Aether Song

Our time is not in the grey falling rain nor in the boundless blue-green sea. Our time is in the river that lies between them, flowing smooth and quiet over the sand or angry and roiling over the unyielding stones. Joining and dividing. Choosing our own way for good or ill.

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Friday, August 04, 2006

This I believe

The other day some earnest young Mormon ‘elders’ came to our door all neatly dressed and proper hoping, no doubt, to make a good impression. There followed a short conversation ending in an accusation that I was ‘angry’ at which point they hastily departed for greener pastures. One of the questions they asked, but which I did not have time to explain fully was: “What do you believe in?” I can no longer answer them due to lack of proximity, but I can put my answer up here for the curious.

· I believe that everything in our universe is governed by the laws of physics (both those we know and those we don’t) and the four primary forces (Gravity, Strong Nuclear, Weak Nuclear, and Electromagnetic).

· I believe that the universe came into existence 13.7 billion years ago (give or take a few million years). I do not know how it happened, and even the best scientists can’t say for sure how, but that figure is pretty well agreed on.

· I believe that some unknown time after that the first stars formed. Inside one (or more) of those stars the elements heavier than hydrogen were fused. I believe that shortly (on astronomical time scales) after that that star exploded scattering those elements into space (and believe me if there were air in space it would have made a hellacious BOOM). This could have happened more than once for all I know, we may well have had more than one stellar parent.

· I believe that around 5 billion years ago the sun and the planets of the solar system (including the one we inhabit) formed from this stellar detritus.

· I believe that after the earth formed and cooled, around 3.85 billion years ago or so, life began. I don’t know how that happened and neither does the scientific community unless I missed the announcement somewhere. Naturally there is no shortage of theories, but I have no reason to believe that there was anything supernatural involved.

· I believe that life evolved from single celled creatures into multi-celled creatures, from multi-celled creatures into fish, from fish into amphibians, from amphibians into reptiles, from reptiles into mammals, from early mammals into primates and finally from early primates into homo sapiens. You. Me. Us, and also for better or worse, Mormons.

9 Comments:

Blogger jo(e) said...

Oh, this is really interesting stuff.

You say the universe is governed by the laws of physics. I think it would be more accurate to say it the other way around. The laws of physics are based on the universe. Science is a human construct after all. So scientists study the universe and come with these theories, and then when they find something that doesn't fit the theories, they revise the theories.

I think of science as the way that humans try to make sense of the physical universe, but it seems to me that there is so much that science is not able to explain. Science is limited by our human understanding.

Hope is okay for me to jump in with my own thoughts. I love these kind of conversations ....

6:24 AM  
Blogger Pure Luck said...

You are more than welcome to jump in and comment Joe. That is what a blog is for after all.
You are right in that science is only the best approximation of what we can perceive of our universe and is always subject to new data, but one thing that people tend to miss is that for the most part its filling in the corners. Newton's Laws were not wrong they just weren't complete. There is still plenty of revising to do and where possible each of these theories is subject to rigorous independent testing. If it can't be tested then it isn't much different than philosophy as far as I can tell. It is my view that science gives us the best approximation of reality that we are likely to get given our limitations. One thing that people tend to forget is that just because some things are not known by science now does not imply that we cannot ever know them.
Well that is enough of sermonizing from the mountain of science I did want to ask you: What is it that you think science is unable to explain?

6:41 AM  
Blogger SingingOwl said...

I agree with this much anyway, "one thing that people tend to forget is that just because some things are not known by science now does not imply that we cannot ever know them." That's for sure! There are probably amazing dicoveries awaiting around the corner.

Grinning about the Mormons. My husband was one, once upon a time, and we used to give the poor earnest young missionaries lots to talk about in the car as they left our home.
:-)

8:32 AM  
Blogger Camera Obscura said...

Ah the "elders"... I always found it interesting that such a title was given to 20-year-olds. Yes, I know, 20 used to be a lot older than it is now.

When we lived in a far suburb of El-Lay, the place was full of Mormons. Of course the door-to-door elders there were not the natives, b/c doing your mission work means going away. (Can you imagine some kid in IL finding out he got assigned to L.A.? "And there was much rejoicing...") I always thought it was a bit of a waste to send elders to a place where a good chunk of the population was Mormon and another, larger chunk was Catholic. Alas, the woman who owned our house before we did had displayed some interest in the LDS church, and we had elders paying specific visits to our home asking for her by name and then of course trying to make the best of a bad situation by talking to us instead. Wasted trip, I'm afraid.

I never understood why a church so renown for its record-keeping didn't write down after the first time that she'd moved away. But then, I guess 20-year-old minds may be more interested in reporting potential new converts than the loss of same...

I must say I do admire the architecture of their temples. The one in San Diego is breath-taking, the L.A. temple does evoke some of the early Catholic missions, the main one in SLC is Gothic-esque, ours here in Nellyville is evocative of the older Protestant churches, and of course they just re-created the original in Nauvoo.

9:43 AM  
Blogger St. Casserole said...

I would give cash money to hear how the 20 year old Mormons would respond to this post.

I'm glad to live in this world. I believe God made it but I can't say exactly how nor do I want to.

I love the idea that God's creative hand brought order out of chaos.

You are doing this blogging thing very well.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Pure Luck said...

I pointed out the irony of the 'elder' title to the designated spokesmormon of the two. He said he was 'old in the knowledge of God's true church'. To my credit I maintained a straight face, and yes, the Mormons do have quite the edifice complex. The temple down on the DC beltway is quite striking. I once stopped in and had a look around the grounds.

St. C. Thank you. I do hope to remain worth reading.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Sally said...

Amen and amen- thank you for this post

2:55 PM  
Blogger NotShyChiRev said...

If you ever want to give one of the 'elders' a heart attack, ask him for his opinion of the movie, "Latter Days," about an elder who falls in love with an L.A. party boy.

And then ask him if is magic underwear is confortable. No, wait, that would probably be rude.

Sometimes I think I'm not a very nice minister. :-)
Pure Luck, welcome to our world!

2:02 PM  
Blogger NotShyChiRev said...

Someday, I'll learn to preview and/or spell.

2:32 PM  

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