The God Factor: Fossils
On page 86 of the March, 1990 issue of Astronomy magazine, under the title
"The God Factor," Philip Stahl has suggested that the investigation of a "supernatural entity" might be
beyond the domain of science. But that would be true if, and only if, the supernatural entity exerted no influence on what
we see as physical phenomena. However, in the context of the young lady's question to him, that would not be the case. And
if such an entity does influence the existence or behavior of what we see as matter, then surely its existence could be investigated
through the fossils of that influence. After all, isn't that the way we investigate the dinosaurs, the trilobites and the
Big Bang? Isn't it through the helium abundance and the smoothness of the 3° Kelvin microwave background radiation and
other such fossils that we investigate the Big Bang? But it should be borne in mind that until the Big Bang model became established
in our minds, no one would have seen the helium abundance or the background radiation as fossils. It is only in the light
of our model that we see it. And the question is: If we had a proper model of an entity "beyond matter, space, and time,"
wouldn't such a model facilitate our recognition of its fossils?
Most modern cosmologists, whether proponents of the Big Bang or the Steady State, seem to assume that
in the absence of matter, space and time, there would be nothing. But is such a rash assumption warranted? The absence of
time requires only the absence of change, and the absence of space requires only the absence of dividedness and smallness,
not necessarily nothing. And that allows the possibility for a model of an entity beyond matter, space and time which might
be changeless, infinite and undivided. But if such an entity is changeless (beyond time), it cannot exert its influence through
change, but only by apparition, "showing through," much as the length and diameter of a rope shows through in the
snake for which it is mistaken. In the light of this model then, the fossils which we seek in the physical phenomena are measurable
quantities for which we have no other explanation, and which might be taken as evidence for the changeless, the infinite,
the undivided showing through in space and time.
Fortunately, in this
case, we don't have far to seek. The fossils are obvious enough, but only in the light of this model would they be taken as
fossils. I see inertia as a fossil of the changeless. The electrical charge on the minuscule particles I see as a fossil of
the infinite. And I see gravity as a fossil of the undivided. The existence of gravity, electricity and inertia stand in our
physics completely unexplained. In the absence of a suitable model of an entity beyond matter, space and time, and in the
absence of an understanding of the nature of its possible influence on physical phenomena, we simply had to take them for
It will be of no use to
suggest that this is metaphysics and need not be taken seriously; anything which influences the existence or behavior of physical
phenomena is within the domain of physics.