OK. This Boson particle walks into a pub and the barman says “What’s the matter?” Boom-boom.
I expect you’re falling around on your chaise longue at that one. If you’re not there might be a suggestion you don’t understand what the Boson particle thing is all about . If you don’t, welcome to the club – I don’t either. But I gather it has something to do with the reason why everything exists when, quite reasonably, things might not exist.
Which brings us to the Giant’s Causeway. The great Dr Johnston, you’ll remember, when asked what he thought of the Giant’s Causeway after he’d been there, said “The Giant’s Causeway is worth seeing, but not worth going to see”. However it’s not its scenic impact that’s up for discussion this morning. It’s that in the new Visitors’ Centre, they’ve an audio presentation that explains the origin of the Causeway in traditional scientific terms and also in creationist terms.
Pleased with that, are you? Or disgusted that Christian fairytale stuff is given equal time with science?
It depends on what you mean by creationism, and how the Visitors’ Centre presents creationism. If it says that the Causeway was created by God via his Flood, and we know this because the Bible tells us Noah had to build an ark, etc, then it’s a bit daft and people in need of a good laugh will head for north Antrim. If on the other hand the creationism version accepts evolution and simply puts the case that the Causeway, like everything else, is ultimately the product of intelligent design of some sort – what most people call God – then they’re entitled to have that point of view heard. It’s what Christians believe.
Let’s face it: most people, myself included, have a very shaky grip on science. When we’re told that the universe came into being by way of the Big Bang, we nod wisely, even though it sounds like something from a three-year-old’s picture book. No explanation is given as to why the Big Bang should have happened rather than not happened, or why it was such a smart Big Bang that it created everything we now have. In terms of religion, people can be literal and gullible – it’s in the Bible so it must have happened. Likewise in terms of science, a lot of people can be literal and gullible – it’s what the scientists tell us so it must be true . Even though science keeps changing and sometimes contradicting what went before.
The world, the universe is an amazingly varied and beautiful and terrifying place. Maybe the God-made-the-world-in-six-days crowd should be bit less dogmatic and intolerant. And maybe the rest of us should accept that when we give credence to the scientific community, it’s not because we understand their claims – as with religious belief, we make an act of faith.