of physics.

“What is God’s role, then?” I asked.

“For all we know, God created the laws of nature,” he replied, “so religion in this sense does not contradict science at all.”

“But,” I insisted, “did God’s work end, then, with formulating the laws?”

“No,” Eichler explained. “As you know from quantum mechanics, the laws of physics proclaim their own incompleteness, and that leaves, as one logical possibility, plenty of room for God to intervene.” Read the rest of this entry »

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