Is god really great or isn’t he?
It’s Wednesday, 21th October, a shiny autumn day. 11:30 AM in the Gerthsen audience hall on the site of a renominate German university. Physics, lecture #1. For the sake of clarity I should maybe add, that it’s the year 2009 AC.
The common practice of starting a lecture with a definition and an overview of the subject including its potentials and limitations resulted in unexpected consequences. When mentioning the importance of the natural constants a (30 minutes) word about the amazing fact that, if, say, Planck’s constant would be changed for a ridiculous amount for only part of a second, any matter as we know it – including ourselves – would immediately take a tragic end, was not omitted. I’m sure that you’re all familiar with these frequently revised ideas of how unlikely1 our existence is, so I won’t explain in detail what has been told to us.
As an eager student I immediately took down to my script: “There must be a god, or I wouldn’t be here.” Being aware that the sentence actually should be: “I (or at least any other human being) must be here or there couldn’t be a god.”
I intended to inform the rest of the audience of this little inaccuracy in the professors talk, waving arms, making noise and doing everything else, students can do to attract attention. Up to the first row, I made myself noticed. Except by the professor who just kept on talking, seeming to be blind and deaf. (Which I know he isn’t.)
It’s quite easy to succeed with your dogmas if you are in a hall with several hundred people, safely standing on the stage, having the only microphone and simply ignoring any objections.
After that shock I had to get myself a cool pint. But I was still looking for experimental prove for today’s lecture. The empty bottle brought me to an ingenious idea. Here is the most convincing experiment ever carried out on that honorable field of science:
I let the bottle smash on the ground and collected all the various fragments. Investigating all the pieces of glass, I was humbled by my discovery and truth was speaking to me clearly just like sky after the rain. What an infinite low probability of breaking a bottle into pieces shaped like those. And what an amazing miracle that all the parameters like speed and orientation of the bottle, mechanical properties of the pavement, little imperfections in the glass, even wind movements and many more had been perfectly alright to make the bottle burst just exactly as it did. This couldn’t be pure chance. There must have been a god guiding my experiment.
One final question: Well, now is god really great or isn’t he?
And one final answer: I’d never give any answer on that question. What people call god simply is incapable for verifiable statements. And hence he should be properly kept out of any physics lectures.
Enjoy your courses!
1 Even an approximation for this probability was given: Setting all crucial natural constants to values that allow life as we know it (There can’t be any other forms of life!) is just as likely as a sharpshooter striking a coin placed on the opposite end of the observed universe. This is not only plain nonsense because the choice of the range the values are obtained from is completely arbitrary, but also just as likely as meeting my aunt in the town on a Sunday afternoon. Just depending on the precision of the sharpshooter and his “Super-Perforator” banging through our whole universe.