Why is there something rather than nothing?


People have been asking this question, since the dawn of humanity no doubt. As of today, the question still remains unanswered, and I suppose we may never have the answer. I strongly doubt there is an answer.

In fact, I think the question can be phrased into a statement: our existence is just too be good to be true. I think the former statement gets to the heart of what people usually mean when they are asking why the universe exists. Is the universe too good to be true? Maybe. Maybe not.

Let’s assume the probability of the universe is very, very low. With this assumption, many declare a deity has to be involved in the universe. However, consider this: the universe only had to happen once. If there are multiple universes, just like our own, I admit that would be suspicious.

To clarify, let’s say we’re gambling. I bet on a number on six sided die. I earn money every time the number I chose comes up, and I lose money every time it lands on another number. The chance of my number coming up is 16.7%. (This is low; although, conceivably much higher than the chances of a universe). We roll the die. My number shows up, but I’m not surprised. The chances weren’t good, but it had to land on one number, and it is just as likely that my number will come up as opposed to any other number. Now, if my number came up over and over again, you might suspect the die is unfair, and depending on how many times my number came up, you might be right.

I don’t have the answer to why there is something rather than nothing. Perhaps, it has an answer, but I’m not convinced by fine-tuning arguments at this time.

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A Time Before Science


Currently, I am imagining living in a different time, a time before modern science. I am laying out beneath the stars, and as the night turns to day, I hear the birds chirping and see them fly. Squirrels are scurrying among the trees, and I ask myself where all of this majesty of nature came from.

Now, I’m wondering how I’m going to answer this. Evolution and the Big Bang haven’t been discovered yet. Would I attribute all of the beauty of nature to a deity? It would seem very tempting. Would I be able, in a world less literate, to fall back on philosophy to aid me? I don’t know.

The intricacies of even bugs and insects cry out for an explanation. Would I resort to religion? I often say, now, that you don’t necessarily need science to become an atheist. Reason will do, but on this earth teaming with life, would that be enough? Or, would I succumb to the temptation for an answer, at a time without science?

Can Religion and Science Coexist?


There have been many refutations of the Christian creation story via science. Evolution through natural selection science supreme in explaining how species have come to be what they are currently. We now know the age of the Earth. We know the age of the universe, and we know the Big Bang occurred and brought about the existence of our universe. That being said, there are still important questions, related to existence, that remain. However, it is exceedingly unlikely, in this day and age, that the Biblical teachings on creation will ever be proven to be a better explanation than science we have now. There may be a few corrections in science, and hopefully we will find answers to the questions that remain. Still, the basic features we have now in biology and astrophysics are unlikely to change, so where does this leave the believer?

Well, if the believer thinks the Bible needs to be taken literally, I’m sorry to say the believer is just plain wrong, and no, there beliefs cannot coexist with science. However, some Christians have moved on. Some claim that the creation story was meant to be metaphorical. Of course, this is problematic due church doctrine. Most Christians seem to accept the original sin concept which was based upon Adam and Eve sinning in the garden. In this case, the believer must jump through some mental hoops to get their religion and science to be in agreement. I, for one, am not willing or think it sensible to jump through those hoops.

Finally, there are believers who see their scriptures as not literal or inerrant. They see the Bible as, simply, inspired. It is fairly simple for these believers to just say the writers of the scriptures erred on occasion, and they were wrong on creation. For these believers, no, there is no issue with their religion and science coexisting. Some of them even make an interesting point. They argue that some people who take the Bible as inerrant and literal are in fact idol worshipers. They worship the Bible over God! However, there is one crucial problem. How, exactly, does one figure out which passage were in fact wrong? It doesn’t seem like everyone is receiving the same message from God on this.

Evolution in the Classroom


Evolution belongs in the biology classroom of every school. This should include faith schools and home schools. Evolution is the backbone of biology, and children need to know about it. For one, they need to have a grasp of science to be competitive in the real world. Understanding biology will help them understand more advanced topics in college courses. I think refusing to teach evolution is educational neglect.

Furthermore, I think even faith schools should have to teach evolution in biology, and I don’t think creationism should be allowed to be taught within that classroom. If a faith school wants to teach creationism, then they need to teach it in their faith course, which most faith schools have. Creationism is not looked upon as an acceptable scientific alternative by competent scientists , and as such, creationism has no place in a science class. I could say the same for home schools.

Now, I know some of my readers may have some concerns. They might think I’m not going far enough. Some may even want faith schools banned. I’m not saying that faith schools are good things. (I don’t.) Nevertheless, I hold religious freedom as a very high priority. Now some might ask about the children’s freedom. I would concur and note that sending children to faith schools is problematic. However, I do not want the government telling parents how to raise their children, within reason. I’m drawing the line where important information is being left out. Information that is central to any education.

Skepticism: Faith and Authority


Most are not 100% skeptical all of time. For example, I consider myself a skeptic, but I don’t spend my time questioning whether the grass is really green or whether water is composed of H2O. I could, but I am fairly certain my original position that grass is green and water is composed of H2O is the correct one. There are certain people who will blatantly say that is never okay to take things on faith and authority, and when the idea that many people take, say science, on faith they try to weasel their way out.

However, taking things on faith and authority, in a very limited way, can be acceptable in certain situations. I think blind faith is generally a bad idea. Still, we need to consider non-blind faith. In other words, we need to consider faith that has a basis to exist. For example, I’ve studied evolution to some degree and I know some of the major findings supporting it. I don’t know a lot of the more complex studies having to do with evolution, but I generally accept most the mainstream findings of scientists. Why? Because, “faith” in these scientists is not blind. It is based on something factual and objective about this science in the first place. Also with science, I know the method. I trust the method; because, it’s method does weed hoaxes and the like. It is open to change and scrutiny. Is this improper? Given it’s record, I don’t think it is. I know how the scientific method works, and as far as can tell, it is working quite well at the moment. If, for example, I had actual knowledge that every part of Catholicism was true but I just wasn’t sure whether the deity was triune, I might take it on faith that my priest was right about God.

Also, I think it is appropriate to take things on authority sometimes, but it depends on the authority. Is the authority reliable/trustworthy? Does the authority have a good tract record? Does the authority have the knowledge to dispense a particular claim? Does the authority have his/her mental facilities in good working order?  Is the authority unbiased? These are questions that need an affirmative answer. The problem is that a lot of people depend on an authority who does not meet the previous qualifications. I’m not going to ask my tv repair man what’s wrong with my car. Likewise, I’m not going to ask a science question to a cleric.

I think most skeptics would agree with. Although, they might argue with how I’ve treated faith. They might say that what I’m arguing isn’t faith at all, but I’d like to hear an argument on why faith should be redefined. People don’t seem to realize that we greatly depend on faith and authority a good portion of the time. It isn’t always universally wrong to do so, but we should question ourselves from time to time about what ideas we’re accepting and why.

Rant: The Lack of Women in STEM, from my Experience


There is a big discussion going on about the lack of women in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field. There has been a lack of women for a LONG time, and there have been many tries at a solution for this. Some have said that maybe the lack of women is due to women preferring jobs working with people. Many say it is due to outright sexism. Most are just clueless. My academic career has mainly been towards mathematics, but I was originally a physics major. (Physics and engineering have the lowest percentage of women.) In my opinion, there is a lot more going on besides sexism and gender roles.

First off, I think there are differences, at least in my society, between what is typical “woman behavior” versus “man behavior.” (I’m not saying these are genetic. I’m not qualified, and I’m not necessarily deeply concerned about psychology, for my purposes.) (The following is anecdotal, and it is not meant to be an empirical account of how all physics majors act. ) Physics, for example, is considered the brainiest subject one can go into. There is a bit of chip on the shoulder when one is doing well in these courses. Still, if one is asking a male student about a particular subject, it is common for them to be condescending. (Doesn’t matter if the questioner is male or female.)( In fact, sometimes they will give an incompetent answer due to pride, if they don’t know the answer.) If a student asks a female physics major, they are more likely to get a caring and non-egotistical reply. However, there are very few female physics majors. That has been my experience, and this huge part of the reason I switched to math.

On top of that, I have witnessed physics majors being condescending to anyone who was not a physics major. I have heard them state, to other students, that the only real science is physics, and the rest isn’t important. (This includes biology and psychology, where there are more women.)

In fact at one point, I was the only female in a particular physics class. (I expected this to happen at some point. I wasn’t bothered.) However, at times I felt stared at. I would briefly look around. There would always be a few men looking at me as if they hadn’t seen a woman in ages. (My eyes are up hear gentlemen.) I’m not sensitive. It was just mildly uncomfortable. That is until I was alone with one of them in the hallway. He actually hissed at me. (That may not seem like a big deal to most, but if, like me, you’ve been a sexual assault victim repeatedly, then you’re always on alert.) I’m sure that guy had some issues, and that this wasn’t normal, still.

Furthermore, I think a big problem with the lack of women in STEM fields is simply due to the lack of women. I think role models are important. A department that has all men is likely to draw mostly men. People, whether they admit it or not, like to have real life examples. It is much easier to see yourself as a physicist if a college has physicists in your gender. I’m not saying that some can’t break the cycle. I’m just saying it is harder.

I’m sick of the “solutions” that are supposed to solve the demographics issue. You can put a pretty woman on a pink cover to a popular math book all you want. I’m a human first and a woman second. I actually find this type of advertising patronizing and annoying. Talk to me like a HUMAN. Tell me the benefits of STEM. Don’t patronize me. Don’t belittle me. Talk to me. I don’t know, maybe, have actual feminine women talk to young girls about it. I’m done with my rant. Feel free to send me hate mail.

Is Mathematics the Language of Science? I’m Annoyed.


So, why am I annoyed? Some scientists are using parts of mathematics that lend themselves to describing the natural world, and then throwing the rest out. Then, they call it “the language of science.” I find that annoying; because the idea is both misinformed and very popular. Now, I study mostly applied mathematics, and I take quiet a few science courses. However, I have a healthy appreciation of proofs and theories in pure mathematics. I don’t ignore half of mathematics. Mathematics has much more to it than just being a tool for scientists. It is true that sometimes pure mathematics can turn into applied mathematics, but this is not always the case. Mathematics is its own subject for a very good reason, and there is a lot more to it than just what is used in science.

To be sure, mathematics can certainly be used as a powerful descriptor of the natural world, but that is not all it is. Mathematics is a very unique human activity, and it cannot be summed up as just a language . Mathematics is a special and unique mode of thinking. It can be very logical, but intuition comes into play frequently. It is also creative even artistic. The jury is still out on exactly what mathematics is, and why it happens that some of it happens to be very useful in describing the natural world. However, let’s not cut out huge chunks out of it in order to make it the language of science.