Telling origin stories: The Big bang, creationism
Published: Friday, February 22, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 22, 2013 04:02
Last night, chemist Dr. Henry Schaefer discussed the harmony between scientific origin theories and Christianity during his lecture at LaSells Stewart Center. The event was hosted by the Socratic Club at OSU.
“I was really fond of the subject matter of the lecture,” said Socratic Club president Matt Rueben. “The harmony between science and religion from a distinguished scientist’s perspective is not necessarily discussed that much.”
Schaefer is a distinguished computational chemist who, with 1,300 publications, was the sixth-most cited chemist in the world from 1981 to 1997. His research, which has earned him a number of prestigious awards, focuses on solving important problems in molecular quantum mechanics.
Schaefer focused first on questions addressed in cosmology — the study of the origins and eventual fate of the universe — which include whether the universe has a beginning and an end, whether or not it was created and whether the universe is infinite.
Addressing the issue of whether or not the universe has a beginning or end, he discussed the Big Bang Theory and several observations modern science can make to prove it. With the Big Bang Theory, he stated that the universe has a definite beginning and definite end, and that in the Big Bang everything, including time, was produced.
“What I enjoyed the most from the lecture was how Dr. Shaefer had such a broad understanding of the cosmology of the origin of the universe,” said James Roberts, instructor in speech communication. “Not only did he have a tremendous personality, he also spoke with a tremendous authority by how much knowledge he could unpack.”
He said the universe must be created from something outside space, time and all other dimensions we can observe in natural science. He explained how he, and several other credible scientists, believe this is equivalent to the creation account in The Bible book of Genesis.
Schaefer spent a large portion of the lecture discussing the work of Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, Don Page and several other reputable scientists, specifically in their relation to cosmology. He noted, at the very least, they didn’t completely deny the possibility of a God, and in several they actually believed completely in the existence of a God.
He concluded with his own personal views of science and religion. This included his belief of an absolute God outside of science, as he believes is suggested in the Big Bang, that being outside the cosmos this God must be grander and more infinite than anything in it, and his belief that human beings cannot match up to this God.
This received a mixed response from the audience in the question session that followed. People from several faiths, including Atheism, Baha’i, Christianity and Islam, came up to speak to him.
Several asked questions regarding his personal viewpoint, ranging from whether this was different from simply trying to do your best to be a good person, to why a being outside of the cosmos wouldn’t reveal himself in a procession of equally important spokespeople, not just a single main one. Others, however, admired him for his faith.
“The audience had a good, healthy range of questions from people with a variety of worldviews,” Shaefer said. “I think the lecture was successful in stirring up people to think, and I want to remove intellectual barriers to having faith in Jesus Christ.”
For the Socratic Club, this allowing of intellectual stir of beliefs is what is most important to the club. The club’s next debate, titled, “God’s Love and Hell,” is scheduled for early spring term.
Ryan Dawes, news reporter